Category Archives: Commentary

Jesus’ death on the cross is sufficient to reconcile rebellious humans to God

Bible study that hits the spot
Bible study that hits the spot

I thought I post this passage from Colossians for everyone to think about, because I had some thoughts about it.

Colossians 1:15-23:

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,

20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.

22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—

23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

I don’t think anyone can read this and think that there is anything that they have to do in order to contribute to their reconciliation with God. This passage is really clear – when it comes to being reconciled with God, Jesus does all the work. You can’t do anything to add to the solution, because Jesus is the whole solution. This is what Christians mean by Jesus is our savior. He saves us from the wrath of God by taking our punishment for us.

The reason I am posting this is because I have been having some discussions with Reformed theologians, and they are very suspicious of me having definite plans for my life. It’s very strange. The more I talk about things that I’d like to do in order to be a friend of Jesus, and treat him as Lord in my prioritization and decision-making, the more suspicious they get that I am trying to merit salvation.

The even stranger thing is that these Reformed people are clearly making a lot of decisions in their lives that reflect Jesus’ commands and Jesus’ priorities. I am sure that the Reformed people would be outraged if I asked them if their own plans and decisions were meant to contribute something to their own salvation. But I also think that they are hyper-sensitive to any sort of planning or allegiance to God that involves thoughtful decision-making. And they can sometimes be very passive, which I think is a consequence of their commitment to determinism (i.e. – they think that God is the sole determiner of whether a person is saved or not, and there is no human agency or human responsibility involved in having faith, not even in response to God’s initiative to save).

Being a Christian means treating Christ as Lord, i.e. – leader. Naturally, if Jesus is your leader, then you are interested in making decisions that respect his leadership. This is completely separate from the issue of Jesus as Savior. I think the Bible is very clear in urging people to trust Jesus, and I think that this trust comes out in actions. Jesus says that if you love him, then you should obey his commands. Christianity is not just something that I do in my mind, by having the right answers to theology questions. When I am faced with a decision about how to act, I can trust in Jesus by making a decision that respects Jesus as leader. Trust is one of the components of Biblical faith, the others being accurate knowledge and rational assent. Trusting in Jesus is not something that is an add-on to Jesus’ work of atoning for my rebellion against God with his death on the cross. Trusting in Jesus is, however, a necessary component of my faith in Jesus.

Is Google right to say that sex differences don’t exist?

Radical feminists complain a lot about sexism, but damage is self-inflicted
Radical feminists complain a lot about sexism, but damage is self-inflicted

Google recently fired a software engineer who asked them to do a better job of promoting diversity by actually appealing to women’s different needs and desires. He suggested more collaborative coding (“pair programming”) and more part-time work options. Google responded to his suggestions by ejecting him forcibly from their left-wing politically correct echo chamber. Google executives claim that their company is rooted in science. Well, is there a science of sex differences? Who is right?

This article from The Globe and Mail, which is the more leftist of Canada’s two national newspapers, is written by a PhD in the field of sexual neuroscience from York University.

She says:

Despite how it’s been portrayed, the memo was fair and factually accurate. Scientific studies have confirmed sex differences in the brain that lead to differences in our interests and behaviour.

As mentioned in the memo, gendered interests are predicted by exposure to prenatal testosterone – higher levels are associated with a preference for mechanically interesting things and occupations in adulthood. Lower levels are associated with a preference for people-oriented activities and occupations. This is why STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields tend to be dominated by men.

We see evidence for this in girls with a genetic condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia, who are exposed to unusually high levels of testosterone in the womb. When they are born, these girls prefer male-typical, wheeled toys, such as trucks, even if their parents offer more positive feedback when they play with female-typical toys, such as dolls. Similarly, men who are interested in female-typical activities were likely exposed to lower levels of testosterone.

As well, new research from the field of genetics shows that testosterone alters the programming of neural stem cells, leading to sex differences in the brain even before it’s finished developing in utero. This further suggests that our interests are influenced strongly by biology, as opposed to being learned or socially constructed.

Her article is filled with linked to peer-reviewed papers, although I removed the links when quoting her article.

She even links to peer-reviewed papers to refute the Google science-deniers:

Many people, including a former Google employee, have attempted to refute the memo’s points, alleging that they contradict the latest research.

