Tag Archives: Self-Centeredness

Abortion, moral relativism, and the banality of evil

From Life Site News. This is strongly-worded and profound.

Excerpt:

The 20th century political philosopher Hannah Arendt coined the term “banality of evil” when she observed the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann was the very epitome of modern, banal, “nice” evil – an unthinking bureaucrat who, even to the end, could not seem to grasp the enormity of the evil in which he had taken part as a cog in the machine, a mere functionary.

Observers of the Nuremburg trials often commented that many of Eichmann’s fellow Nazis were to all outward appearances perfectly ordinary, bland, modern, well-educated, even cultured men: bureaucrats whose mass murders were committed from a distance with the stroke of a pen, and with the most prosaic and dispassionate of justifications.

We look back on this kind of man with the comfortable assurance that we are observing an undisputed monstrous evil, and are able to see it clearly. That man, those men, clearly ought to have known, and their facades of civilization are not enough to cover their shame. It is not enough, we can say, confident that the world will agree, to like Beethoven and Bach, to read Schiller and enjoy sports and be attentive husbands and fathers. We must know the difference between good and evil, or we are lost, we become those men, those civilized monsters.

I have seen myself, many times, the existence of this new, passionless “nice evil.” I have met it nearly every time I discuss abortion with a member of the “personally opposed but…” culture. These are the “perfectly nice” people who believe that it is perfectly justifiable to murder an innocent infant or helpless old person, and for no other reason than the momentary inconvenience he creates for another. Is there not something even more monstrous about this banal and complacent evil? Is this not the smiling, reasonable face of our worst dystopian nightmares?

Pro-life apologists like to compare our current abortion culture with that of slavery, one of the greatest evils ever perpetrated under (nominally) Christian princes.

In the centuries during which it was practiced, and whole economies were based on it, millions of people lived and prospered on its arrears. Until William Wilberforce forced the British public to look the realities of slavery in the face, it seems probable that the majority of them would, as the saying goes, not wish to own a slave themselves, but would not want to impose their personal beliefs on others. Buy and sell human beings, kidnap and torture and murder them, if your morality says you can. It is none of my business to tell you what to do.

Were these millions “moral monsters”? We are so sure of these evils now, but the question haunts us: why did they not know? And how are we different from them? Should these ordinary people not have instinctively known these evils?

Should they not all have done what Wilberforce finally did? Should there not have been a mass movement of decent, ordinary people against the atrocity of slavery? Why did Wilberforce’s crusade meet with such determined opposition, and take so long to accomplish?

Pro-abortionists de-humanize their victims and then kill them, just so that they can have recreational sex without consequences. This is the “great good” that pro-abortion radicals are fighting for – drunken hook-up sex and self-centered shacking up. They put amusement and entertainment above innocent human lives. Because they are strong, and unborn babies are weak. Their ethic is survival of the fittest. Pro-abortion is pro-selfishness. And they want you to celebrate and subsidize their selfishness, or else.

Why do so many people oppose debating about religion?

Consider this article by Barbara Johnson in the Dallas Morning News. Her title is “Don’t bother debating faith”.

Full article:

Recently Prestonwood Baptist Church invited Christopher Hitchens, a renowned atheist, to debate his views with William Dembski of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. While I applaud Prestonwood for having the courage to expose their young students to views which are so unlike those taught in their very conservative school, I question the idea of debating religious views at all. Debate or argument, while exposing us to the beliefs and convictions of others, can breed animosity, partisanship and an “us against them” mentality, as each side fights to defend a predetermined stance.

Because religious or spiritual views and experiences are deeply personal, I don’t believe they belong in the debate arena at all.

The spectacle of religious thinkers arguing and cutting down one another’s beliefs, practices and spiritual experiences makes little sense and is a detriment to what religion should stand for. Each individual must be allowed to walk his or her spiritual journey without outside pressure and condemnation. When one is pressured to “believe” a certain set of doctrines, or operate within a pre-set paradigm, true expression is suppressed.

