How to be pro-life without really trying

There are people, mostly in the USA, who will do absolutely anything to be pro-life. As Christians they will vote, in this election cycle, for someone accused of rape and fraud, a racist with a very on-Christian attitude towards women, the poor, and the strangers (foreigners) among the nation. Why? If a conservative person appoints judges they are slightly more likely to be pro-life judges.

Not that much more likely, mind you. If a judge made her or his views of such matters public, she or he would not be eligible for the position. So they want a non-outspoken pro-lifer who will be 100% outspoken pro-life in office. Uhm, okay.

Some don’t spend time and money on the poor and the sick and the exploited, because their time and money goes into abortion issues. At least, I am told that by some other American Christians, so I believe it. If that is not you, if you really spend time on both, great.

Many are willing to compromise honesty and print half truths and whole lies in their anti-abortion literature. For example, pro lifers sometimes write that aborted babies feel pain during abortions. There is evidence that this is true for fetuses over 20 weeks. But the majority of abortions in the US is done before 8 weeks.

There has got to be another way!

And there is.

Abortion is generally lower where incomes are higher, where prejudice against single mothers is lower, where birth control is more readily available, where equality between the sexes is better, where literacy rates are higher. In short, communities which trust that mother and child could live with safety and justice, where each human is treated better/ valued more, produce women who value life more and abort less.

Work for justice, equality between men and women, and for education. Work against poverty, against woman and child abuse, and against racism, age-ism and ablism. Vote for the same things you work for. That way, you create a society where all humans are valued. Valuing humans would certainly change the abortion statistics, improve society in other ways, and give Christians a better name among unbelievers.

No condemnation by Don Francisco – aimed at failure rather than sin

I adapted the words of this song in a time when I felt discouraged. Satan whispered in my ear that I am a failure, I have no chance of getting anything right, that my very (Asperger’s) being cannot but fail. Of course, it is abnormal circumstances – or rather, people who treated me horribly – that triggered this feeling. (Note to self: Stay away from toxic people. They break you. And they make you think you are the toxic one.)

So, I changed an existing song about feeling discouraged because of sin into a song about feeling discouraged because of failure. And started singing it.

No condemnation (for failure) – Don Francisco lyrics edited by Retha Faurie

I was sitting by my window on a rainy afternoon. Everything inside my head was playing out of tune. I was thinking of the fool I made of me the night before. In front of God and everyone I failed and failed some more. I thought of all the things I’ve done and winced at things I’ve said. I wallowed in self-pity. I hung my worried head. Right when I was so far down that even up looked wrong. That’s when Jesus gave to me the chorus of this song:

Satan the accuser has been whispering in your ear. You just tell him you’re a conqueror – he’s got no business here. ‘Cause it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, it matters where I guide. Together we will win because I am on your side.

Now I could say that right away the sun burst through the clouds, and I just started singing on that chorus right out loud. But actually I moped around and blew another day before I let myself accept the words I heard Him say:

He said, Satan the accuser has been whispering in your ear. You just tell him you’re a conqueror – he’s got no business here. ‘Cause it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, it matters where I guide. Together we will win because I am on your side.

So I can’t criticize you now if you wanna take your time. Cling to all your problems, just the way I clung to mine. But now you got the answer Jesus wanted you to know. He’ll take your hopelessness away if you’ll just let it go.

And if Satan the accuser has been whispering in your ear. You just tell him you’re a conqueror – he’s got no business here. ‘Cause it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, it matters where I guide. Together we will win because I am on your side.

I don’t want to take credit for what is not mine, so I include the original for comparison:

No condemnation (for sin) – Original Don Francisco lyrics

I was sitting by my window on a rainy afternoon. Everything inside my head was playing out of tune. I was thinking of the fool I made of me the night before. In front of God and everyone I sinned and sinned some more. I thought of all the things I’ve done and winced at things I’ve said. I wallowed in self-pity. I hung my worried head. Right when I was so far down that even up looked wrong. That’s when Jesus gave to me the chorus of this song.

Satan the accuser has been whispering in your ear. You just tell him you’re forgiven – he’s got no business here. ‘Cause it doesn’t matter what you done, it matters what you’ll be. There is no condemnation if the Son has set you free.

