Words matter. Because ideas matter. Particularly theological ideas. There are few theological words which have greater significance in the history of the church than the word, justice. It’s the root of justification––the doctrine, according to Calvin, which is the hinge upon which the faith turns. But there’s a deeper foundation to the doctrine of justification: the justice of God. This was His motive in offering His Son as a propitiation for our sins: that He would be just and the justifier of those who have faith in Jesus (Rom.3:26). With such profound theological and historical significance to the very heart of the Gospel, itself, it’s difficult to imagine that a conservative, evangelical organization called The Gospel Coalition would carelessly misuse the concept of justice. And yet that is precisely what they’ve done in the latest article by Greg Forster. ...continue reading
John Piper recently spoke at Google on the topic, Jesus Christ Egomaniac? The impetus for that question is the astounding number of prominent people who have explicitly rejected Christianity because they have perceived God (or Jesus) as being an egomaniac. While Piper seems to think that these rejections are based on a misunderstanding of God's love, I'm going to argue that these people are actually rejecting God because of their adopted morality of altruism. But let's start with the four noteworthy instances of such rejections which Piper recounts. ...continue reading
True conservatives (the few there are left) are beginning to wake up and rediscover the need for asserting moral, rather than merely pragmatic, arguments for their causes. This breath of fresh moral insight has been expressed by both Ben Shapiro and Glen Beck for a while. More recently, though, it was the topic of a whole episode on the Matt Walsh podcast. Unfortunately, Walsh framed the discussion, not around the need for morality, but around the need to focus on “social issues” and “social conservatism”. I say, “unfortunately”, because this seeming equivocation between morality and social conservatism is emblematic of the disastrous reason conservatives have lost on moral principles in the past: our “principles”, in essence, are no different (or not better) than that of the left. ...continue reading
If you had told me 10 years ago that in 2016, America would be more racially charged and divided than it had had been in decades, I would have laughed in your face. Race was no more significant to me (and to everyone I knew) than the color of someone’s hair, or eyes. Then came Obama, our first black president: the final nail in the coffin of racism in American culture––or so I thought. Fast forward to the end of his two terms and you can’t go a day––or a casual scroll through Facebook or Twitter––without seeing some new racially charged meme or headline. So, What happened?
There are many things that could be said about this campaign season, and there are many competent people saying them. But there is one essential similarity between both “liberals” and “conservatives” this election which I think has gone unnoticed. It is this essential similarity which reveals the root of our current political plight––and therefore, the potential solution. That similarity is mindlessness.
Of course, the rabbid mindlessness of the left began to flaunt itself as early as last year in the contrived campus protests, the racist Black-Lives-Matter movement, and the emotion-ridden hysteria of trigger warnings, micro-aggressions, and safe spaces. Many heroic voices have actively fought against the emotional insanity of these “precious little snowflakes” (hat-tip to Ben Shapiro, Steven Crowder, and Milo Yinnaupolis). But while criticizing the irrational insanity of the left, which began at simmer stage decades ago, and has now boiled over into full-blown bat-sh*t crazy, we failed to see a similar phenomenon bubbling up in our own “camp”. There’s no denying it now, though. The pure emotionalism and irrationality of Trump supporters demonstrates that this mind-eating malaria which seems to be in the air isn’t exclusive to the left.
If you've been paying attention at all to the increasingly radical rhetoric of the Left––whether on college campuses, in the BLM "protests", or the SJW crowd––you know that they are convinced that there is something deeply and psychologically wrong with "The West" in general, and with American Capitalism, in particular. This isn't the old-school quazi-liberal rhetoric that the system is broken and needs to be fixed. The new guard will not be satiated with tinkering around the edges. To them, the system, itself, is fundamentally immoral. Of course there are all sorts of ways to analyze and answer these allegations of immorality––the best of which is to question their fundamental moral premises––but beyond the fact that, at the end of the day, their self-righteous moral high-ground is grounded in nothing but their own emotions, I've noticed something interesting about the very way they posture in presenting these supposed moral crises of our time: they seem to be projecting their own (pathological) assumptions on the culture. You could likely make this case with many of the modern topics of the "outrage culture", but here I want to focus in on one particular topic: Materialism. ...continue reading
Piper's recent article on armed Christian self-defense has stirred up a lot of controversy, primarily because, in it, he sheds a lot of doubt on whether and when it is ever appropriate for Christians to physically defend themselves––particularly with a weapon. While the points in his article offer a much needed Biblical emphasis on trusting and glorifying God in the midst of tribulation, the article doesn't seem to leave much room (if any) for glorifying God through self-defense. However, I would like to submit the bold idea that Piper's position might be altered if he were to think a little bit more like a Christian Hedonist about this issue.
As I observe the increasingly evasive tactics of those who are defending Planned Parenthood, I can’t help but notice the sad similarities to those who so evasively defend blatant irrationality in theology. And I’m not surprised, because it all comes from the common root of relativism, and is supported by the militant insistence of moderation. Relativism and moderation: those are the destructive twin “narratives” of our time, and though evangelical Christians would love to protest otherwise, they are, in large part, complicit in that destruction. ...continue reading
In the last post, we concluded that the will must be free in some way, but we didn’t really specify in which way. I was going to do that in this post, but I realized that it would likely be more helpful to first discuss in which ways the will is not free. In fact, this will help us to narrow our focus down to see the simplicity of what is properly meant by the term, free will.
Free From Reality?
The most important question which must be asked about free will is, “free––from what?” You see, many wish to hold that, in order for the will to be free, it must be free in every possible way, from every possible thing. To this, I ask: free from reality? Then the will is not a real thing, for that is what it means to be “free from reality.” Free from any sort of cause and effect? ...continue reading
The idea of free will tends to run into problems (or at least perceived problems) in both atheistic worldviews (like Objectivism) and in theistic worldviews (like Christianity). The Christian Egoist advocates certain “brands”, or aspects, of both, and therefore I get a lot of questions about free will, or things pertaining to it. Whether you’re dealing with “strict” laws of logic and nature, or with “strict” ideas of God’s sovereignty and providence, many seem to think that such “suffocating” ideas must necessarily “crowd out” any possible notion of human free will. But could this be because such people haven’t thought very carefully about what free will is? I think so. ...continue reading