Tag Archives: Selfishness

Is Christianity false or is it just mean and judgmental?

Have you noticed lately that there is a decided lack of atheists who argue against Christianity on factual grounds? Instead of constructing arguments against Christian theism, what I am seeing more and more of is that people try to say that Christianity makes some group feel bad, and therefore Christianity is not worthy of pursuit and engagement.

Here’s how it works. You have a person who has some sinful habit or other that they don’t want to give up, and they notice that people are judging them and saying that what they are doing is wrong. And they feel bad. And they decide to attack Christianity to make the Christians stop judging them. So how do they do it? Do they argue that the concept of God is logically incoherent? No… Do they argue that some instances of evil and suffering are gratuitous? No… Do they argue that the universe is eternal so that it had no Creator? No…

What do they do?

What they do is pick on some statement by a conservative Christian that makes them feel bad, and then claim that they are victims of meanness. And apparently, making someone feel bad is some sort of disproof of Christian theism. Why is that? It’s because we have decided as a culture that the purpose of religion is to make people feel good about themselves and to be “nice” to other people. And by “nice”, we mean not making other people feel bad about the sinfulness of their behavior. So people are making Christianity irrelevant just by assuming that the purpose of life is happiness, and that any religion that makes people unhappy can be dismissed.

Before, people thought about Christianity as something that you investigated, and that was either true or false. People understood that Christianity made claims about the external world that were either true or false. For example, Christianity claims that the universe had a beginning in the finite past. And the people who disagreed with Christianity would try to produce arguments and evidence that the universe was eternal, as with the steady-state theory or the oscillating model of the universe. And people were willing to change their behavior to match what was true, even when it made them feel less happy. But not any more.

Religion today is not about truth

I think somehow, as a society, we have internalized the following beliefs:

  • God wants me to have happy feelings
  • the purpose of religion is to give me happy feelings
  • God’s moral will for me is that I be “nice” to others
  • being nice to others means accepting whatever they want to do as “good”
  • accepting whatever anyone does makes them like me
  • when people like me, I feel happy, which is what God wants
  • there is no need for me to study God’s existence
  • God exists when I want to be comforted, and doesn’t exist when I want to sin
  • there is no need for me to study God’s character
  • God’s character is pretty much like my character, whatever I want is fine with God
  • there are no moral rules or obligations from God that apply to me
  • religions are all the same, I choose the one that makes me feel happy

So you can see that someone who believes things like this can claim to be a Christian, but would actually attack real Christians who hold to the old view of exclusive factual claims and moral judgments. The real Christians are people who have studied these questions, who know that God exists, and what he is like, and accept the Bible’s moral teachings as authoritative. So you could have a famous pastor who defends the Bible’s prohibition on sex before marriage, and have someone feel bad about being judged, and then a bunch of these “the purpose of life is happiness” people will appear and chastise that pastor for making people feel bad. And many of them will claim to be Christians, and attend church, too.

Now notice that this mob of happy-feelings people are not going argue against the pastor using the Bible, because the Bible is pretty clearly against fornication. What they’ll do instead is they’ll pick out some piece of the Bible that seems unfair, like the slaughter of some group of child-sacrificing pagans, and they’ll rail against that Bible passage in order to discredit the Bible’s authority on moral questions. And then the good conservative pastor is made to feel bad because he has broken those unwritten laws – he made someone feel bad using this evil book.

No factual claims about God’s existence were made. No historical arguments were made. No evidence was presented. The mere fact that the Bible is mean to talk about killing the poor Canaanites is used to prove that the Bible has no moral authority at all, on any issue. “It’s mean” entails that it’s false. And you can have people who read the Bible for devotions, who sing in church, and who lead worship, who think that the Bible is false because it’s mean, and it’s mean because it can be used to judge people and make them feel bad.

An example

Now consider single motherhood, as in this case.

Excerpt:

She tells her children to do as she says and not as she does.

But the words of mother of 14 Joanne Watson – who receives more than £2,000 a month in state handouts – have fallen on deaf ears.

Her 15-year-old daughter Mariah is pregnant, the father has ‘left the scene’, and the youngster is about to start living off benefits.

Mrs Watson, 40, is raising her giant brood alone after parting from her husband John, 46, three years ago, and breaking up with subsequent partner Craig le Sauvage, 35, last year.

Despite this, she has still managed to squirrel away enough cash for a £1,600 breast enhancement and a sunbed. She claims she has always encouraged her daughters to use contraception – but, inevitably, it seems they would rather follow the family tradition.

