In light of the horrors that happened in Virginia, both with the white supremacists and the attack by one of the members, I think it is important for people to know the churches stance on those issues. Let’s take a quick look at history. Continue reading
If you know Bill Maher much at all you know that he is very much anti-relgion. This video is a very interesting video of Bill Maher with guest Ross Douthat. Ross holds his own to say the least.
One of the central doctrines of Mormonism is that the Christian Church has gone through a universal apostasy. In other words Mormons believe that the church is so far removed from what the apostles and Christ taught that it really is no longer the church at all. It is because of this that Joseph Smith is believed to have brought the church back to where it should be.
If you’re ever talking with a Mormon about these issues there are a few things you can bring up to show that the church has clearly not gone under a full universal apostasy.
1. Accuracy of the Bible
Many Mormons will argue that one proof that the church went through a complete apostasy is that the scriptures have been changed over thousands of years, and so we can’t trust the scriptures that we have today. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you simply ask them to give evidence of this fact, they won’t have any. The Dead Sea Scrolls was evidence the accuracy of the Bible that we have now because it predated about any other Old Testament Manuscript we had up to that time by about 1,00 years. When we compare what it to our modern Hebrew Bibles it is 99% identical to what we have now, the only errors being slips of the pen and spelling differences. With that well of copied text there is no reason to think the church had lost track of Christ’s original teaching. They had the Word itself to guide them.
2. Peter the Rock
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” Jesus is saying here that hell will not defeat or destroy his church. If complete apostasy has happened this isn’t true. Mormons will argue two points here. First, that the rock Jesus is talking about is not Peter, but the statement Peter makes in the verse before, that Jesus is the Messiah. Second, that this is saying that Hell cannot prevent the church from ‘invading’ hell since it is mentioning gates.
The first objection doesn’t take into mind Peter’s name or why Jesus would mention Peter at the start of the verse. The context lets us know already he is talking to Peter so Jesus has no reason to say Peter’s name again.
So, why say “I tell you that you are Peter”? It’s quite simple. Peter’s name is rock or in the greek ‘Petros’ and the greek word ‘rock’ in the passage is the greek word ‘petra’. Jesus is making a clear connection. “You are the Rock (Peter) and on that rock I will build my church’
As for the second objection it just doesn’t think things through. If Hell has conquered the church altogether and there is no church left then clearly the gates of Hell have prevailed to keep the church out.
3. John the never-dying
In the Mormon Doctrine of the Covenants section 7 John asks God if he can have power over death so he may minister and evangelize till Jesus’ return. God grants this request and so Mormons believe John is still alive. If John is still alive then there has not been a complete apostasy because there would be a remnant of the church still around of at least John and anyone else who may be with him.
4. Church Fathers
Mormons also reference many church fathers or other church writings in which doctrines are being corrected or even whole congregations are being outcast from the church. To them, this must mean that the church has completely lost track of the original Gospel of Christ. There is one massive problem with this argument. It fails to realize that the people doing the correcting clearly have a correct view of the gospel, and so there is still a church that has not gone apostate.
5. Biblical Text
Finally, Mormons will point out, similar to the church fathers, that even in the New Testament epistles we see the apostles themselves correcting and condemning people. If the apostles were having so much trouble even then, it must mean that the whole church would eventually go apostate. The problem here is that it completely ignores and contradicts what what we discussed from Matthew 16:18. Furthermore, there is no scripture which ever prophesies that the entire church will go apostate. There is a huge difference between saying the church needs some correction here and there and that the whole church is completely lost.
Overall you should see a clear grasp of the reasons why unlike Mormons might wish you to believe the church we have now is the same church that was established by Jesus upon the rock of Peter.
Why would anyone who is pro-choice be against or at least angry with Planned Parenthood? I would simply say that Planned Parenthood is a poorly run business.
Aside from anything having to do with abortions Planned Parenthood has all the makings of a business gone wrong. Put simply Planned Parenthood has performed almost 2 million less services in 2015 compared to 2005 according to their annual reports, while receiving an $250 million increase in government aka taxpayer money. In other words taxpayers are giving Planned Parenthood 82% more money to they are receiving about 20% less services. Any company that has a cost increase of 82% and a 20% customer loss I would think would be considered as moving in the wrong direction in the business world.
Looking at the details: Planned Parenthood has decreased it’s contraceptive services by a million, a decrease of over a million in cancer screenings, though that may mainly be due to a lower requirement for cancer screenings (every three years instead of every year), and finally a decrease of just less than a million of their ‘other’ services.
