All posts by Wintery Knight

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How a Bible-believing Christian won election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn
Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn

First, let’s go over the news story for this blog post, and then I’ll have comments after. The news story comes to us from the purple state of Wisconsin, which recently handed former Governor Scott Walker a narrow loss to his Democrat opponent Tony Evers. The news story is about a recent election for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Here’s the story from National Review.

They write:

On Wednesday, liberal-backed Wisconsin supreme court candidate Lisa Neubauer formally conceded to conservative-backed Brian Hagedorn after the official canvas of the vote only increased Hagedorn’s lead of roughly 6,000 votes out of 1.2 million ballots cast.

As we reported last week, Hagedorn’s victory was nothing short of stunning. His campaign had been left for dead by some business groups in the state after his opponents attacked him as an anti-LGBT bigot for founding a private Christian school that upholds traditional Christian beliefs about marriage and sex. The Wisconsin Realtors Association withdrew its endorsement, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce decided to stay out of the race.

[…]The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reported that liberal groups backing Neubauer outspent conservative groups backing Hagedorn by as much as a 14-1 margin until the last week of the race, when the RSLC swooped in with a million-dollar ad campaign. It didn’t erase the disparity between conservative and liberal spending in the state, but did narrow the gap.

Here’s one of the ads that helped Hagedorn to win:

I was curious who the outside groups were campaigning against Hagedorn, and it turned out to be groups like Planned Parenthood, the big abortion providers who sell the body parts of children whose mothers didn’t want them. I guess they were afraid that he might put a stop to the taxpayer-funding of their business.

Basically, the question being decided in the election was “is it allowable for a Bible-believing Christian to hold elected office?”

And the answer in Wisconsin was, surprisingly, “yes”. A different National Review article explains how grass roots conservatives turned the tide:

The attacks on Hagedorn’s religious views “just lit an incredible grassroots fire,” says Brian Reisinger, a Republican strategist in Wisconsin who has worked for Scott Walker and Senator Ron Johnson. “They were calling this guy a bigot. They were saying that he was speaking to hate groups” because he had spoken to Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group that backs religious freedom.

As a law student, Hagedorn also wrote on a blog that “Planned Parenthood is a wicked organization more committed to killing babies than to helping women.” The narrator in one TV ad claimed that Hagedorn would outlaw abortion “even when a woman’s health is in danger.”

I know we should be happy that Hagedorn won his election, and in a purple state no less. But reading about these attacks against Christians from the secular left really made me unhappy. It’s just so strange to see one group of people so committed to making other people celebrate their sexual behaviors against their own conscience. But maybe the bullying of Christians has come to a point where even ordinary people are starting to say “enough”.

This article from the New York Post explains:

Conservative activist Mary Magdalen Moser, a poll worker for the Republicans, sensed a turn in the tide. She was infuriated by the media’s treatment of Hagedorn — and she knew the populist coalition that put Trump in office would be electrified.

“Wisconsinites have always been a very open bunch,” she told me. “As long as you stay out of our way, we let you do your own thing. People were incensed that Neubauer went after Hagedorn’s faith.”

[…]“Trump and Hagedorn won because they didn’t back down,” said Moser, a 56-year-old who lives in Kenosha. Though she grew up in a Democratic home and has never registered with either party, she calls the treatment of Hagedorn a tipping point.

“Freedom of religion cannot be perverted into freedom from religion,” Moser said. “Tolerance must remain a two-way street, especially in our judicial branch.”

So, it turns out that mistreating evangelical Christians isn’t a winning strategy all the time. At least, it wasn’t this time. So what’s the way forward?

Well, I think that we who are conservative Christians need to do a better job of reading the news and sharing articles about how the secular left is using political power to silence and coerce Christians. The left is pushing an agenda in the culture that conservative Christians are predators, but the truth is we have less rights than non-Christians. Non-Christians don’t get dragged through the mud in public so they get fired. Non-Christians don’t get dragged into human rights courts for offending people.

