November 11, 2008

Jesus a Warmonger?

A Fetus Confronts His/Her Parents.

Dear Mommy and Daddy,

I am your soon-to-be-born son or daughter. Not yet sure which one it is. Kind of cramped in here, y’know? And every time I lean forward to grab a look, this damn umbilical cord gets in my way.

Anyway, before I pop on out, I wanted to clear up a few things. First, we’re Evangelical Christians, right? And as I understand it, this means, among other things, that we have a penchant for sweater vests and really horrible music. Right? And this also means that we’re against abortion. Because abortion is killing an innocent human being and killing innocent human beings is wrong. Right?

Okay, fair enough. But there’s something that I just don’t get. Why don’t you care about other innocent human beings? For example, all those poor Muslims living overseas. Do you realize, Mommy and Daddy, that the Iraq War has killed more than one million people? And do you realize that coalition bombs continue falling on civilians in Afghanistan? And do you realize that US strikes continue killing civilians in Pakistan?

This troubles me, Mommy and Daddy. Now I know what you’re thinking: I’m just a fetus, what do I know? And on a certain level, I guess you’re right. I mean, for crying out loud, I’ve never even seen my own sex organs. But, for the life of me, I just don’t understand why you’re so upset that John McCain, undoubtedly the most militaristic and warmongering presidential candidate in recent memory, lost the election.

And don’t give me that BS about these wars being somehow justified, about us fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here. Come on, Mommy and Daddy, don’t you know that al Qaeda only attacked us in the first place because we were already attacking them—imposing cruel sanctions on the Iraqi people, supporting one Muslim-oppressing dictator after another, turning a blind eye to the Israeli government’s repression of the Palestinians?

Now I know what you’re thinking: But McCain was pro-life, he cared about the unborn, blah blah blah. Well all I can say in response is, wake up! Seriously, Mommy and Dady, I’m only in my second trimester and I could see through McCain’s lies. He defended Roe v. Wade when wooing independents; he slammed Roe v. Wade when wooing conservatives. He’s just another politician, Mommy and Daddy. In other words, he’s a liar.

But I’m getting off track. The point is that all life is precious. When Jesus said, “Love your neighbor,” he didn’t just mean the neighbor living inside your neighbor’s uterus. He meant all your neighbors. Even if they have a different skin color or speak a different language. Even if they hold to a different religion. Even if they live on the other side of the world.

So in conclusion, Mommy and Daddy, please get a clue. Please get the planks out of your own eyes and start practicing what you preach. And I know this might sound disrespectful, I know I shouldn’t talk to you this way. But it’s not like you guys are going to abort me. Right?

Sincerely,
Your loving “it”

November 2, 2008

Two Turds in the Same Bowl -- And Other Thoughts on the Election

Dear fellow citizens,

We are all seriously screwed. Forgive me for putting it so bluntly, but there’s really no other way to put it. Whether McCain wins, or Obama wins, or McCain’s heart gives out and Pit Bull Palin ends up in the White House—we’re screwed.

You see, there’s just no difference between these guys. Sure McCain and Obama each claim that they have different plans, different visions for America, but when you cut through all the crap (and there’s an awful lot of crap here), you essentially have the same candidate. Let’s call him McBama. John Barack McBama.

McBama says he cares about the poor and middle-class—yet he has no intention of cutting corporate welfare.

McBama says he knows how to save the American financial system—yet he has no plan to reform, let alone abolish, the Federal Reserve, which is the true cause of our current crisis.

McBama says he cares about the future of this country—yet he intends to keep driving up the national debt.

McBama says he cares about the sanctity of life—yet he sees nothing wrong with dropping bombs on innocent Muslims.

McBama says he’ll protect the American people from future terrorist attacks—yet he espouses the same policies which put us in danger in the first place.

To put it frankly, McBama is a loser. And not your typical loser, not the type of guy who goes to the comic store every weekend and spends much of his life daydreaming that he’s Akira. No, McBama is a corrupt, self-seeking, thoroughly incompetent sort of loser.

These guys are two sides of the same coin. Or to use a better analogy, they are two turds inside the same toilet bowl. Now perhaps you can make an argument that one turd smells worse than the other. Or to again switch the analogy, perhaps you can make the argument that one candidate would lead us down the wrong road at a slower rate than the other. But that doesn’t mean he deserves our support. If two guys are leading me down the road to Hell, then I want to do all I can to get off the road, and not merely follow the guy who’s going to get me there last!

So what am I suggesting? To vote third party. It doesn’t even matter which party you vote for. Green Party, Libertarian Party, Socialist Workers Party, Animal Rights Party, American Vegan Party—it makes no difference, just vote for one of them. Because I’m afraid that’s our only hope.

Think of it as a long-term strategy. Obviously no third party candidate is going to win this election. But that’s not because the American people are happy with McBama; they’re simply afraid of “throwing their vote away.” Yet if you join with me and vote third party, you’ll be sending a message—to our current leaders, that we’ve lost faith in the two-party monopoly; to potential leaders, that there’s a demand for change, for real change; and to other voters, that they’re not alone, that if they follow our lead and vote their conscience, then we might actually be able to bring about real change in the long-run.

Little by little, all this might actually catch on. Think about it. If a large number of people vote third party this election, then even more might do so the next election, and so on—until one day maybe, just maybe, we might be able to elect someone actually worthy of our respect.

