Category Archives: News

How are Christians treated in communist, atheist China?

Now, a lot of atheists are desperate to affirm that they have a rationally-grounded system of morality. They want to claim rational grounding for moral values, moral duties, inalienable human rights, etc. But you can find out a lot about atheist morality by looking at countries that have abandoned Christianity. Countries where atheists are in the majority, ruling over the moral minority.

Consider this article from the New York Post:

China is attempting to brainwash Christians by holding them in mobile “transformation facilities,” according to a new report.

Radio Free Asia relayed stories last week from a man given the pseudonym Li Yuese, who said he was beaten in a windowless room for nearly 10 months.

Li said he was detained after authorities raided his house church in 2018. “There were no windows, no ventilation and no time allowed outside,” said Li. “I was given just two meals a day, which were brought to the room by a designated person.”

He said authorities “threaten, insult and intimidate you. These were United Front officials, men, women, sometimes unidentified, usually in plain clothes. The police turn a blind eye to this.”

“You have to accept the statement they prepare for you.”

Li added that if “you refuse, you will be seen as having a bad attitude and they will keep you in detention and keep on beating you.”

His fellow inmates, he said, were released on bail and had taken part in church-related activities.

The suppression affected both Protestants and Catholics, with priests disappearing for “five, six, even 10 years at a stretch,” he said.

According to the The Black Book of Communism, published by Harvard University Press, over 100 million innocent people were killed in atheistic, communist regimes in the last century. In the past, consistent atheists like Stalin who had power enough to ignore objective morality caused millions of innocent deaths. And you can even see atheism killing lots and lots of people in countries like North Korea today – where the official state religion is atheism. Why is that? It’s because the worldview of atheism teaches that the universe, and human beings, are here by accident. We are all just molecules in motion, and there is no inherent dignity or purpose to any of our lives that would obligate others to treat us a certain way.

On the Christian view, every single person has dignity because they are made in the image of God, and made to know him. Christians can never treat another person (of any religion or no religion) in any way that would discourage them from knowing God and experiencing his love for us. We could never hurt anyone in a way that causes them to turn against God. We are careful with people, because we want to act towards them in a way that helps them to accomplish this purpose.

Contrast that with atheists. Almost all atheists are pro-abortion, and even those who aren’t tend to vote for political candidates who favor unrestricted abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy, and even after birth. Barack Obama voted against restrictions on infanticide twice as a state senator. And this wasn’t a problem for the atheists who who supported him. In an accidental universe, there is no rational basis for human rights. There’s no way we ought to be. And no free will to allow for making moral decisions. We’re just machines made out of meat. So, why would a powerful machine care about honoring the needs of a weaker unborn machine? Or consider atheists who seek to weaken and overturn natural marriage. Why would powerful adults have to restrain themselves to provide children with a biological mother and father? If atheism is true, anything goes. They act nicely when things are going their way, but when their right to happiness is threatened by your conscience rights or your religious liberty, then get ready to be destroyed.

Of course there are lots of atheists in the Judeo-Christian West who live more peacefully, because they are living in a background of objective morality and human rights provided by Western religions. But in countries like North Korea, with a state religion that cannot ground free will or objective morality or human rights or judgment after death, there are fewer restraints. You really have to judge atheists not by how they act when they are in the minority of a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles. You have to judge atheists by how they act when they take control, and are unopposed.

How well are Democrats doing on crime prevention and border security?

So, one of the reasons why people vote for the Republican party is because Republican policies are better for law-abiding people to be safe. Republicans are in favor of allowing law-abiding people to defend themselves from criminals. Republicans are in favor of using police to investigate and prevent crimes. Republicans are in favor of securing the border and keeping criminal aliens out.

So the Democrats won the 2020 election, and they have the House, Senate and White House. So, how are they doing on crime?

Here’s the Washington Examiner:

A new crime reporting system released by the FBI shows that the murder rate in virtually every city in the United States is at its highest levels in more than two decades.

In 2020, the country saw more homicides than in any year since 1998. Experts came to that conclusion after looking at reported quarterly data from roughly 12,000 agencies in various cities and states.

The spike, totaling at over 20,000 recorded homicides, was the largest one-year increase in U.S. history. Every city that reported data saw at least a 20%-25% jump in murders.

[…]In New York, murders rose an estimated 41% in 2020 over the previous year.

Chicago saw an over 50% increase at 774 recorded homicides, and Los Angeles saw a roughly 20% increase.

