Archive for May 2012

What Do the Constitution and Bible Say About National Defense

What Do the Constitution and Bible Say About National Defense

Before Tea Party Christians should argue that our country requires a strong military, we should first understand what the Constitution of the United States and the Bible says about national defense. Read on to find out.

What the Constitution says about national defense

As Ernest Istook explains in his America at Risk Memo1, Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution enumerates the powers of Congress. It begins:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;…

America’s priorities, according to the Constitution, is to first provide for the common defense and then generally for the nation’s welfare.

Regarding the common defense, the Constitution devotes six of seventeen clauses specifically to national defense. These include raising and supporting armies and the Navy, making the rules that govern the Armed Forces, and organizing, arming, and disciplining the state-level militia as well as the Army and Navy:

Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;
Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Clearly, the Constitution considers the national defense a high priority for government.

What the Bible says about national defense

Wayne Grudem in his book, Politics According to the Bible2, argues that the Bible also places a high priority for national defense.  He cites 1 Peter 2:14 “or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right,” as support for civil government to use force to punish those who do evil.

Grudem also cites Romans 13:1-4:

1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. … 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

In this passage Grudem explains that governments are authorized to “bear the sword.”  They do so, commanded by God, to protect citizens inside the country from evildoers.  As a consequence, the government certainly has an obligation to protect the citizens from threats outside of the country. Grudem provides the following examples from the Old Testament, in which the nation of Israel repeatedly had to defend itself against other nations (Philistines, Assyrians and Babylonians) .

Judges 2: 16-18 16 Then the LORD raised up judges,who saved them out of the hands of these raiders….18 Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them

2 Samuel 5: 17-25 17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 19 so David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?”
The LORD answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.” …25 So David did as the LORD commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

Pacifists claim that the 6th Commandment in Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder,” means that we should not go to war and kill. However Grudem explains that, “The Hebrew word translated murder in Exodus 20:13 is ratsakh, a word used forty-nine times in the Old Testament. It is never used to refer to killing in war (other Hebrew words are used for this). Rather, the word refers to what we would call “murder” in English today (the unlawful killing of another human being)….”3

In Acts 10:1 “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment.”  Cornelius, a Romans centurion in command of 100 soldiers, accepted Christ and was baptized as a believer with no mention that his occupation as soldier was undesirable. In Luke 14:31 Jesus speaks matter-of-factly about war without condemning it to make another point: “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?.”

Pacifists often claim that Matthew 5:39 “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also,” provides support for Jesus’ opposition to war. However, Jesus’ teaching applies to individual conduct not to civil government conduct. In fact Romans 13: 1-4 teaches that God authorizes governments to use deadly force if necessary to oppose evil.4

Furthermore, Jesus implies the use of deadly force for self-defense in Luke 22:36, where “He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.’”

Regarding non-interventionism, Grudem says there is no Biblical support. He cites Obadiah 1:11 “On the day you stood aloof while strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.” In this passage God rebukes the nation of Edom for failing to provide Israel military support when attacked by the Babylonians.5

Clearly the Constitution and Bible provide strong support for national defense. To purposely weaken our military as a unilateral showing of pacifism is not only illogical but unsupported by either the Constitution or Bible.

To Read More

Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible; A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2010).

References

  1. Ernest Istook, The Constitutional Charge to Defend America (The Heritage Foundation, America at Risk Memo #AR 11-05, May 31st 2011) Available at: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/05/the-constitutional-charge-to-defend-america (May 30, 2012).
  2. Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2010), 388.
  3. Ibid, 389.
  4. Ibid, 391.
  5. Ibid, 398-399.
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What is the purpose of marriage Does gay marriage qualify

What is the Purpose of Marriage? Does “Gay Marriage” Qualify?

Can gays actually “marry?” What does “marry” mean? What is the purpose of marriage? Read on to find out.

