Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Looking for Links to Bloggers Writing on the Reason Rally?

For those who have been reading The Real Issue, you are finding out that there is a movement among us to do outreach at the Reason Rally which is hosting speakers like Richard Dawkins and P. Z. Meyers.  Here are some of the bloggers and their postings that are responding and resounding a rally cry among evangelicals and apologists with polemical writing.  

If you have a link or know of a link from an apologetics ministry that you would like to put on this list, please contact us and we will review and post.

Posts from friends on The Reason Rally:

Nota bene:  Yesterday, I received another comment from my Anonymous "atheist" poster.  Look for my "rejoinder" toward this vitriolic commenter.  - Rob  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Thought or Two on the March 24th "Skeptic Fest"

As you know, I know that I posted www.truereason.org’s announcement, but I wanted to take a few moments to carry forward some thoughts about this rally.  Why I am excited about this rally from the side of believe is because of some of the things that I have found talking to atheists on a local board (FredTalk) and in some cordial (yes, cordial) face to face dialogue.  I was excited to see that those of us on the Christian Apologetics Alliance (CAA) have heard that there is going to be media coverage.  I don’t know if it is MSNBC, FOX, NPR or a combination of networks.  At the same time, this event is being billed by the new atheists and their "groupies" as “the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history.”

Thinking about this claim for moment, one might be inclined to think, why in the world would anyone want to waste a Saturday (or why would I want to waste my Saturday and take off a day of work, since I hope to join my group of fellow apologists) paying attention to all this noise?  This event has the likes of Richard Dawkins and P. Z. Meyers preaching to a choir of their groupies and dashboard doggies (blind followers).  I am wondering myself if Meyers is the newly ordained apostle of the new atheism.

We have also heard that there may be opportunities for rational and hopefully cordial discussion and discourse outside the polemics from the lineup of speakers.  This very well could be an exciting time for Christian apologists to share the truth of the Christian message.

If I can get the time off from work, I will be looking to take the trip 45 minutes up the I-95 corridor to Washington, DC.  Would you pray for those who get to go (and myself) that God will open up opportunities to share Christ person to person?  Know that we strive to take every opportunity to live out the apologetic mandate of 1 Peter 3:15-17 with every person as God grants us opportunity.

Of the handful of atheists that I speak with locally, some are hospitable but very hard, while others are pretty hostile, almost militant.  It is interesting to see their response when they find a Christian wanting to have an intelligent dialogue with them.  Some make exigent demands encased with loaded questions.  Some commit the ad hominem while others commit a genetic fallacy here or there or use some excluded middle fallacies to defend their point.

What I have also found out is that the dialogue does not last long as I hope, but with whatever opportunity, it is always important for me to try and (as Greg Koukl would say) "put a stone in their shoe", by giving them something to "chew on" that will not digest well.

Some of the things one will experience that I have recently experienced are things like the skeptic trying to change the conversation to something that they are more comfortable talking about in hopes of winning the "debate."  It is important that we keep on the initial trail and force them to wrestle with what we are trying to communicate to them.  (Once rapport is established and the challenge has been given, I like to start on the problem of evil and origin of morality).  Atheists hope to argue origins v. evolution, or authenticity of the Bible, Farrell Till-style.  The problem of evil or the origin of (or reasons for) morality bring some curious questions from those I have dialogued.

Following this posting, up until the Rally Day, I hope to have some postings that will expose atheism for what it is, a bankrupt world view full of no hope, no meaning, no purpose, and no recovery once this life is over.  As a request for prayer for Kathy's (my wife) cousin, who was just diagnosed with cancer.  We are still learning the details.  If you are serious about praying for this lady, please email me privately at rwlundbergjr@gmail.com and we can give you more details.






Monday, February 20, 2012

The Reason to Rally for Truth: Loving Our Neighbors in Washington, D.C

If we can make this event we are sure to take part.  Should we be providentially hindered from participating, we want to let you know about the following event through this announcement from http://www.truereason.org.   Here is the entire announcement with edits to make it pertinent to this blog.

DID YOU KNOW THAT. . . .

Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Myers and other New Atheists are planning a “Reason Rally” in Washington, D.C. on March 24. They’re billing it as “the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history,” and they’re using it to trumpet their message that reasonable people reject belief in God.

We disagree.
Together, we represent Christians from the United States and around the world who believe that Christianity is a reasonable worldview. Our goal is to demonstrate a humble, loving and thoughtful response to the Reason Rally.  We’ll be equipped there with:
  • Gifts of kindness to give away–free bottled water, for example
  • Mini-book (32-page) summarized versions of Reason Really, an exciting soon-to-be-published ebook written especially for this purpose.
  • Flyers advertising that ebook.
  • A limited number of copies of a currently published book on Christianity and atheism.
Further details on these books are available on request.

Join the groups of like-minded apologists and thinkers in Washington!

Come join us there! We invite you to unite with us in a spirit of grace and truth (John 1:14, 1:18), ready to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), with godly grace and wisdom (Col. 4:6).

