Insanity? Insolence? or Incel? 

If you’re like me, you probably haven’t heard of the “Incel” movement until yesterday, after the attack in Toronto. A man named Alek Minassian drove a van through a group people on a sidewalk killing 10 and injuring 14 more. Most people initially assumed this was an act of terrorism by ISIS, or another terrorist organization trying to inflict fear and punishment on the populace. Technically, it was terrorism, it just had nothing to do with ISIS or Islam this time. Instead, it was an act of terrorism by a member of the Incel movement.

What Is Incel? 

In short, the Incel movement  is a group of disgruntled men and women (mostly men) who have been forced into celibacy. Incel is short for involuntary celibacy. Celibacy is a state of being sexually abstinent or unmarried for religious reasons or for a religious devotion. Most of us think of Catholic priests and Nuns, who remain unmarried for life, to fulfill a vow to serve God. Traditionally Christians would remain celibate until marriage, seeing both permanent celibacy and licentious behavior as both unhealthy, and against what God intended. Thus throughout most cultures in history, sexual practices were reserved for marital relations. That is why rape, prostitution and promiscuity were frowned upon even by the non-religious, something we’ll address later in this article. 

Where It Came From 

Despite the Incel movement now mostly being a group of disgruntled men, the origins of the movement can be traced to a Canadian woman, ironically from Toronto where the recent attack occurred. In 1993, a website was created called, “Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project.” Despite Alana’s desiring to date men, she found herself in a Lesbian relationship. After her breakup with her girlfriend, she started the web site to vent, and allow other frustrated men and women to vent as well. Alana felt that “rigid gender norms burdened everyone.” She started to date men as well as women, read queer liberation theory, and explore polyamory( being romantically involved  and committed with more than one person).  Her goal was to make a totally inclusive group for everyone. ”I don’t care if your reason is that you always fall in love with horses—and horses aren’t legal to fall in love with.” she stated (perhaps with a bit of hyperbole) to highlight how being gender-inclusive would be good therapy for many disenfranchised men and women. 

Modern Resurgence 

The original intent of the group was to be a place to vent and complain against gender norms, marriage, and western societal constructs, but this ultimately led to a massive influx of men who complained of women not giving them the time of day. This bred a certain irrationality and hatred of women, who only went for certain types of guys. The guys who could pull girls were labeled a “Chad”, the girls that dated those types of guys were labeled a “Stacy”. 

The movement was virtually unknown until 2014 when Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured fourteen others near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara, before killing himself inside his vehicle.  Prior to the attack he made a video called “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution”, in which he outlined details of his upcoming attack and his motives. He explained that he wanted to punish women for rejecting him, and that he envied sexually active men and wanted to punish them for being sexually active. Thus he directly targeted and stabbed three men he saw as “Chad’s” and then shot 4 college women he saw as “Stacys.” He would also kill and injure others as he fled from police, shooting at people on the street and running them over with his car. After crashing, he shot himself in the head, and would be revered as the Incel movement’s first hero/martyr. Alek Minassian, the day of the attack, made a FB post stating: “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman, Elliot Rodger!” There is even a video on youtube entitled “The Untold story of Elliot Rodger: A true Martyr in his own right.” 

I wish I could chalk this up to two nut jobs, but Christopher Harper-Mercer killed 9 people at a Community College in Oregon. George Sodini killed three women and himself in an L.A. Fitness Center in Pennsylvania. Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and injured 17 others at the Virginia Tech massacre. All of them had similar reasons for their massacres. These three men, were not part of the official Incel movement, but they all expressed similar frustrations as a catalyst for their murderous rampages. 

 

The Bigger Problem 

As in all cases where bad things happen to innocent people, the reaction will usually be the same. What can we do to stop this from happening again? If it was another shooting, the solution would be to simply pass tougher gun laws (in many people’s minds). If this was perpetrated by ISIS, perhaps it would be to pass stronger immigration policies, or even to seek a military response against ISIS forces. Though none of these things have worked very well in the past, the bigger problem here is most don’t really have a solution. How do you defend against the guy who thinks that women have a duty to sleep with him? Perhaps many will call for the government to have stricter rental car polices for would be terrorist acts. Or perhaps they will want more control over the internet, to have websites like these shut down. Whatever the solution will be, it once again have little success. The problem with all acts of terror, is that it is virtually impossible to stop a man who is willing to “die for the cause.” Laws only work on those who fear their consequences. If one is willing to die rather than live in a world he thinks is against him, he becomes a hard person to stop,  with only outward laws and regulations. 

 

The World View Problem 

Many people will chalk this guy up as a “nut” or insane individual. It is easier for us to say, “we have a mental health problem” than it is to say, “we have a worldview problem.” Others will say we just need better parenting, or that schools and society just need to emphasize tolerance and respect more, because Minassian was insolent and uncaring. Perhaps some would want us to crack down on websites and organizations that promote rude or demeaning behavior? However, beliefs have consequences. People don’t become insane, insolent or join groups like Incel out of thin air. There is always a deeper root and cause. Research has even shown that insanity can be prevented and treated if caught early, despite genetic predispositions. Thus, many psychologists will chalk the behavior of Minassian up to being a “Beta” male in a world run by “Alpha’s.” Perhaps better bullying campaigns could have prevented such actions? But the issue is one of worldview. What do you believe is the nature of reality? What do you believe about God? What do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about others? Just like with mental illness or bad behavior, if gone unchecked, worldview problems will get worse, and the actions that follow that worldview are often detrimental for society.

What strikes me most about this case, and what I think will be the most over looked aspect, is that the Incel movement, like many secular movements before it, is Anti-Christian at its core. The issue of sex and gender is one that has increasingly become blurred in our society. Recall the quote from Alana earlier, “rigid gender norms burdened everyone.” What Alana saw as burden to everyone, is the reality of nature, or how God created mankind to interact and function. Not only does homosexuality go against nature but so do these men and women who think sex is owed to them for just being alive. As I stated earlier, throughout most cultures, sex was seen as something to engage in between husbands and wives. Even in non-Christian cultures, this was the basis to procreate and make a future for their culture. Of course, Christianity declares this to be morally right, and a description of God’s intended design. Many non-Christians however, chalk this up to natural law or pragmatic purposes. For example, even the 19-year-old boy who has no religious qualms about premarital sex, would often find himself in a position of marrying young. No girl would sleep with this guy and risk ruining her future marriage and family for this guy’s gratification.  It’s been said in a satirical way that men marry for sex and women for children. Of course, this may be over simplistic but the idea is that a young man has passion and the desire for a woman. To fulfill that he would have to get married. Women have always desired to be loved and have a family. To get that she would have to marry a man. Thus, whether Christian or not, the system worked, as men would get married, women would have children and everyone would look out for the needs of their own family.  Ultimately society functions well that way. Now, even if a person is not religious, he still has a Christian worldview, at least in this aspect, how how things should work. Beliefs have consequences, good or bad. 