Mariah’s pregnancy comes after Mrs Watson’s oldest daughter Natasha, 22, got pregnant with her son Branford, now six, when she was 16. Her second eldest daughter Shanice, 19, also got pregnant at 16 with her 22-month-old son Marley.

Mariah says she has no concerns about becoming a teenage mother, as it seems the most natural thing in the world. Initially, she and her child will be supported by the taxpayer.

She is expected to move into a housing complex for single mothers and will receive supplementary benefit and child allowance for her baby.

The youngster, who is due to have a boy, said: ‘I’m not nervous. I’ve been around babies my whole life so I know what to expect and that I can handle it. The father isn’t involved and I don’t want him to be either. I’m really excited and think I will be a great mum.’

Now there are two responses to this from people who profess to be Christians. The first response, my response, is to make a general argument against having sex before marriage, using the latest statistics to show the harm that fatherlessness causes to children, and more evidence besides. My response is not to pick on any one person, but to set moral boundaries, to make moral judgments against the selfishness of parents, and to not celebrate and subsidize anything that will harm innocent children. I don’t want to make anyone person feel bad, I just want to say what the evidence is. However, even a general argument using evidence does make some people feel bad, so I am judged as “mean” for giving my opinion and backing it up with evidence.

But there is another response. This response comes from someone who professes to be a Christian, but they are actually a “God wants me to be happy and to be nice to people so they will like me and then we’ll all be happy” person. They would never dream of judging anyone for anything they do. And they are very angry with me for getting my moral rules out of that horrible Bible, and for using facts and evidence to make people feel bad. They believe in compassion, which is the idea that says that the moral boundaries of the Bible are false, and that we have to celebrate and subsidize any and every variation on the traditional family, regardless of the harm caused, so that the selfish adults don’t feel bad about their destructive choices.

And what do we make of a person who feels that saying “it’s wrong” is mean, because it makes a guilty person feel bad? Well, here is the truth. A person who argues against the Bible based on the happy-feelings model is no friend of God, and no friend of the victims of selfish actions. They may think that they are being a good person by affirming people who make bad decisions, but really it just encourages people to get into trouble.

Why do Christian men prefer to marry virgins?

Here's some helpful advice for women about choosing a man
Here’s some helpful advice for women about choosing a man

Some Christian women argue that chastity is an “idol” that detracts from Jesus’ “gospel of forgiveness”. Basically, they claim that although premarital sex is a sin, it shouldn’t stop a man from marrying them, because they can just make the sin disappear by asking Jesus for forgiveness. But does this really address the underlying concern that men with have marrying a non-virgin?

Let’s start with an example (reported by Daily Wire), then analyze what is going on here:

Though “The Bachelorette” star Hannah Brown has been open about her Christian faith this past season, she also openly boasted about premarital sex as if it were no big deal.

“I have had sex, and, honestly, Jesus still loves me,” Brown said on Monday’s episode.

[…]Brown later spoke with Entertainment Tonight about her religious views on Christ, which boil down to a “personal relationship with Jesus” without doctrinal accountability.

“Regardless of anything that I’ve done … well people might think, ‘Oh, that deserves a scarlet letter.’ That’s not how it works. I can do whatever — I sin daily and Jesus still loves me. It’s all washed and if the Lord doesn’t judge me and it’s all forgiven, then no other man, woman … can judge me,” Brown told Entertainment Tonight.

So to start with, Transformed Wife has a spiritual reflection this, which you can read. The Bible teaches that sex outside of marriage is rebellion against God, and Jesus tells people who sin that they are forgiven, but that they should “sin no more”. Sinning no more is hard. But what should be easy is not telling everyone that sinning is OK, like Hannah Brown did. She doesn’t think that the Bible has the authority to say NO to her feelings and desires. Already, this is a red flag for men who feel that they can’t trust a woman who is willing to throw out Bible verses when it goes against her desires.

Even among Christians, premarital sex is the rule, not the exception:

As many as 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults have had sex, according to an analysis of a study on sexual activity in the upcoming October issue of Relevant, a Christian magazine.

Young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 who identify themselves as evangelicals are almost as sexually active as their non-Christian peers, according to the article “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It.”

This study from Live Science makes clear that young people see avoiding commitment as an intended benefit of premarital sex.

Two-thirds of participants said they had been in a “friends with benefits” relationship, and 36 percent said they currently were in one. The main advantage of such a relationship was “no commitment” (reported by 59.7 percent of participants), which was followed closely by “have sex” (55.6 percent).

Let’s decide what premarital sex tells marriage-minded Christian men about a woman.

