Tag Archives: Emotivism

Why did the lead vocalist of a Christian rock band abandon belief in God?

A conflict of worldviews
A conflict of worldviews

Carla told me about this celebrity singer who decided to leave Christianity. Since we’ve had a few high profile departures, I thought it might be worth giving my very controversial view on Christian musicians, artists, athletes and celebrities. I’ve always been suspicious of celebrities claiming to be Christians and there’s a very simple reason why.

Anyway, here is the story from Christian Post.

It says:

Jon Steingard, the Canadian Christian rock band Hawk Nelson’s lead vocalist, has declared on social media that “I no longer believe in God,” explaining “it didn’t happen overnight.”

[…]“After growing up in a Christian home, being a pastor’s kid, playing and singing in a Christian band, and having the word ‘Christian’ in front of most of the things in my life — I am now finding that I no longer believe in God.”

He has three objections, the first being the problem of evil, the second being Old Testament violence, and finally the doctrine of the atonement:

“If God is all loving, and all powerful, why is there evil in the world? Can he not do anything about it? Does he choose not to?”

[…]”Why does he (God) say not to kill, but then instruct Israel to turn around and kill men women and children to take the promised land?” and “Why does Jesus have to die for our sins (more killing again)?”

[…]I am not looking for a debate at all — just a chance to share my story in the hopes some good can come from it.

He mentions having his “heart changed”, and that’s how most people these days approach religion. Whether they accept it or not depends on their feelings, experiences, and peer approval. Their Christian worldview isn’t compelled by logic and evidence. They have a non-STEM approach to religion. If they like it, they keep it. And this is why so many people who are raised in the church give it up in high school and college. They feel that Christianity isn’t truth in the same way as math, science, engineering or history. Christianity, they are taught, is about their family, their feelings, their community. If it feels good, and helps them fit in, they keep it. But when they get to high school or college, they find things to do that are more fun, feel better, make them look smarter, and make their new friends like them more.

Regarding his three objections. For the problem of evil, William Lane Craig answers that in “Hard Questions, Real Answers”, or more technically in “Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview”. For the Old Testament challenge, Paul Copan answers that in “Is God a Moral Monster?” The third objection is just philosophical theology. William Lane Craig has written on the logic of the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement, for example, and found parallels in the insurance business. These topics are debated in formal academic debates, but Mr. Lead Vocalist probably won’t find the answers by watching TV and asking his artist friends.

By the way, the Christian Post article notes that he was objecting to the moral demands of the Christian life prior his atheism:

In 2015, talking about the song “Live Like You’re Loved” from Hawk Nelson’s album Diamonds, Steingard told The Christian Post that it was “inspired by growing up and learning the dos and don’ts of Christianity and how to be a good Christian.”

[…]“I just had an epiphany … all this running around and trying to do everything exactly right, these are not the things that bring us closer to God. Our relationship with God is already secured with what was done on the cross. What if we went into life with confidence of knowing we are already loved?”

Lyrics to “Live Like You’re Loved” include: “So go ahead and live like you’re loved, it’s OK to act like you’ve been set free / His love has made you more than enough so go ahead and be who he made you to be / And live like you’re loved.”

He had an epiphany. Doing what the Bible teaches isn’t how you love God. No, no. You just follow your heart, and God will love you for that. That’s so convenient and very popular in the feminized church today. But it’s also exactly the opposite of what the Bible teaches:

1 John 5:1-3:

1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

I don’t know his personal life, but I know a lot of Christians who went nuts in college drinking and having sex, and then subsequently found “reasons” for thinking Christianity was false.

I meet so many Christians whose entire reading life consists of reading fiction, romance novels and popular female preachers. Instead of learning how to engage against challenges to the faith like socialism, feminism, atheism, etc. we’re more focused on entertaining ourselves, and trying to be liked. Not only is this narcissistic, it also doesn’t result in a stable and influential Christian life.

