Speaking of the problem of evil ...

Obama's alleged non-"natural-born citizen" status is not the big stink pile this election cycle: Al Franken and the DNC stealing an election in MN is the real stink bomb.

You meant it for evil (2)

You thought I forgot about this little series which I intended to complete in October 2008, didn't you? Yeah, well, you get a new job, move your house and family and close a lucrative bookstore during November and December some time, and then you can get to your complaint. Indeed: where were you when I liquidated the ESVSB? And how did you measure for me the span of the storage space?

Anyway, the last time we mentioned that if Joseph had never been sold into slavery, he would have never been in a position to become what he became.

And the wily atheist -- the one who admits, btw, that even he might be willing to suffer for the sake of something, like being part of the 60 million who had to die to bring to an end the suffering of 6 million others in a small minority group -- would probably say, "hey: that's an overstatement at best. Maybe Joseph could not have made his way from Potipher's house to the jail to the right hand of Pharaoh (granting, implausibly, that there is a shred of truth in this story), but to say there was no way for him to become Pharaoh's agent to make the storehouses of grain without him suffering is far-fetched at best. He didn't have to suffer to become king of the world: God could have just wedged him in there either by birth or by some other non-suffering method."

But the thing that the wily atheist overlooks here is that this objection is speculative at best, and disjointed from reality at worst. He has abandoned his existential reasoning for fantasy exactly when the existential truth betrays him.

Let's take Barack Obama for example -- who didn't get sold into slavery in order to become President-elect of the United States. Someone might have the audacity to say he certainly didn't suffer to become leader of the Free World -- but those people, frankly, have never tried to lead the life he lead to run for President.

Now, don't get me wrong: I'm not hardly shilling for Sen. Obama here. What I'm saying is that the reality check against the atheist claim that suffering is theoretically not necessary to achieve power is against the existential fact that he cannot produce one person in the history of the world who came to significant power without suffering. They had to pay some kind of price to get what they wanted, and it was not a small price.

See: the measuring stick here is existential fact. The "problem of evil" is measured by the atheist by the existential fact that there is pain in the world. Having pointed this out, and having set the groundwork for his complaint, if we allow his complaint to stand we cannot then walk away from its basis after he has finished complaining.

If the existential fact of pain is the problem, and it exists when we rule out God as a cause or a solution, we cannot then just toss out pain as a factor in the world.

As in, for example, Joseph's life. Existentially, the story of Joseph makes sense. That is, it fits the pattern of the world we know to say that Joseph had to suffer some kind of hardship to become a close advisor to the ruler of Egypt.

One may say, "well, fie upon the dreams and the miracles -- those condemn that story as complete nonsense," but that is a different complaint. The Bible uses the story of Joseph to make one singular point: in some way, men intend some actions for the sake of evil, but somehow those actions play out to redeem them in spite of themselves.

And the "somehow" here is critical to the point of the Bible as a whole -- and it is the thing which the atheist must deal with in the end.

These men intended what happened to Joseph for evil -- but because Joseph was sold into slavery, and made a prisoner under false pretenses something which saves many is made to happen.

Mull that over, and I'll be back again later to give you some more of the remedy to the problem of evil.

Gone at Christmas

You should check out Eartha Kitt's music via iTunes if you really love classic jazz vocals.

The way we wish we were

AP news is reporting this gem about Herman Rosenblat and his wife Roma. I'm not going to spoil it for you by giving ypou the summary, so go read it.

Now, I have two axes to grind here -- both of which have to do with the Gospel. The first is the important factoid reported in the UK that Oprah has called this "the single greatest love story we have ever told on the air". Oprah's track record in sniffing out liars and fabricators and people who shouldn't be trusted is pretty poor. So when people are then turning to her to listen to, for example, Eckhart Tolle in order to reinvent themselves and the whole Earth ... eh. Nobody would listen to Tolle except that Oprah has endorsed him -- yet Oprah herself is a monumental dupe for things that look like the way she wishes they were.

The other thing is this: this story strikes me as an interesting case study for comparison to The Shack. You know: the Shack is fiction, right? So what harm can it do? Well, it turns out that Herman Rosenblat's story is just fiction -- so what harm can it do? Why should we repudiate Rosenblat but embrace the Shack?

