Running Away From Reality

Running Away From RealityIn November 1942 one of Boston’s most popular nightspots, The Cocoanut Grove, caught fire while hosting upwards of a thousand people. To this day, The Cocoanut Grove fire is the deadliest nightclub fire in history with 492 people killed. Part of the reason for the high fatality rate was the lack of adequate fire exits. The main door from the street was a single revolving door. As panicked patrons fled the fire, the door became a deathtrap. Rushed by hundreds of people, it soon was jammed with a mass of bodies and stopped working. Firefighters had to dismantle the door to gain access. As a result of this fire, building codes were later changed to require that outward opening standard doors always flank revolving doors.

Many in our culture today are as afraid of reality as the Cocoanut Grove patrons were of the flames that night. They are looking for any exit they can find to prevent them having to deal with life as it really is. However, the revolving door to relativism is beginning to slow. The consequences of pretending things are other than they are are starting to stack up and jam the works.

Nowhere is this truer than in issues of gender and sexuality, especially in the increasingly bizarre world of the “transgendered.” We’re told with a straight face that some biologically male people are really female and vice versa (as an aside, don’t you love how progressives tout science in support of their ideology, except when science is inconvenient?). At first it was just that some men are really women and must “transition” to their true gender. Now we’ve moved on to the bizarro world of more than just two genders and gender being “fluid” and changing over time. So, you might be a man today and a woman tomorrow and then a man again next week, followed by some third gender the week after. When feelings trump biology there’s no end to the iterations of being that must be accommodated.

The trouble is, this nonsense is not sustainable. It soon begins to jam up the works of society proving an inconvenience even to its supporters. What, for example, do you do if you’re a left-wing feminist all women’s university and a man wants to join your ranks claiming, despite his XY chromosomes, he’s really a woman? Or how about when the same fellow wants to join the monthly meeting of the Down With the Patriarchy Club that is usually a male member free zone? It’s enough to give the president of the Gloria Steinem Fan Club a headache.

The most recent lunacy comes courtesy of the abortion lobby – no strangers themselves to pretending things are not what they really are. Worried about being exclusionary (you know, the unforgivable sin), activist Lauren Rankin thinks the abortion industry should stop promoting abortion using slogans like “the War on Women” or “Stand with Texas Women” because they exclude the men who have abortions. Wait, what? Yes, you read that right. In the bizarro world of transsexuality, men can have abortions because, of course, when a woman says she’s a man, she is one, despite the ovaries and womb that have made possible the baby growing in her body that she now wants to murder. A baby presumably conceived when she had sex with someone whose body was able to produce sperm but who may or may not have been male. This is so bizarre that columnist Katha Pollitt, despite being both pro-abortion and pro-transgender inclusion, wrote a piece arguing against Rankin’s thesis. What’s interesting is that Pollitt almost could not bring herself to write something making the obvious point that only women have abortions. Because she has been so indoctrinated by the feelings equal reality crowd, she was worried she’d “hurt and disappoint” people by sharing the bleedin’ obvious with them:

That is why I’ve started this column many times over many months and put it aside. I tell myself I might be wrong—it’s happened before.

No, Katha, I’m pretty sure you’re not wrong, only women can have abortions because only women can get pregnant.

What should our reaction to this be? On the one hand, it could cause us to despair even more for our culture. But, on the other hand, it could be a sign of hope. One can only run from reality for so long. I can pretend gravity is merely a social construct while I’m between the tenth floor and the second floor of the building I just threw myself off of but after that it becomes a harder position to maintain. I think we’re in a similar situation with sex and gender. The further from the jumping off point we get the more bizarre the claims get and the more likely they are to be seen for what they are, just so much stuff and nonsense. When even those who are inclined to agree with the left can no longer support the outlandish claims of the gender and sexuality lobby, the size-challenged cisgender female has begun to sing.

