Archive for the ‘ Biblical Principles ’ Category

Illogical Logic

Sometimes, when I hear the rationales being put forward for certain policies, I just have to shake my head in disbelief. The logic is so illogical. One of the best cartoonists for pointing this out is Bruce Tinsley. Here are a few examples.

There seems to be a tendency in liberal circles to spend a lot of time ignoring evil. Well, there is some evil identified in liberal ideology, but it’s always somehow attached to America in general, and conservatives in particular. And their sense of what needs to be punished is also logically incoherent.

The whole concept of a hate crime is unconstitutional. Government’s job is to protect the innocent and punish those who commit crimes. Whenever government decides to penalize people for what they might be thinking, it has stepped over the line. Punishing people for not liking others is ludicrous—that’s God’s realm. As long as no outward crime has occurred, government has no role. Besides, as I often tell my students, if someone murders someone else, it’s probably because there was hatred in his heart all along. How can you add an extra penalty for murder? What are we going to do, execute the murderer twice?

The illogical logic carries over to international affairs as well. We’ve been part of the United Nations since 1945. We were the prime movers in setting it up, inspired by a belief that this organization might be the key to avoiding future wars. So how has that worked out? Feel safer? Yet we continually get grief from the other inhabitants of the asylum.

What a great deal! It takes a special type of logic to love this. Unfortunately, that special logic is now calling the shots.

Why do we think as we do? It all comes back to a rejection of Biblical principles and infatuation with man-made, man-centered solutions. Those kinds of solutions are never solutions at all.

A Righteous Judgment

And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. [Genesis 9:5-6]

D.C. Sniper Muhammad

In October of 2002, Washington, DC, and its suburbs were targets of terror. I know. I lived there. For three weeks, everyone wondered if stopping to pump gas in your car would be the last thing you did in this life. Someone was killing innocent people, at least ten during those few weeks.

That someone turned out to be John Allen Muhammad and his accomplice, a teenager named Lee Malvo. That teenager, who is no longer in his teens, is serving a life sentence. Muhammad, on Tuesday evening, was executed by the state of Virginia.

Up to the last, he was sullen and unresponsive, saying nothing. Like last week’s slayer, Nidal Hasan, he was a radical Muslim, although, just like with Hasan, there was an attempt to downplay that truth.

When Muhammad received his penalty, it was a righteous judgment. The reason the Scriptures give for allowing the death penalty is that when you take the life of an innocent person, you have taken the most precious gift God has given to each individual. You have destroyed a being made in the very image of God. The punishment must match the magnitude of the crime.

While in some ways this is a cold comfort, it was necessary to uphold the sanctity of human life. The cold-blooded nature of Muhammad’s crimes are not morally equivalent with a state execution. The first is murder; the second is justice for the murder. It is Biblically mandated. All too often we don’t see true Biblical justice for heinous acts. At least in this case, we did.

Whenever God’s righteousness is honored, society is better for it. Our society is better without John Allen Muhammad. May his just execution serve notice on others who may want to follow in his footsteps.

The Independent Voter

It’s been a political truism in America for a long time: the independent voter is the key to winning elections. There are always segments of the population who are committed in principle to either the Democrat or Republican parties, but those segments cannot carry elections by themselves. The independent voter must be wooed—and will be—one way or the other.

In the last election, again it was the independents who made the difference, both in the presidential and congressional races. For president, they went with Obama, primarily because they were reacting against Bush. A new poll suggests the political winds are shifting. As reported in the Wall Street Journal:

For the first time, independent voters—who delivered Mr. Obama the White House and Democrats control of the Congress—disapprove of the job he is doing, 46% to the 41% who approve. In July, 49% of independents approved of the president, against 38% who disapproved.

New doubts about the president have coincided with new hopes for Republicans, who appeared flattened by the election nearly a year ago.

The White House, of course, might be able to offer this plausible explanation:

Since that’s the purported reason for all his other woes, why not repeat the mantra to cover for what’s really happening: a loss of confidence in this president’s ideology and competence.

As a Christian, I value independent thinking. I don’t want anyone to follow a party line without examining critically the arguments being forwarded. Yet when I look at what we are told are the independent voters, my concern is that they classify themselves as independent simply because they have no principles.

If you can sway this way and that in your political opinions based on what happened yesterday or what you see happening today, where is your foundation? What do you really believe? It reminds me of a passage of Scripture found in the book of James. It speaks of perseverance and maturity, and says a Christian who lacks these qualities “is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

That description also applies, I think, to people who are always shifting back and forth between the political parties. Know what you believe and know why you believe it. Make all decisions based upon principles. And if those principles themselves are based upon Biblical truth, they will steer this country in the right direction.

The Role of Scripture in Education

For those of you who have read this blog over the months, you may have noticed that the guy on the right has shown up more than once. His name is Noah Webster, a man I got to know quite thoroughly as I researched and wrote my doctoral dissertation because he was the subject of that endeavor.