Most of the adult Christians I know today slipped into the wild life of atheism as soon as they left home. They came back to the faith later, but they’re still politically liberal and they have a non-cognitive understanding of Christianity. They may have returned to the faith and church, but it’s still all about their feelings, experiences and peer approval. They aren’t working for God, they’re making God work for them.

This is the exact opposite of my experience of Christianity. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. I wasn’t raised in a church. I don’t sing songs. I don’t have fun. I am not trying to be popular. I don’t drink. I’m a virgin. I have multiple STEM degrees. I work in a STEM field. I read evidential apologetics. I engage in debates with non-Christians. I’m a non-white immigrant. My view of Christianity is masculine, not feminine. It’s effective, not emotional.

Christian scholars are more important than “Christian” entertainers

I don’t think that Christians should waste their time on Christian entertainers and celebrity preachers. And I’m going to lump in pastors and preachers who focus on feelings and experiences into that group. If you’re going to pick someone to look up to as a Christian, then choose people who have put in the time to study the truth claims of the Christian worldview enough to defend them to other scholars, using arguments and evidence.

I admire people like William Lane Craig, Stephen C. Meyer, Michael Licona who actually debate non-Christians on university campuses and other public forums. In contrast, an entertainer isn’t usually qualified to defend truth claims in public settings. Defending Christian truth claims is a low priority for most Christian entertainers and celebrities. Don’t be like them.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

UK parents accuse school of secretly brainwashing their child into transgenderism

Young people seem to like gay marriage more than they like individual liberties
Where do young people get their positive view of LGBT issues?

Last week I blogged about a case from Canada where the teachers and administrators conspired with doctors to get a child onto the transgender track. Here is another case that was just reported on the weekend, this time from the UK. What was shocking to me was that this school is apparently a “free school” – the UK term for a private school.

Here’s the story from the UK Daily Mail:

A school has been accused of secretly allowing a 13-year-old girl to attend ‘radicalising’ mentoring sessions that convinced her that she was transgender.

Ashleigh and Ged Barnett allege that until the one-to-one sessions began last September, their daughter appeared comfortable in her body and showed little interest in transgender issues.

But they say she had changed completely by November, sporting a short haircut and talking about feeling that she was really a boy.

They were confused by the transformation until they met her headteacher to discuss another matter and learned that their daughter had been having weekly sessions with the head of the school’s LGBT group.

[…]‘The teaching assistant also pointed her in the direction of a YouTube website of a trans activist, which featured a video where they showed off their mastectomy scars and told how well the operation had gone.’

The couple said they were furious when they found school staff had let the teenager attend the sessions ‘behind our backs’. 

Mrs Barnett said: ‘The school didn’t think it was fit to tell us. We are her parents, but responsibility to care for our child has been taken away. The attitude is that it’s the child’s choice and it’s got nothing to do with us.

The teachers are very clear that although they are being paid to do a job by parents, they are not going to their job. They deserve to be paid by parents to do whatever they want. Not what parents want. In fact, the schools are in league with organizations on the radicl left, and the teachers and administrators are much more interested in getting the approval of these far-left groups than the parents who pay their salaries.

Mrs Barnett also claimed that the teaching assistant encouraged their daughter to change in a boy’s cubicle and that staff began using a male name for her.

She alleges the teaching assistant had no formal counselling qualifications and only received training from local charity Eikon that provides ‘LGBT+ awareness sessions’ for schools.

In recent email correspondence with the couple, headteacher Jane Davies said she believed their daughter should be left to use the changing facilities she preferred.

‘We will continue to provide a safe environment for [your child], but it is not our place to alert you to how she feels,’ she wrote.

‘It is important that you understand that she is old enough to make her own decisions.’

This is not an unusual attitude for teachers to take about handling the children who are entrusted to them. There was a time in the past when teachers were more humble, and saw themselves as partners with parents. But that went out of fashion way back during the time of progressive President Woodrow Wilson.

He said this:

The purpose of a university should be to make a son as unlike his father as possible. By the time a man has grown old enough to have a son in college he has specialized. The university should generalize the treatment of its undergraduates, should struggle to put them in touch with every force of life.

