Whatever Happened To Tolerance?

Is tolerance no longer a virtue? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Remember about a decade or so ago that tolerance was all the rage? Books were being written about tolerance. Every apologist who spoke about ethics and political situations had to say something about tolerance. The tolerance being talked about wasn’t classical tolerance, which is always a virtue, but an idea that one must not just allow but accept and celebrate something.

Tolerance was the great virtue everyone celebrated. It was seen as the mark of a good person that they were tolerant. It was all these bigots out there that were intolerant and didn’t allow anyone to have an opposing viewpoint.

Somehow, tolerance seems to have lost some popularity. For all the time people spent preaching this gospel, the good news of it appears to be short-lived. It looks like the opposite is what is virtuous now. When someone does something you really disagree with, now it’s virtuous to call them on the carpet and demand that they repent.

Jack Dorsey is the CEO of Twitter. Earlier this month he stopped at a Chick-Fil-A and for some reason tweeted out his receipt. He was immediately taken to task for his awful action. He dared to stop at a place like Chick-Fil-A that supports only traditional marriage during June which is “Gay Pride Month”? Jack Dorsey eventually apologized for his “sin.”

Most of us also know about so many Christian bakeries and florists and photographers who will perform many other services for homosexual customers, but just say they cannot do something that would give a tacit endorsement to something they consider immoral such as a “gay marriage.” Instead of just going to the next person down the road who has the same business and will be glad to do it, the right thing to do now is apparently to take them to court and sue them for everything they have so they never dare do business again. Disagreement will not be allowed!

Looks like tolerance is just not what it used to be anymore.

Most of us are sure we know what happened. Tolerance is a great virtue when you think you’re the underdog, but as soon as you get into what you think is a position of power, it’s no longer needed. I don’t really think this is the majority opinion still as I do hold to the silent majority, something we saw on an event such as Chick-Fil-A Day. In the eyes of the media, which is apparently what really matters, tolerance is no longer the virtue that we’re supposed to uphold.

Years ago I and several others had been saying that tolerance is a sham. As far as I’m concerned, the way people are acting now demonstrates it. If tolerance was the virtue it was thought to be, it would be practiced now just as much as it was then. Instead, tolerance was used back then to silence the opposition. Now, one can go to the court of law or the media to silence the opposition so there’s really no need.

Our marching orders? Still the exact same regardless of what the world around us does. Fulfill the Great Commission. Stand for truth in our lives. Love our neighbors around us even when we disagree with them. Preach the true gospel, not just one of faux tolerance. Teach the one that says that God does not tolerate sin, but He gives full and loving acceptance to sinners and wants to reshape them to be like Jesus.

I can’t tell what will happen in the future. My thinking is that this will probably lead to a major backlash one day as more and more people get fed up with where society is going and as the other side keeps pushing the envelope, they will one day push it too far. The question is if the church will handle it properly. In America, I’m not so sure since we don’t have the best track record, but I can always hope.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 1/14/2017: Elijah Thompson

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

Last week, we had Ty Benbow come on and talk about abortion and we had a wonderful talk about women who are seeking to get an abortion and about our need to reach out to these people. This Saturday, we’re going to keep going down the path and I will be interviewing some friends for the Christian Apologetics Alliance. Our focus in January is on the topic of abortion and I will be bringing someone on who does focus on that topic. This week, our guest is Elijah Thompson who has his own podcast on this.

So who is he?

ElijahThompson

Elijah Thompson is the host of The Fetal Position, a pro-life bioethics podcast dedicated to having open and honest discussions about abortion (and related topics) from a pro-life perspective. His goal is to promote the equality of all human beings, not because of what they can do, but because of who they are. He believes that human life and human rights ought to respected, from womb to tomb. Elijah graduated with a bachelor’s in biology and a minor in philosophy, so he found bioethics to be an easy fit for his academic interests, and has experience working with cell cultures (including stem cells). He currently lives with his wife and two sons in Buffalo, NY, and attends a church where he and his wife both volunteer as youth leaders.