Perhaps I’m dreaming. I realize that. But will you dream with me? Please, dream with me. Because this really might be our only hope. And though it’s a slim hope, at least it’s something. Because if we keep throwing away our votes on the lesser of two evils, then our current nightmare is definitely going to get worse.

Sincerely,
Don Emmerich, Jr.

November 1, 2008

My Letter of Admonishment to Professor Doug Groothuis

Dr. Groothuis,

I don’t know if you remember me, but I took a philosophical ethics class from you in the Spring of 2002. I learned a lot from the class and came to highly respect you as a person. Nevertheless, I feel the need to send you a letter of admonishment, as I feel that many of your recent blogs are a disgrace to both your profession and your religion.

I’m not all that troubled that you’re supporting John McCain for President. I personally think it would behoove Christians to vote for the Constitution Party candidate, but that’s beside the point. What troubles me is that you refuse to support many of your attacks against Obama with any evidence. This has been pointed out to you many times by different bloggers, yet you refuse to change.

Let me give you a few examples of what I mean. In August, one blogger asked you to provide evidence for the following statement, which you had made a couple months earlier:

“Vote for McCain! Unless you want:
1. Far more abortions, and your tax dollars paying for it.
2. Defeat in Iraq and Afganistan.
3. Coddling terrorists.
4. ‘Talking’ to dictators.
5. Race based politics at every level.
6. Another 9/11 attack in the US…”

You responded by writing:

“2. Defeat in Iraq and Afganistan. O has no foreign policy experience; he doesn't believe in American military power to be used for the good.

“3. Coddling terrorists. Modern liberals do not understand evil; they chalk it up to economic ‘root causes’ and/or blame America somehow. As Jean Kirkpatrick used to say about liberals, ‘Blame America first.’

“4. ‘Talking’ to dictators. He said he would do this without preconditions. It's in the record. Maybe he changed his mind by now…

“6. Another 9/11 attack in the US…It is far more likely, given his unwillingness to take a strong stand on domestic anti-terrorist strategies, etc.”

Now as a philosopher you should realize that you didn’t really provide evidence to support your assertions. For example, an Obama presidency would lead to defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan because he has “no foreign policy experience”? How does that follow? Obama doesn’t believe the U.S. military should be used for good? How do you figure that? Your proof that Obama would coddle terrorist is that he’s a liberal and liberals believe in blaming America? Don’t you see a problem here? Don’t you see why I’m frustrated? You haven’t given any evidence at all. Rather, you’ve simply backed up your unsubstantiated assertions by making more unsubstantiated assertions!

It’s easy to find such irrationality in the blogosophere. But from you? A philosophy professor, who should reject dogmatism in favor of rational argumentation. A Christian, who shouldn’t make damaging statements against his fellow man without providing substantiating evidence. Can you see why I’m disappointed?

What if one of your students was to “argue” in this manner? What if one of your students, say, set out to show that Hume’s rebuttal of the teleological argument fails because “Hume was obviously trying to push a secular humanist agenda and all the evidence in the world wouldn’t have convinced him that God exists”? How would you respond, Dr. Groothuis? Would you be frustrated? Would you fail the student? I hope so. So why then don't you seem to think that these standards apply to yourself?

If you believe an Obama presidency would lead to another 9/11, then fine, you’re certainly entitled to believe that. But why not make a rational argument? Simply saying such an attack is likely “given his unwillingness to take a strong stand on domestic anti-terrorist strategies, etc.” doesn’t cut it. What does that even mean? What anti-terrorist strategies? And how do you respond to the claim made by many, including Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, that Americans are only in danger of another terrorist attack because of our bellicose foreign policy? These are big, complicated issues, and it is the height of idiocy for one to think that his views can be adequately defended in a mere sentence or two.

Yet you continue making such assertions and you continue failing to provide anything in the way of evidence. On October 20, for instance, you again claimed that an Obama presidency would invite another terrorist attack. And to support this claim, you merely claimed that Obama would defund the military (while offering no evidence that such would happen) and that he would put the international community above American interests (again offering no evidence).

As I wrote to you several months ago, I write to you again: Stop making all these claims if you’re not willing to provide any evidence. There’s no merit in merely stating one’s opinion. Everyone in the blogosphere does that.

Sincerely,
Don Emmerich

*****

Groothuis' Response:

Don:

I urge you to repent of your false accusations.

I give links and arguments for what I say. Do I give exhaustive detail? No. Moreover, blogs are typically more conversational than scholarly. I offer my opinion about what an Obama regime would be. I have gone back and forth with many posters on this on the blog.

Please calm down and show some respect.

Doug Groothuis

* * * * *

A friend and former Groothuis student wrote me the following email after I forwarded him the above correspondence:

Don,

Wow, you are officially my hero...that is awesome! You took him to task! And his response is BS. I've had this problem with Groothuis (as we've discussed in the past) for years...I agree that he's an admirable person, but his scholarship is lacking. I remember his arguments for Bush in 2004 were similar--he gave us a handout with bulleted points, but offered no substantial content.

Your letter is well written, clear, and to the point. I don't think it has anything to do with 'false accusations' (where did he even get that?), but is merely asking him to provide better evidence for his propositions. And as much as he wants to claim blogs are "conversational," he is in a different category because 1. he's a published professor of philosophy and apologetics, 2. he is posting blogs that are not 'conversational' in content, but instead are political arguments. So I 100% agree with you on this. We need more people like you, thoughtful Christians who are sick of sound bytes and poor scholarship. Groothuis is the one who needs to 'repent,' not you...