Instead of seeing their purpose a serving parents, they see themselves as masters of the child, and the parents just pay their salaries and feed and clothe the child. The worldview transfer is done by the teachers, because they are the keepers of all wisdom and morality.

Well, as always in these matters, it’s good to look at the studies. So let’s look at a recent one that should help parents to understand transgenderism.

Here’s how the study was first reported by Science Daily:

This month, a Brown University researcher published the first study to empirically describe teens and young adults who did not have symptoms of gender dysphoria during childhood but who were observed by their parents to rapidly develop gender dysphoria symptoms over days, weeks or months during or after puberty.

[…]The study was published on Aug. 16 in PLOS ONE.

Peer pressure / The Internet:

The pattern of clusters of teens in friend groups becoming transgender-identified, the group dynamics of these friend groups and the types of advice viewed online led her to the hypothesis that friends and online sources could spread certain beliefs.

[….]”Of the parents who provided information about their child’s friendship group, about a third responded that more than half of the kids in the friendship group became transgender-identified,” Littman said. “A group with 50 percent of its members becoming transgender-identified represents a rate that is more 70 times the expected prevalence for young adults.”

This article at The Federalist had a few examples to illustrate the conclusion of the study. I’ll pick two.

The study includes other eye-opening information, such as case studies of several children’s stories.

  • “A 14-year-old natal female and three of her natal female friends were taking group lessons together with a very popular coach. The coach came out as transgender, and, within one year, all four students announced they were also transgender.”

  • “A 14-year-old natal female and three of her natal female friends are part of a larger friend group that spends much of their time talking about gender and sexuality. The three natal female friends all announced they were trans boys and chose similar masculine names. After spending time with these three friends, the 14-year-old natal female announced that she was also a trans boy.”

I thought this quote from that article was interesting as well, given the culture’s obsession with “bullying”, which is a nebulous term that can mean actual bullying, or mere disagreement.

The study also may indicate that school “anti-bullying” programs typically created by LGBT activist organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign may help accelerate children identifying as transgender by pushing peers and authority figures to profusely express their support.

Coming out as transgender means instant fame and popularity, because you’re a victim, and everyone has to be nice to you… or else:

“Great increase in popularity among the student body at large. Being trans is a gold star in the eyes of other teens,” wrote one parent on the study response form. Another wrote, “not so much ‘popularity’ increasing as ‘status’ … also she became untouchable in terms of bullying in school as teachers who ignored homophobic bullying …are now all at pains to be hot on the heels of any trans bullying.”

People on the left are always faking hate crimes against themselves or making false rape accusations. Being a victim gets them attention and makes people treat them nicely.

The response from LGBT activists to this study was to claim that it was full of errors, so it was pulled and submitted to rigorous review. You won’t be surprised to find that the second review process found no major errors in the paper.

UK judge rules in favor of firing people who disagree with transgenderism

Thinking about transgenderism
Thinking about transgenderism

This case is from the UK, but keep in mind that the United States is just a few years off from this, depending on who wins the presidency in 2020. A woman tweeted that transgender women (biological men) are not the same as biological women. The judge ruled that it should be legal to fire employees who say that a transgender woman (biological man) is not the same a biological woman.

Here is the story from Insider:

A judge in the UK ruled on Wednesday that it was legal for a leading think tank to fire a worker for arguing publicly that transgender women are not real women.

The Centre for Global Development (CGD) sacked tax expert Maya Forstater in March 2019 over a series of tweets in which she supported the notion that “men cannot change into women.”

She sued the CGD on grounds of discrimination, but her argument was rejected by a judge, who said her position on the issue is “not worthy of respect” and does not enjoy legal protection.

[…]Before her dismissal Forstater was accused by her managers of using “offensive and exclusionary” language and “fear-mongering,” the Times of London reported.

The judge said that the defendant “is absolutist in her view of sex and it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.”