It's just fiction, people. Right?

You think about that as we prepare for a new year, and I'll come back later in the week to fix up what is bound to be quite the brawl in the meta.


There ya go: happy new year

It's all over except the rioting, the shrill denials, and the moon-battery always associated with left-wing ideological implosion.

UPDATED: A real goldmine from Newsbusters.

What I want for Christmas

You could all pitch in. I'd even pick up the S&H if that helps out.

Everyone hates Rick Warren

Gays denounce Obama for choosing Rick Warren for the Inaugural Invocation.

The next step is to get the abortionists to denounce him for saving a baby's life. After that, the next 4 years will be cake.

Prayer for Ashley

Prayer request for Ashley, who was in a car accident last week.

seriously now ...

... but go here and listen to NPR's discussion between Al Mohler and Lisa Miller. Particularly, listen to what Ms. Miller says between 17:35 and 17:45.

Make no mistake: her vivid expression is the fact that the Christian view of divorce informs her hermeneutics and her use of that book as an authority.


Worth Blogrolling

Turns out that Jay Adams has a blog. There is nobody who talks straighter in the American evangelical scene than Jay Adams.

You will be edified.

This Just in

via e-mail from Dr. Daniel B. Wallace:
Several have asked about getting a hold of Dr. Daniel B. Wallace’s plenary address, delivered at the Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meeting in November 2008; others have wanted to get his lecture at apologetics conferences and in churches on whether our Bible today essentially reflects the wording of the original text. Both of these lectures are now available as video DVDs. They would make great Christmas presents—and the price is nominal. The ordering information is available below.

“Is What We Have Now What They Wrote Then?”

A lecture at an apologetics conference in Providence, Rhode Island, 2008, about whether our printed New Testaments today accurately represent the original text.

“Challenges in New Testament Textual Criticism for the 21st Century”

A plenary lecture at the annual Evangelical Theological Society meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, 2008, on current issues in NT textual criticism.

The price of each video DVD is $10 plus $3 S&H. The price of both video DVDs together is $15 plus $3 S&H. Texas residents also will pay 8.25% sales tax. Allow two to four weeks for delivery.

To order, go to NT Textual Criticism .com.
Thanks for the update, Dr. Wallace!

HT: Rhology

Mike Huckabee doesn't quite punt, and doesn't quite make the first down.

Mike Huckabee made "marriage" about rights and social stability, and in that argument, the "liberals" -- meaning, people who want this to be about so-called "human rights" -- win the rational argument. Valiant effort by Huckabee to win from a losing position. And kudos to Jon Stewart for really being civil while beating down on a position he doesn't agree with.

FWIW, this is what I think the political thinking for the relationship of government to marriage looks like:
  • There is no question: the Christian definition of marriage is a good thing. The idea that a man and a woman bond for life in a covenant before God for the benefit of the other person above one's self and to obey God's commands, and that union produces children is a good thing, especiually for any society.
  • Government benefits from the consequences of this kind of marriage. Stable, moral family units require less government and produce more economic benefits than bands of loosely-confederated clans in it for self-interest (among other social arrangements).
  • In that, Government has the opportunity to encourage that kind of social structure -- not the obligation to encourage such a thing.
  • Government also did not invent marriage, so it has some kind of philosophical obligation to define terms accordingly -- meaning, it doesn't create marriage but receives it or otherwise recognizes where it comes from and what it is for.
  • If there are other social arrangements that a government deems necessary for its social agenda, whatever -- but government should think deeply about why lesser forms of the arrangement "lifetime partnership of mated human beings in service to God" are beneficial. It seems to me that lesser forms are the problem which create all manner of social ills.

Name that writer

I may be an atheist, but I respect religion and certainly find it far more philosophically expansive and culturally sustaining than the me-me-me sense of foot-stamping entitlement projected by too many gay activists in the unlamented past. My position has always been (as in "No Law in the Arena" in my 1994 book, "Vamps & Tramps") that government should get out of the marriage business. Marriage is a religious concept that should be defined and administered only by churches. The government, a secular entity, must institute and guarantee civil unions, open to both straight and gay couples and conferring full legal rights and benefits. Liberal heterosexuals who profess support for gay rights should be urged to publicly shun marriage and join gays in the civil union movement.
It's not a contest, really -- you'll all Google it and find out who it is. She's brilliant in her honesty here, and if the church was half as honest as she was, this would be our mantra: choose you this day whom you will serve, but we will serve YHVH -- we will serve our Savior Jesus Christ.

