Planned Parenthood Marketing strikes again!

A while ago I commented on some recent gaffs from the Planned Parenthood marketing department. Today I came across an old one from 2015:

SafeSpace

Apparently, Planned Parenthood is a “safe” place for anyone, regardless of “…age…body shape, size, and ability”. This is an immensely interesting claim, since the killing of the unborn is very often justified because of their age, body shape, size and ability…

Mere Christianity – Book II – Chapter 5 (“The Practical Conclusion”)

Book 2

We now come to my notes on the final chapter of Book II of “Mere Christianity”…

Notes & Quotes

1. In Christ, a new kind of life and a new kind of man has appeared

“People often ask when the next step in evolution – the step to something beyond man – will happen. But in the Christian view, it has happened already. In Christ a new kind of man appeared: and the new kind of life which began in Him is to be put into us”

(a) We received our old kind of life from others and in a most unexpected way

“We derived it from others…without our consent – and by a  very curious process, involving pleasure, pain, and danger.”

(b) We receive the new life also in an unexpected way

“We must be prepared for it being odd too. He did not consult us when He invented sex: He has not consulted us either when He invented this”

2. We receive this life chiefly through three things: baptism, belief and Holy Communion

(a) These are not the only channels through which this life is communicated

“I am not saying there may not be special cases… [However], if you are trying in a few minutes to tell a man how to get to Edinburgh you will tell him the trains: he can, it is true, get there by boat or by a plane, but you will hardly bring that in”

(b) It is not an either/or proposition

“Anyone who professes to teach you Christian doctrine will, in fact, tell you to use all three… Do not think I am setting up [these]… as things that will do instead of your own attempts to copy Christ”

3. We believe this on the authority of what Jesus taught

“Do not be scared by the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy”

(a) We believe in many things about this world based on authority

“I believe there is such a place as New York. I have not seen it myself. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there must be such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so”

(b) We believe in many things because scientists tell us so

“…the Solar System, atoms, evolution, and the circulation of the blood…”

(c) We believe in history because of authority

“Every historical statement in the world is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Armada… We believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them.”

(d) We reject this at our peril

“A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life”

4. This new life may be lost and must be protected

“Your natural life is derived from your parents; that does not mean it will stay there if you do nothing about it…. You have to feed it and look after it: but always remember you are not making it, you are only keeping up a life you got from someone else… even the best Christian that ever lived is not acting on his own steam – he is only nourishing or protecting a life he could never have acquired by his own efforts”

(a) In the same way a body can heal itself, a Christian can repent

“A live body is not one that never gets hurt, but one that can to some extent repair itself. In the same way a Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, abut a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again… because the Christ-life is inside him, repairing him all the time, enabling him to repeat (tin some degree) the kind of voluntary death which Christ Himself carried out”

(b) Anything good comes from this new life

“…the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it”

5. This new life is expressed through the Body of Christ

“…the whole mass of Christians are the physical organism through which Christ acts”

(a) This bodily nature explains why the new life is not spread purely through mental acts such as belief

“…but by bodily acts like baptism and Holy Communion… There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God.. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it”

(b) Some might ask if it not unfair that this new life be confined to those who have heard and believed in Christ, but Jack responds by saying…

(i) …we are ignorant in this area

“…God has not told us what His arrangements about the other poeople are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him”

(ii) …that’s not a reason to reject this new life

“…if you are worried about the people outside, the most unreasonable thing you can do is remain outside yourself… If you want to help those outside you must add your own little cell to the body of Christ who alone can help them”

(c) Some ask why God doesn’t invade this world in force…

(i) He will at the Second Coming

“Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when”

(ii) His delay may be to give us a chance to join his side freely

“…we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side”

Discussion Questions

1. Jack describes salvation in terms of a new life. Can you think of Scripture passages where this motif is taken up?

2. How does Jack contrast the old life and the new life, particularly with regards to its strangeness and its mode of reception?

3. What are the primary ways in which Jack says the new life are communicated? On what basis? Do you agree with all these? Is this an exhaustive list? What other ways do you think there are?

4. How does Jack feel about believing something based on authority?

5. What light is shed on the Christian experience by understanding salvation in bodily terms?

6. How does Jack respond to those who complain about the exclusiveness of Christianity?

7. How does Jack reply to those who complain about God’s subtle, elusive action and who would much prefer he “invade in force”?