Elijah also considers his show to be a secular show. How does that work? Can there be arguments that are “secular” against abortion? That will be something I plan on discussing on the show.

What does it mean to be a human being? If we are equal based not on what we do, but on who we are, then who are we? What is it about us that makes us human? What is it that the unborn possess just like us that makes us human as well?

What is the violinist argument and what does Elijah have to say to it that he thinks is unique? We’ll also be talking about tweetable answers. Many of us know that twitter is in the news a lot with the usage of president-elect Trump of it. Can Christians use twitter to make substantial comments on the abortion debate? We have been told in politics that important policies cannot be argued in 140 characters. Is that wrong? Could it be that we could use that many characters to make a successful argument against abortion?

I’m quite thankful to have friends who are willing to come on the show and I hope introducing you to some new minds on the issues can give you some new ideas and hope that there are others out there fighting the fight against abortion. I hope that you will be looking forward to the new episode. (Also, we have fixed the link to the show so your ITunes feed should be full now.) Please also considering going on ITunes and leaving a positive review of the show.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

How pro-choice is NARAL?

Anybody want some Doritos? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So last night my wife was wanting to watch this program that frankly did not make any sense to me. It involved a bunch of grown men just running into each other constantly, but in the middle, it had these commercials and some were quite funny. I couldn’t understand why these commercials were being interrupted by this strange performance. I was even more puzzled when I heard it had to do with some falconry event about a Superb Owl and that Herodotus had written about it long ago.

However, one commercial that stood out to me was one that was done by Doritos. Rather than tell you about it, I think I should just show you.

Cute commercial. Right? If you were anything like me, you just laughed at it. One of my friends had texted me and was saying that NARAL was upset about it. Something about humanizing fetuses. At the time, I was sure he was joking about that. (In fact, as I look over their Twitter feed, it looks like if they are choosing one thing, it is they are choosing to not have a sense of humor.)

What did they say about this?

– that ad using tactic of humanizing fetuses & sexist tropes of dads as clueless & moms as uptight.

I wish I was making it up. I’m not. NARAL is complaining about humanizing fetuses apparently. Well there’s a bit of wisdom you need to remember about this.

offendedpeople

You see, most of us watched it and enjoyed it. NARAL has a habit of wanting to psychoanalyze anything and look for something that can offend them. In fact, there was even a point last night where a video was made of Super Bowl babies. Who were these? They were ones who had their parents watching the game and then one thing led to another and that’s how they were born. NARAL’s reply was that sports fans should use protection.

Because, like, you know, getting pregnant is the most horrible thing ever.

When I saw that commercial, I really thought a lot of those people looked pretty happy. They were glad to be alive. They were celebrating that their parents chose life. (And last I checked, I thought the pro-choice side was supposed to be pro-choice. Why are they so upset when some people actually make the choice that they’d like to have children?)

Now for my part, I have done a number of podcasts where I have interviewed people on the topic of abortion to answer the challenge of the pro-choice side. I will simply put those here.

Megan Almon.

Gretchen Coburn.

Clinton Wilcox.

Freda Bush.

Jay Watts.

Peter D. Williams.

DeeDee Warren.

Dave Sterrett.

Lori Peters.

Daniel Rodgers.

As for me and my house, I think we’ll celebrate the life that we have and maybe do so by making the choice to go out and buy some Dorito’s because I like seeing ads like that, especially if they get the people at NARAL so riled up that they end up showing their true colors.

Happy Superb Owl Sunday NARAL.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Platform

What do I think of Michael Hyatt’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We all want to be heard today. Don’t think you’re going to go on the internet and make a statement and you don’t really want people to listen to what you have to say. If you didn’t want that, you wouldn’t be speaking anyway. If you have something to say and think it’s good and that people should listen, don’t you want to be noticed? Don’t you want people to hear it and share it? Don’t you think you’ll be doing a service for the world when you get a message out that is needed or sell a product that needs to be sold or provide a service that needs to be given? If you want people to pay attention to what you have to say, Michael Hyatt has some advice for you.

