Thanks To The Fallen

Are we taking the time to remember today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I could have done a book plunge today, but I will hold off for tomorrow. Today is Memorial Day after all, and I want to write something to honor those who are no longer here. It’s sad as I think about it that the people I want to honor the most with this post are the ones who cannot read it. Hopefully, those who can read it will live their lives in honor of the ones who can’t.

As I write this, I sit in my apartment without fear of death from opposing forces. I will drive to my in-laws with my wife today and I won’t be worried about driving through enemy territory and having to dodge bullets and such. I will have regular meals today and I will be able to get a hot shower this morning and sleep in a warm bed tonight. I will do all of this with my wife of nearly seven years by my side.

The fallen don’t have that.

They died in fact not sleeping in the beds that I do and woke up every day knowing they could be walking into enemy territory. They didn’t enjoy the meals that I am able to enjoy at home. Some of the men overseas might have had girlfriends that they were writing to back home. They will never get to marry those girlfriends. They will never be husbands or fathers or eventually grandfathers.

Those families will always have an empty chair at Thanksgiving. Christmas will always be a reminder of what was lost. Mother’s Day could be a day of sadness for some Moms as Father’s Day could be for some Dads. Children are supposed to weep at the graves of their parents. It’s not meant to be the other way around.

Why is this? Because there are some wicked people in this world. Because war sadly happens at times. No. I am not a pacifist. At the same time, war is not anything we should celebrate. It is a tragedy that it happens. It is a tragedy that the innocent die because of the sins of the wicked.

My wife has been working lately on being more thankful. On this day, should I not be thankful? Should I not realize that all that I have is a gift. Whenever I kiss my wife, I am doing something that some man will never get a chance to because of his early death. I get to enjoy a meal that they won’t and I get to sleep in a warm bed while they are in the sleep of death.

So if this is what is going on, then why are we celebrating? Why are we having barbecues today and not sitting around in mourning? Why? Because I think the fallen would want us to celebrate. They died so we could be free. They want us to celebrate and appreciate that freedom. Don’t think I say this for some benefit of my own. I don’t really care for food. I don’t eat burgers or hot dogs or any of that stuff. I’m just not a food person.

Still, the best way to honor a gift you have been given many times is to live enjoying it. Here we have been given the gift of freedom. That freedom has come at a price. Just visit a place like Arlington Cemetery and you can see the price of freedom. We should celebrate it, but not take it for granted. Every day we have is a gift. Every moment with our loved ones is a gift. Every blessing we have over here is a gift.

To the mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and everyone else who has lost someone, my great sympathies for your loss, but also thank you. Thank you for helping produce someone of such a caliber in virtue that they were willing to die for people they would never even know. You have suffered a great loss. Nothing I say here could ever truly make up for your loss. Until eternity, there will always be a hole in your hearts missing that loved one, as it should be. They should never be forgotten.

And to those fighting right now and being in the service, today we honor the fallen, but let it never be that we forget your current sacrifice. I always try to thank a policeman or someone with military experience when I see them. I have the greatest respect for people who have lived their lives willing to take bullets, so the rest of us don’t have to live with that fear. When you in the military go out to fight our battles, remember the fallen and honor them with your service.

Happy Memorial Day everyone. God bless you and God bless our troops and may God honor the fallen.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Nintendo, Sega, and the Gospel

What do the console wars of the 80’s and 90’s have to tell us about Christianity? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A friend recently gave me a Kindle gift of the book Console Wars and I have started reading it. It’s all about the war between Nintendo and Sega in the 80’s and 90’s. Now I had always been a Nintendo guy. What made me get into Playstation also was just one thing. Final Fantasy. Reading through this book, I think back to my own growing up time and all the events going on behind the scenes that I had no idea of and the connections Nintendo and Sega had with other events that I was unaware of.

I also am thinking about the Gospel. Sega did take on a giant in Nintendo. Ultimately, we know that they eventually lost to the point that now they make games for Nintendo. Still, there is something we can learn here. If we’re in apologetics, how do we take on the giant of unbelief today? If your objection is that Sega lost the war still, then I remind you that there is no silver bullet in evangelism. Perhaps we can learn from where they succeeded and from where they failed both.

The usual reply I get to something like this is that using some sort of marketing technique will mean watering down the Gospel. Not at all. We do not need to change one thing about the Gospel. We need to say sin is sin and Jesus is Lord and everything else still. What we can do is change our presentation to better reach the people.

Part of this is finding out what drives the desires of the people. For instance, we can consider that we think a series that has a great actor or actress in it could sell well, but this doesn’t follow. The Crazy Ones had Robin Williams in it and yet it only lasted one season. The Big Bang Theory did not have an all-star cast at the start and yet it is just now finishing its tenth season. What did the latter have that the former didn’t?

We’re seeing a lot of superhero movies coming out nowadays. Why? What is it about superheroes that drives us so much? This also includes retro heroes. I went to see the Power Rangers movie as soon as it came out as an example. That is a series that has been going on for over twenty years despite the basic theme never changing. What is it about all of these that is the draw?

Music. This is one area I do lack a lot in. My taste in music is pretty much restricted to Weird Al Yankovic (the greatest musical genius of all time) and video game music. If I had to choose a decade, I would go back to the 50’s and 60’s. I consider too much of modern Christian music to just be light and fluffy. Still, why do people like the songs that they like?

As we come to understand people and what they like, we can come to learn how to approach them. If you go to an honor-shame culture and you give the Gospel in a Western way, you will not reach a lot of people with it. Describing God as a judge to them means He’s someone who can be bought off easily with a bribe. Talk about sin and they’re confused. Talk about broken relationship and dishonoring God and they will understand. In the same way, we have to work with our culture.

We often go on to the truth question immediately, but that might not be where they’re at. If it was truth that was the driving force, everyone would be going to the library regularly trying to study and learn. Perhaps we need to find out what drives the culture and how we can use that.

C.S. Lewis did this with the Chronicles of Narnia. Few little children would really go to a library and get a book about Jesus and study it, but in learning about Aslan, they found they learned about Jesus. Lewis managed to sneak past the watchful dragons of his day. If we present just an argument and have no reason for people to really care about the argument, then the fact is they will not care about the argument.

If you think I’m changing the Gospel, again, I am not. Christians have adapted themselves to the internet, social media, and any other new forum that has come along. My own ministry partner makes apologetics-themed cartoons on YouTube. The material he presents does come from scholarly sources. Again, few people will go out and read those scholarly sources, but having it in an entertaining format brings it to the people. The entertainment factor also makes a point of it. Several years ago Boss Tweed’s biggest problem was a cartoonist named Thomas Nast. Why? Because he knew people would not read articles against him, but they will read cartoons.

