Monthly Archives: July 2009

An unconscionable federal healthcare reality

Here is an article by Congressman Ron Paul that gives us another reason to distrust (and be disgusted by) a big federal healthcare program.
The Immorality of Tax-Payer Funded Abortion

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Filed under Culture and Economics

Review of Young, Restless, Reformed

How does a man visit six cities, interview everyone from the octagenarian J.I. Packer to nineteen year-old college Calvinists, cover church traditions from charismatic to seventh-day adventism, dip into the subcultures from deep south Bible-belters to postmodern Seattle hipsters, and then review it all in a coherent and engaging manner in less than 160 pages?  Well Collin Hansen, editor-at-large for Christianity Today has managed to do so in his Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists (2008).

The way I see it, Hansen’s book divides loosely into 4 sections and are as follows:

  • Chapter 1-3 … From John to Jonathan (Piper to Edwards that is)
  • Chapter 4 … Battle for the heart of Baptist America
  • Chapter 5-6 … Winsome Charis-Calvinism
  • Chapter 7 … The Reformed Shock-jock

In chapters 1-3, Hansen starts with the Calvinist fruit that he finds, namely those young college and barely-not-undergraduates who’s hearts have been turned upsidedown by a God who won’t be tamed.  Hansen shows quite well how these young Calvinists are captivated, not initially by tightly argued theological systems, but by an empassioned, Christ-saturated beauty.  It seems that a younger generation has little patience for the Jesus-is-my-buddy pathos of their parents’ traditions and are in turn drawn to the gravity and joy that accompanies a full-bodied, unapologetic embrace of God’s sovereignty.  Hansen quotes John Piper (author of Desiring God and a staple at the ever-popular Passion conferences) as saying, “They’re not going to embrace your theology unless it makes their hearts sing” (p.17). Continue reading

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The Honest Atheist

In an age when it appears that public truth boils down to whoever has the best spin doctors, it’s comforting to know that there are some atheists who are publicly honest about the philosophical dividing lines between their worldview when compared to Christianity.  When atheists and Christians alike try to obfuscate or blur the lines of division between the opposing worldviews, then each side becomes suspicious that the other side is trying some intellectual hocus pocus on the other.  This suspicion quickly retreats into either public shouting matches (“We’ve got truth. Yes we do. We’ve got truth how ’bout you?”) or sectarian bigotry (“He’s obviously wrong because he listens to NPR”).  When public debate and discussion devolves to this point, very little can be said.  Chesterton likened this way of public discourse to walking near a cliff in a fog.  On a clear day, a man will walk right up to the edge of the cliff because he can see the exact point where gravity would take effect to his detriment.  But in a fog, a man will stay a hundred yards from the edge of a cliff because the dividing line between safety and a full-body cast has been obscured.  So in that spirit, I salute the following atheists (both living and deceased) for their public honesty concerning Darwinian evolution and what it has to say about who we are and what we should or should not believe.

“…matter is the ground of all existence; mind, spirit, and God as well, are just words that express the wondrous results of neuronal complexity.”  –Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist

“…man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind.”  George Gaylord Simpson, Harvard paleontologist

Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit in this one complaint. . . the literalists [i.e., creationists] are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”  Dr. Michael Ruse, author of Taking Darwin Seriously, Darwinism Defended, and a contributing author to The Companion to Ethics 

Morality . . . is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. . .  In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate.” -Michael Ruse

Commenting on how helping the poor, healing the sick, caring for the mentally ill, and inoculating people against small pox affects natural selection, the father of evolution wrote, “No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.” — Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

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The Devil's Dictionary continued…

I have been enamored for many years with Ambrose Bierce’s satirical lexicon The Devil’s Dicitionary in which he redefines words with a slightly sarcastic and sometimes darker meaning. So here are a couple that I have either picked from forgotten sources or created myself. Feel free to chime in with your own “devilish” definitions and look for future additions.

expectations: (n) premeditated disappointments

control: (n) a pleasant illusion granted by the Lord for brief periods of time. It is only claimed to be truly possessed by fools and the insane.

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Rug-yanking applied to modern arrogance

Well, just when I think I am reading something by C.S. Lewis that is sub-par, he comes out with a quote that really gets my wheels turning… in  a good way.  In his Problem of Pain (Harper-Collins, 2001), Lewis is discussing how the typical modern man tends to magnify his own virtues and magnify his forefathers’ vices.  But then, Lewis puts us all in our place with this:

From considering how the cruelty of our ancestors looks to us, you may get some inkling how our softness, worldliness, and timidity would have looked to them, and hence how both must look to God. (p.58)”

It is hard for all of us when we are faced with the reality that we must repent of what we perceive to be our virtues… repent of our softness that we have been mistaking for compassion… repent of our worldliness that we have fooled ourselves into thinking was relevance… repent of our timidity that we have falsely labeled humility.  May the Holy Spirit give us wisdom to tell the difference between our virtues and our vices.

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Filed under Vision and Devotion