Marriage has existed throughout human history before governments were formed. Marriage has always meant the union of one man to one woman for life. Marriage represents the “one-flesh communion of persons” and is consummated sexually. The husband and wife become a single procreative unit, the foundation of society’s most basic institution, the family.1

As Bryan Fischer writes in his column2, there are three purposes for marriage: companionship, sex and children:

  • Purpose of marriage is companionship
  • Purpose of marriage is to have sex
  • Purpose of marriage is to have children

Purpose of marriage is companionship

According to Fischer, the Heritage Foundation shows that “study after study verifies that heterosexual married couples are happier and healthier, more prosperous, and enjoy longer and more stable lives than their cohabiting or homosexual counterparts.” In contrast, same-sex partnerships “are notoriously unstable, short-lived and risky. Even monogamous same-sex couples report that they have in an average of eight outside sexual partners per year.” He cites Charles Cook, writing at National Review Online, who reports that same-sex marriages in Norway are greater than 50% more likely to end in divorce than heterosexual marriages. In addition, same-sex marriages are 2 to 4 times more likely to result in domestic abuse than heterosexual marriages.3

As Alan Shlemon points out4, just because you love somebody does not give you the right to marry them. There are many loving relationships, which are committed, long-term and meaningful.  These relationships include the love between siblings or the love between parents and a child. However, the state does not permit marriages between siblings or parents and children. Society does not permit us to marry anybody we love. There are restrictions.

Purpose of marriage is to have sex

Fischer observes that we all unconsciously understand what is legitimate sexual expression. Why is it that newspapers do not report a celebrity when he is sleeping with his wife and do report his having an “affair” with a woman who is not his wife? Society understands that legitimate sexual expression belongs within the marriage of a man and woman. “Sexual activity outside of marriage is not condoned whether it be adultery, sexual immorality, polygamy, incest, homosexuality, bestiality or pedophilia.”5

Homosexuals are anatomically incapable of having sex with each other. The kind of sex homosexual couples engage in is dangerous and contrary to nature.  It’s obvious that the male and female human anatomy fit together. Therefore, the use to which homosexuals put the human body is unnatural.  In addition,  homosexual sex spreads many sexually transmitted diseases as well as AIDS.

Purpose of marriage is to have children

Only a man and a woman can conceive a child. This is impossible for homosexual couples. Without children civilization would cease to exist. As Michael Youssef reports6, “children from stable two parent homes are significantly less prone to depression, addiction, and suicide than children from nontraditional families.” A father and mother are not interchangeable parts. Each provides something unique. “Mothers are generally protective and nurturing while fathers tend to challenge children to confront risks and embrace opportunities. Children need both influences. Two ‘mothers’ can’t teach boys to become men; two ‘fathers’ can’t teach girls to become women.”

Chuck Colson argues that out-of-wedlock births, and the pathologies they engender, skyrocket when the traditional family is redefined. As a case in point, Norway used to have a low out-of-wedlock birthrate. However, once same-sex marriage was legalized in 1993, “Norway’s out of wedlock birthrate shot up as a link between marriage and childbearing was broken and cohabitation became the norm.”7

To conclude, Alan Shlemon writes, “There is one kind of couple that, throughout all human history, is known to produce children: heterosexuals… They create families that become the building blocks of civilization. These families are the most stable and advantageous environment for raising children…. They make society possible.”8

The issue of “gay marriage” is really not about the right to marry. It is about respect. Homosexuals demand public approval for their lifestyle and relationships. However, “gay marriage” is not possible because the word “marriage” cannot be changed for political convenience. Words have meaning. For centuries the word “marry” meant the union between a man and a woman. That meaning must remain. A segment of the population cannot change “dog” to mean “cat” just for political expedience.

References

  1. Chuck Colson, The Marital Matrix (Breakpoint, June, 19, 2002) Available at: http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/breakpoint-commentaries-archive/entry/13/11121(May 25, 2012)
  2. Bryan Fischer, Purposes of Marriage: Companionshipl, Sex, and Children – Gay Marriage Strikes Out(Rightly Concerned, May 16, 2012) Available at: http://www.afa.net/Blogs/BlogPost.aspx?id=2147521551 (May 25, 2012)
  3. Ibid.
  4. Alan Shlemon, Should Homosexuals Be Allowed to Marry Whom They Love? (Stand to Reason, May 17, 2012) Available at: http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2012/05/should-homosexuals-be-allowed-to-marry-whom-they-love.html (May 25, 2012)
  5. Bryan Fischer, Purposes of Marriage: Companionshipl, Sex, and Children – Gay Marriage Strikes Out (Rightly Concerned, May 16, 2012)
  6. Michael Youssef, Every Issue is a Moral Issue (One News Now, June 29, 2011) Available at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/Perspectives/Default.aspx?id=1380950 (May 25, 2012)
  7. Chuck Colson, Societal Suicide(Christianity Today, June 1, 2004)Available at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/june/8.72.html (May 25, 2012)
  8. Alan Shlemon, Should Homosexuals Be Allowed to Marry Whom They Love? (Stand to Reason, May 17, 2012)
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What Does the Bible Say About So-Called Homosexual Marriage

What Does the Bible Say About So-Called Homosexual Marriage

President Barack Obama announced that “…same sex marriage is the right thing to do…”. The president referred to the “golden rule” as his rationale for supporting “gay marriage.” Would Jesus support “gay marriage”? Read on to find out.

