Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Unbelieving Ignorance

Exceptions for Abortion?

Justin Taylor|
October 26th 2012

I assume by now that most readers are aware of the controversy regarding comments by candidate Richard Mourdock, who is running for Senate, regarding rape not being an exception for abortion. In a recent debate, when asked about the issue, he responded:
This is that issue that every candidate for federal, or even state, office faces, and I too stand for life. I know there are some who disagree and I respect their point of view and I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have [for abortion] is in that case [where] the life of the mother [is threatened]. I struggled with it for a long time, but I came to realize that life is a gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen.
President Obama, through a spokesperson, “felt those comments were outrageous and demeaning to women.”

There are many angles to this story, including media ignorance, media malfeasance, political clumsiness, bioethics, and Christian witness.

Full of Sound and Fury

Protesting Too Much

We are amused whenever Unbelievers try to make out they are theologians or they have something beyond the comical or the trite to contribute to a religious debate.  They tend, as a herd, to pontificate with loud declamations about what they do not know. 

A Republican candidate for the US Senate has had the temerity to suggest that one should treat with great care and respect the life of an unborn child, even when that child has been conceived as a result of rape.  He has argued that even that conception is of God. 

At this point all Christians who understand the Bible's revelation of the all controlling power of Almighty God will know immediately what is being referred to and meant.  This is Christian faith 101.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

But America Isn't Jesus 

Obama Nation Building
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The most apropos tweet concerning the debate last night came from John Piper: "Obama: America, the only indispensable nation. Romney: America, the hope of the earth. This does focus our prayers for them." I want to get to that in a moment, but first let me just affirm the consensus that appears to be developing.

Romney is clearly husbanding a lead, and Obama was trying to catch up. Romney was acting like an incumbent, and Obama was acting like a challenger. Romney was happy to wait out the round in a clinch, and Obama wanted (and needed) a knock out blow that he didn't get.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Sown Seeds

Loathsome Words And Withered Hands

Most of us who are Christians can look back in our lives and discern what we could not at the time--the hand of God Himself.  Things said, books read, people met, or unbidden thoughts that provoked and disturbed.  It is only in hindsight that we can now see the full impact and significant force of these circumstantial events.  We now see that in them God was at work, sowing seeds that one day would spring up to evergreen life. 

Most often these circumstances and events served to disturb, to provoke discomfort.

Educators and Education

Modern Imposters and Gargoyles

What the the role and calling of a teacher?  One Trent Kays deigns to give us ordinary mortals the answer.  Trent describes himself as a "writer, teacher, provocateur, activist, consultant, and rhetoric & writing studies PhD student" so we know we are waist deep in the good oil here.  

For some reason Trent's answer to the question on the role and calling of a teacher has appeared in the NZ Herald.  Why?  No idea.  Maybe the paper thought that his opinions on the matter were of significance.  There is probably some warrant to this notion.  His own promotional page at the University of Minnesota website claims, "He often writes about society, technology, culture, and higher education issues, and he is in the process of founding a new venture dedicated to practical and progressive ideas for changing education."

Great stuff.  So what progressive pedagogical revolution is about to descend upon us?  Same old, same old.  The same tired old cliches that progressive and post-modern liberals have been prattling on about since Michel Foucault first said, "Well, I'll be darned!"

Here is Trent in full cliched flight:

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

The Legs of Unbelief 

Liturgy and Worship - Exhortation
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, 20 October 2012

We cannot be reminded too often of the goodness and grace of God. Unbelief is the perennial temptation, and part of that unbelief is the idea that our unbelief is greater than the purposes of God. No—the legs of unbelief are too short to outrun the goodness and grace of God.

We like to put on airs; we like to believe that we are more important than we actually are. God’s purposes will be done regardless.

Creation By Divine Command

The Regular is the Miracle

Christians believe in the God Who is the Cause of all causes.  Here is an excerpt from one of the most comprehensive confessions ever made by the Church, written about four hundred years ago:
God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. ("Of God's Eternal Decree", Westminster Confession of Faith 3:1)
Natural causation exists only because God has ordained and commanded all.  But this confession, this aspect of the undoubted Christian faith, has never been understood by materialists and Unbelievers in general.

