Monday, January 26, 2015

The Problem with Feminism

In some of my past posts (see here and here), I have pointed out some of the problems with feminism in passing. I keep getting comments that I’m wrong about feminism and that it’s just about equality and rights for women. However, I think many of those who call themselves feminists don’t realize what the movement has become. They haven’t kept up with the times.

Feminism may have started out as a movement to secure equal rights for women, but it has gone far beyond that today. People wanted to keep the movement going, even though equality has already been achieved, so they had to invent new horrors to rally people around their cause.

Thus, modern feminism does indeed see mothers being at home with their children as archaic, patriarchal, and oppressive. They elevate women in the workforce as being "strong women" while pointedly never referring to stay at home moms as such. They subtly (or not-so-subtly) tell women that stay home that they're weaker or being controlled in some way.

In the realm of sex, some of the more radical feminist leaders view any and all sex with a man as rape. Yes, they have actually said that. Even short of that, the very idea that a man must beg and cajole his wife for sex and she has all the power to say yes or no - widely passed off as normal in media of all kinds and praised as "equality" by feminists - is completely emasculating and degrading to men.

Even worse, feminists are now framing the "equality" debate in terms of access to abortion. They speak of abortion as a "women's rights issue" and tell us that those who oppose abortion want to keep women in subjection. Apparently, they think women cannot be equal to men unless they can kill their children in the womb and thus avoid the uniquely female consequences of sex.

Feminists today are pushing for special, not merely equal, treatment for women. The schools are now biased against boys - with assignments and topics that girls are more interested in, an intolerance for rough play that boys prefer, long periods of inactivity that girls can handle better than boys, an emphasis on feelings that girls find more comfortable, and better grades assigned to girls. This isn't just me saying this. It's been widely documented.

The push is not for equality of the law any more. The push now is for women and girls to be considered the gold standard and men and boys to be considered as defective females. They're also pushing for equality of outcome, instead of equality of opportunity.

What's more, feminists of today love to point out the many duties of men (such as getting a job) while denying that women have any duties. They pretend that a woman's greater empathy and emotional bent is an unqualified good that men are simply deficient in (while saying that men are better than women at anything is widely considered taboo). They insinuate (if not outright say) that women are more spiritual and more naturally good, and so on. It's everywhere. Our society is full of mostly subtle, and sometimes blatant, knocks against men while elevating women. Today's feminists not only praise this as an accomplishment, but are pushing for more.

In the workforce, for example, feminists are often up in arms that women are "underrepresented" in fields like engineering and pretend that this is due to some secret and subtle bias against women. In reality, the difference is due to the different choices of women. The same is true for the "gender wage gap" that everyone keeps bringing up. The truth is that women choose less strenuous, more flexible jobs and work fewer hours - mainly because they value their time with their children more than men do. When you control for these lifestyle choices, the gender wage gap disappears.

There is no systematic bias against women. If anything, we now have the reverse. Many engineering programs, for example, are biased towards women - selecting women applicants over equally or better qualified men - and yet the women are still present in lower numbers. The workforce is similar, with many, many companies preferring women.

Feminism pretends that women always want the same things as men and fusses about differences in numbers, which means they aren't allowing women to make their own choices, but are trying to push them to be like men. That's not okay.

It's not okay to suggest that women freely choosing to spend more time with their children is somehow a social problem that needs to be fixed. It's not okay to suggest that men are defective and women are better. It's not okay to point out men's flaws while pretending women don't have them too. It's not okay to allow jokes that portray men as idiots and buffoons (which are very common today) while being up in arms when the shoe is on the other foot. It's not okay to give a woman all the sexual power in a marriage relationship and force her husband to beg for consideration.

