The Wisdom Chronicle

Pile of books isolated on white background The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

481. DOGMA “However unwillingly a person who has a strong opinion may admit the possibility that his opinion may be false, he ought to be moved by the consideration that however true it may be, if it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth.”

Excerpt From: John Stuart Mill. “On Liberty.”

482. HUMILITY “Humility is “knowing who God is and knowing who I am.”

Excerpt From: Harris, Raymond. “The Heart of Business.”

483. VISION “Visions should be so God-sized that there is no way for them to be accomplished unless God intervenes. God sees us not so much for what we are now but for what we could be—if, that is, we receive a vision from Him for the work at hand.” “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV)

Excerpt From: O. S. Hawkins. “The Joshua Code.”

484. LEGACY “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.” —SIR ISAAC NEWTON

485. COMBAT “The unit that choreographs their actions best usually wins. . . . The choreography always requires that each man make decisions based not on what’s best for him, but on what’s best for the group. If everyone does that, most of the group survives. If no one does, most of the group dies. That, in essence, is combat.”

Excerpt From: Luntz, Frank. “Win.”

486. SPENDING OUR LIVES C. S. Lewis said, because we were not made for time but for eternity, which is outside of time. Thus time feels strange to us. The question then is this: What are we to do in the midst of this strange sojourn? We are to redeem the time we’ve been given. Every single day and everything we do counts because we are not our own. Our money, our families, our talents, and even our time are not our own. Because we’ve been bought with a price: The suffering and death of the perfect Son of God. — Eric Metaxas

487. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST “DiMaggio was the greatest player I ever saw, and nobody looked more relaxed. He covered vast distances in the outfield, moving in graceful strides, always arriving ahead of the ball, making the hardest catch look routine, and even when he was at bat, hitting the ball with tremendous power, he didn’t appear to be exerting himself. I marveled at how effortless he looked because what he did could only be achieved by great daily effort. A reporter once asked him how he managed to play so well so consistently, and he said: “I always thought that there was at least one person in the stands who had never seen me play, and I didn’t want to let him down.”

Excerpt From: Zinsser, William. “On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition.”

488. MODIFIED ABORTION STANCE “The modified pro-choice position is a politician’s favorite abortion doubletalk: “I’m personally against abortion, but I don’t believe in forcing my view on others.” “Let me see if I understand you,” I said. “You are convinced that abortion kills an innocent child, yet you think the law should allow women to do that to their own babies. Did I get that right?” The logic of the modified pro-choice position reduces to, “I think it’s wrong to kill my own children, but I don’t think we should stop other people from killing theirs.”

Excerpt From: Koukl, Gregory. “Tactics.”

489. GOD’S DISCIPLINE “When God is against you, He is for you.” — C. Seidman

490. ACTIONS “There is a difference in doing things right, and doing the right things.” — Peter Drucker

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11 replies
  1. Andy (@ItsAndyRyan) says:

    “You are convinced that abortion kills an innocent child, yet you think the law should allow women to do that to their own babies. Did I get that right?”

    Not necessarily. One can be against abortion without equating it with killing an innocent child. In fact it seems to me that that is most people’s genuine position. Every now and then someone will attempt to attack an abortion clinic and perhaps even kill one of the doctors. But this is quite rare. If the majority of anti-abortionists genuinely saw it as equivalent to the holocaust, I’d expect such attacks not to be rare but common. There’d be hundreds of thousands of people every day trying to prevent what they saw as simple murder. Instead it’s something they get angry about, but not to the degree they do about homicide. If a woman told them she’d had an abortion and regretted it, they could have a reasonable chat about it. It wouldn’t be the same if the same woman announced that she’d got away with killing her husband and now regretted it.

    Reply
  2. JW says:

    “If the majority of anti-abortionists genuinely saw it as equivalent to the holocaust, I’d expect such attacks not to be rare but common.”