Islam & The West – A Much Needed History Lesson

History is more or less bunk. – Henry Ford

I’m not sure the context in which Mr. Ford uttered those words but if he were alive today it could easily be in response to the history taught regarding Islam and its interaction with the west. While the most recent historical bunk on this topic came from President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, it did not start with him. The president was only parroting what’s taught from coast to coast in secondary schools and universities – and has been for years.

Things like:

  • There is a moral equivalence between the Crusades and Islamic jihad throughout the years
  • There was a “golden age” of Islam, especially in Spain, where Muslims, Christians and Jews all lived in harmony
  • Islam preserved the knowledge of the classical world for future generations.

In the video below, Dr. Bill Warner debunks each of these, and more. It’s well worth the 45 minute investment to watch it. However, while I applaud his thoroughness in gathering and presenting the data to tell the story of Islam, I disagree with his premise as to why the true history of Islam is not taught in the west.

Warner says its out of fear that we water down the history of Islamic atrocities. That, like an abused spouse, the west has been so battered by Islam over the years that we view it through rose colored glasses as a self-defense mechanism. Frankly, I don’t buy that. The history of Islam is rewritten because doing so helps marginalize Christianity and minimize its importance in the founding and flourishing of western culture – something those in the ivory towers of academia are always keen to do.

Nevertheless, watch this video. You’ll learn some things about the history of Islam that may surprise you.

Offensive Weapons

Offensive WeaponsOur culture has raised taking offense to an art form. While there are probably many explanations for this, I came across something recently that I think explains it very well.

For my birthday my daughter gave me a copy of Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov.” As I was reading it, a quote jumped off the page at me:

“The man who lies to himself can be more easily offended than anyone.”

For those invested in lies, the only protection available is to prevent truth from being heard. And, since lies cannot go head to head with truth and win, you need a secret weapon. In the arena of ideas, that secret weapon is often “offense.” It allows you to shut down discussion on almost any topic before things get out of hand. It steps between you and truth like a celebrity’s bodyguard fending off the paparazzi.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: when you encounter a topic for which only one point of view is allowed, that acceptable point of view is probably a lie. Note carefully what I’m saying. I’m not denying there are issues for which only one view is correct, far from it. I believe in the concept of absolute truth, the law of non-contradiction, etc. I’m saying if the accepted point of view is not open to challenge it’s likely because it cannot stand up to scrutiny and so must be protected some other way such as the tactic of taking offense.

Here are a few things in that category; admittedly some of these are more vehemently defended with the “I’m offended” tactic than others:

  • The unborn are not people, they’re just a mass of tissue
  • Abortion is healthcare
  • Gender is a social construct
  • It’s possible to be physically male yet really be a woman (and vice versa)
  • Man-made global warming is a fact and is a threat to the planet
  • Macroevolution is the explanation for all the life forms we see today.
  • A relationship between two people of the same gender can be a marriage
  • Minimum wage laws help the poor
  • Government spending creates prosperity
  • Islam is a religion of peace

I could go on. To question any of these assertions is to be offensive to many in our culture. Of course the words “I’m offended” may not always be used. You will sometimes be accused of being intolerant or misogynistic or homophobic or a greedy capitalist, etc. but those are just other ways the tactic of taking offense manifests itself.

There’s also an underlying assumption in Dostoevsky’s quote: people know they are lying to themselves about these things.  Of course the transsexual or the abortionist would deny this but deep down they know truth is not on their side. That is why they are so quick to take offense. The apostle Paul speaks of this in his letter to the Romans:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. – Romans 1:18-23

Which brings us to the biggest assertion of all that this tactic is used to defend:

There is no God.

If you want to see people go from 0 to 60 on the “I’m offended” scale in nothing flat, just acknowledge God in the public square. The shortest length of time known to man is the time between when a prayer is said at a city council meeting and a lawsuit is filed by an atheist.

In the end you must expect to be labeled “offensive” if you stand for truth in our day (usually by folks who claim to hate “labels,” I might add). But when you are take heart, for when someone claims your point of view is offensive it’s likely because they have no counter arguments for it.