We associate pretend things with childhood. There is something endearing about watching a child in pretend play. There are valuable developmental things going on in children as they pretend and emulate what they see in their world. But it seems out of place for adults to play like younger children (1 Corinthians 13:11).
The thought I'd like you to think about is this: how much of your life is pretend? It is probably not a very high percentage of overall hours if your life is close to the average American's. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, working and sleeping take about 16.4 hours out of 24. These are fixed costs associated with "just living."
But on average, Americans have five daily hours of leisure activities where they have more control over what they choose to do. Well over half of that segment of the day is devoted to watching television and playing games.
Setting aside the possibility that you are watching documentaries and educational television, I would venture to say that most TV and games are pretend activities. You are watching and vicariously experiencing the made-up activities of others. You see pretend violence and pretend relationships. You view pretend situations. You become actively involved in your pretend mind with simulated reality video games. I would argue that adult pretend of this nature is not substantially different from child pretend.
Does there seem to be something wrong with such pretend? Besides the fact that it seems out of place for adults to have so much pretend in their lives, there are other thoughts you can ponder. For example, pretend has a real effect on the mind and body. Have you ever experienced an elevated pulse when watching something with suspense or violence? What do you think repeated exposure to that sort of pretend does to the mind and body? Pretend TV shows teach (preach!) real values, whether bad or good. What about the numbing effect of pretend on our interaction with the real world? If our leisure time is filled with pretend, it can have an anesthetizing effect on us, removing awareness of the things that are really going on. Perhaps Satan lures our flesh through pretend in entertainment in order to dull our senses to what he is doing in the world. Pretend can distract us from global trends, political realities, personal relationships, and the needs of others in view of the ultimate reality that life is short and each person will soon be called to judgment.
Don’t pretend your life away!
A common argument for keeping abortion legal is that if it were made illegal, many pregnant mothers would die from clandestine abortions, otherwise known as "coat hanger" or "back alley" abortions.
A new study of the maternal mortality ratio in Chile disproves this unproven propagandist assertion. Dr. Elard Koch and colleagues have written a study entitled Women's Education Level, Maternal Health Facilities, Abortion Legislation and Maternal Deaths: A Natural Experiment in Chile from 1957 to 2007.
Chile has outlawed basically all abortions since 1989. Yet, Koch concludes his article with these telling sentences: "Finally, prohibition of abortion in Chile did not influence the downward trend in the maternal mortality ratio. Thus, the legal status of abortion does not appear to be related to overall rates of maternal mortality."
Translation: if you make abortion illegal, you are not therefore necessarily going to raise the number of mothers who die from clandestine abortions.
I'm thankful for evidence-based medicine concluding, in this case, the same thing we know intuitively. Making abortion illegal will not cause mothers to flock to back alleys to potentially harm themselves. Their self interest will help them be more responsible about their sexual activity, and also encourage them to give birth to children they have conceived. Making abortion illegal has the added benefit of protecting another segment of the population: the unborn!
For further reading, check out the following:
August 6, 2003
Minneapolis, Tuesday, Aug 5, 2003: The Episcopalian Church yesterday elected Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson to the New Hampshire Diocese. He is now the first openly gay bishop of that denomination. The vote was by the Episcopal general convention. He was previously the assistant to the New Hampshire bishop. He is a divorced father of two, currently living with a male partner.
Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, head of the church, said the bishops voted 62-45 to confirm Robinson's election. Two bishops abstained, but their ballots under church rules were counted as "no" votes. The Episcopal Church, with 2.3 million members, is the U.S. branch of the 77 million-member global Anglican Communion. The vote is causing quite a stir among conservatives of that denomination.
The Episcopalian denomination has for some time accepted gay and lesbian people into its fellowship. Listen to the same article: "Robinson said he attended a gathering of gay Episcopalians Tuesday night where some were in tears, saying their gay children had called to tell them they would now return to the church." Or, "Later this week, the Episcopal convention is expected to consider a measure on drafting a same-sex blessing ceremony."
In an interview Wednesday [August 6, 2003], Robinson said he hoped his critics would not leave the church, though he disagrees with their view that gay sex violates Scripture. "I think they're wrong about this," he said. "I think they'll come to know that they are wrong, in this life or the next one." (Election of Gay Bishop Prompts Walkout, By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer).
