Tag Archives: Open-Mindedness

The Case for Christ movie opens today in theaters

Finally, a movie about Lee Strobel’s investigation of Christianity.

NewsMax has an article about the new movie.

Excerpt:

A former reporter and atheist who set out to disprove the existence of God – and came to “quite a different conclusion” – said Monday it is “disconcerting” to see his tumultuous story portrayed in a new film.

The movie based on the book “The Case For Christ,” which opens Friday, has had encouraging feedback at test previews, author Lee Strobel told Newsmax TV host Miranda Khan on Monday’s “Newsmax Prime.”

“A lot of faith-based films tend to be, if we’re honest, a little cringeworthy, a little cheesy,” he said. “And there’s none of that in this movie. This is a movie that is so well done from a production standpoint, the acting, the script, that we really are convinced that Christians will go to it, they’ll be encouraged . . . to come and see this story about a marriage, a love story, about a father-son story, and be drawn into the evidence.”

The movie stars include Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, and Faye Dunaway.

Strobel said after his wife converted to Christianity, he was anxious what it would mean for his marriage and “decided to . . . use my journalism and legal training and investigate the resurrection of Jesus, because I figured if I could disprove that, then the whole thing collapses.”

He said he came to “quite a different conclusion.”

“The evidence of history, I think, points powerfully and persuasively toward the conclusion that the resurrection is an actual historical event,” he said. “So, I became convinced that it’s true. I ended up becoming a Christian, and our lives changed from there.”

“It’s a little disconcerting because it’s my story, and it’s not a pretty story at some points,” he added. “A lot of our private arguments that we had about faith, they’re very personal, they’re now on the big screen.

“But we felt like there’s a lot of people who are curious about faith and wonder whether there’s any real evidence that God exists and that Jesus is who he claimed to be, and we thought, you know, if it can help people come to some resolution of that or begin their own investigation, then it’s worth kind of putting ourselves out there that way.”

I know what you’re thinking. Is this going to suck like so many other happy-clappy Christian movies, e.g. – God’s Not Dead 1?

Apparently, it’s actually a good movie:

Last night when my wife and I came to an early preview of The Case for Christ movie we had high, but hesitant, hopes. Far too often we have seen a trailer for an upcoming Christian movie that looked pretty good, only to be disappointed when we saw the actual movie. I’ve often used the qualification for half-way decent Christian films, “That was pretty good for a faith based film.

No such qualification was necessary for The Case for Christ. It was well written and superbly acted. It triggered both cheers and tears. It was a good movie.

This film was as much of a love story and a mystery as it was an apologetic for the Christian faith. It was equally relational and relentless. It kept you locked in right up until the climactic and emotional finale.

I can’t think of a movie better suited for you and your spouse to invite an unreached couple out to enjoy than this one. Afterward you can unpack the powerful message of the movie together. I call it a “popcorn and coffee double date.” Invite a couple out for a movie night, buy them tickets and popcorn and enjoy the movie together. Then take them out for coffee afterwards and ask,“What did you think about the message of the movie?” From there just let the conversation flow.

I almost NEVER go see movies in the theater, but I’m going to see this one for sure. I’ve read every single one of Lee Strobel’s books. It’s hard to say that they changed my life, because I was already a well-grounded Christian at that point. But it certainly gave me thrills to think that a very broad audience was going to get an evidence-based look at Christianity from those books. I expect the movie to reach an even larger audience than the books.

Here’s a passage from the Bible that I think is suitable, although the historical context of the passage is admittedly not especially applicable to Lee.

Jeremiah 29:10-14:

10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

You can find out more about the movie here.

Why is it so hard to reason with college-educated millenials about spiritual things?

Why is it hard to reason with students?
Why is it hard to reason with students?

The first article today is from lesbian feminist Camille Paglia. She is a university professor, but liberal (in the classical sense) in her outlook.

An hour-long interview is posted at Reason, and there’s a transcript.

Camille says:

reason: Clarify what’s the difference between a legitimate gripe and whining?

