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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Showing posts with label women. Show all posts
Showing posts with label women. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Romancing the Mind - Why Apologetics is Crucial for Women (podcast)

Women are crucial in service to the body of Christ. Women tend to pray more than men, tend to volunteer more, and attend service more, too. Most churches offer different ministries aimed at women, from Bible studies to cooking and craft workshops. Yet, there are very few women's classes aimed at teaching them how to develop their minds and thoughtfully engage the culture with the reasons for their faith. This is a glaring omission for both Christian women and the churches that serve them. Listen in as Lenny presents to a women's group and explains why women need to develop not only a strong spiritual relationship with God, but also a strong intellectual one as well.
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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Progressives: Please Help Me Understand International Women's Day

Today is marked as International Women's Day, described as "a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity."1 The Women's March, among other progressive women's rights groups, decided to mark the day by creating "A Day without a Woman" campaign, instructing women to:
  1. Take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor
  2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses)
  3. And Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman
As a heterosexual white male living in the 21st century, I definitely want to highlight the crucial contributions women have made to our society. But I need some help in understanding just how to go about doing this. Lest I be accused of "mansplaining" or bias because of my sex, I want to ask my progressive friends to help me make better sense of this day and just what it is I'm recognizing.

Question 1: How Do We Mark Achievements Today?

As noted above, this date is set aside to celebrate "the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women," yet women are being instructed to take the day off from labor—to go on strike. Fox News reports that "Several schools in at least four states were closed Wednesday so teachers can participate in ‘A Day Without a Woman' strike in which organizers are urging female workers to stay home."2How does this celebrate achievement? What happens to the female students who are supposed to be taught today? Does losing one day's instruction give them an advantage?

Question 2: How Do We Accelerate Economic Gender Parity?

Perhaps the strike is meant to accelerate gender parity. After all, the day is to be marked with calls to action. Does the fact that these schools closed mean the school districts need to hire more men so the ratio of genders is equal? Should we put quotas in place to ensure parity? What about other jobs where men are in the vast majority, like sanitation engineers or coal miners? Business insider lists these as two of the fifteen most deadly occupations with fatalities per 100,000 workers at 22.8 and 38.9 respectively.3 Christina Hoff Sommers documents how in the top ten highest paying college majors, men overwhelmingly outnumber women in all but one while in the ten least remunerative majors women outnumber the men in all but one. So, how do we accelerate gender parity economically here?

Question 3: How Do We Accelerate Cultural Gender Parity?

Perhaps economic parity isn't the only kind of parity we should strive for. Perhaps we can recognize that women as women offer unique and worthwhile contributions to our society that cannot be measured (or are undervalued) economically. But this seems to get sticky pretty fast. Can I say that women as a gender have a unique view on society and its problems? When the city of Los Angeles was in danger of having an all-male city council, former councilwoman Laura Chick decried the possibility, saying "Shame, shame. Absolutely it makes a difference. Our brains are different. We have different perspectives.... There's something terribly wrong with this."4

But how can this be true if a family requires two loving adults, no matter what their gender? Progressives have been telling me for a long time that children don't need women as mothers, they simply need loving individuals. Gender doesn't matter at all. To create a situation where children are intentionally denied the opportunity for a mother is so inconsequential that it shouldn't even be up for discussion. It certainly shouldn't be considered as a factor when adopting, as Catholic Charites were told, forcing them to shut down their adoption services in Massachusetts.

Question 4: What do You Mean by Woman?

Perhaps the fact that women bear children and are responsible for the lion's share of rearing them is a point to be underscored. But that would mean that the very concept of being a woman is rooted in biology. But according to my progressive friends, that isn't true at all. They say the very idea of gender is simply a social construct. All that is required to be a woman is to identify as a woman. Is that right? But that means I can be celebrated if I choose to identify as a woman today.

The big question in all this is how do we celebrate the achievements of women and rally to gain parity for women when the concept of what a woman is isn't defined? This is probably where I need the most help, as I can't make sense of it at all. If the very definition of what constitutes a woman is up for grabs, then what happens to those gender parity issues? I mean, there are those who deeply identify as football fans or basketball fans. I'm in the minority as a hockey fan. Should I seek a day for celebration of achievement and a call to parity since hockey fans are so underrepresented in society?

I would really love to celebrate women. However, in today's world with all the different messaging going on, I can't figure out just who it is we're celebrating or what kind of achievements qualify to be celebrated. If anyone can help me out, I'd be really appreciative.