As we go into these other areas, we need to make sure we’re producing high quality material. If we make Christian movies and only Christians see them, we really haven’t done much. The Case For Christ movie recently has been a great exception to this. Even Richard Carrier said that it’s a good movie. There was no scene in it that you had the Gospel rammed down your throat. Too often in Christian films, we have thought we had to spell everything out because otherwise, the audience is just too stupid to catch on. It’s worth pointing out that Lee Strobel’s original book The Case for Christ caught on so well because he made it not just a book of facts, but a story with real discussions going on. We could argue that the Da Vinci Code did the same thing. Sure, the information was bogus, but the concept was the same. People started thinking about the claims of the book more and if we wanted academic discussions, that was a gateway to those discussions.

At this point, I’m still pondering how all of this will work out. The main point I have is to find the people where they’re at and start with what matters to them, why it does, and see how the Gospel meets that need. For instance, we can talk about the truth question all we want, but it’s not likely to faze a guy who is not becoming a Christian because he wants to keep having sex with his girlfriend. If you think that scenario doesn’t exist out there, you’re incredibly naive. What we can point out is that the Gospel has an extremely high view of sex (I find it amazing that so many non-Christians treat it as if just a biological function and physical activity alone and we’re the ones saying it’s so much more) and that if we go the path of Christianity and its rules on sex and marry with those, we can have a far better sex life than we would without. We are not opposed to his desire for sex as there’s nothing wrong with that, but we think that the Gospel has a much better way to appreciate it. Note that in all of this, I did not say that sex outside of marriage is okay. It isn’t. It’s just going to be convincing someone that they can hold off on something now so that they can appreciate it in a greater way later on if they marry.

Like I said, I’m still pondering. I’m only about a fourth of the way through the book and I’m sure there’s a lot more to learn. I’m taking Kindle notes regularly to try to see what steps were done that I think correct and what steps were incorrect. How did Nintendo successfully share their product? How did Sega not?

I appreciate any suggestions anyone else has on this. Consider this blog some thinking out loud as you will. This is not the final word on a conversation, but I hope it will not be the only one either. I prefer it to be the first of many here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Case For Christ Movie

What did I think of the film? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night, Allie and I finally got around to seeing The Case For Christ. We had heard nothing but good things about it. In the past, I have been used to seeing Christian films that are cheesy and think that they have to shove the Gospel down your throat at one point in a super obvious way because, hey, otherwise you will miss it. Not so with this one.

I also know a number of the people involved in the story so that gave it an extra sense of joy. The story is indeed a fairly accurate one, though also at times I think holding back. Lee Strobel is a successful writer for a newspaper and he and his wife and daughter are enjoying their lives when through a series of events, his wife Leslie actually becomes a Christian. Lee, an atheist, finds his world torn apart.

One of the first thoughts he has, and this is extremely accurate for men, is that Leslie has gone and cheated on him with another man and that man is Jesus. He immediately thinks that somehow he was not good enough for her. Everything becomes a comparison between him and Jesus. Their marriage becomes all about the argument and gets darker and darker, though I do not think the movie could show the full level of darkness that was reached.

Meanwhile, Lee is also investigating a story about a cop that was shot. Alongside this one, the religious editor when hearing Lee complain about his wife says that if he wants to tackle Christianity and disprove it, the place to go is the resurrection. Might I say that it is wonderful hearing something like this? So many Christian movies hardly ever seem to make any significance of the resurrection. Many churches don’t in fact. Christianity is all about living a good life and the resurrection seems to be a nice add-on.

Lee asks him who the main expert to go to on the resurrection is and gets told to talk to Gary Habermas, which he does. At one point, there is some anachronism here. Habermas talks about his wife Debbie and how he wants to see her again, but that death took place much later than when the movie starts unless there was a lot of time skipped that I don’t know about which I doubt since it also has Lee’s son being born around this time.

It’s also excellent that many audiences are being introduced to this material for the first time. I find it fascinating that a movie can be made like this with a lot of scholarly input and actual information and yet still gripping. The story of Lee’s marriage, the investigation into the cop shooting, and the investigation of Christianity all started weaving together incredibly well.

I often thought the few other people in the theater could have thought that Allie and I were being rude. At some points, there was some mild laughter from me, but that was because I knew the answer that was coming and seeing Lee get caught flatfooted was a funny moment. I wonder what people might be thinking who were being introduced for this material for the first time.

What this shows us also is you can do apologetics and it can be accurate and it can be something enjoyable for the audience. You don’t have to shove it down their throats and it can be an enjoyable story. There’s also the real fact that just because Leslie accepted Jesus, it doesn’t mean her life is sunshine and rainbows then. It was a nightmare with she and Lee bickering back and forth. Our idea today is that Christianity will make your life better. It might do that, but sometimes, it can make it harder. You will have a much harder time in Iran if you become a Christian than if you do in the South in America. The question to ask about Christianity is not will it make your life better, but is it true?

If you want to know about the acting and such, I can’t really comment on that. It’s not the kind of thing I notice in a film or TV show. I’m sort of blind to that. I just look and ask if I enjoyed the film and what I thought about the content. In this case, this is a movie I am going to be wanting to get on DVD when it comes out. It’s a great one to watch and I hope more come out like it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Men. Avoid Porn.

How does a man best honor the women in his life? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In my last post, I wrote something to the women. Now I’d like to say something to the men. First off, let’s start by clearing up the fear of many out there who think Christians are a bunch of prudes and don’t find any joy in sex whatsoever and it’s kind of a necessary evil. Not at all. Sex is a fabulous and awesome and wonderful gift from God, but it’s meant to be saved for marriage.

Now some of you might think “Well I will save actual sex for marriage, but I sure want to see the women beforehand.” That would be a mistake. A woman is a beautiful and glorious being. You really will be better off if your first time to see a woman is in fact on the wedding night or sometime shortly after (Since some couples don’t have sex on the first night due to exhaustion).

By the way, let me be clear on this. I know that there are many women who struggle with porn. I cannot really relate to your experience not being a woman. I don’t want to downplay what you’re going through so please don’t think I don’t care about your struggle. I just want to say something to the men today but hopefully, you can get something out of it.

Men. Porn is really a cheap way to go and it’s dehumanizing to every woman you meet out there. The desire for sex and to see the female body is not wrong. It’s something that’s built into us men. What you do with it can be wrong, but the desire itself is not the problem. It is a lack of control over the desire.

When you watch a woman in a porn video, you are watching someone created in the image of God. You are also watching someone’s daughter. This person doesn’t know you. They don’t care about you. You don’t matter. They’re not doing anything special for you.

The reality is you’re cheating every woman out there. You’re learning right there to treat women as objects and objects whose purpose in life is to meet your sexual desires. Again, there is a way this could be understood. One of the purposes of marriage in 1 Cor. 7 is to fulfill one another’s desire for sex. If you burn, it is better to marry. In marriage, this means essentially, make sure to have sex with your spouse regularly. That’s part of the covenant.

