Dark Brightness

Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

Reframe as ad hominem (or shift the goalposts)

Overnight, Dalrock wrote a post about the biblical teaching that neither husband nor wife should refuse the other sexually, as Paul taught, and how this is reframed by feminists as something shameful, lustful, perverted: calling what is good sinful (and ignoring, in their hyperspirituality, that it can cause sin)

Simply by agreeing to this reframe you have ceded the argument to them in the minds of nearly everyone observing.  This trap works because you want to argue logically.  This is a good thing, but you first need to move the frame back to the topic at hand.  To do this, call out their argument for what it really is while reframing the discussion back to the topic at hand:

Yes, I know, parts of the Bible can be very shocking coming from our feminist culture. It can take some work to get to a point where you aren’t ashamed of what it says simply because it offends feminists. Sometimes it takes courage to stand by God’s Word.

Note that there is nothing cheap about this (unlike the original reframe).  They are rebelling against the Word of God, and are suggesting that it is shameful that you aren’t.  Pointing out their rebellion and shame of the Gospel is not only appropriate but an act of Christian kindness.  How else can they repent from something so serious?

This is important because it is a common tactic. What the Bible says should matter to Christians, not what the public says in a poll (I will omit a discussion on the black art of writing biased poll questions) or what an advocate says… for the secular world is moving further away. I love how the Herald finds an American to advocate for euthanasia… in New Zealand.

Females were more supportive of same-sex marriage – more than 60 per cent of women supported legalization, compared to 47 per cent of men.

New Zealanders interviewed also showed support for voluntary, doctor-assisted euthanasia. More than 60 per cent believed terminally ill people should be able to choose when to end their life.

Visiting voluntary euthanasia expert Yvonne Shaw said she was not surprised at the results. She said New Zealanders were “independent people who would want control at the end of their own lives”.

Shaw is from Oregon in the United States, where doctor-assisted suicide is legal. She is in New Zealand to talk about how the same system could work here.

Now, this is not how we should think. The voice of the people is not the voice of God, and the King or Ruler is instead accountable that righteousness and justice is done within the nation. Regardless of how “independent thinking” people are, or how much people want to re-frame suicide as controlling the end of their life.

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14

1   Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son.
2   May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.
3   May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness.
4   May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.
5   May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6   May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.
7   In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

10  May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts.
11  May all kings fall down before him, all nations give him service.

12  For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper.
13  He has pity on the weak and the needy,  and saves the lives of the needy.
14  From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.

We have to ignore those who re-frame duty as oppression, ignoring the poor and needy as liberty and prosperity, and those who proclaim injustice as justice for their people — choosing to judge one race or another on the basis of ancient wrongs.

We are instead to act as Christ would. The lectionary for today is based around Messianic prophecies and the reactions of an evil king to the incarnation.

Matthew 2:1-3

1In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him;

You see, we can only obey one master. We can obey the rulers of this world, and their agenda is given to us most days in the papers that we control — or we can choose to live as Christ did, as Paul teaches us.

But this will give offense. At times, even when we do good.

2 thoughts on "Reframe as ad hominem (or shift the goalposts)"

  • Butterfly Flower says:

    I was wondering: do euthanasia seeking terminally-ill receive psychiatric evaluations? Despite their err…unique circumstances, a desire to end ones life still qualifies as suicidal thoughts. [*If euthanasia advocates were the paragons of ethics that they paint themselves to be, than they’d be advocating for more adequate end-of-life care, not kill the sick….]

    • chrisgale says:

      Well, that is an area that is controversial. There are a bunch of psychiatrists who argue that we should be involved. I agree with this author who states that we simply do not know enough about what happens as you die.

      There is a growing psychiatric and psychological literature
      on the mental status of the terminally ill. As
      yet psychiatry does not have the expertise to ‘select’ those whose wish
      hastened death is rational, humane and
      ‘healthy’. Rarely in those societies with liberalised assisted dying
      laws are psychiatrists
      involved in the decision-making for individuals
      requesting early death. This role is fulfilled by non-specialists.

      I think that medicine should not be involved in euthanasia.. As Prof Taylor said to this year’s graduating medical students.

      ”I beg each of you to have the courage to stand firm and
      uphold that core commitment of our professional lives, which
      is to save life when we can, to relieve suffering when we
      cannot, and never to contribute deliberately to the death of
      any of our patients”.

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