Beliefs Have Consequences

Over the last 50 years, perhaps even more, the nuclear family system has largely been under attack. Seen as outdated and archaic, people first fought for no fault divorces. Then open sexual relations outside of the confines of marriage, often with multiple partners and called it “Free Love.” Then, people questioned why it had to be gender specific love, and you now have every bizarre form of relationship from gay, lesbian, transgendered, Pangendered or Genderqueer non-binary (there are over 200 claimed genders now so who can keep up?) This new wave of Incel, or beta males in society are in this same predicament. They’re not seeking to find one person, have a family, and settle down. They’re looking for women to fulfill their sexual desires and are upset when they don’t oblige.  This movement didn’t arise in a vacuum, it arose in secular, tolerant, multi cultural and open society.  Thus a movement like Incel can’t be stopped by the secular western world, in essence, it helped create it.

This phenomenon will probably not get better, but will likely get worse, as our culture has rejected all forms of biblical ethics and morality. I guess they keep some around that are still convenient, like the 5th and 7th commandment about murder and theft. But even there, they aren’t completely consistent (i.e. abortion and our current tax system). Instead of trying to legislate harder ways for sinful men and women to commit their sinful acts, we need to ultimately seek once again a gospel and biblical centered approach to society’s ills. Throwing off the burden of Christian values has not produced a more harmonious society, instead it has bolstered STD’s, emotional drama and psychological disorders. Though most people today have the highest standard of living in human history, they are more unhappy than ever. Ultimately the Christian Worldview, and specifically the Reformed World and Life view of the Creeds and Confessions, give us the answers we ultimately need. The answers society needs. The answers the insane, insolent and Incel needs as well. 

 

Home School, Home Church & Heterodoxy

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“By now most everyone has heard of the couple arrested in Perris, Ca., for child abuse. This happens to be the town my church is located in. Many are making mention of the fact that this couple was homeschooling their children and ultra-religious. The Grandmother even told reporters the grandchildren would memorize long passages in the Bible, and some children tried to memorize it in its entirety. She also claims her son was “Raised in a Christian home all his life. Gone to church all his life.” So, here’s my one and only question. What church did the family attend? I think there in you will find the problem.” Facebook post Jan. 18th January 18, 2018 on the arrest of David Turpin and Louis Ann Turpin.

I don’t often quote myself, but the above quote I made earlier demonstrates an important problem within Western Christianity. While the secular media is quick to point out the fact that these children were homeschooled (something the state will inevitably use to try and bring regulations and restrictions against homeschoolers at some point), I don’t think that homeschooling is the issue here. Neither do I think the problem is their religious upbringing or rigorous Bible memorization methods. While many will point out that the family was fanatical about homeschooling and Christianity, this is in no way indicative of either movement (any rational person has already come to this conclusion). However, the issue here rather is heterodoxy of the parent’s concept of “the church.”

When I posted on Facebook initially, I had no concrete evidence whether or not this family was a part of a church. According to a TIME magazine article, the grandmother had been quoted saying her son was, “Raised in a Christian home all his life. Gone to church all his life.” So, while the media was quick to claim them as Christians, and imply they were church goers, I was quick to point out that if you asked them what church they attended, you would find that they didn’t go to a local church. A few hours later a friend texted me confirmation, that they indeed were not part of a local church. However, despite what seems to be the clear evidence against the couple, the grandmother stated, “I feel they were model Christians.” She implied that the parents taught their children the Bible, and made them memorize scriptures, and that this was in some way proof they are good parents. Here is where we see the breakdown in their logic, and in properly defining what a good Christian is.

Heterodoxy, for those unfamiliar with the term, can simply be defined as unorthodoxy or “a doctrine at variance with an official or orthodox position.” While I am in full support of parents’ homeschooling their children and teaching them the Bible, I am not in support of a man self-proclaiming himself a pastor, prophet, or home church leader, without accountability. The grandmother (and most people) would simply say this man was a Christian, but he just didn’t attend a local church. We meet many people who think this way. But let us be clear, this man, nor his wife are Christian, in the Orthodox or true sense of the term (by orthodox I simply mean, true historic teaching, not to be confused with the Eastern Orthodox Church). This couple may have been raised in church. And let us assume for the sake of argument that this was a good, gospel teaching church. The facts are that this couple separated themselves from the church, and thus should not be considered as faithful Christians

As the Belgic Confession clearly states:

“We believe that since this holy assembly and congregation
is the gathering of those who are saved and there is no salvation apart from it, people ought not to withdraw from it, content to be by themselves, regardless of their status or condition…And so, all who withdraw from the church or do not join it act contrary to God’s ordinance.”
Belgic Confession Article 28.

If this wasn’t clear enough the Confession goes onto say in Article 29 how we may discern true from false Christians:

“We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully, by the Word of God, what is the true church…We are not speaking here of the company of hypocrites who are mixed among the good in the church and who nonetheless are not part of it…The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel; it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments…it practices church discipline for correcting faults…By these marks one can be assured of recognizing the true church—and no one ought to be separated from it.”

In short, the Reformers were clear on what made one a Christian, and what made a church a church. If someone claims to be a Christian and is not accountable to a local church body there is a problem. Now, I suspect this man may have also believed he had established his own church and ordained himself a pastor (this is not confirmed, but simply my suspicion). If this is the case, then the issue is that his church is not operating under what the New Testament and the Reformers considered a “church”(For a more detailed breakdown of what I mean by such terms see my article on “Christianity, Community, and Communion” ). To be a true church there must be three things as the Belgic Confession states,
1) the true preaching of the word.

2) The sacraments (baptism and communion)

3)  The proper accountability and administration of church discipline, which is the duty and right of every Christian.

So, rather than making the issue about homeschool regulation, proper parenting, or parents forcing their children to memorize scripture, the issue that should be addressed is that this man removed himself from the church of God and had gone rogue, worshiping in his own idolatrous system of worship and child rearing. All while sinful and harmful things can and do happen within churches (thus the need for church discipline), we can be assured that in this specific situation, being part of a local body of believers would have not allowed this specific situation to occur. You don’t need a perfect church to notice child starvation, stunted growth, and obvious signs of abuse.

Editor’s note: For clarification sake, the implication is not that if someone is not a church member that they are unsaved or unregenerated. We cannot see the beginning from the end, and there may be believers who are not part of a local church who do exhibit true faith in Christ. For a time, due to whatever circumstances, there may be those are not committed to a local congregation, nevertheless, the Reformed confessions and scriptures are clear that this is the biblical norm. And even hardship, trials and persecution, if they were to arise, should keep us from joining a local congregation, serving and submitting ourselves to it out of reverence for Christ (Eph. 5:21).  Those who do so willfully and purposely are to be considered covenant breakers and called to repentance.

