Monthly Archives: March 2010

Infants reject the pious secularist lie (part II)

See Part I. (update: “loose ends” is here)

In my previous post, I discussed what I see as atheists’ (and agnostics’) flight from reality.  To pile on, today some in this camp are even likely to posit the existence of infinite universes (nevermind evidence) in order to eliminate the possibility of a Divine Nature.  Even more amazing, some evidently seriously consider whether reality might be a computer simulation rather than the creation or product of any sort of god or god-like-reality.

And of course, if aliens were responsible for this simulation (which I heard on a recent public radio interview!), they probably would not be divine, but would simply be like any other life.  Just more evolved.  Nevermind the infinite regress (who created them?), which is nevertheless more reasonable when mind comes before matter than when it is said to follow from matter.  In short, many these days seem more determined than ever to become determinist-technological-occultist types.

Of course, perhaps its not really fair for me to mention people like these in the same breath as Charles Lamore.  In any case, no matter which agnostics or atheists we are speaking of, their arguments seem to me terribly weak.  As Lamore notes, Charles Taylor argues that things many take for granted today in the Western world, like the importance of individual conscience (think “prodigal son”), rational control (think “…subdue it”), and the supreme value of simple earthly tasks (think “whatever you do…for the glory of God”) arose in a thoroughly Christian context, and this, I think, is impossible to mimimize (through what Taylor calls “Subtraction stories”).  Yes, as Taylor notes (and Lamore quotes), in recent Western history, “the human and the divine… came to be so sharply marked off from one another that making sense of the world appeared possible in this-worldly terms alone”, but that says more about the pride of man than any real evidence damning the Divine.  Hence, even without talking at length about this event, Lamore’s argument for the reasonability of the agnostic position (again, see part I) seems even weaker to me.

It has been said that the atheist has two key principles: a) God doesn’t exist, and b) I hate Him.  I think that, for Lamore, it ultimately comes down to this: how can I most effectively deny and argue against my obligation towards the Divine Nature responsible for the cosmos that most everyone else in the world seems concerned about relating to, in some fashion or another? 

In other words, the real question is not whether there is a Divine Nature, but what, or who, this Divine Nature is.  Lamore should be asking: “is the one [this or that group] believes in true?”

Lamore may indeed “hope that there is something more to things than is contained in the disenchanted picture of modern science”, but the “Something More” that he may be tempted to seek is one that not only brings momentary comfort – when he may “feel moved by what may be a deeper spiritual reality” – but one that is still positively within his control (where he can justify himself before that Divine Nature).

In other words, though he, like all pagans, sophisticated and unsophisticated alike, may indeed “grope for God”, he by no means seeks the One True God, who is the Triune God revealed in the flesh through Jesus Christ.  Simply put, rational adults do not go looking for, nor intend to find, that God (although He may indeed make Himself found in the process).

On the other hand, despite their sinfulness, infants are willing to be nothing but given to – and receive that Word of Christ freely when He comes to them. 

Note: “pious” defined as “Having or exhibiting religious reverence; earnestly compliant in the observance of religion; devout.”

Note II: for any concerned that I might be painting with an overly broad brush, take comfort in the fact that I am eager to take a look at this.


Posted by on March 30, 2010 in Uncategorized


Infants reject the pious secularist lie (part I)

I recently read Charles Lamore’s book review of Charles Taylor’s “A Secular Age” from the April 9, 2008 issue of the New Republic.  Taylor’s book, as Lamore notes, is in many ways similar to Max Weber’s “Economy and Society” in which he famously spoke of the West-shaping influence of “the Protestant [work] ethic”.

 At one point, Lamore, vigorously countering Taylor’s book “by a Catholic for Catholics”, asserts the following:

We know a great deal about the workings of nature and human society. What may lie beyond them, if anything, is a matter of conjecture, at least so far as generally accepted modes of inquiry can determine. Taylor appears to forget the difference between the two. We may hope that there is something more to things than is contained in the disenchanted picture of modern science. There may even be moments in our experience when we feel moved by what may be some deeper spiritual reality. (Weber himself might have acknowledged such a feeling if he had reflected on his own passionate devotion to truth.) But intimations are not an adequate basis for jumping to metaphysical or religious conclusions. They should be seen for what they are: inklings, no more. In such situations, leaping is precisely what we ought not to do.

The response warranted by our modern predicament, it seems to me, is not to commit ourselves one way or the other about whether the immanent frame is all there is. We ought to remain unsure, hesitating, groping, searching for some insight, but always remaining wary, and concerned with the integrity of our beliefs. We ought to leave open the possibility that the immanent frame is open. But that is a very different thing from asserting, through a leap of faith, that it is indeed open–that our secular conception of the world really is incomplete.

Lamore is upset because he thinks Taylor refuses to validate the idea that the evidence that we are responsible a Divine Nature (Higher Power) is inconclusive, and hence agnosticism (although perhaps not atheism) is a justifiable position. 

This is the pious*** secularist lie.

I submit that the evidence is of two primary kinds: First, as we interact and communicate with others about the world we share, all human beings can’t not receive a direct, immediate, and innate awareness of the Divine Nature responsible for the cosmos.  Second, for those concerned to be more scientific: if we agree that there was a beginning, and that like effects proceed from like causes (Newton), and agree on the “effect” of existence (i.e. we really do exist), it seems obvious that existence is more like mind/intellect (rational, ordered) than non-mind/nonintellect (irrational, chaotic).  Therefore, it seems to follow that a mind (i.e. a Beginner or Big Banger or whatever) is required by the observation of the evidence that we see.  This, it seems clear to me, is the least complex explanation for this problem (if one counters by saying that we can’t conceive of what “non-mind” would be like, is that really a point in their favor?).  In other words, the pure materialist seems to be like a man who, after receiving crucial radio communication that helps him to navigate his surroundings, claims that he has, at bottom, really obtained nothing but atmospheric noise.  The agnostic pipes in, suggesting that this could indeed be the case.