I’d love to know what “research done […] for decades” he’s referring to, because thousands of studies would suggest otherwise. A single study, published in 2015, did claim that male and female brains existed along a “mosaic” and that it isn’t possible to differentiate them by sex, but this has been refuted by four – yes, four – academicstudies since.

This includes a study that analyzed the exact same brain data from the original study and found that the sex of a given brain could be correctly identified with 69-per-cent to 77-per-cent accuracy.

[…]Contrary to what detractors would have you believe, women are, on average, higher in neuroticism and agreeableness, and lower in stress tolerance.

I think the key point in this debate is one that the author makes herself: women ought to be able to find ways to study and work on things that are interesting to them. Of course some jobs pay more than others because they are more productive, and of course we should make women aware of the consequences of studying nonsense subjects that don’t pay. We don’t want women running up student loans they’ll never pay back, then defaulting on them and passing the costs off to taxpayers. But we shouldn’t try to push women into STEM jobs by watering down the requirements of those jobs – that just treats the people who can do the jobs very unfairly.

In my own case, I prefer women who do have STEM degrees and STEM work experience, but that’s because I think that STEM education and work experience grinds out some of the characteristics of women that make them bad partners for goal-directed men like myself. I have every reason for wanting more women in STEM, but I want them to do it honestly. I want them to be treated fairly, and not get a whole bunch of advantages in education and the workplace just because they are women.

Man builds $51 million theme park for his special needs daughter

What is the essential characteristic of a successful father?
What is the essential characteristic of a successful father?

This inspiring story comes to us from The Federalist.

Excerpt:

A Texas dad wanted to take his daughter, who has special needs, somewhere she could feel included while having fun. When Gordon Hartman realized a place like that didn’t exist, he decided to build an amusement park for her in San Antonio, Texas.

Gordon recounts watching his then-12-year-old daughter, Morgan, who is on the autism spectrum, try to play with a group of children who were swimming in a hotel pool where they were vacationing. But the kids ran away from her, likely because they didn’t know how to interact with someone with special needs.

The interaction broke Gordon’s heart and later inspired him to sell his homebuilding business to set up a nonprofit, The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, which provides grants and sponsorships to local charities that serve the special-needs community.

He then worked with a team of doctors, engineers, and special needs experts to create Morgan’s Wonderland, a theme park tailored to accommodate visitors with special needs. More than one million people have visited the $34 million park since its opening in 2010. Last month, Gordon opened an adjacent waterpark, Morgan’s Inspiration Island, to the tune of $17 million.

“When [Morgan] comes here she’s a rock star! Lots of people want to talk to her and take her picture, she’s very good with it,” Hartman told BBC.”Morgan knows the park is named after her, but I don’t think she understands the magnitude of what it represents and how it’s changed lives.”

The nice thing about this story is that it really shows what the design for fathers should be. This is what young single women should be looking for in a man. This pattern of behavior where the man is not greedy about money, but is instead able to take an interest in the lives of others who need help in order to grow, and then investing in them using money that he has earned by working. We can measure this father on a moral scale and say that he is a good father.

Many people seem to take pride these days in not judging men on moral grounds any more. Everything is feelings about surface-level concerns. Men are praised for offering fun and thrills right now, but not for what they do in a family unit as husband and father. There is no concept of a design for men that allows them to be graded out on the criteria that really matter. Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner, etc. all seem to be viewed by many as very desirable. I read women on the left who say that they will not even go out with a man who isn’t pro-abortion. Being pro-abortion basically means that you think sex is about recreation, not about something a husband and wife do in the context of marriage. And it also means that taking the life of an innocent person is a good way to avoid taking responsibility for your own choices. But this is exactly the opposite of what makes a good husband and a good father! Why would anyone choose that over this father in the story?

I can tell you one thing about this story. That little girl’s mother chose well. She didn’t let the culture sway her away from picking a man who majored in character. And now her daughter is getting the benefit of her good decision-making. A woman’s taking care of her children starts with making good decisions about men. And good decisions about men means deciding on men who are hard workers, good earners, sensitive to others, protectors of the weak, and generous givers. Good men let other people impose on them. Good men invest in the people around them. We need teach young women to remember what it is that men are designed to do.

Is living together before marriage the same as getting married?

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

Dad sent me this article from the Daily Signal. Let’s look at it, then I’ll give my opinion on this research.