Friday, 26 October 2012

The Cause of our Generation; The Great Shame of our Age

The Apple Argument against Abortion

Peter Kreeft argues from a non-controversial premise to a controversial conclusion:

1. We Know What an Apple Is

Our first principle should be as undeniable as possible, for arguments usually go back to their first principles. If we find our first premise to be a stone wall that cannot be knocked down when we back up against it, our argument will be strong. Tradition states and common sense dictates our premise that we know what an apple is. Almost no one doubted this, until quite recently. Even now, only philosophers, scholars, “experts,” media mavens, professors, journalists, and mind-molders dare to claim that we do not know what an apple is.

Deifying Science Has a Cost

Humble Pie

The media and scientific community has been agog and agag at the Italian earthquake scientists convicted of manslaughter.  Whether the conviction will remain standing is not clear: Italy has an automatic appeal system, so it may be overturned. 

The NZ Herald provides a summary of the case:
Defying assertions that earthquakes cannot be predicted, an Italian court has convicted seven scientists and experts of manslaughter for failing to adequately warn residents before a quake struck central Italy in 2009 and killed more than 300 people.  The court in L'Aquila also sentenced the defendants to six years each in prison. All are members of the national Great Risks Commission, and several are prominent scientists or geological and disaster experts.
This judgment provokes reflection on why anyone would for a moment think that earthquake scientists should be held to account for failing to predict an earthquake, let alone convict such scientists of manslaughter.

One probable cause lies in the widespread deification of science itself.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The World's Largest Daisy Chain 

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 18 September 2012

There is an argument against homosexual marriage that I have offered from time to time which has been met with a strange sort of incredulity. It came up again the other night during the Q&A after my debate with Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, and so I thought I should jot down a few additional thoughts about it here.

There are two kinds of "beyond-two plurality" in marriage. One is old school -- polygamy -- and I have argued that it is not possible to argue for homosexual marriage without all those same arguments being available for use by the polygamists later on. As I said in the debate, if you leave the key under the mat, more people than just you can use it.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

The Glory of the Human Being and His Soul

Marilynne Robinson's meditation on the power and glory of the human soul is worth reading and re-reading.  The wonder, the glory and the majesty of it all has been lost as modern culture has become imprisoned in its materialist caverns.

Modern discourse is not really comfortable with the word "soul," and in my opinion the loss of the word has been disabling, not only to religion but to literature and political thought and to every humane pursuit.  In contemporary religious circles, souls, if they are mentioned at all, tend to be spoken of as saved or lost, having answered some set of divine expectations or failed to answer them, having arrived at some crucial realization or failed to arrive at it.

So the soul, the masterpiece of creation, is more or less reduced to a token signifying cosmic acceptance or rejection, having little or nothing to do with that miraculous thing, the felt experience of life, except insofar as life offers distractions or temptations.

Having read recently that there are more neurons in the human brain than there are stars in the Milky Way,

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Father-Driven Adoption 

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, 19 October 2012

We live in polarized times, and it shows up in many issues. One of the unfortunate consequences of this is that if you say that a particular course of action might have any negative consequences anywhere, you must be against that course of action. You must be an enemy of it. If you think home schooling, for example, could ever end badly, you must be against home schooling. This does not follow, and if the sensitivities of our illogical age  are honored, the results will be increasingly bad.

We have gotten to the point where knowledge that some people flunk math classes is taken as a deep conviction (on the part of the person who knows it) that math classes ought not to be taken. No . .  perhaps a person should enroll in them with an accurate understanding of what it is going to take. Trying to get people prepared is not the same thing as scaring them off.

I say this because I want to urge a central caution about adoption, and I want to do so as someone who honors and respects those who have counted the cost and who have done it right. May their tribe increase, and God bless all of them.

Letter From Australia (About Racism)

Recovering Self-Respect

In New Zealand we are afflicted with a form of gross institutionalised racism.  Maori are legally and societally a privileged, higher class position.  Of course this does not mean they are superior in socio-economic terms, nor moral terms, nor in terms of family structures, or compliance with the law.  Rather, it means that as far as the government and the Commentariat are confirmed they are in a position of privilege, far beyond any other people or race.

Imagine two counters before which people line up to secure favours, handouts, support, special consideration, and institutionalised respect from the government and its mammoth tax-extorted, redistributive money spigot.  Each counter has a sign up: the first says "Maori Only"; the second says "All Others".  Discrimination pure and simple.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

High Opinions of One's Own Virtue

Personal Reasons for Unbelief

Peter Hitchens spent about fifteen years of his adult life in open sneering rebellion against God.  Then gradually and gently the Hound of Heaven first tracked, then ran him down.  His is a wonderful story of the grace and goodness of the Almighty God to a terribly lost man. 

