Do We Believe In Magic?

Is our society more involved in magic than we realize? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

No. This isn’t really about the New Age movement or about witchcraft. This isn’t about reading Harry Potter or watching Sabrina: The Teenaged Witch. This isn’t really about fantasy as fantasy.

In our day and age, we like to think we are a scientific people. We have abandoned the ways of magic and religion. We only believe in that which can be empirically verified, and by that, we mean scientifically verified, even though the two aren’t identical. All scientific verification is empirical, but the reverse is not so.

If anything, today we see science as a new priesthood. I do not say this to demean science in the sense of the study of the material world. That is wonderful and that needs to continue. What I do demean is the idea that because someone is a scientist, they are qualified to speak on areas outside their expertise. However, there is also the danger that something can supposedly fall under science, but like scandals of bought priesthood in the past, so a scientific person can be bought off as well.

The Covid “pandemic” really brought a lot of this to light. At the time, I was not at all worried about it. It was a virus. It would come and it would go like any other virus. I never got caught up in mask hysteria and when I was required to wear one, I took it off as soon as I could. I never practiced social distancing for the virus. If I was doing it, it was generally just because I don’t like being close to people in general. I am also one of those people who never got a vaccine at all.

And yeah, I’ve never had Covid.

My parents also never got the vaccines and they’re in their 70s. They each got Covid earlier this year and then within a week of each of them getting it, they were both fine. My rule has been to never get caught up in hysteria where everyone is panicking.

Many of us now look back and realize that a lot of mistakes were made. The lockdowns were a mistake. Pulling kids out of school was a mistake. Plenty of people are questioning the vaccines and it used to be a conspiracy theory to say the virus came from a lab in Wuhan. Now it’s pretty much established fact.

A number of us also don’t support climate change hysteria either. When I take any kind of online survey, I can easily answer questions when it comes to environmental claims. It’s not that I don’t care about the planet, but I think that many of our solutions are harmful in the long-term even if we think there are short-term benefits. I would like to see us using nuclear power more and I would like to see the Keystone pipeline open.

As soon as I say any of this, there are people out there getting their proverbial pitchforks ready. After all, I have questioned the reigning dogma. We have seen that people who do go against whatever the reigning dogma is, particularly today on climate change, are quickly castigated and they are the new heretics.

“The difference though is science is evidence-based and religion isn’t!”

Which is entirely a straw man. The evidences are different, but all sides use evidence. Religions tend to use history and philosophy more as well as interpretation of sacred texts and analysis of it by believers and skeptics. Of course, some dogmas can be right, just like in science, and some can be wrong, just like in science.

One area that this comes to an interesting place is in how we use words. Magic is the idea that one can use words to somehow alter reality. Properly, this isn’t always the case. When a minister says “I now pronounce you husband and wife”, he is doing something his words have the power to affect. There are times when this is not the case.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson has referred to seeing men’s and women’s bathrooms as segregation. Don’t believe me? Go take a look here. (Warning. This is something unedited so there is language in the video.) It starts around 2:50. Shortly after 4:00, NDT says he sees men and women bathrooms and thinks “Colored and white”.

Go back twenty years, maybe even ten, and this wouldn’t be being questioned at all. Now NDT acts like it’s segregation. Why? It’s the spirit of the age. It’s where the politics lie.

I recently shared this picture on my Facebook.

One of the first replies I got was “Transwomen are women.”

What is this said today but a mantra? Repeat it enough and it will become true?

The next worth talking about is I just asked the question “What is a woman?” and got told that the idea of a woman is a societal construct. To which, I gave the reply that the idea that the meaning of woman is a societal construct is itself a societal construct.

We live in an age where we believe if we declare it to be so, it is. What is it called when someone goes in for a transgender operation? “Gender-affirming care”, when it is really the exact opposite. We have said that we should include couples of the same sex under the label of marriage, but did we stop to ask what marriage is and what it means? Consider also a group like Black Lives Matter. So if you don’t support the group, which is about many many things besides black lives, then you don’t think black lives matter?

This isn’t science. This is magic.

Too many of our leading scientists are also leading the way in this. The basic reality of biology would not have been denied until the political climate rolled around and then all of a sudden, we think we know something that no one else before us in history knew. We live in a society where we want to erase differences between men and women, do economic Russian Roulette and think only our intentions matter, and think that if we say the words, we can change reality. We can’t.

Reality will always win in the end.

For those in the scientific establishment also, this has only hurt them in the long run. There are more and more people unwilling to trust science when we think that there is a political side to it. If anything, we are not a scientific society. We are anti-science.

That doesn’t make us like religion in the past. Religion in the past still tried to tether itself to external reality by basing their conclusions on the idea of a supreme being outside the cosmos that created a rational universe and thus made the universe rational. Now, the basis for how we see reality is not without, but it is within. How someone feels about themselves and society determines reality.

The good news is, this path cannot last long. It will destroy itself.