However, if you view porn, you learn to treat women as if they are simply bodies and nothing more. This isn’t to downplay their bodies, which were made to be beautiful, but remember that is the body of a person. That is a person to be loved and treasured for who they are. Sex is a way married couples express that love, but that love needs to be present. Actually, in a good marriage, it’s a wonderful spiral. Having sex builds up the love. Increase in love leads to having sex. Having sex then leads to more love. You get the picture.

Porn will also damage your idea of what healthy sex is like. This might sound like a shock, but sex is never really like what you see on the movies or on TV. Again, not downplaying it, but everything in media always works perfectly in sex. It’s not like that for most married couples. Things are wonderful, but they can be awkward and things can go wrong sometimes or anything else. If you have false expectations, it will damage the reality.

Also, it will take more and more to turn you on eventually. Pornography has you treat the unrealistic as it if was the norm. It’s not. There are sadly some men who have damaged their minds so much that they have to be looking at a porn magazine just to make love to their wives. Their wife is no longer enough to turn them on, and this is not a position you ever want to be in.

One of the problems is that for a man, if we are aroused, we feel like men indeed. If you want that, the best way to get the feeling of being the real man is to go out there and get a real woman. With pornography, you get the sensation of manhood, without any risk. You don’t have to put your manhood on the line by actually talking to a real woman. Sadly, this will also mean you won’t be able to as much fully enjoy the gift of real sex when the time comes.

When you get to that point in your life, you really only want to have your wife’s body in your head. Guys. We all have enough temptations. We know it. You see that girl in the grocery store or at the bank or that you work with at the office and your mind can quickly go to wondering what she looks like underneath those clothes. It’s a battle we all have to fight. Ladies. Even seeing pictures on Facebook can be hard for a man and not to mention women in the media. Even if you’re married, you still have to fight temptation. Marriage does not shut off temptation. (By the way wives, this is one more reason it’s also good to be sexual with your man a lot so that he can avoid temptation easier because he’s thinking so much about all the joy you bring him.)

If you want to beat this kind of thing, I recommend getting good accountability partners. Find a support group if you have to. A website like XXXChurch also has great tools you can use on your browser to block websites and that will send notifications to people on your list to let them know that you have been to those websites.

This applies even if you don’t ever plan to marry, but remember if you’re a Christian man, then you are also saying if you don’t plan to marry that you will be celibate your whole life. If you’re willing to live with that, more power to you. If you do plan to marry, why on Earth would you want to spoil your sex life by spending your time gawking at women that you will never get to be with at all?

(I would be amiss to point out that many women in the porn industry are also there against their will. Watching porn then can give more power to the whole human trafficking problem. Do you want to give an incentive for that as well?)

Sex is a pure and wonderful gift from God. Treat it the way it deserves to be treated as something sacred. When you get married, enjoy the gift as much as you can. It’s God’s gift to you. Until then, honor and respect the gift. Even if you plan on remaining single, you still honor sex by recognizing its proper place in marriage and not treating the women around you as objects.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why Christians Should Care About A Snowflake Culture

Do snowflakes indicate that Christians in the West have some concerns? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Much of the news today concerns snowflakes. No. I don’t mean a story about global warming. I mean a story about especially people in high school who can’t seem to stand the thought of anything contrary to their opinion and have to have safe places where they will not be challenged in anything.

I don’t know what to call these people besides snowflakes. I know that chronologically, kids doesn’t fit, but what do you call people who for all intents and purposes are adults and yet need to be in a place where their opinions aren’t challenged and this in college where you SHOULD be having your opinions challenged? What do you say about children who need therapy dogs and coloring books not because of some serious major hardship, but because their candidate lost an election?

Unfortunately, the snowflakes didn’t just come out of nowhere. There came a time in our history when arguments mattered less and less and how one felt about the arguments mattered the most. In this day and age, someone can think they can refute the Old Testament by pointing to a commandment, saying “I don’t like it” and moving on from there. Never mind that you might actually want to attempt to understand the culture and see what was going on, but for many people, that’s not necessary. Being offended is enough to show that it’s wrong.

I have been engaging on Brent Landau’s post that I wrote about last week. It has been amusing to be accused of abuse when as far as I know, the worst crime I have done is telling people they’re spreading nonsense and don’t know what they’re talking about. What kind of nonsense? Oh, Raphael Lataster, David Fitzgerald, and Richard Carrier. Jesus mythicism is alive and well for internet atheists. What it tells me is these are people who care so little about the truth of historical Jesus scholarship, but when they’re called out on it, rather than defend the arguments, they try to take the moral high ground and play the victim. It’s a way to avoid “Okay. I don’t know how to answer this point,” and turn it into “You’re a mean person for arguing with me!” The subject becomes the objector then instead of the data itself.

Sadly, we Christians aren’t innocent in this. Why? Because we have bought into gentle Jesus meek and mild. Make no mistake about it that when it came to sinners seeking forgiveness and coming to Jesus in hope, he was meek and mild. Look at the Pharisees by contrast. Jesus was not meek and mild towards them. A meek and mild Jesus does not make a whip in the temple and clean it up. Jesus had a problem with these people and took them to task because their behavior and the claims they were making were hurting the people who were wanting to enter the Kingdom. Jesus was also sarcastic with them believe it or not. Consider when His disciples were picking grain on the sabbath. When confronted, Jesus said, “Have you not read about…..” We could get into the whole discussion of if Abiathar was the high priest at the time, but notice that Jesus went to the scholars of the Old Testament in His day and said, “Have you not read this?” It was a great insult. “Hey, guys. You’re supposed to know this stuff. Have you ever even read this passage?”

It’s been in more recent times that we’ve started to think contrarily. Now don’t get me wrong on this. There’s no need to unnecessarily offend someone. There are times where it will be necessary. In fact, if you give the Gospel, you will have to offend people. Seriously. You think people like being told they’re sinners living in rebellion against the King and that they will be judged if they don’t change? That’s a great insult to them, but it’s also true. My policy is if stepping on someone’s toes is the only way to get someone to move towards Christ, then watch out because I plan to stomp hard!

If people say they want to go the more peaceful route, I just like to ask them how that has worked for the homosexual crowd. We thought we could just have peace and give an inch. Now what has happened? The shoe is on the other foot and tolerance is no longer the big deal it was. When the homosexuals did not have the majority opinion behind them, they shouted out for tolerance. When they did have it, Memories Pizzeria was targeted and received death threats and had to have a GoFundMe in order to survive. Florists now lose their livelihood just because they’re trying to live by their Christian principles. How did that work out?

Now does that mean we should have been absolute jerks to the homosexual community? No. It does mean that sentiment is not always the best way. Love is sometimes tough and it is tough because it seeks the best for the other person. Love is not giving that alcoholic an extra drink even though he’s crying on the couch begging for one to end the pain. If you love someone, you will often see them go through hardships and hold back on giving them what they want.

