Friday, February 05, 2010

Ethical Blindness of Monism

Within Liberal Gnostic Christianity, it has become popular to dabble with Eastern Mysticism and modern neo-paganism (i.e., panentheism and pantheism). Many on that track seem to think that the underlying monism* will lead to greater peace on earth. And they bolster it by making a neophyte error by claiming it is more monotheistic than classical transcendent Judaeo-Christian theism.

*What is monism, you ask? It's the idea that there is only ONE. All differences we recognize are illusions, and thus the only truth is nonduality. That is, that all distinction, discrimination, differentiation is a lie. There is no difference between me & you, my good & your good, our good & the world's good. The reality of our interconnectedness is taken to an extreme form that collapses all distinction - within Hindu, this is known as seeing that all is Brahman (a monad); Buddhism sees this collapse of distinction as reaching enlightenment.

But there's a huge ethical problem that gets little to no thought - what of GOOD and EVIL? Does saying they are the same make it so? Or does it simply try to step beyond that distinctive?

If non-duality is the truth (and how this would be, I don't know - seeing as if it's TRUE it's also FALSE), then PEACE and WAR are also the same thing. Thus there is no meaningful distinction to be made in making war on your neighbor or helping them with aid. There is no difference between rape and marital love. There is no difference between a murderer with a knife and a surgeon with a scalpel - those would (under a monistic view) be false distinctions.

Your common sense buzzer should be ringing pretty loud now, but for these starry-eyed educated idiots it just doesn't. In most cases, they've divorced themselves from historic Christianity and thus are left floating in the failed experiments of heresies past rather than the tried-and-true character of orthodox Christianity. Thus they commit errors out of their novelty, thinking they've come upon a new truth which - in fact - is just an old error that's already been long- consigned to the ash-heap of divine-human relations.

A new study helps to show the dead end that is monism - and it focuses on the undeniable atrocities committed (and defended by) fervent Buddhist, Taoist, and Shintoist religious people. The horrors of the Japanese campaign in China were papered over by their religious inability to make any meaningful distinction between morality and immorality. Call it the Zen of violence. Will the "emergent church" wake up to the dead end of monism? Time will only tell. But the Church of Jesus Christ, indefectible and catholic, will continue - even if She is temporarily reduced in numbers while heretics occupy her territory.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

This explains the rise of EMO

From World Magazine. At least now we know why emo came on the scene. Thanks, Dr. Spock.

Spanking gets a good report card

This just in (sorry, kids): Spanking children makes them happy.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, a new study by Calvin College’s Marjorie Gunnoe found that teens who were spanked as children ended up with a “sunnier outlook,” were “better students,” had “more positive academic records and optimism about their future,” and volunteered more than their unspanked peers. In fact, Hemingway wrote, “the never-spanked group never scored the best on any of the 11 behavioral variables analyzed.”

Hemingway mentioned two extremes in the spanking camp, No Greater Joy’s Michael Pearl on the spanking side and on the non-spanking side, as well as Scriptural proof texts for corporal discipline. Before anyone accuses her of abuse, Hemingway jumps in with admonitions of balance, reminders to use all of Scripture for discipline, not just the verses about the rod, and for this, we salute her. Too many—like the woman I know who swatted her children 400 times for telling a lie—vehemently adhere to passages on the rod outside of the context of their balancing counterparts: not provoking our children to wrath and being sure we put on humility, gentleness, and forgiveness in our parenting.

Parents, Christian or not, will likely continue the spanking debate ad infinitum, the question being is spanking abuse or an effective tool in the parenting tool belt? No rational person would advocate lashing out in anger and beating a child (which is what most people in the anti-spanking camp call “spanking”). Yet many of those who claim to be against spanking because of its “abusive” nature think nothing of verbally tearing into their children, giving them the silent treatment, sending them to their rooms for hours on end to contemplate their misbehavior, shaming them, or scolding them within an inch of their life. Because no bruises are visible, they feel their form of discipline is less harmful than spanking.

I recall a neighbor who vehemently vocalized her distaste for those who spank their children, yet regularly shouted so loudly at her little boy that my father once said, “Boy, it would be better if she shut her mouth and just gave that child a good spanking.”

Is spanking abuse? It can be. But, with new studies like Gunnoe’s showing the upsides of corporal discipline, opponents might want to reevaluate their tired rhetoric, because the proof that spanking is good discipline is starting to show up in the parental pudding.

If you need help in learning how to discipline properly (including limited, but realistic, use of corporal punishment), I advocate Dr. Dobson's classic Dare to Discipline. However, we also used child training (not just punishment, but positive training) inspired by To Train Up a Child and Above Rubies.