Today's feminism is not okay. It's not balanced. It's not fair. And thus I will not call myself a feminist. I'm an equalist. I believe that men and women are equally valuable and have equal rights. But I don't believe that men and women are exactly alike, that they have all the same strengths and weaknesses and priorities, or that women can do everything that men can do just as well or vice versa. I won't bash men for being different than women and I won't pretend that females are better. I'm really tired of the modern feminist agenda and the feminization of society. It hasn't done anyone any good.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Use of Apologetics in the Early Church

A lot of people in the church today don't seem to understand the need for apologetics. Some even argue against it. Yet apologetics was widely used in the early church (though not by that name, obviously). Using evidence (including extra-Biblical evidence) to back up the claims in the Bible is as old as Christianity itself. If we are to follow the example of those who have gone before us and be effective in winning the lost and strengthening the faith of believers, we must learn to use apologetics.

Of course, we Christians should also include scripture in our defense of Christianity, as the early church also did. But we are not limited to only quoting the Bible. We should also be prepared to defend the accuracy of the Bible with evidence. For some people, this is a necessary first step before they will accept that the Bible is true and listen to its instruction on how to be saved.

Here are some examples of apologetics being used in the Bible:

Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2

Excerpt: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: ... This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses."

Peter references the well-known miracles of Jesus as evidence that Jesus was indeed God and the evidence from eyewitnesses of the resurrection that Jesus was raised from the dead. Of course, Peter also used scripture (OT) in his sermon as support, but He didn't ask his hearers to simply believe Jesus was God without evidence. He provided evidence that they knew about to support his conclusion.

Peter's sermon to Cornelius in Acts 10

Excerpt: "And we are witnesses of all things which he [Jesus] did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead."

Again, Peter references Jesus' miracles and the resurrection and the eyewitness testimony.

Keep in mind that we think of speaking of the resurrection as quoting scripture, but to Peter, the resurrection of Jesus wasn't found in any scripture yet because the New Testament wasn't written yet. Peter was pointing to real world evidence, outside the Bible, to support his claims (in addition to using the scripture of the Old Testament).

Also notice that in Acts 10:44, while Peter is still speaking these words - giving real world evidence to these people - the Holy Spirit works in their hearts and brings them to repentance. The Holy Spirit isn't limited to working through the quoting of scripture, but can also work in people's hearts when they hear extra-Biblical evidence for Christianity as well.

Paul's sermon on Mars Hills in Acts 17

Excerpt: "For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands."

In this case, Paul, speaking to a heathen audience, uses their innate understanding that there is a God out there they do not know and appeals to the creation to tell them about God. He didn't start by telling them what the scripture says. He started by appealing to the creation and the need for a Creator. He knew they wouldn't accept quotes from a scripture they didn't know and didn't believe. He had to prepare their hearts to hear the scripture first.

These are just a few examples. The general rule of the early church was to use Old Testament scripture (mainly prophecies) and the eyewitness testimony of the resurrection when dealing with people who already believed in scripture (e.g. the Jews) and appeals to creation and also the evidence of the resurrection for those who didn't already believe scripture. In other words, they used apologetics. They didn't merely assert that they believed; they also provided evidence for that belief.

Of course, we today are further removed from the events of Bible times and use slightly different apologetics methods because of that. In the days of the early church, for example, they could use eyewitness testimony directly. They had people standing there who could testify that they had seen Jesus alive after He was crucified. That's good evidence, but we don't have any of those eyewitnesses alive today. So, we use historical texts and accounts of early Christians who died rather than recant their testimony to show that it is reasonable to believe they were telling the truth.

In the days of the early church, the idea that the world was created was self-evident to everyone and Christians needed only to point out that a creation requires a Creator. In today's world where evolution is widely believed, we have to provide evidence that the universe actually was created in order to then point out the Creator.

The Bible not only gives us examples of the early church using apologetics, but it also provides a command that we do so. 1 Peter 3:15 says "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer (Greek: apologia – from which we get “apologetics”) to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."

We aren't told to simply state our belief, but to give reasons for it. We're told to answer the why of our belief, not just the what. Apologetics is the why. Giving reasons and evidence is what we are commanded to do and what the early church did.

The purpose of apologetics is the same as it was in the early church - to provide evidence that Christianity is true. The methods vary, but the need is the same. May we all become better apologists for the truth of Christianity. A lost and dying world desperately needs us to.