The Bible addresses homosexual behavior in several passages, including the following:

  • Leviticus 18:22
  • Leviticus 20:13
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
  • Romans 1:26-28

 

Leviticus 18:22. “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13. “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10. 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Romans 1:26-28. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

Critics will ask why homosexuality is a sin when Christians ignore most of the Old Testament laws, such as not eating pork or shellfish. Can Christians also ignore the law against homosexuality?

Tad Cronn in his article, Why Homosexuality is a Sin, but Shellfish are OK1, explains why. After Jesus ascended into heaven, the early church was led by the Apostles and James, the half brother of Jesus. Although the early church began as mostly Jewish converts, many non-Jews began to convert. The Jewish converts wanted the non-Jewish converts to follow the prohibitions and commandments of the Mosaic Law. A controversy arose.

James and the Apostles handled it this way as recorded in Acts 15:28-29, when they sent a letter to the believers in present day Turkey, and concluded with the following passages:

Acts 15:28-29. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
Farewell.

The non-Jewish converts were to refrain from four things, one of which was sexual immorality. Eating shell fish and pork were therefore permissible, as long as they were not sacrificed to idols and were thoroughly cooked. Sexual immorality would include incest, fornication, bestiality, and homosexual sex.

Other critics, including the President, consider the Golden Rule as some sort of blanket amnesty from all Biblical rules, particularly those included in the Old Testament. However, Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19:

Matthew 5:17-19. 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus is saying that He did not abolish the Old Testament law. He fulfilled the Law by dying on the cross for us, humans riddled with sin and unable to keep the Law.

In fact, Jesus reaffirms traditional marriage in Matthew 19:4-6:

Matthew 19:4-6. 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

The Bible couldn’t be clearer about the prohibition of homosexual behavior and the principle that marriage can only mean the uniting of a man and a women.

To Read More

Tad Cronn, Why Homosexuality is a Sin, but Shellfish are OK (Godfather Politics, May 19, 2012) Available at: http://godfatherpolitics.com/5272/why-homosexuality-is-a-sin-but-shellfish-are-ok/ (May 22, 2012)

Kevin DeYoung, What the Bible Really Still Says About Homosexuality (The Gospel Coalition, May 16, 2012) Available at: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/05/16/what-the-bible-really-still-says-about-homosexuality/ (May 22, 2012)

References

  1. Tad Cronn, Why Homosexuality is a Sin, but Shellfish are OK (Godfather Politics, May 19, 2012) Available at: http://godfatherpolitics.com/5272/why-homosexuality-is-a-sin-but-shellfish-are-ok/ (May 22, 2012)
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Who Wants to Become an Abortionist? Most Doctors Don’t!

Who Wants to Become an Abortionist? Most Doctors Don’t!

Why has there been a sharp decline in medical students who train to perform abortions and doctors who actually perform abortions? Read on to find out.

In the January 2012 issue of Townhall magazine11 Daniel Allott quotes some revealing statistics:

  • Most OB/GYNs (obstetrics and gynecology) surveyed (only 14%) are willing to perform abortions.
  • Two-thirds (69%) of metropolitan counties in the United States and 97% of non-metropolitan counties have no abortion provider.2

Why is that? Here are the three main reasons that doctors don’t like to perform abortions:

  • Abortions don’t save lives or cure people.
  • Abortion doctors are stigmatized by the profession
  • The public is increasingly anti-abortion

Abortions don’t save lives or cure people

It’s easy to see why doctors and nurses would be appalled performing abortions. To perform a first trimester abortion you suck the developing baby’s flesh and blood through a tube into a bottle. To perform a second trimester abortion you use forceps to snap the spine and crush the skull and then remove each piece of the baby’s body. The assisting nurse must reassemble the torn pieces of the baby to make sure they didn’t leave any parts inside the womb. Imagine doing this a dozen or more times a day, and you can see why doctors and nurses get demoralized.

