Do Atheists Have Rights?

I posted this in the comments of this article: Pastor Says State Law Threatens His Right to Teach the Bible in His Church

Here is a simple question for you. Why do human beings, who are nothing more than complex concatenations of matter, have any “rights”? Matter is matter after all. Just because it is more organized in human form than say, in the form of a nebula, the rings of Saturn, or a blob of snot, it is still just a temporary grouping of random particles. There is no ultimate reason or principle that makes such a bag of water, etc. as yourself deserving of any rights of any kind whatever, given that you are just an accident puked up out of the abyss of time and chance. So what if you evolved to think you have rights. That is just an irrational delusion, given that matter and energy is all there is.

If atheists are, in fact, what their theory of reality says they are, then they have no rights, period. On basis of atheism, the very idea of rights is irrational nonsense. Temporary random collections of particles and energy do not have rights, despite being momentarily sentient for an insignificant blip in cosmic time. That which ultimately reduces to the impersonal cannot have rights. Where there is only matter and energy, things just are what they are. That’s all. To have rights means that you deserve something, or that someone has moral obligations to you. But it is entirely irrational to posit that a rock, a black hole, or a fusion reaction, have rights. Just because the bits of matter that make up your pitiful existence are more organized, complex, and temporarily aware, in no way means that you are ontologically (in your being) different or superior to any other mass of matter and energy that was barfed up out of the abyss of impersonal being by chance. There are not, and in the nature of the case, cannot be any such thing as universal and unalienable human rights in the type of universe atheists purport to live in.

Neither social consensus nor evolution can be a rational ground for universal human rights. Evolution can only explain how natural selection caused humans to believe in morals and human rights. It cannot tell us whether or not such things actually exist. It is a fallacy of logic to move from a description of the psychology behind why one believes, to an affirmation that such belief is actually true.

Social consensus is all good and well, until two societies run into each other with radically different morals based on their social conventions.Take the History Channel series “Vikings”. In their moral system, pillaging, plundering, stealing, taking captives into slavery, killing, and rape are not only praiseworthy achievements, they are the basis for their society’s economy. Those are their traditions, morals, their social contract, if you will. Given their social setting and level of technology, it was a perfectly rational way to construct a society. Now, explain to me, on the basis of atheism why their behavior is evil. I assume that you consider it to be so. Not just violent, unkind, oppressive, or whatever, but why is it evil? Is it unjust for them to raid the monastery at Lindsfarne and put the monks to the sword, take the church’s artifacts, and sell any survivors as slaves? Why?

You see, rationally, one needs a standard of morality that transcends the social mores of competing societies, in order to condemn the Vikings as evil. When two societies with different sets of ethical norms clash, you cannot rationally decide who is right unless you have a point of reference that is higher than both of them. Otherwise, you are just applying your own finite, socially determined, culturally relative standard and arbitrarily (irrationally) assuming it to be morally superior to the other. Yet when you deny that your standards are right in any absolute sense, you are admitting that the other society’s values are as good as yours, even if they happen to be Germany in 1939.. This is not rational. This is not logical. In the end it just boils down to who has the ability to enforce their views.

Therefore, granting the atheistic view of the world, neither I, nor anyone else, has any moral obligation whatsoever to recognize your or anyone else’s so-called “rights” or to give a rat’s behind about what you may think or feel about it. Don’t like that? Tough beans. The universe doesn’t give a rip about you either.

Atheists have no alternative, in their irrational belief system, but to have the State create “rights” out of thin air. But this is purely arbitrary. What the State gives, the State can take away. What it comes down to is whoever has the biggest stick gets to enforce whatever “rights” they want. So atheists, please stop the blabbering about “rights”. Until you adopt a worldview that can actually account for unalienable rights, it is a waste of time to listen to any atheist babble about rights. Be honest. Face your irrationality like a grown-up.

You Don’t Need a Dad

It seems that it is an article of faith among advocates of “gay marriage” and radical feminism that children do not need fathers. The rights of homosexual couples to construct artificial families appears to trump the rights or needs of children to have a father and a mother. Indeed, merely raising the question of whether or not this is best for the children is sufficient to trigger the social and intellectual lynching of any scholar who would dare suggest such a thing. Just watch the explosion of outrage in this example (beginning at about 6:55).

Note how any rational discussion of the evidence is cutoff by the vicious and vitriolic nature of the response. It’s as if the display of outrage vindicates the claim to perpetual victim status. What is missing is any sense that parents exist to promote the well-being of children and to meet their needs. The gay lobby seems to think that kids exist to meet the needs of adults.

Who Rules America?

This is perhaps the most important political article I read in 2014. It explains a great deal about how our current political system in the United States actually functions, and why the two major parties do not seem to make much difference in the direction of things. Of course, the article does not cover the underlying spiritual issues that need to be addressed in order to reform American society, but it says much about the structural difficulties that frustrate good people of principle on both the political left and right.