I think we need to work on our brand as Christians, too. Being a Christian ought to mean things like chastity, sobriety, charitable giving, and stable marriages with lots of well-adjusted children. We should embrace our reputation as morally straight, and just try to show that off to others. Share when we make charitable donations. Share about our volunteering. Share about our marriages and children. Share about how much we show love for other Christians.

Have you heard about Dr. Angus Menuge’s ontological argument against naturalism?

Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division test the new M-17 pistol

My friend Seth mentioned to me that he likes the argument from reason, so I thought I would post something about it from a Christian scholar who I really admire. Dr. Angus Menuge offers the best (I think) argument for the proposition that theism is the best ground for our reasoning capability.

Let’s start with some information about Dr. Menuge:

Dr. Angus Menuge joined Concordia University Wisconsin in 1991. He earned his BA from the University of Warwick, England, and his MA and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied philosophy, computer science and psychology. Menuge’s dissertation was on the philosophy of action explanation, and his current research interests include philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and Christian apologetics.

In 2003, Menuge earned a Diploma in Christian Apologetics from the International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights, which meets each July in Strasbourg, France. His thesis, a critique of scientific materialism, went on to become the book Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004).

[…]A frequent speaker, Menuge has given presentations on Christianity and culture, science and vocation, philosophy of mind, C. S. Lewis, Intelligent Design and the case against scientific materialism. He is a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.

Dr. Menuge presented a paper at a recent Evangelical Philosophical Society conference for students and professors of philosophy, and you can download the paper here as a PDF. I got these straight from the source, and got permission to post them, too.

Here is the introduction to the paper that Dr. Menuge read at the EPS conference:

The argument from reason is really a family of arguments to show that reasoning is incompatible with naturalism. Here, naturalism is understood as the idea that foundationally, there are only physical objects, properties and relations, and anything else reduces to, supervenes on, or emerges from that. For our purposes, one of the most important claims of naturalism is that all causation is passive, automatic, event causation (an earthquake automatically causes a tidal wave; the tidal wave responds passively): there are no agent causes, where something does not happen automatically but only because the agent exerts his active power by choosing to do it. The most famous version of the argument from reason is epistemological: if naturalism were true, we could not be justified in believing it. Today, I want to focus on the ontological argument from reason, which asserts that there cannot be reasoning in a naturalistic world, because reasoning requires libertarian free will, and this in turn requires a unified, enduring self with active power.

The two most promising ways out of this argument are: (1) Compatibilism—even in a deterministic, naturalistic world, humans are capable of free acts of reason if their minds are responsive to rational causes; (2) Libertarian Naturalism—a self with libertarian free will emerges from the brain. I argue that neither of these moves works, and so, unless someone has a better idea, the ontological argument from reason stands.

The paper is 11 pages long, and it is awesome for those of you looking for some good discussion of one of the issues in the area of philosophy of mind.

By the way, the epistemological argument from reason (P(R) on N & E is low) is the argument made by the famous Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga. I blogged about that argument before. It’s good to know BOTH of these arguments. They both work, and they are both awesome. If you put these two arguments together with William Lane Craig’s moral argument, that’s three strong philosophical arguments that are easy to use, but backed by solid analytic philosophy.

Powerpoint slideshow

But there is more than just the paper! At the EPS apologetics conference, which is meant for lay people as well as scholars, he presented this slideshow which I converted to PDF. The slides are easier to understand than the paper, but the paper is not too bad.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

Peter J. Williams debates Bart Ehrman on his book “Misquoting Jesus”

Dr. Peter J. Williams, an expert on New Testament reliability
Dr. Peter J. Williams, an expert on New Testament reliability

I have to re-post this debate between Bart Ehrman and Peter J. Williams, because Dr. Williams just followed me on Twitter. I noticed that he had re-tweeted one of the two senators I follow on Twitter, so I re-tweeted him. I like Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley, and he re-tweeted Senator Hawley talking about free speech.

Bart Ehrman posted the debate audio on YouTube:

Details:

Bart Ehrman is the US author of the bestselling book “Misquoting Jesus” (In the UK “Whose word is it?”).  He calls into question the authority of the New Testament as scribal changes over time have changed the documents.

