Friday, December 21, 2018

The Kuhnian idea of theory, observation and incommensurability

Kuhn’s own emphasis on science as a puzzle-solving enterprise would lead one to interpret him in an instrumentalist manner. [Ernan McMullin, "Rationality and Paradigm Change in Science," in Paul Horwich, ed., World Changes: Thomas Kuhn and the Nature of Science (Pittsburg, PA: University of Pittsburg Press, 1993, 2010), 71]

His [Kuhn’s –DHC] argument that theories on either side of a revolution are incommensurable because the meanings of terms change so radically applies also, and perhaps more plausibly, to the names of disciplines (J.L. Heilbron, “A Mathematicians’ Mutiny, with Morals,” in ibid., 107)

Yet, to admit that observation is theory-laden is a long way from denying that there is a theory/ observation distinction. (Nancy Cartwright, “How We Relate Theory to Observation,” in ibid., 259)

The natural-kind terms current in an old science cannot be translated into natural-kind terms in a new science. (Ian Hacking, “Working in a New World,” in ibid., 278)

The world in and with which we work is a world of kinds. The latter changes; the former does not. After a scientific revolution, the scientist works in a world of new kinds. In one sense, the world is exactly the same. A change in the class of sets of individuals that correspond to scientific kinds of things is not a change in the world at all. But in another sense the world in which the scientist works is entirely different, because what we work in is not a world of individuals but of kinds, a world that we must represent using projectible predicates. (Hacking, "Working," in ibid., 306)

One word of describing this difficulty [concerning translation —DHC] is as a case of polysemy: the two individuals are applying the same name to different concepts. But that description, though correct as far as it goes, fails to catch the depth of the difficulty. Polysemy has a standard remedy, widely deployed in analytic philosophy: two names are introduced where there had been only one before. If the polysemous term is ‘water’, the difficulties are to be lifted by replacing each of the concepts that previously shared the name ‘water.’ Though the two new terms differ in meaning, most referents of ‘water1’ are referents of ‘water2’ and vice versa. (Thomas S. Kuhn, “Afterwords,” in ibid., 318)

Thomas Kuhn's philosophy of science can best be termed "instrumentalist," an epistemic antirealist position concerning science and scientific theories. The key thing to take note concerning Kuhn is that he is not a relativist or subjectivist, a label that is a better fit on philosophers like Michael Polanyi. Rather, Kuhn's method is a historical method looking at the history of the scientific enterprise, and wrestling with how previous generations of scientists have thought and worked on their theories.

One element of Kuhn's thought that had previously eluded me was his promotion of incommensurability, a term which seems to lead to a form of relativism. However, upon clearer reading, especially in this book edited by Paul Horwich, what Kuhn means by "incommensurability" has to do with theories and not the propositions of those theories. It is a term applicable at the meta-level, whereby different paradigms are so different that there is no way to translate one paradigm to another. Or, to put it perhaps in a way that may be easier to understand, it is impossible to translate a set of natural-kind terms to anther set of natural-kind terms, without losing some meaning or even most of the meaning in the process. In other words, it is possible to translate one paradigm into a set of propositions, and another paradigm into another set of propositions, but as a whole, the two sets are mutually incomprehensible and thus incommensurable.

There is no such thing as a "neutral" observation in science, something which sounds quite self-evident but is mostly lost to many scientists. Theory dictates what one looks for or what one expects to see, and this framing of the question makes observation in some-sense "subjective," or theory-laden. This is why incommensurability is so much more than merely interpretation of data, and why the word "incommensurability" is fit to describe the differences between two paradigms, instead of merely stating that they are differing interpretations of the natural world. Thus, in a sense, the world changes between paradigms.

Once all these are clear, then it is clear also why Kuhn's antirealism is not relativism, much less can he be used to promote the idea of science as a social construction. The natural world is objectively out there, but Kuhn's theory have to do with our knowledge of the world even to the point of observation. Now, if there is no transcendent external observer, then Kuhn's theory might lead to some form of relativism. But if Kuhn's theory is limited to humans, and thus an expression of human finitude in science, then Kuhn's theory is congruent with a belief in an objective world and absolute truth, insights which do not come and could not come from science.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Wang Yi: My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience

Pastor Wang Yi (王怡) of Early Rain Covenant Church (秋雨圣约教会), along with more than 100 of the leaders of the church, has since December 9th 2018 been apprehended by the Chinese authorities and charged with various crimes including the crime of sedition. In knowledge that he could be arrested at any time, Pastor Wang Yi had prepared a letter stating his stance on the truth of Christianity and against the unlawful (against God's law) persecution of the Chinese church by the Chinese authorities. The letter can be read here in English.

Here is the excerpt which I had read to conclude the sermon I had preached today:

... I believe that this Communist regime’s persecution against the church is a greatly wicked, unlawful action. As a pastor of a Christian church, I must denounce this wickedness openly and severely. The calling that I have received requires me to use non-violent methods to disobey those human laws that disobey the Bible and God. My Savior Christ also requires me to joyfully bear all costs for disobeying wicked laws.

But this does not mean that my personal disobedience and the disobedience of the church is in any sense “fighting for rights” or political activism in the form of civil disobedience, because I do not have the intention of changing any institutions or laws of China. As a pastor, the only thing I care about is the disruption of man’s sinful nature by this faithful disobedience and the testimony it bears for the cross of Christ.

As a pastor, my disobedience is one part of the gospel commission. Christ’s great commission requires of us great disobedience. The goal of disobedience is not to change the world but to testify about another world.

For the mission of the church is only to be the church and not to become a part of any secular institution. From a negative perspective, the church must separate itself from the world and keep itself from being institutionalized by the world. From a positive perspective, all acts of the church are attempts to prove to the world the real existence of another world. The Bible teaches us that, in all matters relating to the gospel and human conscience, we must obey God and not men. For this reason, spiritual disobedience and bodily suffering are both ways we testify to another eternal world and to another glorious King.

This is why I am not interested in changing any political or legal institutions in China. I’m not even interested in the question of when the Communist regime’s policies persecuting the church will change. Regardless of which regime I live under now or in the future, as long as the secular government continues to persecute the church, violating human consciences that belong to God alone, I will continue my faithful disobedience. For the entire commission God has given me is to let more Chinese people know through my actions that the hope of humanity and society is only in the redemption of Christ, in the supernatural, gracious sovereignty of God.

Here is the original in Chinese

Here it is in Japanese, and here in Italian

Saturday, November 17, 2018

On religious nationalism

[Previous: The Idolatry of Nationalism]

The centennial event that had just passed was that of Armistice Day. On November 11, 1918, the European powers signed an armistice which effectively ended World War I. World War I was the bloodiest war in history, until World War II happened. It was also a rather religious war, as the European powers invoked God on their side, and the devastation of the war devastated religious faith in Europe as well.

In the aftermath of World War I, and even more so after World War II, the elites of society rejected nationalism as a failed project, in favor of internationalism, with the birth of the United Nations. The problem, so they thought, was that local concerns divided peoples and resulted in hatred and bigotry and needless wars and suffering. The focus ought to be on international law, as all the countries of the world come together as a community of nations and work together for the good of all countries. This at least was the theory. There is a problem: Wars and strife between nations. There is a diagnosis: Nationalism. And then there is a solution: Internationalism.

Now, in this equation, the solution is only as good as the diagnosis. But is the diagnosis correct? No doubt there is some version of nationalism that results in wars and strife between nations, but is any version of nationalism the cause? Have we actually learned the right lesson of World War I? For even the rather obvious cause of countries entering into alliances of mutual defense was not rejected after World War I (NATO being one obvious example of a mutual defense pact). So what is the problem(s) that had resulted in World War I?

One major problem is nationalism, but not any kind of nationalism, but religious nationalism. The State is deified as like a god, and all citizens must obey her. Furthermore, under this religious nationalism, the focus of the citizens is to further the goals and glory of the Nation. All of these we can see in World War I. Instead of the country serving her people, the people serve the country, slavishly giving their lives for her good. Thus, the new gods are cruel slave owners, utilizing their human resources for their own pursuit of glory, for the people are truly treated as human resources, to be used and discarded at will.

This religious nationalism is one product of humanism in society. The older humanism was not anti-religious, but rather it redirects the emphasis from God to man. One can be religious, and even should be religious, but the focus of human life is no more about God at the center but about man and the idea of progress. All of these stem from the Enlightenment, which was not necessarily anti-religious, but it was certainly humanistic. The shift from God to man elevates Man to the center, and thus in pursuit of their own glory the nation states asserted their rights. With each nation more interested in themselves than in obeying God, it was only a time before war came, as each nation asserted its right over against the other.

The shift from nationalism to internationalism however does not address this problem. Instead of seeing human autonomy as the problem, they believe that nations prioritizing their own concerns is the problem. Thus, the shift from nationalism to internationalism just shifts the problem of human autonomy from nations to trans-national entities. For why should trans-national entities like the United Nations be any less sinful than nation states? Why should trans-national entities be more likely to care about what is right and just than individual nations? The fact that the UN General Assembly is consistently voting against Israel on issues that have nothing to do with actual wrongs show that trans- and supra-national entities are no better when it comes to nations in seeking their own rights and privileges. The only difference is that it has a veneer of being representative of "the world," as if a bunch of unelected bureaucrats actually represent anyone but themselves on any issue.