When principled atheists can see it and we can't, we are off the apple cart.

Bring it.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATED: If you think that this story is not related to the other one, you don't understand the issues at all. When we live in a society that thinks that a machine can in any way replace a human being in a relationship sense, we are only providng that we categorically are willing to replace the image of God with the image of man.

Response to Newsweek

Rather than see it here, you can see it tomorrow at teampyro.blogspot.com.

Just a programming note for you hardcore fans.

Not much of an emergency

Without comment, the court refused to hear the first of two cases against Barack Obama claiming he is not a "natural born ciziten". This one was claiming pretty much nobody is a natural born citizen, so it's no surprise it has been dismissed.

The other one before the court is the one to watch -- it's the one about President-elect Obama's birth not being in Hawaii but in Africa, making him not a "natural born citizen". That one is especially rich as it is the hard-core conspiratorialist view against Obama, so watch the heads spin when SCOTUS throws that one out, too.

speaking of straight answers ...

Newsweek had the audacity to publish this essay on the definition of marriage, and the blogosphere is already a-rumble over it.

Because I had already started on this subject by posting the Porp 8 video, I'm going to make this the next order of business here at the blog.

For those who want to think about this in a non-reactionary way, let me ask you a question which you may ponder on your own: what would be the most odious way possible to read Lisa Miller's essay? That is, what tactic could we take in interpreting and then responding to Lisa Miller's thoughts on gay marriage which would really be inflammatory, insulting, and frankly miss the point by a longshot?

Have at it.

A Straight Answer

Now that the election is over, Obama faces the tough questions. And apparent he isn't giving "straight" answers.

If you ask me, he's playing to his base, who don't want straight. cf. Prop 8 video.

UPDATED: The seeds of a one-term presidency.

Here's the thing ...

This is the third year in a row where the average temp is down. And the differences we are talking about globally are inside 0.5 degrees.

Now, here'e what I'm thinking: if we consider that our methods of measuring are more accurate than they were, say, 100 years ago, and if 100 years a go we really didn't have the means to measure atmoshpheric temps to 0.1 degrees (Gilbert? any comment there?), then a downturn like we are experiencing right now is completely material -- especially when we are talking about 5 of the last 20 years.

And here's my last complaint: the real measuring stick we ought to be using, if we are hard-core materialists, is a geological timetable, and a geological timescale would take variations like the ones we are talking about here as a ridiculously-small sample -- too small to warrant doomsday prognostication.

I'm going to blog about that Prop 8 video more later.

Think about this

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

It's the Funny Or Die Prop 8 musical.

You need to watch it because this is the argument that is going to trot itself out against, well, what you probably believe about the whole picture. What are you going to say to this stuff?

I have a hint for you: a canned answer isn't going to cut it.

HT: Jan D (alert reader)

What kind of greeting card, do you suppose, would rightly be the way to give a Planned parenthood gift certificate?

"I know you have a lot of sex,
But we both know nothing protects
Your checkbook and your banking till
like right-to-choice and the morning after pill!

Happy Holidays and good luck with your abortion!"

For Christmas. Think about that today and try not to choke.

sidebar: problem of evil

I just wanted to point out that apparently we don't actually have enough courts and laws already: We need an court for the environment as well. Because our existing courts have actually alleviated a lot of pain and suffering through all the important and non-litigious law suits they process every year in the West.

Post your favorite lawyer joke here. Keep it clean, even though they cannot.


This is how my faithful readers translate hours of puzzling over the problem of evil.

Why this is good for Obama

Sen. Clinton to be Secretary of State.

This is good for Obama because now she can't flank him in the Senate and cause him to be a legislative failure. I am working hard not to say, "and it will increase her likelihood of being caught is a sniper attack," but I don't think I'm going to succeed.

BTW, there is no Gospel value in this post. It's pure pop culture trolling.

"OH SNAP" UPDATE: Bill Clinton takes a demotion to senator? Good luck with that. Maybe governator of NY (cf. Elliot Spitzer), but "senator"? That's women's work.