Audio debate: Should Christians be coerced to act like non-Christians by the state?

Our next debate in the series of 4 wacky British debates is on whether Christians should be allowed to express their faith in public. In particular, should Christians be allowed to express their faith in the workplace? In the UK, it sounds like it is virtually illegal, just like it was in Stalinist Russia or North Korea today.

The way it works in the UK is like this: if you are a nurse, and you offer to pray for a patient, you’re suspended. Period. The offendedness of thin-skinned atheists cancels out the liberties of Christians. Listening to the atheist Terry Sanderson is like listening to Stalin. American Christians will be shocked to find how atheism leads naturally to fascism. Listen to him for yourself!

Note that debates on the Unbelievable radio show start at about 15 minutes into the podcast.


Unbelievable? 18 Apr 2009 – Are Christians being marginalised?
Premier is inviting Christians to sign the “I am a Christian” declaration at www.iamachristian.org.uk and stand up for their Christian faith. It’s in response to the fact that over 100,000 have downloaded the National Secular Society’s “Debaptism” certificate, renouncing childhood baptismal vows.There have been a number of stories that suggest Christians are being restricted form being open about their Christian faith in the public arena, and now the National Secular Society is urging that hospital chaplains should not be funded by the NHS.Premier’s CEO Peter Kerridge explains why he believes the campaign will encourage Christian to be bold in their faith. Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society explains why they want to take Christian influence out of the public sphere, while Andrea Williams of Christian Concern for Our Nation explains why she believes the rights of Christians are being challenged.

Sign the declaration at www.iamachristian.org.uk

For Terry Sanderson see www.secularism.org.uk

For Andrea Williams see www.ccfon.org


Atheism naturally leads to heavy-handed censorship of other views.

Human rights and liberties have no place in an atheistic, materialistic universe – it’s just survival of the fittest. And that’s what led atheist regimes to murder 100 million people in the 20th century. Violence, hatred and coercion are natural on atheism. That’s consistent atheism. There are no objective moral values, moral duties and morally significant actions in an atheistic universe. It’s all accidental.

Yes, I am exaggerating for effect, many atheists are not like that, especially the libertarians and fiscal conservatives, who do believe (inconsistently) in morality and freedom of religion. But those are rare! In a materialist universe, there is no such thing as objective human rights and human dignity, so even the fundamental right of free speech and freedom of religious expression can be removed.

UPDATE: I just want to define fascism so people understand what I am saying. Fascism is the system of government in which the values and purposes of the state are imposed on the people through state coercion. When something that someone else says makes you feel bad, and you threaten them with state coercion, you are using the state to force that person to give up their fundamental rights, such as the right to free speech, and act in a state-approved manner. That’s fascism.

Atheists need to learn how to listen to those who disagree with them and tolerate other points of view.

UPDATE: Be sure and check my comparison of a famous, authentic, consistent Christian with a famous, authentic, consistent non-Christian.

Audio debate: Did Jesus rise from the dead?

Sometimes, they do debate serious questions on Unbelievable? radio show. But they feature clearly insane people like Steven Carr. Note that debates on the Unbelievable radio show start at about 15 minutes into the podcast. The Christian debater and callers are woefully uninformed in this debate, so I would recommend listening to something with William Lane Craig instead.


Unbelievable? 11 Apr 2009 – “Did Jesus Rise from the dead?” An atheist perspective

Steven Carr has a prolific presence on the internet as an atheist blogger and debater. He contends that the early Christians did not believe in Jesus’ resurrection and that the Biblical views of resurrection are contradictory.

Canon Michael Cole is a veteran defender of Christian faith and responds to Steven’s criticisms of the resurrection.

For Steven Carr see http://stevencarrwork.blogspot.com/

For Canon Michael Cole see http://www.nationwidechristiantrust.com


I’m trying to give my audience something different here. I prefer formal academic debates, but maybe I need to post things like this for some of the more crazy atheists who leave me weird comments. I don’t know. Maybe my Christian readers will enjoy hearing an unqualified loon rant and rave like a lunatic at the full moon. Your call.

UPDATE: I am, of course, kidding about Steve Carr and I think he did a good job in his debate, whereas his opponent and the callers were not nearly as prepared. I wanted to see how fast he would descend on my blog, and if you read the comments, you’ll see that I wasn’t mean to him at all. But I wanted to engage him in a discussion and I thought this was the best way to get his attention. I apologize for my sneaky tricks, but they worked!

My response to Carr would be two-fold:

1) That word you keep using. Resurrection. I do not think it means what you think it means.