Christianity, Community and Communion  

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Ask three different people what they mean by the terms “Christianity”, “Community” or “Communion” and you’ll get four different answers. In fairness, all three of these terms are complex terms with a vast array of complex meanings and usages. The purpose of this article will be to address them succinctly and biblically. My hope is that by the end of this article you will see all three not necessarily in a new light, but rather that you will see how they are intertwined around Christ, and that properly defining some basic terms will help us see not only the deeper meaning but the very often missed straightforward meaning.

I believe it is safe to say that we will all probably agree Christianity is a religion or religious system built around the person and work of Jesus Christ. Some will prefer not to use the term “religion” but that is a sermon for another time. Even those who prefer to say Christianity is a “relationship” rather than a religion will probably see what I am getting at here with my basic definition. Thus, let us move on to the next two which I think for us is where the hazy definitions lay.

Our next term community is defined in the dictionary in three basic ways. Ecologically it is defined as “a group of interdependent organisms of different species growing or living together in a specified habitat.” The next definition is governmental “a body of nations or states unified by common interests.” Lastly, community is defined socially as “a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists socially and communally.” This final term is most relevant to the discussion in this article but ultimately addressing the biblical context and usage of the term will be most important.

Finally, Communion can also have few basic meanings. It can refer to the Lord’s Supper in which we partake of bread and wine to remember Christ’s sacrifice for us but this is a metaphorical usage of the term. Next, communion can be defined broadly and socially as an act of sharing or to those with whom we have an “intimate fellowship or rapport with.” This could be religious or non-religious in nature. However, the final definition can only be seen as religious in nature and is defined by Merriam Webster’s as “a body of Christians having a common faith and discipline.”

Now that we have defined our terms, let us turn and see how we may view and use them within a biblical worldview and framework. But before we continue, there is one more definition that I think is relevant to the discussion at hand. This time the Greek term, ekklesia or ecclesia. This term is a term applied to the local community of believers and in the Old Testament applied to the gathering in the synagogues. It was used in ancient Greece to declare an assembly of citizens or even a political gathering similar to a congress. As one author notes:

“What, then, did the writers of the New Testament mean when they used the word “ecclesia” to describe a Christian body of people? We can assume that they intended to convey the original Greek meaning of the word: a body of Christians called out of the Roman and Judean system to come together into a separate civil community. It meant a politically autonomous body of Christians under no king but Jesus; under no other jurisdiction but that of Jesus. No man ruled them! Only Christ. And that was the reason these same Christians ran into trouble with kings and rulers; were arrested, crucified and martyred. They dropped Caesar as their King and took up Christ.”

We see then the biblical definition of community or ecclesia is one in which a common core of belief and common rule of law is binding upon those in mutual submission under the rule of Christ. This definition, however, challenges our popular notion of community. We usually hear people refer to community in the sense of outreach to those who live in a certain proximity of where the church gathers. As if the community is outside of the church. It’s very common to hear things expressed like “we need to do more outside the four walls of the church” or “we need to do more for the community.”

While these statements hold a real issue that each church may need to address, we need to be careful about our wording since the improper use of terms is what has led to many false doctrines or false practices. In this instance, it’s not that doing things outside of the church walls is bad or even not needed; but rather, it’s the referring to the community as though it is something “out there.”

The community properly defined is within the group or gathering of believers. We are the community. We have a common unity in Christ. This is what makes our community, and it’s out of this community that we have communion. We are the church, the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, the elect, his royal people and whatever other biblical metaphor you would like to use. We must realize this lest we fall into the trap of the naysayers, often the skeptics and critics of the church. “Why are there so many churches and yet so many homeless?” “Why are there so many people on drugs or so much crime with so many churches?” Not to make light of our societal obligation for justice, which I believe is a biblical concern of the church, but the answers to these questions above are simple.

The answer is: these people are in this state because they’re not part of the church community. If a homeless person were part of that community he would find food, clothing and shelter. This is not to say the church’s main concern is handouts, it is not. But I’ve never met a church whose people didn’t want to help those in need. I’ve never met a church who turned away a drug addict who wanted help. I’ve never met a church whose members tolerated crime amongst its people. The foundations of homelessness, drug use and crime are the topic of countless sermons. If any of these issues are to be addressed it has to start within the four walls of the church and work its way out.

The church affects change by modeling a difference. This is in part what I think Jesus means when he says “you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” We give outward testimony to a hurt and dying world by living a life in which we “do it right.” As Peter says “Conduct yourselves with such honor among the Gentiles that, though they slander you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.” While our behavior may never silence all critics because of their hardened heart, we can live as we are called to live within our own community, knowing we answer to God, not man.

Now if what I am saying is true we must then ask where did this mis-definition of community come from? The answer to this is vast but for our immediate context I think the current trend can be found in what economist Murray Rothbard referred to as “Postmillennial Piety” around the turn of the century. This is not to be confused with either the Puritan or modern Evangelical postmillennialism of today. Rather the postmillennialism of the late 19th century was theologically liberal in nature. It began to see the church’s task as social, rather than spiritual in nature.

Feeding the homeless, setting up homeless shelters, advocating for voting rights and better working conditions, etc., became the work of the church and even the call of the gospel in many of these mainline denominations. To them the millennium was something that would be brought about through Christian social action rather than a literal coming of Christ to earth. In one sense you could say they saw this as not just a social outreach but as a social gospel or social justice, as it is now commonly called, but you could actually say they saw it as their spiritual duty.

Now again this is not to say that all of these societal interventions weren’t good things. Much of this as I said earlier should be done by the church but the problem is when we confuse the action itself as the totality of the gospel. These “Postmillennial Pietists” would see such things as the eradication of poverty being the true spiritual work of the church and would work tirelessly to see that the church was involved in the society at large, (especially in the inner cities).

With this view of a Christian community separate and distinct from the society at large, biblical doctrine began to be blurred. Later this would lead to political action in government seeking to bring about the solution of these ills through government policies rather than local churches. The Great Depression put a damper on the hope that the church through social action could solve all these problems on their own. If the Postmillennial hope of a utopian society was to be realized, it would have to be through not only the church but the government.

The New Deal of FDR was seen by many Christians (and Roman Catholics) as a kind of godly government. Father Charles Rice said, “A victory for labor in its struggles for decent conditions is a victory for Americanism and Christianity.” This is in part where the Roman Catholic church began to lean heavily democratic (even until this day despite the left’s overtly anti-Catholic positions such as abortion, birth control and same sex marriage). To this day the psyche of many Catholics and Christians are loyal to the left because of the Christian notion of loving your neighbor and helping the poor.