So can we trust the scripture? Bible scholar Peter Williams believes in the reliability of the New Testament and that Bart’s prognosis is far too pessimistic.

This post is a re-post from 2011. I have been listening to this lecture by Peter J. Williams on “Misquoting Jesus” this week, and it reminded me to re-post this debate. (I checked to make sure the MP3 link is still good, and it is)

Summary of the Williams-Ehrman debate:

Note: this summary is snarky. If you want an accurate view of the debate, then listen to it. My summary is meant to be humorous.

Ehrman:

  • I had a mystical experience in childhood and became an evangelical Christian
  • I went to Moody Bible Institute, and they told me that the Bible was inerrant
  • For a while, I was committed to the view that there are no mistakes in the Bible
  • At Princeton, I was taught and graded by professors who did not accept inerrancy
  • By a strange coincidence, I began to see that the Bible did have errors after all!
  • We don’t have the original documents written by the original authors, we only have thousands of copies
  • if the words of the Bible are not completely inerrant, then none of it is historical
  • if all of the words in all the copies of the Bible are not identical, then none of it is historical

Williams:

  • I would say the New and Old testaments are the Word of God
  • We don’t need to have the original Greek writings in order to believe in the authority of the Bible
  • I believe in inerrancy, but doesn’t mean there are no problems
  • the doctrine of inerrancy has always referred to the original Greek copies, not the translations

Moderator:

  • what are the main points of Misquoting Jesus?

Ehrman:

  • we don’t have the originals of any of the books of the New Testament
  • we have copies that are much later, sometimes even centuries later!!1!
  • the copies we have all differ from one another – they were changed by scribes!!1!
  • we have 5000 manuscripts in the original Greek language
  • there are hundreds of thousands of differences!!1!
  • most of the differences don’t matter
  • some differences are significant for meaning or doctrine
  • errors are propagated because the next scribe inherits the mistake of their source copy
  • a large gap between the time of writing and the first extant copy means more errors have crept in

Williams:

  • the reason we have so many variants is because the number of manuscripts is large

Angry Jesus or compassionate Jesus in Mark

Ehrman:

  • most manuscripts say that Jesus was compassionate when healing a leper, but one says he was angry
  • it makes a huge huge huge really really big difference if Jesus is compassionate or angry
  • the whole Bible needs to be thrown out because of this one word between different in one manuscript

Williams:

  • this variant is important for understanding the passage, but it has no great meaning
  • the change is probably just an accident – the two words are very similar visually in Greek
  • it’s just an accident – it emerged in one manuscript, and it impacted a few more
  • the tiny number of manuscripts that have the error are geographically isolated
  • I’m pretty sure that WK prefers the angry Jesus anyway – so who cares?

Ehrman:

  • no! someone changed it deliberately! it’s a conspiracy! you should buy my book! it’s a *big deal*!!!!!1!!1!one!!eleventy-one!

The woman caught in adultery in John

Ehrman:

  • it is isn’t in any of the earliest manuscripts
  • this is an apocryphical story that some scribe deliberately inserted into the text
  • most people don’t even know about this! it’s a cover-up! you need to buy my scandalous book!

Williams:

  • that’s right, it’s a late addition by some overzealous scribe
  • and it’s clearly marked as such in every modern Bible translation
  • the only people who don’t know about this are people who don’t read footnotes in their Bible
  • and in any case, this isn’t a loss of the original words of the New Testament – it’s an addition

Grace of God or apart from God in Hebrews

Ehrman:

  • well this is just a one word difference, but it makes a huge huge really really big difference!
  • the words are very similar, so it’s could be an accident I guess
  • but it wasn’t! this was a deliberate change! it’s a conspiracy! it’s a cover-up! scandal!
  • buy my book! It’s almost as good as Dan Brown!

Moderator:

  • hmmmn…. I kind of like “apart from God” – why is this such a big scandal again?

Ehrman:

  • you don’t care? how can you not care? it has to be inerrant! or the whole thing is false!
  • Moody Bible Institute says!

