Thursday, 30 January 2014

How to create a hedonistic, porn addicted and useless generation of young men

I've pretty much given up on blogging longer posts any-more and due to time restraints I'm just gonna go old-school and use my blog for some of my own personal thoughts.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend a few days ago about the state of many peoples views of men, sex and relationships. I mentioned to him that I despaired of thinking of the likelihood that my sister would find a man her age that would begin a relationship with the intention of it being a permanent one that included fidelity, faithfulness, children and some basic level of selflessness. I suggested to my friend that I believed this was highly unlikely given the state of our confused culture and its fascination with porn and absent fathers.

Porn Overdose

I could give you the data but as only my quick thoughts in-between doing an MA and working full-time you will have to search the data for yourselves (it's easily available on-line). Many children in the West now view pornography before their eleventh birthday and makes subtle but devastating changes to their brains. Such that it will mould their view of women as objects to fulfil their selfish sexual desires; make them unable (or at-least make it more challenging) to ever be satisfied with a 'normal' woman, make them increasingly likely to commit sexual abuse,devalues the the importance and value of monogamous relationships and interferes with a child's development and identity. There are numerous studies that have acknowledged the damage pornography can do to young minds and human development. In a culture of such easily available pornography it will be of no surprise that so many young men have no intention of being one woman men.

A Deadbeat Dad

You then add the complication of  how few boys have an example of a dad who demonstrates how to treat a woman well, and when you combine the two it should be of little surprise that very few young men know how to treat a woman with the respect that she deserves as an equal. Pornography by its very nature leads men to see women as a means to an end and of little value besides satisfying sexual desires. How often are they shown differently? Humans learn from the behaviour they see and even though we are extremely complex beings by virtue of nature and nurture the examples we see at home are the ones that form the person we become, and to some extent many of the values we hold. With a decrease in stable marriages and increasingly absent fathers fewer young men have someone to look to as an example. Instead many young men are formed by cultural expectations and the examples (or lack thereof) they see in their friendship groups. The combination of a lack of good father figures and an increase in the viewing of pornography from an increasingly young age is like a cultural cancer that is helping to mould a generation of destructive young men.

Monday, 29 July 2013

I'm still blogging...just not here.

I stopped blogging for some time but have recently started again if you wanted to continue to read what I write about.

www.mindtheevangelical.blogspot.com

Cheers,

Daniel

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Is Christianty Evil?


A slightly updated version is available over at where I blog now.


The late Christopher Hitchens in his rhetorical master-piece that is God is Not Great argues that religion as a whole is a terrible evil, Dawkins claimed that God is a sort of mental illness and the rest of the four horsemen, Dennett and Harris offer just variations on those themes.

If you are of the sceptical variety and only read other Atheist writings, that is to say that you only learn about Science, Philosophy, Literary Criticism, History and the like from other Atheists [This is not to say that this is the case for all Atheists, but certainly a growing minority] it’s no surprise that many have come to believe that Christians do and have done very little good in the world. I’ve encountered many Atheists unfortunately of this type who are just as indoctrinated as the people they claim they are against, sadly the irony is lost on many of them.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Top 5 Most Viewed Posts of 2011

Even I have to admit 3 out of the 5 are pretty boring, I'm surprised Justin Bieber didn't make it to number 1... he usually does.


Number 1 - What's your world-view?


Number 2 - British Atheist Philosopher Stephen Law steps up!


Number 3 - Polly Toynbee - Another outspoken Atheist jumps ship!


Number 4 - Big props for Polly Toynbee, President of the British Humanist Association (BHA)


Number 5 - Oral Tradition in the Gospels and Justin Bieber - This is my favourite post of 2011, it takes a lot of effort to write a post involving both ancient Jewish oral tradition and one of the worlds most annoying yet mildly talented pop artists!


Have a great 2012!


Friday, 16 December 2011

Question Time - A pointless statement from Jesus in Matthews Gospel?

This weeks question comes from Ogunitracy who asked the following question -

Jesus said "Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God"

I think I follow the logic. God is pure, so to see Him, you should be pure. Only problem is, no one is pure, remember? We're all sinners according to Romans 3. So, wasn't Jesus' statement kind of a waste of time? What pure in heart?

Beatitudes and Memory

The scripture in question is found in Matthew 5:8 in what is known as the 'Beatitudes' which are sayings that describe the attitudes of a true disciple and follower of Jesus. The structure of the way Jesus teaches these beatitudes to his listeners is intentional and purposefully designed to make them easy to memorize [1]. The historical context of those he was teaching were those in an oral culture, in such a culture certain mnemonic devices would be used to aid the hearers to remember what they had heard. Hence Jesus' use of a rhythmic structure and repetition 'Blessed are the....' allows easy memorization but also highlights the importance of what he has to say. Relying on such devices was an important part of an oral culture since many were unable to read and write or such luxuries were not available to the majority of people, so dependency on memory and ways to remember important matters were highly important. Such literary devices as Jesus displays allowed many Jews to remember large quantities of information accurately through an array of literary devices, this allowed some Jews able to recite the whole Torah orally from memory. 

