Monday, October 26, 2009

Pigfest Summaries October 2009

Below find the resolutions (wording not exact) made at my latest Pigfest and my semi-summaries of the debates.

The IRS Code giving tax deductions for mortgages should be abolished to aid the market. – This resolution was given as a means of getting government out of the “capitalist” market. What is capitalism? Hasn’t the government always interfered? With what are we comparing government interference if their involvement was a part of America’s historic success. Why do we say that is not good? The tax credit inflates property prices through the incentive increasing demand. It also encourages the economy of debt. Eliminating this credit would reduce paperwork. What should be the role of government? What is the government doing with the taxes it collects, and wouldn’t it be wasteful to give it more? Isn’t reducing taxes for any reason a step in the right direction? Or is this an attempt to pay more to Caesar of that which is his? Why stop with this credit – why not abolish all credits or all taxes? Where would you stop?

Ronald Reagan was the best president in US history. – Were his fiscal policies good or bad? Under his administration, taxes were reduced. But the debt increased. Whose fault is the spending and taxing? The US budget is the responsibility of the House of Representatives. But Reagan had veto power if he thought the debt was unacceptable. Was he good or bad on defense? The United States, it was claimed, won the Cold War without firing a shot because of his leadership. However, with hindsight we know that Russia and former soviet countries still exist, their ideology unreplaced. What is most important in determining best? Were there better presidents? Knowing what makes a president good is useful thought for future voting. Perhaps we tend to falsely ascribe outcomes that were the result of something other than his administration. Should our vote be based on performance examples or biblical ideals? The Bible is not specific on principles for choosing presidents. One “best” example is not as good as determining the best policies in each category of presidential accomplishments. Best is relative to one’s priorities.

The call of Christians is not to redeem the world’s culture, but to provide a comprehensive alternative. – What is the place, then, of the Great Commission? Can/should Christians still participate in secular culture (politics, for example)? What is culture? Does the culture need redeemed? Some parts of culture are amoral. World’s culture was defined as secular/ungodly culture, not global or national cultures. How are Christians different from unsaved? Does the resolution present a false dichotomy? Can’t we both redeem the culture and provide an alternative?

Missionaries and Christian workers who demand support are beggars. – Paul the apostle didn’t beg. He worked to support himself. Churches funded him voluntarily. Giving salaries to missionaries is different from sending a gift by them to help the poor. Is the issue really accountability in those to whom we give? What is the money for? Is this about the size house they live in? Is it about the size house we live in? Is it wrong for missionaries to live in a style better than the people they’re trying to reach? Competition between mission agencies sometimes centers around the lifestyle provided. Maybe missionaries should just publish needs: plane ticket, housing… Or for at least their first short-term trip, they should pay their own way, proving their work before asking others to pay for it. All Christians are called to ministry; why should some get paid? Do we act like writing a check excuses our lack of ministry? Does this resolution apply to pastors? Should we stop tithing?

Providers and Consumers of entertainment should do so only with God-glorifying ulterior motives and for a limited term. – Can’t entertainment – and whatever we do – be done to the glory of God? Some said there is a significant distinction to be made between work and entertainment or luxury industries. Others said there is no difference, that all work in the United States is superfluous, just to feed your family. Most things can be done to glorify God, but when we entertain ourselves, we don’t think about it; we just ‘relax.’ Chilling is ok; you can glorify God in ‘me time.’ But are you? More important works are being neglected because so many are employed in entertainment. Shouldn’t we apply our effort and genius to feeding the poor in Africa, for example?

God is hindered from bringing revival to America by lack of prayer and by unbelief in the Church. – Can God be hindered? Is He choosing to be hindered? Would He get more glory if he sent revival when His people prayed for it? Is revival in the church, or among the unsaved, or of the country’s economics and morality? Revival in individuals in the church and as a movement reaching the unsaved affects the whole country. Why do we think God should send revival to our country? Is the issue prayer and belief, or repentance? Don’t we the Church need God to put a desire for repentance and revival into us in the first place? Maybe a lot of things don’t happen because we don’t believe when we pray. What about when we do believe, but our prayers aren’t granted? How does God get glory from that? How do we know revival isn’t happening in America? Would we know if there was revival in the sub-cultures of immigrant populations?

Intelligent Design is a step in the right direction. – The movement is a step in the right direction for the church and for science. Science is a word normally misapplied to philosophies of origins. Is I.D. science? Science was defined by some as necessarily repeatable and observable, but not as the equivalent of facts or truth. Science must accord with facts and truth, however. Evolutionists claim to have observed amino acids forming in a laboratory given hypothetical early earth conditions and electric shocks, leaving us with two conclusions: the amino acids still were not life; and intelligence created the soup, directed the energy, and interpreted the experiment. Should we push for I.D. to be allowed in science class as an alternative to the other falsely-called ‘science’ of origins? Or could we go back to teaching religion and morality in school and put I.D. or creationism there? Intelligent Design in the resolution is used as a summary for both “open-mind” exegetical conclusions from facts and “already decided” eisegetical Creationists looking for evidence in facts. Philosophy has touched so many fields of study today that its application to each subject might best be presented along with the subject: in English class, in biology class, etc.

I learned yet more about hosting pigfests. Again I need to be both more assertive as a moderator and less talkative as a debater when I don't have anything to add. I need to stay focused on helping the discussion to remain on topic and go in an edifying direction. One of the guests suggested that when explaining the rules - or even in the invitations - give an example of how a resolution is stated. The resolution needs to be unchanged during the entire segment - no amendments. Without this rule everything gets confusing and unwieldy. Also, people need to be encouraged to allow for universal participation, even if it means deferring to others when you have something to say.

One of the things I love about Pigfests is not only that we learn about the topics of the debate, but we learn about relating to each other. Some of my friends brought their kids, and I love that, because more people need to know that kids aren't in the way. We the pre-parents need to see examples of parenting in action. And a lot of us need our baby fixes. = )

To God be all glory.

1 comment:

åslaug abigail said...

Some of my friends brought their kids, and I love that, because more people need to know that kids aren't in the way. We the pre-parents need to see examples of parenting in action. And a lot of us need our baby fixes. = )

Loved this. It's so very important. How else would children learn to grow into the people we want them to be if we won't let them learn life alongside us?