And the child says “the emperor has no clothes”. 

See part II and “loose ends

*** Note: “pious” defined as “Having or exhibiting religious reverence; earnestly compliant in the observance of religion; devout.”


Posted by on March 29, 2010 in Uncategorized


Remember Stupak…

For his sake, and for the sake of the children of our nation (here think: “Remember the Alamo”).

Kathleen Parker maddens me at times, but my, oh my, is this piece priceless.

A quote:

Ironically, the day before the vote, Obama said: “We are not bound to win, but we are bound to be true. We are not bound to succeed, but we are bound to let whatever light we have shine.”

Democrats were bound to win, all right, but truth and light had nothing to do with it.

I know I ought to put the best construction on others’ actions – but where is the line between that and being as wise as a serpent?

UPDATE: The website of Democrats for Life has the following notice:

Democrats For Life of America Proud to Be a Part of Healthcare Reform

Sunday, 21 March 2010 19:14 administrator



“Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) applauds President Obama for his bold leadership in agreeing to an Executive Order that bans taxpayer funded abortions in the health care reform bill expected to pass the House this evening.”

“We are proud to support this historic healthcare legislation. President Obama’s Executive Order shows that when we work towards common ground in Washington we can do the people’s business and end the gridlock. By working with House Leaders and the White House, DFLA shows how the pro-life Democrats are a key and growing constituency.”

“Hubert H. Humphrey best stated it when he said, “ … the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

Amazing the different perspectives, no?



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Posted by on March 24, 2010 in Uncategorized


Sometimes it is simply impractical to keep a child from interacting with the natural world.

Nicholas Carr is a technology writer with a keen wit and thoughtful insight.  This is funny stuff. 

But this “constant exposure” idea is not so bad – as long as we are talking about the free Gospel of course.

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Posted by on March 11, 2010 in Uncategorized


“The supreme function of reason…

…is to show man that some things are beyond reason.”
-Blaise Pascal, Pensées

There’s a lot to like about that Pascal guy.  

(By the way, I notice that today is the first birthday of this blog.  I’m surprised to see that I’ve averaged about 1 post every 10 days.  It doesn’t seem like that much.)

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Posted by on March 10, 2010 in Uncategorized


When did you decide that I was your father?

Check out this priceless illustration.  “This is the approach of decision theology” indeed.

(heard on Issues ETC: “blog of the week” winner).

For my part, when I was in college, I attended a wedding where a dynamic Evangelical Free pastor I knew (I attended his church all throughout college) talked about the importance of saying “I do” to God.  He noted to those attending – many who were Roman Catholic – that many persons who claim the name Christian never do this.  When I talked to my father, a Lutheran pastor, about the illustration, he asked me: “Tell me Nathan, when did you decide that I was your father – and that I was lovingly involved in your life?”  

I may be of the race of men (male), born in the late 20th century – but I am firstmost of that bride that has been given to Christ.

And all the babies said “Amen”!


Posted by on March 9, 2010 in Uncategorized


And yet not a Calvinist

John McArthur, on the Albert Mohler radio program:

“If I could lose my salvation…if it were possible… I’m talking about me, John McArthur.  If I could lose it, I would lose it.  I’d lose it!  I’d lose it over and over…  If it was possible to lose your salvation, I’d lose mine permanently… I couldn’t hold it for a second… we are kept by the power of God.”

I appreciate the sentiment behind that quotation.  It is most certainly true that our salvation does not depend on us, but wholly on Christ.  As I pointed out before:

For it seems to me that the faithful follower of Christ has the courage to understand that these words “lean not on your own understanding” are most certainly true, as they are constantly reduced to the child-like faith that can only freely receive forgiveness, life, and salvation.  As Luther repeatedly emphasized, we can be glad our salvation does not depend on us.  That, surely, is something an infant can understand.

Indeed, God gets all the glory for those who are saved.  That said, our damnation does depend on us.  Even as He is faithful when we are faithless, if we finally disown Him, He will us.  And its not because we never had true faith.

We ignore this at our peril.

For more on this topic, read the post and comments here.

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Posted by on March 5, 2010 in Uncategorized


Sapere aude! Braveheart or Blackheart?

[Enlightenment is] “ the emergence of man from his self-imposed infancy. Infancy is the inability to use one’s reason without the guidance of another. It is self-imposed, when it depends on a deficiency, not of reason, but of the resolve and courage to use it without external guidance. Thus the watchword of enlightenment is: Sapere aude! Have the courage to use one’s own reason!’” (Immanuel Kant, 1784).

Leaving critiques of absolute autonomy aside, has there ever been a person who used their reason without the guidance of another?  How is using one’s reason without the assistance of external guidance even possible?  What kind of irrationality could possibly account for the popularity of this concept of Enlightenment? 

I agree that Kant was on to something about “having the courage to use your own understanding”.  After all it is sometimes necessary to question authority (is this not, after all, what Luther did?).  Unfortunately, he was not talking about an understanding formed, and guided by, the rule of faith.  For all of his many keen insights and observations, Immanuel Kant made claims for men that were far too grand – and frankly, ridiculous.

If I question my spiritual inheritance in Christ – and even turn away – it is not because I used my own understanding apart from other influences.  It is because I choose to turn away from one Person and to trust another.  If I don’t realize that this is happening I only reveal that I shun adulthood, embrace childishness, and dwell in darkness.

It is important to learn to “think for one’s self”.  At the same time, if “[man’s infancy] is the inability to use one’s reason without the guidance of another”, we never become adults who can become like little children.


Posted by on March 3, 2010 in Uncategorized