Hmm, it looks like the people who wanted to “de-fund the police” and ban owning firearms for self-defense are not doing a very good job of crime prevention. Does it make sense to think that banning firearms and abolishing the police would work to reduce violent crime? It seems to me that these policies would increase violent crime. And that’s exactly what we see. Even in Democrat-run areas where the police were not abolished, their budgets were slashed and they’ve been hamstrung by woke regulations, so they can’t do their jobs. And Biden just announced more restrictions on gun ownership by law-abiding people. Those restrictions don’t affect criminals, of course. They just affect law-abiding gun owners.

Border security

Well, how are things going on the Southern border? Are the Democrats keeping out criminal aliens and terrorists?

Here is the far-left Washington Post:

Preliminary enforcement data for March confirms what border officials have been saying for weeks: The number of migrants crossing into the United States has skyrocketed to the highest levels in at least 15 years, and record numbers of teenagers and children arriving without parents have overwhelmed the government’s ability to care for them.

Though President Biden and his top officials have refused to acknowledge it is a crisis, the latest data shows the new administration under extraordinary strain.

U.S. agents took more than 171,000 migrants into custody last month, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures that contradict Biden’s claims that his administration is facing an influx no different from previous years. The rapid increase in border arrests and detentions — which has more than doubled since January — underscores the magnitude of the challenge facing an administration that has promised more-humane and more-welcoming immigration policies.

Biden officials now find themselves racing to add thousands of emergency shelter beds to alleviate dangerous overcrowding inside tent enclosures, where Central American teens and children are being held for longer than legal limits and sleeping shoulder to shoulder under foil blankets for days on end.

Democrats might be tempted to say that it’s not Biden’s fault that there is a crisis like this – a crisis that is costing taxpayers $1 million per day – but that would ignore the specific policies he and his band of secular leftists have put in.

The Washington Examiner explains:

The Republicans pointed to several things Biden has done to create the current crisis. First, he did away with President Donald Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, which required asylum seekers to stay in Mexico, not in the United States, while their asylum claims were adjudicated. Second, Biden ended Trump’s asylum agreements with the Northern Triangle countries — El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — to steer would-be asylum seekers from those nations into safe countries other than the U.S. Third, Biden gutted Trump’s use of Title 42, the government’s authority to expel most migrants for the purpose of controlling the spread of COVID. Biden did not throw Title 42 away altogether but is by some accounts now letting most would-be migrants stay rather than be turned away because of the pandemic.

The surge, Scalise said, “was created when President Biden got rid of things like the Remain in Mexico policy. He could put that back in place tomorrow and stop this surge of illegals coming over.”

In addition, Biden came into office promising to end all deportations for the first 100 days of his presidency. With very few exceptions, he has done just that. Finally, Biden stopped construction of the Trump border wall. All of these moves opened the door to would-be illegal crossers and also sent the message to thousands of people in the Northern Triangle and elsewhere: Come now, and you can stay.

Biden also reinstated the “catch and release” policy that Trump eliminated. That means that people who are caught crossing the border are given a court date, then immediately released into the United States. Few show up for their court date. How will illegal aliens live? It seems to me that they will be more likely to resort to committing crimes, but that’s no concern of the Democrats who rule us… they couldn’t care less if a few Americans get robbed or killed.

Next time, we need to do better.

Study: belief in free will linked to ability to behave morally and to help others

A while back I finished reading “God’s Crime Scene”, the new book by J. Warner Wallace. I wanted to post something about some studies he mentioned in Chapter 6, on free will. This is one of the places where he found evidence in a surprising area.

Wallace says that free will makes more sense if theism is true, because we have non-material souls that interact with our bodies, but are not causally determined by them. On atheism, only matter exists, and you can’t get free will (or consciousness) from matter. So atheists like Sam Harris and Alex Rosenberg, for example, deny free will, because they are materialists and atheists.

Anyway, here’s what he writes on p. 256:

In 2008, researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of British Columbia conducted experiments highlighting the relationship between a belief in determinism and immoral behavior. They found students who were exposed to deterministic literature prior to taking a test were more likely to cheat on the test than students who were not exposed to literature advocating determinism. The researchers concluded those who deny free will are more inclined to believe their efforts to act morally are futile and are, therefore, less likely to do so.

In addition, a study conducted by researchers from Florida State University and the University of Kentucky found participants who were exposed to deterministic literature were more likely to act aggressively and less likely to be helpful toward others.” Even determinist Michael Gazzaniga conceded: “It seems that not only do we believe we control our actions, but it is good for everyone to believe it.”” The existence of free will is a common characteristic of our experience, and when we deny we have this sort of free agency, there are detrimental consequences.

I decided to look up these studies.