2) How do you square the empty tomb with your idea of a non-physical resurrection? We have multiple early sources for the empty tomb, and piles of evidence for it from those early sources, not the least of which is the testimony of the women followers of Jesus.

Audio debate: Did Jesus die on a cross?

I’ve decided to feature 4 debate podcasts in 4 sequential posts. Each debate will be on an off the wall topic or feature a clearly insane person. They are all from the Unbelievable? radio show, which is broadcast in the UK. I don’t know what it is about these Brits, but they seem to really go in for the Monty Python in their debates.

The first debate features a strong Christian Tony Costa going up against the likable Muslim scholar Shabir Ally. I wish I had a Muslim friend like Shabir, because he is a smart guy and super polite. But the reason why this is a weird debate is because Shabir has to defend the idea that Jesus was never crucified, because that’s in the Koran.

But no historian believes that! So Shabir is really in tough. If you want to see the best debater that Islam can offer, then listen to Shabir, he is the best. I have even sponsored debates on university campuses that featured Shabir.

Note that debates on the Unbelievable radio show start at about 15 minutes into the podcast.


Unbelievable? “Did Jesus rise from the dead? Did he die on the cross?”4 Apr 2009

As Easter approaches we hear from one of the best respected Muslim scholars in the world – Shabir Ally. He explains why he does not believe Jesus rose from the dead, namely because he never actually died upon the cross – he merely ‘swooned’.

Christian Apologist Tony Costa presents his case for the resurrection of Christ and critiques Ally’s belief that Jesus did not die.

For Shabir Ally visit www.islaminfo.com

For Tony Costa visit www.freewebs.com/tonycosta/


Tony and Shabir are both from Canada!

Barack Obama outlaws capitalism: threatens Chrysler’s non-TARP creditors

UPDATE: More details about this story and related stories of government intervention and wealth redistribution are here.

UPDATE: Welcome visitors from 4Simpsons! Thanks for the link!

This bombshell comes to me from my favorite commenter ECM.

Newsbusters is reporting that the White House is making threats to Chrysler’s creditors. Obama is living that these creditors allowed Chrysler to go bankrupt, because he would prefer to throw your money at his auto union worker constituents. What does it mean when the President of the United States threatens and coerces private investors?

  • Private property is abolished
  • The free market is abolished
  • The rule of law is abolished
  • The Constitution has been abolished
  • Private contracts are abolished
  • Capitalism is abolished

It means that socialism has come to the United States, just as the rest of the world is abandoning a failed system.We are now the equivalent of Zimbabwe and North Korea! Our run of liberty and prosperity is now OVER.

The source of the story is a radio interview conducted between 760 WJR’s radio host Frank Beckmann and Tom Lauria, the attorney representing Chrysler’s non-TARP creditors. I am reproducing the full transcript, because you need to read the whole thing, especially what I’ve bolded.


Beckmann: So what’s the matter with your vulture clients who are so greedy and selfish. Why won’t they go along with this?

Lauria: Well, they bought a contract that says that they get paid before anyone else does by Chrysler. And they have been told by the government who is in complete control of Chrysler, oddly enough, that despite their contractual right, they do not get paid before everyone else.

So they are standing on their rights, standing on the law, trying to defend in effect what is the Constitution of the United States, to make sure that they get what they’re entitled to for their investors.

Beckmann: Tom, let me make the argument against you in another way. We’ve heard the President say this, “I wouldn’t want to stand on their side.” Ron Gettelfinger says “Everyone else has made concessions. These people won’t; they’re greedy.” Why not take a concession that is being asked of everybody else and is being accepted by everybody else, including other hedge funds that had bought some of these bonds in Chrysler?

Lauria: Well that’s a great question, because let me tell you it’s no fun standing on this side of the fence opposing the President of the United States. In fact, let me just say, people have asked me who I represent, and that’s a moving target.

I can tell you for sure that I represent one less investor today than I represented yesterday. One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House, and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight. That’s how hard it is to stand on this side of the fence.

Beckmann: Was that Perella Weinberg?

Lauria: That was Perella Weinberg.

Beckmann: All right.

Lauria: Now let me just tell you, to be clear, that we do not oppose the rehabilitation of Chrysler. We think it is vitally important that a company like Chrysler be protected to the extent that it can be within the framework of the law. I want to also say that we do not oppose the government backstopping or supporting the pensioneers and retirees and workers of Chrysler.

I actually think that in a troubled economic time like we’re in, that is an appropriate role for the government to perform. What we do oppose, however, is the abuse of the bankruptcy law to coerce first-lien lenders subsidize the rehabilitation of Chrysler or the backstop of the obligations to the pensioneers and retirees beyond what they will do voluntarily.