The bad news, I have no idea how much it will take out with it when it collapses.

Let’s be prepared.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

A Prayer For Our Country

What is part of my prayers every night? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I pray every night before signing off of my computer and going to bed, and part of that prayer every day is a prayer for my country. I love America. I just don’t love what has happened to her. I still think that this nation can be a city on a hill once again.

When Israel was in the promised land, they were meant to be a kingdom of priests for those on the outside. They were meant to intercede for their pagan neighbors. When the nation was in exile, we see in Daniel 9 that it is Daniel who repents on behalf of the nation of Israel. There is a precedent of the righteous interceding on behalf of the wicked, especially shown in the cases of Jesus and Stephen.

Because of this, I pray every night for our country and it includes the following, which is centered on our children.

First, we have killed our children.

Wednesday while listening to the radio, and I only listen to talk radio, I heard someone talking about the massacre of the people at a concert in Israel and how that was the greatest act of evil he could think of in our times. I get what he was saying. It was a hideous act of evil, but I could easily think of a worse one.

Every day in abortion clinics across our country where hundreds if not thousands more are murdered every day in the name of freedom and reproductive rights. I have often said that we’re worse than the pagans were in the past. When they sacrificed their children, they did it for the good of the harvest or for the welfare of the nation. We sacrifice our children at the altar of convenience.

Pray for our repentance and forgiveness.

Second, we have mutilated our children.

More and more children are claiming that they are transgender and at a young age are being told they have such authority to say who they are. We have people having their bodies destroyed and letting themselves be sterilized for this purpose. it is an irreversible decision in many cases and don’t be surprised if within a few years, there are major lawsuits against “health-providers” for this. Even more amazing, we call it “gender-affirming care” when it’s exactly the opposite.

Pray for our repentance and forgiveness.

Third, we have groomed our children.

We have Drag Queen Story hours where we are normalizing children to sexual behavior they shouldn’t be normalized to. We have children celebrating Pride events at schools. Florida was blasted for a bill called by the media the “Don’t Say Gay” bill when all it said was sexual matters should not be talked about with children who are third grade or less.

Pray for our repentance and forgiveness.

Finally, we have indoctrinated our children.

We have a generation of people growing up who know next to nothing about the history of our country. They sit on laptops with their smartphones drinking at Starbucks and complaining about how evil capitalism is. They repeat cliches so much so that now in light of events in the Middle East, you have them saying “From the river to the sea” and talking about “There is only one solution” not even realizing where these terms come from. They are growing up to be more and more narcissistic and basing their lives on social media.

Pray for our repentance and forgiveness.

Then after this, I pray for something else.

I pray that the church rise up and be the church and change our society once more.

No. This is not a Catholic prayer in the sense of the Roman Catholic Church, but it is a catholic prayer in the sense of the church universal. It is the prayer that we who are Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox, will rise up and unite together in this cause. I have areas where I disagree with Catholics and Orthodox, but I have plenty more where I agree with them on and that’s where I choose to focus. I am blessed to meet regularly with some Catholics to study Aquinas and when I am asked what I believe about certain passages of Scripture, I speak freely. I doubt that I am agreed with, but I think they know I try to be as fair as possible. I am not antagonized. If anything, the joke I make is I am there to make sure everyone has their doctrine correct since I’m one of the ones asked about hard questions on Aristotelian thought.

It’s not about my being recognized as an authority in something. That’s nice, but the primary thing is I am recognized as a fellow Christian regardless of differences. Our country is at war fighting for the soul of our country and I want that to be our main emphasis.

I recommend that you join me in this nightly prayer for our country, but at the same time, don’t just make it a prayer and do nothing. Act. Do something to be the salt and light you need to be.

We can change this country. More accurately, Christ can change this country through us.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Will The Real Miss Netherlands Please Stand Up?

How do you demean women? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Too long, we have tried to say that men and women are not different. It has been said that to say women are deficient in any area in comparison to a man is something horrid to say. I still remember the time that a professor got in trouble for saying something along the lines of women not being as good at spatial reasoning as men. There were demands he apologize, which I think he did, but even though I don’t think I was studying apologetics or anything like that at the time, I still had one question.

Was it true?

If it is, then it’s true, and saying “I don’t like it!” doesn’t make it any less true. However, this does not mean that women are less valuable than human beings. There are many things women are superior at. Women tend to be more empathetic I find and compassionate. They tend to more naturally connect with children than men do.

The error many feminists made was to say that if two things are different, in this case, men and women, then that means that one of them must be overall superior and the other overall inferior. This doesn’t follow. All that follows is that the two are different, and yes, men and women are different. Thank God for that one.

Unfortunately, if you try to blur all the differences, then don’t be surprised if people take it to the next level. Most recently, this has happened with the transgender movement. The case in point here is going to be the Miss Netherlands beauty pageant.