One abortion doctor quoted in the article tried to describe the hopelessness he felt, “Is this what the conscientious, dedicated OB- GYN had spent four years in college, four years of medical school, and at least four more years… in residency training to do?” 3

Abortion doctors used to justify themselves by performing abortions in a hospital, not in some back alley, but this no longer is true. Most women use abortions as a form a birth control. Half of the 1.2 million women who annually have an abortion are receiving their second abortion, one quarter their third abortion, and fifteen percent their fourth abortion.

Abortion doctors are stigmatized by their profession

Most doctors want to keep it a secret that they perform abortions. As a result, 94% of all abortions are not performed in hospitals but in stand-alone clinics such as Planned Parenthood. They earn $155 million from performing 332,000 abortions per year.

The public is increasingly anti-abortion

Doctors are also stigmatized because the public has become more prolife recently. Gallup reports that 45% of Americans in 2011 consider themselves pro-life compared to 33% in 1996. Young people in particular are more prolife than ever. As a result, 1.21 million abortions were performed in 2008 compared to 1.61 million in 1990.4

Why has the public become more prolife? Today, women can see their babies in the womb more clearly through high resolution and multidimensional ultrasound imaging. 75% of women change their mind once they see their baby on ultrasound. They can see the child kicking his feet and even sucking his thumb.

You can sum up why doctors don’t like performing abortions: It’s wrong. The public is catching on. Let’s continue the fight against abortions.

To Read More

Daniel Allott, A Dying Practice: The abortion industry is struggling to reconcile its existence with truths about the procedure that even its members find difficult to deny (Townhall, January 2012)

References

  1. Daniel Allott, A Dying Practice: The abortion industry is struggling to reconcile its existence with truths about the procedure that even its members find difficult to deny (Townhall, January 2012)
  2. Ibid, 46.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid, 48.
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Does the Bible Address Abortion

Does the Bible Address Abortion?

Although the word” abortion” is not found in the Bible, the issue is addressed in several verses. Read on to see what the Bible says.

The Bible indicates that a human is in the womb in the following verses, provided below:

  • Isaiah 44:24
  • Isaiah 49:1.
  • Job 31:15
  • Psalm 139:13–16 .
  • Jeremiah 1:5.
  • Luke 1:15.
  • Galatians 1:15.

    Isaiah 44:24 “This is what the LORD says—
    your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
    I am the LORD,
    the Maker of all things,
    who stretches out the heavens,
    who spreads out the earth by myself,

    Isaiah 49:1 Listen to me, you islands;
    hear this, you distant nations:
    Before I was born the LORD called me;
    from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

    Job 31:15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
    Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?

    Psalm 139:13–16 13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
    15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    16Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

    Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

    Luke 1:15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.

    Galatians 1:15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased

    Critics will claim that some of these are poetry texts and can not be taken literally. However, there is a verse that can be taken literally: Exodus 21: 22-25:

    Exodus 21: 22-25 22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

    Abortion supporters claim that if the baby dies in the miscarriage, a mere fine results but if the mother dies, a life for a life results, suggesting that the unborn is not fully human. However, Greg Koukl in Solid Ground 1 argues persuasively that the verse means exactly the opposite.

    Koukl explain that the Hebrew word for miscarriage is yasa. The word is used 1061 times in the Bible and never is translated to mean a child is delivered dead. On the contrary, it almost always conveys something coming out alive, frequently a child coming out alive. The one occasion when yasa is used for a dead child in Numbers 12:12 (” Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten away.”). The meaning is clearly a still-birth, not a miscarriage. There are separate Hebrew words that mean miscarriage or abortion, such as nepel and sakal. These words are found in Job 3:16, Genesis 31:38, Hosea 9:14 and a couple of other verses.

    Therefore, the best interpretation of Exodus 21:22-25 is that the baby is delivered alive. The fine is imposed to assist with the care of a prematurely born infant, who often can’t breast feed and can suffer from respiratory problems. If there is a premature birth, then there is a fine. If there is further injury to the child, then there is a life for a life, etc.