The fact that many of the policies of the left are anti-Christian are largely overlooked since the social gospel is preeminent. Also, since many now don’t go to church services on Sunday, the focus of their Christianity becomes doing good to their neighbors (or at least not doing bad to their neighbors). Many of these people self-identify as Christian, even if they are not involved in a local church or any type of ministry. Thus for them community involvement is giving blood at the Red Cross or perhaps coaching a little league team. Rather than being called out to repentance for their lack of reverence and worship towards God, these people tend to look at themselves as better Christians than those who just go to church and in their minds do nothing.

Communion is at the heart of the Christian life. When we say we are going to partake in communion, we are not just doing an act of remembrance or a spiritual activity by which grace is imparted to us through faith in Christ (there are many nuances of the Lord’s Supper in each tradition which may differ, but the application by which I’m addressing will be relevant to all). When we partake in church communion or the Lord’s Supper, we are not just practicing a spiritual exercise in faith or just simply proclaiming his dying for our sins. We also proclaim his return for his people: For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26).

So we know the Lord will keep us as a people until the Second Advent. Until that time, we are to commune with him and his people (i.e., it is often by means of his people that we commune with God). The worship and praise of God is not usually an individual thing in scripture, but rather corporate. We proclaim our unity with Christ through communion and also we recognize our communion with each other during this time. Paul’s main concern in the epistle to the Corinthians wasn’t that the believers were walking up to take communion without saying a prayer of confession first — his concern was that the communion was supposed to represent their unity with each other because they were united in Christ.

However, because they were not communing in common unity, but rather the rich were eating and drinking without the poor, they were thus partaking in a worthless act by taking the Lord’s Supper. This is why Paul says,

“So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk.  Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing?” (1 Cor 11:21,22).

Paul then goes on to say what has unfortunately been largely missed or misinterpreted over the years. He says in verse 29 “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”

Usually people interpret that to mean if you take the bread or loafer which represents the body of Christ in an unworthy manner (having sin in your life) that you are bringing judgment on yourself. But Paul here is not referring to the bread or wafer but rather to the church. We as the church (ecclesia) make up the body of Christ and those there in Corinth who were neglecting and mistreating their local church community were partaking of the Lord’s supper in an unworthy manner. He asks us to judge our conduct towards our neighbors before we take communion, because if we aren’t in communion with them, then we are proclaiming a lie at Communion (The Lord’s table). Thus, we cannot have a right relationship with God if our relationships are not right with each other.

Finally, we must conclude that our Christianity is largely defined by how we define both communion and community. If we see either communion or community in the incorrect way as I have shown above, the church in the 21st century will continue to be stifled by the world and hopelessly frustrated with our lack of progress. Progress shouldn’t be defined by just how many homeless are or aren’t on the streets, as Jesus says “The poor you will have with you always.” Rather the church must once again focus on the gospel community and the proclamation of the gospel message — knowing only that message can bring revival.

Only the gospel can bring repentance. We don’t truncate the gospel but we must remember to keep the main thing the main thing. Good works and social action should follow as a godly response to our faith. Usually though, this will be modeled for us through our communities where we learn, grow, challenge, equip, exhort and commune with each other in the faith.

We are all busy. You all have jobs, families and social media accounts to tend too. But if we are going to move forward as a local body of believers and if the church is going to move forward as a universal body of believers, we must put our Christianity first. Which means we put our Christian community first. Which means we must commune together and worship and praise God together as often as possible. We need each other because we need God. And God is present here with us, to his glory and in the praises of his people.

Valentine’s Day, Statism and Christian Obedience

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At first glance the title of this article seems to be a list of three mutually exclusive topics but as we will see they are all in alignment today as they were some 1,700 years ago. The story of Valentine ’s Day does not begin with Cupid or with other Pagan practices of debauchery. Like most other holidays, Christmas and Easter being two examples, the pagans certainly were not the inventors of what and why Christians now celebrate. Sure, I know Pagans had celebrations on all of these days and many times pop culture mixes and blends a litany of Christian, Pagan and modern customs to form some hybrid of the original celebration. I guess if we looked at enough Pagan cultures throughout history and other religious traditions, we could probably list some celebration on virtually every day of the year. A quick glance on Wikipedia of major religious holidays around the globe revealed over 100 major holidays and celebrations. Literally, every month has something and most ancient religions and societies’ holidays are simply gone and forgotten.

I don’t think it is the Christian’s duty to research exhaustively every day of the Julian calendar to make sure we aren’t celebrating on some silly former pagan festival. I guess to those Christians who feel the need to boycott every major holiday because of its supposed pagan origin should go all the way in their logic and refuse to follow the Julian calendar since it was created by the Pagan Julius Cesar and is based off  the sun (Romans worshiped the sun God “Sol Invictus”). Maybe we should go back to the lunar calendar of the Jews to be more biblical? But unfortunately, even the Jewish calendar was later influenced by the Babylonians and thus all hope of a truly Christian day, let alone celebration, is going to be difficult by those who think some pagan similarity is reason to throw the “baby out with the bathwater.”

For the rest of us who don’t feel going out to dinner with our spouse is somehow a pagan practice, there is still much for us to learn and realize. Our modern celebration of Valentine’s Day doesn’t come from the pagans but rather from Christians. In 269 A.D. Bishop Valentine broke rank with the “laws of the land” and disobeyed Emperor Claudias edict not to perform marriage ceremonies. Statism for those unfamiliar with the term is a Totalitarian rule by the state or government over every area of life. The Emperor believed that unmarried men were better fighters than married men who would be afraid to fight and die knowing they have a wife and perhaps children back home. Thus, the Emperor’s edict against marriage stood in contrast to the Christian teaching to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). Also, coupled with the Christian teaching that sexually intimacy was to be had between one man and one woman, and that all other sexual activity was sinful, the issue of Christians not being able marry caused a real problem for the Christians, that it would not have with their immoral pagan neighbors. For the pagans their sexual mores were not much different from today (in fact they were believe it or not probably much worse and degrading). Nonetheless an unmarried man would not have the dilemma of marriage or celibacy that the Christian would have, but rather they could and would have many sexual partners and perhaps even children out of wedlock. Thus, to them marriage was just a piece of paper and probably something that most young men would have seen as unnecessary anyway. Polygamy and even homosexuality would have been common place, so it’s not as though this edict would have caused a societal protest by most.  I know it is hard for us to imagine such a society, in which such values and mores were common place, but it’s easy if you try.