With the snowflake culture now, it is harder and harder to get contrary thought into the minds of others. After all, who are you to dare to suggest that someone is wrong? If politically we can’t even get a conservative speaker to show up on campuses, how much harder will it be to get a minister of the Gospel to show up on these campuses?

I wish I knew a good solution to this, but many might be too far into it. The best I can think of is to teach our own children now not to be snowed by these arguments. Remember that the data is primary. Look at an argument. Ask what the claims are. What are the reasons for believing those claims? How good is the data for them? Does the conclusion follow? Teach them how to do good research.

Remember, walking like Jesus does mean being delicate to those who are sinners and are seeking a place of forgiveness and grace. It also means guarding them with a rod and protecting them from those who wish them harm. If you have only a hammer, everything does look like a nail, but if you have only a hug, everything looks like a kitten, even if it’s really a destructive tiger. A good shepherd knows how to use a rod to deal with wolves and a staff to lead the sheep both.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

 

Deeper Waters Podcast 2/4/2017: John Granger

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Harry Potter has been called the boy who lived. His books came to America here in 1998 and the first movie came out in 2001. Since then, all of the books were best sellers and all of the movies were hits, the final book even having to be divided into two movies. He was either loved or hated, but Harry was the talk of the town.

That was, of course, several years ago. The craze then was Pottermania, and surely that was it. Harry Potter was fun for awhile, but then, like so many other fun things, the time comes to move on. His fame lasted for a time and it was no more and will be no more.

But the boy who lived still lived.

Last year, the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them came out as well as a book continuing the series twenty years in the future called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Based on sales, one would think that Pottermania had never died. The book was a bestseller and the movie was a box office hit. (I must confess, I have not seen the movie, but I did get the book for my birthday and read it in a couple of days.)

What’s the Christian apologetics community to do with this? Is this harmless fun? Is it actually a satanic plot that will get our children to fall into the clutches of satanism? Or could it actually be a story that is surprisingly Christian at the core? My guest, someone well read in the classics, goes with the last option. His name is John Granger. Who is he?

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Tagged “The Dean of Harry Potter Scholars” by TIME magazine’s Lev Grossman, John Granger has been the leading expert on the subject of the artistry and meaning of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels since the publication of his first book on the subject in 2002. The author or editor of eight books, ‘The Hogwarts Professor’ has been a Keynote and Featured Speaker at more than twenty academic and fan conferences, and spoken at twenty-five major universities and colleges. John has a Bachelor’s degree in Classics from the University of Chicago, a Master of Fine Arts ion Creative Writing, and is working on his PhD thesis at Swansea University (Wales). He blogs at HogwartsProfessor.com and podcasts at MuggleNet Academia.

What is it that has led Harry Potter to be such a phenomenon such that even years after the original series, the theaters and bookstores are filled with fans again wanting to see the latest on the boy wizard? What is it that actually makes Granger think that these are Christian classics? Are these not stories of witchcraft and wizardry which would be condemned by Scripture? Are there not many examples in the stories of Harry misbehaving in ways that we should not accept as Christians?

We’ll be discussing all of this and more so if you’re a fan of Harry, or you know someone who is, this will be a show for you. Please be looking for the latest episode. Also, please consider going on ITunes and leaving a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Can A Christian Have Depression?

Is it possible to be among the blessed and be among the depressed? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This topic seems to come up time and time again. It came home for us again when my wife wrote a blog post about what it’s like to have depression. When this was shared on her Facebook page, one of her friends responded. It was well-meaning I’m sure, but came across entirely wrong. There was a bunch of stuff posted about Word of Faith thinking and how God doesn’t want us to be sick but wants us to be healed and never taking medicine even for a headache or anything like that.

Now I have enough problems with Word of Faith nonsense. There is no shame in taking medication any more than there is in having a balanced diet, exercising regularly, taking a shower daily, or wearing your seat belt when you drive. None of these activities show a lack of faith. God is not meant to be your servant. You are meant to be His. Word of Faith thinking often treats God as a means to an end. The point of Christianity in it is not to be holy and reflect God, but to be healthy. (Perhaps there could be a parallel to how too often we think the point of Christianity is to go to Heaven when you die and God is only there as a means to get you there and Heaven seems to have little to do with Him.)

A lot of you realize Word of Faith thinking is horrid, but you can still wonder about depression. Isn’t a Christian supposed to have a life of joy? Isn’t a Christian supposed to be happy all the time? The answer to the first question is definitely yes. The answer to the second question is definitely no.

Allie’s friend told her that her thinking will really change the way she is. Now if this was all a lot of popular televangelists were saying, there wouldn’t be as much of a problem. There is a lot of truth to the idea that your thinking can change your attitude. What they get wrong is thinking that your thinking can alter all of reality. There is no doubt that you need to look to your own thinking and see what you can do about it. Are you telling yourself things that are true or just feel true?

This is one case where you seek good and outside help. These are also going to be beyond people who are yes men. These are people who will tell you hard truths if you need to hear it. I don’t mean random strangers on the internet. I mean people you know and trust. If you ask them a question, they will give you an answer and it might not be the answer you want to hear. Even if you disagree with their answer, you should always consider that their might be a grain of truth to it.

To get back to depression, Christians are supposed to have joy, but that does not mean a feeling. You cannot command anyone to feel anything really. If I could, I’d just make myself feel happy all the time. It doesn’t work. I found it interesting that the person who wrote to my wife pointed to Isaiah 53 where it says that He healed us by his wounds. They seemed to ignore the part above where it says He is a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering. Yes. Jesus had sorrow in this life.

In fact, there are times where you ought to have sorrow. You are to mourn with those who mourn and that means being sad with them. If you have a loved one who has died, it is not proper to be having a celebration then. You need time to grieve. If you are married and your spouse is suffering, you will be suffering. If your child is suffering, you will likewise be suffering.

There are going to be times in life that are hard and rough. This happens. The last thing that any one needs in that time time is to have someone coming alongside them causing them further pain by questioning their faith commitment. It would be like pouring salt on an open wound.

Of course, the person who is depressed should do something about this. I am not one who condemns medication for this, but I think it can only do so much. Anyone taking medication should go see a therapist who is a licensed professional one. If you are not a therapist, by all means offer counsel to your friend, but don’t pretend to be a professional. If you don’t know what to say, sometimes, listening can be a great service. Just holding a hand and giving a hug can help. (And guys, if this is your wife, as hard as it is, now is not the time to get romantic. It might help you if you’re depressed, but it probably won’t help her)

It’s also important that a person in this case be reading to and listening to good Christian material that will encourage and build them up. Note I said good material. It doesn’t mean feel-good, but material that will build them up in truth and help them think properly through what they are going through. Even if your natural bent is to be more pessimistic, it doesn’t mean you have to live depressed. It will take time, but it can be done.