    Koukl concludes,

    Regardless of the translation, it’s clear that killing the child—and this text does refer to the unborn as a child—is a criminal act. There is no justification for abortion-on-demand from the Torah. Instead, we have a reasonable—even powerful—argument that God views the unborn as valuable as any other human being.2

    To Read More

    Greg Koukl, What Exodus 21:22 Says about Abortion (Stand To Reason, January/February 2010) Available at: http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5700 (May 14, 2012)

    References

    1. Greg Koukl, What Exodus 21:22 Says about Abortion (Stand To Reason, January/February 2010) Available at: http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5700 (May 14, 2012)
    2. Ibid, 4.
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Why Are There Non-Negotiable Moral Standards?

Why Are There Non-Negotiable Moral Standards?

Most people around the world believe that murder, rape, cruelty, child abuse are morally wrong. Why? Is it just an evolutionary coping mechanism that helps perpetuate the species? Read about the arguments that suggest that objective moral standards are evidence that God exists.

In the William Lane Craig vs. Lawrence Krauss debate, Craig points out, “Actions like rape, cruelty, and child abuse aren’t just socially unacceptable behavior—they’re moral abominations. Some things, at least, are really wrong.” 1 Why? Is it merely an evolutionary aid to survival and reproduction? Craig observes:

[With] a naturalistic view, moral values are just the byproduct of biological evolution and social conditioning. Just as a troupe of baboons exhibit co-operative and even self-sacrificial behavior because natural selection has determined it to be advantageous in the struggle for survival, so their primate cousins homo sapiens exhibit similar behavior for the same reason. As a result of socio-biological pressures there has evolved among homo sapiens a sort of “herd morality” which functions well in the perpetuation of our species. But … there doesn’t seem to be anything about this that makes this morality objectively binding and true. 2

If it were true, then groups like the Nazis would be justified in their mass killings to purify and perpetuate their race. Yet, how many people around the world support the Nazi atrocities? As Timothy Keller explains in his book, The Reason for God:

An individual’s self-sacrificing, altruistic behavior toward his or her blood kin might result in a greater survival rate for the individual’s family or extended clan, and therefore result in a greater number of descendants with that person’s genetic material. For evolutionary purposes, however, the opposite response-hostility to all people outside one’s group—should be just as widely considered moral and right behavior. Yet today we believe that sacrificing time, money, emotion, and even life—especially for someone “not of our kind” or tribe is right. 3

Why? Why are there universal moral standards? Where do they come from?  Craig has an explanation: God. Craig reasons:

  1. If God did not exist, objective moral values and duties would not exist.
  2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
  3. Therefore, if follows logically and inescapably that God exists. 4

To Read More

William Lane Craig, Is There Evidence For God? William Lane Craig vs. Lawrence Krauss (Reasonable Faith, 2011) Available at: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-craig-krauss-debate-at-north-carolina-state-university#ixzz1uIT936fc (May 11, 2012)

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York, Riverhead Books, 2008)

References

  1. William Lane Craig, Is There Evidence For God? William Lane Craig vs. Lawrence Krauss (Reasonable Faith, 2011) Available at: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-craig-krauss-debate-at-north-carolina-state-university#ixzz1uIT936fc (May 11, 2012)
  2. Ibid.
  3. Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York, Riverhead Books, 2008), 133.
  4. William Lane Craig, Is There Evidence For God? William Lane Craig vs. Lawrence Krauss

 

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Why God Exists

Why God Exists

Most people believe there is a God, but why? Must we depend on the Bible for our proof?  I believe in the Bible, but here are some extra-Biblical reasons to believe that God exists.

There are two compelling reasons to believe in God: 1) the origin of the universe and 2) the complex order of the universe.

Origin of the universe

Most scientists today subscribe to the “Big Bang” theory that the universe hasn’t eternally existed but had a beginning. Timothy Keller, in his book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, quotes scientist Stephen Hawking, “Almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the Big Bang.”1  Keller also quotes scientist Francis Collins, who says, “When you look from the perspective of a scientist at the universe, it looks as if it knew we were coming.”2  If the universe came from somewhere, the best explanation would be God.

Complex order of the universe

Most scientists today also acknowledge that our universe possesses an order and very fine mathematical precision. This precision defies human comprehension and is fundamental to intelligent life. According to Francis Collins, “There are 15 constants – the gravitational constant, various constants about the strong and weak nuclear force, etc. – that have precise values. If any one of those constants was off by even one part in a million, or in some cases, by one part in a million million, the universe could not have actually come to the point where we see it. Matter would not have been able to coalesce, where there would have been no galaxy, stars, planets or people.”3 This is the “Fine-Tuning Argument,”–that the universe was prepared for human beings.