And just to be clear, these clients of mine have agreed to compromise 50% of their first-lien position to help support the rehabilitation of Chrysler — Contrary to what the President said yesterday in his new conference that “these people will not give to support the effort,” they have agreed to compromise 50% of what they’re owed to support the rehabilitation of Chrysler, despite the fact that they’re under no obligation whatsoever to do so.

That is what we stand for, and that is what we’re going to go to court to fight for.

Beckmann: OK, so they have offered to take 50 cents on the dollar. What are they being offered in return, and how does that compare to what other stakeholders, say the UAW, are going to be receiving?

Lauria: Here’s the troubling circumstance here. My clients bought a position in the Chrysler capital structure that entitles them to be paid “first dollars out.” That is, they’re to be paid 100 cents of what they’re owed before any junior creditors get a penny.

The government has offerend them 29 cents on the dollar, in the context of a restructuring of Chrysler that will send over $10 billion of value to junior claims. And when I say $10 (billion), that’s a floor. As we’re continuing to review the papers that Chrysler has filed in the bankruptcy court, that number may actually be more like $20 billion. So in other words, my clients, who are contractually entitled to 100 cents on the dollar, are being asked to take 29 cents on the dollar, while junior creditors are being offered somewhere between $10-$20 billion of value in the Chrysler rehabilitation.

Now I ask your listeners, what would they do if they were in our position?

Beckmann: Now Tom Lauria, let me cite a New York Times piece, I believe this was yesterday’s New York Times. No, it’s today’s as a matter of fact. And it says about the creditors who are standing firm: “Many of them bought Chrysler debt for about 30 cents on the dollar.” So what they’re saying is, “Look, they got a discount to begin with. They’re getting a good deal here. If they bought it for 30 and they’re being offered 29, that’s a great deal, better percentagewise than anybody else got.”

Lauria: Well, what people need to understand, first of all, that that is only speculation. There are people who bought this debt at par in my group, there are people who bought this at 70 cents, there are people who bought it at other prices. But what people really need to understand is that the people who bought this debt are pensioneers, teachers’ credit unions, personal retiree accounts, retirement plans, college endowments. That’s who my clients act as fiduciaries for. And they make all kinds of investments. And as you can imagine in this economy, there are numerous of those investments that have gone bad.

This was an investment that people made based on their assessment of the assets of Chrysler, and the view that this was a very secure, very safe investment. And they bought a contract that said they would get a very low rate of return in exchange for that high level of security. So the argument about what they paid for their investment really is irrelevant.

The fact of the matter is they bought a contract that said “you’re first in line, and in exchange for that you’re going to get a very low rate of return.” And I think everybody in this country should be concerned about the fact that the President of the United States, the executive office, is using its power to try to abrogate that contractual right. If the President will attack that contractual right, what right will it not attack?

Beckmann: You made a comment to me before we went on the air about the significance of this case as it relates to the Constitution. I’d like you to explain that to my audience.

Lauria: Well, look, there are kind of two aspects to that. The first is the right to property and the right to contract are kind of sacronsanct in this country. I think everybody understands that when you make a deal it’s supposed to be honored, and if it’s not honored you’re supposed to be able to get protection in court. And what is happening here, through the force of the United States government, and that’s what’s disturbing about this — I mean, private parties have contract disputes all the time — but for the United States Government to step in, the Executive Office of the United States Government, who under the Constitution is charged with enforcing the laws to step in and try to in effect break the laws, I think we should all be concerned about that. That is a constitutional issue.

OK, number one. Number two, realize that our Constitution is premised on the notion that there is a balance between the three branches of government: the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary.

And what’s going to be happening, in fact I’m going to have to go here, because I’m heading down to the bankruptcy court to start taking on this battle, which is of epic proportions. But what is going on here is you’ve got the executive branch coming into the judicial branch. And I think it is really important for the Constitution of the United States that people understand that the judicial branch can stand independent and interpret and apply the laws as it’s required to do under the Constitution in the face of intense pressure from the Executive branch to do otherwise.

Beckmann: Tom Lauria, really appreciate it. Final question, will Oppenheimer Funds and Stairway Capital, your other two clients in this, are they committed to standing firm? I’ve got to believe they’re facing the same pressure Perella Weinberg did before it changed its mind and said “Okay, we’ll go along now.”

Lauria: Well they are today, but the Executive Office hasn’t called them yet and made threats to them. So, maybe by tomorrow I won’t have any clients, and maybe this fight will be over.


Click the link below to see more commentary from National Review, Wall Street Journal and Hot Air.

