Dec 26, 2011

If Ron Paul Were President in 1941...

Ron Paul touts himself as a "non-interventionist" in his foreign policy. He believes that we should have few if any military bases in foreign countries, that we should have few if any defense treaties with other countries, and that we should not involve ourselves in any military conflicts unless we are directly attacked. This means no military interventions like Kuwait, Iraq, Kosovo, etc. It means we should not have troops in South Korea and definitely should not bother to help the South Koreans defend themselves against any North Korean invasion. That's their business not ours.

For all those out there who are enamored with Ron Paul and his foreign policy, I ask you to consider some implications of his views. Specifically, I ask you to imagine what would be the case if Ron Paul had been President of the U.S. in 1941 when the U.S. (in actual history) was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor and subsequently entered into World War II. Think about it: If Ron Paul had been President in 1941. . .

  • China would probably still be under Imperial Japanese occupation.

  • The Philipines would still be under Imperial Japanese occupation.

  • Some of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska would still be under Imperial Japanese occupation.

  • Korea, Burma, and most of SE Asia would be under Imperial Japanese occupation.

  • Australia would very well have been invaded by Imperial Japan and would still be under its occupation.

  • Nazi Germany would still exist and would still be occupying most of continental Europe and problably Russia too and possibly Great Britain.

  • Nazi Germany would still occupy most of North Africa and would likely have extended its rule to Palestine and other parts of Arabia.

Ron Paul supporters might object to all this by saying, "Wait a minute! Paul does believe in military responses to agression against the United States. Japan attacked the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor. And then the Nazi's declared war on us. So, Paul would not have objected to our participation in World War II." However, this response falters on the fact that if Ron Paul were President in 1941, we would not have had any naval or military bases in Pearl Harbor for the Japanese to attack in the first place! And even if we had military bases in Pearl Harbor, the Japanese would not have attacked us given Paul's non-interventionist policies. They would have gone about their business and invaded the Philipines, Australia, etc., and not had to worry about our naval fleet in Pearl Harbor.

Ron Paul's foreign policy would have been naive and dangerous then (not to mention cruel), and it's naive and dangerous now.

Oct 13, 2011

Christian Hedonism Challenged

I just ran across this very insightful critique of Piper's Christian hedonism by Reformed philosopher and theologian Paul Helm. Though Piper's views on this emphasize some elements in Christian theology and living that have been sadly neglected and that we should recapture today, I have never been able to get past the feeling that he has gone too far. Helm offers a much-needed corrective. I hope all the Piper fans out there will read Helm's blog with an open mind.

Jun 29, 2011

Women's Subordination Revisited

The latest issue of the philosophy journal Philosophia Christi features an exchange between egalatarian Adam Omelianchuk and myself over my 2009 article "The Metaphysics of Subordination: A Response to Rebecca Merrill Groothuis." As you might guess, Omelianchuk argues that I have failed to adequately defend the coherence of the distinction complementarians make between woman's equality of being/value and subordinate function. I respond that he begs the main question, primarily through the use of an obscure and undefined notion of "ontological inferiority." I'll let the reader decide who is right. I invite comments by those who have read all three articles.

Jun 17, 2011

Scooby Doo and Philosophy

Because my son loves it and gets me to watch it with him, I have become a pretty ardent fan of the Scooby Doo cartoons and movies over the last couple of years. So I was much intrigued when I heard about a blog by David Leonard that brought out some connections of Scooby Doo to some aspects of my chosen profession, philosophy. Though I might quibble with a few points, it is very interesting reading. Most of all, it should remind us that philosophical/worldview ideas permeate every aspect of our culture, even kid's cartoons. David Leonard's blog post is on the website of the MacLaurin Institute at this address:

May 9, 2011

Thor -- Reluctant Messiah

I just saw the new Thor movie. I really liked it. Not my favorite superhero moview, but still worth seeing. I am sure that other bloggers will notice some of the same themes and ideas in the film that I'm about to mention, and will probably explore them more fully. Nevertheless, I want to make my own observations before reading what others have to say.

What struck me most about the storyline is the almost unmistakable parallel with Philippians 2:5-11. Not a perfect parallel, mind you, but a parallel nonetheless. According the the Apostle Paul, the Second Person of the trinity, Jesus, was fully divine and had every right to "grasp hold" of his divine prerogatives. He was/is the king of all creation. Yet, out of deference to the Father's will and for love of humanity, he did not grasp hold of his divine privileges, but humbled himself and took on human flesh. He bacame a man, and even humbled himself to the point of dying on a cross for the salvation of the human race. As a result, the Father has now highly exalted Jesus to his former status as the divine king, even giving him the "name that is above every name."

Now think about the Thor movie (spoiler alert!). Unlike Christ, Thor (Chris Helmsworth), the thunder "god," is arrogant and egotistical. He thinks his father Odin is foolish and that he can do a better job as king of Asgard. Up to this point, Thor is anything but a parallel to Christ. But to teach him a lesson, Odin banishes Thor to the Earth and "empties" him of his god-like powers. Thor becomes a man. Though unwillingly, Thor experiences, like Christ, a kenosis and an incarnation. He takes on the humble status of a human being. In the course of the film, Thor comes to realize that there are bigger and better things to live for than himself and that he doesn't necessarily have all the wisdom that he thought he did. And when his evil brother Loki sends a giant, flame-throwing robot to earth in search of Thor and which threatens humanity, Thor sacrifices his life (yes, he dies!) to save the human race. In giving his life, Thor even pleads with Loki to take his life instead of the humans' lives. So, in Thor, we interestingly have the motifs of kenosis/incarnation as well as a substitutionary death. Then, of course, follows resurrection and exaltation. In response to Thor's new-found humility, Odin gives Thor back his life and his "divine" status, returning to him his famous hammer, Mjolnir, which allows him to go on to defeat Loki. Not only this, but before he leaves the Earth, Thor promises his human love-interest (Natalie Portman) that he will return to Earth after he defeats Loki. As events would have it, though, the technology that would allow Thor to return are destroyed in the battle and the movie ends with both Thor and his human friends on Earth wondering when (and if) he will make his return--though all are hopeful.

So, ironically, what we have in Thor is the story of a pagan, Norse god, re-telling the Christian story of the incarnate God dying for the fallen human race, rising again to achieve victory over the forces of darkness, and ascending into heaven, from whence we eagerly anticipate his return. It's kinda funny (and actually gratifying) where the gospel turns up these days!

Feb 28, 2011

Resurrection Debate

I will be participating in a debate on the resurrection of Jesus on April 4, 2011, at Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Leeds, Alabama. A great lead-up to Easter! I'd appreciate prayers and your attendance if possible.