Matthew 5:8 and Interpretation

The real thrust of the question if I understand it correctly is that Jesus' statement regarding the pure in heart is essentially a nonsense statement if he's telling us that only those who are morally pure will see God. The questioners right if Jesus is telling us that only those who are morally pure or perfect will see God then none of us will and the saying makes no sense.  Having a pure heart means more than just being morally pure, when we understand the gospel and understand Gods grace it should be clear that such an interpretation is mistaken, I don't recommend ever interpreting any scripture in isolation out of its larger context. 

Understanding the larger context of a narrative informs us how to interpret the smaller parts, such an understanding here means that interpreting the word 'pure' as moral perfection isn't warranted, and such a suggestion to both Jesus initial listeners and to us today places a demand that everyone knows they can't meet. 

The Beatitudes are descriptive statements that describe what Jesus followers are or will be doing which at-least tells us that its not impossible to achieve, which moral perfection is, hence the need for a perfect saviour to stand in our place and represent us before God [Hebrews 8:1-2]. Jesus was telling his listeners something that described what was actually possible to live out, the beatitudes are not a list of impossible character traits, they detail the ways in which Christians should and do live.

When Jesus uses the term 'pure in heart' his listeners would have understood him to be alluding to Psalm 73 where the pure in heart are described as being the 'those in Israel whose hearts were ''clean'' or undefiled, those who recognised that God alone was their help and reward' [2]. Having a pure heart means living under Gods rule, living a life that is pleasing to God and having a heart that is devoted to God.

A pure heart describes a desire and not a state, that is a clear distinction that must be recognised otherwise it leads to a religious idea of condemnation where one can never be good enough, when in fact in light of Gods grace to us through Jesus there is no condemnation [Romans 8:1].

Peter in his letter describes what I think is the best biblical description of what it means to have a pure heart, 'You won't spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.' [1 Peter 4:3].


What does Jesus mean by being blessed?

The problem of translating foreign words into English can present difficulties when trying to fully comprehend what was meant to be understood. What in English Bibles is translated as just 'blessed' corresponds to the Greek Makarios and Hebrew asher which simultaneously mean 'blessed', 'happy' and 'fortunate' all at the same time [3].

In Conclusion, the syllogism posed in the question is mistaken because although God is pure and morally perfect, its equivocating to suggest that 'pure' in the context means moral perfection and ascribes such a demand to Christians. A pure heart is one in which the believer has undiluted, undivided loyalty to God, a life that is difficult enough without requiring the impossible. This passage understood in the light of the rest of scripture presents us with a challenge but not an impossible one, Romans chapter 3 demonstrates to us that we are all sinners in Gods sight and need someone to save us. God has done just that by living, dying and resurrecting in history for us and when we accept his forgiveness and gift we now 'want' to live and think about the pure things that God wants us to.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. [Philippians 4:8]

Hope that helps a little.

[1] Matthew, R.T France, 1985.
[2] The IVP BIble Background Commentary: New Testament, Keener.
[3] Jewish New Testament Commentary, Stern.

A redeemed mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Monthly Links - December

The Evangelical Rejection of Reason

Tough Text Thursday - Genesis 6:4

One Minute Apologist - Here's a taster




Say Hello to my Little Friend -  Divine Command Ethics: Ontology versus epistemology

Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologists

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Sceptism - Tim Keller - Its the best £3.60 you will probably spend for some time, however if your not worried about cash please buy it from a bookshop and help keep them open.

 Faith and Work - Some great lectures from NT Wright, Tim Keller and others on Christianity, culture and the work-place.

263 Theological Questions and Answers - A great resource from the guys over at Credo House Ministries/Reclaiming the Mind.


Christmas: Pagan Festival or Christian Celebration?  - Well it is the season of goodwill when these sorts of accusations start flying around again.         


Zeitgeist Refuted


A redeemed mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Best Critique of the 'Word of Faith' Movement on the Internet

This is part 1 of 4 short videos called "A Call for Discernment" A Biblical Critique of the Word of Faith Movement by Justin Peters. Its presentation that he gives to churches all over the US.

I've not found a better critique of the Word of Faith movement anywhere else, some people might not like him because he names people, but if your not persuaded by the examples Justin gives then I don't really know what else can be said. I could write a whole list of problems and make a list of all the reasons the Word of Faith movement is destroying Christianity from the inside out, but Justin says it all better than I could. Please listen! Its easy to waste time on the internet but for a Christian this is 40 minutes well invested.

 

 Here's part 1 -




A redeemed mind is a terrible thing to waste.