That brings us to Bishop Valentine. Valentine was what society would consider a renegade, but what Christ would call an obedient disciple. He knew his calling to God and the church outweighed his allegiance to the Roman state. Hence, he secretly performed marriage ceremonies, marrying young Christian couples. However, then like now the state doesn’t like a challenge to its authority. Valentine was arrested and sent before the Roman prefect where he was sentenced to be beaten, stoned, and then beheaded. The enemies of the gospel have always sought to use fear as a demotivator for Christians. Certainly, they hoped their harsh treatment of Valentine would not only discourage people from following the biblical pattern for marriage but that it would discourage people from being Christian. Of course, Valentine was first given the chance to renounce Christ and bow to the pagan state. An offer in which he quickly refused and rather used as a witnessing opportunity. Rome and its Emperor sought to show its power was greater than the power of Christ. But the Roman Empire with all its power and strength came crumbling down in the end, not the church. One account of Valentine’s imprisonment, the one from which we get our modern Valentine’s Day tradition, is that while in prison he prayed for the jailers daughter who was blind. Apparently, the girl was healed, and the jailer and his daughter become Christian. The day of his execution he left a letter to the girl in which the final line was signed “From your Valentine.”

The exact day of Valentine’s execution is uncertain but in the 5th Century the church would declare Feb. 14th St. Valentine’s Day to honor the actions of this devoted follower and to show and celebrate true Christian love over many of the pagan festivities that would take place on this day. Thus, like Christmas and Easter, Valentine’s Day embodies victory over Paganism, not succumbing to it. Though Paganism may be virtually dead and gone for all intents and purposes in the modern function of the world, we must remember that Paganism was not only a false ideology and religion but that it was powered and supported by the state. The state may no longer bow to Sol Invictus or demand Emperor worship. But the power and mind set of paganism remains in the state seeking to crush the worldview of all who oppose it, especially the Christian worldview.

Since Christianity is now and has historically been the biggest threat to immoral governments and immoral laws. I am thankful we live in a society in which we are no longer killed for our Christian faith (many countries don’t have this luxury). However, often for very less than our lives we will compromise our faith for expediency, money, or simply out of peer pressure of what pop culture says is right. At a time in history where governments all over the world seek to redefine marriage, many of which have legal consequences for detractors, we must remember our call to the gospel of Christ is one of obedience, no matter what the cost. We must seek to be obedient in all areas of life and we must put the gospel message and the law of God above the opinions and fashions of man. Whether it is Rome with its marriage ban, Communist China with its one child per family law, the US with its Eugenics sterilization campaign in the 1930’s or Planned Parenthood today we must reject that which is not of God. As you celebrate this evening with long waits in restaurant lobbies, ponder these things with the one you love. The issue isn’t whether or not you celebrate or don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. The bigger issue is to realize love is a gift from God, but that came at a price. Often our love will be tested and undergo trials and tribulations, but like St. Valentine, I pray you to stay faithful.

Cop Killer, Ethics and the Law of God

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Four years ago today a manhunt was underway for a now infamous cop turned cop killer. His name — Christopher Dorner. As most will remember, he left a rampage of terror throughout police departments in Southern California, which ultimately resulted in his death by way of a fiery shootout at the hands of law enforcement. The following blog article is from a post I had made four years ago when the search for Dorner was still underway. While the story of Dorner himself has now faded from memory, the relevance of the topics addressed in the following article are as apt as ever:

 

What strikes me most about Dorner’s Manifesto was his appeal to ethics, morality, and justice. For example, Dorner writes:

“A name is more than just a noun, verb, or adjective. It’s your life, your legacy, your journey, sacrifices, and everything you’ve worked hard for every day of your life as an adolescent, young adult and adult. Don’t let anybody tarnish it when you know you’ve lived up to your own set of ethics and personal ethos.” At first glance who could disagree with that? I mean if you didn’t know who said this and I posted this quote on Facebook, it would probably get a lot of people clicking the “Like” button. Dorner goes on to speak of his own personal morality and code of ethics stating: “I’m not an aspiring rapper, I’m not a gang member, I’m not a dope dealer, I don’t have multiple babies momma’s. I am an American by choice, I am a son, I am a brother, I am a military service member, I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered, and libeled me. I lived a good life and though not a religious man I always stuck to my own personal code of ethics, ethos and always stuck to my shoreline and true North. I didn’t need the US Navy to instill Honor, Courage, and Commitment in me but I thank them for re-enforcing it. It’s in my DNA.”“To those children of the officers who are eradicated, your parent was not the individual you thought they were. As you get older, you will see the evidence that your parent was a tyrant who lost their ethos and instead followed the path of moral corruptness.” “He (the Principle) stated as good Christians we are to turn the other cheek as Jesus did. Problem is, I’m not a f*****g Christian and that old book, made of fiction and limited non-fiction, called the bible, never once stated Jesus was called a n*****. How dare you swat me for standing up for my rights for demanding that I be treated as an equal human being. That day I made a life decision that I will not tolerate racial derogatory terms spoken to me.”

Again Dorner here gives a quote that many would agree with. Many believe they are good moral people for following their heart and their own sense of right and wrong. He even appeals to a sense of ethics in his DNA, as if he was born as a just, moral and courageous individual. Many today also believe they are born basically good and that if they follow their own conscience, they are indeed a good moral person. Thus many in our culture reject the biblical notion that we are all “born into sin.” The Christian doctrine of “Total Depravity” is abhorrent to those who see themselves as basically good. They see their children as pure and innocent, and if raised correctly will go on to be good moral people. Now while there is much to be said of raising a child correctly, proper instruction cannot undo his or her sinful nature or depravity.

 

When the scripture speaks of “total depravity” it doesn’t mean as is often misrepresented, that every human is totally evil to the fullest degree. Rather it means that the depravity or sin that we are born into effects every part of our being. Not only are our desires corrupted, but even our ability to reason and act against them are tarnished by sin. In other words not only are our bodies subjected to sin, but also the mind, heart and soul. Thus we see this evidenced by Dorner who seems to not only have an emotional reason but also a logical, moral reason for what he is doing. Dorner then defines those he is seeking out as the evil ones, while himself as righteous:

 

“Your lack of ethics and conspiring to wrong a just individual are over.” Again later in the Manifesto he states: “To those children of the officers who are eradicated, your parent was not the individual you thought they were. As you get older, you will see the evidence that your parent was a tyrant who lost their ethos and instead followed the path of moral corruptness.”