Lee Strobel, in The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God4, interviewed several high level scientists, such as Robin Collins, Guillermo Gonzales and Jay Wesley Richards.  They made the following points about the incredible fine-tuning of earth for life and exploration:

  • The earth’s atmosphere is unique, filtering out harmful ultraviolet radiation while working with the oceans to moderate climate by storing and redistributing solar energy.
  • The size of the earth is just large enough that its gravity retains the atmosphere and just small enough that is does not trap too many harmful gases.
  • The earth has a nearly circular orbit, which prevents ice ages from occurring when temperature shifts on the surface of the planet.
  • The earth’s distance from the sun is ideal for life, right in a safe distance range of +/- 5%.
  • The liquid iron surrounding earth’s core creates a dynamo that generates the planet’s magnetic field, shielding us from low-energy cosmic rays.
  • The earth contains valuable ores deposited near the planet’s surface, close enojgh to mine for technological development.
  • The sun is one of the 10% most massive stars in the galaxy and emits the right colors of light (with a balance of red and blue), varies its light output by only 1/10 of 1%, and prevents wild climate swings on earth. 5
  • The moon is large compared to earth, something unique in the inner solar system. The moon stabilizes the tilt of the earth, preventing major temperature swings.
  • The moon also increases earth’s tides (the moon contributing 60% and the sun contributing 40%), flushing nutrients from the continents to the oceans, which keeps them nutrient rich, and maintaining large-scale ocean circulation, which keeps the higher latitudes relatively mild. 6
  • The earth is ideally positioned for galaxy exploration:
    • The sun is 400 times larger than the moon but is also 400 times farther away, which is a perfect match to view a total solar eclipse.  Eclipses can yield important scientific discoveries, helping to interpret the spectra of distant stars and confirming that gravity bends light, as predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
    • The earth is in in an excellent position to detect the cosmic background radiation, confirming the Big Bang theory.
    • The earth’s atmosphere is transparent and allows the science of astronomy and cosmology to flourish

Could this have happened by accident?  Did such a finely tuned universe for intelligent life spring forth without cause?  The best answer is no.  The best cause is God.

To Read More

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism(New York, Riverhead Books, 2008)

Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2004)

References

  1. Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York, Riverhead Books, 2008), 133.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid, 134.
  4. Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2004).
  5. Ibid, 177.
  6. Ibid, 179.
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10 Golden Rules of Effective Taxation

10 Golden Rules of Effective Taxation

Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore, and Jonathan Williams in the latest publication of Rich States Poor States1 by the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec.org) provide the 10 Golden Rules of Effective Taxation:

  1. When you tax something more you get less of it, and when you tax something less you get more of it.
  2. Individuals work and produce goods and services to earn money for present or future consumption.
  3. Taxes create a wedge between the cost of working and the rewards from working.
  4. An increase in tax rates will not lead to a dollar-for-dollar increase in tax revenues, and a reduction in tax rates that encourages production will lead to less than a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax revenues.
  5. If tax rates become too high, they may lead to a reduction in tax receipts. The relationship between tax rates and tax receipts has been described by the Laffer Curve.
  6. The more mobile the factors being taxed, the larger the response to a change in tax rates. The less mobile the factor, the smaller the change in the tax base for a given change in tax rates.
  7. Raising tax rates on one source of revenue may reduce the tax revenue from other sources, while reducing the tax rate on one activity may raise the taxes raised from other activities.
  8. An economically efficient tax system has a sensible, broad base and a low rate.
  9. Income transfer (welfare) payments also create a de facto tax on work and, thus, have a high impact on the vitality of a state’s economy.
  10. If A and B are two locations, and if taxes are raised in B and lowered in A, producers and manufacturers will have a greater incentive to move from B to A.

Note #1 and #10. If you tax something you get less of it, and if location A has lower tax rates than Location B, manufacturers will move to Location A. The conclusion? If we raise tax rates, we will have fewer jobs.

To Read More

Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore, and Jonathan Williams, Rich States Poor States; (American Legislative Exchange Council, 2012) Available at: http:// http://www.alec.org/docs/RSPS_5th_Edition.pdf (May 4, 2012)

References

  1. Rich States Poor States; (American Legislative Exchange Council, 2012) Available at: http:// http://www.alec.org/docs/RSPS_5th_Edition.pdf(May 4, 2012), ix-xii

 

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Should We Soak the Rich

Should We Soak the Rich?