So what kind of joy is a Christian to have? It’s not a feeling, but more striving towards an attitude. This is the attitude that remembers that God is in charge of this world and all things pass through His hand. God is not against us, but for us. Romans 8 is a great passage for this. In fact, I think there’s a real danger in saying that Paul describes the experience in Romans 7 as the normal Christian experience. Romans 8 is more meant to describe our experience and Romans 7 what we would have been delivered from.

What about happiness? We often think of the feeling of happiness and the goal of the Christian life is in part to feel happy and feel good about ourselves. Sometimes, we should feel bad about ourselves honestly. We should see that we struggle with sin and seek to get rid of it and let that be an agonizing struggle. We should see that we do not love our neighbor as ourselves. One of the first ways of getting to feeling better about ourselves can ironically be to feel miserable first off.

When I was a single man, pride was a real struggle. It still is, but Allie by her very nature helps keep me in check. When I struggled with it then, I used to do an activity where I would go in my room and climb on the bed and close the door and think to myself. I would think about all that I’d done, all the praise I’d received, all the people that I had met, all the books I had collected, etc. I would be building myself up.

Then I would conclude by thanking God for everything came from His hand and I deserved none of it. That last bit always gave me the extra humility that I needed. No matter how good I thought I was doing in life, it was all a gift from God. It was not because I was just so awesome or anything like that.

If you’re not happy then, it could be for a just reason sometimes. It could be because you do realize where you are falling short. However, it is important to follow it up with the opposition to that. If I just went in my room and listed all the positives about just me, I would walk out feeling more prideful. No. I had to give the other side. So if you are depressed, you need to give the other side.

The other side is you are forgiven by the grace of God of all that you have done. The other side is that God is at work in you in the Holy Spirit. The other side God is working all things for your good as Romans 8 says. The other side is the future can be different than today and today is just one more day.

I would be amiss if in any of this, I did not say anything about suicide. All threats of suicide must be treated seriously. Never assume that they are joking or that they won’t follow through. They might not, but they may, and it’s best to error on the side of caution. A person might have to be hospitalized for a time, but a short-term separation is better than a long-term one. If you see this on Facebook now, Facebook has a way where you can report such material. Please do report this material.

Meanwhile, we should not treat suicide as the unforgivable sin. It is certainly a sin, but Scripture does not say yea or nay as to if it is unforgivable. This can put an extra burden on those whose lives have been wracked by suicide, and yes they are indeed. Suicide doesn’t remove the pain really. It just passes it on to those who are still alive. Cyanide and Happiness actually had a comic strip on this that really hits home.

cyanideandhappinesssuicide

If you are depressed and it’s something that isn’t just a brief spell, please go to a doctor or professional counselor and get help. If you need to take medication for it, please do. There’s no shame in it. If you are feeling suicidal, please reach out right now and get help. There are ways to find that life is worth living again.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Pokemon Go and Evangelism

How will you handle kids coming to church? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I happen to be an apologist as readers know, but I also enjoy playing Pokemon. My wife and I are eagerly looking forward to Sun and Moon coming out in November. Not only that, we’ve found some of our neighbors are also devout Christians and play the game. Unfortunately, they’re also moving away soon, but we’ve enjoyed their company for now.

Recently, a new version came out for smart phones called Pokemon Go. This would have been every child’s dream when Pokemon came out years ago. It’s going out into the world and catching Pokemon on an electronic device. What on Earth does this have to do with evangelism?

It has a number of things to do with it. First off, in order to get supplies and a few extra experience points, players have to stop at places called Pokestops. These are well-known locations like libraries and post offices and other landmarks in a town. Oh! Practically every church you come across will also be a Pokestop and you have to get right up next to it in order to get the bonus. Not only that, if you wait just a few minutes, you can get that bonus again.

Second, there are also gyms you can battle at. These are also located at landmarks including, yep, some of the churches. Not every church has a gym, but some do, and players from each of the three teams in the game seek to come and take control of the gyms and that will mean that they are indeed coming to the churches.

To see how this all works, my neighbor and I decided we would go out into town. My wife came along as his wife was working and we went all over town stopping at Pokestops and battling gyms. On the way, we had a number of good conversations and fun times together.

In fact, this Saturday before the podcast, my wife and I are thinking of going out to a park nearby for a Pokemon Go event. Yes. You’re going to have players coming from the Atlanta area all to a park where we will meet each other and interact playing a game. We will be out around noon in warm weather at a park as will many others.

You know parents how you’ve been wanting a reason for your children to get outside? It has come. In fact, your younger children who can’t drive will need you. Take this chance to spend time with your children!

Still, I mainly want to write about churches. What I recommend you do is have someone from your church download the game and look and see. Is your church a Pokestop? If it is, take advantage of this situation. I would like to emphasize some thought over at The Wardrobe Door and some I’ve thought of on my own.

First off, if you have someone at your church who knows Pokemon well, put them to use! Get them out there and have them meeting people that come by. If you want to, set up something outside your church during the week that will indicate your church is a Pokestop and welcome kids to your church.

This could include having bottles of water or small snacks that you can give out to the children. Let them know what kind of church your place is and that will make an impression on the parents. Let them come in and enjoy wi-fi and air conditioning and this can be a good chance to talk to the parents.

Second, allow people to have their events at your church. Host a Pokemon Go event at your church on the weekdays and have kids from all over come by. If you do this, don’t make it a trap by having a sermon preached. Instead, let them come and just enjoy themselves. Try to focus on the parents as well if they stay. If not, let the kids from your church be there who are playing and have them form the friendships that can get the children in the door.

Third, host other kinds of events. Have a tournament around the card games. Have a tournament around the regular games. Be the church that when Sun and Moon comes out, you will be ready.

Fourth, try having some giveaways. Some churches are doing this and you could let people fill out an entry form once a day when they come by for a Pokestop and let them have a chance to win a prize. It doesn’t have to be a big one, but feeling like they won something for going by the church can be an incentive.

In fact, if you want to know if people are coming to the church, just look at some of the material already put out.

 

Not all of these I shared due to language on some, but pay attention. You have people who even can’t stand religion going to a church to collect Pokeballs. If you have an apologist at your church, now is a time to use them when they show up. This will especially also help show your church that Christians don’t cut themselves off from everything. The Gospel is not opposed to fun after all.

I can already anticipate some objections. Some of you will be saying that we don’t need this to do evangelism. That’s true. We don’t, but you know what? We have it. Why not take advantage of it? Why not use it? If this is a way that we can get to spread the Gospel to people who are coming to our church, why not go ahead and do that?

I also hear it being said that the message should be enough to draw people to the church. Yeah. Keep that up. How’s that been working for you? It will be a draw if you’re dealing with people who are Christians who already love the message. You’re not. What you’re dealing with are people who are lost many times and now have a reason to go to church.

