Sunday, January 20, 2013

Is Pro-Choice Really Pro-Life?

I am currently reading the book “True Reason” by Tom Gilson and others (the book's official website can be found here). This isn’t a traditional apologetics book per se. Rather, it is a collection of essays by authors responding to the new atheists’ cooption of the term “reason” to describe their worldview. The contributors are not so much concerned with making an affirmative case for Christianity as they are illustrating how so many of the techniques used by the new atheists can be described as anything but reasonable.

In surfing Facebook recently, I came across this picture attempting to present an argument in favor of the pro-choice movement. As I read it, I could not help but see some parallels between the issues raised in “True Reason” and the tactics employed by those advocating in favor of abortion.

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Monday, November 05, 2012

Do Abortion Bans Lead to "Back Alley" Procedures?

One of the issues I have not covered in my recent blog posts on abortion is the oft-repeated myth that if a country outlaws abortion, the number of abortions will not go down and women instead will seek "back alley" abortions, dangerous procedures that result in more injuries and fatalities for the pregnant women.

As I said, this is a myth.  But rather than post my own blog on the subject, I recently came across a thorough, clear and fascinating blog by Kristi Burton Brown that I thought I would link to here for your reference.

True or false? Banning abortion does not decrease abortion rates

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Fetal “Personhood,” Abortion, and Allowing Exceptions for Rape and Incest


On October 26, 2012, a post appeared on a blog titled, "The Dead Author's Club" by "Christine" (her last name does not appear on the post) titled "Fetal personahood and criminalizing abortion: a prosecutor's perspective."  The blog had nothing to do with dead authors, and to Christine's credit she explained this from the ourtset.  Instead, she wanted to express her thoughts about the efforts to ban (or even criminalize) abortion except in certain special circumstances such as rape and incest.  Unfortunately, comments have been closed, so there is no way for me to respond to Christine directly.  Even without that opportunity, though, I felt a response of some sort was warranted.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The “False Gods” of Evangelicalism



On September 12, 2012, Rob Asghar wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post accusing evangelical Christianity of pledging allegiance to an unholy Trinity which he calls the idols of Mars, mammon and sexual purity.  The idol of Mars refers to our allegedly bloodthirsty desire to resort to warfare when we should love our enemies instead.  Our worship of mammon is illustrated through our alleged allegiance to capitalistic materialism and hoarding material wealth.  Finally, he believes we are hypocrites by demanding sexual purity in society while worshipping at a materialistic altar ourselves.

Mr. Asghar does manage to exhibit a certain rhetorical flourish.  Like a good politician, he can get his audience to stand up and cheer as he holds their hands and navigates them down the path he wishes to travel so by the endof the journey they will proclaim along with him how utterly fair and reasonable his position appears.  And to be fair to Mr. Asghar, in many cases his position is fair and reasonable and he hits on some legitimate points that should cause some sincere reflection to take place within evangelical circles.  However, by taking his listeners by the hand and walking them down his path, he has carefully avoided allowing them to look from side to side and notice the other paths veering from Mr. Asghar’s trajectory, many of which are far more lit and enlightened than the destination to which they are being led.  In logical terms, Mr. Asghar commits the fallacy of universalizing the exception.  He points out a legitimate problem within evangelicalism but then overstates its prominence or effect.  He also makes little to no effort to understand the rationale of his “opponents’” position, so in many instances he ends up crafting a straw man and knocking it down.  As a result, while they are certainly some important things to take away from his piece, his ultimate conclusions are overly broad and not well thought-out.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What is the Real Issue in Abortion?

There is hardly a more emotional issue out there than abortion.  In fact, many times it seems absolutely impossible to have a logical discussion with people about it.  Personally, I am opposed to abortion.  I don't need the Bible to tell me this.  It seems pretty logical that I cannot condone abortion without also condoning many other clearly unethical practices if I am to hold a consistent worldview.

I have written before about how the entire issue of rape and incest is really a red herring.  Even under those atrocious and appalling circumstances, people would not justify killing a living human being.  I often ask someone if they would condone killing a two year old child that was conceived via rape or incest.  Inevitably, nobody ever says "yes."  Instead, they try to make some other distinction between the two scenarios, usually that a two year old child is a living human being whereas an embryo is not.  And I would agree that IF an embryo is not a living human being, then there is nothing wrong with abortion.  It has no additional moral implications than removing an appendix.  But this illustration shows that for those who bring up rape and incest, their real objection has nothing to do with either one.  It has to do with life.  Is whatever is inside the womb a human life or not?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

External Evidence for Pauline Authorship of Ephesians

I was recently visiting a church on a beautiful Sunday morning when the pastor made an assertion in her sermon to which I felt I should respond.  She stated that Paul did not write the book of Ephesians.  In fact it allegedly was not written for 100 years or more after Jesus' death, at which time an unknown author attached Paul's name to the letter in a practice that this pastor urged the congregation was considered perfectly acceptable at that time.

She expressed herself in much the same way as I just outlined, as if the issue of the authorship of Ephesians was clearly resolved, with no mention of the abundance of scholarship that disagreed with her conclusion.  After listening to the sermon, her congregation would have no idea that a differing point of view even existed in scholarly circles, let alone realize that the perspective they were hearing from the pulpit had no advocates in its favor for at least 1,400 years after Jesus' time and was a minority view even today.

Being a guest, and having more than an ounce of decorum, I did not stand up mid-speech and interrupt in order to insert my two cents.  Rather, I sent an e-mail after the fact in an attempt to encourage this pastor to look beyond the oft refuted criticisms of the likes of Bart Ehrman and instead evaluate what I believe is the overwhelming external evidence of Pauline authorship of Ephesians.  What follows is the text of that e-mail.  In order to keep the focus of this post on the merits of my position rather than a critique of this individual pastor, I have excluded her name and the exact date of my visit.

By placing this information on the TMM blog, it is my hope to encourage others to look at the totality of the evidence and not believe everything they read in such narrowly focused works as Dr. Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus" or his latest book, "Forged."  God bless.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Relatively Football

Football season was upon them and John along with his friend Evan were chomping at the bit for it to begin.  Feeling the need to break out the pigskin, John asked Evan if he’d like to go outside and throw the football around for a while.

“Sure,” said Evan.  “Do you want to try to get some people together for a pick-up game?”

“Nah,” replied John.  “Let’s just toss it for a while.  I’m not looking to get wrapped up in all the rules of a game.  I just want to stretch my arm out a bit.”

“Sounds good.”

So, the two of them went into John’s back yard and started throwing the ball back and forth.  After about five minutes, though, things started to get weird.