Paglia: Well, in my point of view, no college administration should be taking any interest whatever in the social lives of the students. None! If a crime’s committed on campus, it should always be reported to the police. I absolutely do not agree with any committees investigating any charge of sexual assault. Either it’s a real crime, or it’s not a real crime. Get the hell out. So you get this expansion of the campus bureaucracy with this Stalinist oversight. But the students have been raised with helicopter parents. They want it. The students of today—they’re utterly uninformed, not necessarily at my school, the art school, I’m talking about the elite schools.

reason: So it’s those kids over at that other school.

Paglia: It’s the grade grubbers, the bright overachievers. I’m not at that kind of school [here at University of the Arts in Philadelphia] . I’m at a school of arts and communication where people already have a vocational trend. To be admitted here, you have to already have demonstrated a vocational aptitude. I’m talking about the Ivy League. Now, I’ve encountered these graduates of Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton, I’ve encountered them in the media, and people in their 30s now, some of them, their minds are like Jell-O. They know nothing! They’ve not been trained in history. They have absolutely no structure to their minds. Their emotions are unfixed. The banality of contemporary cultural criticism, of academe, the absolute collapse of any kind of intellectual discourse in the U.S. is the result of these colleges, which should have been the best, have produced the finest minds, instead having retracted into caretaking. The whole thing is about approved social positions in a kind of misty, love of humanity without any direct knowledge of history or economics or anthropology.

reason: Maybe the university is not the place where that sort of stuff is happening anymore. So, for instance, you have think tanks that do a lot of economic or policy work. You have popular historians who are not academic. Fiction and poetry, even as there’s been a rise in for decades now of creative writing programs and what not. Nobody looks to the university to be cutting edge on almost anything really, so maybe it’s just that you picked the wrong hors. Maybe you should have followed the campus radicals’ suggestion and not gone into academia?

Paglia: [As a] writer of cultural criticism, I find that I’m happiest when I’m writing for the British press, and I write quite a bit for The Sunday Times magazine in London. I find that the general sense of cultural awareness means that I can have an authentic discourse about ideas with international journalists from Brazil or Germany or Italy or Norway or Canada even—somewhat, but they have a P.C. problem themselves. I can feel the vacuum and the nothingness of American cultural criticism at the present time. It is impossible—any journalist today, an American journalist, you cannot have any kind of deep discussion of ideas.

The students at the Ivy league universities are so insulated from “vocation” (working for money) and so indoctrinated in political correctness, that they cannot have a civil conversation about ideas. All they can do is state their own views, and if you disagree with them, then they call you names then retreat to “safe spaces”, where all unpleasant communication is blocked . They can’t even explain why they hold their own views except they have been taught to believe that all smart people believe them. They are traumatized by dissent, and they are not able to critically assess arguments and evidence.

Here’s a second article by Eleanor Taylor writing in the ultra-leftist New York Times.

She writes:

KATHERINE BYRON, a senior at Brown University and a member of its Sexual Assault Task Force, considers it her duty to make Brown a safe place for rape victims, free from anything that might prompt memories of trauma.

So when she heard last fall that a student group had organized a debate about campus sexual assault between Jessica Valenti, the founder of feministing.com, and Wendy McElroy, a libertarian, and that Ms. McElroy was likely to criticize the term “rape culture,” Ms. Byron was alarmed. “Bringing in a speaker like that could serve to invalidate people’s experiences,” she told me. It could be “damaging.”

Ms. Byron and some fellow task force members secured a meeting with administrators. Not long after, Brown’s president, Christina H. Paxson, announced that the university would hold a simultaneous, competing talk to provide “research and facts” about “the role of culture in sexual assault.” Meanwhile, student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting.

The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.

Safe spaces are an expression of the conviction, increasingly prevalent among college students, that their schools should keep them from being “bombarded” by discomfiting or distressing viewpoints. Think of the safe space as the live-action version of the better-known trigger warning, a notice put on top of a syllabus or an assigned reading to alert students to the presence of potentially disturbing material.

I have had the opportunity to interact with people who went through the college system in non-STEM programs. The combination of binge-drinking, hooking-up, co-habitating, and indoctrination in secular leftist ideologies like feminism, postmodernism, moral relativism really seems to break down their ability to reason calmly with someone who disagrees with them. They become very brittle and defensive when their indoctrinated views are confronted with critical thinking. I think the indoctrinated views were accepted largely because of emotions, intuitions and peer-pressure, so any kind of questioning using reason, evidence, wisdom and experience are met with this fight-or-flight response. People who are wiser and more experienced aren’t allowed to speak in the “safe space”.