I was fascinated with Webster because he became a Christian convert at age 50, and his worldview altered considerably in the realm of education. He switched from being an Enlightenment devotee to a student of the Scriptures.

When he wrote his monumental dictionary, finally completing it in 1828, he defined education in this way:

That series of instruction and discipline which is intended to:

  1. Enlighten the understanding
  2. Correct the temper
  3. Form manners and habits
  4. Fit a person for usefulness

In my study, I was drawn to a certain passage of Scripture in the second book of Timothy, as the apostle Paul reminded his young disciple:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for:

  1. Teaching
  2. For reproof, for correction
  3. For training in righteousness
  4. That the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work

If you compare those lists, you find a remarkable similarity. Teaching proper doctrine enlightens the understanding. Webster’s “correct the temper” is a character-oriented expression; Scripture being used for reproof and correction is for the purpose of inculcating proper character. When you form manner and habits in life, you are being trained in the way you should live, which is the same as being trained in righteousness. Finally, making a person fit for usefulness is no different than equipping someone for every good work.

Okay, here’s my logic, which I believe is solid in this case: if education and Scripture are both good for the same things, we should be able to use Scripture in education, without any qualms. God’s goals in His Word are the same goals we should have for education.

As I said in a previous post, there should be no division between the sacred and the secular—all knowledge ultimately comes from the God who gave us the ability to reason and draw conclusions about the world in which He has placed us.

Never apologize for using Scripture as the basis for education; it provides the principles—the general truths—that apply to all of life.

Who Educates?

Since the president opened the door for a discussion of education, I’d like to walk through it. As a professor of history, education is my livelihood, and I’ve spent more than three decades thinking about principles that apply to education. As always, I go to the Scripture for my foundations.

For instance, in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, the nation of Israel was told:

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Those words are addressed to the parents, who have the primary responsibility for raising their children. They have that responsibility, not the government. Someone may say that this passage doesn’t deal directly with education. My response is that it is teaching that all of life is to be lived in the knowledge of God, and that certainly includes what children learn about the world in which they live.

This world, and all that it contains, is God’s. There should never be a separation between secular and sacred. As Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10 note:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge . . . The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

The starting place for all knowledge and wisdom, therefore, is a reverence for God, and when we have that reverence, we will gain understanding.

Consequently, all education should be based on knowing God first, and the ones who should be planting that knowledge into the children are their parents.

Now, a couple of questions about modern American education. First, is our education system based on the knowledge of God? Second, do we really allow parents to have the final say on how their children are educated?

We are told that religion should be relegated to the private realm, and has no place in education. We are also told, in subtle ways at times, that no matter what parents think, the professional educators are the ones who know best what their children need. I respond that both statements are violations of Biblical principles of education.

Since I don’t want any one post to get too long, I’ll stop there for now, but I have a lot more to say about this; indeed, I have so much to say I could fill this blog for weeks. I plan to continue this topic on a regular basis.

Created in God's Image

Why do we even have to deal with issues like “death panels”? Why are there so many abortions? For me, it all comes back to something our society has stopped believing. We no longer accept the notion that each individual is a creation of God, imbued with the same qualities God possesses.

We are really quite wonderously made: we can reason, experience the gamut of emotions, and have the power to make decisions that determine our eternal residence. These qualities belong to God, and He has graciously passed them on to us. That is why we are inherently valuable.

But the acceptance of evolutionary thought, and the resultant belief that man is just a higher form of animal, has clouded the truth that the image of God has been bestowed upon us.

Life is now cheap. It has lost its value. Now we have government bean-counters who want to decide whether or not you receive the treatment you need. Are you too old to be of benefit to society any longer? Take a pill to ease the pain instead. Take enough of those pills all at once and perhaps we won’t have to pay for you anymore. You’ll be doing the “right” thing for everyone else by removing yourself from our ledger.

Is that developing child in the womb an inconvenience? Is it going to interfere with your life, as you understand it? A simple procedure takes care of the problem. After all, that’s not a real human, is it? It’s only a mass of chemicals or a blob of tissue. Go on your merry way, free to follow your selfish inclinations. Why should you be burdened with the consequences of your bad decisions or have to shoulder responsibility for someone else? Life should be free from pain and worry. At least, that’s what far too many of us now think.

God forgive us.

Even the Trees?

I don’t think that a White House science advisor normally should get so much attention in a blog like mine. I’ve written about John Holdren twice now in the past week or so. I figured that would be about all for him. Wrong. More information about his beliefs keep surfacing. Not only has he advocated population control via abortion and other methods, but he also has promoted the idea that trees have just as much right as humans to sue in court.

Yes, you read that correctly.

This is another indication how far some have departed from the Biblical truth that humans and the rest of God’s creation are distinct from one another. Only man is made in the image of God. Trees, while quite nice, don’t have the ability to think, feel, or choose. They are not free moral agents.

Isn’t it strange that I even have to say such a thing? Was that ever a debatable issue until recently? Not everyone in America has rejected the Biblical worldview, but if people like Holdren ever get in the majority, things will change even more drastically than they have already.