The problem, however, is that his own personal morality and code of ethics is leading him to murder people. How can an ethical man, who seeks justice, commit murder? Maybe he is lying, but I truly believe he believes what he is saying. I truly believe that he sees his actions as a call to justice, as a way to purge the evil from the world. You may think this is sick and twisted and he is just a crazy man ranting. But he is not alone in his feelings. Dozens across Facebook and Twitter are voicing their support for the vigilante who is bringing justice against a corrupt establishment. And let’s not be naïve, there is probably much truth to his claims of corruption in the LAPD. In fact there is probably corruption in every police department, government agency, school district and even religious organizations. Because mankind is sinful and men lead these organizations, we shouldn’t be shocked at corruption. However, that doesn’t mean we should tolerate it either. The question is how should it be fought? How shall we act? Or in the words of the late great apologist and philosopher Francis Schaeffer, “How Should We Then Live?”

 

We all wish we had a more moral society, a more caring and compassionate society, one in which ethics and justice were commonplace, and yet we don’t see anywhere in the world where it exists perfectly or even close to perfect. Dorner brings up perhaps the most important question a society can ask, and that question is “what is right?” Who defines morality? How can we know if we are ethical or evil? What is our standard? You’ll hear many say “we don’t need God to tell us what right and wrong is, we can discover that through reason.” Or some may say “just follow your conscience.” But what if your conscience and reason lead you to place of murder? Society has told you this is how you can know right from wrong. How did Dorner get to this point where his own morality is seen as evil by most?

 

Dorner quotes from his days in elementary where he punched a kid for calling him a “n*****.” He says the [Principal] swatted the kid who called him a n*****, but then also swatted Dorner for punching the kid. This made Dorner angry as he says below:

“He (the Principle) stated as good Christians we are to turn the other cheek as Jesus did. Problem is, I’m not a f*****g Christian and that old book, made of fiction and limited non-fiction, called the bible, never once stated Jesus was called a n*****. How dare you swat me for standing up for my rights for demanding that I be treated as an equal human being. That day I made a life decision that I will not tolerate racial derogatory terms spoken to me.”

From a very young age Dorner made the decision that he would define his own morality, his own sense of right and wrong. He didn’t need God or the bible to do that. Many would agree with Dorner on this issue, believing that we can have some sense of morality, law, and ethics apart from God revealing it. But hence we are left with the slippery slope of who determines right and wrong? By what standard do we appeal? We can appeal to the legal system, but we all know there have been laws that were immoral (i.e. Jim Crow Laws, Eugenics, etc). New laws are made and overturned all the time so our law is far from infallible. Dorner presents us with a reality that Theologians and Philosophers have realized long ago. That truth is either God has revealed right and wrong to mankind or there can be no absolute right and wrong. While many atheists realize this and people like Ted Bundy have argued that we are no different from the animal kingdom where the strong kill the weak, most atheists and non-Christians would abhor that idea and still believe in morality. The problem for them is they cannot determine what it is outside of their own subjective feelings. Hitler felt a moral obligation to rid the earth of Jews. He felt he was acting on the part of reason and mankind. Just as Christopher Dorner believes he is acting out as an ethical man, true to his “ethos.” Thus we see the truth of the philosopher Cornelius Van Til when he said “there is no alternative but that of theonomy or autonomy.” Apologist Greg Bahnsen further illustrates Van Til’s rationale when he says “Every ethical decision assumes some final authority or standard, and that will either be self-law (“autonomy”) or God’s law (“theonomy”). While unbelievers consider themselves the ultimate authority in determining moral right or wrong, believers acknowledge that God alone has that position and prerogative.”

 

Thus we are all faced with the reality that we either have a system of law that as our founders saw must be based off of the divine revelation. Or we will have a system of law that is arbitrary and swayed by the customs and feelings of popular opinion. I hope and pray we as Americans will see we are only as great as the one we are willing to submit ourselves to. We don’t have all the answers, but God does. We will either look to the principles of God’s law for our own law, or we will follow the “might makes right” mentality that so many nations follow. This is not to say that interpreting God’s law in the 21st century isn’t without its challenges. We must diligently seek to properly interpret and exegete the law of God for our own modern culture. But if we give up all hope that there is a divine law given as a standard, then I’m afraid our countries laws are doomed to move forward without hope of true morality, but rather will be dictated by those who scream the loudest. I hope and pray that reason, logic and revelation will win out over popular opinion and personal expediency.

 

Thus we are all faced with the reality that we either have a system of law that as our founders saw must be based off of the divine revelation. Or we will have a system of law that is arbitrary and swayed by the customs and feelings of popular opinion. I hope and pray we as Americans will see we are only as great as the one we are willing to submit ourselves to. We don’t have all the answers, but God does. We will either look to principles of God’s law for our own law, or we will follow the “might makes right” mentality that so many nations follow. This is not to say that interpreting God’s law in the 21st century isn’t without its challenges. We must diligently seek to properly interpret and exegete the law of God for our own modern culture. But if we give up all hope that there is a divine law given as a standard, then I’m afraid our countries laws are doomed to move forward without hope of true morality, but rather will be dictated by those who scream the loudest. I hope and pray that reason, logic and revelation will win out over popular opinion and personal expediency.

Are ISIS and radical Islam the equivalents of the Protestant Reformation?

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At first glance, comparing ISIS to Protestants like Martin Luther and John Calvin seems ridiculous. However, let’s think this through, starting with a couple basic questions: What is Christianity? What is the Gospel? The answer to these questions today would be much different than if you were asking someone in the Middle Ages. The “death, burial, and resurrection of Christ,” and the fact that “Jesus died for our sins on the cross and imputed his righteous to us,” may be heard today to describe the Gospel. However, someone in the Middle Ages probably would have focused simply on being part of the Roman Catholic Church, which meant Baptism, penance, and perhaps even a buying of an indulgence to supposedly spring a soul out of purgatory. Of course, there have always been those who have understood the Gospel; it’s not that the message has changed, but rather truths are sometimes forgotten or even suppressed. I would argue this is what has happened with Islam.
    