This decision is only one further step in the downward spiral that the Episcopalian denomination (among others) is taking in its apparent effort to keep up with the ways of the world: note the Supreme Court decision in June overturning Texas' sodomy laws, and recent Canadian movements toward legalization of homosexual marriage. Certainly we are in the midst of a great movement away from the truth of God, as Paul tells Timothy in 1 Tim 4:1-3; 2 Tim 3:1-5, 13, 4:3-4.
It is unfortunate that we must even talk of these things (Eph 5:12) but in the interest of declaring the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) we will reproduce here the Biblical teaching on the issue of homosexuality.
Let it be emphatically said that the critics of Robinson are not wrong. Homosexuality is clearly condemned in the Scriptures as immoral, ungodly, wicked behavior. The following paragraphs show this from five clear texts in the Bible. Note well that these are the clear teachings of the Bible, not of a radical man or denomination.
Lev 18:22, 20:13. "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination...If there is a man who lies with a male as those who life with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood-guiltiness is upon them." The Mosaic law clearly prohibits homosexuality as something that is detestable. The law, as an expression of the holy will of God for the Jews, contains principles are clearly applicable to us today. While we do not have a civil law which functions as it did in Israel, i.e. the punishment today for such behavior is obviously not the death penalty, we do understand that God hates this practice, as he hates all sin.
Rom 1:26-27. "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error."
If some should argue that the Mosaic law has passed out of force in this age of grace, they would be correct. But they would not be correct to use this as an argument supporting homosexual behavior, for it is again condemned here, in the New Testament epistles. Paul carries the principle forward "from the creation of the world" (verse 20) all the way to the present (vs. 32) where he uses present tense verbs to speak of those who "know the ordinance of God...practice such things...they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them." So, the Episcopal church has given approval to one who is practicing homosexuality. Such is a double-sin: one of allowing the sin and another of promoting the sin.
Paul is very clear in Romans that such behavior, first of all, is sourced in what the NASB calls "degrading passions." These are the evil lusts or passions which drive lesbian and homosexual behavior. These passions are only genetic in the sense that sin is genetic, i.e. all people are born with a sin nature. They are not a disease in the classic sense of that term; instead they come from the "disease" called sin.
Such behavior, secondly, is unnatural. The word used in Greek indicates that which is inborn or native, according to the laws of nature and the created order. There are plain physical indications of the order of God's creation, and homosexual behavior violates these.
Such behavior, thirdly, is indecent. This word means shameful, unseemly. These ideas do not lend themselves to support of homosexual behavior in the least.
Such behavior, fourthly, is error. This word has two related ideas. The first is a straying from truth or orthodoxy. Such behavior is indeed a departure from that which is right. Additionally, the word for "error" means deception. Many have deceived themselves into thinking that homosexuality is either natural, a preset human condition, a valid choice, or "ok for someone else but not for me." No! In fact, it is error. It is sin. Deception often comes, as in this case, by setting up a human standard (in our own autonomous minds) as opposed to looking to God's perfect standard.
Such behavior, fifthly, leads one into the judgment of God. This is indicated in the phrase "God gave them over to degrading passions" and they "receiv[ed] in their own persons the due penalty of their error." This is more than God permitting them to sin, because He had permitted sin already at the Fall. It is also more than God's withholding of his goodness, for the gospel is available to all today; none can say that God is not good. This judgment is God's confirming of the wicked in their lifestyle and His allowing them to experience the full penalty (temporal and eternal) of their error. These are indeed weighty words for those who are caught in such practice. For you Christians out there, this ought to burden your soul to witness to those caught in such behavior, to save a soul from death (James 5:20).
1 Cor 6:9. "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals..." The word for effeminate refers to pedophilia and generally to homosexuality. The word "homosexuals" is translated by the KJV as "abusers of self with mankind." This means a sodomite or homosexual. Very clearly Paul is calling out these, among other sexual sins, as violations of God's will.
1 Tim 1:9-10. "...realizing the fact that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching."
Here again the word for homosexual is used. Note that all of these deeds are paralleled with each other as being lawless and rebellious. They are all "contrary to sound teaching." Sure, teachers go about today saying cultural norms dictate that Paul is outmoded or a bigot or a homophobe. Not at all. In fact, Paul says that some of the Corinthians were saved out of such sin. He thanked God for them (1 Cor 1:4) and he sent his love to them in the final verse of his first letter (1 Cor 16:24).
