Repealing chivalrous laws

318px-John_Everett_Millais_The_Black_BrunswickerThe Oklahoma state legislature, supposedly a conservative lot, has repealed the criminal seduction law, which forbade seducing a virgin by promising to marry her.  Also repealed was a law  forbidding slandering a woman’s virtue.

The state senator who pushed these repeals, a woman, thought the laws were funny.  She also said they were “obsolete, antiquated, inappropriate for our modern society.”

The Daily Oklahoman, supposedly a conservative newspaper, also thought these laws, designed to protect women, were funny.  But when the reporter, in the spirit of fun, quoted advocates of the law from 100 years ago, those gentlemen came across as noble and chivalrous in their zealous concern for wronged women.

I’m not saying we should or should not have such laws.  But the notion that chronology determines whether or not an idea is right or wrong or a law is appropriate or not is surely fallacious.  Yes, women now must be treated just like men, and the Victorian exaltation of womanhood is now considered sexist.  But women are still exploited sexually, and the problem of slandering a woman’s reputation has become even worse in the age of social media.  At any rate, mocking those chivalrous laws designed to protect women just shows the coarsening of our age.

Painting:  “The Black Brunswicker,” by John Everett Millais (1860), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=564102 [Read more…]

The immigrant converts in Finland

IMG_0458I have been blogging quite a bit about the Muslim immigrants in Europe who are converting to Christianity. (See here and here and here.) It’s happening also in Finland, and this time I got to see this phenomenon first hand. Not only that, I was able to interact with some of these new Christians and worship with them.

The Finnish Lutheran Mission has been sending missionaries to Afghanistan for decades. In 1980, two of them were killed. In 2014, two more were killed.

Now Afghan refugees are making their way to Finland. And many of them are converting to Christianity, with stories similar to the Iranians in Denmark and the Iraqis in Germany: They have dreamed of Jesus, had visions directing them to a Bible-believing church or mission, read Bibles in the course of their journeys, reacted against the brutal religion they were fleeing to find a God of grace, etc., etc.

Conservative Christians in Europe are evangelizing, catechizing, and baptizing them.  Though some officials and others suspect these refugees of feigning conversion in an effort to gain permanent resident status—which seldom even works in the secularist bureaucracies—these new Christians are going to church and revitalizing what were once moribund and ill-attended congregations, reminding long-time members of the power of the Gospel of Christ.

IMG_0459Finnish Lutheran Mission, one of the “mission” organizations where conservative Christianity still flourishes, operates a Bible College in Ryttylä. The institution offers programs that teach the Bible, Apologetics, Theology, and other subjects. Young Christians often study here for several months before heading out to the university. The institution also offers camp-like experiences for children and families, as well as other activities for adults, such as the Apologetics Seminar at which I was speaking.

After the conference, my wife and I continued to stay at the college as a base of operations for the other things I was doing.

Also staying with us were 26 young Afghan men who were here to study the Bible, as well as the Finnish language. [Read more…]

The Resurrection on the Isenheim altar

On Good Friday,I posted a picture of Christ on the Cross from the altarpiece in the chapel St. Anthony’s hospital in Isenheim, Germany.  The painting, by Matthias Grünewald is grisly and heart-rending, depicting the suffering and deadness of the crucified Jesus.

In addition to His own wounds, Jesus’ body is covered with sores, like the patients dying of plague or St. Anthony’s fire who prayed in that chapel.  This was to illustrate this Bible verse, the Septuagint rendition of Isaiah 53: 4, after a description of Jesus’ healings:  This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took our illnesses and bore our diseases'” (Matthew 8:17).  (Does this mean that when Jesus healed people, He took their diseases into Himself, as He would with their sins?)

The Crucifixion is painted on the outside of the altarpiece, but then, if you open up it up, you see this:

Grunewald_-_christ

 

(The discussion continues after the jump, along with a detail from the painting and a detail from Grünewald’s life) [Read more…]

Conform to reality or subdue reality?

Justin Taylor quotes from C. S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man.  Peter Kreeft calls these lines “the single most illuminating three sentences I have ever read about our civilization.”

Read those three sentences after the jump.

Then consider what Kreeft says about them and my point about how one of these ways of thinking can now be found virtually everywhere in contemporary life.
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“Pregnant people”

14985289434_e16abb6239_zThe British Medical Association has issued guidelines saying that to avoid offending the transgendered,  health workers should not refer to “pregnant women.”  Rather, say, “pregnant people.”

After all, a biological female–no, that wording is forbidden too; we must say “assigned female”–who identifies as a man can have a baby.  And since we must go by self-identification, that means that men can be pregnant.

The Transgender movement has at least destroyed feminism.  Now that men can claim the identity of women, and vice versa, among the radically correct, it makes no sense to so much as refer to “women.”  Or “men.”  Thus, the feminist-inspired March for Women also proved offensive to the transgendered.

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Democrats hope to come back by going left

The_hand_that_will_rule_the_worldDemocrats strategizing over how to overcome their recent defeats now have a plan:  go left.

They are reasoning that they can get back those working class voters who chose Trump.  After all, Trump’s populist economics promises–including protectionism, job protection, and more jobs–goes along with what Democrats used to stand for, before the party embraced globalism and Wall Street.

The Democrats believe that the cultural issues are still to their advantage, so they are going to emphasize their social liberalism even more.   After all, Trump is quite pro-gay, and that didn’t hurt him.

And Bernie Sanders, the socialist, was their one candidate who really created enthusiasm.

Normally, defeated parties try to go to the center, as David Weigel shows after the jump, but this time Democrats are going to purge their flirtation with moderation–begun by Bill Clinton–and become even more extreme.

Do you think this strategy will work?

[Read more…]