NBC News had an article up where the author explained why the ruling was justified:

This, then, is what Forstater wanted the courts to uphold: Her right to make her co-workers uncomfortable… her right to be… rude and disrespectful in social and professional contexts; and her right to disrespect U.K. law, which defines transgender women as women and transgender men as men…

Courts, of course, tend to look askance at being asked to rule that an employee should be allowed to harm their employers and co-workers based on “philosophical beliefs” they’ve decided are both “biological truths” and tantamount to religious canon.

Indeed. So the mainstream view among the progressive elites is that not affirming the views of transgender people is “harming” them. And the right way to stop dissent from the LGBT agenda is to have these people fired, so that they have to choose between feeding their family and supporting the LGBT agenda. And this is all fine with the “compassion” crowd, who are more concerned with the feelings of transgender people than with free speech and conscience rights.

By the way, the UK judge’s position is the same as about half the people in this country – the half that votes for the Democrat Party. The Democrats in the House have already passed a bill called the Equality Act, which would make American laws match the UK laws that make it acceptable for people who express disagreement with the LGBT agenda to be fired.

Personal application

I’ve noticed that a lot of evangelical pastors and leaders are drifting away from the teachings of the Bible on sex, marriage and morality in general. And it’s becoming a real question about how far they will go with this. Like, I don’t know where “conservative” evangelical pastors and leaders would stand on this question of firing someone who isn’t “generous” about accepting a transgender person’s preferred pronouns.

Based on what I’m seeing right now, I don’t expect that Bible-believing conservatives who disagree with LGBT agenda are going to get any help from the “conservative” evangelical pastors and leaders . And that affects how free those Bible-believing conservatives are to be generous about taking on additional responsibilities, like charitable contributions, marriage, and children. After all, if the “conservative” evangelical pastors and leaders aren’t concerned when a secular leftist fires a dissenter from LGBT orthodoxy, then why should that dissenter take on additional obligations to others that reduce his ability to survive being fired?

Here is what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:

32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord.

33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—

34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.

35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

And here’s Paul again in 2 Timothy:

 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.

I do understand that evangelical pastors and leaders think that men just marry for love, and they don’t even think about how much providing for a wife and children costs. But that’s delusional. Men DO calculate the costs of having a wife and children, and they understand that it is easier to be faithful on controversial issues when you are a single man, than when you are burdened with a wife and children. If pastors don’t want to do anything to defend free speech from the secular left, that makes marriage less attractive to men who are committed to fighting the secular left.

Why do so many Christian musicians, artists, athletes and celebrities leave the faith?

A conflict of worldviews
A conflict of worldviews

Several people sent me the story about a former Hillsong worship leader who decided to leave Christianity. Since we’ve had a few high profile departures, I thought it might be worth giving my very controversial view on Christian musicians, artists, athletes and celebrities. I’ve always been suspicious of celebrities claiming to be Christians and there’s a very simple reason why.

Anyway, here is the story sent to me by Tiasunep, published in the Christian Today.

It says:

Hillsong worship leader has reportedly walked away from the Christian faith after posting a – since removed – Instagram update in which he said he was “not in anymore”.

[…]”Time for some real talk… I’m genuinely losing my faith.. and it doesn’t bother me… like, what bothers me now is nothing… I am so happy now, so at peace with the world.. it’s crazy / this is a soapbox moment so here I go xx how many preachers fall? Many. No one talks about it.

“How many miracles happen. Not many. No one talks about it. Why is the Bible full of contradictions? No one talks about it. How can God be love yet send 4 billion people to a place, all coz they don’t believe? No one talks about it.

“Christians can be the most judgemental people on the planet – they can also be some of the most beautiful and loving people… but it’s not for me. I am not in any more.”

[…]Science keeps piercing the truth of every religion,” he writes.

“Lots of things help people change their lives, not just one version of God. Got so much more to say, but for me, I keeping it real.

[…]The news has saddened many in the Christian scene who were still getting over a similar announcement made a few weeks ago by Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye.

Within the space of a week, he announced that he was separating from his wife and that he had fallen away from the Christian faith.