Far from a homophobe, Paul was instead a sin-o-phobe. He wanted to see all men come to the obedience of the faith (Rom 1:5) and to be delivered from the power of darkness (Acts 26:18). This is God's continuing desire today (2 Peter 3:9).
The case is quite clear that Rev. Robinson is wrong. Pray for him to realize this soon.
A follow-up article can be read at The New York Times.
The UK Telegraph reported earlier today on a fresh rendition of an old idea: if abortion is OK, then so is killing young infants.
The report covers an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics entitled "After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?" The authors write, "The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual." Thus they extend the logic of abortion to cover infants outside of the womb. How can anyone doubt the parallel pro-lifers make of abortion to the Nazi extermination of Jews, or the treatment of Dred Scot and his brethren as non-persons?
I suppose I could spend a lot of time rebutting the article, but in the end, one of our church members is right: not much needs to be said. This article reflects the sick minds of people who are dead in their transgressions. They profess themselves to be wise but show themselves to be fools. Anyone that thinks it is OK to kill a baby is an extremely dangerous person promoting extremely dangerous ideas. Their ideas are so morally corrupt that they ought not to be given a hearing. --MAP
Some months back 20/20 did a report on so-called "IFB" churches (Independent, Fundamental, Baptist Churches) regarding allegations of sexual abuse and cover-ups by some leaders in those churches. The scandal in the Catholic church continues to rage on. Then there was the Penn State debacle with Jerry Sandusky that took down head coach Joe Paterno. What could be next?
Well, a couple of stories right here in Ann Arbor have hit the news lately. The first happened at the University of Michigan Medical Center. The second, at a local elementary school. Here are some links if you want to read up on them:
Just this morning another story of the same sordid sort was in the news in the Los Angeles schools.
To add further evidence of the massive problem, the CDC recently reported that one in five women in the U.S. have been raped (page 20 of this PDF report).
As I reviewed all these facts, a few thoughts came to mind. First, what in the world is going on? The frequency of these incidents, in all kinds of venues, is ridiculous. Our society is so debased. Second, I have small children. What do I do in order to help protect them? Third, what are best practices for our church and schools to prevent and to handle such cases? Fourth, I noticed that even though the religious institutions have taken a beating in the press, the problem is far more widespread than just some perverts in churches. Big secular institutions are being hit with this as well.
One common thread in many of these cases is the delay in reporting to the police. That is a bad mistake, and one that we need to resolve not to repeat. In some of the cases mentioned above, authorities were contacted, but they might not have been the right authorities. If we are in "management" and something like this comes to our attention, we cannot hide it, shelve it, or ignore it. The people below us on the authority ladder may not know exactly what to do, or may be apprehensive about getting involved. We can exercise appropriate leadership by being actively involved in reporting the incident and encouraging them to be as well. A call to the police with the person who has told us of the incident would be a good start. Hopefully we will find out about the problem in a timely manner.
We must do things right in the sight of the Lord, as well as in the sight of men (2 Corinthians 8:21).
The first sentence of Dr. Bauder's article "Let Me Tell You How to Vote" certainly captured my attention. It said, "Churches have no business addressing political questions." After reading the article a couple of times, I still was perplexed. Perhaps, I thought, he has simply made a too-broad statement that is inconsistent with the rest of his article. Maybe he purposefully said it with the intention of returning to the issue later to clarify things. Maybe he means something different by "political questions" than I do when I use that general phrase. Maybe the church is not supposed to address political questions, but the Christian academician is permitted to do so.
The article is helpful, and one of the ways it was helpful was that it prompted me to think on the issues. Generally I agree with the principles Dr. Bauder puts forth. I differ in where I draw the line as far as principle and application, and this affects my summary statement. That is, churches have to address political questions because those questions often have some connection to Christian morality.
So...here are some of my thoughts.
I wondered if we would be having the discussion in the way that Bauder frames it if we did not have to concern ourselves with 501(c)(3) constraints. In other words, if we were given totally free religious speech, would we just "spit it out" and avoid the circumlocutions?
When I say "circumlocutions," I am thinking of the ways in which Bauder frames his eight biblical concerns such that they are effectively recommendations on "who to [not] vote for" even though he writes in terms of "general principles." If you preach Bauder's list, most people are going to understand your message in light of the current political situation and candidates. Consider some of his concerns and how they would be "heard" by the contemporary audience:
1. Reputation for Integrity - Don't vote for Newt Gingrich.
2. Right to Life - Don't vote for Barack Obama, and maybe not for Mitt Romney either, and possibly not for Ron Paul either.
