Fred Phelps kicked the bucket, but you missed the point

Infamous Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps assumed room temperature today. Most people’s responses have generally been along the lines of, “Good,” “Rot in hell,” “He was a douche,” etc.

I’m not arguing that he wasn’t a douche.

Lost among the “God hates fags” signs, general assishness and media attention, however, is the fact that their very, very, very core theology is actually pretty solid Reformed theology. The problems arise when they start working out from the core and applying and communicating it.

You don’t say.

In fact, they actually made some good points. Allow me to explain before you take metaphorical and literal dumps on my doorstep.

1) Repentance is vital to the Christian life. – This often gets lost, especially in the mainstream/liberal Christian crowd. They’re not just ripping on gay people; they’re calling people to turn from sin and trust in Jesus. That’s a good thing. It’s all in the delivery, kind of like Aroldis Chapman (shameless plug).

2) America is a corrupt nation. – If you don’t believe that, you haven’t been paying attention for the last couple hundred years or so. We’ve endorsed treating people as property, cheating people out of their property, murdering babies, unjust wars, etc.

3) America will be destroyed sooner or later. – Before you go all GOD BLESS MERICA on me, just understand that we’re a nation full of corrupt people doing corrupt things in corrupt ways. It’s bound to happen one day.

4) People are inherently evil. – Yes, this partially goes back to the first point, but they actually do understand that God must do the regenerating. Salvation isn’t based on what we do, but we do choose to give God the finger and send ourselves to hell.

5) God is sovereign over every single event in human history. – God didn’t send someone to shoot up a school, but he had to allow it in order for it to happen.

6) God finds sin and the sinner hateful. – A lot of people trip over this. God is love, but he’s not all-loving. He can’t love sin, since it spits in his face. There really are verses in the Bible about God hating people, but we have to remember that his hate is different than our hate. Our hate creates bitterness, but God’s hatred of sin spawned his eternal plan to send Jesus as an atonement for our rebellion. Really, God’s hate is rooted in love.

7) God’s sovereign grace through Jesus is the only hope for anyone. – Believe it or not, this is actually what drives WBC. They claim their tactics have worked in bringing about repentance and trust in Jesus. If they believe it works, then of course they’re going to do what they do. They may act like a bunch of dicks, but they at least have the core message down: The only hope for anyone is in Jesus, but most of us are content to fart in his general direction while playing in our own filth.

Thank God for a dead Fred Phelps, if only so we can reorient the discussion.

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Aroldis Chapman has self to blame for horrific injury

Last night, Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman was drilled in the face by a comeback line drive off the bat of Salvador Perez. The pitch was clocked at 99 miles per hour, meaning the ball was going something like 120 when it struck Chapman, leaving him with multiple facial fractures.

He had a bad time.

Here’s video of the event. It’s not exactly fun to watch, but it’s also not too gory.

What you’ll be hearing for the next several days is all about pitcher safety, whether it’s those ridiculous padded caps or facemasks or whatever. What you won’t hear today is anything regarding mechanics.

By that, I mean if you watch this Sport Science video, they stop analyzing Chapman’s mechanics after he releases the ball.

This is a huge problem in baseball right now. People are so obsessed with throwing 95 and more that they forget about putting themselves in a vulnerable position. For Chapman and others, this means facing the dugout and not being able to defend himself when his glove is on the outfield side of his body.

Contrast that with Greg Maddux’s mechanics, which practically turned him into an infielder after his delivery and allowed him to win like a million Gold Gloves.

And you can watch Tom Glavine do the same (and watch Bobby Cox get thrown out).

I’m not saying triple-digit velocity is bad, but these guys were pitchers. They thrived off location and knowing batters’ tendencies. They could barely break glass with a pitch but combined to win 660 games and are both being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

Hopefully, baseball can get over its fascination with everyone throwing hard and wake up before someone gets killed.

How to suck at disagreeing in a discussion

It may strike you as strange, but I’ve actually gotten really good at disagreeing with people. Yes, occasionally requires a fiery, Martin Luther type approach, but I’ve recently had some discussions that resulted in the dissenting party basically smoking from the ears and following all manner of logical flaws.

That said, here’s a guide on how to suck at disagreement just as bad as my recent counterparts.

1) Take things out of context.

These references never get old.

Better yet, take everything out of context. If I say, “I love Nazis dying in movies,” make sure you quote me as saying, “I love Nazis.”

2) Don’t answer questions.

Jay Carney: Master of Avoidance

Just keep going through your talking points. The quicker you ignore any questions that automatically shoot holes in what you’ve already said, the quicker everyone else will forget that you just got intellectually owned.