    History tells us that even though a minority of German citizens supported the Nazi regime (20% or less I believe), the 80% did little to nothing about the Holocaust. (Read “How to Kill 11 Million People” and learn of the loud singing of the German congregants as the trains of Jews went by the church building on the way to the ovens.) Unfortunately, American Christians are following the German example and simply singing louder as well. Therefore, the actions (or lack thereof) of anti-abotionists today do not necessarily reflect their “genuine position.”

    Reply
  3. Andy (@ItsAndyRyan) says:

    “the 80% did little to nothing about the Holocaust”

    For a start, there’s an analogy problem here in that the holocaust was mostly kept secret, and was carried out away from the population. People may have known Jews were being taken away, but not that they were being murdered by the million. What’s more, the German attitude to Jews was very different to American Christian’s attitude to American children. There was already anti-semitism in Germany. A callous attitude to Jews is therefore not surprising. A similar attitude doesn’t exist among the general US population towards children. Are you convinced that if instead of an abortion, mothers were regularly taking 10-year-olds and 12-year-olds to clinics to be murdered, that American Christians attitude would be exactly the same – not happy about, writing articles about it, perhaps picketing the clinics, but no more?

    “American Christians are following the German example and simply singing louder as well”

    Including yourself? Or are you genuinely treating abortion as equivalent to murder?

    By the way, what do you think the ‘genuine position’ of the German people was?

    Reply
  4. Frank Turek says:

    The issue isn’t what people think an unborn child is, but what it actually is. Scientifically it is a 100% genetic human being.

    Reply
    • Andy (@ItsAndyRyan) says:

      “The issue isn’t what people think an unborn child is”

      But that’s the issue that Jim was discussing – he was saying there was a contradiction in the politician’s position. So what people think an unborn child is in completely central to the discussion – it determines whether their position is contradictory or not. To investigate whether there is a genuine contradiction we need to consider what they think an unborn child is.

      My reply was on the same theme as Jim’s – discussing a disconnect between the claimed position and how people actually act.

      My point was that I simply don’t see the majority of Christians in America acting as if they see abortion as equivalent to simple murder/homicide.

      Discussing whether their position is scientifically wrong is not the same as discussing whether it is internally contradictory.

      Reply
  5. Luke says:

    Andy,

    I think the disconnect you bring about is interesting and I’ve thought about it a lot. If I can share my own experience, I believe with all of my being that a fetus is a child. Yet, I don’t go out and bomb abortion clinics. Is that wrong of me? Maybe, I don’t know. It’s something I’ve considered (to be very clear, I’ve considered that it might be wrong, not turning violent).

    I think it has to do with what can be actually achieved. I think violent efforts like that are futile and usually counterproductive.

    On the other hand, if I saw a woman outside of a shop about to kill a child, I’d like to think I’d do what I could to stop her. I wouldn’t if I saw someone walking toward an abortion clinic (I’m just being honest with myself).

    But I don’t know.The reson that I say “I’d like to think I’d do what I could to stop her” is simply that I don’t know what I’d do. I can only hope. I mean, I’ve seen people in public yell and push their children around, which I think is horrible and I haven’t done anything. Well, I’ve done something, I’ve been a coward.

    (And in the same way, I wonder if I’m a coward on abortion to not do more.)

    I’m rambling a bit, but I guess my main point is that just because someone doesn’t do everything possible to prevent abortion, the way they might a murder of a 3 year old, doesn’t mean that person somehow secretly doesn’t think abortion kills a child.

    (And for the record, I’ve made both the hypocrisy argument quoted in the original article, and the argument you’re making here — that pro-life people don’t really act like it’s murder. So I don’t know. It’s a difficult issue the way I see it.)

    Thanks,

    Luke

    ps Thanks for pointing out that mass murder of Jews was secret. (It was largely disbelieved by everyone, including the Allies, when reported.) JW’s response is curious to me. It’s awfully close to saying that it’s okay we don’t try to stop abortion more forcefully, because Germans didn’t try to stop the Shoah. The “if it was good enough for Nazi Germany, it’s good enough for me” argument is certainly a rarity. (It’s one I have not used, unlike the others.)