On the centennial of Armistice Day, the world has failed to learn the main lesson of World War I. Changing from nationalism to internationalism is a mere rearrangement of the furniture in the ship named "human autonomy." When nations continue living without God, the problems of history will repeat themselves over and over again, causing death, destruction and hardship to the people of the earth.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sermon: Common Trials, Uncommon Heritage (1 Cor. 10:1-13)

Here is the audio for my sermon preached on Sunday at Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church, on 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, entitled "Common Trials, Uncommon Heritage."

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The main question to professing Christians who claim to be for the repeal of S377A

[Note: S377A, or Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code, criminalizes homosexual sex acts between men. The exact wording is as follows:

Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.

The law is a legacy of British Common Law, and passed to Singapore as Singapore was a former British colony.]

As the churches in Singapore continue to have to deal with the issue of S377A, a considerable number of liberal-minded professing Christians and at least one "Gospel-centered" church have decided to either side with the repeal camp, or to not take a stand on the issue. Given that, as I have shown, upholding S377A is a biblical justice issue, such response are extremely disappointing to say the least. But to cut through the pro-repeal rhetoric from these professing Christians, here is one question that would immediately clarify the issues involved:

Question: Does society owe God and His law anything? Yes or No?

If the answer is yes, then it means that society owes God righteousness, which is biblically defined as obedience to God's moral law as expressed in natural law. But if this is disputed, then please show from Scripture how "righteousness" can be defined without reference to God's moral law.

If the answer is no, then the person has denied the universality of God's law, which means we can question whether the person has a biblical understanding of the doctrine of Creation and the Lordship of God over ALL of creation. Such a person seem to have a view of Christianity as a faith dealing with the spiritual only, or even worse, such a person does not think creation owes the Creator God anything!

Or, such a person merely asserts the view that there is a separation between one's personal faith and how one lives in society. In other words, an anti-religious view of secularity trumps the public outworking of the Christian faith, man-centeredness trumps God-centeredness in thought. And probably the worst of the whole lot, is that one does not want to "offend" unbelievers. But the Gospel message begins with a realization of sin, and how does one bring them to faith if they are still unrepentant of their sins? Such a sentiment is what led to the "Revoice" conference in the US, where a PCA church out of misplaced "compassion" lied to those struggling with SSA that their sin is trivial and do not need to be repented of in order to enter the Kingdom of God. That is not the true Gospel, and such "Gospel-centeredness" is contrary to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ! And this is so obviously false as well, and one can easily see that if one substitutes any other sin. Does a desire to want to win child traffickers for Christ means that one should strike down laws against child trafficking? Does a desire to want to win murderers for Christ means that one should strike down laws against murder?

Unfortunately, from my experience, these professing believers who are promoting these false teachings are not willing to consider that they might be wrong. Thus, they dishonor Christ with their unbiblical stance on S377A, and promote injustice while trying to appear "compassionate" and "loving."

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Response to an article by a professing Christian on S377A

[Note: S377A, or Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code, criminalizes homosexual sex acts between men. The exact wording is as follows:

Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.

The law is a legacy of British Common Law, and passed to Singapore as Singapore was a former British colony.]

On the LGBT-friendly Rice media, a person called "Joshua Tan" claims to be a Christian yet argues for the repeal of S377A. We of course are not told which church he is a member of, and it is not uncommon for people to call themselves "Christians" only because their parents are Christians. Be that as it may, without pre-judging the man, I would like to respond to this article and show how it falls short of an actual biblical response to the issue of S377A.

The first thing to take note from the beginning is how Tan has imbibed into the liberal rhetoric and somehow has gained the ability to discern the inner hearts of other Christians. According to Tan, Christians who support S377A are doing it "out of fear," and are "reactionary, fearful" and use "militant language." That they might be some who support S377A out of fear is a possibility. Just as possible are some who support the repeal of S377A out of fear of being seen as "unloving" to LGBT people. So what does this supposed observation do besides poisoning the well? This kind of rhetoric is baseless and does not serve to advance any conversation. Its only goal is to paint one's ideological opponent as an irrational person, prior to any actual discussion, so that one's opponent is "guilty until proven innocent."

Tan's first error is in misinterpreting S377A as stating that "I would like my fellow Singapore citizens to be subject to caning and jail for engaging in private sexual acts." First of all, S377A even if enforced only imposes a jail term without caning. Second, would Tan agree that some measure of legal punishment should be meted out for the extremely private sexual acts of consensual incest or beastiality? If not, why not? According to his supposed principle that ANY consensual and private sexual act should not be criminalized, then one should get the State out of the business of punishing consensual incest, consensual pedophilia, and consensual beastiality! If Tan however disagrees with any of these, then he actually thinks the State should be involved in some kinds of "private sexual acts." Will the LGBTQ+ media and supporters make up their minds? Should the State be involved in private sexual acts at all? If not, then please state clearly that the State should have no business criminalizing any form of private sexual acts as long as it is "consensual," however one gets to define the term! Please state openly and clearly that you want incest, pedophilia and beastiality decriminalized as long as they are "consensual."

But back to Tan's points. Tan's first point is that pluralism in a modern society means that we must empathize with people different from us and be generous to those "whose practices are different from ours." We note here that Tan has confused practical pluralism with philosophical pluralism on the one hand, and confused empathy with affirmation. On the one hand, pluralism is a practical reality in many societies like Singapore. But just because there is pluralism does not imply that all values and all practices are equally valid and equally to be affirmed, in some version of philosophical multiculturalism. Philosophical multiculturalism here is basically relativism of cultures and relativism of ethics. Tan confuses the presence of differences with relativity of differences, as if a culture that harms women should be celebrated as much as a culture that protects women! Or a culture that practices female genital mutilation is to be treated as no worse than a culture that does not have that barbaric practice! Once one see what the issue is here, then one realizes that Tan is here not in line with Scripture, and even more he is not in line with basic common sense either. For if Tan were true to his relativism, then surely he should practice what he preaches and he should empathize with the Christians he is castigating, and celebrate the fact that we are standing in support of S377A despite him not agreeing with it!

Tan also confuses empathy with affirmation. One can empathize with another person without affirming that other person, and even more so when it comes to sins. If to empathize with LGBT is to affirm their lifestyles and support repeal of S377A, does this mean that in order to empathize with murderers one must affirm the rightness of murder and advocate for repealing laws against murder? Thus we see the utter confusion in Tan's mind as he imbibes the liberal propaganda that claims that true love and empathy must begin with affirmation, a practice that would make nonsense when applied to any other sin and/or crime other people commit.

Tan's second point is in confusion over the issue of the slippery slope. The issue is not whether Christians should suddenly think the sky is falling, but rather we know what is going to come next. It is not wrong in a democracy to advocate for positions that will not result in anti-Christian discrimination and Christians being jailed for not baking a pro-LGBT cake! Being a Christian does not mean that we roll over and play dead, even though we know that God remains on the throne regardless. The exhortation to look to the eternal and not the temporal is precisely what standing for S377A is. For it is very possible, due to the lies of the LGBTQ+ lobby, that S377A will eventually be taken down in my lifetime. But we stand not just for some idyllic moral utopia but rather we stand regardless of whether S377A is held or repealed, because we stand by God's moral law in his natural law. It does not ultimately matter whether S377A is repealed or not, but Christians ought to be a witness for natural law nonetheless. If countries like Singapore want to follow the West and commit civilizational suicide, by all means do so, but we will not be silent.

Tan's third point is at best a red herring. He basically claims that Singaporean Christians' focus on "family values" is too narrow and should focus on other (leftist) causes. While there might be something to add to social advocacy on these other causes, those causes are independent of the LGBT issue. It is theoretically possible for someone to advocate for these other social causes and also for keeping S377A. I find it ironic here that someone essentially decrying Christians for focusing on the temporal is now asking Christians to focus on the temporal. Which is it, actually? But this is a typical sleight-of-hand of the Left, whereby they claim that those advocating for family values are too worldly for focusing on the LGBT threat, yet not worldly enough as they do not embrace Leftist causes. What exactly is the charge then: too worldly, or not worldly enough?

Now, should Christians deal with those issues? I believe that Christians should think about them inasmuch as they have the time to do so. However, thinking about them from a biblical perspective might not provide the type of answer Tan is looking for. But more importantly, what has that to do with whether Christians should support S377A? Tan's third point essentially boils down to "Don't fight for this cause, fight for my cause," and it is just as specious and without any real argumentation as it sounds.

We note in conclusion that Tan has yet to provide any real interaction with the argument, either from health statistics, or from natural law, for the keeping of S377A. Tan did not even deal with the issue of what secularity means in the Singapore context, and assumes that means religious relativism. Since that is the case, it must be said that Tan's article in Rice Media contributes nothing to the discussion on S377A besides poisoning the well, and should be ignored by all believing Christians.

[See also: Miscellaneous Questions concerning S377A and Christian witness]

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Miscellaneous questions concerning S377A and Christian witness

In light of the furor over S377A, here are some miscellaneous questions that I would like to address about the issue, from a factual and then a Christian perspective.

Factual Overview

Q1: What is S377A?

A: S377A, or Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code, criminalizes homosexual sex acts between men in Singapore.