For now, we’re going to put aside the morality of beauty pageants themselves. They happen. There’s an obvious reason they do. Women are beautiful. This is hardly breaking news. Sex sells and usually if you want something to sell, it’s not by having handsome men in your ad, but having beautiful women.

In the book of Genesis, when we hear that everything was good, that also includes beautiful. The last creation of God in the week is woman, who is the crown of beauty on God’s creation. Look up many of the noble women in the Bible and what is a common trait that they share? Beauty. Even the quick reference to the daughters of Job at the end of his book. No more beautiful women could be found in all the land than Job’s daughters.

It’s as if one of the most praiseworthy attributes a woman has is her beauty.

Now again, not talking about the morality of beauty pageants, imagine being a woman in the Netherlands and competing willfully in a contest to see if you are the most beautiful woman in the Netherlands. You have taken care of yourself all your life, practiced good hygiene and make-up, ate properly, exercised appropriately, and did all you could to reach this moment. This is going to be your chance to stand up among your fellow women.

Yet you are told that all that natural beauty that you possess emphasized perhaps by make-up (I really don’t care for it as I think it more often hides beauty) is said to not compare to the real winner of the contest. Who is that?

A man who says he’s a woman.

I really wish I was making this up, but I’m not.

What a great insult to a woman to tell her that her born feminine beauty cannot compare to what surgical operations do to the body of a man.

In cases where a woman loses to a woman, a woman can look and see what she can do to improve and do better next time. This applies to beauty pageants, but it also applies to sporting competitions. If she loses to a man who thinks he’s a woman, she cannot do that. She goes home and knows that she lost and there is nothing she can do about it.

Devastating.

What our world is doing to women is cruel. We are changing language to make sure we “include” less than 1% of the population all the while insulting and demeaning all the women out there. It’s not breastfeeding now. It’s chestfeeding. It’s birthing persons. It’s people who menstruate. It’s lady parts being referred to as bonus holes. It’s men being chosen to be promoters of women’s products.

For a society that says they want to fight the patriarchy, they sure don’t mind negating women.

Unfortunately, in the Netherlands, the real winner won’t be acknowledged. That’s the real woman, whoever she was, who should have won the pageant. Our women are being erased more and more in the name of inclusivity and “progress.” It’s honestly getting that if a man is competing in any women’s event, put your money on him. He’s likely to win, even if just because judges want to show how progressive they are.

May we all wake up soon.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: In God We Doubt Part 6

Can materialism sustain a culture? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this chapter, there are only two things I really want to point out that I find interesting. Humphrys goes against the new atheist movement where he does suggest that the death of religion is not coming as quickly as some people think. If anything, it looks like the reverse is happening. There is still a growing desire for something beyond this world.

He points to an article called God Returns to Europe found in Prospect magazine and written by Eric Kaufmann. He says that it looks like religion is coming back and one reason is women who are religious tend to marry young and tend to have a lot of babies. This isn’t just Catholic women. This is also Protestant women.

I concur with this and think the same is due for America. Those on the left are busy killing their own children in abortion or rendering them sterile through transgenderism. There is a reason secular pro-life is growing here in America and I suspect it’s because they saw the impact of abortion on their generation and don’t want to see that going on anymore.

There are also more and more cases of people undergoing sex change operations and regretting it, many of them suing. I have said before that if you are going into law, this is a good field to jump into. There will be loads of lawsuits against doctors for performing these surgeries and enticing minors to go into them.

So in one case, either the population is dead, or in the second, they can’t have children anyway.

Those of us who are Christian do tend to believe that marriage is for life and that children are a good thing. We also want our children to be raised with our values and will instill them in them. Of course, the culture will get some of them, but as the cultural power wants, it returns back to the hands of the Christians.

The second is that Humphrys says we are more materialistic than we have ever been, and yet we want something more. Those of us who are Christians are not shocked at all at this finding. With material things, one usually always wants more and it is never enough and yet it is also the case of diminishing returns.

Man wants more than just hedonistic pleasure in this life and we usually look down on those who just live for that pleasure. We can enjoy the movies Hollywood puts out, but few of us would really want to be like the people in Hollywood.

We were promised Utopia and it didn’t deliver. If anything, as I pointed out recently, the breakdown of religion could have unleashed something atheists think is worse. Could it be that in the end, we will find those principles we abandoned turned out to be good ones? Could it be maybe the family really is what is important? Could it be that the pushback to Pride last month is starting to open the eyes of people?

None of this is a shock to us. We knew this wouldn’t work long-term. How many of us have enjoyed a day of great pleasures and in the end still said, “There has to be something more.” We are often like the children on Christmas day who open their gifts and wonder “Is there not anything more?”

No. None of this establishes theism, but it is a pointer to it. If a worldview can’t be lived out, there’s a problem with it. Are we opening our eyes at last to the bankruptcy of materialism?

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

What Are Your Children Reading?