Consider raising children. Parents want to raise their children to eat well and study in school. It should be that being healthy and having a successful career is enough of a draw, but it isn’t. Usually, we’ll give incentives and punishments to help children do these tasks until they come to appreciate them on their own. Wait until your children value health or a successful career on their own and you’ll be waiting awhile. Give them incentive and they’ll start doing it.

Some have also complained about dangers of Pokemon Go, such as there are some people hijacking it to rob victims. Yes. Believe it or not, technology can be misused. By that standard, that Bible you have at your church is misused by the cults, so you’d better not use it. Some people are misusing Pokemon Go. You can be the church that uses it well.

Some people are concerned that you will draw them in and then use bait and switch with the Gospel. I have a problem when it comes to many Christian movies in that they think they have to shove the Gospel explicitly down your throats. They don’t. Those of you who care about friendship evangelism should like this idea. Get to know the people as people who come by and give them time. Do encourage them and if you see an opportunity, you can talk about it, but I wouldn’t be confrontational in this case. Just be there and if they have questions, answer them. Let your church be the church that everyone in town is talking about.

Speaking of talking about it, what makes me think this will happen. Look at the above tweets. When was the last time you had people tweeting so much about going to church who likely are not Christians? You want to pass up this opportunity?

Also along those lines, please don’t come up with cheesy catch phrase about Pokemon and turn it into Jesus and please don’t try to come up with a Christian version of the game that you can play. Just use the game as it is because when Christians try to copy things like this, they end up for the most part just looking ridiculous. That turns people away.

Some people think that Pokemon Go is being used as a lure in this case. The point is that Pokemon Go is already a lure. The people are already coming and they can’t just drive by at 45 MPH and get the bonuses. They have to make a deliberate stop. If they’re there, talk to them. Take advantage of it.

There are many people talking about so many events in the world that are important. We are talking about the Dallas shooting and we are talking about the Presidential election, but many of us are talking about Pokemon Go. That last one can greatly be used by evangelism. Take advantage of the opportunity. We finally have people we want to reach coming to church. I can only imagine what the Apostle Paul would do if he found a way to get people to come to church of their own accord. What would he do once they got there?

Also, your young people who don’t think they contribute to the church sometimes? They can have a sense of contribution just by playing a game and just by hanging out with others playing a game. Give them an idea that they are significant. Let them help out. You can have it that the kids talk to the kids while the parents talk to the parents. Use this opportunity to tell them about your church and then when in the church, tell them about Jesus.

As for me and my wife, we’re going to be enjoying our game, but I certainly hope churches use this opportunity. You have children coming to your door. Are you going to drive them away, or are you going to be there waiting for them in preparation for getting them there on Sunday morning to give them the Gospel?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Twenty Minutes of Action

Is rape really a big deal? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A lot of people are talking about a news story of a Stanford swimmer convicted of sexual assault. What has made it even more noteworthy is that the father of the boy has come forward and written a letter that people are just outraged by. For the sake of discussion, I’m going to assume that the boy is indeed guilty and the girl really was raped by him. Sometimes, new evidence comes out later that shows otherwise but from what I gather, the evidence we have is convicting enough. Of course, even if I am wrong, what I say on rape will still stand regardless of this particular.

So according to what I’ve read, the girl goes to a party and has a little too much to drink. To be fair, that part is on her. This is why you need to be careful with your alcohol at a party, especially a college party. In fact, the victim has said that this was something she owns up to, but that does not mean that someone was justified in taking advantage of her in a state where she was entirely vulnerable. Much of this she says in a letter that she has written.

What has amazed people is that the offender has been given a light sentence of six months and then three years of probation because of the judge’s worry about what a stiffer sentence would to him. Yes. We must worry about the psychological well-being of someone who takes advantage of an innocent woman instead of remembering that the law is in place not to cater to our feelings, but to dispense justice.

What has been more astounding has been that the father has sent a letter. In it, he spoke about what his son and dreamed about and worked to achieve and asked for probation. He reportedly said “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”

That statement just sticks out to me. 20 minutes of action. What are we talking about?

A lot can happen in 20 minutes. A man could pick up a gun and go and murder his neighbor in a 20 minute time-frame. A shooting spree can take place at a public place in 20 minutes. A photo taken wrongfully of a young woman in a position she would not want to be seen in can be shared all over the internet in 20 minutes. A good thief can break into your house and steal your valuables and be out in 20 minutes.

Can some greater evils take more time? Yes. They can. Some greater evils can take less time. The time has nothing to do with it. If it did, then I would want to ask this Dad how much time should have been spent in this action before it would be worthy of more jail time?

Now let’s look at the other part. Action. Twenty minutes of action. Really? Is that what you call it? Taking a girl out back behind a dumpster and raping her on the ground so much so that bystanders rightfully consider it an attack is referred to as just actions? Now to be sure, of course it’s an action. Yet it is not just an action. It’s an attempt to downplay it.

To give a different standard, suppose my wife and I engaged in some love-making that took twenty minutes and for us was entirely mutual and self-giving. Is that twenty minutes of action? Sure, but it is not just action. It is something incredible and wonderful.

I find it amazing that as a Christian, I’m often thought to have a negative attitude towards sex. I am seen as a prude who thinks that sex is this big dirty thing. I just want to control everyone’s sex lives.

Okay. Let’s start off. What is my view of sex? Sex is one word that I really use the word “magical” to describe and I hesitate to use that term. It’s just I can’t think of anything else. When I talk to young men about to get married and ask them if they think they know about what they’re getting into and they say yes, I tell them they don’t have a clue. They don’t know what a sexual relationship does to someone. Once Pandora’s Box has opened, it can never be shut again. Nothing is ever the same.

Like many Christian couples, my wife and I waited until we got married to have sex. I don’t regret that decision. In fact, I encourage every couple to go that route. I encourage it because of the awesome action that sex is. Sex is something that intimately bonds you to another person.

The thing about sex is that when it comes to the marriage act as it is called, you are really giving yourself to another person in the most vulnerable action possible. This is done willingly. You tell the person that you trust them entirely. You desire them entirely. You want nothing to come between the two of you.

One of the designs of the activity is to bond the husband and wife to each other. Sex is a bonding activity and you cannot choose for it to not be. That’s what happens. That’s why a husband’s love for his wife can shoot up even more after they have sex together and vice-versa.

Sex outside of marriage can no doubt be intended to be a message of love, but it can also be a message of testing. We often hear this with “Would you buy a car without taking it for a test drive?” Someone who says this misses the point and is thinking in a way sadly similar to this father. It is to dehumanize the person.

You see, you can’t have sex with another person and have it have no affect on them for better or for worse. If you take a car for a test drive and you don’t like it, the car will not be thinking about what you did. The car will not stay in the lot wondering why it wasn’t chosen. The car will not go into therapy hoping to learn how to improve itself so it will be wanted next time. The car doesn’t know or care. A person is not a car. When someone tells me they wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive, I just ask which one of them is the driver and which one is the car.

