Intimidation

What follows is an excerpt from “The Creation-Evolution Debate,” which is the second book of a boxed set about reason from a Christian perspective. The first book in the set is titled “Reason” with the subtitle of “A Christ-Follower’s Exploration of Rational Thought.” The third book is titled “The Dictionary of Logical Terms and Fallacies.” The fourth book is titled “A Guide to Syllogisms.” Since this is an excerpt it ends rather abruptly, and, for that, I apologize. The point of the book is that we, as followers of Christ, don’t need to commit fallacies even though we often do. Please pray for me that I can complete this project and that I only write the words that come from the Holy Spirit.

Bill Nye also used the tactic of intimidation. He’s an actor and an illusionist. Throughout the debate, he portrayed a congruent character, acting out the role of the stern adult as if Ken Ham were the misbehaving child. Bill Nye’s demeanor never changed when Ken Ham was speaking, and it was always an amazing scowl of disapproval. That’s how he used contempt as a weapon.

He designed this extreme body language and facial expression to intimidate. Proof by intimidation is a logical fallacy. Anyone who raised teenagers knows about this tactic. The teenagers begin to act as if they’re the ones with the experience and authority, and they scold their parents and accuse them. It works. The parents often give in to what the teens demand, and the teens suffer as a result. On the positive side, Ken ignored Bill’s irrational antics effectively.

We’ve seen the same tactic work in politics. We see ungodly people in every part of life exercise intimidation, and as the ungodly gain more control, they escalate the intimidation. They often progress until they’re a physical threat. They may start by using peer pressure, one of the most effective ways to intimidate. Peer pressure morphs into open rioting, violence, and terrorism, pushing for political changes to allow even more intimidation.

 

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Dogmatism

It’s funny how easy it is to become dogmatic. Sometimes, we become dogmatic without even realizing that we’re dogmatic. We just think our opinion is reality and fail to even question it. Consider Vergil who says that he wants to consider the nature of reality without limiting the perspective to any one religion, philosophy or worldview. That sounds very open-minded, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, Vergil’s philosophy of fake open-mindedness quickly degrades into dogmatism. One of the dogmatic ideas that Vergil holds is that the nature of reality is beyond all descriptions. That would be a claim that God can’t describe reality. That would be a dogmatic claim that God can’t reveal anything to anyone.

Virgil is convinced that there is no truth that can be known at any level. Yet, he believes that he can find truth through looking at the various religions and philosophies and choosing what he wants to believe. Virgil is extremely dogmatic about this belief, and he gets upset if anyone should be so bold as to disagree.

Those of us who follow Christ don’t follow dogma. We follow Christ. Christ is real. He’s a real person. He tells us the following:

The one who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. ~ 1 Corinthians 8:2

And yet, He tells us that we know the truth if we know Him. He is the truth. He tells us that everyone who’s on the side of truth listens to Him. It would be different if He had gone off somewhere and wasn’t living in the heart (innermost mind) of every follower of Christ. But He is here.

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You ask me how I know He lives. He lives in my heart. He walks with me and talks with me.

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From Such Turn Away

This week, Franklin Graham quoted this Bible passage:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power…” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

2 Timothy 3:1-5 from the Berean Literal Bible

Evil in the Last Days

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will be present. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boasters, proud, verbally abusive, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, savage, haters of good, betrayers, reckless, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And turn away from these.

That passage describes the people of this age. They take classes on loving themselves. They take classes and tutorials on loving money, and they look for ways to get it without working. They’re proud and arrogant, judging those who struggle to follow God and even judging God.

They’re abusive, using coarse language and thinking that cutting down other people makes them look intelligent. They’re disobedient to parents and any other authority. Submission is a word that they hate to hear. They don’t live in thankfulness toward God, but they live in anger and bitterness.

They aren’t holy, and they don’t want to be holy. They love sin. They don’t want to live in Christ’s presence and allow God’s love to flow through them. They don’t want to submit themselves to God’s will and allow Him to flow out through them in works of love. They don’t care about the suffering of others as long as they can get what they want without working for it. They want to satisfy their own passions and goals more than they want to serve others.

They can’t be persuaded to make peace but continually and repeatedly attack those who follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. They attack anyone who crosses their paths, especially if they disagree with those people. They slander to win. They bring false accusations repeatedly. When God exposes one of their accusations as false, they dream up another accusation. They even accuse the righteous of making false accusations when the righteous speak God’s words.

They can’t control themselves because they put themselves in control rather than yielding to God’s Spirit. They use fierceness to get their way and to “win.”

They naturally oppose those who stand in Christ’s presence and listen to His voice. They especially hate those who listen to the Holy Spirit and who obey Him. They desire that everyone would follow the enemy of our souls and enter into all sorts of sin.

They’re reckless with their spirits, minds, and bodies, jumping down into sins that will end in their destruction. They’re proud and arrogant, thinking themselves to be wise when they have no basis for thought. They have no basis for thought because they’ve rejected God, the only Source of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, or righteousness.

They love pleasure more than they love God. If it comes down to a choice between what pleases God says or doing what pleases themselves, they choose what pleases themselves. They have a form of spirituality, respect, godliness, or political correctness but deny the power of God to reveal His will, perform miracles, and deliver His people from sin and the influence of the devil. They distort the word “love” to mean sensual desires that amount to using other people to fulfill their own self-gratification. They distort the words “mercy” and “justice” to using the government to satisfy their drive toward jealousy, envy, and covetousness. They don’t expect the Holy Spirit to lead them out of sin and into His righteousness and holiness. They don’t expect Him to deliver them from sin and sickness.

God simply instructs us to turn away from them. Why would those who claim to follow Christ ever listen to those who promote godlessness and sin? We’re in the world, but we don’t have to seek out and listen to those who refuse to sincerely follow Christ with their entire spirits, minds, and bodies. These people, as this passage shows, create a form or illusion of goodness even if they have to declare that evil is goodness and goodness is evil. From such, turn away. From such, turn away.

 

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