Q2: What does it say?

A: "Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years."

Q3: Does it criminalizes homosexuality, or LGBT persons?

A: No, it extends only to homosexual sex acts, not to homosexuals. And it also pertains only to men, not women.

Q4: Does it give license for the government to discriminate against homosexuals?

A: No, it does not, because it pertains only to the sex acts, and in order for anyone to be prosecuted under it, there must be proof beyond reasonable doubt that the "commission" of "any act of gross indecency" has happened (i.e. innocent until proven guilty). And since the Singapore government has said it would not enforce it, the charge of discrimination is baseless. No police is going to break down someone's door in the middle of the night, check to see if two LGBT people are in bed with each other, then arrest them under S377A. Do the proponents of repeal actually think the police have nothing better to do with their time?

Q5: Whence did the law originate?

A: The law originated from British common law. As Singapore was a former British colony, we inherited her legal system when Singapore became independent in 1965.

Q6: Isn't the law a relic from the Victorian era?

A: The law did not originate from the Victorian era. But even if it were, to criticize the law based upon its time of origin is chronological snobbery and a commitment of the genetic fallacy.

Q7: Isn't the law archaic and regressive?

A: Just because any law had an ancient pedigree does not make it "archaic." Laws against murder go back all the way to the Code of Hammurabi and probably even earlier, so does this make laws against murder "archaic"? Most certainly not.

The charge of "archaic" and "regressive" are biased terms reflecting the conclusions of progressivism, without even the semblance of any argument that seeks to prove why any one law is either "archaic," "regressive," or "progressive." They are vacuous clichés that aim for maximum emotional impact without the necessary hard work of arguing that their position is right.

Q8: OK, but given what we know about human rights, isn't it a violation of human rights to deny sexual expression of LGBT individuals?

A: No, there is no human right to sexual expression or even sexual orientation, as law professor Thio Li-An has shown.

Q9: But despite what the global bodies might or might not say, objectively isn't it a human rights violation to deny LGBT people sexual expression?

A: It depends on how one defines "human rights." We can all definitely agree that human rights are not unlimited. For example, there is no human right to murder. Since human rights are not unlimited, therefore we must discuss the topic of human rights in conjunction with other topics like ethics and societal values. After all, how are "human rights" to be defined? Countries like the Netherlands think that there is a human right to suicide, as seen in their endorsement of euthanasia, but is suicide really a "human right"?

The issue of "human rights" boils down to the worldview of a society. It is not some "objective" thing out there, springing forth from the tabula rasa of pure human reason, for that is a mirage. The historic UN definition of "human rights" stems from old liberal secular humanism. If we use that as a basis for discussing "human rights," then we are back at question 8. Otherwise, then we need to discuss questions of ethics. To ignore the UN historic definition of "human rights," while sidestepping the issue of ethics altogether, then throwing accusations of "human right" violations at S377A, is logically fallacious and an act of pure ad-hominem argumentation.

Q10: Isn't S377A, and especially the supporters of S377A, "homophobic" and "bigoted"?

Such is mere character assassination, and cheap rhetoric from people who likely have little of substance in argumentation. The dictionary definition of "bigotry," according to Merriam-Webster, is "obstinate or intolerant devotion to one's own opinions and prejudices." So, if those who support S377A are willing to consider other opinions, while proponents of repealing S377A are unwilling to consider other opinions but rely on shouting down their opponents with slurs like "homophobia" and "bigotry," guess who are the real bigots? Yes, it is those arguing for repeal that are the real intolerant bigots.

Q11: Doesn't the removal of homosexuality from the APA diagnostic manual give us an objective measure of progress, and the fact that LGBTQ+ are normal and shouldn't be criminalized?

A: The reasons for removing homosexuality from the list of mental disorders was not done objectively but due to intimidation by homosexuals. Any action done under duress is questionable, just as any "confession" achieved under torture is questionable as to its veracity. Therefore, the removal of homosexuality from the APA diagnostic manual holds absolutely no weight at all as to whether homosexuality is indeed a mental disorder or not.

Q12: If S377A is not going to be enforced, then shouldn't it be removed?

A: First of all, S377A is in the Constitution, which is slightly different from just any law. While I am unsure about the Singapore legal system, generally speaking, the constitution dictates the framework of a country. Thus, anything in the constitution does not necessarily have to be specific laws but about general principles of what is right or wrong.

One such utility of law is in its value of signposting, to indicate what should be the norm in society.

Q13: In discussions concerning S377A, many supporters of S377A argue that repealing it would lead to gay marriage and boys being allowed to go into girls' bathroom if they identify as a girl. Aren't such arguments slippery slope arguments and should be rejected?

A: They would be slippery slope arguments, EXCEPT such has already happened all around the Western world. Since we can actually see such a progression of events all around the world happening now, it is no more a slippery slope.

Q14: Isn't the campaign to support S377A driven by Christians and Muslims, and hence religious? But Singapore is a secular state, and thus we must respect the separation between religion and state.

A: First of all, even if only religious people (Christians and Muslims) support S377A, that does not necessarily mean that support for S377A is merely a religious issue. One actually has to look at and evaluate the arguments in support of S377A. If arguments based upon natural law and other issues of fact are presented, then to attack S377A merely because its supporters are (mostly perhaps) people of particular religions is to commit the genetic fallacy, not to mention to betray an anti-religious bigotry.

Secondly, it is false that the secular nature of Singapore implies a total separation of religion and state. A total separation of religion and state is found in the French republic, which in its doctrine of laïcité removes all religions from the public square. However, Singapore in article 15(1) of the Constitution grants freedom of religion and religious expressions, only qualified by one thing: public order (Article 15(4) of the Singapore Constitution). Therefore, the nature of Singapore's secularity is the separation of religious institutions from the state, but one's personal religion and religiously-informed opinions are free to participate in the public square.

Q15: So we should take note of non-religious arguments while rejecting religious arguments?

A: Not exactly. The non-religious arguments are the ones that could be discussed and debated in the public square with everyone. But religious arguments are there for followers of those religions to have their own internal discussions. And religious arguments have a utility in that religious people ARE part of society, and as part of society, they should not be ignored. If for example 80% of citizens are not for repeal of S377A, regardless of the merits of their arguments religious or otherwise, then one should not just deride and insult their religiosity and over-ride their objections just because one thinks one is on the "right side of history" (a Hegelian/ Marxist phrase at that). It must be reminded that one lives IN a society, and part of life in society is that one has to pay heed to other fellow citizens even if you believe they are absolute morons.

Q16: Are all arguments for or against S377A equally helpful for discussion?

A: No, not all arguments either for or against S377A are equally helpful. Some are dumb arguments. But everyone has a freedom to speak no matter how smart or stupid their arguments are. Do not assume anyone necessarily agrees with certain bad arguments you might have previously encountered.

Q17: You have mentioned many times about the "public square." What is it?

A: The "public square" is the space, online or offline, where people are supposed to be free to float ideas and arguments for the general public to read, dissect and discuss. It functions much like how the ancient public square, the Greek agora, was supposed to function.

Christian perspective

Q18: What is the Christian perspective on homosexuality and LGBT issues?

A: All of those are sin (c.f. Lev. 18:22, Rom. 1:24-27).

Q19: Is sexual orientation not sin if there is no sexual act?

A: The language of "sexual orientation" is that of the world, not of Scripture. Furthermore, in Scripture sin is not limited to actions but also to thoughts and inclinations (Gen. 6:5, Ps. 51:5). So "sexual orientation" is still sin to be confessed and repented of, even though it is not on the same level as actually acting out in homosexual sex acts, in the same way as anger is a sin even though it is not on the same level as murder (c.f. Mt. 5:21-26).

Q20: What is the nature of the sin of homosexuality?

A: The sin of homosexuality and all other LGBT issues, is a sin in violation of the seventh commandment (c.f. Westminster Larger Catechism Q.139), a violation of God's moral law.

Q21: What is natural law?

A: Natural law (lex naturalis), or the law of nature, is the moral law of God inscribed onto the consciences of all humanity (Rom. 2:14-15). It is part of General Revelation, and upon it God will hold sinners who do not believe in God accountable for all their sins.

Q22: Is Natural law just the Old Testament Law, and thus just a short form for religious law?

A: No. Natural law is the general equity of revealed law, of which the Mosaic Law was an inspired application peculiar to the geopolitical entity known as Israel. As we can see in societies around the world, there is a general sense of law, for example against murder, that all societies hold to. That is because, as Scripture has stated, the natural law is written on the hearts of all Man, and impossible to erase, though it can be temporarily suppressed.

Therefore, to call for adherence to natural law is not the same as Theonomy, and definitely is not particular to any religion(s).

Q23: So what is the Christian's responsibility to natural law?

A: The Christian's responsibility is to obey the law of God, and thus to call people to obedience to God's laws. Since the moral law is given for the good of Man and thus of society, the Christian's responsibility in the civil sphere is to put forward the natural law as the basis for the laws of a nation.

Q24: Upon what biblical basis is a Christian to "impose" the natural law upon society?

A: Micah 6:8 states: "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." The call for believers to do biblical justice, as a good work unto the Lord, is not optional. God's justice is not divorced from God Himself, and thus the justice of God stems from His Law. Therefore, as natural law is essentially God's moral law inscribed onto the consciences of Man, one aspect of doing justice is to call society to build her laws upon natural law.