    Reply
    • Andy (@ItsAndyRyan) says:

      Out of interest, Luke – if you had to choose between saving two test tubes each with a collection of cells, literally two days after a sperm fertilised an egg, and a ten-year-old child, I’m guessing in the moment you’d save the ten-year-old.

      But thinking rationally, would you say that saving the two test tubes makes more sense? Do you really see each of them as being equal to the child, and therefore collectively MORE worth saving?

      To me it would unquestionably be the child. If I had to choose between one of my own daughters and fifty such test tubes of my wife’s and my fertilised eggs, I’d go for my daughter every time.

      Does anyone really see the collection of cells as being equivalent?

      Reply
  6. Luke says:

    Sure. I’ll admit right up front that my views and feelings on this are likely to not be entirely consistent (maybe they are, but I doubt it), and I won’t even pretend that they are.

    Yes, I would very much save the 10 year old. Absolutely! I would do this even if it was 1,000 embryos vs. one 10 year old.

    You ask:“Thinking rationally, would you say that saving the two test tubes makes more sense?”

    Well… I can see that argument, but I’m not convinced by it. (Bear in mind, this is a post-hoc explanation for what I realize are my instinctual actions. In other words, to answer your question, I didn’t weigh any arguments. I simply just know what I would do. Now I’m going back and trying to figure out or justify why.) The 10 year old has guaranteed potential for happiness if they make it out of the fire. I know there are many frozen test tubes, and as far as I know (maybe I’m wrong), most will never be born and therefore have no potential for happiness. In other words, the 10 year old is losing something tangible, I’m not sure the test tubes are. Furthermore, the 10 year old will be frightened, scared, terrified. They will suffer terrible pain. All things the test tube embryos will simply not experience. I’m thinking off the cuff now, but life to me is not worth something just because it’s “life”. It’s all the things that come with it that give it meaning! The 10 year old simply has much more of that. Furthermore, the 10 year old has parents and other family that will suffer greatly if he is lost. That grief will be much more pronounced than the parents of the test tubes, if those parents ever even found out (knowing what I know, that’s doubtful). The 10 year old has friends and classmates. for whom such a loss might be a terrible emotional and developmental blow. I could probably keep going, but I think you get the idea. If I had to sum it up, much more goes into my equation than x number of lives. The 10 year old has many of those other things, the test tubes have few.

    (I’d quickly note, and will leave off the explanation unless you ask, that I’d save the 10 year old over an 80 year old couple. I don’t think this means that I don’t truly think the elderly are people (I hope not — eeek). I’d also save one of my own children over two children I’ve never met. Maybe that’s terrible, but it’s true I think. Like I said, there’s a lot in that equation for me.)

    (I’d also note that I make evil and irrational choices everyday. I bought a piece of sweet bread today at a bakery I like. I did not need it. It added marginally to my already overwhelming happiness. That same money could have measurably improved the life of a person somewhere in this world. It could have even gone some way to saving their life (mosquito nets are cheap, for example). So I’m a pretty terrible person, and irrational toward my claimed beliefs. I’d just say that I admit to it, and I’m trying — but often failing — to be much better.)

    You then asked:“Do you really see each of them as being equal to the child, and therefore collectively MORE worth saving?”

    Definitely not. I think I’ve answered this above by saying that a lot of other things go into the “worth” equation for me. So no, I don’t see them as being equal. But I also don’t see a stranger being equal to my child, or a 80 year old who has lived a full life as equal to a 10 year old with a life left to live. I would say though, that all are equally human.

    You concluded: “Does anyone really see the collection of cells as being equivalent?”

    I’d say this (only because now I have bakeries on the brain). Not all croissants are equal, but all all croissants are croissants. (And yes, I’d rescue a single a croissant from that bakery in Bordeaux over a box of 50 from Costco.)

    I’m sure there’s a lot in my answers you can find problematic, but I’m only claiming to be honest, not right or consistent.

    Thanks,

    Luke

    Reply

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