3) When all else fails, condescension works best.

Exactly.

Insinuate ulterior motives. Start calling names (fag, stupid Christian, pagan, liberal asshole, conservative asshole, retard atheist, religious nutjob and capitalist seem to work best). The main point is to let them know that even if someone has completely destroyed your argument, you’re still better than them.

The Dalai Lama’s endorsement of gay marriage is hypocritical

The Dalai Lama came out last week in support of homosexual marriage, saying that sex of any kind is fine as long as it’s consensual.

I have to take this opportunity to show you that this stance is entirely hypocritical. In fact, Buddhism itself is illogical.

And has some serious freakin’ ear lobes.

Buddhism’s chief goal is to eliminate desire, and it says that desire is the root of every problem. The inconsistency is that any kind of marriage, sex or relationship is based in some kind of desire. Mr. Lama is encouraging his followers to pursue the exact thing his religion is seeking to eliminate.

Oops.

Honestly, the problem lies within Buddhism itself. It’s goal is to end desire, but that’s a desire. It’s a self-defeating system.

I know I’ll piss off a few people, but I have to call them as they are. Dalai Parton is the head of a religion that literally works against itself, and he just encouraged more failures of his own system.

Christians need to stop gushing over Matthew McConaughey’s Oscars speech

Matthew McConaughey floored everyone last night at the Oscars, and it wasn’t because he was wearing a shirt (which is amazing enough in itself). Nay, it was because the oft shirtless man actually acknowledged God in his speech after winning Best Actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club.

Pardon the crappy volume, but that’s apparently the only way for the Oscars to not file a copyright violation claim on YouTube. Here’s the video.

“First off, I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to,” McConaughey said “He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or of any other human hand. He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates… When you’ve got God, you’ve got a friend, and that friend is you… So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to and whoever it is we’re chasing – to that I say, ‘amen.’”

The mere fact that McConaughey mentioned God set Twitter on fire. The atheists/agnostics/liberals generally chastised and told him to keep that “God shit” to himself. The conservatives/generally Christian crowd started gushing about how nice it was for an attractive young man to acknowledge God for his success in a way that hasn’t been seen since Tim Tebow was still on an NFL roster.

Tebow also has a tendency to show up shirtless.

I actually have no problem with the former group’s response. That’s very expected. I do, however, have a giant problem with the latter’s response.

Christians are so caught up in finding their next celebrity to acknowledge some vague entity that they’ll completely ignore the actual substance of a statement when it happens. If one actually listened to what McConaughey said, it’s nowhere near Christian and just as damnable as someone thanking the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

This one’s funnier too.

Since no one else has actually examined the theology behind what McConaughey said, I will.

“First off, I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to.” – There’s absolutely nothing wrong here. There’s really no substance, but that’s what most Christians are after these days here. It’s just acknowledging some bearded guy in the sky.

“He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or of any other human hand.” – This is the most theologically accurate statement he made. Whether it’s common grace or special grace, Christian and pagan alike are given grace instead of being immediately cast into hell. That’s a pretty cool thing.

“He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.” – Here is where Mr. Abtastic goes astray. The entire notion of karma is, put plainly, stupid. Jesus blows it up in Luke 13. Let’s also take into account that Jesus never wronged anyone, but he was still murdered for claiming he was God. That would mean that for the only perfect person to ever walk the earth, karma would have failed him. If karma can’t work in that instance, it can never work.

Just, no.

“When you’ve got God, you’ve got a friend, and that friend is you.” – Apparently God is in all of us, and we’re all God’s children. That’s entirely unbiblical and sounds a lot like this guy.

No amount of facepalms will suffice.

So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to and whoever it is we’re chasing – to that I say, “amen.” – This universalism on an Oprah Winfrey scale. Chase whatever your heart desires, including yourself. You’re awesome. You’re worthy of whatever good things come your way because I feel like having a perpetual warm, fuzzy feeling.

Don’t forget that this is the same guy who played a stripper in Magic Mike and he’s going to do it again for a sequel. There’s no fruit there.

Let’s be clear. If these statements are truly indicative of what McConaughey believes, then he’s not talking about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. His God is not Jesus, who is called the Christ. And he’s definitely not referring to the Helper sent by Jesus.

Dear Christians, stop freaking out at the mere mention of God by a celebrity. If he isn’t for Jesus, he’s against Jesus, and any basically discerning mind would immediately see this statement for the hollow social religiosity that it is.