Do you know what’s going on in your school library? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As a conservative, I like watching the channel Don’t Walk, Run on YouTube. I don’t know the religious position of the host Andrew, but I do like the material he presents. He recently asked a question about the book The Perks of Being A Wallflower and asked if it contained any sexually explicit material or not. Now I hadn’t read the book, but I went to Google Books. It’s important to know you can’t type in a search “explicitly sexual material” or “rape scene.” Thus, I put in terms that would be used in such scenes.

I am putting in the ones I thought were the worst. I was even hesitant to share these on Facebook for fear that I would get in trouble for them. If you are hesitant to put something like this on Facebook, putting it in a book geared toward children is probably not a good idea.

So let’s see some screenshots I took of my computer.

Also, this is just from one book. In Andrew’s video, he reads passages from these books to show why they are banned. Keep in mind that books that are considered classics like Huckleberry Finn are often condemned today because of “racism” but books describing rape and having explicit pornography in them are okay.

Later on his Twitter, Andrew shared a picture from A Court of Mist and Fury and said this was one of the tamer passages in the book.

Keep in mind also no one is saying ban these books outright as far as I know. If someone wants to read them, they can go to a bookstore, Amazon, or even a public library. What is being said is this does not belong in a school library and books like this should certainly not be required reading for students.

Some might say “Doesn’t the Bible contain some explicit language?” Yes. However, the Bible is also not written as if it the primary target was young hormone charged teenagers. Also, this is either shown in a marital context, such as in the Song of Songs, or else it is shown in a way to indicate the wickedness of the action.

We are living in a day and age of mass sexual confusion. Keep in mind that at every step it has been “This is all we’re asking for.” What is being asked for has always increased. At first, it was just accept homosexuals and give them freedom. Then it was to allow marriage. Now it has moved towards transgenderism where healthy girls are getting double mastectomies. We are raising up a children that will be sterile every time they go through such an operation.

Parents. Please be watching what is on your child’s syllabus and/or assigned reading list. Make sure you read anything first. I am considering for this blog getting some of these books at a library myself and letting parents know what is in them even more. This is about protecting your children more and more because in an age of confusion, they are more prone to be victimized in the name of being loving.

It’s up to you, parents, to put a stop to that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Of Mario and Bud Light

What can we learn from both of these? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Well, there’s two things you probably never thought would be teamed up. I did go and see the Mario movie Saturday and I definitely enjoyed it. For someone who has been playing video games and been involved with Nintendo for most of my life, I saw so much that I recognized and thought that most importantly, the movie stayed true to the game series.

Not only that, but this movie is setting records and giving Disney competition. Critics are slamming it also while audiences love it, something that again tells us that critics are out of touch with America. Many of the reviews I have heard or seen slamming the movie are completely out of touch, such as asking “How does Bowser wanting to kidnap Peach and force her to marry him work with MeToo?”

Well, for one thing, Bowser is a villain….

I have heard one commentator on this say that Illumination studios did want to put some “progressive” elements in the movie, but Nintendo put their foot down and said no. Nintendo has generally tried to avoid politics. They made it clear that Mario is to be the hero of this movie. Good call, Nintendo. The critics may be laughing at the movie, but Nintendo is laughing all the way to the bank.

And they have plenty more franchises that they can make movies out of. Let’s face it. We know the Legend of Zelda movie is coming.

Meanwhile, Bud Light is tanking. They have been silent on social media. Why? Because they got a fake trans activist to sponsor their beer and the consumers did not like it. Now I don’t drink alcohol, but I also don’t forbid anyone drinking it either.

Disney also had movies like Lightyear and Strange World go down. Why? Because Disney has ceased to be family-friendly and if your emphasis of your movie is “Woke”, then families are less likely to go and see it. Families did go see Mario because it was friendly to family and the generation that has families now grew up playing Mario. It was just as much for them as it was for the kids. The older generation like myself can go and see it and get great joy out of it, but there’s enough the younger generation would recognize.

Now we can sit back and say that people don’t want to see “Woke” movies, but you know what other movies they don’t want to see? Christian movies. Frankly, I don’t blame them. The only reason many of us see Christian movies is that they are Christian movies. Non-Christians don’t see them.

Why? The same reason that many of us don’t see “Woke” movies. The emphasis is on the “Woke” in those movies. They mainly want to point out that we have a gay or a trans character. Isn’t that awesome? How many people do you know say “I want to go see a movie. Which movie has a gay or trans character in it?” I remember going to see the latest Power Rangers movie, which had a character on the spectrum in it. I did not go see it because of that. I saw it because it was Power Rangers.

Let’s take this to my own specialty area of video games. There have been Christian video games. Most of us don’t know about them for good reason. They sucked for the most part. Now I did enjoy the original Wisdom Tree trilogy, but the only reason I think I picked it up was it was a Bible game. Turn it into anything else and I won’t. There was a remake of a kind of Wolfenstein game that was Noah’s Ark with him capturing animals, but if you had a choice between that or Wolfenstein, who will play the former? Only someone who already cares about the Bible. The non-Christian will go to the former every time.