3. Rule of Law - Don't vote for Barack Obama, and maybe not for some of the other candidates because of their weak stand on the immigration issue.
4. Restraint of Evil - Don't vote for Barack Obama.
5. Respect for Property - Don't vote for Barack Obama or most other Democrats, nor many establishment Republicans.
6. Recovery of Moral Responsibility - ditto.
7. Recognition of Israel - Certainly don't vote for Barack Obama, and probably not for Ron Paul either.
8. Responsible Use of Nature - Don't vote for most everyone on the left.
Now, as I said, I am in almost 100% agreement with Bauder's principles. However, in a sin-cursed world it is tough to apply them with 100% consistency. Maybe Rick Santorum is left standing after all these principles are applied, but maybe not. Couldn't we just say what we mean in terms of contemporary application instead of talking around it?
Another thought on the point about integrity comes to mind. Bauder says "a man who will violate his marriage oath is one who will violate his oath of office." He does not say "a man who has violated his marriage oath in the past is necessarily of the same character now and will certainly violate his oath of office in the future." All men are inconsistent in some ways. Some would violate their oath toward their spouse but not toward their job. Others maybe have learned their lesson and do not want to repeat their past mistakes.
Another thought: I would add a ninth biblical concern to Bauder's list.
9. Reduction of Debt by Paying it Off Fully. Proverbs 22:7 tells us that the borrower is slave to the lender, and Psalm 37:21 says that the wicked borrow and do not repay. The United States is currently a slave nation as well as a wicked nation in this regard. The continual piling up of yearly deficits into the national debt is morally wrong. The weak dollar policy that causes inflation, lessening the value of debt that is paid back on the same face value, is morally wrong as well. A default on sovereign debt would be morally wrong. And the surreptitious reduction of the purchasing power of savings held by our citizens by means of that same inflation is also morally wrong.
The point about debt, then, brings me to my final thought. Bauder makes the popular appeal to downplay purely economic issues in one's decision to vote (the idea is "don't worry about your pocketbook, vote for life/integrity/property rights/etc.!"). The problem is that many economic issues are also moral issues. Most of the concerns enumerated by Bauder are not only spiritual concerns; they are also economic concerns; and they are also political concerns, at least in the common sense of the term "political." Since the Bible gives us wisdom for all areas of life, it does so also for political questions. In preaching the whole counsel of God, we will necessarily run into passages that have applications that deal with political questions. It is true that principles must guide our decisions as to how to vote, but these principles at some point have to come down to the level of application in answer to the question "who to vote for," or at least who not to vote for, as well. —MAP
So says Mark Harrington at CreatedEqual.net. I couldn't agree more.
Remember the SLED acronym - abortion is justified by its proponents by four main arguments: the baby's Size (small), Level of development (lacking certain capabilities), Environment (hidden away in the uterus), and level of Dependency. No other people are murdered based on these criteria. Why should the murder of unborn babies be based on them?
Perhaps it seems a little out of character for me to comment on an issue like Medicare Part D. However, my soul is vexed when I hear misinformation and see elderly folks having difficulties with their medication because of shortcomings in the program and unhelpful pharmacies. My mother-in-law was in this very predicament and it took me some time to sort through it.
Medicare Part D provides a senior the ability to pay a (usually) small copay of $7 for a prescription medication. The insurance company picks up the remainder of the cost. However, this does not always work out so neatly. There are several tiers of medication, such as generics and common non-generics and "rare" medicines. These are not always provided at the $7 copay level. Furthermore, there is what is called the "coverage gap" or, in more picturesque terms, the "donut hole." After the insurance company pays so much, say $2000, then you are responsible for 100% of your medication cost until the coverage gap ends, at which time "catastrophic" coverage kicks in and the insurance helps you again.
The problem is that your elderly friend or relative may not be aware of just what the pharmacy is charging for a particular medication-so that you pay the $7 happily along, but the pharmacy could be eating up your coverage until, before you know it, you are in the coverage gap. This problem is further exacerbated by misinformation and incomplete information offered in pamphlets and advertising.
For instance, a pamphlet on the subject provided by the makers of Prilosec OTC (a heartburn medication) say this: "While generic prescription medications are often less expensive than brand name prescription medications, the full Medicare cost of a generic prescription medication still counts toward the total limit covered by Medicare Part D." Your elderly friend gets the impression that buying generics is a bad idea. Rather, over-the-counter medications are the best--and thus he or she would be induced to select Prilosec OTC instead of, say, the generic Ranitidine (Zantac) even though the latter may work just as well and be covered by Medicare Part D.