Be warned. This book is very exhaustive and some steps you will be able to follow right now and some you won’t and some will come with time. Some ideas I’ve had I’ve had to rethink, such as Twitter. I have my Twitter automatically set up, but perhaps I could send out a few more tweets. Generally, I have been hesitant due to the limitation of 140 characters, but that could be overcome by tinyurls. I still do not think that Twitter is the place for debates, but perhaps the service does more good than I realize.

I also want to start doing things to spice up the blog. As it is, my own service is not being the most reliable so I am looking to transfer it over elsewhere and the information in this book will play a good role in helping me decide what to do with it from there on. There are some points I’m not readily sold on yet and that could depend on the nature of the blog, but nothing should be discounted automatically. Michael Hyatt has a successful blog and a large number of followers on Twitter and actually brings in some good income through his blog so he is quite likely doing something right.

I do wish a little bit more could have been said about Facebook. I do agree that Facebook can alter what it means to be a friend of someone, but I’m not ready to cut down my list and have a fan page. I’ve found it’s been quite helpful to have personal interactions, especially with people who are struggling with questions and it’s only a major problem on the newsfeed if I am spending way too much time just scrolling through it already. No doubt that Hyatt would agree that time management is absolutely central.

If anything, someone might find this work too overwhelming at times since Hyatt has no shortage of lists of advice to follow. As said earlier, you won’t follow it all immediately and some will have to wait for future endeavors and some blogging will only come with time, but there are many steps that should be taken by everyone wanting to be heard and many that can be taken by anyone wanting to be heard.

If you have a good product, service, or idea to get out and want people to pay attention to you, you owe it to yourself to get this book. Why not in fact get it at the Deeper Waters Amazon store?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Richard Dawkins: A Gift From God.

Are all human lives valuable for what they are? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Richard Dawkins is well-known today as a leading contemporary spokesman for atheism. If you asked most people today to name a famous living atheist, Dawkins would likely be on top of the list. In fact, according to this site, he’s the #1 leading atheist in the world. Perhaps in some ways we could describe Richard Dawkins as the Pope of atheism.

PopeDawkins

This is actually more fitting than most realize. The idea is that in the so-called Dark Ages, you went to the priests who were the bearers of all knowledge. The correct view on that is that the religious leaders likely were some of the most knowledgeable people around. The false view is that it’s because the only knowledge they had was knowledge of the Bible. No. Active learning was going on in many areas. Not all would have a specific interest in “natural philosophy” as science was called, but all would know something about it.

Today, science has become the new priesthood with a scientism that says science is the only way you know anything and that all knowledge must be scientific and if you can’t establish something scientifically, it can’t be true. Never mind that this criteria has never once met its own standards. It is an undercurrent in our society. Whenever an opinion comes on an issue, if it is said that “a scientist says” that is automatically the most valid opinion, never mind that it could be something the scientist has never really studied. His opinion matters because he is a scientist.

None of this is to knock science. No one should want to. Science is our friend. Scientism is our enemy. The putting of science in the supreme place as the supreme guide to knowledge is also our enemy. It is no desire to belittle scientific knowledge, or any knowledge for that matter. It is a desire instead to deal with the practical worship of science.

Many of us know about Dawkins’s recent outrage that has been sparked due to twitter remarks. It would be bad enough if that was the only embarrassing story of the week, but it is not. Consider this story from just last Saturday. In it, Dawkins is compared to an evangelist who develops a following if you donate to his circle. Reality is Dawkins is even more expensive than the evangelists that he would criticize. Let’s look at some highlights. A lengthy quote will suffice.

the Richard Dawkins website offers followers the chance to join the ‘Reason Circle’, which, like Dante’s Hell, is arranged in concentric circles. For $85 a month, you get discounts on his merchandise, and the chance to meet ‘Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science personalities’. Obviously that’s not enough to meet the man himself. For that you pay $210 a month — or $5,000 a year — for the chance to attend an event where he will speak.

When you compare this to the going rate for other charismatic preachers, it does seem on the high side. The Pentecostal evangelist Morris Cerullo, for example, charges only $30 a month to become a member of ‘God’s Victorious Army’, which is bringing ‘healing and deliverance to the world’. And from Cerullo you get free DVDs, not just discounts.