Q25: Are you claiming that S377A is a justice issue?

A: Yes, I am claiming that supporting S377A is a justice issue, biblical justice in the social sphere.

Q26: Is there no room for legitimate Christian disagreement over S377A?

A: There might be, since obviously supporting S377A is an application of Scripture, not Scripture itself. But the onus is on those who reject my application of Scripture to refute it, not to ignore it or to engage in straw-men rebuttals.

Q27: Could any Christian possibly reject any of the answers to the Factual Overview (Questions 1-17), and therefore this whole exercise is highly partisan and not actually factual from the start?

A: It is of course possible. But is it probable? I doubt it. Anyone is welcome to attempt to dispute the facts in questions 1-17.

Q28: What about the topic of "human rights" for a Christian?

A: As mentioned in Question 9, if we want to discuss "human rights" in an objective manner, then we must discuss the topic of ethics. For a Christian, the primary source of ethics should be the Bible. More specifically for society, it is God's moral law as seen in natural law. For a Christian, "human rights" are dependent on God who gives these rights. God-given human rights are rights of human dignity based upon the Image of God in Man (Imago Dei) and what that entails, and it is a right to do good, not a right to do evil. One can look in vain, but there are no God-given rights to sin. Therefore, from a Christian perspective, there are no human rights for LGBTQ+, in the same way as there are no human rights for murder.

Q29: What is the role of the Church on issues of public morality?

The main role of the Church is to proclaim the Gospel, which means good news. Therefore, the Church as an institution should be totally apolitical. However, since S377A is a moral issue as well, the Church ought to speak to this issue in obedience to Scripture (c.f. Micah. 6:8). Given the potential for misunderstanding, the Church ought to be circumspect over how she speaks to the issue to make clear she is speaking to the morality of the issue, and attempt inasmuch as it is possible to steer clear of the political. Also, as part of the Church's corporate witness to the world, this issue should not enter into the preaching of the Gospel on any Lord's Day, but it can be in the teaching and CG sessions. The Church, in striving to honor her spirituality, is to be diligent in not letting even issues of moral concern to crowd into the Lord's Day preaching, but likewise, she should be diligent in maintaining a witness to society on issues of great moral concern.

Q30: What should be the Church's witness to the LGBT+ "community"?

A: The Church's witness to the LGBT+ "community" should be the same as to all other sinners: Repent and believe the Gospel. We are not to sugar-coat their sins or allow them to smother their consciences. We are not to soften the Law so that they *might* believe the Gospel, for that is the way to false conversions. It is not loving to say "peace, peace" when there is no peace (Jer. 8:11).

On the one hand, we are not to blunt the Law just so that we can appear more attractive, for that is not the way to true biblical conviction of sin. On the other hand, we are not to withhold the Gospel out of perhaps self-righteousness. The offer of the Gospel must be made known clearly, and who knows if God will one day convict them and grant them repentance unto faith. The problem with much of our Christian witness is that we swing to the extremes: some dull the Law out of a misplaced idea of "love," while others withhold the Gospel and make the Christian religion into a joyless soul-destroying legalism. Both extremes are wrong, and it no good for one side to point out how much better they are than the other side.

The Christian witness to the LGBT+ "community" should be loving yet firm. She is to witness to God's righteousness and the righteousness of God in Christ, missing neither.

Q31: Ought the church to teach her congregants of the rationale behind support for S377A?

A: Yes. Along with the corporate witness, the church ought to teach her congregants concerning why it is Christian to support S377A. If the church does not teach her members how to think biblically, the thought patterns of the world will rush in and undermine their faith. After all, we are told to renew our minds (Rom. 12:2), and God has given teachers to his church (1 Cor. 12:29; Eph. 4:11).

Q32: Why fixate on homosexuality and S377A?

A: We don't fixate on the issue except only in response to current events. The Church ought to teach her congregants how to think biblically on all matters, not just on homosexuality.

Q33: How is the Christian to view activism for and against S377A?

A: The Christian as an individual is free to partake (or not partake) in activism for S377A, and is not free to partake in activism against S377A (as homosexuality is against natural law). However, if a Christian can come up with some remotely plausible reason(s) for rejecting S377A, he is welcome to put forward his view without censure from the Church, as long as he can justify it while stating his clear and unambiguous adherence to the sinfulness of homosexuality. This is the Christian doctrine of the freedom of the Christian conscience (c.f. Westminster Confession of Faith 20.2-3), where believers are free where Scripture is silent and bound where Scripture is explicit.

From a corporate standpoint, since the Church ought to witness on the basis of morality, the Church must stand firm on the keeping of S377A as an expression of natural law. While individual members can disagree due to competing social values, the Church ought to prioritize the Law of God and therefore that should be her focus.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Rebekah and the consequences of doing God's things our way

[This is based upon my Bible reading for today]

The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”

(Gen. 25:23)

Isaac loved Esau because she ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. (Gen. 25:28)

But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.” His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me.” (Gen. 27:11-13)

The story of Isaac's favoritism and Rebekah's deception is a sad story about division within the covenant family of God. Isaac was given a prophecy from God at the birth of the twins Isaac and Esau, and if he had heeded God's Word he would have given God's blessings to Jacob when the time was right. However, Isaac favored Esau over his brother Jacob and in his favoritism he was willing to defy God and give Esau God's blessings instead. We note also in Genesis 26:34-35 that Esau had taken unbelieving women to be his wives, which were a source of sorrow to both Isaac and Rebekah. That action by Esau should in and of itself invalidated his claim to the blessings of God, if Isaac had actually paid attention. But in his spiritual blindness, Isaac overlooked all the many circumstances that disqualified Esau, and moved to pass God's blessings to Esau nonetheless.

In God's providence, Isaac's spiritual blindness was reflected in his near physical blindness. Rebekah stepped in to prevent the looming catastrophe of Isaac's folly and so preserve the covenant promises of God to His people. To do that, she schemed a devious plan to deceive Isaac such that Isaac would bless Jacob while thinking he was blessing Esau. We stop to note that what Rebekah desired was good— that Isaac blessed Jacob in accordance with the prophecy from God. But instead of asking God for intervention and/or remonstrating with Isaac, Rebekah came up with a pack of lies to execute the plan of God. Knowing the sins involved in the deception, Jacob feared for God's curses only to have Rebekah claimed the curses to fall upon her instead. Rebekah's deception succeeded! Jacob took the blessing and the covenant lineage was preserved. But it came about through a pack of lies! Does the means justify the ends? Well, God's redemptive plan is not thwarted, but should it have come about through sin, for indeed Rebekah's scheming is sin?!

We note that Rebekah called for the curse of God to fall upon her for her scheming, if any. The question we should ask then is: what subsequently happened to Rebekah? Here we note that the last scene where Rebekah was present is Genesis 27:46, and then we do not see her anymore. In Genesis 27:43-45, we see Rebekah stating that she will send for Jacob when Esau's temper has cooled, and we know that that obviously did not happen. Given that the next time Jacob met Esau was twenty years later (c.f. Gen. 31:38, 32:6), we can deduce that Rebekah must have passed away sometime within that twenty years. Rebekah passed away early in life, and from the time of her deception to her death she could not see her favorite son Jacob. Thus, we note that the curse of God did indeed fall upon Rebekah. For although she desired what was right, yet she went about it through sin. Taking on the curse of God on behalf of Jacob, her life was cut short earlier and she suffered maternal anguish in being separated from her favorite son. So God had indeed punished her for her sin, despite the fact that what she did put God's redemptive plan on the right track.

Thus, we see that the means does not justify the ends. Pragmatism as a ministry philosophy is spiritually bankrupt. To appeal to pragmatic reasons apart from Scripture and biblical exegesis is sin. While God might not cut short our lives or separate us from our loved ones until our deaths now, there are still consequences for sin, even if our sin practically advances the kingdom of God. God's things must be done in God's way, or not at all.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Societal witness and the goal of evangelism

As we bear witness about God's moral law, many people have a phobia about being painted as part of the "Religious Right." Along with this fear is a whole host of stereotypes about what standing for godly laws amount to, chief of which has to do with evangelism and reaching out to others with the Gospel.

The main accusation as it concerns evangelism is the idea that we are putting stumbling blocks in front of unbelievers. Instead of hearing about the grace of God, all they see is Christians pouring condemnation upon them. This objection however fails in many ways, especially as it fails to properly understand Law and Gospel. The Gospel makes no sense apart from the holiness of God and the sinfulness of sin. Telling sinners about the Gospel without the necessary work of the Law makes the Gospel superfluous to sinners. If in the process of proclaiming the Gospel, we talk about sin as a general phenomenon, few sinners will actually make the connection to their specific sins. Christianity will be seen as a self-improvement and "spiritual" thing that is good if you want it, but definitely not positing a demand upon all peoples everywhere.

