Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Chrenkoff's Latest

Arthur Chrenkoff's latest installment of Good News from Iraq is up. It's a mine of information about what is going on in Iraq and it's well worth a perusal.

Let's Let Everybody Vote

New York City presents us with more evidence that liberals in general, and Democrats in particular, have very little confidence in their ability to persuade citizens through the force of their ideas. They're now seeking to win elections by extending the franchise to non-citizens:

Left-wing advocates in New York have convinced a City Council member to put forward a bill that would legalize non-citizen voting in America's largest city.

Council Member William Perkins of Manhattan has drafted a bill that would allow any immigrant over the age of 18 who has been a resident of New York City for more than six months the right to vote in all local elections.

Why is it, we have to ask, that the left seeks to broaden the franchise to include convicted felons and now non-citizens? Is it because they realize that the only people they can persuade to vote for them are crooks, thugs, and those who can't speak English? Is it because they know that these people can be bribed with promises of access to the public purse? Is it because the left is so desperate for power that they don't care who votes as long as they're returned to office? Is it all of these?

Actually, maybe there's merit to extending the franchise to whoever shows up at the polls. Maybe we should allow teenagers to help elect our government. After all, they already vote for student council and homecoming queen, why not school board and county commissioners?

And how about letting al Qaida vote. Maybe if they had a say in how things were run here they wouldn't feel the need to resort to violence.

Somebody please relay this suggestion to the New York City Council.

The Threat to Marriage

Advocates of gay marriage often argue that it is not gays wanting to marry that jeopardizes the institution of marriage, rather it is the high divorce rate among heterosexuals that poses the real threat.

Dennis Prager deconstructs this argument and leaves it lying in tatters. He gives four reasons why the argument fails, and although in our view any one of them by itself is decisive, the third one is perhaps the most interesting. Prager writes:

A third flaw in the argument is that it presupposes that every divorce constitutes a failure of a couple's marriage. Sometimes this is true; sometimes it is not. I know a couple married for 30 years who made a beautiful home for their three now-married children. The couple divorced last year because they had both concluded that they had drifted too far apart to continue living together in any meaningful way (one aspect of the drift was one partner's increasing devotion to religion and the other's decreasing interest in it).

Who has the hubris to call their marriage a failure? Their children surely don't think their parents' marriage was a failure. It produced three wonderful married adults, and it provided them a beautiful and loving home in which to grow up. One can only wish all marriages so "failed."

It is simplistic to maintain that the one criterion of success or failure in marriage is permanence. There are marriages that provided years of comfort to a couple and a fine home to their children that eventually end; and there are permanent marriages that have provided neither comfort to the couple nor a loving environment for their children. If the end of something renders it a failure, every one of our lives is a failure, since they all come to an end.

Read the whole column. It's very provocative and well-reasoned.

Antony Flew's Conversion

A couple of months ago philosopher Antony Flew made news when it came out in the press that he was abandoning his ardent commitment to atheism and accepting the idea that the universe was designed by an intelligent agent. Now Christianity Today has an article by James A. Beverley, professor of Christian apologetics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, on Flew's very significant philosophical shift. The article will be extremely interesting to anyone who has read and/or been influenced by Flew and should be read in its entirety. Here are a few excerpts:

Flew has been rethinking the arguments for a Designer for several years. When I saw him in London in the spring of 2003, he told me he was still an atheist but was impressed by Intelligent Design theorists. By early 2004 he had made the move to deism.

Flew also cites the influence of Gerald Schroeder, an Israeli physicist, and Roy Abraham Varghese, author of The Wonder of the World and an Eastern Rite Catholic. Flew appeared with both scientists at a New York symposium last May where he acknowledged his changed conviction about the necessity for a Creator. In the broader picture, both Varghese and Schroeder, author of The Hidden Face of God, argue from the fine-tuning of the universe that it is impossible to explain the origin of life without God. This forms the substance of what led Flew to move away from Darwinian naturalism.

I asked Flew more explicitly about the impact of these and other scholars. "Who amazes you the most of the defenders of Christian theism?"

He replied, "I would have to put Alvin Plantinga pretty high," and he also complimented (Terry) Miethe, (J.P.) Moreland, and (William Lane) Craig for their philosophical skills. He regards Richard Swinburne, the Oxford philosophy of religion professor, as the leading figure in the United Kingdom. "There is really no competition to him." He said that (Gary) Habermas has made "the most impressive case for Christian theism on the basis of New Testament writings."

These Christian philosophers have uniform respect for Flew as a person and as a thinker. Craig spoke of him as "an enduring figure in positivistic philosophy" and was "rather surprised by his giving up his atheistic views." He, Miethe, and Habermas have found Flew to be a perfect gentleman both in public debate and private conversations. Swinburne says Flew has always been a tough thinker, though less dogmatic as the years went by. Plantinga, the founder of the Society of Christian Philosophers, said that Flew's change is "a tribute to his open-mindedness as well as an indication of the strength of current broadly scientific arguments against atheism."

There's much more at the link on the reasons for Flew's reluctance to embrace Christianity despite his very positive attitudes toward the person of Christ.

Needless to say, the secularists are beside themselves with angst. If a thinker of Flew's stature can abandon the dogmas of materialism then how do they prevent a hemorrhage of defections? If Antony Flew has become persuaded by the evidence that the universe and life are designed, it makes it that much more difficult to defeat the accursed Intelligent Design advocates who want to expose our children to the same arguments that persuaded Flew. How, they're no doubt asking themselves, will kids remain good Darwinian materialists once they've heard the arguments against it?