There are two ways I see this playing out. On the one hand, any attempt to lead the thinking of an indoctrinated person is going to be met with insults. For example, trying to teach basic economics is going to be called “manipulation”. Or, trying to tell them to that they have an obligation to behave a certain way towards others is going to be dismissed because others have to take “personal responsibility”. These are just smokescreens that cover the fact that indoctrinated millenials cannot be reasoned with, cannot be led, cannot be told to do the right thing. When challenged, they block all communication and retreat to a “safe space” where their similarly indoctrinated friends are there to reassure them. Unfortunately for them, reality has a way of breaking through the illusions in the long run.

UK Law Society cancels event to silence dissent on same-sex marriage

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Sir Paul Coleridge, the Family Division judge who recently launched a new charity to combat marital break-up, had been lined up as the main speaker at the annual event at the Law Society’s London headquarters later this month.

But organisers were forced to cancel it at short notice after the Law Society ruled that the programme reflected “an ethos which is opposed to same sex marriage”.

They accused the Society, which represents solicitors in England and Wales, of an “extraordinary” attempt to stifle debate on current affairs and warned that the cancellation itself could be against equality laws.

Lawyers, journalists and think tank chiefs were due to speak alongside Sir Paul at the annual conference organised by the World Congress of Families, a US-based non-religious group which promotes traditional family values.

Around 120 people were expected to attend event which this year took as its theme: “One Man. One Woman. Making the case for marriage, for the good of society.”

Sir Paul, who made headlines last week as he launched a new charity, the Marriage Foundation, was due to speak on the effects of divorce on society.

A follow-up event for MPs was being planned take place in Parliament after the conference.

Organisers said the conference had been booked for up to six months and a deposit of around £4,700 has already been paid.

But in an email on Thursday, Adam Tallis, general manager of Amper&and, the company which organises hospitality at The Law Society, informed them that the booking was being cancelled and the deposit refunded.

“We regret the need to take this step,” he wrote.

“I can assure you that it is not something we do lightly.

“However, where an event does not fit within this company’s diversity policy, it is a step we must take.

“The nature of your event has recently been drawn to our attention, and it is contrary to our diversity policy, espousing as it does an ethos which is opposed to same sex marriage.”

Same-sex marriage is not currently legal in Britain, although a consultation is under way on a possible change in the law.

So, disagreement with same-sex marriage is not “diverse” enough, but agreement with same-sex marriage is “diverse” enough. That’s what diversity means – it means agree that marriage is anything that any vocal minority wants it to be, including polygamists, polyamorists and so forth, or be accused of rejecting “diversity”. Diversity now means there is only one correct view, and anyone who dissents has to be silenced, coerced or worse.

Dr. Ben Carson faces the Darwinian Inquisition at Emory University

Evolution News writes about an eminent scientist who is under by professors and students at Emory University because of his disagreement with Darwinian orthodoxy and his assertion that morality isn’t possible on a materialistic worldview.

Here’s the first article from Evolution News, which explains what got Dr. Carson in trouble with the Darwoids.

Excerpt:

You can be a brilliant, innovative pediatric neurosurgeon at a sky-scraping top medical school, in addition to being a generous philanthropist with an inspirational up-from-dire-poverty personal story, plus a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, and a best-selling writer whose memoir was turned into a TV movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr.

All that, but if you once shared your critical thoughts on evolutionary science and its moral implications — everything else about you suddenly dwindles to very little.

Dr. Ben Carson of Johns Hopkins University is that man. He’s scheduled to give the Commencement address and receive an honorary degree at Emory University but close to 500 faculty members, students and staff protested, drawing up a gravely serious letter to the student paper expressing their “concerns.” Over what? Carson had no intention of speaking about evolution but someone dug up an impromptu interview he once gave to a publication associated with his Christian denomination (he’s a Seventh Day Adventist).