This is not a counter-demonstration. We are going there to share Christ person to person as opportunity arises. We will not raise our voices. We will talk with those who want to talk with us. We will offer gifts and materials to all, but we will not press ourselves on those who do not wish to converse. Knowing that the way others may choose to gather near us is not entirely in our control, we will nevertheless attempt to avoid gathering groups larger than a handful of people.

Let us know how to contact you so we can share plans and resources.

Come fully equipped

We’ll provide you some advance training by way of Internet, so you will be prepared for interactions in this unique “Lion’s Den” environment.

The items you will have opportunity to share at the Reason Rally require some funding. We ask you to share in this by donating funds for what you will distribute there—and more than that, if possible, to help other ministries and individuals who will be there.


How Can I Help?

For now, there are three primary ways you can get involved!
First, join us in prayer. We are asking God to empower this loving, intelligent response to the Reason Rally. Our goal is to make a positive difference with each person we reach through this effort.
Second, join our contact list. This will allow us to keep you informed as plans progress for our response to the Reason Rally.
Third, consider making a donation. Even a small amount – $5, $20, or $50 – when pooled together, makes a big difference. We are seeking to raise a total of $5,000 for this outreach.

This united outreach is being led by:


Supporting Bloggers


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Intolerant Bumper Stickers

Have you ever wondered about the COEXIST bumper sticker?  I am sure many of us have seen it on the backs of cars and wondered what the person believes or what they mean by having this "intolerant" bumper sticker on their vehicle.  The other day, at work, I was in one of our service departments and there was one on the back of a van that had a "vanity tag" with a "Christian message" (I can only assume), a "Clergy" tag bracket, an ICHTHUS fish on the lift gate (it was a van), and the bumper sticker "COEXIST" (as you see diagrammed).  Confusing?  Possibly.  But what about it all by itself.

May I propose to you that these bumper stickers are simply intolerant?  They are a reflection of the religious relativism ideology that says essentially that "all religions say the same thing", and that Jesus is no different from Muhammad, Buddha or "the rest of the boys."  But is this bumper sticker really tolerant as some might try to promote?

It all depends on how one views tolerance and the whole toleration issue.  What does the culture decry?  The "new toleration" (which is really nothing new since the first lie in the Garden) is that you and I need to affirm and accept the differences between people, even the theological ones; and that we need to make it our primary goal not to offend anyone with our beliefs.  In practical terms, this means that people who believe in absolute truth must keep quiet about their convictions, in order to avoid offending others.[1]

In the light of this bumper sticker it means embracing and affirming all peoples' beliefs as no different from yours, a Muslim's, a Hindu's, a pagan's, and on and on and on.  The problem with this whole issue is that the word and the message of the COEXIST bumper sticker is that one cannot embrace two or more beliefs which are antithetical to one another.  Using the bumper stickers letters let me explain what I mean by this.

Let's look at it by way of each of the letters.[2]

The "C" is the crescent moon and star of Islam.  Despite the culture caving in to a Muslim worldview through laws and practices in pocket of this country, Islam is one of the most intolerant religions vying for world prominence.  If you are not a Muslim then you are an infidel is essentially the attitude of this religion.  Also if you look at the meaning of the word, "Islam" it does not mean peace.  It means "submission."  Submission to what you might ask?  It means submission without mixture of anything else to the religion of  Islam, the teachings of Muhammad, the Qur'an and the Hadiths.  If you and I were not to submit, then it is the "or else". . .  Does Islam sound like it wants to coexist with all the other religious and social ideologies?  I think not.

The "O" is the peace sign refers to pacifism. . . militant pacifism.  In fact if you are not a pacifist you are something else like a "warmonger," or someone filled with hate and vengeance.  Look at the world around us though.  We are in a world where,  as it would appear to reflect a history of increasing violence.  Politics and religious ideologies, even pacifism are not very tolerant if they think that everyone needs to be a pacifist.  In fact, Jesus' statement in the second part of the Great Command, "love your neighbor as yourself"[3] is in my mind the higher ethic and a fulfillment of what I call the horizontal commandments (man toward man) of the 10 Commandments.[4]

The "E" on this bumper sticker as one of the symbols for "gay rights."  If you don't know already, that those pushing for acceptance of the gay agenda, do not want to just get "married."  They are pushing for full acceptance into mainstream society.  While they may want to have the full benefit of "coexistence", there are those who embrace the moral law found within the monotheistic religions[5].  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all have laws with consequences speaking to what God calls homosexuality, "an abomination".  Coexistence is impossible here on both sides of the issue would you and I agree?

The "X" is symbolic of the Star of David of Judaism.  Have you ever wondered why there are there five different categories of Judaism?[6].  Speaking of coexistence, why in the world do people hate the Jews?  Why do militant Muslims want to push the nation of Israel out of existence.  Sounds like if anyone should be desiring "coexistence" in our world it should be those who embrace and recognize as their own, the "star of David."   This has been a problem for Israel and those of Jewish heritage ever since they left 430 years of captivity in Egypt in 1446 BC.  Oi vey!