Here’s the abstract for first study: (2008)

Does moral behavior draw on a belief in free will? Two experiments examined whether inducing participants to believe that human behavior is predetermined would encourage cheating. In Experiment 1, participants read either text that encouraged a belief in determinism (i.e., that portrayed behavior as the consequence of environmental and genetic factors) or neutral text. Exposure to the deterministic message increased cheating on a task in which participants could passively allow a flawed computer program to reveal answers to mathematical problems that they had been instructed to solve themselves. Moreover, increased cheating behavior was mediated by decreased belief in free will. In Experiment 2, participants who read deterministic statements cheated by overpaying themselves for performance on a cognitive task; participants who read statements endorsing free will did not. These findings suggest that the debate over free will has societal, as well as scientific and theoretical, implications.

And the abstract for the second study: (2009)

Laypersons’ belief in free will may foster a sense of thoughtful reflection and willingness to exert energy, thereby promoting helpfulness and reducing aggression, and so disbelief in free will may make behavior more reliant on selfish, automatic impulses and therefore less socially desirable. Three studies tested the hypothesis that disbelief in free will would be linked with decreased helping and increased aggression. In Experiment 1, induced disbelief in free will reduced willingness to help others. Experiment 2 showed that chronic disbelief in free will was associated with reduced helping behavior. In Experiment 3, participants induced disbelief in free will caused participants to act more aggressively than others. Although the findings do not speak to the existence of free will, the current results suggest that disbelief in free will reduces helping and increases aggression.

So what to make of this?

If you’re an atheist, then you are a physical object. And like every other physical object in the universe, your behavior is determined by genetic programming (if you’re alive) and external inputs. Material objects do not have the ability to make free choices, including moral choices.

Here’s prominent atheist Jerry Coyne’s editorial in USA Today to explain why atheists can’t ground free will.

Excerpt:

And that’s what neurobiology is telling us: Our brains are simply meat computers that, like real computers, are programmed by our genes and experiences to convert an array of inputs into a predetermined output. Recent experiments involving brain scans show that when a subject “decides” to push a button on the left or right side of a computer, the choice can be predicted by brain activity at least seven seconds before the subject is consciously aware of having made it. (These studies use crude imaging techniques based on blood flow, and I suspect that future understanding of the brain will allow us to predict many of our decisions far earlier than seven seconds in advance.) “Decisions” made like that aren’t conscious ones. And if our choices are unconscious, with some determined well before the moment we think we’ve made them, then we don’t have free will in any meaningful sense.

Atheist William Provine says atheists have no free will, no moral accountability and no moral significance:

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either.

(Source)

If you don’t have free will, then you can’t make moral choices, and you can’t be held morally responsible. No free will means no morality. Can you imagine trying to get into any sort of enterprise with someone who has this view of moral choices? A marriage, or a business arrangement, etc? It would be crazy to expect them to behave morally, when they don’t even think that moral choices is possible. It just excuses all sorts of bad behavior, because no one is responsible for choosing to do the right thing.

Believers in materialism are going to struggle with prescriptive morality, including self-sacrificial care and concern for others. Their worldview undermines the rationality of the moral point of view. You might find atheists acting morally for their own purposes, but their worldview doesn’t rationally ground it. This is a big problem for people who can see objective morality woven into the universe – and themselves – because they have the awareness of objective right and wrong.

Choosing to do the right thing

I think what atheists like to say is “I can be moral, too”. That’s not interesting. What is interesting is whether it is rational for you to be moral when doing the right thing sets you back. When I look at the adultery of Dawkins, the polyamory of Carrier, the divorces of Shermer and Atkins, etc. I am not seeing anything that really wows me about their ability to do the right thing when it was hard for them to do it. They all deny free will of course, and think that trying to resist temptation is a waste of time.

Wallace explains how the awareness of free will and moral choices caused him to turn away from atheism, in this blog post.

He writes:

As an atheist, I chose to cling to naturalism, in spite of the fact that I lived each day as though I was capable of using my mind to make moral choices based on more than my own opinion. In addition, I sought meaning and purpose beyond my own hedonistic preferences, as though meaning was to be discovered, rather than created. I called myself a naturalist while embracing three characteristics of reality that simply cannot be explained by naturalism. As a Christian, I’m now able to acknowledge the “grounding” for these features of reality. My philosophical worldview is consistent with my practical experience of the world.

I think atheists who want to be honest about their own experience of first-person consciousness, free will, moral realism, etc. will do well to just accept that theism rationally grounds all of these things, and so you should accept theism. Theism is real. If you like morality, and want to be a virtuous person, then you should accept theism.