But the $85 a month just touches the hem of rationality. After the neophyte passes through the successively more expensive ‘Darwin Circle’ and then the ‘Evolution Circle’, he attains the innermost circle, where for $100,000 a year or more he gets to have a private breakfast or lunch with Richard Dawkins, and a reserved table at an invitation-only circle event with ‘Richard’ as well as ‘all the benefits listed above’, so he still gets a discount on his Richard Dawkins T-shirt saying ‘Religion — together we can find a cure.’

The website suggests that donations of up to $500,000 a year will be accepted for the privilege of eating with him once a year: at this level of contribution you become a member of something called ‘The Magic of Reality Circle’. I don’t think any irony is intended.

I can suspect that this will be met with zealous opposition where this is shared by internet atheists and their followers, which will really demonstrate the case. Those who are followers of Dawkins really study the issues just as little as he does, if not less, which might be surprising seeing as it’s hard to imagine studying religious issues less than Dawkins. Thankfully, there are some atheists who are thoughtful and seek to understand the issues that realize Dawkins is an embarrassment to their cause and want him to just go away. The more atheists keep upholding Dawkins however and referring to works like “The God Delusion” as if it was a philosophical masterpiece, the more Christians who know what they’re talking about will see no reason to take them seriously. In fact, if I meet anyone who considers “The God Delusion” to be recommended reading to show why Christianity or theism should not be taken seriously, I know that this is a person uninformed on the issues. Actually, that applies to anyone who recommends any of the new atheists.

Many of you might not have noticed that story about Dawkins because frankly, he’s done something even more embarrassing than that. In fact, this is something I would even say is downright wicked. What Dawkins has done is sparked a controversy based on what he said in his twitter feed. You see, Dawkins heard from someone that they don’t know what they would do if they were pregnant with a child with Down’s Syndrome. It was described as an ethical dilemma.

Before we focus on what Dawkins had to say in response, isn’t it a shame we live in a world where even knowing your baby will have Down’s Syndrome leaves you with a dilemma of if you should kill it or not? You see, the reality is that as soon as that child is conceived and they have Down’s Syndrome, you are already the parent of a child with Down’s. The question you have to ask is if you’re going to be the parent of a dead one or a living one. Not only that, are you going to be the parent of a living child that you and your spouse brought into the world together, or are you going to be the parent of a dead child that died at your own hands.

In fact, I know and have known a number of people with Down’s Syndrome children. Are the children hard to care for? Yes. Can it be frustrating? Yes. Does it cost a lot of money? Yes.

You know, like all children do.

Of course, Down’s children come with extra hurdles, but you know what? They also come with extra joys. They tend to be far more honest and genuine in their love and the parents who take the time to love them see them as the gift that they are and how much they should be appreciated. One friend of ours in fact when she found out the child she was carrying had Down’s was told “There are other options” to which she immediately responded that there were not. That was her baby and she was going to love her baby and Down’s was not going to be an obstacle.

Well done.

So right at the start, we have a problem. We are being told that we really need to consider if people with Down’s Syndrome have lives that are really worth living. Exactly how far will this go? Are we not participating in a eugenics program at this point where we decide only those with desirable traits will live?

Well hopefully Pope Richard was able to give some advice to point out to this person that lives are valuable by the nature of what they are and that yes, things could be difficult, but you know, with the wonders of science we can do so much to ease the burdens that really are there and maybe even find a cure for Down’s someday! Surely this was said!

Or maybe not.

What was said?

“Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

Dawkins is in an even worse position than the questioner. He sees no ethical dilemma. It is said so easily. Abort it and try again. In fact, it would be immoral. Why?  Well Dawkins later said in his response to the outrage that:

“If your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down’s baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare.”

Now none of us would object to increasing happiness and reducing suffering, but what we ask is if the ends justify the means. Is it ever justifiable to do an evil act because you think there is a good result? That is in fact something that I wish to keep pressing when it comes to the abortion debate. The question we need to ask is “Is the act of willfully terminating your own pregnancy wrong?”