C.S. Lewis Doodle

I couldn’t find a Doodle 🙁

Mere Christianity – Book II – Chapter 4 (“The Perfect Penitent”)

Book 2

As we reach the half-way mark of Book II, these are my notes for Chapter 3…

Notes & Quotes

1. Jesus came to teach, but also to die and rise

“…as soon as you look into the New Testament or any other Christian writing you will find they are constantly talking about…His death and His coming to life again. It is obvious that Christians think the chief point of the story lies there”

(a) Christians believe that Christ’s death changed everything, but there are different theories as to how this happened

“The central belief is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. Theories as to how it did this are another matter… Theories about Christ’s death are not Christianity: they are explanations about how it works… We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself…. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed.”

(b) The fact that it works is much more important than how it works

“People at their dinners and felt better long before the theory of vitamins was ever heard of: and if the theory of vitamins is some day abandoned they will go on eating their dinners just the same… A man can eat his dinner without understanding exactly how food nourishes him. A man can accept what Christ has done without knowing how it works…”

2. One theory about how this works is substitutionary atonement

“…[we are] let off because Christ has volunteered to bear a punishment instead of us”

(a) This theory presents some challenges

“If God was prepared to let us off, why on earth did He not do so? And what possible point could there be in punishing an innocent person instead?”

(b) …but this can perhaps be made more understandable through understanding it in terms of debt

“…there is plenty of point in a person who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who has not….it is a matter of common experience that, when one person has got himself into a hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind friend”

3. Man has got himself into trouble by rebelling against God

“He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself…fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a revel who must lay down his arms”

(a) This rebellion requires repentance

“This process of surrender – this movement full speed astern – is what Christians call repentance… It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousand of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death”

“[Repentance is] not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like. If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking Him to let you go back without going back”

(b) This leads to a dilemma

“Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person – and he would not need it”

(c) We can repent if God helps us

“We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself, so to speak. He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think: He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another… We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it”

(d) Repenting is not something which God does

“…we now need God’s help in order to do something which God, in His own nature never does at all – to surrender, to suffer, to submit, to die. Nothing in God’s nature corresponds to this process at all… God can share only what He has: this thing in His own nature, He has not”

(e) This becomes possible with the Incarnation

“…supposing God became a man – suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God’s nature in one person – then that person could help us. He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God. You and I can go through this process only if God does it in us; but God can do it only if He becomes man.”

4. Some people complain that if Jesus was God, His suffers lose all value in their easy because it must have been easy for him.

“…[some] rebuke the ingratitude and ungraciousness of this objection…surely that is a very odd reason for not accepting them?”

(a) A grown-up can teach you to write

“If [a child] rejected [the adult] because ‘it’s easy for grown-ups’ and waited to learn writing from another child who could not write itself (and so had no ‘unfair’ advantage), it would not get on very quickly”

(b) Someone on the shore can save you from drowning

“…a man who still has one foot on the bank may give me a hand which saves my life…That advantage – call it ‘unfair’ if you like – is the only reason why he can be of any use to me. To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?”

Discussion Questions

1.What is the difference between the Christian belief about Christ’s atonement and the theories surrounding it?

2. How might we understand substitutionary atonement in terms of a criminal and also as a debtor?

3. How does Jack explain the atonement in terms of the “the perfect penitent”?

4. How does Jack respond to those who say that Jesus’ sufferings, since He was God, would have been easy?

C.S. Lewis Doodle

I couldn’t find a Doodle 🙁

Mere Christianity – Book II – Chapter 3 (“The Shocking Alternative”)

Book 2

Continuing my notes on Book II of “Mere Christianity”…

Notes & Quotes

1. Christians believe that evil exists in the world. So does that mean God wills it?

“If it is [in accordance with God’s will], He is a strange God, you will say: and if it is not, how can anything happen contrary to the will of a being with absolute power?”

(a) Anyone who has held a position of authority can explain this dilemma

“You make a thing voluntary and then half the people do not do it. That is not what you willed, but your will has made it possible”

(b) Free will is the cause for much evil, but it is the only thing which makes love possible

“Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. …free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having”

(c) God seemed to think the trade-off between free will and evil was acceptable and we’re not especially in a position to argument with Him.

“He is the source from which all your reasoning power comes: you could not be right and He wrong any more than a stream can rise higher than its own source….you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on”

2. It is because of the greatness given to us by God that we are capable of such great evil and the same is true for Satan.

“A cow cannot be very good or very bad; a dog can be both better and worse; a child better and worse still; an ordinary man, still more so; a man of genius, still more so; a superhuman spirit best – or worst – of all”

(a) Satan’s sin was most likely selfishness and this is what he taught the humanity.

“The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first – wanting to be the centre – wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race…[to] invent some sort of happiness for themselves…apart from God”

(b) This is the source of much of the evil in the world.

“…out of that hopeless attempt [for happiness apart from God] has come nearly all that we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy”

3. We fail in our attempt to be happy without God because we were made for Him.

“A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else…God design the human machine to run on Himself… God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there…[we] are trying to run it on the wrong juice. That is what Satan has done to us humans.”