Now I could say that right away the sun burst through the clouds, and I just started singing on that chorus right out loud. But actually I moped around and blew another day before I let myself accept the words I heard Him say.

He said, Satan the accuser has been whispering in your ear. You just tell him you’re forgiven – he’s got no business here. ‘Cause it doesn’t matter what you done, it matters what you’ll be. There is no condemnation if the Son has set you free.

So I can’t criticize you now if you wanna take your time. Cling to all your problems, just the way I clung to mine. But now you got the answer Jesus wanted you to know. He’ll take your sin and guilt away if you’ll just let them go.

And if Satan the accuser has been whispering in your ear. You just tell him you’re forgiven – he’s got no business here. ‘Cause it doesn’t matter what you done, it matters what you’ll be. There is no condemnation if the Son has set you free.

Perhaps singing this could mean something for you as well. If you need the tune, look up the DF song on the Internet.

About trans people, and having a heart and brain that match

There are points on which I agree so much with trans advocates that methinks those who disagree are bigots:

Trans people are as human as anyone else. They bear the image of God as much as anyone else. They should have the right to dress up the way they want to as much as anyone else.

Christians should love other people, including trans people. But will you please go with me from issues of having a good heart to reasoning well (having a brain to match your good heart)?

By all statistics I know of, MtF transgenders are no more or less violent than other male-born humans. People on one side of this issue try to tell us of gentle, harmless transwomen, and on the other side of violent transwomen. To conclude, from that, that all or no transwomen should be treated with suspicion is a fallacy.

Except for generalization, there are other arguments to avoid when talking of transgender people:

But for a small part of humanity (something less than 1 percent), the visible parts and the inner identity do not line up. For example, it is possible to be born with male genitalia but female chromosomes or vice versa.” – Mark Wingfield

This is a common argument. I just happen to be using the word choice of one particular individual.

What trans advocates mean by “inner identity” is the way people think about themselves. This is not the same as chromosomes. No evidence suggest that the people who think they are the other sex are those people whose chromosomes do not match their genitals. That, IMO, is the biggest flaw in trans advocacy arguments: There is a consistent habit of telling us about chromosomal differences and genital differences and brain types, and using that as evidence why people – with no evidence that they have any of these differences – should be seen as (fe)male. This is akin to giving the geography of the US-Mexico border, telling us about the places where you are not sure if you are in Mexico or the USA, and using that as your main argument for immigration. Almost nobody who wants to immigrate actually live right on top of the border.

 

Here is a similar argument:

“And now brain research has demonstrated that it also is possible to be born with female genitalia, female chromosomes but a male brain.” – Mark Wingfield

Firstly, not all researchers agree on that: Many feel there is not a measurable difference by which to distinguish male from female brains. As far as I know, none of the supporters of brain sex has ever been given a lot of brain scans without names or sexes attached, to try and identify people’s sex by the brain scan. And researchers who believe in brain sex have not, as far as I know, proven that the brains of transgender people look like the brain of the other sex.

This argument go from one word meaning to another to make their argument, the fallacy of equivocation. Researchers use ‘brain sex’ or ‘(fe)male brain’ to refer to physical properties by which a male and female brain (allegedly) differ. Trans advocates use ‘brain sex’ and ‘(fe)male brain’ to refer to whether your mind tells you you are male or female. Here is an example of the same fallacy: The criminal got a 5-year sentence for his racket (business scam). So they should send my young neighbours who made a racket (loud and constant noise) at their party last night to jail.

 

Or this one: There is 1 transwoman murdered every 29 hours. We have to stop the violence!

There are about 437,000 murders in world in a year. About 80% of the victims are biologically male, which mean 349600 murders per year on biological males. 1 murder ever 29 hours means 302 transwomen (biological males who claim to be women) are murdered per year.

0.086% of murders are on transwomen. What percentage of men are trans? 0.3% of people are trans. Of those, about 3/4 are male. That means 0.45% of men are trans. (Calculation: In 100 000 people, around 50 000 will be of each sex, and 300 will be trans – about 75 AFAB and 225 AMAB. 225 of the 50 000 AMABs will be trans.) If a group that is 0.45% of the male population suffer 0.086% of the murders on men, they are actually a lot less likely to be murder victims than most.