1. "About International Women's Day." International Women's Day. Aurora Ventures (Europe) Limited., n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.
2. "'Day Without a Woman' Strike Shuts down Schools as Teachers Bolt." Fox News. FOX News Network, 08 Mar. 2017. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.
3. Lubin Gus and Kevin Lincoln. "The 15 Most Dangerous Jobs In America." Business Insider. Business Insider, 21 Sept. 2011. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.
4. Newton, Jim. "An All-male City Council?" Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2013. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Romancing the Mind: Why Apologetics is Crucial for Women (video)

Women are crucial in service to the body of Christ. Women tend to pray more than men, tend to volunteer more, and attend service more, too.Most churches offer different ministries aimed at women, from Bible studies to cooking and craft workshops. Yet, there are very few  women's classes aimed at teaching them how to develop their minds and thoughtfully engage the culture with the reasons for their faith. This is a glaring omission for both Christian women and the churches that serve them,

In this full length video, Lenny had the chance to present to a women's home bible study group and explain why women need to develop a not only a strong spiritual relationship with God, but also a strong intellectual one as well.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

What's Wrong with Just Telling Boys "Don't Slap Girls"

Boys don't want to slap girls. At least that's what the popular YouTube video entitled "'Slap her': Children's reactions" shows. Produced in Italy, the short clip shows several boys aged 10 to 11 in front of a young girl where they dutifully perform requests such as "make a funny face" or "caress her" from an off- camera voice. However, when each is told "slap her", none comply. When asked why they won't slap her one says, "Because you're not supposed to hit girls!" while another replies "I don't want to hurt her."1

I applaud the boys for not hitting the girl. It's decent; and I've given the same instruction to my boys. However, I worry that the video doesn't prove what it sets out to. In fact, I think that the underlying assumption is more problematic than meets the eye.

The video has been promoted as a demonstration that violence against women is wrong. ABC News's San Francisco affiliate wrote "Italian media company created the video to show how both violence and pacifism can be taught at an early age."2 But what does it show? Of course, pre-pubescent boys after being instructed to tell a girl how pretty she is and to stroke her don't then follow instructions to slap her. Is that a surprise?

Juxtapose this to this is the famous Milgram experiments. These are well-known experiments in psychology where people believed they were administering electric shocks to participants (really actors pretending to hurt) and when commanded, they would obey authorities even to the point of sending a shock that could be fatal.3 While Milgram's experiment had some flaws, a more recent iteration proved that people were more than willing to obey an authority who told them to provide a painful electric shock to a stranger. The study found "People who were normally friendly followed orders because they didn't want to upset others, while those who were described as unfriendly stuck up for themselves."4

Commands in Isolation are Not Beneficial

I think both findings show the flaw in moral commands that are not grounded in a larger worldview. The Italian video may be trying to say that young children don't want to slap girls by nature, but that isn't necessarily true. Kids who know and disagree with one another will get into fights all the time, and unless specifically instructed by a parent, may slap someone of the opposite sex. Also, they obviously are taken with the pretty girl and hitting her wouldn't make sense. But Milgram-type experiments do show that some people are more than willing to inflict pain when ordered to do so.

The kids seemed to understand that hitting a girl is wrong because boys are stronger than girls and could do more damage to them. Men do have significantly more muscle mass than women, leaving women much more vulnerable in a confrontation between individuals of opposite sexes. Yet, in today's "biology doesn't matter" culture, we're told the differences between the sexes don't matter, except when they do.

Morality Rooted in Worldview

More broadly, what our kids require is not simple rules, but an understanding of the value of human beings and why men shouldn't hit women. The Christian world view teaches that anyone who is in a position of strength—be it physical, financial, or influential—should not use that position to take advantage of another person made in the image of God. It is through Christianity that we understand the equality of all people and it gives us good reasons for acting civilly towards one another. In fact, such an approach also tells us that women are as valuable as men in our society and therefore should be held in high regard.  But when right and wrong are reduced to whatever the adult or some authority figure says, people may be manipulated to do horrendous things, as Hitler's Germany has proven.

I don't know if the kids in the video understood the full moral grounding of why we shouldn't hit a girl. In the video, one boy responded that "Jesus doesn't want us to hit others," which isn't a bad answer. But as parents, we need to teach our children not simply what to do and not do, but how all of that relates to the larger picture of God and man. Once that foundation is established, individuals are less likely to be swayed, and are better equipped to weigh their actions in a variety of contexts, making better decisions even in unforeseeable situation. Isn't that how we want to rear our children?