Continue reading Barack Obama outlaws capitalism: threatens Chrysler’s non-TARP creditors

How socialism undermines family, community and the dignity of labor

UPDATE: Welcome visitors from Free Canuckistan! Thanks for the link, Binks!

I saw this amazing post over on the Pugnacious Irishman, and I would highly recommend you take a look at it. Rich comments on an essay by Charles Murray on whether the United States should start implementing European-style social policies.

Here is Rich’s summary of the Murray article:

In the annual Irving Kristol Lecture given at the American Enterprise Institute Dinner, he argues that while such Europe-style policies might produce an economic benefit or two, they are ill conceived because they suck the meaning out of life.  They do this by enfeebling the institutions necessary for robust meaning in life: family, community, vocation, and faith.  Lastly, he argues that in the next few decades, science will provide ample evidence that such policies are ill conceived.

But how does European democratic socialism destroy human flourishing?

Murray writes:

To become a source of deep satisfaction, a human activity has to meet some stringent requirements. It has to have been important (we don’t get deep satisfaction from trivial things). You have to have put a lot of effort into it (hence the cliché “nothing worth having comes easily”). And you have to have been responsible for the consequences.

There aren’t many activities in life that can satisfy those three requirements…. Let me put it formally: If we ask what are the institutions through which human beings achieve deep satisfactions in life, the answer is that there are just four: family, community, vocation, and faith.

…It is not necessary for any individual to make use of all four institutions, nor do I array them in a hierarchy. I merely assert that these four are all there are. The stuff of life–the elemental events surrounding birth, death, raising children, fulfilling one’s personal potential, dealing with adversity, intimate relationships–coping with life as it exists around us in all its richness–occurs within those four institutions.

Seen in this light, the goal of social policy is to ensure that those institutions are robust and vital. And that’s what’s wrong with the European model. It doesn’t do that. It enfeebles every single one of them.

And then comes Murray’s central thesis. Big government socialism, by taking responsibility away from individuals in the areas of importance and meaning, actually causes more problems than it solves. Murray calls this government involvement in these areas “taking the trouble out” of life.

Murray continues:

The problem is this: Every time the government takes some of the trouble out of performing the functions of family, community, vocation, and faith, it also strips those institutions of some of their vitality–it drains some of the life from them.

It’s inevitable. Families are not vital because the day-to-day tasks of raising children and being a good spouse are so much fun, but because the family has responsibility for doing important things that won’t get done unless the family does them. Communities are not vital because it’s so much fun to respond to our neighbors’ needs, but because the community has the responsibility for doing important things that won’t get done unless the community does them. Once that imperative has been met–family and community really do have the action–then an elaborate web of social norms, expectations, rewards, and punishments evolves over time that supports families and communities in performing their functions.

When the government says it will take some of the trouble out of doing the things that families and communities evolved to do, it inevitably takes some of the action away from families and communities, and the web frays, and eventually disintegrates.

…We have seen growing legions of children raised in unimaginably awful circumstances, not because of material poverty but because of dysfunctional families, and the collapse of functioning neighborhoods into Hobbesian all-against-all free-fire zones.

This next point is something I first read about in George Gilder’s book “Men and Marriage”. When the government steps in and takes away the responsibilities of a man, especially husband and father responsibilities, it destroys the male will to be a responsible contributor to society. If the welfare state awards money to women to raise children without the father, what honor is there in being a good man?

Earlier, I said that the sources of deep satisfactions are the same for janitors as for CEOs, and I also said that people needed to do important things with their lives. When the government takes the trouble out of being a spouse and parent, it doesn’t affect the sources of deep satisfaction for the CEO. Rather, it makes life difficult for the janitor. A man who is holding down a menial job and thereby supporting a wife and children is doing something authentically important with his life. He should take deep satisfaction from that, and be praised by his community for doing so. Think of all the phrases we used to have for it: “He is a man who pulls his own weight.” “He’s a good provider.”

If that same man lives under a system that says that the children of the woman he sleeps with will be taken care of whether or not he contributes, then that status goes away. I am not describing some theoretical outcome.

I am describing American neighborhoods where, once, working at a menial job to provide for his family made a man proud and gave him status in his community, and where now it doesn’t. I could give a half dozen other examples. Taking the trouble out of the stuff of life strips people–already has stripped people–of major ways in which human beings look back on their lives and say, “I made a difference.”

Murray’s article and Rich’s commentary continue, but for me this was the important point. When government distributes wealth, it gets involved in the decision-making of the most important areas of life: marriage, education, parenting, taxes, etc. Speaking as a man, when you take away choice and responsibility from me, you cannot expect me to engage in work or family or community in the same way I would if I were in charge.

By the way, I explained why European socialism leads to the decline of religion in a previous post.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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