How did God respond to all this?

(a) Conscience

“…He left us conscience…and all through history there have been people trying (Some of them very hard) to obey it”

(b) He sent “good dreams”

“…those queer stories scattered all through the heathen religions about a god who dies and comes to life again…”

(c) Formed Israel

“…He selected one particular people and spent several centuries hammering into their heads the sort of God He was – that there was only one of Him and the He cared about right conduct”

(d) Jesus

(i) Claimed to be God

“Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God… Among Pantheists…there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world, who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips…”

(ii) Forgave sins and yet claimed to be humble and meek

“[He] told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was… the person chiefly offended in all offenses”

“Christ says that He is ‘humble and meek’ and we believe Him; not noticing that, if He were merely a man, humility and meekness are the very last characteristics we could attribute to some of His sayings”

(iii) This provides us with a trilemma. Jesus was either Lunatic, Liar or Lord.

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell… Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse”

(iv) Which means you can’t just call Him a great moral teacher 

“You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us”

Discussion Questions

1.Why does the presence of evil in the world pose a threat to the belief in a omniscient, omnibenevolent God?

2. In what way does free will go a long way to explaining much of the evil in the world?

3. Jack says he can’t imagine a creature which has free will but no possibility of going wrong. Do you think this is a reasonable statement?

4. Do you find Jack’s argument concerning the illogic of arguing against God comforting at all?

5. How does Jack explain why the great evil of humanity doesn’t show that God made us “out of rotten stuff”?

6. Why do our attempts to find happiness without God fail?

7. What are the different ways in which God has started the process of rectification of the human race?

8. Don’t the “good dreams” of dying and rising gods just prove that Christianity is a fabrication?

9. What evidence is presented for Jesus making divine claims? Why is forgiving the sins incomprehensible if Jesus wasn’t God?

10. Why does Jack say we can’t just say that Christ was a great moral teacher?

C.S. Lewis Doodle

I couldn’t find a Doodle 🙁

Mere Christianity – Book II – Chapter 2 (“The Invasion”)

Book 2

Continuing my notes on Book II of “Mere Christianity”…

Notes & Quotes

1. Jack identifies two philosophies which are “too simple”

(a) Atheism

(b) Christianity-and-water

“…the view which simply says there is a good God in Heaven and everything is all right – leaving out all the difficult and terrible doctrines about sin and hell and the devil, and the redemption”

2. In contrast, Christianity is not simple

(a) That’s because real things are not simple

(i) Looking at a table is complicated

“…The table I am sitting at looks simple: but ask a scientist to tell you what it is really made of – all about the atoms and how the light waves rebound from them and hit my eye and what they do to the optic nerve and what it does to my brain…and…you will find that what we call ‘seeing a table’ lands you in mysteries and complications which you can hardly get to the end of”

(ii) Planet configurations are unexpected

“…when you have grasped that the earth and the other planets all go round the sun, you would naturally expect that all the planets were made to match… In fact, you find no rhyme or reason (that we can see) about either the sizes or the distances; and some of them have one moon, one has four, one has two, some have none, and one has a ring”

(iii) This is actually a motive of credibility for Christianity

“Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed….it has just that queer twist about it that real things have”

(b) You can’t demand for a non-simplistic explanation and then complain about its complication

“If we ask for something more than simplicity, it is silly then to complain that the something more is not simple”

3. We are presented with a problem between the our intuitions about the universe

“What is the problem? A universe that contains much that is obviously bad and apparently meaningless, but containing creatures like ourselves who know that it is bad and meaningless”

There are two possible conclusions we could draw from this:

(a) The Christian View

“…this is a good world that has gone wrong, but still retains the memory of what it ought to have been”

(b) The Dualistic View

“…there are two equal and independent powers at the back of everything, one of them good and the other bad, and that this universe is the battlefield in which they fight out  an endless war…”

What do we mean when we identify one power as “good” and the other “bad”?