Hitchens describes his rebellion against God in the following terms:
The fury and almost physical disgust of the Bloomsbury novelist Virginia Woolf at T. S. Eliot's conversion to Christianity is an open expression of the private feelings of the educated British middle class, normally left unspoken but conveyed by body language or facial expression when the subject of religion cannot be avoided.  Mrs Woolf wrote to her sister in 1928, in terms that perfectly epitomize the enlightened English person's scorn for faith and those who hold it.

Living Within One's Means

 Fiddling While Rome Burns

Columnists like Mark Steyn have been repeatedly calling attention to the mammoth threat of the US deficit.  It was bad under Bush's tenure (the compassionate conservative, you remember); it is not immeasurably worse under Obama's tenure.  It has been the most signal "accomplishment" of his four profligate years in the White House.  The United States is at the tipping point; it will likely never recover.

Here's a summary of the problem, from The Weekly Standard:

Monday, 22 October 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

The Limitations of Kitten Hugging 

Political Dualism - Mere Christendom
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Whenever you propose something, as I propose a return to mere Christendom, one of the natural objections people raise is the objection of trajectories -- as in, "that's all very well, but what might this lead to next?" Given this sinfulness of this world, and the genius we have for corrupting everything we touch, this is actually a reasonable question.

What is unreasonable, however, is the way the question is asked. It is posed as though the questioner were standing in a neutral zone, a place with no consequences whatsoever. But whenever we choose, there will be consequences to that choice. This applies to all the choices.

The Obamagaffe

Double Standards

We need a new term for the political science lexicon: Obamagaffe.  An Obamagaffe is when a politician verbally makes a substantial error and the Commentariat ignores it.  It's a useful concept. 

"Candidate X just said he would boil babies in hot oil to reduce inflation.  But this was an Obamagaffe, so no problem there."  An Obamagaffe is when commentators and media give the benefit of the doubt to the gaffer and does not take an error seriously.  The error is interpreted as a slip of the tongue, an exaggeration, hyperbole, a figure of speech, etc.  After all, to err is human, so it only makes the gaffer more likeable, provided, of course, it is a genuine Obamagaffe.

When Obama does not have his teleprompter as a prop he is well known for his vacuous, convoluted, aimless, long-winded responses.  Often times these are replete with Obamagaffes--errors of fact no-one--at least no-one of any "significance"--takes seriously.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Polling Propaganda

 When the Media Massages the Message

The state of polling operating in the US election is dismal indeed.  Why?  Because media need to generate headlines to sell papers or get viewers.  In election season poll results are essential to do that.  So sub-standard, crummy polls are the order of the day--where "pollsters" call up Aunt Fanny and talk to her Chihuahua, and then record the Chihuahua as a certain Democratic voter.

 Jay Severin, a political campaign operator for over twenty-five years, explains why this is the case:

The Perfect Reactionary

 The Return of the Imperium

Under President Obama's direction, the US Federal Government is imposing penalties on any business which does not provide health care coverage for its employees.  It also stipulates that the coverage must include abortifacient drugs and abortions.

Christian churches have objected conscientiously and are suing the Federal Government for violating the consciences and religious freedom of its citizens.  Obama and his coterie disagree.  They argue that what he is forcing people to do has nothing to do with violating their religion. But he dissembles--whether stupidly or maliciously each must decide.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Letter From America (About Radicals)

The Last Radicals  
Homeschoolers occupy the curriculum  

By Kevin D. Williamson
National Review Online

There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional. Like all radical movements, homeschoolers drive the establishment bats.

In the public imagination, homeschooling has a distinctly conservative and Evangelical odor about it, but it was not always so.

Letter From Australia (About Androgyny)

 The Last Desperate Throw of the Dice

Miranda Devine has skewered the Australian government's slurs, lies, and distortions against Tony Abbott, leader of the opposition.  She suggests that the behaviour of Julia Gillard confirms some of the worst stereotypes of women.  The antics of Gillard and her colleagues have brought disgrace and shame upon the heads of Australian females. 
WATCHING Julia Gillard desperately flail around last week in the last death throes of her government, you could wish her prime ministership had been different. But as a woman I’m embarrassed, insulted and angry that the stocks of women in power have been brought so low.