Carson explained why he’s not impressed by the evidence on offer for Darwinian theory and why a materialist philosophy is at odds with the idea of free will and therefore makes it tough to offer a coherent account of moral principles. The interview is casual in tone and it’s not clear whether his views are more along the lines of theistic evolution, intelligent design, or some other perspective. Not that the protestors seemed inclined to make any careful distinctions.

Emory isn’t withdrawing the invitation and the letter’s signatories don’t demand that the university do so. But they do distort his opinions and make him sound far less thoughtful than he actually is. Because he says you can’t, under materialism, give a sound rationale for morality, they claim he said that evolutionists are therefore morally defective, which is of course absurd.

At the First Things website, Princeton University moral philosopher Robbie George comes to Carson’s defense. Professor George agrees with Carson:

But of course Gentle Ben (and he is indeed one of the gentlest, kindest people one could ever meet) doesn’t believe that his Darwinist friends and colleagues are necessarily unethical. What he believes is that Darwinism is necessarily materialistic. (This is a view about Darwinism that he shares with some devout Darwinists themselves.) And he believes that materialism, if true, is incompatible with free will and with ethical norms (which must be, after all, norms for the guidance of free choices, if they are to have any standing, force, and validity at all). Now, he knows perfectly well that people who believe in materialism are in many cases decent, honorable, ethical people. But he thinks that they lead lives that are much better than their formal philosophical beliefs would require them to lead. He believes that their commitment to materialism makes it impossible for them to give a sound account of the ethical norms which they themselves, to their credit, live by. Of course, he might be wrong about that (though I don’t think he is), just as he might be wrong about the validity of Darwinism as a scientific theory, or the compatility of Darwinism with the rejection of materialism. But it’s certainly not a mean or crazy thing to believe or say. It’s scarcely a cause for “concern” about having him as a Commencement speaker.

Robbie George is one of the best moral philosophers out there. If he says that morality is not rationally grounded on a materialist worldview, then that’s the way it is. Naturally, people who believe in Darwinism can behave morally, because they are made in God’s image. Therefore, they have free will and an awareness of the moral law, even though these things are not rationally grounded on materialism. The point that theists make is merely that materialists are not able to make sense of morality on a deterministic worldview. They can, however, act better than their worldview allows – but it’s not rational for them to do that.

I note that Emory University is on the list of LEAST-FREE universities, according to the non-partisan, non-religious Foundational for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), so it’s not surprising that they would be censor anyone who has different views than they do.

Here’s another article from Evolution News.

Excerpt:

Almost 500 Emory faculty and students have expressed their dismay that their commencement speaker on May 14 does not toe the ideological line on evolutionary biology. Yes, gasp, the renowned Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson does not believe in evolutionary theory. Not only that, but biology professors at Emory and their supporters also accuse Carson of committing a thought crime because he allegedly “equates acceptance of evolution with a lack of ethics and morality.”

Since I am a historian who has studied and published on the history of evolutionary ethics, I was rather surprised by the Emory faculty’s consternation over Carson’s belief that evolution undermines objective ethics and morality. Last summer I attended a major interdisciplinary conference at Oxford University on “The Evolution of Morality and the Morality of Evolution.” So I am well aware that there are a variety of viewpoints in academe on this topic. Nonetheless, many evolutionists — from Darwin to the present (including quite a few at that Oxford conference) — have argued and are still arguing precisely the point that Dr. Carson highlighted: they claim that morality has evolved and thus has no objective existence.

One of the keynote speakers at the Oxford conference was a leading philosopher of science, Michael Ruse, who stated in a 1985 article co-authored with Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson: “Ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to co-operate.” Why do biologists at Emory try to make Carson appear foolish for asserting that evolution undermines ethics, while one of the leading evolutionary biologists and one of the leading philosophers of science admit that evolution destroys any objective morality? Wilson in his book Consilience (1998) argued: “Either ethical precepts, such as justice and human rights, are independent of human experience or else they are human inventions.” He rejected the former explanation, which he called transcendentalist ethics, in favor of the latter, which he named empiricist ethics.

Atheists who think about these issues agree – on a materialist interpretation of nature, ethics is arbitrary, made-up nonsense.