(i) Personal opinion, which means we cannot use words like “good” and “bad”

“…merely saying that we happen to prefer the one to the other – like preferring beer to cider…[in which case]…good would not deserve to be called good”

(ii) Objective difference, which points to something greater than both of them

“…one of them is actually wrong… But the moment you say that, you are putting into the universe a third thing in addition to the two Powers…the Being who made this standard is farther back and higher up than either of them, and He will be the real God”

4. Dualism has another problem in that it requires the bad Power to like badness for its own sake…

(a) …but we have no experience of this

“…in real life people are cruel for one of two reasons – either because they are sadists…or else for the sake of something they are going to get out of it…

(a) …badness is contingent on goodness

“The badness consists in pursuing [good things] by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much… Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness…[the “Bad Power] cannot supply himself either with good things to desire or with good impulses to pervert. He must be getting both from the Good Power. And if so, then he is not independent”

(i) This is why Christians believe what they do about the Devil

“To be bad, [the Bad Power] must exist and have intelligence and will. But existence, intelligence and will are in themselves good….even to be bad he must borrow or seal from his opponent. And do you now begin to see why Christianity has always said that the devil is a fallen angel? …evil is a parasite, not an original thing”

5. Christianity agrees that the universe is at war, but not between independent powers

“…it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel. …the rightful king has landed…and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wirelesss from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going”

Discussion Questions

1. What two philosophies does Jack claim are “too simple”?

2. Why should we not expect a “simple” religion?

3. Why is its lack of simplicity actually an argument in favour of Christianity? Have you encountered any other surprising motives for credibility for the Christian faith?

4. How can we explain a “bad” universe which contains creatures like ourselves?

5. What is dualism? Can you name any religions which are dualistic?

6. How does dualism naturally point to a greater Being, over and above to the “good power” and “bad power”?

8. In what way is evil “not an original thing”? How does this undermine dualism.

9. What kind of war does Jack say we are fighting?

C.S. Lewis Doodle

I couldn’t find a Doodle 🙁

Mere Christianity – Book II – Chapter 1 (“Rival Conceptions of God”)

Book 2

We now begin the second Book of “Mere Christianity” which is entitled “What Christian’s Believe”. Previously I had been posting my notes as I read. Here are my notes for the first chapter of Book II:

Notes & Quotes

1. Christians can recognize the elements of truth in other religions

“If you are Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all those religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth”

2. Christians can still make absolute claims

“As in arithmetic – there is only one right answer to a sum…but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others”

3. Humanity may be divided first into two groups, the majority who believe in some kind of deity and a minority who do not. This group may be further subdivided into the kind of deity in which they believe:

(a) Pantheists

These believe that:

(i) God who is beyond good and evil

“…these people think that long before you got anywhere near the divine point of view the distinction [between good and evil] would have disappeared altogether…[This is] Pantheism. It was held by the great Prussian philosopher Hegel and, as far as I can understand them, by the Hindus.”

(ii) God and the universe almost the same thing

“Pantheists usually believe that God, so to speak, animates the universe as you animate your body: that the universe almost is God, so that if it did not exist He would not exist either, and anything you find in the universe is a part of God”

These two beliefs are connected:

“If you do not take the distinction between good an bad very seriously, then it is easy to say that anything you find in this world is a part of God”

(b) Non-Panthesists

These believe that:

(i) God who is ‘good’

“…a God who takes sides, who loves love and hates hatred, who wants us to behave in one way and not in another…[a view] held by Jews, Mohammadans and Christians”

The word “Mohammadans” is an old word used to describe Muslims (since they were followers of Mohammad).

(ii) God is distinct from His creation

“…God invented and made the universe – like a man making a picture or composing a tune. A painter is not a picture, and he does not die if his picture is destroyed”

These beliefs are connected:

“…if you think some things really bad, and God really good, then you cannot talk like that. You must believe that God is separate from the world and that some of the things we see in it are contrary to His will…a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that God insists, and insists very loudly, on putting them right again”

4. The very question as to why there is evil in the world presupposes God

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line…I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that then my argument against God collapsed too – for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies”

Discussion Questions

1. Why does Jack say that when he became a Christian he adopted the more “liberal” view?

2. Is it possible to affirm the truth of other religions while still holding to the absolute truth claims of Christianity?

3. Can you think of any religion completely devoid of ALL truth?

4. Into what two central conceptions of God does Jack say people hold? Do you think we could divide it up in a different way?

5. In what way do these conceptions of God and our attitudes towards the Moral Law and the Universe relate to each other?

6. Why does the very question of asking about evil in the world presuppose the existence of God?

C.S. Lewis Doodle

(The video does work, honest!)

Early Christian Controversies that Protestantism Can’t Explain

This past Friday, Joe Heschmeyer was on Catholic Answer Live, the audio of which is available here. Joe was talking about one of my favourite subjects, Church History. In particular he was talking about how many of the early controversies in the Church can’t really be explained from within a Protestant framework.

For example, in the Early Church there was a breakaway group in AD 311 called the Donatists. These were rigorists who insisted that the sacraments administered by clergy who had been compromised during persecution were invalid. This was a major issue within the Church of the Early Fourth Century…but it’s an argument that makes no sense within most Protestant frameworks.

If you are interested, the article where he draws out these ideas is available below:

Shamless

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