It looks to me like no one has ever made the evidential case for a Christian worldview to him, and he’s just crumbling because he doesn’t have answers to basic, ordinary questions.

In modern secular America, authentic Christianity is spelled A-P-O-L-O-G-E-T-I-C-S

In primitive areas of the world, a person could be a sincere Christian without knowing how to answer basic questions about scientific evidence for a creator, historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, philosophical defenses to the problems of evil and suffering, etc. But this is modern America, and there are atheists in the universities and in the workplace and just everywhere. If you meet someone in America who claims to be a Christian, it’s guaranteed that this person will have met atheists in these places. If this Christian has not put in any effort to learn how to answer basic questions about God’s existence, the resurrection, the problem of evil, etc, and they are regarded as very pious and spiritual, you should immediately distrust their claim to be a Christian.

1 Peter 3:15-16
1 Peter 3:15-16

Authentic Christians will be appropriately moved by the existence of people who not only do not accept a Creator, but also deny Jesus as Lord and Savior. And since the example of using reason and evidence to respond to skeptics is everywhere in the Bible, then sincere Bible believers will likewise want to find a way to answer people who question the Christian worldview. If you look at a Christian, and you can’t find anything in their writings or words that interacts with Christian scholarship and responds to popular challenges to the Christian worldview, then you’re looking at a fake Christian. Such a person is merely posing as a Christian for feelings, fame and peer approval. Every real Christian is concerned about defending God’s reputation and character. And the way that this is done in the Bible – and today – is with evidential apologetics.

There is no mature Christian worldview that majors in praise hymns, social justice, essential oils, devotional reading, etc. Today, right now, your co-worker is an atheist. Today, right now, your child’s professor is an atheist. If you haven’t put in the time to prepare a defense to the challenges right in front of your face – challenges that affect you and your legacy in Christ – but you have plenty of time to major in the minors for fame and fortune, then that’s a sign that you don’t have a Christian worldview. If all your Christianity is just having feelings, devotional reading and singing praise songs, then you need to ask yourself whether you’re not on the same road as this Hillsong worship leader.

Young people should be learning apologetics from their parents, pastors and other Christian leaders

It’s not surprising to me that the Hillsong worship leader is an apostate. What’s surprising to me is that anyone at all who is raised in any American church is able to preserve their faith for very long after leaving home. The churches in America do a poor job of equipping Christians to answer the most basic questions about the Christian worldview. Questions that could easily be answered after a few Lee Strobel books, or some True U DVDs. But in Christian homes and Christians churches, young people are never exposed to the challenges of non-Christians. They never do any investigations to learn how to respond to them. Then when they get to college, they feel (rightly) as if they’ve been brainwashed and indoctrinated by people in the church who were divorced from reality. And then they quit on Christianity. I see it all the time.

If you’re going to pick someone to look up to as a Christian, then choose people who have put in the time to study the truth claims of the Christian worldview enough to defend them to other scholars, using arguments and evidence. I admire people like William Lane Craig, Stephen C. Meyer, Michael Licona who actually debate non-Christians on university campuses and other public forums. In contrast, an entertainer isn’t usually qualified to defend truth claims.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

Women who delay marriage for casual sex surprised to be single in their mid-30s

Divorce risk and number of pre-marital sex partners

Dr. Mark Regnerus is a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin. He has published books on the changing nature of relationships with Oxford University Press. His newest book argues that the Sexual Revolution has caused men to lose interest in marriage because women are now giving them sex for free, without them having to prove their husband credentials first. This causes men to be disinterested in the traditional ways of impressing a woman, namely, getting a job, moving out, being willing to commit, and being able to provide for children who may appear.

The Daily Signal provides a case study taken from Regnerus’ latest book “Cheap Sex”, which illustrates the problem.

Excerpt:

Sarah is 32 years old and recently moved to Texas from New York, looking for a new start—in more ways than one.

Brooklyn had grown too expensive for her hipster pocketbook. A relationship she had hoped would blossom and mature there had instead withered. So to Austin she came, hoping she could improve upon her modest $22,000 annual earnings the previous year.