Five points:

  1. Cohabiting couples are more prone to break up (and break up for good) than married couples
  2. Even after marrying, women who cohabitated prior to marriage are more apt to separate or divorce than those who did not.
  3. Men who cohabit tend to make less money than their married counterparts
  4. Among young mothers, married women are more financially secure than cohabiting women
  5. Cohabiting couples report more depression and more alcohol problems than married couples

The key points for me:

1. Cohabiting couples are more prone to break up (and break up for good) than married couples.  In the May 2003 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family Study, Georgina Binstock and Arland Thornton found that, in the first year of living together, couples who cohabited were eight times more likely to end their relationships than those who were married.  In the second and third years, those rates decreased to four and three times more likely, respectively.  And when it comes to getting back together after a breakup, cohabiting couples were about a third less likely to get back together again.

2. Even after marrying, women who cohabitated prior to marriage are more apt to separate or divorce than those who did not.  One study demonstrated that for women who lived with their partners before marriage, it was 33 percent more likely for their marriages to result in separation or divorce.

5. Cohabiting couples report more depression and more alcohol problems than married couples.  Even when controlling for race, age and gender, cohabiting individuals reported higher levels of depression than married ones, 2.8 points according to one study.  In another study, cohabiting individuals were three times more likely to report having problems with alcohol consumption than those who were married, as well as 25 percent more problems than single people who did not cohabit.  Cohabiting women indicated more alcohol problems than married women—and men who cohabited said they had more alcohol problems than both married and single men.

This article from the UK Daily Mail that Dina sent me says that 9 in 10 children being born now will see their parents split by the time the children reach 16.

It says:

Nearly nine out of ten babies born to co-habiting parents this year will have seen their family break up by the time they reach the age of 16, says a study.

Half of all children born this year will not be living with both natural parents when they reach their mid-teens, and almost all those who suffer family breakdown will be the children of unmarried parents, added the report.

The study, based on figures from the national census and large-scale academic surveys, extrapolates from current trends and calculates that just 9 per cent of babies born to cohabiting couples today will still have their parents living together by the time they are 16.

The report adds that the declining popularity of marriage and the rise of co-habitation will damage the lives of increasing numbers of children.

The figures were produced by researcher Harry Benson, of the Marriage Foundation think tank, who said: ‘The report provides solid evidence that married parents are more stable than unmarried parents.

[…]The study by the think  tank, which is headed by High Court family division judge Sir Paul Coleridge, was based  on findings from the census of 2001 and recent results from Understanding Society, a government-backed survey which charts the lives of people in 40,000 homes.

The report said that in 2001, four out of ten teenagers aged 15 were not living with both parents, and among the parents of 15-year-olds who stayed together, 97 per cent were married.

The article is from 2013, but I don’t see why things would have gotten any better. We are even more supportive as a society now of adult selfishness and less inclined to take care in our courting so that children are not deprived of fathers and/or mothers through our poor decision making.

So I’ve had experiences mentoring two women who started off as Christian, fell away from Christianity, then returned to the faith. Both of them spend time cohabitating with atheist men. So when I read numbers like the ones above, I want to warn Christian parents. You should not assume that your daughter will always be a Christian when you are raising them. You have to talk to them about these issues and share these numbers with them. Although you can start by telling them what the Bible says, you have to go on from there to explain what a romantic relationship looks like between Christians, and what happens to people who reject the Bible and start having premarital sex.

How secularism and socialism killed marriage and family in Canada

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

This is actually a news article from National Post, the more prestigious and less progressive of Canada’s two national newspapers.

Excerpt:

Couples without kids are outpacing their procreating counterparts, same-sex relationships are blossoming, multiple generations are living under the same roof and more people than ever are living alone, Statistics Canada revealed Wednesday as the 2016 census showcased more seismic changes in the way Canadians are living their lives.

[…]Canada is skewing older, with fewer children and less affinity for marriage — forcing legislators to adjust and adapt their policies and programs to fit a rapidly evolving reality.

[…]Higher rates of separation and divorce also mean more people living alone or as lone parents, as does an increasing number of women in the workforce, which fosters a greater sense of economic independence.

Childless couples grew in number at a faster rate over the last five years than couples with at least one child, leaving the latter group at 51.1 per cent of the population, the lowest level ever recorded.