Psychologist Carl Jung notes that “many of our institutions throw obstacles in the way of the individual’s self-discovery” and that through the institution of the church “people are effectively defended and shielded against immediate religious experience,” an experience I feel cannot be imposed upon anyone through argument or even reasoning.

The vast majority of the world’s population understandably practices the religious traditions of their own childhood. Having grown up Christian in the largest Muslim country in the world, surrounded by its good people, I have the privilege of a broad world view. Consequently, I feel that the all-too-prevalent idea that one entire group is misguided and needs to be enlightened with the ideas and dogmas of another group possessing a monopoly on truth is off the mark.

I don’t have the answer to the mystery and purpose of life, and I am convinced that no one else on earth does either. I like to heed Václav Havel’s advice: “Keep the company of those who seek the truth – run from those who have found it.” All people of the world must be free to practice their culture and religion as they please or to define their own individual spirituality through the wisdom they accumulate with life experience. Too much time, energy and focus is spent by many “religious” folks trying to figure out who is right and who is wrong; who is saved and who is doomed; who should be included and who should be excluded from their institutions.

If they are honestly seeking a personal relationship with the divine, they are wrestling with the wrong angel. True spirituality will never be achieved this way. More time should be spent searching for and recognizing the glimpses of God that are available each and every day in such things as expressions of love, acts of kindness and beautiful moments in nature.

As Henri Nouwen so perfectly puts it, “My highest vocation is to be a witness to the glimpses of God I have been allowed to catch.” I so admire the Zen Buddhists who don’t expend energy defending dogmas or condemning those with varying practices or beliefs. They concentrate on inclusiveness, peaceful meditation, private introspection, acceptance, and respect for people and environment. They see glimpses of the divine in the simple miracles around them every day. How can anyone argue with that?

Here’s a short bio of the woman who wrote the article:

Barbara B. Johnson is a life coach living and working in Dallas. She is also a Community Voices volunteer columnist.

I think that people with expertise in philosophy, a science, history or even engineering are more likely to disagree with her. But I think that her view is shared by many leaders in the church, and by many parents of children who attend church (H/T Tory Ninja).

Refuting her view is simple, it takes only one line. If she is saying that debating with people to persuade them of your view is wrong, then she should not be debating with we narrow-minded believers in truth to persuade us that she is right and we are wrong, that her view is… true, and that our view is… false. But maybe being good at recognizing self-refuting statements is not a prerequisite for being a “life coach”. Certainly a developed ability to reason logically is not a prerequisite for being published in the Dallas Morning News. One the one hand, she is telling us to accept her view, and on the other hand, she claims not to know anything.

And the worst thing is that it is people like this who protest apologetic debates, lectures and book studies who have marginalized the church from the public square. It is because the church is populated by people like Barbara, and because the pastors cater to the Barbaras in the church, that I struggle enormously with church attendance. I see her attitude everywhere in the church. In fact there is an entire movement called the emergent church, which is dedicated to reinventing Christianity based on Barbara’s view of religion.

Instead of reading books like “The Case for Christ”, “The Case for a Creator” and “The Case for Faith”, we have a generation of church people reading “The Shack”, “Conversations With God”, “Blue Like Jazz”, “Left Behind”, “The Da Vinci Code”, “Twilight” and other nonsense.

By the way, if you want to here someone like Barbara in a debate with a Christian Philosopher, check out this debate.

New study shows that children of divorce twice as likely to have a stroke

Science Daily reports on a recent peer-reviewed Canadian study that links an increased risk of stroke to divorce. (H/T Ruth Blog)

Excerpt:

“We were very surprised that the association between parental divorce and stroke remained so strong even after we had adjusted for smoking, obesity, exercise and alcohol consumption,” said [study leader Esme] Fuller-Thomson.

[…]Of the 13,134 total study respondents, 10.4 percent had experienced parental divorce during their childhood, and 1.9 percent reported that they had been diagnosed with a stroke at some point in their lives. When adjusting for age, race and gender, the odds of stroke were approximately 2.2 times higher for those who had experienced parental divorce.