The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs is one of the most famous of Aesop’s fables. The cottager and his wife kill the goose to get the great lump of gold they think is inside. However, they find it is no different than any other goose. Their greed deprived them of a future steady income. So it is with the notion that we must tax the rich to pay for our out-of-control spending.

Raising tax rates on the rich will kill the golden goose. Increasing tax rates will discourage investment, cause total tax revenues to fall, and will increase, not decrease, the deficit. Here are three reasons why:

  • More progressive tax rates are not fair
  • We end up taxing people who are not really rich
  • History has proven that increasing tax rates causes revenues to fall

More progressive tax rates are not fair

According to the Patriot Update1 , “The top 1% of Americans pay 40% of all federal income taxes, and the top 10% pays as much as 70% in total. Conversely, the bottom 40% pays close to nothing.” How are the rich not paying their “fair share”? Why should we tax them more? Answer: because we can. They only have 1% of the votes.

The United States already soaks the rich, more so than any other developed country. As the following Newsmax magazine chart2 shows , the tax burden of our 1% is higher than every other developed nation. The 1% in the United States supply 45.1% of all taxes, whereas in socialistic Sweden, the 1% only supply 26.7% How are the rich in our country not paying their fair share?

As the Newsmax article explains, the rich should not be targeted for higher taxes. It’s not just the rich who are getting richer in the U.S. The poor are getting richer too. Plus, the rich aren’t all born rich, and don’t all stay rich. Of the 400 richest people listed in the 2007 issue of Forbes magazine, only 32 were included when the list began in 1982. “Only 18% inherited their whole fortune, while about 70%—people like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Dell computer founder Michael Dell—amassed fortunes by giving the rest of us products we want.” 3

We end up taxing people who are not really rich

The Democrats propose raising taxes on families making $250,000 a year and up. As Thomas Sowell points out:

Rich means having a lot of wealth. But income taxes don’t touch wealth. No wonder some billionaires are saying it’s OK to raise income taxes. They would still be billionaires if taxes took 100% of their current income.

What those who are arguing against “tax cuts for the rich” are promoting is raising the tax rates on families making $250,000 a year and up. A husband and wife making $125,000 a year each are not rich. If they have a kid going to one of the many colleges charging $30,000 a year (in after-tax money) for tuition alone, they are not likely to feel anywhere close to being rich. 4

History has proven that increasing tax rates causes revenues to fall

As Thomas Sowell points out, in 1921 the tax rate on people in the top income bracket was 73%! Here was the consequence of those high tax rates, “The number of people with taxable incomes of $300,000 a year and up—equivalent to far more than a million dollars in today’s money—declined from more than a thousand people in 1916 to less than three hundred in 1921.” 5 What happened? Did all those rich people go broke? The answer was of course not. They merely took the money they had invested in the economy (in businesses creating jobs) and invested it in tax-exempt securities, such as municipal bonds (in government creating red tape).

As the late Chuck Colson explains, the government’s role is not to reduce income inequality through progessive tax rates. “At the most basic level, government’s job is to preserve order, do justice, and restrain evil.”6  Equality in the U.S. means legal and political equality. Each person has one vote and the rules are the same for everybody, no matter how much they make. The incentive behind taxing the rich is really no more than class envy.

References

  1. Nathaniel Davidson, Taxing the “rich”? No, ruining America! (Patriot Update, December 7, 2010) Available at: http://patriotupdate.com/oldsite/exclusives/read/288/Taxing-the-rich?-No-ruining-America(May 1, 2012)
  2. Stephen Moore, The Lie Behind Obama’s Class Warfare (Newmax, May, 2012), 56.
  3. Ibid, 57.
  4. As cited in Nathaniel Davidson, Taxing the “Rich” – Part 2 (Patriot Update, December 21, 2010) Available at: http://patriotupdate.com/articles/taxing-the-rich-part-2(May 1, 2012)
  5. Thomas Sowell, Back to the Future: Part III (Townhall, September 15, 2011) Available at: http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2011/09/15/back_to_the_future_part_iii/page/full/(May 1, 2012)
  6. Chuck Colson, Equality and Envy: The Proper Role of Government (BreakPoint, November 15, 2011) Available at: http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/18229(May 1, 2012)

 

 

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