A few months ago I watched a video on the history of Christianity and video games. I left a comment pointing out that the original Legend of Zelda had religious references, such as the magic book was called a Bible. Nintendo didn’t really want religious imagery, yet Link’s shield does still have a cross on it. (There is imagery in Japan that indicates Link could be a Christian.)

So let me show you some of the comments from this video and I will be removing names.

“I’m not Religious but if they actually made a bible game that was like Bayonetta, God of war or hell even something like skyrim or Breath of the wild, I’d play it”

My dream Bible centric game: It just needs to be a reskinned Fallout New Vegas or Witcher 3 but I want Easter Eggs and Bible references out the wazoo.  So your character Ezra will be walking through the marketplace on his way to offer a sacrifice at the Temple. Off to the side are a group of men with one donkey. One of the men will be swearing up and down,” I TELL YOU THE TRUTH! THIS DONKEY SPOKE TO ME!!!” He’ll just be met with jeering and accusations of lunacy. “Balaam you’re going crazy!” Later, you’ll be traveling to the next town and you’ll encounter this Balaam and he’ll be arguing with his donkey. You’d even witness the donkey talk back and make snarky remarks. Because you’re the protagonist, the odd pair will speak freely with you. Because Balaam was a prophet, he’ll have good fortune telling abilities and maybe he’ll join your party. The main thing, the Bible has so many great stories but they’re strung along thousands of years so timelines will have to be compressed immensely.”

“I like how thia video helps evolve the meme-like concept that Christian games are bad to be more of a understanding of the approach these games are made with. They arent there to make a game; they’re there to convert…”

“I am a Christian myself but totally get that you can’t label everything in the popular media with a belief system…music, movies, AND video games, too! This is one of those videos where even reading the comments are fun! I can’t tell you the number of folks I’ve run across that make you feel like an unbeliever when you’re not also signed up for all this additional stuff. I’ve never played one of these video games–never knew they existed!–but I am thinking they stink as much as most Christian music. You just can’t force yourself to like something that you…just…don’t.”

“Would love to see an open world rpg set in the pre flood antedeluvian world that gives you free will choices.”

“I think if christians tried making a good game instead of trying too hard to make it “holy” then they could do it. Im christian and I know there are tons of themes for video games. I mean look at a game like fable. That was an amazing series that could have similar elements to an open world rpg. Like living in the days after noah when the tower of babel is being constructed and living in the harsh middle east. Christians or at that time Yahwists would have still needed to defend themselves from bandits and the like. We live in a much safer society today. Having spiritual beings influence npcs and having the main player set an area right from the influence of principalities would be cool”

Okay. I don’t want to overwhelm you. There’s plenty more. Here’s something else I notice looking through the comments. I don’t really see arguing or bickering and this is a video about Christianity! I see people coming together in agreement.

Ultimately, what’s the secret? What makes Mario a success in the movies? Why did Bud Light bomb?

Because fun should be fun. When people want to do something fun, they generally don’t want a political or religious message thrust upon them. There’s a reason a lecture is referred to as “preaching.” Preaching is in a sense synonymous with boring.

Nintendo followed a simple concept. They made the movie fun. They made it something people will want to see and tell their friends to see and take their own families too.

And notice something from the comments Christians. If we made games and movies that were fun and not just thrusting Christianity down peoples’ throats, they would play it. It doesn’t matter if it’s Bible-based or not. What matters to a gamer is “Is the game fun?”

Now I happen to like playing games that touch on philosophical issues and I like movies and TV shows like that too, but I won’t keep watching something or playing something if it is boring. My ministry partner does this in his videos. Sure. I can watch a video again if I want to go back and get his take on an idea, but I watch them for another reason. They’re fun.

What do we need to learn from this? Make media and make it Christian, but also make it fun. Make it something people will want to watch. If we don’t do that, we’re just as guilty as the “woke” crowd. When the message drowns out any enjoyment, people aren’t interested. It doesn’t matter if it’s “woke” or Christian or anything else.

Thus, i encourage us to start a revolution in this area. Make sure our content is good. If the product is good, people will be interested. If Bud Light wanted to up the sales, the way to do that was not to politicize that. The way to do that was to improve the product. Make a good product and people will buy it. Make good media and people will use it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Bullying And Suicide

Is the question of suicide missing a deeper issue? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night I finished reading Holy Sexuality and the Gospel. There are some books I don’t review because those are schoolbooks and I will likely need to write deep reviews of them later on so I just choose not to. The author, Christopher Yuan, is someone himself who has same-sex attraction.

At one point, he talked about the idea of disagreeing with same-sex attraction being okay leads to suicide. This is also something we have heard from the transgender movement where even doctors tell parents that if they don’t do this, their child will kill themselves. It’s hardly a good position to put anyone else in.