When other risk factors — including socioeconomic status, health behaviors, mental health, and other adverse childhood experiences — were controlled in a logistic regression analysis, the odds ratio of stroke for those who had experienced parental divorce remained significantly elevated.

I also noticed that Stephen Baskerville has a new article on no-fault divorce up in the (ugh! blech!) American Conservative.

Excerpt:

First: Marriage exists primarily to cement the father to the family. This fact is politically incorrect but undeniable. The breakdown of marriage produces widespread fatherlessness, not motherlessness. As Margaret Mead pointed out long ago—yes, leftist Margaret Mead was correct about this—motherhood is a biological certainty whereas fatherhood is socially constructed. The father is the weakest link in the family bond, and without the institution of marriage he is easily discarded.

[…]The notion that marriage exists for love or “to express and safeguard an emotional union of adults,” as one proponent puts it, is cant. Many loving and emotional human relationships do not involve marriage. Even the conservative argument that marriage exists to rear children is too imprecise: marriage creates fatherhood. No marriage, no fathers.

[…]Here is the second unpleasant truth: homosexuals did not destroy marriage, heterosexuals did. The demand for same-sex marriage is a symptom, not a cause, of the deterioration of marriage. By far the most direct threat to the family is heterosexual divorce. “Commentators miss the point when they oppose homosexual marriage on the grounds that it would undermine traditional understandings of marriage,” writes family scholar Bryce Christensen. “It is only because traditional understandings of marriage have already been severely undermined that homosexuals are now laying claim to it.”

[..]Thus the third inconvenient fact: divorce is a political problem. It is not a private matter, and it does not come from impersonal forces of moral and cultural decay. It is driven by complex and lucrative government machinery operating in our names and funded by our taxes. It is imposed upon unwilling people, whose children, homes, and property may be confiscated. It generates the social ills that rationalize almost all domestic government spending. And it is promoted ideologically by the same sexual radicals who now champion same-sex marriage. Homosexuals may be correct that heterosexuals destroyed marriage, but the heterosexuals were their fellow sexual ideologues.

Conservatives have completely misunderstood the significance of the divorce revolution. While they lament mass divorce, they refuse to confront its politics. Maggie Gallagher attributes this silence to “political cowardice”: “Opposing gay marriage or gays in the military is for Republicans an easy, juicy, risk-free issue,” she wrote in 1996. “The message [is] that at all costs we should keep divorce off the political agenda.”

No American politician of national stature has seriously challenged unilateral divorce. “Democrats did not want to anger their large constituency among women who saw easy divorce as a hard-won freedom and prerogative,” writes Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. “Republicans did not want to alienate their upscale constituents or their libertarian wing, both of whom tended to favor easy divorce, nor did they want to call attention to the divorces among their own leadership.”

If we social conservatives care about children, then we need to be opposed to no-fault divorce. We need to be more careful about who we choose to marry, and not choose mates because of “chemistry” or “hotness” or because our friends approve of them based on arbitrary cultural standards gleaned from Lady Gaga and Dancing With The Stars. There are defined roles for the participants to a marriage, and there is a design for marriage, and there are specific tasks that need to get done. Marriage is a job, and it requires skills to execute difficult tasks that are morally obligatory. It’s not about immature selfish adults pursuing happiness at the expense of their children. It’s not about feelings. It’s not about sentimentality. It’s not about fun.

Divorce causes damage to the health and well-being of children, resulting in behaviors that will give us less liberty (greater intervention of government) and higher taxes (for social welfare programs) later on. There are consequences to selfishness and irresponsibility in relationships. Other people do not exist to entertain you. Relationships are not a form of recreational activity. At least they should not be for Christians. For Christians, the goal of relationships is to get the other person to have a closer relationship with God and to be equipped to serve God better. If children are the result, then the same obligation applies to them. That is the purpose of relationships in Christianity.

Is it wrong for women to complain about their husbands in public?