Williams:

  • yeah Bart is always saying that every change is deliberate but it’s just an accident
  • the words are very similar, just a few letters are different, this is clearly an accident
  • I have no problem with apart from God, or by the Grace of God
  • please move on and stop screaming and running around and knocking things over

Moderator:

  • but what if pastors try to use this passage in a sermon?

Williams:

  • well, one word doesn’t make a big different, the meaning that appears is fine for preaching
  • it’s only a problem for people who treat the Bible as a magic book with magical incantations
  • they get mad because if one word is out of place then the whole thing doesn’t work for their spell
  • then they try to cast happiness spells but the spells don’t work and they experience suffering
  • the suffering surprises them since they think that fundamentalism should guarantee them happiness
  • then they become apostates and get on TV where they look wide-eyed and talk crazy

Ehrman:

  • hey! are you talking about me? a lot of people buy my books! i am a big success!
  • it is very important that people don’t feel bad about their sinning you know!

Is Misquoting Jesus an attack?

Williams:

  • it’s rhetorically imbalanced and misleading
  • it tries to highlight change and instability and ignore the majority of the text that is stable
  • he makes a big deal out of 5 or so verses that are different from the mainstream text
  • he says that scribes deliberately changed the scriptures, but he doesn’t prove that
  • it’s just as likely that the differences are just scribal errors made by accident

Ehrman:

  • well, maybe the variants aren’t a big deal, but what about one angel vs. two angels?
  • that’s a significant issue! significant enough for me to become an apostate – a rich apostate
  • if one word is different because of an accident, then the whole Bible cannot be trusted
  • it has to be completely inerrant, so a one word difference means the whole thing is unreliable
  • we don’t even know if Jesus was even named Jesus, because of one angel vs two angels!!!1!
  • buy my book! you don’t have to read it, just put it on your shelf, then you’ll feel better about not having a relationships with God – because who’s to say what God really wants from you? Not the Bible!

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mocks decorated Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw for not fighting terrorism enough

Here's Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw and bartender/waitress Alexander Ocasio-Cortez
Here’s Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw and bartender/waitress Alexander Ocasio-Cortez

Wow, the more AOC opens her mouth, the more I think that she must be some kind of Republican plant. This time, Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye fighting terrorists, disagreed with Ilhan Omar, a Muslim Democrat Congresswoman. AOC decided to defend Omar, and shame Crenshaw for not doing enough to fight terrorism.

You can watch the 20-second clip of Omar here.

In the clip, she tells CAIR (the Council of American-Islamic Relations) that:

CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.

So, according to her, a terrorist attack committed by Muslim extremists is “some people did something”, and her biggest concern about a terrorist attack that killed 3000 Americans is the loss of civil liberties faced by Muslims.

Dan Crenshaw saw the clip, and he tweeted this.

First Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as “some people who did something”.

Unbelievable.

Just to be clear, I know that not all Muslims talk like this, but I have direct experience with Muslims on my mom’s side of the family. They’re all Muslims. There are good Muslims who believe in liberty and even help America fight abroad. I read about the Muslims who helps us fight radical Islam in my military history books. But there are also some that don’t like liberty, don’t like Jews, and don’t like America. I have met them in my own family.

Anyway, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came to the rescue of Omar against Dan Crenshaw, matching her experience fighting terrorism as a 29-year-old bartender and server against the Navy SEAL who lost an eye while fighting terrorism. Crenshaw earned 2 Bronze Stars (one with Valor), the Purple Heart, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor.

She tweeted to Dan Crenshaw:

You refuse to cosponsor the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund, yet have the audacity to drum resentment towards Ilhan w/completely out-of-context quotes.

In 2018, right-wing extremists were behind almost ALL US domestic terrorist killings. Why don’t you go do something about that?

That’s right, Ms. Bartender-Waitress, or whatever your name is. You tell that cowardly, useless Navy SEAL who lost an eye fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq how to fight terrorism. Also, feel free to make up facts about domestic terrorism, as well.

Young people today. Wow.