Now perhaps I am just old school in my thinking, but I have this idea that the person responsible for what any person does is the person themselves. If a politician, left or right, says something hard about the other side and someone else goes shooting, the person responsible is the person who did the shooting.

So it is that when it comes to suicide, who is responsible? It is the person who does it. Suppose that as depressed as I was, and sometimes still am, after my wife left me, that I had killed myself. Who was responsible for that? I would be. Not her. Now we could say she was an activating factor and perhaps that is so, but the final decision comes down to me. I bear the responsibility.

So as I was reading this part of the book I was thinking that we are missing something in this. We are saying we must not do XYZ or else X will kill themselves. Instead, wouldn’t a better question be, “What has got us to the point in our culture where so many people think the best option is to kill themselves?”

Suicide is always to some degree a tragedy. I say to some degree because someone could say “Well, didn’t Hitler kill himself?” He did, and yet is it not still a tragedy to see not only the evil that he did with his life, but in the end he wasted it and ultimately turned his evil on himself? That’s still tragic. He could have done so much good with his abilities of persuasion, but he let darkness rule over him instead.

I have never been a supporter of the anti-bullying crusades. Is it because I favor bullying? Not at all. It is because I think they are wrongheaded. We are trying to deal with the problem on the end that we have less control over, the people who don’t care about right and wrong. Why not go and help the people who are likely to be victims and build them up?

We often tell our children such lies as “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We all know that’s a lie. We know it because words have been hurtful to us. I wager that everyone reading this blog can think back to some painful words that have been said to you, even words by total strangers. I have had hurtful words said to me by strangers in Final Fantasy XIV even.

Now we can say those words only hurt if you give them power. Yes. That’s true. We can say such people should not have power over you. Yes. That’s true. However, it does take a lot of work to get to a healthy place with that and those words do sting.

Somehow, I wonder if it is because of the self-esteem movement. Perhaps if it has not been done, if someone were to look and see the rate of suicides going up in the world and especially in the West where self-esteem has been the rage, to see if there is a correlation.

We have come to this idea that it is bizarre if not everyone loves us. Well, why should they? Picture any famous person you greatly admire. Are they loved by everyone? No. Not a bit. That even includes Jesus Christ, who was so loved by His people when He walked the Earth that they crucified Him. If you’re a Christian, it’s extremely prideful to say you’ll do better than the Son of God.

Now is it a problem when people in the LGBT community commit suicide? Of course. However, what is a deeper problem is this idea of “If you do not affirm me every way I want to be affirmed, I will kill myself.” Why have we raised people to let the opinions of others hold such sway over them to that extent? We have a society that constantly needs approval from everyone else.

If someone is in a position of saying “If you do not do what I want, I will kill myself” that whole attitude is a problem. Imagine if I had said to my ex before she left, “If you don’t stay with me, I will kill myself.” That would be a major problem. That would indicate a great flaw in me that needed to be fixed. She could stay with me out of mercy and/or guilt, but what would still be there? The underlying problem that led to that need that would remain unfixed.

So you could go and affirm someone’s relationship or you could give them surgery to transform their bodies, but what is the same still? The underlying issue. If anything, you have just put a bandage on it. Not only that, if they get what they want and they are still unhappy, they are likely in a far worse place because then they will be much more prone to think there is no hope for them.

The problem is that I don’t see anyone talking about that issue. We’re talking about making people happy, which is subjective and fleeting by our definition of it, but we’re not talking about why they are unhappy in the first place. What is missing in their lives? What is missing in the lives of so many people today that they feel such hopelessness?

This is a deep issue and it won’t go away with one blog post or be answered with one. This is something for the sociologists and psychologists to study. However, when confronted with someone who says that if you do not do X, they will kill themselves, the best thing to do would likely be to walk along side them and ask them why they feel that way. Why is it that what you say or do means so much to them?

We live in a society of what is said to be empty selves. As a Christian apologist, I conclude it is because we have moved away from God and nothing else can fulfill to that extent in our society. If you disagree, then you really need to point to what can fulfill and what makes life worth living overall. Why do we not want people to kill themselves? Why should they not want to.

These are deep questions and even if you disagree, a pat answer won’t help. If you do agree, just saying God isn’t enough either. We need more about why He is the answer and who He is and so much more.

Simple? No. Reality rarely is though.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Thoughts and Feelings

Why do we confuse these two? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I remember I was in Bible College about two decades ago when I started noticing this trend. It was definitely going on before that. The first time it happened, I remember being in the student center and I don’t know if I was going to stay down there or just passing through and there was a sports talk program on and one commentator on a panel said to another, “How do you feel about that?” The other proceeded to talk about his opinions on the matter.

What has happened is we have taken the realm of feeling and made it be part of the realm of thinking. Nowadays, we often think that our feelings tell us something true about the world outside of us. This also affects how we do evangelism.

I used to have Jehovah’s Witnesses come to see me when my ex-wife and I lived in Knoxville together. The first few times, they would read a passage of Scripture and ask “How do you feel about that?” I would give some answer like “Happy.” Before too long, they came to realize they needed to ask me “What do you think about that?”