Raggle Taggle Leaders

Deafening Silence

We expect a chorus of indignation and outrage swelling to a climactic crescendo in Parliament this week.  Something truly terrible has happened in the land--the kind of thing so bad that mothers clutch their children to their breasts in mortal dread. 

A Maori tribe has sold--yes sold!--land given to it as part of a treaty settlement.  Te Uri o Hau was awarded some land near Mangawhai just north of Auckland which consisted of 616 hectares of forest in prime coastal land.  They are selling off a third (230 hectares).  Who is going to stand up to protest? 

Well, we expect that the Mana Party, the Green Party, and probably the Maori party are going to express moral outrage at the betrayal of Maori being disenfranchised from their land with which they have a deep spiritual connection, and in communion with which Maori hear the ancient spirits talking to them.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Fodder for Fascism

Afraid of Little People

A public brouhaha is under way in New Zealand over the merits and demerits of charter schools.  A list of horrible things that charter schools will allegedly do is being trumpeted by the teacher unions.  They are absolutely certain that charter schools would be evil and wicked and do immeasurable harm.

A similar propaganda campaign is being waged in Britain--except there charter schools have been in operation for some time.  As a result the rhetoric has ratcheted up a few degrees.  Brendan O'Neill, writing in The Telegraph looks at some of the latest allegations.  Apparently free (that is, charter) schools are going to spread fascism.  If charter schools go ahead we predict that it is only a matter of time before we see similar allegations surfacing in New Zealand.

Tangled Webs Being Woven

Who Made Up the Porky?

Where did that fabricated story about the attack upon the US embassy in Libya come from?  This has now become the pressing question of the presidential campaign in the United States.

The story (now proven to be "spin") came to the widespread attention of the country when  Ambassador Susan Rice went on six weekend talk shows one Sunday to tell the nation five days later that the attack upon the US embassy compound in Benghazi, Libya which killed four US government employees including the US ambassador, was a spontaneous demonstration of public rage incited and caused by an anti-Islam film made in the US. 

Up until that time few had heard of the now-demonised video.  Hillary Clinton's US Secretary of State has now gone on the record stating that the State Department at no time, not even at the beginning of the attack thought that it was a public demonstration gone wrong.  This from the Daily Mail:

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Letter From the UK (About Liberal Bishops)

A day of judgment for liberal bishops

By Damian Thompson
Last updated: October 12th, 2012
The Daily Telegraph

Damian Thompson is Editor of Telegraph Blogs and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph. He was once described by The Church Times as a "blood-crazed ferret". He is on Twitter as HolySmoke. His new book is called The Fix: How addiction is invading our lives and taking over your world.

The riches of liberal Anglicanism (H/T the Bad Vestments blog)
From Saturday's Daily Telegraph

The strangest thing happened last week, though few people noticed it. America officially ceased to be a Protestant country. According to the Pew Forum, the percentage of Protestants has dropped to 48 per cent, down from 53 per cent in 2007. That’s a huge shift.

But, before Catholics start punching the air, let me point out that the percentage of Catholics has been flatlining for years at 22 per cent. The big jump is in unaffiliated Americans, including atheists – up from 15 to 20 per cent. These “Nones”, as pollsters call them, are laying waste to the religious landscape of the United States. And Britain.

Unworthy and Shameful

The Curse of Unethical Immoral Leaders

We don't know why this should be the case, but it does seem that left-wing governments and political parties have a perpetual nastiness about them. 

Over time this creates rising political risks since demonising your opponents means that all they have to do is show up to the electorate as reasonably normal people and in an instant two things happen.  The first is the credibility of the slanderous overkill party goes up in smoke.  The second is that the electorate find those so excessively slandered to be much better than expected.  He or she turn out to be a pleasant surprise. 

Obama and the Democrats in the United States appear to have fallen into this trap.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Letter From America (About Benghazi)

Who’s ‘Politicizing’ Benghazi? 
 It was Obama who chose to blame a national humiliation on an obscure YouTube video.

By Mark Steyn
National Review Online
October 12, 2012

‘The entire reason that this has become the political topic it is is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.”
Thus, Stephanie Cutter, President Obama’s deputy campaign manager, speaking on CNN about an armed attack on the 9/11 anniversary that left a U.S. consulate a smoking ruin and killed four diplomatic staff, including the first American ambassador to be murdered in a third of a century. To discuss this event is apparently to “politicize” it and to distract from the real issues the American people are concerned about.