Worse yet, if you are in the Detroit area, you may have heard the Walgreen's radio commercial in which they claim that Medicare Part D eliminates price shopping, since all prescriptions are the same price everywhere. This smacks of a socialized approach to medicine, for one thing. But beyond that, it is simply not true. If Walgreen's charges $50 for a medication (and you pay $7), while CVS charges $40 for the same medicine (and you pay $7), your would arrive in the coverage gap much sooner with Walgreen's. This is a real problem for seniors who have complex health issues and who take many medications every day.
The solution that I found most helpful was to switch pharmacies and use generics as much as possible. We use the Kroger Pharmacy, and could just as well use the Walmart Pharmacy, because of their $4 generic programs. What this means is that we pay $4 for a generic for a month (or $10 for a three-month supply). Not only is the copay lower ($4 compared to $7), but Medicare Part D pays NOTHING and so you avoid the donut hole much longer than if your pharmacy is charging up your Part D account!
Here's a concrete example: For 90 tablets of Warfarin (Coumadin) at 3mg per tablet, we presently pay $10 at Kroger (this is a 3-month prescription). Medicare Part D does not have to pay a penny. However, before I figured all this out, we were using a pharmacy that charged $60.39 for the same number of pills--except that they were 1mg per tablet!!! Insurance allowed $41.63 instead of the higher amount; but after the $7 copay, insurance still had to pay $34.63. What a huge waste to the American taxpayer--the amount wasted is over three times the total cost of the prescription! Unfortunately, this scenario must be replaying millions of times over throughout the United States.
Another advantage is that you don't have to abide by some of the insurance companies silly rules since you are paying out of pocket. For instance, you might have heard, "You cannot fill this prescription because it is too soon after you refilled it before." But if you have changed dosages or just don't want to run to the store as often, and you are paying cash, you just say, "Look, I'm paying cash for this. Don't put it toward my Medicare Part D."
An interesting side note to this is that the market has produced a solution far superior to that of Medicare Part D. Kroger and Walmart are doing more to save senior's on their meds than the federal government!
I hope this will be helpful to someone out there. We learned the hard way--four months in the donut hole with some very expensive medications.
There is a stately building on the University of Michigan campus called Angell Hall. On the front is the following inscription:
Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
The text is taken from the Northwest Ordinance as written by the Continental Congress in the summer of 1787, shortly before the ratification of the Constitution later that year and the next. The full title of the Congress's document was "An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio, 1787".
You can see a picture of the building below. One of the men in our church helped me by putting together this picture along with a few minor alterations.
Need I ask the obvious question--at least it is obvious for those of us who live in Ann Arbor and are frequently on the campus--where did the religion and morality go, anyway?
I probably knew this before, but lately in the news I was reminded that the federal government is supporting Planned Parenthood with my tax money. I read in the "What in the World!" flyer from Bob Jones University, Volume 45, Number 3, the following: "Planned Parenthood took in just over $1 billion during the fiscal year ending in June 2007. They received $356 million in health center income, $337 million in government grants and contracts..." They were quoting a story from the June 23, 2008 Wall Street Journal.
Jonathan Falwell reported essentially the same facts in his weekly "Falwell Confidential" email on April 4, 2008. He added that Planned Parenthood performed nearly 290,000 abortions in 2006-7.
This is an outrage. Not only has a "right to choose" been foisted upon us, but so has a "right to have my choice paid for by someone else."
What is even more frustrating is that our current president, President George Bush, pledged not to allow federal funding for abortions. In the second Bush-Kerry debate on October 8, 2004, in St. Louis, Missouri, the questioner (ABC's Charles Gibson) asked "What would you say to a voter asking for reassurance that tax dollars would not go to support abortion?" Bush answered, "We're not going to spend taxpayers' money on abortion..."
Certainly it is impossible with the type of government we have to please all of the people all of the time with the types of spending decisions that are made. Some things like national defense are mandated in the constitution, even though pacifists might strongly object to certain uses of the military. But abortion is a unique issue worthy of examining on its own. All Christians should do their part to oppose abortion and the means that allow it to happen, because human rights begin at conception. Those rights include the right to life. God never promises liberty and happiness, but He is clear that the unborn are to be protected (Exodus 20:13, 21:22-25).