What a woman’s choice to have recreational premarital sex tells a marriage-minded man

What kind of men do women choose for recreational premarital sex? Well, they choose men who don’t commit to marriage before sex. It’s not as if women are choosing these men because they are good at commitment behaviors; sobriety, fidelity, charity, protecting children, etc. A premarital-sex woman thinks that a no-commitment man is the best man. If she thought that a marriage-minded man were best, she’d be giving him sex – after marrying him. She uses her temporary supply of youth and beauty to reward the no-commitment man for his “superiority”. What makes him superior? A bunch of superficial traits like height, tattoos, piercings, arrogance, etc. – basically, he’s fun in the moment.

The commitment man is bad, because he just wants to burden her with a “boring” marriage commitment. Commitment requires moral boundaries that would reduce her fun. For example, the commitment man might tell her “these research papers say that it’s best for our newborn if you quit your job and stay home, instead of putting them into daycare”. Or he might say, “we can’t afford your shopping” or “your smoking is bad for our baby”. And she doesn’t want to deal with this “controlling” behavior – not right now, anyway. Her youth and beauty needs to be used to chase her real priority, which is fun with the hot bad boys. Marriage is not her first priority, it’s her last resort.

Marriage-minded men can’t lead a family if they marry a woman who does not respect them

So, suppose that a woman passes up marriage-minded men during her young and pretty years. Should a marriage-minded man pursue her after she’s done having fun?

Well, what does her past decision-making reveal about her character? She prefers no-commitment men, and her goal is fun.So how can a woman who chose no-commitment men suddenly change herself completely around and start to like men with commitment skills, (chastity, sobriety, frugality, mentoring, etc.). Marriage-minded men marry in order to lead. But will a woman who prefers no-commitment men and fun allow a man she sees as “boring” and “controlling” to lead her? A wise commitment-man must choose a woman who respects his preparation for and focus on commitment.

Now the woman might say that she’s changed, and now she is ready to get serious with a real man. But what reasons does a man have to think that her change is genuine? What has she read to change her mind? What actions show that she wants a man to lead in moral and spiritual areas? What evidence is there that she is now an activist against feminism, promiscuity, abortion, divorce, socialism and single motherhood? Isn’t a man entitled to ask for some evidence of what caused her to change her mind about which men are good, and what relationships are for?

Suppose that her sudden change is just because she recognizes that her recreational premarital sex approach to getting a no-commitment man to commit hasn’t worked. So she hasn’t changed which men she is attracted to, but now she just wants financial support and the social respectability of marriage. From a man she doesn’t admire, doesn’t respect, will not support, and will not follow. Is that a good value proposition for a commitment-man?

Marriage-minded men don’t marry in order to give a woman who prefer no-commitment men financial support and social respect. We marry in order to lead a family with the support of a woman who respects our focus on marriage and commitment. We don’t trust last-second conversions to the pro-patriarchy position. We have to be convinced that a woman really repented of her past, and now has a deep, Christian understanding of men, marriage and parenting. This is a nearly impossible task given the myths about men and marriage that are floating around in this secular leftist culture of feminism and misandry. In order to accept that the woman has changed, we expect to see the work you did to change your behavior patterns and beliefs from anti-marriage to pro-marriage. I have met a few women who have done this, including some of my trusted advisors… but it’s rare.

The importance of evidence in making selfish, reckless behavior unthinkable

My female advisors are always telling me to be more positive in my writing. “You must tell women what to do after mistakes have already been made!” OK, women: the solution is simple, and it’s found in Romans 12:1-2. You have to change your criteria for men, and your vision of marriage by consuming evidence that makes your prior decisions unthinkable. You must train yourself to disregard your feelings, your desires and cultural pressure. And then you must put your new mind into practice with your actions, including promoting your new vision for men, sex and marriage to other people in public. These actions will signal to men that you are serious about marriage.

So, I’ll just link to my previous posts about peer-reviewed scientific research, which shows the scientific backing for the Bible’s teaching on this topic:

The evidence is necessary because evidence helps everyone to do the right thing, regardless of feelings, desires and peer approval.

You wouldn’t waste your money on tattoos, alcohol, cigarettes and travel if you understood the financial demands of retirement and how to invest in order to be ready for retirement. Knowledge of investing and retirement overrides feelings, desires and peer pressure. If women do not prioritize learning the “boring” evidence about best practices for men, sex and marriage, then they will decide how to live based on their feelings, desires and the culture. In a secular left culture like this, a man with chastity and a good fortune will be attracted to women who have deliberately walled off sin by strengthening their ability to be good at marriage with evidence.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, I recommend “The Sacred Search” by Gary Thomas and “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

New study: 1 in 8 divorces is caused by student loan debt

I like to make plans in advance and calculate everything out before I try to do anything. This is the curse of being a software engineer. We’re taught to take a test-first approach to design. So, when I think about marriage, I naturally think about what tests marriage is supposed to pass, and work backwards from there to requirements for each of the spouses.