When I describe how I feel, I am talking about the emotional state I am in at the time. I can have thoughts about that emotional state, but the state itself is a feeling. When I am asked what I think, I am meant to give an idea. The idea could generate some feelings, but it is itself an idea. Confusing of these two leads to unclear language and consequences for how our society works today.

Consider evangelism. Often, we seem to rely on getting people to feel guilty about something. This is a Western approach that’s foreign to much of the world. Not only that, but many of us don’t feel guilty about things that are wrong and many of us do feel guilty about things that are not wrong.

The Bible does talk about guilt, but look at what it is really saying. It’s not describing an internal feeling. It’s describing an objective reality in that someone is guilty of wrongdoing or not. They could be fully guilty and have no “guilt” feeling whatsoever. How the person feels in this situation doesn’t matter.

Today, we are instructed to not do anything that will hurt someone’s feelings, which is an odd thing to do. How can I be responsible like that for someone’s emotions? We also have people who are convinced that they are of the opposite gender based on their feelings. If we live in a Christian culture where we point to feelings like guilt being “true” then we are put in a dangerous position when all of a sudden people have feelings that we know are not true, but on what grounds can we deny it? Feelings are true indicators of something when they point to what we want to be true?

Also, along these lines, no one can make you feel anything. You can’t make anyone feel anything. Asking how something makes you feel or telling someone they make you feel X or having them say it to you is nonsense. I can’t even make myself feel something all the time. How could I possibly do that to someone else? Now I can be a contributing factor, but no one is responsible for a feeling except the person who has that.

The first action here is find out if you agree with me on the opening point by just watching people in conversation. How many use think and feel like synonyms? Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Then to start being clear with your words and realizing thoughts aren’t feelings and vice-versa. This is not saying one is superior to the other. Both have their purpose, but they are different.

Our second action though will be that while we do agree that someone feels something, and that they feel it cannot be disputed, what we can disagree with is if their feelings correspond to reality. We can strongly feel something that is false. We can not at all feel something that is true.

Ultimately, it all comes back to reality. Reality doesn’t care about how we feel. It should be our goal to try to live as real as possible and not to resist reality.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Book Plunge: Strange New World

What do I think of Carl Trueman’s book published by Crossway publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is one of those books that I was recommending practically immediately as I got into it. Carl Trueman has written a look at how the self has come to be in our times and the implications it has for our society. Now some of you might be curious about that. “Haven’t there always been selves? Why is this so strange to talk about the coming of the self?”

Yes, there have always been selves, but the self has not always been understood the same way. In the past, self was often connected with religion, family, and nation. Now, self has been disjointed. Self comes through who you are within. While we have always had feelings, those feelings have never defined us. Now, they normally do.

In the past, it was thought that culture civilized a man, but centuries ago, Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued the opposite. Man was pure in his natural state. It is culture that makes him what he is often not. This would include the effect of technology and the sciences.

From here, we continue down a path of more and more looking inward to find who you are. Marx had his impact with putting man against society. Nietzsche announced the death of God and said the Earth had been untethered from its sun. Unlike today’s modern atheists, Nietzsche knew the serious ramifications of the death of God. Freud started us down the path of making our main identity be the sexual identity.

Today then, we live in a culture where we don’t know who we are and our identities are psychological. The problem is that psychology is often flexible and fluid so we have no stable basis for identity. At the same time also, how can you argue against what someone else is feeling? We live in a world where the feelings are true and when someone gets in touch with their feelings, they are experiencing their true selves.

Along the way here, we talk about being authentic. How can you deny your true self? Now in a sense, there is some good in authenticity. Jesus had a lot to say about hypocrisy, However, the problem comes with when we think that every feeling is something that must be lived out. It starts with assuming that man is innately good, per Rousseau, and we still have the effects.

Today, the biggest way we are seeing this is the LGBTQ movement. This is one of the biggest results of feelings being given the ultimate authority. Tolerance would never have worked for the LGBTQ movement because that would be seen as putting someone in a lesser state and denying their personhood. After all, if your identity is based on your sexual desires and behavior, then to question those is to question your humanity. If people have this mindset, love the sinner and hate the sin does not work.

The self has been redefined, but now we are going further. The family is being redefined. All of this is done as we keep looking inside ourselves to find out who we are. Emotions and feelings become the main moving forces in our lives and they are to be obeyed and treated as the main authority. Our courts are moving more and more this way and the path won’t stop.

We are becoming a society where the goal is to always feel good and be happy. This has even happened in the churches. Don’t like your church? Go to another one. Now some Catholics and Orthodox readers might say “We don’t have that problem” but they do as well. Church is a choice and the Catholic and the Orthodox have to be given a reason to keep coming to church. They can just as easily stay home.

