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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The Modern Western Oppression of Women

Two kinds of oppression
All forms of oppression involve some combination of  "negative" and "positive". The person oppressed is either  forced to do something they don't want, or can't do ("positive" oppression) or prevented from doing something they wish to do ("negative" oppression).

In the ancient oppression of women, called patriarchy - women experienced both kinds of oppression. They could not vote, they were prevented from certain careers, they were paid less than men for the same jobs, and so on. And, yes, they were also forced to do things they did not want to do.

Modern Oppression
In the modern version of oppression called radical feminism - women continue to experience oppression. We are thankful that feminism has done away with a lot of negative oppression. Made in the image of God men and women should both have the same opportunity for education, the privilege of voting, and should be paid the same as men for the same job. There are many aspects of modern feminism for which we should rejoice.

But westerners imagine therefore, because they have eradicated some negative oppression, that women are now free. But that is a myth. No secular culture uninformed by God's Word can set anyone free.

Positive Oppression
Positive oppression is the pressure to do what we are not designed to do. In the name of  "equality" - that pseudo-wise weasel word of modern culture - women are encouraged to live lives they may not feel they want to live or feel they are equipped to live.

Modern oppression denies biological and psychological  facts:

A woman is very different from a man:
  • A woman can give birth
  • A woman can feed a baby
  • A woman has a natural predisposition to care for little ones
  • A woman is more emotional than a man - her hormonal make up is different

A man is very different from a woman:
  • A man cannot give birth
  • A man cannot feed a baby
  • A man is much stronger than a woman (in sports men are not pitted against a woman for this reason)
  • A man has far more testosterone running around his body 
  • A man is better psychologically equipped for leadership 

Common sense and psychological tests reveal these vast differences between the sexes:

"In an article published in the online journal PLoS ONE, psychologist Marco Del Giudice and his collaborators compared the personality traits of men and women in a sample of over 10,000 people and found huge differences. Women scored much higher than in men in Sensitivity, Warmth, and Apprehension, while men scored higher than women in Emotional Stability, Dominance, Rule-Consciousness, and Vigilance."

- this is just what anyone who lives in the real world would expect. While men and women are equal ontologically, that is in terms of value, they are not created (made by God, designed by God) to perform the same roles and tasks.

The very confusing equality mantra of radical feminism says that in the name of "equality" men and women must do the same tasks even if they are not designed to do the same tasks.

(The logical conclusion of radical feminism is to insist that the Government provides the medical services for a man to have a baby: only then can men and women be truly "equal", using that word in the way they define it. Only then will men and women be truly "equal." This absurd example illustrates the absurd nature of modern political correctness: men and women, when you think about it for 10 seconds are actually not "equal" in every way).

Positive oppression takes place when a woman is put under pressure to be or to do what she is not created to be or to do, all in the name of  pseudo-righteous confused "equality"; and positive oppression takes place when a man is forced to be or do what he is not created to be or do.

Example? Suppose in our day a young woman comes to this conclusion, "I believe that the very highest calling in life for me at the present time is to give my life and time to bringing up the children God has given to me and my husband. This calling is far more significant than being a managing director, a Professor, pursuing a career or making money. It will have a much greater impact on the world than any of the options just listed because the hand that rocks the cradle ends up ruling the world. And I believe that I myself will be far more satisfied in doing it than any of the options I am forced into by my culture. All my gifts will be used to the nth degree, from organisational gifts to intellectual gifts."

She then takes this view into the modern world and what does she get? "You are liberated to pursue this wonderful goal?" "Go for it sister!" Not at all! In our oppressive western culture, all she will get is negative oppression - "don't do that",  and positive oppression - "this is what you should be doing, pursuing a career for yourself."

So she gives up her own dream and gives up her maternal instincts and feels forced to do something she does not want to do - pursue a secular career.

If that is not oppression, I don't know what is. "You may not do what you want to do! You must do what you don't wish to do."

So while our culture prides itself in the advances it has made over the inequality of patriarchy, it continues to oppress women (and men) by radical feminism.

Only Jesus sets us free
Only the Gospel sets men and women free! By setting us free to be who God  made us to be - equal in value but created very different in gifts and abilities. True freedom can only take place when we are in possession of the truth about who we are, then truth sets us free.

It is high time for a new feminism which will truly liberate women, and that New Feminism can only be discovered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Overwhelming Theory

Facts are more important than theories
Something is happening with our science magazines.  National Geographic, Scientific American, Science, and the like are moving away from facts and focusing on theories.

As our understanding of God's amazing world advances, what matters most are the new findings, the new facts. The theories which attempt to tie these facts together are interesting, but very much secondary - why? Because they are in constant flux.

Theories now dominate
But this is not how science magazines now see things. Today's science magazines rush to theory and hardly present the facts at all - facts which are of primary importance - and which readers would really like to know about!

Example 1: Almost Human, National Geographic
Recently National Geographic published an article about some research on apes in some jungle and entitled it "Almost Human." No-one in their right mind  would have called the behaviour described in the article as "Almost Human." The researchers found a few apes using sticks to poke around trees and labelled all of this as tool behaviour. Did they find an ape making a metal chisel, sharpening it, and then carving out a Michelangelo David? That would be tool use and that would warrant the title "Almost Human." No, they found - the few paltry facts -  a few dumb apes doing dumb ape stuff (no offence meant to apes, that's their design limit, compared to the vast glory of man made in the image of the Glorious Creator).