Here’s some research from CNBC that might help young people to avoid a divorce, if they respect the research in their choices.

Excerpt:

When it comes to student loan debt, “for richer, for poorer” doesn’t quite cut it.

In general, finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship, according to a study by SunTrust Bank, but student debt takes a particularly hard toll on a marriage.

More than a third of borrowers said college loans and other money factors contributed to their divorce, according to a recent report from Student Loan Hero, a website for managing education debt.

In fact, 13 percent of divorcees blame student loans specifically for ending their relationship, the report found. Student Loan Hero surveyed more than 800 divorced adults in June.

Here is a link to the full study from Student Loan Hero.

I think in general, you can’t just do whatever you want before marrying and jump into it unprepared. Marriage involves specific requirements in order to work, such as being faithful to your spouse, and buying things that you need for the marriage enterprise, like a home, and baby stuff. It doesn’t make any sense to say “I want to get married” and then not prepare for marriage by being careful about preparing for the behaviors marriage that requires of you. Being debt-free is one of those behaviors that marriage requires of you.

So how can we be debt-free, so that the marriage will be stable? Well, one way to be debt-free is to find a way to learn skills that will allow you to get a job without going to college, like being a self-taught software engineer. One of my friends actually did that, and now he’s with a very good software company as a remote worker. But if you’re going to go to college, you can avoid debt by studying something that will get you a high-paying job when you graduate.

This 2017 article from Harvard Business Review is interesting.

It says:

Examining 46,934 resumes shared on Glassdoor by people who graduated between 2010 and 2017, the researchers looked at each person’s college major and their post-college jobs in the five years after graduation. They then estimated the median pay for each of those jobs (also using Glassdoor data) for employees with five years of experience or less. Their key finding: “Many college majors that lead to high-paying roles in tech and engineering are male dominated, while majors that lead to lower-paying roles in social sciences and liberal arts tend to be female dominated, placing men in higher-paying career pathways, on average.”

Here’s the plot, and you can click it to expand it:

Starting salaries by major, broken out by gender
Median salaries by major, broken out by gender – don’t study things at the bottom!

As you can see from the graph, it’s especially important to share the message about choosing a major, salaries and student loan debt with WOMEN, because as the graph shows, they tend to choose the wrong majors, if the goal is to pay off student loans and avoid divorce. Everyone who wants marriage to go smoothly needs to choose majors that are near the top of the graph, like nursing, chemical engineering, computer science, or mechanical engineering. It doesn’t make sense to go to college if you aren’t going to graduate in one of these high-paying fields.

As you might expect from the graph, women hold the majority of student loan debt, according to the Boston Globe, and that’s because women tend to choose majors that don’t result in good-paying jobs. And we already saw how this becomes a risk factor for divorce.

Student loans delay marriage and children

Another interesting piece of data, reported by The Consumerist, is that people with student loans tend to delay marriage, which means the couple has fewer children:

As consumers navigate life’s financial journey, they are faced with major financial milestones, like buying a home. But student loans are also delaying consumers from reaching these goals.

Survey respondents report delaying homeownership (23 percent), buying or leasing a car (23 percent), having children (10 percent) and getting married (9 percent) because of their student loan burdens.

So, it’s not just that there is an increased risk of divorce from student loans, but there’s also fewer children, which means a diminished legacy. I can’t speak for how others would see this, but for myself, I want to pass on my beliefs to as many effective, influential Christian children as I can.

Anyway, I feel obligated to post a relevant Dave Ramsey video, just to remind everyone that stewardship of money is a Christian virtue, and that being forgiven by Jesus for your sins doesn’t automatically make you good with money. It takes planning and stewardship.

This one from 2014: (H/T Robb)

 

When I was in high school, I was far more interested in becoming an English teacher than I was in becoming a software engineer. It was my Dad who overruled my choice of college major when I was still in high school. He had me take a first-year English course at a local university. When I saw how politicized and useless it was (they were studying all sorts of politically correct postmodern relativist stuff, instead of the Great Works, and they weren’t trying to learn any wisdom from any of it), I chose computer science. I did what was likely to avoid divorce, and likely to support having many children.