For example, Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki, speaking on board Air Force One on Thursday: “There’s only one candidate in this race who is going to continue to fight for Big Bird and Elmo, and he is riding on this plane.”

She’s right!

No Global Warming

The UK Met Office has ever so quietly released data on the internet, without media comment, apparently hoping that no-one would notice.  It shows that there has been no global warming for the last fifteen years according to the 3000 plus temperature stations scattered across the planet.  Meanwhile the shills for global warming continue to pontificate and bloviate away about the imminent doom facing mankind.

The UK Daily Mail has a big spread on the scandal of the oh-so-quiet release:

Letter From the UK (About Democratic Politics in the US)

Debatus Interruptus

The US vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan was instructive for all the wrong reasons.  It showed up some things about the modern style of Democratic politics.  Increasingly the hallmark of the Left in the United States is shrill abuse.  Often times that can indicate weakness in position, as in when under threat, shout loudly.

Here is Tim Stanley's take on the debate and its larger historical context on the emerging style of Democratic politics.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Letter From the UK (To Julia Gillard)


Julia Gillard needs to man up

Brendan O'Neill
The Telegraph
Brendan O'Neill is the editor of spiked, an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms.


YouTube sensation (and Prime Minister of Australia) Julia Gillard has been called a “badass motherf–––––” for her speech on sexism. The video of her laying into the Oz opposition leader Tony Abbott over his allegedly misogynistic views has gone wildly viral, being lapped up by bloggers and tweeters the world over, effectively making Gillard into the Susan Boyle of the feminist lobby.

Wilfully Blind

Ignoring the Obvious

Atheist philosopher, Thomas Nagel does not like Darwinian materialism.  Nagel thinks there has to be something more--but he hopes that it is not God.  He has written a book, recently published entitled Mind and Cosmos in which he attempts to "develop the rival alternative conceptions” to the “materialism and Darwinism” of our age.

His book has been reviewed by two materialist Darwinists,  Brian Leiter and Michael Weisberg.  As expected,  neither like what they have read.  But as always in these cases the position of the materialists and Darwinists is filled with fatuous, question begging contradictions.  Once again the Darwinists cannot see the inherent oxymorons in their position.

Nagel argues that one of the big nails in the Darwinisan materialist coffin is the existence of logical truths.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America


Money, Love, Desire - The Good of Affluence
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, 08 October 2012

I have written many times that free markets are for a free people, and that only a free people can sustain them. But slaves to sin cannot be a free people. And the only way to be liberated from slavery to sin is through the gospel that brings new life.

Another problem is that when slaves to sin spiral down into the civic slavery that is their natural civic condition, their masters will also be slaves to sin, albeit usually somewhat shrewder -- at least for a short while. At some point the whole thing blows up for everybody, but the bottom line is that sin is the fundamental set of chains. You cannot hope to be enslaved by them, and yet be free in any sense that matters anywhere else.

Secular Theology

The Religious Foundation of Modern Science

It was from the intellectual ferment brought about by the merging of Greek philosophy and Judeo-Islamic-Christian thought that modern science emerged with its unidirection linear time (rather than cyclic), its insistence of nature's rationality, and its emphasis on mathematical principles.  All the early scientists such as Newton were religious in one way or another. . . . In the ensuing 300 years, the theological dimension of science has faded.  People take for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. 

The underlying order in nature--the laws of physics--is simply accepted as given, as brute fact.  Nobody asks where the laws come from--at least they don't in polite company.  However, even the most atheistic science accepts as an act of faith (i.e. an assumption) the existence of a law-like order in nature that is at least in part comprehensible to us.  So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.  [Paul Davies, "Design in Physics and Cosmology," in God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science, ed. Neil A. Manson (London: Routledge, 2003), p. 148.]

Friday, 12 October 2012

How Did that Stimulus Work Out?

False Messiahs Struck Down Yet Again

Unbelievers are always looking for messianic saviours.  Rejecting the Messiah of God, the Lord Jesus Christ they frantically cast around for a substitute.  Then when times get tough, the demand can rise to the level of panic.  Almost inevitably--virtually without exception--the saviour is some organ or act of government.  Funny that.   "In government we trust" is the religious mania of the day. 