1. "Slap Her": Children's Reactions. Prod. YouTube. YouTube, 4 Jan. 2015. Web. 07 Jan. 2015.
2. "VIDEO: Young Boys Asked to Slap Little Girl in Social Experiment." ABC7 San Francisco. ABC, Inc., 5 Jan. 2015. Web. 07 Jan. 2015. .
3. McLeod, Sam. "Milgram Experiment." Simply Psychology. Simply Psychology, 2007. Web. 06 Jan. 2015.
4. Shim, Eileen. "Psychologists Have Uncovered a Troubling Feature of People Who Seem Nice All the Time." Mic. Mic Network, Inc., 30 June 2014. Web. 07 Jan. 2015.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Has the Sexual Revolution Been Good for Women?

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting couple of articles earlier this year discussing the pros and cons of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. It is clear to anyone who takes the time to look at history that humanity, and especially Western societies, underwent a fundamental change because of the separation of sexual activity from procreation.

In this article, Hoover Research Fellow Mary Eberstadt focuses on four myths that seem to still be prevalent today (especially by those with a certain political agenda) and she deftly knocks down each one.  The four she identifies are:
  1. The "war on women" consists of tyrannical men arrayed against oppressed but pluckily united women.
  2. If it weren't for the Catholic Church, no one would be talking about contraception anyway.
  3. The "social issues" are unwanted artifacts of a primitive religious past that will eventually just fade away.
  4. The sexual revolution has made women happier.
Eberstadt takes each of these in turn and shows how silly they are when looked at in real world contexts. She shows that even by looking at popular women's periodicals you can see these myths don't hold. You can read the short article here. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

He Needs to Be Committed: Touré's Abortion Double-Speak

Last week we marked the 40th anniversary of the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision, a particularly bad bit of legalese that opened the door to more than 55 million babies being slaughtered in the U.S. to date. There were many articles commenting on the decision, from both pro-life and pro-choice camps. One that specifically caught my attention was from the MSNBC commentator Touré (nee Touré Neblett) who said in a video commentary that abortion had "saved my life."

Touré's monologue began:

"This week brought us the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and made me reflect on a moment from about fifteen years ago when I was in a committed relationship with a woman who I knew was just not the one.  She probably also knew it wasn't gonna work out… and then she got pregnant. And I was terrified. I've always known the importance of family and building kids into strong adults. And I know I would not be who I am if not growing up under the watchful eye of two people who loved me and loved each other.  I knew that pregnant woman and I were not gonna be able to form a lasting family. She decided it was best to have an abortion and days later she did; we did. And in some ways that choice saved my life. I was not yet smart enough or man enough to build a family or raise a child and I only would have contributed to making a mess of three lives."

Touré goes on to say how years later, after he married his current wife and they were expecting their first son, his belief in abortion was shaken by viewing 3-D ultrasounds.  "But in the end I remain committed to being pro-choice because I cannot image arguing against a woman's right to control her body and thus her life." He then dismisses babies in the womb by saying that "there is a reasonable and unsolvable medical debate about when exactly life begins."

Now, there is so much terrible thinking here that I could write a book about it, but if I were to be given the chance to talk with Touré, I think I would ask him two questions.  First, notice his opening sentence. He said, "I was in a committed relationship with a woman who I knew was just not the one." Hmm. What do you mean by "the one" Touré? The context seems to imply that you didn't truly love her (remember families are built by two people who love each other), or you at least didn't love her to commit to forsake all others for her. So, if that's the case, then tell me what exactly was it that you were committed to? How can one be in a "committed relationship" without committing to the person for life?  The only answer I can come up with is that he was committed to the sex. He states that "She probably also knew it wasn't gonna work out... and then she got pregnant." So, she got pregnant after they both knew it wasn't going to work out? Touré's understanding of commitment is about as fast and loose as one could have.

Secondly, Touré said that the experience of prenatal care and the technology of ultrasounds made him question his position on abortion. His only escape from the fact that medical science through ultrasound showed that there is a live human being in the womb was to assert that "there is a reasonable and unsolvable medical debate about when exactly life begins." Perhaps the debate is unsolvable medically (the question of the soul would be a metaphysical question and thus lie outside the purview of science), but my question would be so what? There is an equally unsolvable medical debate about when exactly life ends.  However, we don't throw up our hands and claim that we can never recognize a patient from a corpse.