For sinners who love their sins, it makes little difference whether you tell them nicely or you tell them in the midst of heated controversy, for they will reject your message nonetheless. If you tell them nicely, it might be a case of one ear in, another ear out and your message might not be taken seriously. In the midst of controversy, their true hatred of God's law will be manifest as they take the reminders of the moral law seriously. This is not to suggest that we should always seek to be offensive, but it is to suggest that thinking somehow that unbelievers are more likely to respond positively if you refuse controversy is a fool's dream. More importantly, in the midst of controversy might just be the perfect time when they will actually treat what you say seriously, and the relevance of God's law to their lives is made abundantly clear, even if they are to reject it.

Now, it is of course true that stumbling blocks may be placed in front of unbelievers, but only if the Christian witness is done out of spite and hatred, and it is done with merely a statement of the law. Together with the message of what God's Law says must be attached the call of God's grace for salvation. Needless to say, hypocrisy by its proponents is to be rejected, which is to say some measure of holiness is to be expected of believers, for there is nothing more stumbling than an immoral person telling unbelievers immorality is wrong!

As long as it is done correctly, there is no reason why societal witness is antithetical to evangelism properly understood. And unless we would like to deny the commands of God, then we must bear witness in society, not as activists but as believers, seeking not for worldly gain but for God and His Law to be vindicated in our societies.

Natural Law, S377A, and the Christian witness

[Note: S377A, or Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code, criminalizes homosexual sex acts between men. The exact wording is as follows:

Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.

The law is a legacy of British Common Law, and passed to Singapore as Singapore was a former British colony.]

What is the rationale for Singapore Christians to support S377A? Most assuredly, countries like Singapore are not Christian nations. While arguments from sociology and healthcare can be marshaled in support of S377A, is there any other reason for laws like S377A to not only exist but to be defended as a just law?

From a Christian perspective, we believe that God is the sovereign Lord of Creation. God is the Creator first, then the Redeemer. As Creator, his moral laws are binding upon creation. But this moral law is not just something out there, but it is within our own hearts. For as it is written,

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them (Rom. 2:14-15)

God has inscribed the moral law upon the consciences of every man, woman and child. Due to the Fall, our consciences are marred, yet our consciences still reflect however imperfectly God's moral law. This moral law is also known as "natural law" as it seems natural to us, based upon our innate consciences, for these laws to be laws. For example, all societies hold that murder is wrong and that stealing is wrong. There is also an innate desire for justice to be done in this world, based upon our admittedly flawed understanding of natural law. Therefore despite our sin, the consciences of men are still present, and they show us the natural law which God had inscribed upon the hearts of all humans in all places and all times, including 21st century Singapore.

Thus, with God as Creator and the moral law inscribed unto the hearts of Man, a just society is one whereby the righteousness of God is manifested externally in the obedience of men to Natural Law, which is merely to say that society institutionalizes the moral compasses of their consciences. Since the moral law is innate in the conscience, therefore it is not strictly speaking "religious" for the moral law to be commended to any and all societies. A good civil society honors Natural Law even if it denies the God of that law, as the ancient Romans did before the downfall of the Republic. Conversely, an evil society is a society whereby the consciences are actively and systematically suppressed by that society, as the Assyrians, Babylonians and much of the ancient Roman Empire had done.

So natural law is the basis for a just society. What then the Christian witness? As certain Left-leaning pastors love to remind us, the Bible calls us to promote justice in society (c.f. Micah 6:8). Biblical justice in society IS to establish the moral law in society. In this penultimate state prior to Christ's return, justice in society is to be sought by calling society to be conformed more and more to Natural Law, thus creating a just society. Thus, the Christian witness in society (outside the church) is to pursue justice in conformity to Natural Law. This is the correct view of biblical justice in society, not the leftist version of "social justice" that has taken entire segments of reformed and evangelical churches captive.

Part of the Christian witness to society therefore is to defend S377A, for that law is a preservation, albeit imperfect, of the Natural law against sexual immorality. That is the reason why it was part of British Common Law, which was then passed to Singapore due to Singapore being a former British colony. To "do justice" before God on the issue of homosexuality is to defend S377A, and it is extremely sad when pastors and churches refuse to promote justice and defend this law outside their service times. For if the church does not teach the congregants on the matter of Natural Law, who else is going to teach them the demands of God's justice? If we just call believers to "do justice" but refuse to tell them what that means, the world's idea of "social justice" will fill the void created by the negligence of the churches.

It is certainly true that the focus of the Church is to proclaim the Gospel. That is the primary role of the church in her preaching. Yet, the church also teaches her people how to think biblically about things, and that belongs to all teachers in the church. I therefore fully agree that church should not be about politics, but teaching believers how to think biblically is not politics. The church should not call for support of S377A in her preaching, but is to teach that supporting it is in conformity to natural law in her catechetical classes. So that in all things, believers will be able to honor God in their minds and hands as well as their hearts and mouths.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A multi-religious society is not an atheistic society

[Note: S377A, or Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code, criminalizes homosexual sex acts between men. The exact wording is as follows:

Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.

The law is a legacy of British Common Law, and passed to Singapore as Singapore was a former British colony.]

In a really disturbing statement, former Singapore ambassador Tommy Koh told Christians and Muslims that they have no place in the public square because of the "separation between religion and the state." According to Koh, this separation between religion and the state means that the viewpoints of Christians and Muslims are to be discounted since "sins are not crimes." In this battle for and against repeal of S377A of the Penal code, the LGBT lobby has been hard at work trying to paint their opponents as religious bigots, and Koh is just taking a leaf out of the LGBT activists' "book of illegitimate arguments" here.

The major problem of Koh's statement is that he fails to understand what the traditional understanding of "separation of church and state" or "mosque/ temple and state" mean. This is what the Singapore Constitution says about religious freedom in Singapore:

Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and to propagate it (Singapore Constitution 15 (1))

Traditionally, the separation of church and state is meant to ensure that the Church as an institution does not interfere with the matters of the State, and vice versa. It does not state that religion is to be excluded from the public square, for there is then no explanation as to why America historically has much display of public Christian piety. Separation of church and state therefore has to do with religious institutions not religion itself. Likewise, in the case of Singapore, ours is a separation of religious institutions and the state, NOT religion and state. As stated in the Constitution, peoples of all religions can practice their religions freely, and part of religious practice is the voicing of religious-informed opinions.

If Singapore is to claim to be a "multi-religious society," then it must act like a multi-religious society. That means that Koh's statement here is very disturbing because it seems to say that Christians and Muslims should just shut up and religious views are to be excluded from the public square. Koh's statement here does not seem to be in conformity to the Singapore Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom, only subject to the maintenance of public order (Singapore Constitution 15(4)). Koh's statement in fact has its genesis not in Singapore but in 18th century Revolutionary France, which during the Reign of Terror made atheism of some sort the state religion. Only in an atheistic state will religious statements of any kind be thrown out of the public square.

It is truly sad to see a respected diplomat fall so far. Unfortunately, he has lent his reputation to the destruction of family and society, which is all the more reason for those of us with any common sense left to resist him and the LGBT+ lobby.

The issue of identity for a Christian

Identity refers to what a person holds to be definitional of him/ her as a person. In ancient and modern times, one's identity is tied to one's tribe or ethnicity or nation or religion. The notion of "identity politics" stems from this primal instinct, and competing tribes fought each other in wars across the globe. With the advent of the 18th/ 19th century Enlightenment, the idea of universalism and universal humanity was heavily promoted. There is one human race, and thus we should set aside the old tribal distinctions and animosities. This emphasis on universal humanity was tempered by nationalism prior to World War I, and gained ascendency after that with the founding of the League of Nations and then the United Nations.

Nevertheless, old and new tribal distinctions remained. And in the 21st century in this time and age, identity politics have risen to the forefront. The message of universal humanity has failed in the eyes of many. Under the assault of critical race theory and intersectionality, a resurgence of tribalism surfaces. Unlike Enlightenment-era nationalism, the new tribalism splits people groups within a nation, and even between people of the same ethnic group. The new tribalism hearkens back to a darker time prior to the Enlightenment, a time of great hatred and warfare between different peoples. Without a common identity to unite them, the warring tribes will descend further into enmity and strife that would make the current slander of Brett Kavanaugh look moral in comparison.

In its more benign state, identity politics can be seen in the reaction by many Asian-Americans to the "representation" of "Asians" in Crazy Rich Asians. It is an interesting phenomenon, but I would prefer it to be another country since that is not representative of Singapore or Singaporeans. More importantly however is the fact that "representation" was never important to me. I was never in the in-crowd in school, and never once fitted in well throughout my childhood. What is "representation" to someone who does not fit in?

Christians in this world have dual identities: a spiritual identity as a child of God, and a civil identity. According to Scripture, the spiritual identity is to be preeminent in a Christian, who has been saved out of this world. The civil identity remains to be sure, but it is to be secondary to the identity that God gives. We are after all diaspora, exiles in this world, awaiting the promise of God and the City of God (1 Peter 1:1-2, Heb. 11:9-10, 16). For a Christian, we are to feel different from the world, a world which does not reflect godly values. If we are alienated even among our people, of what use is "representation"? Should we have a moment of catharsis when we see people "like us"? No. Our identities have been changed, and our identity is to be found with God and His people. Should we then perhaps feel excited when we see Christians represented? Not at all, because the world will never represent Christians correctly, and because we are not concerned about ourselves but about Christ who will never be represented correctly.