When the United States led us into the global financial crisis the people bowed and prayed for a saviour they had made.  Enter the Federal Government.  It would expropriate an extra one trillion dollars of its citizen's money which it did not have ("no worries, mate--we will borrow it so your children and grandchildren can pay it off").  It would then spend this borrowed money on grand schemes to create lots and lots of  jobs. 

The problem is that in God's world, that is, the real world, false saviours get exploded and struck down.

The Uber Parent

 Beware Government "Help"

New Zealand, we are told,  has a high incidence of child abuse.  It was, therefore, entirely predictable that eventually the government would move to establish a national database of children of some sort.  The governmental authorities have a demonstrated record of incompetence in the area.  A most frequent failing is the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.  Too many children being "helped" by too many government agencies who are unaware of what others agencies are doing.

To address the "information gap" the Minister of Social Development is proposing a national database of at risk kids be set up.  It is estimated that 30,000 children will eventually be on electronic record.

Whenever Big Brother proposes something like this the issue of official abuse percolates to the surface.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Letter From America (About Free Speech)

 Western Hypocrisy Mocked by Islamists

Every so often secular revolutionaries break out from the chains and constraints of the Commentariat.  They see some things that bear a remarkable resemblance to hypocrisy in the received wisdom of Western secularism.  More often than not the remedies proposed to the hypocrisy are way off the reservation, but the fundamental point being made remains sound. 

Here is William Saletan writing in Slate:

The Government's Non-Compete Clause

Adulterating the Currency

There is an old bumper sticker that reads, "Don't steal!  The Government doesn't like competition."  Folk do not often contemplate that an entire government could be devoted to theft.  Yet why should it surprise us?  Sin and evil continually breaks forth out of the human heart; it is desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9).  Christ alone can cleanse it, making men new--regenerating them. 

When unregenerated men gain control of a polity it is the most natural thing in the world for their addiction to sin to be woven through government policies, laws, and regulations.  Why, then, ought it to surprise us that governments should do evil?  Why, then, should we be shocked when governments steal?

The most common form of government theft is adulterating the currency.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Greatly Exceeding Expectations

Romney Was Set a Very Low Bar

It gets interesting when even Obama shills are wringing their hands in despair.

Here are some excerpts from Andrew Sullivan, writing for the Daily Beast.

Did Obama Just Throw The Entire Election Away?

8 Oct 2012 07:13 PM

The Pew poll is devastating, just devastating. Before the debate, Obama had a 51 - 43 lead; now, Romney has a 49 - 45 lead. That's a simply unprecedented reversal for a candidate in October. Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in almost all of them. Obama's performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing.

Christians and Politics

Acting As If Christ's Atonement Were Unnecessary

We should be sceptical when Christians aspire to enter politics.  We should be very cautious supporting Christians who aspire to exercise warrants of governmental power.  More often than not Christians make disastrous political and civil rulers.  

One reason modern Christians do more harm than good when it comes to government and law is because they confuse the roles and duties of the state with the church and the family and civil society. 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Buttering the Stage 

Culture and Politics - Obama Nation Building
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, 04 October 2012

I TIVOed the debate last night, and then hopped my way through it, like it was an ankle deep muddy stream. I got enough to get a decent feel for it, without subjecting my sanctification to the blah blah parts.
So here are just a few random observations, which I would ask all to take cum grano salis.

First, it seems clear that this is one of those debates which will take on a life and meaning of its own, independent of the actual performance on stage. During the debate, I thought Romney was more confident, affable, informed, etc. but Obama seemed generally okay.

The Coming of the Kingdom

Short Cuts Not an Option

Religion produces and conditions culture.  Culture produces law, government, and regulation.  It is important that Christians understand the interdependence and the causal relationship of these three.  When Christians think that a few law changes will make a substantial difference to the direction of our society they are gravely mistaken, unless New Zealand were a nation where Christians outnumber non-Christians and the prevailing culture has substantially reflects the Christian world and life view.   Clearly this is not the case.  