Do you really want to have your relationship work like that? What would it mean if you were not pleased sexually with the person you were dating? That they would be out? How can a person be truly giving themselves to you then in selfless love if they know somewhere that they are being tested? If they do not perform adequately, then they are out. If that is not your stance, then why do you need a “test drive”? A test drive implies someone could pass or fail the test.

If you wait until marriage, there is no pressure. Of course, both partners still want to please the other, but your relationship is not on the line. You are not going to end it because of how things go. In fact, this is really important because contrary to what you see in the movies, sex is something that improves over time as you get to know the person and your bodies get used to each other more and you learn what you like and don’t like.

Theologian R.C. Sproul in a book I saw several years ago talked about going to see his family a few weeks after his marriage or so. I do not remember how long exactly except that it was early and I don’t remember if it was his family or hers. Anyway, he talked to an older uncle there who asked how he “liked it.” Sproul said it was terrific. This uncle then said that he didn’t know the half of it. Sproul said he didn’t know what this old codger knew that he didn’t already know. Years later, he said he started realizing it.

The good thing about the covenant is you have the rest of your lives to improve, and you will improve. The more the self-giving and desire keeps going on, the better the relationship improves. This is not a test. It is something beautiful.

Unfortunately, some people can steal this away before its time. It tells me in the case of a man raping a woman (And to be fair, women can rape men too.) that the man is really not a man. If you want to have a woman, you need to do the work for that privilege. Be a real man for her.

This is the part the women can really change in the culture. For the most part, men are usually the most aggressive ones with sex. We are the go-getters. If we consider who is in charge of an economy, who is it? Is it the buyers or the sellers. Does the buyer determine the price of an item, or the one who gives the item? It is the latter.

So ladies, when it comes to sex, you are deciding how much a guy has to give you before you will give him yourself entirely. Is  it dinner and a movie? Is it three dates? Is it a month? 6 months? Engagement? Or is it marriage? I recommend you go with the final one. Go with marriage. You tell a man he has to make a covenant with you that he loves you and you alone and is not going to ever leave or abandon you before you give him all of you.

Our culture has that backwards. It’s been said that the great temptation when a couple is dating is to look for any excuse to have sex. When they are married, the great temptation is to look for any excuse not to have sex. It is a shame that unmarried people look to have more sex than married people. It’s one reason people view sex as dry and stale. If the church wants to see the world honor marriage, we have to lead by example, and one of that is not just having a marriage, but doing marriage well, including sex.

As wrong as I think having sex outside of marriage is, having rape is worse. This is where we get to the analogous part to buying a car. Rape is the ultimate way of treating someone (And I’m going to presume a woman for the most part) like an object. It is not looking at the person as a human being, but looking at them as a tool of sexuality. You don’t really care about them so much as getting your kicks.

Can that happen in twenty minutes? Yep. Men will do the most incredible mind-blowing things in order to get sex. Consider for instance this favorite clip of mine from the Family Feud.

If you want to see more of this, just consider looking up vines on YouTube, which I generally hate as a rule, about the topic of “But I’m home alone.” In each case, the girl calls her boyfriend wanting him to do something and he says no only to be told “But I’m home alone” and then no task is too much. That doesn’t just change for boyfriends. It happens in marriage as well.

What I want to establish with that is that yes, sometimes the passions can easily take over. That’s why men need to develop self-control as much as they can. This boy might have wanted to be a great swimmer, and he could still do that, but at this moment, he wanted something else more. He was willing to do whatever it took to get it, and he made the choice.

We are often told with abortion that consenting to sex does not mean consenting to pregnancy. In fact, it does. You remain open to that even with the best contraception because nothing is foolproof save vasectomies and hysterectomies. In life, you can choose your actions, but you can’t choose your consequences.

Some consequences you will have little control over. If you look both ways before crossing the street and someone comes flying around a corner and hits you, you have no control over that. If a child of yours gets cancer through no fault of medical lack on your own, you have no control over that. The sad part is we spend a lot of time crying about things we do have control over if we will do something different and that is to change our behavior. This isn’t a light switch that turns off and on, but if we want to do it, we will have to do the work for it.

So let’s get back to the action that we’re talking about. Rape is in fact stealing. It is a form of theft and dishonoring and the shaming and dehumanizing of a person. While the father is talking about the consequences for his son, let’s think about the consequences for the woman. In fact, she hasn’t gone far enough. She’s not the only one affected.

When we start with her, she is saying now she sleeps with a light on and she wants to have protection with her always. Now, she will be tempted to look at every man with suspicion. One guy at a party seemed innocent enough, but maybe he isn’t. Maybe he’s just like every other man. (Because now built in is an idea that all men are like this.) Maybe all men are just predators. (We have an idea even in Christian circles that because men think about sex so much that all men are perverts. Not true.)

I don’t know about this woman’s boyfriend. I don’t know if they were sexually active together or not, but so far it looks like he’s been a very honorable man. He’s going to pay for the sins of this other man. She’s going to have to learn to trust him. He will be held responsible for their sins and he will not be able to repent for he cannot repent of a sin he has not committed.

If she breaks up with him, any future man will be seen with suspicion. The root reason is that this woman has been violated. She has been treated as an object. She is not some inflatable blow-up doll. She is a person. She is someone who lives and breathes and has thoughts and feelings like most everyone else. To treat her as less than a person is to dehumanize her. (Which always men in marriage as well, make sure you don’t treat your wife as an object or someone just there to satisfy your desires. You are to care for her as well.)

In the end of this woman’s letter, she does say the story isn’t over for this man. She’s right. He will be a registered sex offender, but he can change. He can learn from this action and overcome it. (I have no desire to call it a mistake. A mistake is locking yourself out of your car. Raping a woman is not a mistake. It’s a deliberate wrongful action.)

The story is not over for this woman either. As a Christian, I would first listen to her. I would hear her cry. (Note I would honestly prefer to have my wife do this. As someone in ministry I try to avoid counseling women apart from her.) I would let her express any painful emotions she’s feeling.

Then, after all that was done, i would tell her about Christ and how she can be made a new creation. No. Her past is not undone, but she doesn’t have to be a victim to it any longer. No. It’s not guaranteed to be immediate, but she does not have to be alone and she never will be truly alone. I would be able to assure her that as awful as this event was, the God of creation can take it and use what was intended for evil for good. In fact, this is already starting to happen as she’s apparently speaking to try to raise awareness of this danger so other women don’t have to undergo it.

All in all, this whole story shows how our culture really does not understand sex. Someone once said the problem with our culture is we think too much about sex. It isn’t. The problem is that we think too little. We dream about sex, fantasize about it, make TV shows and movies of it, talk about it, just plain do it, but we don’t think about it. We don’t sit down and ask about what sex really is and what it means when we do it and why that is so important and why it shouldn’t be taken so lightly.