Therefore, Christians of all peoples ought to be immune from tribalism and identity politics. That we are not is an indictment of the worldliness infecting the churches. We follow the world in seeing color, and then discriminating either against (traditional racism) or for (critical race racism) a person purely because of the color of his skin. We split into tribes and stand by our tribes "right and wrong" with no regard for the truth, just like the world. We slander other pastors because we have made our politics primary over Christian charity and unity. We refuse to seek the truth, and call those who seek the truth trouble-makers. We lapsed into the thinking of this world, and make a sordid mess of our supposed witness for Jesus. If we are so like the world, why should anyone think that God is real? Why should anyone take what we say seriously?

Christians therefore ought to return once again to the Gospel and the Cross of Christ. Jesus was the ultimate and true victim, and the only righteous victim who most definitely did not deserve anything that happened to him, YET he did not seek "social justice" or "representation" but suffered silently on the Cross. We follow this crucified Savior, and so how can we demand "representation" and "social justice"? Are we more virtuous than Christ? Away with such ungodly thinking! This world is not our home. Yes, we do seek justice, actual justice not faux "justice." But that is not where our identity lies. We are followers of a crucified Savior, not a social justice warrior! On this world, we are pilgrims, never to feel a true sense of belonging in a world in rebellion against God.

We are to go back to Scripture once again to see where our identity is. Then we are to show the world that our identity is in Christ and thus we transcend their tribal distinctions. That is the only place where true reconciliation is: in Christ. Then, and only then, will we recover our true identity and rid ourselves of the leaven of identity politics.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

John MacArthur on the issue of sin, history and taking responsibility

In his second sermon in a series on the issue of "social justice," John MacArthur made a very salient point concerning historical injustices, grievances and the need for personal responsibility, in that God is the God of history. The more we call people to nurture grievances due to inequality, which has been ordained by God, the more the person will run away from God. For God then becomes the perpetrator of injustice. MacArthur pointed out that life is unfair, and there is in a certain sense in which historical sins have consequences for the present (c.f. Ex. 20:5), YET "no one is a random victim of historical sins." Whatever social, racial inequality a person is born into, that is under the sovereignty of God. But regardless of what inequality may exist, all are sinners and are responsible to God for how they live their lives. Inequality does not vitiate personal responsibility. Life is unfair, but whatever God has given, we are to take personal responsibility for our actions and not play the blame game, for like Adam and Eve, "sinners will fight to the death to blame someone else" for their predicament.

Ultimately therefore, the problem with the issue of "social justice" when it runs in the church is a refusal to submit to God's sovereign working in history. By passing the buck, SJWs can stop taking responsibility for the ills they face, and blame anyone but themselves, and refuse to accept that life is unfair. The antidote is however unpleasant, for then we have to face up to the brokenness and sin in ourselves, and realize we are not as good as we think we are.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Statement on Social Justice is against racism

One of the lies being spread about the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel is that those in the antebellum South could sign the statement. Those who make and repeat the lies probably never actually read the statement, or they are willing to lie about its contents. This is what the statement says about the sin of racism, which no one in the antebellum South could have agreed to.

We deny that Christians should segregate themselves into racial groups or regard racial identity above, or even equal to, their identity in Christ. We deny that any divisions between people groups (from an unstated attitude of superiority to an overt spirit of resentment) have any legitimate place in the fellowship of the redeemed. ... (Denial, XII: Race/ Ethnicity, The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel)

It is one thing to reject the statement. It is another to lie about the statement and falsely bear witness about it so as to promote one's leftist "racial justice" agenda. Sadly, what has been seen so far is lies, lies and more lies, and little actual engagement with the substance of the Statement.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Original sin and imputed guilt

In the book edited by Michael Allen and Scott R. Swain, Christian Dogmatics, an author Oliver D. Crisp wrote the chapter on the topic of sin. In his chapter, he defended what he took to be a "Zwinglian" model of original sin. As opposed to the federal model of the transmission of sin, Crisp took the realist model, which Zwingli supposedly taught, that sin is transmitted by a real union between Adam and his progeny (p. 216). Needless to say, such a model would require holding to traducianism, the belief that the souls of human beings are transmitted to their descendants, in order for it to work. Without dealing with traducianism here, let us look at Crisp's objections to the federal model of the transmission of sin, that sin is transmitted to all humans because of covenantal identification with Adam, and answer them.

Crisp raised three distinct objections to the federal model of the transmission of sin. First, the "arbitrary divine will objection" states that the act of God in ordaining that original sin is transmitted is unfair and arbitrary. Second, the "authorization objection," which states that Adam's progeny did not authorize Adam to be their representative. Third, the "fiction objection," that the imputation of sin to Adam's progeny because of federal identification is a moral and legal fiction. Due to these three objections, which Crisp deemed insurmountable. Crisp rejected the federal model for a realist model of the transmission of sin.

In response to the first objection, the answer is that God is sovereign and this is how the world he had created is. The objection is basically reduced to "Why did God make the world in such and such a way?." Why did God make the world such that Adam sinned in the first place? Why did God make the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? This objection fails because the whole idea of God being God is that He is God and we are not. God does all things according to His good pleasure, and there is simply no reason or right why He must explain anything to us.

The second objection is similar to the first, and the answer is similar to the first answer. Who authorized Adam to be our federal head? Well, God did! When you were a little child, who authorized your parents to sign as a parent on your behalf for camps and other activities? Did you as a three year old authorize your parents to be your parents? Or how about nations and war? If a country goes to war, which individual citizen authorized the war? What if the citizen does not want to fight in the war when mandatory draft is instituted?

Therefore, the second objection fails as well. Such an objection smacks of radical individualism, and fail to recognize the corporate nature of human societies. It is true that we did not authorize Adam and Eve to be our head in the first test of the Covenant of Works, but who is better to face such a test? It almost seem like the objectors think that they, as fallen creatures, would easily pass the test that our sinless parents failed, an exercise in hubris.

The last is essentially the same objection as the argument against justification by faith alone, which has also been called a "legal fiction." But that is to ignore that the imputing of Adam's guilt actually changes something, i.e. that all Man are sinful from birth. It is not a "legal fiction" because the imputation of Adam's guilt actually make fallen men sinners, just as the imputation of Christ's righteousness actually make believers righteous in the eyes of God. If imputation of sin is unfair, then so is imputation of Christ's righteousness to us. Grace is "unfair," but few seems to be complaining about that! The "legal fiction" objection is therefore void, and the federalist model stands.

The first man Adam sinned, and this sin is imputed to his posterity by virtue of federal headship. But we can thank God, for in the "unfairness" of this system is the exact same federal system that brings us God's grace in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is free, and all of grace, to set us free from our bondage to sin and give us eternal life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Social Justice, Critical Theory and General Revelation

In some quarters of American Christianity, there has been a defense of the usage of Critical Race Theory and other forms of left-liberal theories as being under the umbrella of "General Revelation." The defense is that, since the Bible does not teach these theories, therefore we can understand that these theories help us to understand the workings of the world as they are part of God's General Revelation, in the same way that the Scriptures does not teach Newton's laws of motions yet we accept them as true, as part of God's General Revelation. Such a defense is used to blunt the argument that these Christian Social Justice Warriors are reading into the Bible and distorting the Word of God, since it is self-evident that no one can get Critical Race Theory from a mere reading of the Scriptures.

I have always suspected there is a weakness in certain more recent Reformed works on the doctrine of General Revelation (e.g. Van Til, Horton etc.), in the sense that General Revelation is not defined clearly and seem to be ambiguous enough to tolerate theologians being able to smuggle in unbiblical theories into their interpretation of the world. So it would be helpful for us here to be clearer in stating what General Revelation actually is. According to Scripture, General Revelation has to do with informing people that there is a Creator God who is eternal and divine and glorious (Rom. 1:20; Ps. 19:1), and that they are all guilty of sin against God's holy law (Rom. 2:15). That is all! God's General Revelation doesn't even extend to scientific laws. And if one understands some basic philosophy of science, then one realizes that the natural sciences are an interpretation of the world, not an unmediated knowledge of the actual workings of the world. After all, that is what one gets from the process of induction: an interpretation of the raw data.

If such is what the natural sciences are, then how should one regard the social sciences, which are even more subjective and easily biased? Social sciences, even if they are done as stringently as possible, are even more fallible and more liable to be wrong. If natural science theories are not general revelation but interpretations of general revelations, then social science theories are most definitely not general revelation but highly fallible interpretations of general revelation! This is especially so when theories like critical race theory reason from highly disputed axioms in the first place, which increases its possibility of error to an exceedingly high degree.

So "social justice" and critical race theories are not general revelation, and have such a high possibility of error that it should not be taken to be true. Therefore, it is sin to impose such theories upon the church, and demand everyone in the church subscribe to these theories as truth upon pain of being "outted" as a "racist." Such activism is unbiblical, un-truthful and un-Christlike. It is to be the apostle of error, working contrary to the Lord of truth, calling good evil and evil good (Is. 5:20). It is a sin which needs to be repented of, an evil that grieves our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory.

Two Kingdoms and the issue of "Social Justice"

In certain segments of supposedly apolitical American Reformed Christianity, there is a push to deal with social issues under the heading of "social justice." These organizations supposedly hold to Two Kingdoms theory, which calls for the church to be apolitical. The strange thing, however, is how they claim to reject the social and political activism of the "Religious Right" because it confuses politics with the Gospel. Yet, if they are to be consistent, they ought to reject social and political activism of all kinds, because all kinds of social and political activism, according to this version of Two Kingdoms theory, would confuse politics with the Gospel.