Okay, you want to tell me transwomen are women. In that case, transwomen are about 0.45% of the female population, and they suffer about 0.35% of the murders on women. Of course, I am against murder. But I am not convinced that transwomen suffer from murder at a higher rate than other people.

Please, trans advocates: I see no problem with your hearts, but try to let well-thinking brains match well-meaning hearts.

————–

Note: My commenting rules are in the sidebar of my blog, and comment moderation is on.

 

Trans advocates, why do you deny my womanhood?

6356619038528299751045872728_gender%2520spectrum_imgopt1000x70

Really?

I have a long-time female friend who thinks I do not have enough of a reason to call myself a woman.

I mean “friend” in the best sense of the word: We have known each other since the late eighties, her words and actions have enriched my life a lot, working alongside her was exciting. I get the chance to talk to her much too seldom now – we life on different continents nowadays.

The most baffling thing is, she believes that denying someone’s gender is a Really Big Deal. It is one of those things you Absolutely Should Not Do. Continue reading

We humans are a remarkable species

It hit me today that we humans are a remarkable species:

We choose to try, even though we all know the sting of failure.sunlight-1

We choose to explain, thought we all know what it is to not be understood.

We give, not knowing if it will be appreciated.

We plant trees, literal and metaphorical, that will only be grown when we are no longer there.

We know the limits of our talents, but we sing or paint or write or build anyway.

We know rejection, but we still love.

You see, today someone called me an inspiration – while I was just doing my best within my limitations. At first, I thought I did not earn the compliment. Now I know that I do. We all do.

 

Good news clubs and their critics, part 4: My conversation with Eric Ceynar: Intrinsic Dignity is an opponent of the Gospel message itself, not only these clubs

DSCN7886

I propose that Eric Ceynar, who writes under the name Intrinsic Dignity, has a problem with the gospel message itself, and therefore with CEF, as they give the gospel to children.

For evidence I will link to a blog entry where me and Eric (Intrinsic Dignity) converse in the comments. About the article there, the blog I will link to, No Longer Quivering, is for escapees of a cultic religious group, but some of the articles is on other things said and done by religious people. I find the article misleading: The worst problem is a link to Bible.org, not a CEF-related page at all, and calling it CEF teaching. It also seems to have several sources, but almost all can be traced back to Eric Ceynar (Intrinsic Dignity) and his claims. As such, I do not link to it for agreement, but because I and “Intrinsic Dignity” starts a conversation in the comments. (The conversation is shortened here, but you can follow the link for the rest.)

Me: 1) it seems that the article links actually covers very few original sources of criticism. Most websites and video clips seem to trace back to Intrinsic Dignity.
The link to a written lesson of Saul’s incomplete slaughter have no relevance to CEF – it is not a CEF lesson.
2) on the accusation that GNCs are out to influence what is legal in regards to separation of church and state: CEF was founded way before the school prayer and church/ state controversies in America. There is nothing in CEF material that say clubs should be held in schools, not elsewhere. CEF clubs are held in more than a 100 countries, only one of which has that particular separation of church and state view.
3) The “information” on goodnewsclubinfo and its video clip is even more slanted. It gives the impression the clubs are about sin, but every Good News Club lesson, without exception, talk of God’s love and of salvation. Every message about sin ends with sin being trumped by what Jesus did.

—————————

Intrinsic Dignity:
I’ve heard Retha’s response before. It is to the effect that all the talk of sin, obedience, punishment and Hell are perfectly justifiably as long as it is “balanced” with a 1:1 ratio of salvation, forgiveness, redemption, and grace. Of course, there isn’t an easy way of quantifying the alleged “positives” when they are tied so closely to a put-down. To the effect of: “Even though you don’t deserve it, God’s loves you…”
But the very notion of “balance” making it OK is a total sham. Is it OK to tear somebody down if you subsequently build them up? There’s a name for this: “traumatic bonding.” It’s how cruel people maintain control over their victims — by alternately abusing them and showing affection to them…

—————————

Me: I think the most telling part of your message is: “But the very notion of “balance” making it OK is a total sham.”
From what you said, I get the impression that you do not just find the CEF methods focused on the wrong things. You seemingly dislike the basis of the salvation message, seeing it as “traumatic bonding.”
But for traumatic bonding to take place, some abuse need to take place. It is not abuse for the doctor to tell someone that he has a dangerous disease and need a certain medicine. It will be traumatic bonding if the doctor infects him with diseases and heals him from them.
Likewise, if the teller of the gospel story causes children to sin so they need forgiveness; or if (s)he lies and no sin stand between us and God, then the teller of the message is doing traumatic bonding to herself or himself when (s)he is alternatively nice to the children and alternatively causing them to sin and blaming them. But if the message is true, regardless of what the teacher does, then it is not traumatic bonding.