If we don’t think about it, then we are just as guilty of treating sex as just an action. It’s just something you do for fun together with no long range consequences. It is just a way of expressing love. No. Sex is in its own unique category. It stands apart from everything else.

That’s in fact why we Christians have such boundaries about sex. We put boundaries around it for the same reason we put our valuables in a safety-deposit box and not our garbage. Sex is valuable and we don’t want to mistreat it or misuse it. I compare it to nuclear energy. It’s wonderful and very efficient when used in the right time and place and circumstances. If you do it wrong, you get Chernobyl.

I hope that all this will lead to us doing and thinking about sex right. Part of the problem is our philosophy of sex has led to a culture where sex is treated cheaply. When sex it treated cheaply, real women are treated cheaply. They are not cheap. They are wonderful creations in the image of God. I love my wife, but my wife is not to be seen as a means to have sex. Sex is meant to be seen as the way that I have her. I express my love intensely in that action and want to show her every time how serious I am about my relationship with her and how much I desire intimacy with her.

I look forward to a day when we realize again how sacred sex and marriage are.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Gorilla Warfare

What are my thoughts on the Cincinnati zoo situation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My wife likes to watch the Weather Channel during tornado season and when I’m done with what I need to do on the internet, I tend to like to stay off of it. Therefore, I am somewhat surprised to see posts yesterday talking about a gorilla incident. Now I stroll on Facebook after reading more about it and it’s pretty much all that I see.

It really saddens me that on a day like yesterday when we should have spent more time focusing on the fact that our fellow human beings gave their lives for us, we were more concerned about a gorilla who died.

Now of course, none of us delight over what happened. None of us woke up and said “Wow. Today would be a great day to see a gorilla get killed.” Not liking an outcome does not mean that the wrong actions were done. Sometimes you can do the right thing and feel absolutely miserable. If that has never happened to you, then I wonder how often you are really doing the right thing.

I also happen to agree with many who are saying that there is outrage over the death of a gorilla, but how much outrage have you heard over the deaths of children in abortion? In fact, I have a suspicion that a lot of people raising the gorilla outrage really have no problem with abortion. What I see as a great danger is how our society is trying to put everything on an equal level.

Equality can be a great thing, but it only works if we recognize what is truly equal. We are all equally human for instance, but we have a lot of differences after that. We have differences in sex, race, body build, intelligence, athletic ability, artistic talent, emotional differences, genetic differences, etc. You could go on to add many more to this list. We can’t treat all of us as absolutely equal in every way. We’re not. We’re not supposed to be. If we were all exactly alike, this world would likely be a pretty boring place. (Not to mention our species would have died out long ago.)

What happens if you try to treat those distances like they don’t matter? What would happen if you wanted to put someone like myself, a man who just barely weighs 120, out on the football field to play a game because, hey, we’re all equal and those differences don’t matter? Then what would happen if you took the football player who would normally play that position and have them be studying NT Christianity in depth? (Now to be fair, that can be done, but most football players aren’t known for being experts in the NT.) There are ways men are different from women beyond physical characteristics and vice-versa.

The danger with the drive for equality is that we want equality of outcome instead of equality of start. We want in the end everyone to be equal instead of realizing what we all have in common at the start and then going from there. Now we extend it beyond humans and want to say that all animals fall into the same pattern.

For instance, when it comes to debates on homosexuality I get involved in, I often hear “This is natural because we see this happening in the animal world.” The hidden premise there being that if it is natural, then we should accept it. Let’s suppose that this is really what’s going on and there really is homosexual behavior in the animal world. (I have heard dissenting opinions, but I’m not a zoologist so I can’t state either way) Okay. We also see in the animal world that many animals happen to eat their own young. Do we want humans to start cooking their children for dinner? Now if you’re going to say that example doesn’t follow, then neither does the prior unless you have some argument to show that the above is a valid exception.

Yet the point is still that there’s this underlying idea that we are all just animals. Of course, one could say that we are in Aristotelian terms, “rational animals”, but we are different from the animals around us not just by degree but by kind. We are capable of thinking abstractly. Animals are not.

Our effort to make everyone and everything equal isn’t something that lifts humanity up. It more lowers us. We aren’t raising up the animals either. The animals are still being the same. Treat them like gods or treat them like food. On the whole, the animals will behave the same way. What will be lowered will be the worth of the human species instead, and that is what we see happening when people are more concerned about a gorilla being killed than about the possibility of a child being killed.

“Well couldn’t they have just tranquilized?” We all would have loved to have seen that happen, but real life is not like what you see in the movies. A large part of why we think this way is we’ve seen so many Disney cartoons where animals have been turned into humans pretty much who walk and talk and have their own personalities and reason through matters like we do. That’s good fantasy, but bad reality. One other fantasy is that if you shoot a tranquilizer dart at a gorilla, that it will conk out immediately. Well no. It won’t.

Even if it takes just a few minutes, in those few minutes, this gorilla has been shot with something and doesn’t know where it came from and will be much more agitated than before. You know who’s at risk the most then? The child. Are you seriously willing to risk the life of a child for that? (And if you’re one of those who are actually saying yes, and they do exist, you are indeed part of the problem in our society.)

While I can’t speak as a parent, I can speak as a human being. If it had been someone like say my own wife who is more capable of reasoning and could have known more how to get away, I still would not want a chance to be taken. If I had to, I would have taken up arms myself and gone in and taken out a million gorillas to get to her and I would not have remorse about it. I would be in good company. The medievals are said to have said that one human being is worth more than the entire universe. They were right.

It’s a shame so many people spent Memorial Day arguing over something that should have been a no-brainer really. Our soldiers did not die so that animals could be free. They died for us. They died so we could be free and not free to protest about animals, but free to be good citizens and build up a society of virtuous people and pursue that which is good. How many of us are busy doing that? (And yes, I need to do that just as much)

By all means, be sad that this tragedy happened. If you’re wondering my thoughts on the mother involved, we frankly don’t know enough yet. If she left her child alone and went off somewhere else, well yes, that is a problem. Still, we all know stories from good parents who look away for just a second and their child has got caught in chaos. It can happen. Without knowing all about that aspect, I’m not ready to comment on the mother. Still, I would give her some time because right now, she just needs to rejoice that her child is alive and if it was because of neglect on her part, I would hope this experience would be all the lesson she needs.

I look forward to the day when there’s more outrage from people about abortion than about gorillas. Unfortunately, our society has reached a point where we have chosen to tolerate the evil of abortion and said we will not tolerate killing animals to save humans. Again, we have not lifted animals up. We have just lowered ourselves and our fellow human beings. We can only deny reality so much before we pay the price for it.

I hope we wake up soon.

In Christ,
Nick Peters