The baby boomers who fuelled such population growth in the 20th century are empty nesters in the 21st. The census found younger Canadians who do have kids are living in places like Alberta, long a magnet for job-seeking families, or Nunavut, where fertility rates are high.

They also important large numbers of unskilled immigrants who paid less in taxes than they used in social programs:

Canada’s 35.15 million people are getting older; there are now more seniors than children under the age of 14. Immigration contributed two-thirds of the country’s population growth between 2011 and 2016, and that diversity has also added complexity to the Canadian family portrait.

At the time, the Liberal Party thought that importing a lot of non-Christians who would vote for bigger government dependency was a good idea. And it was a good idea to keep them getting elected, but now they are facing the long-term consequences of importing a lot of unskilled have-not socialists.

Canada legalized same-sex marriage, and same-sex marriages don’t produce children naturally:

And a decade after census-takers first collected numbers on same-sex marriage, such couples now make up one per cent of all households, with their overall numbers having increased by 60.7 per cent since 2006. Opposite-sex couples grew by just 9.6 per cent during the same period.

Today, about 12 per cent of all same-sex couples are living with children, be they biological offspring, adopted or members of a stepfamily. In raw numbers, there were 10,020 children aged 14 and under living with 8,770 same-sex couple parents on census day last year.

Canada legalized same-sex “marriage” a decade before America did.

Basically, the problem here is that men don’t get married in a big government socialist country, because they are taxed to pay for the big government, but they aren’t allowed to lead the family. The money men earn that would be used to make decisions about their households is eaten up by secular socialist government programs. Instead of gun ownership, they have a politically correct and ineffective police force. Instead of home-schooling or a network or private schools, there are failing public schools that indoctrinate rather than educate. Instead of a choice of medical providers, there is a single-payer system that makes you take a number and wait your turn. Instead of stay at home mothers, they have expensive, ineffective government-run daycare. Instead of deciding what kind of car to drive, car money is confiscated for public transportation. And so on and so on. This makes men opt out of marriage, and then you don’t get children being raised in two-parent homes. The whole society is set up to undermine the male aspiration to be the provider, and to make all the important decisions. There was a deep suspicion of letting men lead in their own homes.

Canadian schools are secular and they teach socialism. They undermine religious liberty and traditional moral values. There is affirmative action for women in the schools and in the workplace that discriminates against boys (in school) and men (in the workplace). The police and divorce courts regularly punish men for faked domestic violence and no-fault divorce. The entire Parliament and legal system is a hotbed of misandry and radical feminism.

In Canada, it’s now a criminal offense to disagree with transgenderism, and in the province of Ontario, if parents disagree with transgenderism, the government will seize your children. Speaking as a Christian man with a high income, and a high net worth, I find it unappealing to think that I would be paying the salaries of secular socialists so that they could then interfere in my life and rule over me. I would be forced to give social engineers my money, and they would be continuously overruling my leadership in the home.

Canada, as a nation, decided a while back to embrace non-judgmentalism and redistribution of wealth to make sinful lifestyles produce the same outcomes as traditional lifestyles. Everybody gets free health care. What this means is that only working people pay for health care, but only the immoral people used it. They thought that this was “compassion”, but it just meant that fewer people would work, and more people who go off down immoral rabbit trails in their personal lives. They have free abortions and free drug injection clinics and free sex change surgery. But they don’t have free homeschooling, free stay at home moms, or tax breaks for chastity and sobriety. Everything wrong was subsidized, and everything right was taxed. The state became an unofficial arbiter of disputes between husbands and wives, always siding with the unhappy, emotional wife against the husbands who attempted to lead their families to be moral and spiritual.

What we are seeing now is similar to what has been observed in European countries for decades. An aging population that is depending on government to provide health care and pensions for them in their old age. When government grows large, human beings become more and more irresponsible. The population of Canada has been trained to think that their future needs are government’s problem. They don’t have to marry and make children to care for them in their old age – that’s government’s problem. They don’t have to save their own money for old age – that’s  government’s problem. When the government taxes all your money and takes over everything in the private sector, including the traditional roles of churches and charities, people become passive and irresponsible. Canada proudly embraced abortion and the redefinition of marriage, and now they don’t have a new generation of taxpayers to pay for their bloated government.

Next stop, Greece. Well done, Canada. If you want to have secularism, socialism and feminism, then you can’t have liberty, marriage and family. They made their choice, and we ought to be learning from their mistakes.