Her most recent sexual partner—Daniel—was not actually a relationship per se. He was not the reason she moved. Rather, he was a 23-year-old American she had met in China four years before during a three-week language immersion program.

[…]When they first met, and slept together, Sarah was in a relationship with David, the man for which she had moved to, and then away from, New York. She ended up “cheating on him,” that is, David, several times.

[…]If you’re having trouble keeping times, dates, and boyfriends straight, it’s understandable. Sarah herself laughs at the drama of it all.

[…]Getting serious was never much of an option. He was 23, and she was 32: “We both knew … he was graduating from college and, you know, like we both, at least I knew it was never gonna work out. I think he kind of felt the same way.”

[…]When asked how rapidly her relationships tend to become sexual, Sarah replied, “the first or second date.” That account did not stand out from those of many other interviewees.

The numbers are on her side, too. In the 2014 Relationships in America survey, sex before the relationship begins was the modal—meaning the most common—point at which Americans report having first had sex in their current relationships.

Is her timing of sex intentional? No. “It just happens,” she reasoned.

[…]This, she claims, is the standard approach to dating among her peers, if not necessarily the most optimal: “I don’t think it’s unusual, but I think that for a lasting relationship, it’s not the best approach.”

[…]Three years later, now 35, Sarah continues to live in Austin and continues to find commitment elusive. She does not dislike her life, but it is not the one she envisioned a decade earlier.

Daniel is a musician, which doesn’t surprise me at all. A musician, student or other unemployed penniless bad boy will not make any demands on the woman, because he almost certainly has no plan for the future.  This is what many women today want: someone for right now who doesn’t want her to do anything  to prepare for marriage, e.g. – get a real job, stop the thrill-seeking, stop traveling the world. No matter what a woman says about marriage,  if her actions now show an interest in fun and thrills, then she doesn’t want marriage.

The typical woman’s plan for marriage is simply to imagine marriage happening later somehow, without her having to do anything that she doesn’t feel like doing right now. It would be like “planning” for your retirement by taking trips all over the world right now, while imagining living off the interest from a million dollars in savings at age 55. This problem is what happens when the culture tells women that they should not aspire to marriage, and should not measure men to see if they will make good husbands and fathers. If a woman cannot expect a man to be a man (protector, provider, moral and spiritual leader), then she will choose men on other criteria.

This is what women today want:

  • hot appearance
  • confident words about the future
  • empty resume
  • empty bank account
  • several years younger than they are
  • no firm convictions about morality
  • no firm convictions about theology
  • progressive political views, especially on abortion

Men who have no jobs and no money don’t lead women, and are much easier for women to manipulate. The problem with these men is – as any married woman knows – is that those men do not commit. Why not? Because they cannot afford to commit. Marriage, put simply, costs money. Starter houses cost a quarter million. Children cost a quarter million each, not counting college. Retirement costs a quarter million per spouse. And so on. But there is no one in this society telling women that they need to care about choosing men who are serious about the objective duties of the husband role.

Women love to believe that they can choose a hot, irresponsible bad boy who gives them feelings, and then magically mold him into a husband: able to work hard, save money, be self-controlled, faithful and good with children. Feelings determine the choice of man, and feelings tell them that the man can be magically transformed into a husband somehow. Perhaps by giving him premarital sex! That will make him responsible. After all, you can put out a fire with gasoline, right? This is the most common approach women today take to relationships: get drunk, have sex with hot bad boy, shack up with him, wait for him to propose marriage.

I frequently tell my female friends about women I know like the one in the article – many raised by two married parents in Christian homes. They have arts degrees, empty resumes, empty bank accounts, and histories of alcoholism, bulimia, promiscuity and/or divorce. My female friends give me the same advice: “YOU NEED TO LOWER YOUR STANDARDS OR YOU’LL NEVER GET MARRIED”. If that’s the best that they can do, then it’s no wonder that men are not interested in marriage.

If you want men to be interested in marriage, fix the root cause. The root cause of the marriage rate declining is not men. The root cause is feminism.