Positions and activities under the heading of "Social justice," whatever they may be, are in fact rather political issues. That this is the case is seen in the reality that they are not held to be true by most people in the same way the concrete findings of the natural sciences tend to be. Almost all conservatives reject "social justice" in some form or another, based upon conservative social and political theories, which they hold sincerely to be true. It is absolutely irrelevant that left liberals think those theories are nonsense, because right-wingers would say the same about left-wing theories as well. In other words, what is seen here is a real disagreement over the interpretation of facts and socio-political theories. To attempt to delegitimize right-wing theories is to take a socio-political stance, i.e. some kind of left-wing liberalism.

Thus, when organizations distance themselves from the "religious right," yet take up issues such as "social justice," such organizations are being political, politically left-wing. If any organization desire to be totally apolitical, as their version of "Two Kingdoms" supposedly informs their ministry praxis, then they ought not to take any side on any disputed social and political issue. Therefore, the final question to such organizations is: "Why are you not practicing what you preach on the supposed apolitical nature of your organization?"

Sunday, September 09, 2018

S377A and the challenge to Singapore Christianity

Section S377A of the Penal Code of the Singapore Constitution, which criminalizes homosexuality, is back in the news, as various liberals have (again) renewed their call to repeal what they perceive to be an archaic and "discriminatory" law. As times changed, and society have become more liberal, so perhaps the liberals think that now is the time to attempt a repeal of this law. Liberals are liberals, and thus, as much as we can put forward a case from natural law and from science as to why S377A should be kept, the liberals are not my main concern here.

More worrying however is the weakening response from Christians in Singapore. This is not to say that many Christians do not stridently support this law, but rather, that it is not at all clear to me that the younger generation is both able and willing to support it. I am of course open to evidence to the contrary, but at least from my limited point of view, I perceive that many younger Christians have been exposed to various aspects of liberal thought and are not as strong in their views on biblical law and biblical sexuality as the older generation, who have built their opposition from both traditional culture and Christianity. This is not to say that traditional cultures are definitely true and to be accepted uncritically, because I myself do not do so. But rather, without tradition, and with little knowledge of Christianity, it is unclear what is capable of grounding their support of S377A. After all, just because the Bible says homosexuality is sin does not necessarily in itself lead one to think that S377A should be upheld, or at least that is what a simplistic understanding of Scripture seems to indicate.

There are two issues here that Christians should think about: (1) Does society owe God anything? (2) What is the nature and goal of societal censure? Firstly, does society owe God anything? Here, I would like to remind believers that according to Scripture, this world is made by God and God is sovereign over everything on this earth, including Singapore. If you do not believe that, you do not believe in the Christian God. But if God is sovereign over all the nations of the world as their Creator, then that means that the nations owe God homage and obedience to His law. However, now is the time of the New Covenant whereby God is building His Kingdom through the Church. The Church proclaims the Gospel message of salvation, and therefore in all matters concerning spiritual things, the nations are temporarily "exempted" from paying God homage, in the sense that God is not dealing with them on this issue right now. Concerning spiritual things, due to the Noahic Covenant, the nations are left to their own devices for the moment, only to be dealt with at the final judgment (Acts 17:30-31; Rev. 19:15).

That said, God is not absent from the world and only present at church. Rather, God continues to demand the ethical demands of His law (what is called the Second Table of the Ten Commandments - Commandments 5-10). We notice in for example the Old Testament that God judged the pagan nations for gross violations of these laws. Besides the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, whereby not even ten outwardly righteous people could be found in Sodom, God judged the Canaanites only when their iniquities are full (Gen. 15:16). During the time of the exile of the Jews, God judged the various other countries around Israel for their cruelty towards Israel (Amos 1-2). These judgments are not just meted out because the victim is Israel, as we can see in the strange case of God judging Moab for what seemed to be a minor sin (to us) of desecrating the bones of the king of Edom (Amos 2:1), who is definitely not an Israelite neither a friend of Israel.

As we see in Scripture, God deals with the secular nations by overlooking their idolatry while inflicting punishments when their moral iniquities are too great. This restraint of judgment is not because God's law does not apply to them, but rather that this age is not the time of judgment. But just because God is gracious now in not immediately wiping sinners out does not mean that His law can be disregarded in society. All nations are obligated to obey God's ethical commands, because God is Creator. It matters not whether they will or will not acknowledge God and His sovereignty, for God is sovereign and all will answer to him one day whether they like it or not.

So society, even secular societies, owes God obedience to His ethical commands. Society therefore is obligated to pass laws that restrains sins and promote the ethical commands of God. Any society that does not do that, or that passes laws contrary to God's commands, is a wicked society, and will incur the wrath of God, which will come on all regardless of whether that society believes in Him or not.

Secondly, what is the nature and goal of societal censure? "Discrimination" is one of the few sins that postmodern society acknowledges. However, "discrimination" in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. All laws discriminate, against criminals. The law that states that stealing is a sin discriminates against the thief. The law that states that drug trafficking is wrong discriminates against drug traffickers. So what if something is "discriminatory"? The question is not whether a law is discriminatory, but rather whether what is discriminated against deserves to be discriminated against. Wrongful discrimination is wrong because it discriminates against what is morally good or neutral. But right discrimination discriminates against what is evil and wicked. Similarly, the word "stigma" or the phrase "social stigma" does not necessarily mean that the stigmatizing itself is wrong. Theft should be stigmatized. Murder should be stigmatized. And murderers should bear the opprobrium of their wicked deeds. Therefore, societal censure is correct if it is directed at that which is wicked, and wrong if directed at that which is not evil. Just because societal censure exists does not mean that it is wrong. Societal censure is meant to guide people to avoid that which is wrong and to do what is right, imperfectly yet truly.

Therefore, in the case of S377A, Christians who are grounded in Scripture should know that Singapore being a secular society is no excuse for thinking that biblical morality is irrelevant. Furthermore, since we live in a democracy, we have the right as citizens to ask our government to keep that statute, and indeed to seek to make our country's law as moral and just as it is possible. What is wrong is if the church as an institution act as a lobbying group, because that would violate the secular nature of our country. But calling on the government to have just laws that conform to God's moral standards is not "fundamentist," "bringing religion into a secular state" or whatever slurs opponents of S377A can come up with. In fact, as long as we remain a democracy, Christians can make their views known on the subject and push for our laws to be moral.

Moreover, Christians should be mature enough to see past the rhetoric of the wicked (which is what they are). This has nothing to do with allowing homosexuals to live in sin, because they can do so without punishment, for who is such a busybody to go around asking everyone whether they are engaging in homosexual sex acts in their homes?! Rather, this is all about the LGBTQ+++ lobby seeking social acceptance for their wickedness. In other words, they want US to approve of their actions. That this is the end game can be seen in the Western nations, where decades of moral decay and retreat have shown us that the LGBTQIA+++ lobby is not interested in just committing sin in private, but they want everyone to approve of their sin, or they will seek to destroy our livelihoods. Do not be swayed by their appeal to mercy and pity, because they are hiding their claws in kids' gloves. Or to use a biblical metaphor, they are wolves in sheep's clothing. Do NOT believe anything they say, for they know that if we know what their end game is, almost nobody will support them as "allies."

The challenge to Singapore Christianity is that few have a understanding of how society relates to God, as Christianity is just seen to be about "spiritual things" only, and that, due to the imbibing of liberalism-lite in the Singapore education system, many young people have no idea how to deal with accusations of "discimination" and "stigmatization." The problem with Singapore Christianity for the young is that they do not have even an inkling of the intellectual tradition that stands parallel to Christianity, which is found within the Western Classical liberal arts tradition. We are ignorant, and we do not know it. We have no idea what "human rights" are as they were originally based upon Scripture, and how secular humanism has distorted the concept into a monstrousity. We have no idea of the amount of de-programming we would need to do to our own minds from the lies our society has taught us. And even if we do, we are just too afraid of the world's opinions, too afraid to rock the boat, too afraid of controversy. As an example, when I did a private post concerning how homosexuality is an abomination, a Christian called me out on it! Not an unbeliever, but someone who professes Christ! Think about that for a moment! Who should we fear more: God or Man?

For Singapore Christianity, it is ultimately insufficient to just deal with LGBTQ and S377A. If we really want to have a robust response to this issue, we need to have solid Christian education, on the Bible but also on Christian worldview, philosophy and theology. It is manifestly insufficient to just "read the Bible," not because the Bible is insufficient, but because the Bible was never meant to be read as a mere devotional text on only spiritual matters. For Singapore Christianity to truly thrive, we need a reformation and a renaissance of learning, of the heart and of the mind.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Sermon: The Sacrifices of Ministry (1 Cor 9)

Here is the sermon I had preached on 1 Corinthians 9, on Aug 19th 2018, entitled The Sacrifices of Ministry.