Even atheists like Richard Dawkins think so:

The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

(“God’s Utility Function,” Scientific American, November, 1995, p. 85)

Surprise! Atheism, which assumes that matter is all there is, implies the complete destruction of rationally grounded morality – including moral standards and human rights. This is denied by no one who has thought about this problem for more than 5 seconds. If you are talking to an atheist, you are talking to someone who thinks that any statement about right and wrong is as true as it’s opposite. On atheism, the morality of rape or slavery is as arbitrary as fashion or food. Any statement that rape is wrong has as much reason behind it, on atheism, as the statement that rape is right. Any statement that slavery is wrong has as much reason behind it, on atheism, as the statement that slavery is right. And that’s what atheists mean by morality, on their view. It’s just like picking which side of the road that people will drive on in different groups of people in different places in different times. That’s “atheist morality”. And when they die, there is no accountability in the afterlife for anything they’ve done and managed to escape judgment for in this life.

And, in point of fact, you can see it right now in the way that they are treating Dr. Carson.

What to do about it

If you are not happy with the actions of the Darwish Inquisition at Emory University, then please  sign the petition!

And any atheists who are reading this post and don’t support Carson’s right to speak, please understand why theists have the opinion that atheism is nothing more than the practice of running from debates and silencing (one way or another) anyone who disagrees with you. That’s our experience of dealing with secular humanists like Richard Dawkins – no debates, just insults and coercion. To us, secular humanism is just a phrase that means totalitarianism and censorship. That’s our experience.

If you disagree, then sign the petition and prove us wrong.

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Stephanie Gray totally embarasses pro-abortion university professor in debate

This clip made me laugh out loud.

I wish they had taped the whole thing.

I was reading Thomas Sowell’s “Intellectuals and Society” on the weekend, and he says that left-wing intellectuals adopt their views not because of evidence or because of the desire for good results, but because of their need to be celebrated and lauded by their colleagues for having the “right” ideas. In short, what people learn at the university (in non-experimental/non-engineering fields) is to spout the same opinions as their professors. The professors find no value in exposing their charges to opposing views, because their goal is not to make them think but to make them conform. When left-wing professors like Christina Romer are actually given control of something in the real world, they fail, and then they must retreat back to Berkeley to teach – because they’ve never learned to think critically, or to debate their ideas with their opponents using actual evidence.

What you see in the video is the result of this educational methodology. This man has likely never been exposed to pro-life views in his entire academic career. All of his professors agreed on abortion and taught him their views. All the professors he has ever known agreed with those same views. All the students he has taught, having paid their money up front and desiring good grades, agreed with his views. Stephanie is probably the first person in his entire academic career who ever stood up to him. This is the problem with people on the secular left. They can’t even define the positions of their opponents without resorting to lies, caricatures or ad hominems. They’ve never read any academic work by their opponents – they may even deny that such work exists. And they certainly don’t know anyone personally who disagrees with them. They find it difficult to even stand still long enough to listen to anyone who has a different view.

Last week I wrote about the teacher who hadn’t published any recent experimental science publications, who nevertheless wanted to grade students in her class down just for offering scientific evidence that disagreed with her prior religious commitment to materialism. That’s standard in the university (in non-experimental, non-engineering fields). Students are expected to repeat the professor’s ideology, and then get an A. That what students are paying for – to imitate the action of the parrot. This is where abortion, global warming, same-sex marriage, Marxism, the multiverse and directed panspermia came from. It’s not something they’ve thought through – they just believe it. You can even have 25 year-old students leading the effort to publish IPCC reports for the U.N. – as long as the student has the gift of parroting, then she is qualified to guide the economic decisions of nations.

I’m sure that Stephanie Gray would be graded down in the professor’s class for disagreeing with him. Assuming she could be admitted to the university at all with her scandalous views. Pro-lifers are regularly banned from forming clubs on university campuses. Lectures by pro-lifers are regularly shut down by violent pro-abortion protesters. Debates featuring pro-life scholars like Stephanie are regularly shut down by violent pro-abortion protesters. And on some particularly close-minded, fascistic campuses like Carleton University, pro-life debaters are arrested by policemen armed with firearms.

That’s liberal tolerance. That’s the open-minded freedom of inquiry of the secular left.

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