Consequently, our expectations for politics, political parties, and progress in the sphere of  government ought to be exceedingly low, albeit realistic.  That does not mean that we should not engage from time to time.  Rather, it implies that our hope and trust should not focus upon politics and political action.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

In Defense of Blasphemy Codes 

Political Dualism - Mere Christendom
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 02 October 2012

In one sense, defending blasphemy codes is the easiest thing in the world. All you have to do is demonstrate how everybody has them -- you can defend them because everybody defends them. Blasphemy codes are inescapable -- it not whether a society outlaws blasphemy, but rather which patterns of speech will be considered blasphemy. We don't use the word blasphemy much anymore, but we do regulate "hate speech," "fighting words," and so forth.

Here is a quick round up of some recent articles on the subject. First, somebody over at Slate noticed that something funny was going on. And Russell Moore argued here why blasphemy laws are wrong, and a response to that post can be read here at BaylyBlog.

But in another sense, defending blasphemy codes is quite difficult -- in no small part because people have come to believe that simple disagreement is blasphemous.

Not a Shred of Respectable Evidence, Part II

 The Sovereignty of God, of Mathematics, and of Man

Deep within the bowels of the atom--where the eye of man cannot see--researchers have had to feel around the dark, as it were.  But particle physicists are not blind.  They have access to the universal language of mathematics which accurately describes and predicts how the universe works and ought to work.  This includes those parts which are so small we cannot see them; we can only see traces of them, fleeting signatures as sub-atomic particles are accelerated to travel at unbelievable speeds and crash into each other.  

The effects of the crashes tell us something about their properties and how the sub-atomic particles work.  But all along mathematics is predicting how these things will work, what will happen and what physicists should expect to find.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

You Shall Not Pass!

Only Force Standing in the Gap

Being Christian is one thing. Fighting for a cause is another, and much easier to acknowledge - for in recent times it has grown clear that the Christian religion is threatened with a dangerous defeat by secular forces which have never been so confident.

Why is there such a fury against religion now? Because religion is the one reliable force that stands in the way of the power of the strong over the weak. The one reliable force that forms the foundation of the concept of the rule of law.

The one reliable force that restrains the hand of the man of power. In an age of powerworship, the Christian religion has become the principal obstacle to the desire of earthly utopians for absolute power. [Peter Hitchens, The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith]

Degree Inflation

Idols Not To Be Destroyed

We have all suspected that a steady stream of degree "inflation" has been leaching into  New Zealand tertiary institutions.  Firstly, technical institutes have been renaming and rebranding themselves as universities--asserting that they have the "right" to grant tertiary degrees.  This move, of course, is to persuade the market that they offer qualifications that are equal to the long established, genuine universities. 

Secondly, the number of degree qualifications has blossomed more profusely than mice in a granary.  One can now attain a bachelor's degree in crochet.  If one is exceptionally good, one can get honours in the subject. 

Of course this has been good business for the institutions.

Friday, 5 October 2012

The Distinctiveness of Christianity

World as Gift

David Bentley Hart explains why God's transcendence over the creation and His immanence within it makes all the difference in the world.  This is one reason why the Christian religion is not one religion amongst a smorgasbord of  faiths, but the One True Faith before which all other religions are idolatrous perversions of the truth.

Christian thought taught that the world was entirely God's creature, called from nothingness, not out of any need on his part, but by grace; and that the God who is Trinity required nothing to add to his fellowship, bounty, or joy, but created out of love alone.

In a sense, God and world were both set free: God was now understood as fully transcendent of--and therefore immanent within--the created order, and the world was now understood entirely as gift.

False Prophets

Clearly Drawn Battle Lines 

A phenomenon we have frequently noted is the clarification of the lines of battle between Belief and Unbelief.  As the latter becomes more militant the powers of government are brought to bear against Christian beliefs and Christian practices.  It is inevitable that this would be the case.

In a broad sense, religion shapes culture, and culture shapes politics, government and the law.  The West has undergone a profound religious shift in the last 150 to 200 years.  Atheism, whether of the materialistic militant sort of Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins, or of the ignorant sort of most people ("God may or may not exist, but as far as I am concerned, I will live my way") has shaped and now dominates popular culture.  Next comes government and politics. 

Whilst Christian vestiges remain (the National Anthem, prayer at the convocation of Parliament, for example) new laws increasingly exclude consistent Christian belief and practice.  The battle lines become both drawn and clear.  While the pagan Unbeliever may speak piously about civic freedoms the list of what is considered beyond the pale and subject to state proscription  grows by the year. 