      It’s been well over a thousand years since the prophet Muhammad lived and taught on the earth. Many Islamic people were largely ignorant of the history or practices of Islam as time went on, especially as they emigrated outside the Middle East. Just as the Protestant reformation was made successful by the printing press, printing bibles and tracts to affect social and religious change, so Islam is using the advent of social media, videos and technology to inform fellow Muslims of “true Islam.” Just as Martin Luther opposed the hierarchy of the corrupt Pope of his day, Isis and other Jihadists organizations are convincing large amounts of people to stand against the “fake” Islamic powers that be, particularly since many governments are Shi’ite Muslims, while 90% of the world’s Muslims are Sunni. Similar to the Reformation opposing the corrupt Catholic Church, many Muslims are rebelling against those in power who have been compromising to the Western powers for money and power. The reason the Protestant Reformation was successful was that they were right. They accurately took people back to scripture and only scripture as an authority. Isis and the terrorists are doing the exact same thing: taking people back to the Quran and to the Historic Islam of Muhammad and his predecessors. We can call it “Radical Islam,” but it’s Quranic Islam akin to Protestant Christianity, based on the religious text, and not modern inventions and classifications.  
    I’m sure at this point, someone will say “but nowhere in the Quran does it advocate violence against innocent people.” However, that simply isn’t true. There are 109 documented verses in the Quran that advocate violence against the infidels, non-believers, or Polytheists (which they consider Christians to be since their belief in the Trinity). For example, in the Quran, 2:191, Muhammad their prophet directly instructs his followers to “Kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out.”  Unlike the views of many modern Americans, the notion of “innocent” is much different in most of the world. For Islam, there is no innocent victim. They may have had tolerance for those who hadn’t heard the message of Islam and would go in and share Islam (usually by the sword). But to a Muslim, rejecting Islam has made you guilty. Embracing Christianity, Judaism, or even secularism has made you an infidel and enemy of Islam. And in one sense they’re right. These ideas are all enemies of Islam. We may not see Muslims as our enemies but their ideology is diametrically opposed to ours. Thus the Muslim is at least honest in realizing the myth of pluralism. All religions or ideologies are not the same and don’t have basic tenants we can all agree upon. They get it, but Westerners unfortunately don’t, and probably won’t anytime soon as we have over 100 years of cultural brainwashing to undo. The rainbow colored Coexist bumper sticker won’t be one you see on a Muslims car anytime soon.
     I am of the opinion that Islam is undergoing its own so-called Reformation. Corrupt Islamic leaders who were in bed with the US and other Western powers to keep power will fall one by one, just as the church leaders who were in bed with kings and princes in the Middle Ages. It’s inevitable. In fact, many have already been removed from power. Some of the ones that remain, like Assad, may keep their positions, but they don’t control the hearts and minds of the Muslim community. The Jihadists, the radicals, and ISIS are the ones getting the allegiance of Muslims. This will not be undone by denouncing Islam any more than Protestantism was undone by denouncing and excommunicating Martin Luther or other church leaders. If anything, this made the Protestants bolder in their opposition toward the powers that be. So it is with ISIS and Islam. 

Blood Moons a sign of the end?

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Every few years or so a new apocalyptic “sign” will catch the media’s attention and lead popular Christian teachers to start to speculate about what it all means. I spend a lot of time around youth, and even though I don’t watch much TV these days, or keep up with the latest theories, I tend to hear them all from the kids. “Did you hear the world is going to end in September?” My answer is usually “Yes, I have, in fact I’ve heard that for the last 25 years.” September and October is usually the peak of the Apocalyptic fever, due to the significance of the Jewish calendars and festivals. I appreciated the false predictions of the Mayan calendar folks in 2012 as they at least shook things up a little with their December prediction of the end. I think most people were more upset they were going to miss Christmas, than they were of not being right with God, which seems to be the goal of these end time speculators (Christian ones at least). But whether their motive is correct or not, wanting people to repent and get their hearts right is a good thing. However, when truth is sacrificed in the process, it does more harm than good. Christians are seen as crazed, “the sky is falling” type of people, rather than people who are here to build the kingdom of God. Pastor John Hagee, has been the biggest proponent of the blood moon hype, writing a New York Times best seller, Four Blood Moons. What most people don’t realize is that Hagee simply borrowed his ideas from the false prophecies of another end time speculator, Mark Blitz. Mark predicted the tribulation period would begin in September of 2008 and would be followed by a seven year tribulation period culminating in the Return of Christ in 2015. Hagee seems to have taken his ideas, modified them, and now is claiming that September 2015 will be the start of “something big”, even if it’s not the end. He said earlier this year 

“Sept. 28 is the fourth blood moon in this shemitah year. I believe, in the fall of this year, America and the world will face another economic crisis, perhaps as a result of war in the Middle East or an economic crash. But there are very sophisticated people on Wall Street saying we are facing a 50 percent correction in the stock market in the near future.”

What’s it all mean? Well they’re not even sure of that. They read the Newspapers and watch TV, (and probably follow Twitter and Facebook) to get the latest news like the rest of us. However, they are constantly looking at the scriptures to try and make meaning of the news they’re watching. That’s why they rarely, if ever think outside the box in their predictions. They follow the news like the rest of us and try to follow the trends (think of it as Fantasy Football for dispensationalists). If you watch sports you know everyone “predicted” the next star, usually after that star I comes to light. “I knew it”, they retort. Well if you new it, why didn’t you put that guy on your Fantasy Football team to begin with? So, it is with these end time speculators. It doesn’t take a prophetic word from God to see the stock market is in bad shape or that there is much turmoil in the middle east. So they always go with the flow of what’s going on, tying in the bible to current events, this in turn makes the biblically ignorant Christian, who’s only gotten bits and pieces of the bible, seem like the teacher is in fact on to something. He must be, since what he’s saying the bible predicts sure seems like what’s going to happen naturally. Why weren’t microchips predicted to be the mark of the beast, prior to the advent of microchips? People assume it’s common knowledge that the bible predicted microchips 2,000 years ago, but that isn’t the case. Prior to the microchip, when the UPC labels came out, many bible prophecy teachers taught that the UPC barcode was the Mark of the Beast because of the lines in the barcode adding up to 666. However, I still think the first apple computer selling for $666 was the best case for Steve Jobs being the Anti Christ. However, that prediction failed too. The point is all the prophecy writers have20/20 hindsight, to predict their fore-site. 
Perhaps the biggest problem with the pop prophecy experts is the bible itself. Hagee again writes   

 “When the sun is eclipsed in the center of four blood moons—as is this chart—it is the warning to the whole world that something devastating is going to happen. This is an enormous message. Did Jesus say anything about this? Yes!”   

Well, actually no he didn’t. The passage he is referencing is in Mark 13
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,  and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” 

 There is a reason that Jesus starts of this passage to his disciples  “See that no one leads you astray.” We don’t have the time to address this passage here (however, I will be addressing it next Saturday at the Reformed Eschatology Conference at Sovereign Grace Community in Perris, Ca) but suffice it to say that the language being used here is meant to convey judgment, not a literal event such as Jesus surfing a cloud with sword in hand. As Isaiah 19:1 says  

“A prophecy against Egypt: See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.”  