The only serious opposition to this arrogant Ruling Party is coming not from feckless Republicans but from what might be called the Country Party — and its vision is revolutionary. Our special Summer Issue cover story.

By Angelo M. Codevilla – From the July 2010 – August 2010 AMERICAN SPECTATOR

As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors’ “toxic assets” was the only alternative to the U.S. economy’s “systemic collapse.” In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets’ nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one.

When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term “political class” came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public’s understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the “ruling class.” And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.

Continue reading at AMERICAN SPECTATOR

Worship Wars – We won.  Or did we?

When I was in my 20s I was among those who fought for contemporary music in our worship. We were faced with the canonization of 19th century, John Philip Souza style marching hymns and 1930s southern gospel as the only acceptable music in the church. This was a musical style that we could not understand or relate to. We felt that by not having our music accepted, we were not really being accepted. I later learned that we were doing nothing new. Throughout the history of the church, new generations have struggled to win the privilege of contextualizing worship to its own culture. But, they each proceed to make that into THE worship style. I even warned my peers 35 years ago that if we won the worship wars we would face our grandchildren fighting the same battle against us if we were not careful.

After 30 years of playing in church praise bands, etc., I am still a supporter of contemporary worship. I have no intention of stopping or going back to the way it used to be. Also, for the record, I want everyone to know that I have never, ever been motivated by or cared the least about doing music in order to be “hip”, “relevant”, or as a means to attract young people to church or for any other gimmicky reason. My concern has only ever been to do music that creates authenticity in worship, and for me, that means using music that comes from the heart and soul. Generally, that means musical styles that I care about, that resonate the beauty of creation and of God, in my spirit. In that sense, I suppose, music should be relevant, and obviously what is relevant for one culture is not necessarily for all. That is why missiologists discuss contextualization.

Having said all that, I believe there are some badly needed changes in the world of contemporary worship that need to be implemented immediately. Here are some:


a) Do NOT dim the house lights!! This appalling practice should cease immediately. Period!! This is not a show!
b) Get the praise band off the stage and into an orchestra pit, out of sight at the side of the stage. If they are not the focal point, they cannot be confused with being performers. The musicians should be heard, but they do not need to be seen.
c) Include other instruments besides the normal rock ensemble. Add strings, brass, woodwinds, and even a pipe organ, etc. Different hymns and praise songs will require different instrumentation. Do not be afraid to go from a rousing rock praise song to a majestic pipe organ hymn, all in the same service.

2. Have a full choir each Sunday, instead of a small group of “lead singer” vocalists. There is no reason to imagine that having contemporary instruments and music is inconsistent with a choir. In fact, the voicing of a choir will encourage congregational singing and greatly enhance contemporary music. Black churches excel in this. Go visit and pay attention.

3. Most importantly – CONTROL THE VOLUME OF THE MUSICIANS!!!! There is utterly no excuse for rock concert volume in a worship service. Modern technology allows for guitarists and other instruments to achieve any tone needed at low volume. Any drummer who is not able to play well at a low volume is not good enough to be in your praise band. He should not need to be put in a glass cage, but do this if needed (since the glass cage WILL NOT be on stage anyway).

4. To reiterate, these changes will allow the congregation to both hear and see themselves and each other, cultivating the sense that God is the audience, not those in the congregation or on stage.

5. Require worship leaders to have formal training in music, including leading and arranging. Experience playing rock and roll in clubs and bars is not adequate qualification for leading a worship team/praise band.

6. Regular rehearsals are necessary, but it also is helpful to rotate musicians who play in the band, especially in larger churches. More people get to participate and there is less chance of someone getting a performance mentality. (And personally, I do not think praise band members should be paid. There are many fine non-professional musicians who would love to serve and should be allowed to do so. Worship leaders, however, are pastors, and wherever a church can afford it, they should be fully compensated).

7. Coordinate music selections with the preaching as well as the liturgical calendar. Make it a point to include music/hymns from the repertoire of church history, but be sensitive to contextualization as well. Music is a means of communication as well as worship, so there is nothing wrong with using the language (music) of the people in the congregation and the community. Provide something for all generations – both in what will please them and in what will challenge them.

8. Strongly consider returning to the use of hymnals. There is something more solid about the printed page that creates a sense of concrete reality and permanence. It also allows for worshipers to review and meditate on the content of the songs both before and after the service. In addition, it provides a concrete repertoire of worship songs that creates familiarity. Congregations that know the music will participate more readily. Hymnals also contain notes about the hymns that connect us to the history of worship. Plus, you never have to worry that the media guy does not change the power point slides fast enough to keep up with the singing!

That is the end of this lone sheep’s bleating for the moment. I would like to hear what you all think.

The Proof Text Bible

I came up with a new business idea. I wrote the advertising copy. I just need a software person to write the code!
Announcing the PROOF TEXT BIBLE!

Having trouble winning arguments? Do your deacons and elders constantly question and resist your direction? Does your spouse express doubts that your decisions are biblical? Are you at a loss as to what to do when you really need some Bible verses to support your theology? Then we have the answer for you! It`s the new PROOF TEXT BIBLE – the latest in convenient Bible software applications to improve your personal study and ministry.