So why should you be opposed to Planned Parenthood even if you are pro-choice? Because Planned Parenthood isn’t doing a good job at providing the services that our government funding is supposed to be helping with. Planned Parenthood is decreasing their services while increases their costs to the American taxpayer, that’s simply not how it should be working. If we have increased our support of Planned Parenthood by 84% we should see at least a production increase rather than the decrease that has happened over the past 10 years.
Perhaps you still believe we should support Planned Parenthood, but at least realize that they need to make some drastic changes for this to continue to be worth it. If Planned Parenthood keeps on this trend they won’t even be providing STD and STI testing in 50 years!
If I did any of the numbers wrong please let me know.
One of the most common debates I find myself in with people is whether or not morality is absolute. It is remarkable to me how much the view that morality is relative has permiated our culture, it seems, from my experience to be the most popular view. What is interesting is that it seems in the philosophical world moral relativism is the laughing stock of ethical philosophy. Perhaps I am wrong about this, I only took two undergraduate level ethics classes, and when I hear about it in my current masters level classes I’ll acknowledge its bias. Either way I thought it would be good to lay out several of what I find to be the most clear reasons Moral Relativism falls short of a practical or philosophical Ethical viewpoint.
You cannot use terms of moral improvement
The fact is, if morality is relative then we cannot say morality has ever improved. It has changed, it is different, but once you say it has improved you are saying that it is not merely different, but better. And the only way that it can be better, is if it is closer to an objective standard, or a perfect morality. You may say you like the current morality more than one of the past which included slavery, but this reduces you to a preference. You may as well say you like vanilla ice cream over chocolate, but you cannot say it is better. It would only be different. Different in a way you prefer, but not in a way that one should prefer. If one should prefer it than once again you have implied an objective outside of yourself standard.
One cannot be morally right in every culture they are a part of
If morality is relative to a persons culture which changes in time, and place than how do we dictate which cultural morality one should follow when they contradict? No one is part of simply one culture. They have the culture of their family, their friends, their school, place of worship, the country they live in, the country they are from etc. If one is a part of two cultures, say an immigrant should they follow the culture they live in or the culture they are from? By choosing one over the other are they then morally wrong in one culture they are part of and morally right for the other? Doesn’t that mean it becomes impossible to really do right altogether? You will always be morally wrong for one culture you are a part of.
As per the point above you may also see that in chosing one culture over the other you have said that one culture’s morality is better than another.
One cannot make moral judgements. . . AT ALL
If morality is relative you cannot say that something is wrong, only that it is wrong for you, or for your culture. For instance, to pick something that most moral relativists will squirm at: if morality is relative then in certain cultures it would be morally right to kill a homosexual, because that is that cultures moral view of what should be done to someone who practices homosexuality. If the moral relativist steps in to say its wrong to kill homosexuals they are asserting that there is an objective moral standard that, whether a culture accepts it or not, exists, and should be followed.
To clarify, I am not saying we should kill homosexuals, nor do I believe so. This is only to make a point.
Now I anticipate that some Moral Relativists at this may say that it is their opinion that homosexuals should not be killed, and that they simply disagree with this man, but this is different than talking about my ice cream preference. I may believe that chocolate ice cream is the best, I may also believe that everyone should think that chocolate ice cream is the best, but morality goes one step further. Not only would I believe that chocolate ice cream is the best and that everyone should believe it is the best, but I would believe that someone is morally wrong to not believe that chocolate ice cream is the best. When the Moral Relitavist says that killing homosexuals is wrong they are saying “I believe you are wrong to kill homosexuals, you should believe killing homosexuals is wrong, and if you believe killing homosexuals is wrong you are morally wrong”. This is not merely an opinion anymore it is an appeal to what they believe is the absolute standard and therefore an acknowledgement that morality is not relative but objective.
This is a bit longer than many of my posts but I feel it is a quick summary of what I believe is one of the most debated issues of today. I think if you can remember these three points you will see that morality must be objective.
One of the many objections we as Christians bring up in opposition to an atheistic worldview is that life cannot have purpose. If there exists no creator, no one that created humanity with a specific design with a specific purpose then we cannot go on to say that life has any real purpose or meaning. In the end we must simply eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die and there is nothing left after that.
Atheists object to this point saying that they can create purpose themselves. They can create purpose by creating their own goals, their own wants and achievements. But does this really amount to anything?