The end of deference, ctd

There was nothing very brilliant about foreseeing that the unholy marriage of the Evangelical Right and Donald Trump couldn’t end happily for evangelicals, but even I have sometimes been startled by the frank contempt their unhinged loyalty to Trump has engendered.

How to Break the Republican Lock on God

The progressive leaders Pete Buttigieg and Stacey Abrams are confronting the hypocrisy of the religious right.

We know that slaveholders in the American South used Scripture to justify keeping their fellow humans in bondage. They could find no words from Christ on this, for there are no words from him. Just a line in the New Testament from mere mortals presuming to speak for him.

But perhaps it made those who tore apart families, who whipped insubordinates until they passed out, who sold children and cotton bales as similar commodities feel better to know that the monstrous crime of their daily enterprise could be a blessed act.

These days, no less an authority than Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said recently that God “wanted Donald Trump to become president.”

Good. For almost 4-decades, conservative butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-their-mouths Christians have been wagging their fingers under everybody’s nose and presuming to give instruction on right behavior — and now only the willfully blind can’t see and smell the ignorance and malice and incandescent hypocrisy.

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God and AI

Everybody who pays attention knows that industrial automation and Artificial Intelligence are working huge changes in society, and that those changes are going to continue for a long while to come. What may not be recognized is the scope of its implications.

It’s easy to predict that a lot of jobs are going to be lost. The traditional reaction is … so what? New technologies mean new opportunities, new jobs, new riches, ‘creative destruction’ and all that — spinoffs. The loss of retail jobs thanks to online shopping, however, hasn’t been accompanied by an offsetting opportunity somewhere else; the guy who used to sell refrigerators at Sears in now getting old hustling boxes around an Amazon warehouse — and that job will soon be taken over by a robot. And what has become of the decorators who used to design those store window displays?

We are headed toward a world where the number of people who have useful skills will steadily diminish, and a steadily growing number of people will — literally — be unemployable. This has implications for governance itself, and a lot of the professions. Some medical services, for instance, are already provided remotely, by AI-driven robots controlled over the Internet.

The American Philosophical Association has organized task forces to sort out the likely effects of changing technology and begin preparing for the inevitable changes, and so has the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

And so, believe it or not, have the Southern Baptists.

Artificial Intelligence: An Evangelical Statement of Principles

As followers of Christ, we are called to engage the world around us with the unchanging gospel message of hope and reconciliation. Tools like technology are able to aid us in this pursuit. We know they can also be designed and used in ways that dishonor God and devalue our fellow image-bearers. Evangelical Christians hold fast to the inerrant and infallible Word of God, which states that every human being is made in God’s image and thus has infinite value and worth in the eyes of their Creator. This message dictates how we view God, ourselves, and the tools that God has given us the ability to create.

In light of existential questions posed anew by the emergent technology of artificial intelligence (AI), we affirm that God has given us wisdom to approach these issues in light of Scripture and the gospel message. Christians must not fear the future or any technological development because we know that God is, above all, sovereign over history, and that nothing will ever supplant the image of God in which human beings are created. We recognize that AI will allow us to achieve unprecendented possibilities, while acknowledging the potential risks posed by AI if used without wisdom and care.

We desire to equip the church to proactively engage the field of AI, rather than responding to these issues after they have already affected our communities. In light of this desire and hope, we offer the following affirmations and denials about the nature of humanity, the promise of technology, and the hope for the future.

Well … I applaud them for recognizing that we are on the cusp of epochal social change, and making an effort to get ready. I recognize their earnest good intentions, too; I would expect no less of a study group organized by Russell Moore, one of the very few men in the SBC’s leadership for whom I feel any genuine respect.

But these are Baptists.

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

It’s been almost 2-decades since I set foot in any church for any reason but an unavoidable funeral or wedding but, I swear, I’d love to be there the day Pastor Bubba solemnly condemns sex with robots and summons the specter of eternal flames.

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Perverse tweet of the day

This is an archetype for Big Lie propaganda — an egregiously false claim and a character attack. The Democrats are not for a policy of open borders and, if they were, it would not be treason.

Treason is giving aid and comfort to the enemy — like when your campaign knows a hostile foreign power is attacking your country’s election, you seek to exploit the attack for your own benefit, you fail to notify your government that you have knowledge of the attack, and you seek to frustrate the subsequent investigation of the attack. Perhaps The Donald, against whom a strong prima facie case for treason is already in the uncontested public record, is projecting.

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Call your office, Donald

What do you know? A prominent Christian blogger says the traditional, above-ground press exhibits better ethics than the folk at Christianity Today.

The other reason I’m upset by CT: Mark Galli and his inappropriate defense of the Stetzer’s acceptance of a car. Ethics in the Christian journalistic community seems a bit lacking.The so called *liberal press* has far better ethics.

I don’t call myself a journalist, but I have worked as a magazine editor, and about 125 magazine features have been published with my byline; I know a bit about publishing and journalism and the people who make their living at it.

It is a fact: genuine-article journos are fanatical about getting it right, and squirm with mortification when they don’t. And, as a group, they are every bit as scrupulously ethical as the engineers I’ve worked with. As saddened as I am to learn of these lapses at Christianity Today, it’s pleasing to encounter some recognition of that from a quarter that is so often the locus of antagonism toward the media.

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Quote of the day

I pointed yesterday toward a remark by Erick Erickson which says that Pete Buttigieg is not a gen-u-ine Christian. Now, Bruce Gerencser has come up with one that is even better.

AND GOD SAID, “LET THERE BE FAGGOTS.” You will not find that statement in Genesis, Chapter One. But, Democrat Pete Buttigieg is sure God makes faggots.

If God made Pete a faggot, God is a blithering idiot.

[ … ]

Pete’s god is not the God of the Bible.

God created Pete a sodomite, and then God called for Pete to be stoned to death for sodomy, according to the law God gave Moses on Mount Sinai. This sort of talk is considered good edification only in the B Ward of the State Hospital.

Pete’s logic makes a great fool of God. God gave the law against sodomy, and then God made Pete a queer. Not lately, dim bulb.

This is a perfect illustration of the Satanic and demonic power in the lives and thinking of modern leaders in America. This raging beast, Pete, claims that sodomy has brought him closer to God. The only faggot god I know of that would cuddle up to Pete is Shiva, the faggot god of Hinduism.

After all these years of marveling at the stupidity and malice of the Godly, I am still taken aback sometimes; this is foul by even the dismal standards of the Evangelical Right.

The science on this is pretty good; not dispositive, not at the 95% confidence interval, but still very good. Overwhelmingly, the evidence points toward the conclusion that sexual orientation, and much else once thought to be volitional, is hard-wired before birth. Gays are born gay — case closed.

I don’t care what that ridiculous old book written by anonymities says about the matter.

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