When did the LORD ride a cloud into Babylon? When he destroyed it through a foreign army for it’s transgressions is the answer. Clouds are symbols of judgement. Just as the celestial bodies, sun, moon, and symbols for governments, kingdoms and rulers. Jesus is predicting the judgment, which will come upon Israel (in 70 AD) for their rejection of him as the Messiah, not the US stock market 2,000 years later. So whether it be Hagee or another end time speculator remember they are not the first false prophets to come. The Lord spoke through the prophet Jeremiah saying:

“Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” Jeremiah 14:14

So John Hagee is most certainly wrong, not just on the date, but on the very notion of how to even interpret bible. It’s the blind leading the blind, and that’s always bad, no matter how you spin it. I on the other hand can give you a true prophecy concerning the signs in the sky and what they mean, and it’s true because it’s scripture itself, Jeremiah 10:1-3:

“Hear what the Lordsays to you, people of Israel.  This is what the Lord says:Do not learn the ways of the nation,  or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. For the practices of the peoples are  worthless.'”

So not only do we not know when the end will come, we’re told that the pagan nations seek signs in the blood moons, stars, sun, etc. This is not what the Christian is called to do. So not only is Hagee wrong, he’s actually preaching a pagan message, dressed up with Christian clothes. The false pagan religions around Israel looked to these things as signs, the people of God were forbidden from doing so. If we want to know how Jesus would respond to Hagee or to us if we asked him for a sneak peak to the end, or some sign that his kingdom would be fully culminated on earth, we need not wonder. He gave us that answer very clearly.

“He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” Acts 1:7-8

Pope, Policy and Polylogism

The recent visit to America by Pope Francis has marked a very interesting phenomena.  On one side many are trying to align themselves with the Pope, even if they’re not Roman Catholic. On the other side many are distancing themselves from the Pope and portraying him as a renegade Pope. Most interesting to me is the Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders who’s claimed the Pope and he share similar views, as if they’re like minded. Of course we could all find things we agree with the Pope on and things we could agree with Bernie Sanders on. However, this is a far cry from having a similar worldview, which will ultimately shape ones policies on whatever issue is at hand. I assure you Sanders and the Pope do not have similar worldviews (as evidenced from their differences on abortion and marriage) though they may share similarities in the issue of climate change and income inequality. Conservatives on the other hand have been quick to see the Pope as liberal, because he thinks earth’s preservation should be an issue for politicians to address. The point of this blog isn’t to either side with the Pope or to disagree with him. Rather it’s to point out the Polylogisms in society that the Pope seemed to bring to light. A Polylogism simply means “multiple logics”, and in the context of politics we see that there are very few logically consistent politicians. But before you bash the politicians, I think it’s safe to say that there aren’t a whole lot of logically consistent non politicians either. Economist Gary North describes the problem of polylogism this way:

Do you want the man with the gun and the badge interfering with your town and the next one up the road? Do you think everyone would be richer if there were border patrol officials with badges and guns manning the highway and collecting a percentage on everything offered for sale? No? Good. You believe in economic liberty, free trade, and the division of labor.

What about border patrol officers between counties? No? Good. You’re a free trader.What about more officers, guns, badges, and sales taxes separating state lines? No? Good; you’re a free trader.We have reached the border between our nation and the one across the invisible line. Do you want guards, badges, guns, and sales taxes?At this point, most conservatives would say, “yes.” Why? “Because that’s good for America!”It’s not good for towns, counties, and states. But it’s good for America. Why?They have no answer. They do not see the connection.

So, at the end of the day, most people don’t see the fallacy in their own thinking and in their positions. They simply see it as logical since most everyone else in their party feels the same way. Now in fairness to conservatives, many liberals will be equally polylogistic and call for open boarders in the US, all while promoting tariffs and heavy taxation at home and abroad. Both parties are in a sense full of polylogisms and both are great at accusing the other of their inconsistencies. What happened with Pope Francis though was even odder. When the Pope took a pro immigration stance, pro life stance and pro traditional marriage stance (add in the environmental issues) people went crazy, going one of two ways, either highlighting where the Pope agrees with them or distancing themselves, as if the Pope was the Polylogist not them. This is not to say that the Pope isn’t polylogistic in anyway. A big part of the Reformation was to curtail the superstition in the church and return the church to the “LOGOS” which is often translated “word” but can also be translated logic, wisdom, power and or reason. However, this is a topic for another blog. Suffice it to say though that neither the White House or the GOP candidates could fully back the Pope. He didn’t tow the party lines, which is very much expected in this country. Sad but true. 

Also, it’s important to note not only can multiple logics be used in similarities that people apply inconsistently. But also, uniform logic can be applied to situations that are dissimilar, with equally bad results. Liberals commit the fallacy of false equivalence in trying to point the conservatives illogical position of being pro-life and yet pro death penalty. They assume it’s immoral and inconsistent to claim to be pro life and yet believe in capital punishment. However, this oversimplifies the issue and assumes an equality between an innocent child and a guilty perpetrator. The conservative may be right in his distinction between the two groups of people, but then often has a blatant blind support for the law and prisons turning a blind eye to the atrocities of innocent men being put to death by faulty evidence and/or a crooked DA. When those cases come up which are undeniable they simply retort “That’s just the exception to the rule.” But what if the person who testified falsely or the DA who knowingly put an innocent man in jail was forced to undergo the sentence they doled out if later proven innocent? How many over zealous DA’s and attention grabbing witnesses would you get? A lot less I’m quit sure. But neither side wants to meet at a point where they realize the strengths of the others position, and the weaknesses of their own. If we did that we’d have a lot better system. Take the minimum wage laws as a final example. Most conservatives are against minimum wage laws as they believe it hurts business. Most liberals are for it as they believe they make the people on the lower economic scale more prosperous. But what if I told you that minimum wage laws were created by racists to actually help the unions and businesses keep out the lower wage workers who were non union and often immigrants or blacks. This is indeed the case, it wasn’t that businesses were hurt by the minimum wage, it was actually the immigrant and the poor who were hurt by the very thing liberals now claim will help them. And since we went there what about immigration? The immigration laws first started in the 1920’s which were equally as racist, designed to keep out southern and eastern Europeans. The immigration policies of today are so backwards it leads to what we see before us now, which is a massive immigration problem. Those on the left simply want amnesty, those on the right simply want enforcement of a outdated laws. So, liberals correctly see the faulty logic on the immigration laws and express how free trade is hindered by Republicans. Yet they go and support unions and minimum wage, which guess what? Hinders free trade.  

Maybe the Pope, helped point out that our positions aren’t as well thought out as we think. Maybe our policies need to be addressed logically and systematically in this country? Maybe, it is time for us to wake up to the polylogism that is all around us. No doubt in an election year you will hear polylogistic thinking daily. Look for it, be aware of it, now that you’ve been told what it is, you won’t be able to go a day without seeing it. There are certain candidates I like better than others, but I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. As you can see I don’t think either the right or left have all the answers. Both parties are secular and humanistic in their thinking, though both give lip service to God. Nonetheless their will be men and women who come on TV and get cheers of applause for their polylogisms. I say “find a new canidate” if that’s the case. Hopefully you can find one…