Is the message of being made by God (100% positive) in His image(100% positive), loved by Him(100% positive), doing sin(negative, but changable), Jesus thinking that we are worth everything to rescue ((100% positive -He thinks we are to die for), and this rescue meaning that His followers will be sinless again one day with him(100% positive, positive trumping negative), a 1:1 “balance” of negative and positive messages? Not in the least. It starts positive. It ends positive for eternity, which is way longer than the partly negative middle. The middle is only partly negative, because we are still worth the life of Jesus even then.
As I said on my Afrikaans blog: “A Ferrari that is not in running condition, and will cost several thousand dollar to repair to perfect, is not a piece of junk. It is something worth spending thousands of dollars on. We were worth spending the life of Jesus on.”
If you see that message as essentially negative and harmful, that makes one of us. If, on the other hand, you affirmed that the message of creation, sin and salvation is good, but the CEF way of telling it is not always wise, we could have agreed.
You are also the only one, between the 2 of us, who see the message of obedience to God as essentially negative.
How many of the video clips in the article above can be traced back to Intrinsic Dignity?

—————————

Intrinsic Dignity: (Note that he does not answer how many of the links in the article can be traced back to him. He repeats the misleading idea of overstating the sin messages, and not mentioning the other messages)

Retha, there is a profound difference between telling someone that they have a terrible disease and telling someone that they are a terrible person. “Your heart, the real you, is sinful….” CEF deliberately diminishes children and strips them of their dignity, and then says that they can become worthwhile only if they internalize a sin-obsessed formulaic creed (you know it — the “ABCs of salvation”). This is traumatic bonding, not medical treatment! “Even though you don’t deserve it, I love you. Love me back, or I’ll punish you!”… [misleading arguments by giving numbers of references to sin, by every time he can relate the topic to sin in his imagination, compared to exact mentions of the word grace – not all the times that the topic relate to God’s grace and love in the mind of someone who understands the gospel.]

—————————

Me: You seem to make 2 separate arguments, which almost contradict each other:
The one is the proportional argument, made by comparing the amount of times the word sin appears with the total amount of words, or with, for example, appearances of the word grace.
The other is the argument that proportion does not count, any mention of sin should be counted as putting down the child regardless of what message surrounds it.
On the first argument, I find you utterly misleading:
[I gave evidence, available in the page comments, why I find him misleading. This I fleshed out in other parts of this series.]
On the second argument, I flat-out disagree. This is not an argument against CEF, but against the simple message of salvation. Sin erasing or even damaging our intrinsic worth is simply not a Christian idea. We dislike it when a valuable thing is treated badly, because it is a valuable thing. Even more so with sin: Every human has a very valuable life, and some are lived far from right, and in ways that damage other valuable lives.
And in all those things you cannot see, from the first lecture I had in the first session of CEF-related training (they had me memorize Matthew 18:1-14 before I learned the wordless book), to the practices of the CEF 3 months trained people (starting quality affordable preschools and after-school care centres –in my country schools come out between 12h00 and 14h00 depending on the age of the child, but many parents work to 17h00 or later –, helping a child who was out of school for months to catch up, warning children and parents and speaking to the police about a suspected paedophile in the neighbourhood…) who taught me to work with inner city children, I learned to value and respect children. To put it in your words, the CEF-trained people taught me to respect their intrinsic dignity.

In short, Eric Ceynar hates and puts down CEF because he hates the gospel, and sees it as “traumatic bonding.” For Eric Ceynar (Intrinsic Dignity), the one way the Good News Clubs would satisfy him is if they stopped talking of Jesus, salvation, and following Christ. He is against children hearing the gospel.

 

>> Good News clubs and their critics: Part 5: Katherine Stewart