You see, in reality, we can agree with many of the reasons that someone would want an abortion. We can agree they should be financially stable. We can agree many are not ready to raise a child yet. We can agree that many need emotional security. We can agree that it is fine for a woman to have a career. No one is saying any of these things are evil in and of themselves.

What we are saying is that none of those justifies the murder of an innocent child.

Dawkins has decided in advance that these children cannot be happy and that they can only be suffering and they cannot bring happiness to their parents but only bring suffering.

Interestingly, this same person who wondered about a child with Down’s also admitted to being on the autism spectrum (like my wife and I) and asked about that. Dawkins’s response?

People on that spectrum have a great deal to contribute, Maybe even an enhanced ability in some respects. DS not enhanced.

Well thank you Dawkins for saying I have a great deal to contribute. Apparently, the reason you think I’m valuable to the human race is that I can contribute something worthwhile. In other words, I am valuable for what I do. Too bad those babies with Down’s Syndrome don’t have enough value in being, you know, human beings.

The response to all of this was as expected and even included this satirical piece. (Warning: It does have language, but it was the greatest laugh I had all day yesterday.) The sad part is too many internet atheists were defending Dawkins as if his point was obvious. Sure. Why not abort a baby with Down’s Syndrome?

Now Dawkins did apparently issue an apology, though it was quite a backhanded one. It would be like a man saying to his wife “I’m sorry I had an affair, but you have just been so frigid lately, and this woman was just so hot, and I have these needs that I have to have met, and it was meant to be a private thing between her and I and you were never meant to find out.” We could go on and on with it. 

Dawkins has no apologies for the comment. In fact, his clarifying comment said he would still recommend abortion for the same reason. What he is sorry for is that it started a twitter war. In the above analogy, it would be like the husband issuing an apology not because he cheated on his wife, but rather because he got caught doing so. From this point on Dawkins, went to make statements about the people who were complaining about what he had to say.

It never occurs to Dawkins that what he said was utterly reprehensible. Dawkins has before said

It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).

Let it be said in response that if you meet someone who seeks to justify the murder of an innocent child in the womb, wicked should in fact be one of the first things in your mind. It looks like in the world of Dawkins, denying evolution would be a worse crime against humanity than aborting a baby with Down’s Syndrome.

It will be a wonder to see what happens if Dawkins or those like him were truly ever in charge. He has already made a statement about what children he thinks bring suffering into the world. Perhaps he’d also team up with his friend Peter Boghossian. This is the same Peter Boghossian who has a chapter in his Manual for Creating Atheists (A book that I reviewed here and keep in mind that Tim McGrew massacred Boghossian’s chickens here) that lists containment protocols.

That’s right. What can we do to “contain” people of faith? This included such steps as treating faith (A term Boghossian does not know the meaning of) as a public health crisis and to remove the religious exemption for delusion from the DSM, which is the diagnostic rule book for psychological disorders.

Dawkins might say he would not want to impose his beliefs on others, but would his followers have that same belief? Boghossian seems fine with treating those of us who are Christians or believers in any deity as if we have a disease. 

The sad part is technically, Dawkins is not contradicting his atheism in any way. For a Christian, to think it okay to abort a baby with Down’s Syndrome would be a contradiction of their view of life, but for Dawkins, it does not have to be. Of course, there are many individual atheists who are pro-life and thank God for them, but the only requirement for being an atheist is “Don’t believe in God.” You can not believe in God and be a psychopath or be a philanthropist and both of them are consistent with the statement “God does not exist.” You cannot be living a life of sin in Christianity and have that be consistent with “I am a follower of Christ.”

Well Professor Dawkins, the sad reality is that you don’t see children with Down’s Syndrome as a gift to the world, which indeed they are as many parents with Down’s Syndrome children would tell you, but we can certainly say that you, Professor Dawkins, are a gift to the church. You are a great example of what will happen the more and more we move away from God and let people like you have the most say in what goes on in our culture.

Let’s just hope most people have enough moral sense to know not to like it.

In Christ,

Nick Peters