In this example the very few true facts were completely overwhelmed by the doubtful theory of evolution. What would have been far more honest - and interesting - is a chart comparing the behaviour of humans to the behaviour of the apes they found in the forest. Then readers could have made proper judgements instead of being bullied into foolish and misleading theory-laden headings "Almost Human."

Example 2: Birth of the Solar system, Scientific American, May 2016
This May's Scientific American is all about the remarkable uniqueness of our solar system. But I had to really work hard to wheedle out the paltry details of this fact whihc is scattered about, one sentence here, another there. It turns out that as we discover hundreds and thousands of new planetary systems going around other stars, guess what? Ours is radically unique. In most other planetary systems, you find massive "hot Jupiters" close in to the star (not like our Jupiter and Saturn who are far away) or / and some massive earths (not like our puny earth). It would have been wonderful to have charts showing the differences between our solar system and these new ones. But no, it is really hard to gather the facts out of the article.

What dominates the article, then? Theory. Astronomers have had to tear up the old models of how the solar system formed and come up with totally new ones, and it is these new multi-part theories that dominate the charts and diagrams of the article. The theories are interesting, but they are also most likely, just like their predecessors, to quickly pass.  I want to know the new findings, the new facts - which will last - much more than I want to know the new theories, which though interesting I mentally register with a pinch of salt.

A lesson for science students: go for the facts, be sceptical about the theories
Science students who don't study the philosophy of science or the history of science can so easily be taken in by the stories (passing theories) of modern science. And unfortunately, the science magazines don't help here. What science students need to learn well is the data, the new findings, the new figures and facts. Yes, by all means read the theories, but know this: those theories will change with the seasons, unlike the facts.

Love facts, question all theories - that is good science folks.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Time to ditch the word "evangelical"?


Once upon a time....
There was a day I would have proudly called myself an "evangelical." The word "Evangelical", taking its cue from the New Testament word "Evangel", "Message" or "Gospel" was a wonderful way to describe every true Christian believer. It was shorthand for "Bible Believing Christian" and many of us were proud to wear the T shirt. It was a one-stop title.

Evangelical stood for:
  • Born Again - someone whose life had been supernaturally transformed by the Holy  Spirit.
  • Bible Believing - someone who accepted the Scriptures, old and new Testaments as the revered Word of God
  • Orthodox- someone whose doctrine was in line with the historic creeds and confessions of Christianity
  • Gospel-centred - a believer who loved the Good News of Jesus Christ and made sharing the Great Commission of Matthew 28 a priority

....but words change
However over time the word evangelical has changed its meaning. But unlike the word "enthusiasm" which once meant something unpleasant (a radical) but now means something positive, the word Evangelical has moved in the opposite direction. The word has become so elastic it includes those who no longer take the Bible seriously. And conversely, it has narrowed to refer only to one group of Christian people.

"Evangelical" means "Charismatic"
If you google "Evangelical" images you will see what I mean. An evangelical now is someone who has pentecostal or charismatic beliefs. Pentecostals and Charismatics are brothers and sisters in Christ who are evangelical (old meaning) in their belief systems, but they don't represent the whole of the evangelical (old meaning) world. There are millions of Christians who believe that some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit were given for the foundational era of the church and are no longer available or necessary today.

"Evangelical" means "liberal"
But far more concerning is the rapid widening of the "evangelical net" to include those who deny the plain teachings of the Bible or accommodate the liberal theological academic establishment. Men like NT Wright have had huge influence among some evangelicals (because he is "clever" and has all those weird and perfectly irrelevant letters after his name, which some find apparently authenticating: all you need for God's approval is something like "fisherman" or "tax-collector" after your name.) Academics like this are wedded to the intellectual establishment, with all its foolish passing fads, and write for the approval of fellow academics, making their work contorted, convoluted, and worst of all polluted by the liberalism of the secular academy. The moment they die their work will be fortunately undermined (for they are no longer around to defend their ideas) and thus quickly forgotten. Their followers, such as Steve Chalke, take the teachings of their revered professors to their logical conclusions and end up as Gospel-deniers. But, the point: these men still cling to the word "evangelical" and pollute its meaning.

"Evangelical" means "immoral"
And then, thirdly, there are the growing number of immoral men and women who have infiltrated the "evangelical" church with same-sex sinful lifestyles. It is truly astounding how many recent authors "defending" the sin of homosexual pratice have continued to call themselves "evangelical." By incredibly selective choosing of texts and deliberate exclusion of the main texts they have spun a web of lies - but, the point: they cling to the word "evangelical."

In this confused morass, before you call yourself an evangelical you need to add a few more sentences "I am a historic evangelical" or "a confessional evangelical" or "I am not a liberal evangelical" or "I am not a practising homosexual evangelical" or whatever, which sort-of undermines the value of a precious one-stop title.

So regrettably, its probably time to ditch the word evangelical, but what can replace it? Bible-believing Christian is probably the best alternative.