How does it work? It`s easy. Just formulate the idea or theological point that you need supported into a short, pithy phrase and input it into the program. Within seconds THE PROOF TEXT BIBLE will generate the Bible verses you need to support your unique ideas, complete with exegesis, explanations and rationalizations to counter any objections.

You need the PROOF TEXT BIBLE! It slices! It dices! It chops pericopes into any shape and size needed to get your point across! The PROOF TEXT BIBLE will enable you to perform feats of exegetical gymnastics that will amaze and convince even your toughest critics.

Spice up your weekly sermons and dazzle your congregation! With the PROOF TEXT BIBLE software, you can persuade your deacons to get on board with that new project, with incredible proofs of scriptural support. In no time the PROOF TEXT BIBLE will help you whip your church in shape and have those tithes flowing in.

The PROOF TEXT BIBLE is guaranteed to take any idea you can come up with and transform it into a fully supported divine truth! Order yours and start vanquishing your theological foes today!

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And now you can customize your PROOF TEXT BIBLE with these exciting add-on modules: the Special Left Behind Dispensational module, the Free-Will Arminian module (with Open Theism option), Super Reformed-Calvinist module (with five distinct predetermined options for each point), the special Charismatic Name-it-and-Claim-it Prosperity module, and the Roman Catholic module, complete with Apocrypha. In addition we have the new Progressive Liberal module with all miracle passages expunged!

We will also custom design a unique PROOF TEXT Bible for your individual theological predisposition! (Added fees may apply).

Also in development, the PROOF TEXT KORAN and the PROOF TEXT BOOK OF MORMON.

Letter to the IRS

Dear IRS,

Due to a computer glitch, we the people of the United States will be unable to pay any income taxes until such a time as all of Lois Lerner’s e-mails are recovered and delivered to the House of Representatives. If the IT department at the IRS is unable to recover the files, we can recommend a team of teenage computer gamers who could, no doubt, complete the task within a matter of minutes.

Meanwhile, we insist that Ms. Lerner and her colleagues take an indefinite leave of absence, to be enjoyed at a fully equipped, government resort facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. We have arranged special, solitary accommodations for each of you. Room and board are provided at no cost, courtesy of the taxpayers. We hope you enjoy your stay.


Your bosses, the American people.

cc: John Boehner, Eric Holder, Harry Reid, Barak Obama (you’re next – all of you)

P.S. Dear friends at the NSA. You are welcome to keep this on file. Perhaps you will have more luck keeping track of your records than your colleagues at the Internal Revenue Service.

Credo – Worldview

2nd post in series. Post 1 is here.

Before plunging in, I thought it would be helpful to give a brief description of what I mean by the term ‘worldview’. This is especially for those who might be unfamiliar with some of the ways that philosophers and theologians have defined how we think about things, or for those who have never had me for a theology or apologetics course. I want to give a short overview of the categories that I am using to define what a worldview is, and show how it fits together to give a comprehensive way of looking at our beliefs and lifestyle. Of course, there are different ways of getting at this. I am not claiming that this is the only or even the best way to understand worldview. It is just one way that I find helpful.
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Credo – Starting Points

I’m going to do a series of posts outlining some basic points of my worldview. My purpose is not so much to offer a defense, as a statement with some exposition/explanation.  That  does not mean that no reasons will be offered for why I hold these positions, but that my purpose here is informative and descriptive, rather than apologetic and prescriptive.  My goal is to provide the context necessary for making sense of other affirmations and positions that are articulated and defended in this blog.  Whether one agrees with me or not, my hope is that it will be clear how it all fits together.  I do not intend to engage in lengthy polemics or apologetics in comments, when they are enabled.  That is not to say that I could not do so.  Rather it is a question of focusing on a particular purpose for this series.

In this first post, I want to simply raise the main question confronting us as we seek to build a reasonable worldview by which we may live.  In my next post I will begin to outline a response.  Understanding the nature of the question is crucial, so I want to focus here first.  Here is the question as I see it:

What is ultimately real?  What is the nature of that which is finally, the one concrete, necessary, final, and unavoidable reality that is back behind everything else.
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Dumb Things Scientists Say

Don’t get me wrong.  Getting a PhD in the physical sciences is a significant achievement.  It requires both significant native intelligence as well as a serious work ethic.  I admire anyone who has accomplished this feat.  I have even more admiration for those who follow up by making a serious contribution to advancing knowledge in their field of expertise. They deserve our respect, regardless of whatever religious views they may or may not hold.

However, when scientists of obvious talent and achievement imagine that they are thus qualified to pontificate on areas outside their specific domain, then the red flags go up.  My BS detector goes on yellow alert, waiting for what comes next.  Why?  Because when an accomplished scientist wanders into the fields of philosophy and theology, in which he or she has no formal training, then the result is frequently a disaster.  At times it is downright comical, except that it is also just too sad. Continue reading