DISCLAIMER: Women are allowed to complain about abuse, addiction, adultery and abandonment to their friends, and they are are justified in doing so. This post is about complaining about picking up socks and not fixing the sink.

According to Ginny at Ruth Blog, it is wrong. And I agree.

Excerpt:

Does this sound familiar?  “My husband drives me crazy!  How hard can it be to pick up a sock and put it in the laundry?  I mean, it’s not like he’s actually busy–he hasn’t fixed the leaky sink that I mentioned two months ago, or mowed the lawn, or cleaned up that mess in the garage.  And now that football has started, I never see him…”

I used to join in with this sort of talk. I considered it “casual complaining”–nothing serious, certainly. Sometimes I would even trot out my husband’s faults in an effort to sympathetically let a girlfriend know that her husband isn’t all that bad–all husbands “do stuff like that”. I hoped it would make her see that it really wasn’t worth complaining about. But that probably wasn’t the effect; my “complaining” ended up justifying her complaining.

Then something I heard (on the radio? at a seminar?) made me think about what I was doing to my husband.  It was terrible–taking private faults and making them public; taking small lapses and making them seem big; taking a man whom I love and respect, and denigrating him, belittling him. And worst of all, I was doing it where he couldn’t even defend himself. Just terrible.

So I stopped. It wasn’t too hard, if I caught myself starting to talk that way. The problem was that often times I wouldn’t even notice what I was doing until I was already well into it. Now it has been many years, and I believe it has really made a difference.  I found that changing my words changed my attitude; changing my attitude changed my actions; changing my actions changed his attitude; changing his attitude changed his actions. Win, win, win!!!

Wow, now that woman will have a husband who will love her to the ends of the Earth. And for good reason!

Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Laura’s book about the care and feeding of husbands:

“A good man is hard to find, not to keep.” That sentence should really make you stop and think. As a radio talk-show host/psychotherapist, I’ve got to tell you how remarkably true and sad it is that so many women struggle to hold on to some jerk, keep giving an abusive or philandering man yet another chance, have unprotected sex with some guy while barely knowing his last name, agree to shack up and risk making babies with some opportunist or loser, all in a pathetic version of a pursuit for love, but will resent the hell out of treating a decent, hardworking, caring husband with the thoughtfulness, attention, respect, and affection he needs to be content.

It boggles my mind.

What further puts me in boggle overdrive is how seemingly oblivious and insensitive many women are to how destructive they are being to their men and consequently to their marriages. Women will call me asking me if it’s alright to go off on extended vacations “without him” when they want some freedom or R&R, or if it’s okay to cut him off from sex because they’re annoyed about something or just too tired from their busy day, or if they really have to make him a dinner when he gets home from work because it’s just too tedious to plan meals, or if it’s okay to keep stuff from him (like family or financial issues) because his input is unnecessary, or if they’re really obligated to spend time with his family (in-laws or stepkids), or if they really have to show interest in his hobbies when they’re bored silly by them, or — well, you get the idea.

I spent the weekend listening to Dr. Laura’s “The Proper Caring and Feeding of Husbands” as well, so I am really positive about women in general right now. This book is the best book for women to read to know how to handle themselves around men. The fact that so many women bought it says a lot about women.

What are my thoughts? I really don’t think that women should say hurtful things about men who love them in public or even in private to other women. Yet so many (all?) of them seem to think that it is normal. But it really hurts men emotionally. Needing approval and encouragement from the woman he loves is the man’s biggest emotional need. I think men do a lot of things to protect, provide and lead that women just don’t appreciate – probably because they don’t understand how a man’s role really is.

I think that there are times when some women have a double-standard that allows them to complain and complain about men, but if they do anything wrong, they just shift the blame to someone else, (i.e. – men), usually by dredging up things that happened sometime around the Hadean era, when the Earth was still cooling. That is really unattractive and something men need to test for during courtship. Men should always ask women for help, always hold them accountable, and always give them responsibilities. See how seriously the woman takes her obligations to other people.

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