Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Science Is Settled … Until It Isn’t

This little bombshell apparently necessitates reexamination of the theories of both Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. In the words of Phys.org’s Thania Benios, it “not only forces scientists to reimagine the fabric of space-time, but also rethink the origins of the universe”.
“Black holes have long captured the public imagination and been the subject of popular culture, from Star Trek to Hollywood. They are the ultimate unknown — the blackest and most dense objects in the universe that do not even let light escape. And as if they weren’t bizarre enough to begin with, now add this to the mix: they don’t exist.”
Laura Mersini-Houghton, professor of physics at University of North Carolina has done the math:
“The take home message of her work is clear: there is no such thing as a black hole.”
Next they’ll be telling us the Grand Canyon is the product of a global flood.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Christians Against Climate Change

Mick Pope is marching about climate change, not in spite of his faith, he says, but because of it. He insists that:
“… a solid theology of creation and of the resurrection means that Christians should be concerned about climate change.”
Huh. Remember the whole “What Would Jesus Do?” fad from a few years back? It became a trendy thing to have on a bumper sticker or t-shirt, sold its share of merch in Christian bookstores and has largely disappeared, I think.

So what would Jesus have said about climate change, I wonder?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Second Babel

Can you read this? I can’t.

I agree, in theory. So I read his article twice.

I may as well be trying to read Mandarin.

This seems to be how it is in Christendom these days. I find it increasingly challenging to communicate meaningfully with believers outside of my own immediate circle. Despite the fact that we are, according to the words of scripture, all one in Christ, it’s almost as if we speak different languages.

It’s a challenge any serious believer and lover of the word of God needs to face.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Marketing Christ

Jeff Goins’ guest post at Beyond Evangelical asks “Should Christians Sell, Market, and Promote Products & Services?”

If you guessed he’s coming out strongly in the affirmative, congratulations. He says:
“There are basically two ways to pursue a creative calling as a Christian.

First, you can go into vocational ministry (as I did for seven years) and ask people to support you. This takes time and it may include some awkward conversations, pledge drives, or capital campaigns.

Second, you can get a job or go into business for yourself and support yourself that way. In your free time, you can volunteer your time at church, go on mission trips, and give discretionary income to ministries and causes that you believe in.”
Only two ways? Not exactly. He goes on to suggest another possibility:
“The third way is this: If you have a gift, a talent, or skill that the world needs, you can and should offer it people in exchange for money. If you have value to offer, you should let people pay you for it.”

Friday, September 26, 2014

Too Hot to Handle: The Correct Church

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer

A gazillion more profound things have been written about the so-called Lord’s Prayer. I’m going to shoot for a low bar here and merely try to supplement the Wikipedia entry on the subject, though I promise not to be anywhere near as lengthy.

You will remember it goes like this, though not because anyone has recited it in school recently:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
(Matthew 6:9-13)
(I’m not, of course, suggesting that having unsaved children recite any mere religious formula daily, especially one that means nothing whatsoever to them, does much that is useful for their spiritual state. I do note that removing its recitation from the school day has not improved schools any. Of course, singing the national anthem never really made me more patriotic either.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Abomination x 3

In case anyone doubts the relevance of the Old Testament thousands of years after it was written, The Wall Street Journal comments on the implementation of the (un)Affordable Care Act:
“… there have been so many unilateral executive waivers and delays that ObamaCare must be unrecognizable to its drafters, to the extent they ever knew what the law contained.”
as does Solomon, son of David:
“Unequal weights and unequal measures
    are both alike an abomination to the Lord.”
(Proverbs 20:10)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hats Off to the Imam

The Portage Daily Graphic has an interesting piece on Imam Bilal Philips, accused by the Philippines of “recruiting and inciting people to commit terrorism”.

Philips runs an online Islamic university he says has 180,000 students — out of Qatar, of all places — and has been banned at various times from the U.S., the U.K., Kenya, Germany and Australia. His YouTube videos explain the penalties for homosexuality under Islamic law. Needless to say, he has generated his share of controversy.

Oh, by the way, he’s back in Canada. From a citizenship standpoint at least, he’s one of ours. Which of course is neither my call, nor is it really any of my business.