The Statement on Social Justice

The Statement on Social Justice has came out recently, and it is a great statement on the topic of "Social Justice" and racial issues, especially in its rejection of Critical Race Racism. One of the initial signers, Dr. James White, has posted on the background and exegesis behind the statement here:

And in response to criticism:

I fully support this statement, but I deplore the low ecclesiology that it stems from. It is much more preferable that Reformed denominations would draft and pass a similar statement in church assemblies.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Dr. James White against CRT Racism

Dr. James White interacted with Brad Mason's racism in the second part of his Dividing Line podcast here. Here is a great quote against those who redefine terms like "racism" on behalf of the cause of "social justice."

Monday, August 13, 2018

The strength and weakness of Evangelicalism

The strength of evangelicalism is its minimalism. … [This] has afforded not only a wide berth for cooperation but also a laser focus on contested points. The weakness of evangelicalism is also its minimalism. Doctrinal minimalism in one generation can be a way of focusing the fight; in another, the path to doctrinal indifference. [Michael Horton, “Prologue: What are We Celebrating?,” in Matthew Barrett, ed., Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 15-6]

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

North Florida Presbytery (PCA) objects to using sin as identifier marker

The PCA North Florida Presbytery has produced an interesting study committee report on the recent issue, as seen in the Revoice conference, where sin was used as an identifier marker amidst a demand for inclusion. You can read the committee report here.

[HT: Heidelblog]

Monday, August 06, 2018

On Reformed Piety

Earlier this year I started a series on Reformed piety, in contrast to Evangelical piety. I had then decided to take the project offline and finish it first, so here is the completed document. Two excerpts, one from the introduction:

What is Reformed piety? Or is there such a thing as Reformed piety, as distinct from Evangelical piety? For those of us who do not identify as "Evangelicals," and that even before the term has become politicized during and after the election of US President Donald Trump, we do see a difference between Reformed piety and Evangelical piety. We do this, not out of a blind following of tradition, but because of what we see as being taught in Scripture and in light of the implications of Scripture.

And another from the conclusion:

Reformed piety stems from Reformed theology, while Evangelical piety stems from the social settings of Evangelicalism. The distinctives of being Reformed is to be confessional, orthodox, reverent and orderly, while the distinctives of being Evangelical is to be conversionist, activist, Biblicist, and crucicentrist. ...

You can access the entire document here.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Robert Letham on the Trinity and so-called subordinationism

[In rejecting Kevin Giles' accusation of ESS as subordinationism] Giles is right that all three persons are engaged in all of God's works and ways. However, only the Son—not the Father, nor the Holy Spirit— entered into hypostatic union with our humanity, and he did so forever. ...

His [the Son's -DHC] sending preceded his incarnation, and so his incarnate life and ministry can (as appropriate) reveal something of his eternal relations. If this were not so, we would be left with agnosticism, in flat contradiction to Jesus' own words that he who has seen him (in his lowliness) has seen the Father (John 14:9 et al.). ... [Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2004), 494]

Giles even cites one of his heroes, Athanasius, to the effect that the divine Son willingly subordinated himself in the Incarnation (p. 37). But, we may ask, if he did so in the Incarnation without jeopardy to his deity, why is this not so in eternity? Since he has permanently united to himself the assumed human nature, does it not follow as something appropriate for the Son in his exaltation as well as in his humiliation, not as a slave to a master, but in the loving and willing communion of coequals? [Ibid., 495]

Quick, someone tell the "confessionalist" "pro-Nicene" crowd to take out their torches and pitchforks and start an inquisition of the "proto-Arian subordinationist heretic" Robert Letham...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

On Multiculturalism

What is "Multiculturalism"? Many countries today hold to "multiculturalism," but it is not so easy to get a precise definition of the term from them. The term simply means "a theory of many cultures," but besides this it is unclear exactly what it means. In some circles, multiculturalism is extolled as a sign of an enlightened and tolerant society. In other circles, it is demonized as an evil leading to the destruction of Western culture(s). Which is it, exactly? I would suggest that when one actually looks at the term and how it is used, it is both. There are two basic definitions of "multiculturalism," and the two are often confused and conflated by both those for and against multiculturalism. If we are to achieve clarity on the topic, we will need to understand the two different definitions, following which we can then understand how we ought to understand "multiculturalism."

Among those who extol multiculturalism, "multiculturalism" is taken to mean a celebration of cultural diversity. Different peoples from different backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities come together and mix freely with each other. The various peoples do not have to give up their own specific cultures but rather each diverse culture is celebrated as contributing to the overall richness of society. Whether it is in terms of dress, food or even ethnic festivals, everyone is free to live according to their own culture, without being coerced to change, to conform to another culture.

On the other side, "multiculturalism" is seen as an evil that has resulted in the destruction of their own [Western] culture(s). Particularly in Europe, their view of "multiculturalism" is slanted from watching how "multiculturalism" works out in real life in their towns, their cities and their countries. Welcoming people from diverse cultures has resulted in many immigrants who do not assimilate into the host country, with some not even speaking the native language well. They watch as some of these foreigners come in and violate the social norms of their country, take money in welfare, and do not contribute to society. Also, while not all migrants do so, a sizable minority of migrants commit heinous crimes against the native populace, like mass rape, while the police ignore their plight out of a fear not to appear racist. They watch as their own cultures are belittled in their own country, Christianity denigrated, while it seems that the professed religion of those who commit acts of terrorism is extolled while the terrorists are treated with kids' gloves. Note here: We are not at this moment claiming whether their perception is right or wrong, but merely to note what they have perceived (whether rightly or wrongly). The rejection of "multiculturalism" by the hoi polloi in many Western societies stems from what they have seen first-hand happening in their own societies.

As with anyone who is committed to searching for the truth, and genuinely desiring to understand both the issues being discussed and people being affected by social ideologies, it is imperative to understand what is happening on the ground. It seems obvious, except it is a glaring fault of the elites of the world where they do not really know or care about what is actually happening on the ground. That is why the elites were blindsided and shocked when Brexit or the election of Donald Trump as the American President happened. The elites somehow managed to insulate themselves from the ground, despite appearing to be knowledgeable about many things. And throwing epithets like "racist," "white supremacist," etc etc only produce heat but not light, fomenting enmity instead of understanding.

The first definition of "multiculturalism," extolled by the elites and idealized as a most perfect social good, I would term "social multiculturalism." It might be the "multiculturalism" seen by the elites, because they get to walk around and enjoy the diverse foods, clothes and other such cultural products, while remaining safe in their gated enclaves. In other words, the elites get to enjoy the positives of multiculturalism without any of the negative consequences. No, it is left to the hoi polloi to suffer any negative consequences. If some of the migrants are criminals, the elites will generally be protected from them since they do not stay in the same neighborhood and walk the same streets at night. "Social multiculturalism," as limited to the social sphere, is the belief that diversity of cultures is to be celebrated as a social good.

Alongside this "social multiculturalism" is "philosophical multiculturalism," which is a philosophical value claim about both the diverse cultures and the lifestyle that allows for the celebration of diverse cultures. The liberal elites move smoothly from one (social multiculturalism) to the other (philosophical multiculturalism) without much thought. Philosophical multiculturalism is the value judgment that all cultures and all cultural values are equally good as each other. Also, as a celebration of all cultures, it must relativize all cultures as equally false, in the sense that any truth claims of any culture is to be rejected as being false. All cultures are to be treated as experiences not as actual claimants to how things ought to be. Therefore, in actual fact, "multiculturalism" has become THE culture by which all other traditional cultures must kowtow to. Since it is primarily Western culture that the Western liberals faced, and which they reject, Western culture(s) is regularly denigrated and Christianity incessantly mocked.

Reality however has a way to ruin false ideologies, and nowhere more so than philosophical multiculturalism. Logically, if all cultures are equally true, or equally false, then upon what basis can liberals impose their "multiculturalism" culture on us? In reality, thanks to misbehaving immoral adherents of some cultures, the liberals are placed in a bind whether to condemn the immoral parts of certain cultures, or to allow immorality to thrive. In the case of Europe, the epidemic of mass rape has falsified philosophical multiculturalism, if only liberals had brains to think it through.

The fact is that not all cultures are equal. There is good in all cultures, but some cultures have certain aspects that are just evil. Toleration and celebration of all cultures comes from a Pelagian view of Man and of culture. Since Man is fallen, there is evil in all cultures. But since Man is created in the image of God, there is also good in all cultures. By virtue of how the world develops, some cultures will be more moral than others, and other cultures will be so depraved, like the Aztecs with their practice of human sacrifices, that it almost seem that there is nothing good in them. Will any of the liberals defend the notion that offering human sacrifices to the gods is morally right, and that the Spanish were evil in eradicating human sacrifices? I sincerely doubt so, but then, who knows?

Philosophical multiculturalism is false, but what about social multiculturalism? If one were to reject the immoral aspects of various cultures, social multiculturalism by itself is morally neutral. Liberals place value in diversity, but diversity in itself has no inherent virtue. Diversity might be good because of a richer life experience, but then diversity is good here only subjectively, and in service of what one perceives as a richer life, which is itself subjective. Social multiculturalism can however be a positive good if utilized in the service of allowing people from different backgrounds and cultures to coexist peacefully. It is therefore not a surprise when multi-ethnic countries promote multiculturalism. In this, however, we must differentiate between the two senses of "multiculturalism" and reject its philosophical sense, as it is self-contradictory and contrary to the facts on the ground.