The "I" in this bumper sticker is symbolic of paganism.  Paganism is about the worship of nature; and a rejection of worshiping the one true God and Creator "who is forever praised/blessed" (Romans 1:25).  And the symbol is trying to say that those who embrace Christianity, Judaism and Islam need to "buck up" and affirm paganism as equal ideology.  Can we coexist in a culture with those who profess to be pagan in their religion?  Yes, so long as I don't have to affirm the pagan worldview equal with my embracing of historical Christianity.  However that is not what the bumper sticker is promoting.  What is this?  Intolerant.

The "S" is Dao of Buddhism or better wise known as the "yin" and "yang".  According to the Dao, everything, all of the self, all of nature, all of the genders are in balance.  Good and evil are in balance (karma).  All of nature is in balance and on and on and on.  The problem with this is multifold which space and scope will not allow.  Can we as Christians coexist together with those who embrace Buddhism or the Dao? Of course we can.  Do I have affirm that my thoughts on the problem of sin and God's remedy as equal to Buddhism's fulfilling the 8 Fold Path and the Four Noble Truths as equal?   Absolutely not!  What is the bumper sticker telling us we should do?   Do you see something intolerant in that "thayar" bumper sticker?  I do.

The "T" is the cross of Christianity.  But the question is whose interpretation of Christianity?  Is it a liberal softened down, watered down version that says "God is love" and that we need to "love" everybody.[7]  Of is this the Christianity that say that the one who is love Incarnate has commanded us to "love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul and with all our mind. . .and to love our neighbor as ourself"?[8]

What I do find interesting about the bumper sticker is that it is decrying the desire for everyone to get along and live in harmony.  That is a good thing.  The problem is that every one who embraces the ideologies symbolized on the sticker, embraces those ideologies or religions with the thinking that they are believing in the only right religion or view.  The bumper sticker is not only expressing an intolerance, but also a hypocrisy that is quite characteristic of cultural relativism and religious relativism.

A final thing I find interesting from all these "intolerant" symbols in the COEXIST sticker is that all these ideologies represented in their contexts are ultimately reactions against the cross of Christ, except possibly the cross for Christianity.  That depends on the individual's understanding of the sticker's symbol.  Nevertheless, it was at the cross where Jesus Christ was sacrificed, as a demonstration of real love, as an act of forgiveness for a sinner's salvation and justification before a holy, loving and righteously just God.   But Jesus' crucifixion was carried out by those who could not "coexist" with love incarnate; who could not coexist with one who said truthfully that He was the only "way and the truth and the life."; and that "no one comes to the Father but through Me (Jesus)." (John 14:6)

What is more tolerant?  That depend on what you and I mean by tolerant.  If you would like to read what this buzzword is all about please see my posting on Responding to Cultural Buzzwords.  This will help you see more what the problems are with the misunderstanding of tolerance, relativism, and multiculturalism.  They are all a ruse that won't work since they are all contradictions in terms and violating cardinal laws of critical thinking.  This is something our culture has definitely lost.

Instead we post stickers on the back of our vehicles, thinking that we are tolerant, but we are most intolerant if you violate my thinking with a view that I have to engage.   In the words of Professor Kirke, in C. S. Lewis', "The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe",

"Odd things they say, even their looks will let the secret out.  Keep your eyes open. Bless me what do they teach them at these schools?"


Notes

[1] As Christians, there is a certain degree of tolerance we must have, but we must remember that it is not the primary quality we're to build in our lives.  We are to be committed to a number of things, including the truth which is the Word of God, and the things which are taught by that truth, such as justice, because we worship a God who is just and righteous.  But there are times we ought to be tolerant in order to pursue justice and times when we should not.  Turning the other cheek is a good example.

[2]  There are other looks to the bumper sticker that are incorporating strictly religious ideologies.  The one for this posting seems to be the most popular of the ones that I have seen.  It is more toward an ideological bent than a strictly spiritual one.

[3] Matthew 22:39

[4]  That is the last 6 of the 10 Commandments and the giving of those laws by God to Moses found in the Pentatuch.

[5] By monotheistic religions, I am referring to the belief in one God who is "personal", transcendent, absolute in power, knowledge and presence and holiness.  The three that profess the belief in a God like this are Judaism, Christianity and Islam (though Islam unlike the other two would say that God has not  and does not intervene).

[6] Orthodox (these are the true "by the Book" conservatives), Conservative (are not so conservative), Reform (are reforming Judaism to a more tolerant liberal understanding of the Torah and the Mitzvot), Liberal and "Jew-boos" (those who embrace and mix Judaism with Buddhism).

[7] By "love" I am talking here about a love that is devoid of holiness, justice, forgiveness, and those things that truly reflect the nature of the God of the Bible.

[8] Please see the context of Matthew 22:34-40.