As our culture becomes more and more of a self-focused culture, the church is going to be on the hard end of matters as we return more and more to Roman Empire times and the state assumes control. For all of us, the challenge will likely come sometime. Will we risk getting fired because we won’t use a certain person’s pronouns of choice? Will we have our businesses be destroyed because we refuse to bake a cake for a “gay wedding” ceremony?

This is definitely a book where I say to get it and read it and learn it. The one who told me about this book said they read it once every year. I could very well start that myself as well.

This book is also a smaller version of a bigger book of his on this topic, so it is also accessible for everyone. It would be one of the best books for a church book study to do. Bottom line: Get this book and learn it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

What Is A Woman?

How do we answer this question? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For all interested, my Dad is doing much better. He actually got to come home Tuesday of last week. I was betting on him being in there a lot longer, but no. We have also been regularly been having some fun with him on things he said and did when he was delirious such as asking me if I was an angel when he didn’t recognize me and how he was watching HGTV and asked my Mom if she had remodeled the house.

Over the week, we also had the fun of a new meme featuring Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in that she said she could not answer what a woman is because she is not a biologist. Funny? Yes. Many of my fellow conservatives were glad to see that she went to biology for the answer, which is something seen as being objective.

So yes, we all should know what a woman is. However, I also think we should ask in some ways what a woman is and I think this shows a deeper problem in philosophy today. It is a problem of not understanding essences.

Consider a small child. The child does not generally have training in philosophy, He sees his family has an animal that has four legs and tends to bark a lot and he is told this is a dog. He is out walking in the neighborhood with his parents and he sees several animals in the lawns of the neighbors. These creatures he sees are different sizes and colors, but yet he is told that they are all dogs. In the windows, sometimes, he sees these small delicate animals and if he could hear them, he would hear meows from them. These would not be dogs, but they would be cats.

The boy is not a philosopher per se, but he is learning something about reality. He is learning about essences. There is something essential that all these creatures have in common that makes them dogs and not cats, but they differ in other areas called the accidents that are non-essential. These are conditions such as size and color. A dog could even lose a leg and still be considered a dog.

Nowadays, we don’t know that. We have philosophies today that can question if the world is really real. The east has often had this, but it hasn’t been as common in the west. Now, it is becoming more and more so. I personally see this as coming largely from the influence of Descartes. Centuries ago, there was no field known as epistemology. Now there is.

So we come to the question of “What is a woman?” There are many ways we can explore this. It has been said that many a man asks himself the question “Am I a man?” There is no indication that he is talking about his biological features. He’s not going to take off his pants and look and say “I guess I am. Good to know.” Instead, when he asks this, he is more asking if he has the character that a man is supposed to have in his mind.

We can also go another way and just simply ask “What is a human?” Aristotle said it was a rational animal, but if we found another animal that was rational, would we say that was a human? Fans of science fiction and fantasy can easily think of material creatures that are rational, but they would not be considered human.

The problem in our culture is we don’t really think such essences exist anymore. Nominalism has taken us over and most of us don’t even know what that is. It’s one reason we think you can surgically alter a man enough and lo and behold, he becomes a woman and starts winning swim championships.

I’m not saying no one is talking about it this way, but I haven’t seen it. For most teenage boys, I suspect they would say “I may not be able to define in that way what a woman is, but I know one when I see it and I like it.” Perhaps beyond biology, we should have a deeper conversation about philosophy, something our culture has sadly lost sight of. When that happens, it’s not that we cease to do philosophy, we just do it exceptionally poorly. (Consider how a great intellect like Stephen Hawking can say “Philosophy is dead” in a statement teeming with philosophical nuances and all of it bad.)

I’m quite certain that some people will comment on my post at least on Facebook who hold to a sort of scientism. They often think they’re making powerful arguments, but they’re not. This is not to attack the sciences, but to reailze science has limitations and when it comes to essences, that is a limitation of science.

In no way also does this held the so-called transgender ideology. If anything, it tells us we can’t change our gender any more than I could take my little cat Shiro and do mass operations on him and turn him into a dog. We can change the appearance all we want, but it doesn’t change the reality.

Perhaps this would then be a good time since everyone is asking to think “What really is a woman?” What do all women have in common that is absolutely essential to them? What do all men? What do all humans? If someone wants to say “Nothing. It’s all subjective”, then there is no feminism or transgenderism any more at all. After all, if being a woman can be made to mean anything, then it really means nothing. (This is one of the dangers of trying to change what marriage is. If it can be made to mean anything, then it really means nothing.) We already started down this road decades ago when we decided to redefine what a human baby is and allow abortion. It’s not a shock that when one people group wants to destroy (The Nazis) or enslave (Slavery in America) another group, they often dehumanize them.

So in one sense, Judge Brown got a softball question and she failed miserably at it. On the other hand, she also got a complex question that we should all consider asking ourselves and pondering. Perhaps it’s time to return to Plato, Augustine, Plotinus, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, etc. and see what we can learn. Maybe the past can actually inform us today.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)