Here is the latest example--this time from the UK.  Attempts by professional counsellors to free homosexuals of their perversions will now result in being struck off from professional registers.  This from the Guardian:

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Book of the Month

Book of the Month/October 2012 

Engaging the Culture - Book Review
Written by Douglas Wilson
Sunday, 30 September 2012


This is a superb little book, one that addresses a screaming need with clarity, while at the same time avoiding a simplistic 1,2,3 triteness.

The theme of the book, as the title suggests, is that provocative little phrase from the Westminister Confession which says this:

"The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture" (WCF 1.6).

The subject can get complicated, so let's begin in the shallow end.

An Embarrassing Result

Facts Undermine a "Good Story"

New Zealand's crime is falling off, according to a report in the NZ Herald:
New Zealand's crime rate has dropped to an all-time low, latest figures reveal.  The annual crime statistics released by the police today showed recorded crime dropped 5.2 per cent on the previous year.

There were 394,522 recorded offences in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, compared with 416,324 the previous year - a decrease of 21,802 offences.  New Zealand's population increased by 0.7 per cent during the period, resulting in a 5.9 per cent decrease in the number of offences recorded per 10,000 of population.

This was the lowest number of offences in any fiscal year since 1988-1989, and the lowest crime rate per head of population since before electronic records were maintained, police said.
Some caveats are in order.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Whistling Dixie on the Rule of Law

Shysters and Hucksters and Lawbreakers

How corrupt is the Obama administration?  Plenty--when it comes to its own political salvation.  Now it is even advising companies to break Federal law and promising to pay any fines which may result--all in the attempt to make itself look more presentable to some voters on election day.  Breathtaking arrogance.  Wickedness is not too strong a word.  The spirit of King Ahab pervades the White House. 

If only ordinary citizens could be allowed to prosecute their own interests in this way.  Don't worry about theft being a crime.  Steal all you want.  The government will pay any court costs, remimburse you for jail time, and pay any fines. This, my friends, is called the Obama Doctrine.

Here is the story, from Michelle Malkin's blog:

"Not a Shred of Respectable Evidence"

Weird, Wonderful and Inexcusable

The natural world, the universe testifies to God.  It shows His footprints and His handiwork.  This testimony is so pervasive that it takes inveterate blindness not to acknowledge it: a blindness born of contumacy and stubbornness and prejudice.  Unbelief is never about a lack of information or demonstration.  It is always the product of arrogant, stiff-necked pride.  Thus declare the Scriptures: the fool says in his heart, "There is no God" (Psalm 14: 1-3).  Unbelievers, we are told, actively suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18ff). 

What are some of the testimonies of God in His creation?  One is the universal application of mathematics.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


Dereliction of Duty?

If ever confirmation were needed that the Obama administration is one of the most inept in living memory and the president himself is AWOL from the job mentally, emotionally, and physically, this report from Brett Baier shows it all in sharp relief.

Timid Animals

Government as Shepherd

Douglas Wilson has reproduced the following quotation from Alexis de Tocqueville.  It described the gradual insinuation of despotic power over a people who are slowly conditioned to it--and welcome it.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Junk Science Kills

Millions of deaths later: The birth of the green movement and junk science

The story of how DDT was banned on the back of flimsy scientific evidence is revealing of the green movement more generally
David Atherton

This is the story of how dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), previously used to treat malaria, was banned based on flimsy evidence and ideology, seeing the beginnings of the green industry.

Millions have died as a result. Malaria is a disease that is caused by a bite from a female mosquito, which induces protozoan parasites into the blood stream of the recipient. Reproducing in the liver it can lead to headaches and fever at best, coma and death at worst. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate in 2010 there were 260 million cases with 665,000 deaths, 86 percent under the age of five.

One of the most effective ways of dealing with malaria is to spray swamps with DDT.

Messianic Pretensions Blowing Up

Wild and Restless Spirits

When governments get the-grand-idea and seek to bring it to pass for the good of mankind the results are always disastrous.  God is a jealous God; He does not brook pretenders to the throne of  Heaven. 

Climate change has seen a flowering of false messianism.  Governments have set out to save the world and have ended up looking like stupid chooks.  Germany and windpower imbroglios are the latest--which is particularly ironic since Germany has been hailed by greenists everywhere as the poster nation for where the rest of the world needs to go.

The Telegraph compares how the UK is still cheerleading for wind power, attempting to imitate Germany, while in the latter country people are starting to rue the day they ever went down that ephemeral and unpredictable track.