No, Touré is doing a brilliant job of Orwellian double-speak here.  He wants to be committed when it's not a commitment and he claims that any small area of doubt is justification to deny the facts of science that are presented to him directly so he may hold onto his politically correct ideology. It is just this type of propaganda and self-denial that allows the slaughter of the innocents to continue. If Touré was truly held to "a woman's right to control her body and thus her life", he wouldn't stand for destroying both those bodies and those lives in utero, before they ever had a chance to grow and thrive.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Islam: Saudi Women Offer Their Breasts for a Bit of Freedom

How do we measure belief systems?  This question has been asked of me many times in one form or another, especially by those who would like to uphold a "tolerance" for all faiths, not judging any to be true or false.  However, as I've continued to say, ideas have consequences.  What you believe will determine how you approach the world and live within it. So, if a person is properly following his or her belief system (you never measure a belief system by those who violate its tenets), then you can see the outworking of that belief system and see how well it conforms to reality.

 That's why a story in yesterday's Los Angeles Times caught my eye.  Entitled "Women threaten to breastfeed drivers if they aren't allowed to drive", it shows the twists and permutations where wrong-thinking ideas lead when they are extended to their logical conclusion.

Saudi Arabia is the center of the Islamic world, a very strict nation ruled by Sharia law, and like most countries under Sharia, it subjugates its women.[1]  Women must have a male guardian at all times, they're not allowed to vote, must be covered from head to toe, legally cannot drive, and the sexes must be segregated, unless the company consists of immediate family members, such as mother and son or brother and sister.  The Saudi government says these restrictions are to comply with the laws taught in Islam which is the basis of the Saudi government.  As you can imagine, it becomes pretty hard to function when women and men cannot be in the same public place at the same time.

Given that Islam is a legalistic religion (your worthiness is judged by how well you perform against the requirements placed upon you), people have sought to study the laws and find "loopholes" to see if they can circumvent some of the consequences following from the law. One of the most interesting of these was a proclamation made by Saudi cleric Abdel Mohsen Obeikan, who on May 22 said that if a woman had breastfed a man, then she and the child would have a "maternal bond" and the grown man could be found with the woman, even if he is not a blood relation.  Obeikan did not invent this idea; it is stated clearly in the Islamic Hadith that Mohammad was the one who first taught the practice.[2]  So, any man who wants to avoid a charge of "illicit mixing" of sexes merely needs to drink the woman's breast milk, thereby creating that maternal bond. [3]

Saudi women who are now seeking the right to drive have now taken Obeikan's thoughts one step further.  According to the Times article, "if they're not granted the right to drive, the women are threatening to breastfeed their drivers to establish a symbolic maternal bond. ‘Is this is all that is left to us to do: to give our breasts to the foreign drivers?' a Saudi woman named Fatima Shammary was quoted as saying by Gulf News."

Although the statement seems ridiculous on its face, it follows naturally from the law and the cleric's previous reasoning. In order to maintain modesty and purity, women would have to allow strangers to suckle them so that they can get around if a family member isn't present. They cannot mix sexes in a car, and since all women cannot drive, there are no chauffeurs or taxis that would allow them transportation.

In looking at all this, the absurdities of the law become apparent.  Granted, the legal ban on driving is a reaction to a group of protesters some 20 years ago, but the traditional view was in place long before that. The fact that in Islam women are seen as the sole problem in men's sexual temptation, thus men must be shielded from their looks and their company at every turn, is at the root of all these issues. And to think that just by passing a bodily fluid, all that temptation is somehow dissipated is as ridiculous as the former concept.

The bigger reason I point to this story is simply to show how bad belief systems not only harm real people, but they also lead the oppressed to desperation.  When oppression mix with legalism the results are tragic and the fact that Saudi women would even threaten such a move shows the poverty of the Muslim viewpoint on women.


  1. See Katherine Zoepf. "Talk of Women's Rights Divides Saudi Arabia." New York Times.  5/31/2010
  2. The Isamic Hadith, Book 008, Number 3424 records this exchange between Mohammad and a follower who raised an adopted boy, who would be considered a stranger in her home.

    A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Sahla bint Suhail came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: Messengerof Allah, I see on the face of Abu Hudhaifa (signs of disgust) on entering of Salim (who is an ally) into (our house), whereupon Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him. She said: How can I suckle him as he is a grown-up man? Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) smiled and said: I already know that he is a young man 'Amr has made this addition in his narration that he participated in the Battle of Badr and in the narration of Ibn 'Umar (the words are): Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) laughed.
    For the full text, see
  3. Sandels , Alexandra "Cleric in hot seat after calling for women to give men breast milk to avoid illicit mixing." Los Angeles Times. 6/10/2010
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