This is the Democrat Party, folks. Half of America thinks they should be in power. Which is why when it’s election time, you need to do more than just vote. You need to go door-to-door, post signs, have a bumper sticker, and work a phone bank. Because we cannot have overgrown children who were born rich, and have achieved nothing their entire lives, running this country.

What’s CAIR?

So, who is CAIR? CAIR is the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal case about fundraising for an Islamic terrorist group.

The FBI is severing its once-close ties with the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, amid mounting evidence that it has links to a support network for Hamas.

All local chapters of CAIR have been shunned in the wake of a 15-year FBI investigation that culminated with the conviction in December of Hamas fundraisers at a trial where CAIR itself was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator.

The U.S. government has designated Hamas as a terrorist organization.

During the Obama years, the FBI worked closely with CAIR to make sure that no one was critical of Islam in America. According to former attorney general Loretta Lynch , her “greatest fear” was not that Americans would be killed in a terrorist attack, but that the terrorist attacks would cause ordinary Americans to express criticism of radical Islam.

Google employees revolt against having a black, female conservative on advisory board

Kay Coles James is president of the Heritage Foundation, my favorite think tank
Kay Coles James is president of the Heritage Foundation, my favorite think tank

My favorite think tank in all the world is the Heritage Foundation. Almost all of my favorite policy researchers work there. The president is a conservative black lady named Kay Cole James. Any company would be thrilled to have her on an advisory board. But not Google. A bunch of their employees revolted against her.

Here’s an article from the Daily Caller about it:

Google staffers are in revolt, demanding the removal of Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James from an advisory board the company convened on artificial intelligence. A petition with more than 2,000 signatories from within the company was published on Medium on Monday, with the title “Googlers Against Transphobia and Hate.”

The petition’s signers described the appointment of Coles, a black grandmother, as a “weaponization of the language of diversity.”

The petition was promoted internally within the company by five individuals, some of whom have a history of leftist agitation.

[…]One of them, Meredith Whittaker, who leads Google’s Open Research Group, posted on a private Google listserv that, “I would disagree that their views are important to consider when those views include erasing trans people, targeting immigrants and denying climate change.”

[…]Whittaker shot down this idea, “Instead [of] recognizing the historical gravity of our position, and rising to meet the occasion, we’ve invited a vocal bigot whose hand is on the lever of U.S. policy to shape our views on where, and how, to ‘responsibly’ apply this tech.

There’s no diversity of thought at Google. Remember what happened to James Damore, when he suggested that there were differences between men and women? They ended up firing him for holding to view that most Americans agree with. He even had research papers to support his arguments, but they didn’t care… it offended people on the left, so he had to go.

I’m blogging about this today, even though it occurred last week, because Kay wrote about it in the far-left Washington Post on Monday.

She wrote:

Last week, less than two weeks after the AI advisory council was announced, Google disbanded it. The company has given in to the mentality of a rage mob. How can Google now expect conservatives to defend it against anti-business policies from the left that might threaten its very existence?

I was deeply disappointed to see such a promising idea abandoned, but the episode was about much more than just one company’s response to intolerance from the self-appointed guardians of tolerance.

It was symptomatic of where America is heading. Whether in the streets or online, angry mobs that heckle and threaten are not trying to change hearts and win minds. They’re trying to impose their will through intimidation. In too many corners of American life, there is no longer room for disagreement and civil discourse. Instead, it’s agree or be destroyed.

[…]Being attacked is not new for me. As a black, conservative, pro-life, evangelical woman, I have spent most of my life being called names and being denounced for my beliefs.

I guess Google isn’t really committed to the only kind of diversity that matters: intellectual diversity.

By the way, my Google traffic on this blog has dropped off by 90% since the 2016 election. I think Google decided to get serious after they lost that elction (and tape emerged of their senior executives literally crying about their candidate losing).

This record of bias against even moderates and libertarians is a concern to me, because we previously saw that Google feels that it is their obligation to manipulate search results (and YouTube videos) in order to benefit their allies in the Democrat party. If Google really is altering their products and services to promote Democrats, then maybe it’s time for the federal government to step in and regulate them, so that our basic human rights are not infringed by far-left fascist extremists.

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