"The incandescent light bulb, one of the most venerable inventions of its era but deemed too inefficient for our own, will be phased off the U.S. market beginning in 2012 under the new energy law just approved by Congress." So starts the story posted December 19, 2007 in U.S. News & World Report. The sale of such bulbs will be banned in favor of other types of bulbs.
So--we can choose to kill a baby before it's born, but we cannot choose the kind of light bulb we want to buy? What is wrong with us?
I decided I should read Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation to learn about the current state of the atheist community. One thing I learned by reading his initial "Note to the Reader" is that he believes we are in a moral and intellectual emergency because of the supposed Christian beliefs of the population of the United States.
His starting point for drawing this conclusion comes from polling data regarding American religious beliefs--such beliefs as a young earth, God's hand in creation, the inspiration of the Bible, the requirement of believing in Jesus Christ for salvation, and the imminent return of Christ. Although it seems far-fetched to me that such beliefs are really so pervasive, let us accept Harris' undocumented data for now, and his first conclusion that the United States really is an odd country in the world because of these convictions.
Harris proceeds to say, "many of us [speaking of Christians] may not care about the fate of civilization." His conclusion is based on another polling datum, namely that 44% of Americans believe Christ will return soon, and only after devastation on the earth. "It is...not an exaggeration to say that if the city of New York were suddenly replaced by a ball of fire, some significant percentage of the American population would see a silver lining in the subsequent mushroom cloud..."
So goes Harris' argument for the moral and intellectual emergency. But is it a convincing argument? Look back a mere five years before the writing of Harris' book to September 11, 2001. A great disaster did occur in the city of New York. Did a significant portion of the population get some sick glee out of the deaths of thousands of Americans? Did Christ return? Did many people really think great and glorious things were about to happen? Much to the contrary, while a few Christians might have thought they could with certainty ascribe those events to God's direct judgment and a sign of Christ's soon coming, the "significant percentage" recognized the evil for what it was, and prayed for justice and protection.
In short, Harris' conclusion does not follow logically from his argument. Christians are never really glad for evil that is done, even if such evil does indicate that prophesied events are still on the way to fulfillment. His moral and intellectual emergency is fabricated, based as it is on an exaggerated hypothetical situation weakly coupled with some polling data. Harris goes on to respond to this so-called emergency in the remainder of his book. Lord willing, we will look at some more of his arguments in future entries, even if we have to suspend disbelief about his major premise.
Atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote in a 1989 New York Times book review, "It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)." He later added a fifth possibility, that such a person is a victim who has either been tormented, bullied, or brainwashed (see his essay Ignorance is No Crime).
If Dawkins would subject his own statement to careful scrutiny and objective measures, he would see that it does not hold up to scientific standards.
Consider the number of scientists who hold doctoral level degrees from secular universities, and are at the same time Christians. I personally know several, and know of many others. Because they have been granted doctoral level degrees, they can hardly be called stupid or ignorant. Their intelligence and knowledge has been objectively validated by the secular establishment. Dawkins might argue that they are stupid or ignorant in the areas of physics, astronomy, geology, paleontology, and other such specialties. The trouble with such an argument is that there are many Ph.D.s in those very fields that do not accept the evolutionary worldview. And many Ph.D.s whose specialties are in other fields are still well-read and intelligent thinkers.
These well-educated, Christian scientists are also not considered insane by any objective measure, even by secular psychiatrists and psychologists. They behave normally, hold jobs, have good interpersonal skills, are well-balanced, and so on.
In addition, these Christian "non-conformist" scientists behave very well and do not have any hidden agenda to promote their views of God and creation. They are not trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes, they are of good character, and are quite clearly not "wicked."
Furthermore, Dawkins' statement was overly general. Almost everyone believes in "evolution" in one way or another. Basically everyone understands evolution of technology, or micro-evolution of germs. What creationists object to is the "macro-evolutionary" theory of one species changing into another species.
Finally, I'll give a little personal testimony. I don't feel like I'm a victim of others trying to keep me in the dark on the issues of creation. I've made a careful decision for young-earth creationism. If I am tormented or bullied , it is by scientists like Dawkins who keep calling me names. If I am brainwashed, it is by educators like Dawkins who try to keep views such as ID or creationism out of the public square. Too bad Dawkins does not use the scientific method he embraces to measure his own statements. If he did, he would find them wanting.