Monday, September 22, 2014

In Need of Analysis: Worship as a Lifestyle [Part 2]

A more current version of this post is available here.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

In Need of Analysis: Worship as a Lifestyle [Part 1]

A more current version of this post is available here.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Conflicts of Interest vs. the Peace Principle

The most current version of this post is available here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Too Hot to Handle: Blow Up the Worship Team

A more current version of this post may be found here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Head to Head: Theism and the Skeptics [Part 2]

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Purpose of God in My Generation

“People try to put us down just because we get around.
Things they do look awful cold. I hope I die before I get old.
Talkin’ ’bout my generation.”
— Pete Townshend, 1965
I’m dating myself with this quotation, but you don’t need to have been alive in ’65 to be familiar with The Who’s anthem. I’ve left out the awful Roger Daltrey stutter that features in seven of the song’s eight lines, but you get the drift. It’s an expression of teen alienation; a de rigueur dissing of the previous generation.

“Why don’t you all f-fade away?” Townshend asked the parents of his audience and of course, eventually, they did.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Breaking the Spirit

“No one gives up on something until it turns on them, whether or not that thing is real or unreal.”
― Thomas Ligotti
Ligotti’s statement may or may not be true, but there is something to be said for people who live consistently.

Those who have become disillusioned by Christians are among the most intensely disillusioned people I have ever met. They are the hardest to reach, the hardest to talk to about my faith, the most difficult to even know where to begin with.

How do you initiate any kind of dialogue with those who believe they have already taken the measure of your faith and found it wanting?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Head to Head: Theism and the Skeptics [Part 1]

The most recent version of this post is available here.

You Don’t Know My Father

Father With Child (Decker, 1821-1855)
Let me tell you a story about my father.

Once upon a time (actually, more than once), a very badly behaved little boy sat in the back seat of the family car during a long road trip, deliberately provoking the driver by ramming his pointy little knees into the small of the driver’s back. It was a source of great pleasure to the boy, who disliked long car trips, had become bored and was looking for something fun to do.

From the front seat of the car came a series of calm responses something like this: “Stop that, please” … “I believe I told you to stop that” … “If you don’t stop that, there are going to be consequences”, and eventually, “The next time you do that, we’re going to have to pull over”.

Finally, after the third or fourth transparently intentional provocation, the car eased over to the shoulder of the highway, and child and parent made a trip into the woods together for some clarification as to who was in charge.

Keep this story in mind, if you will.

*   *   *   *   *

Christians and the unsaved alike often have great difficulty distinguishing between mind and methodology where God is concerned.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

“It’s Not What We Came For”

The Daily Mail Online has this interesting headline:
‘I don’t want to be a jihadi ... I want to come home’: How dozens of British Muslims who went to Syria to join ISIS ‘plead to return to UK after becoming disillusioned with the conflict’
Of course, after the fashion of many news outlets, the actual story fails to provide sufficient facts to judge whether its headline is accurate or whether it is merely the fond wish of the British media. Other news stories about ISIS show at least some of its adherents demonstrating considerable enthusiasm for their cause, to say the least.

Assuming the story is accurate, this is one ISIS fighter’s reason for his disillusionment:
“We came to fight the regime and instead we are involved in gang warfare. It’s not what we came for but if we go back [to Britain] we will go to jail.”
I’ll decline to express an opinion on what the British government should do with individuals of this sort since I don’t have a dog in their fight. I’m more interested in the sort of regret they are expressing, because it seems rather insubstantial.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Too Hot to Handle: The “Divinity” of Christ

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Inbox: Agnosticism and Folly

HS has managed to find Blogger’s word limit for comments with the following reflection on my September 6 post, so I’ll post his email in full here, as I think he makes some interesting and thought-provoking points:
“It has always been my contention that Christ’s existence and the validity of his teaching (and of the bible in general) can be assigned a relatively high probability of correctness.

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Atheist’s New Clothes

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Is the Holy Spirit ‘Racist’?

Forgive the scare quotes, but they’re employed in the title with good reason, as will hopefully become clear.

We have been discussing the modern, leftist redefinition of the word ‘racism’ to include any and all generalizations about race, speaking out against sinful behaviour (or even identifying it) and even gently humorous references to obvious differences between racial groups.

This is not ‘hatred’ or ‘intolerance’, as racism has historically been defined, but an evanescent, constantly morphing definition of what is acceptable that functions largely as a means of disqualifying and marginalizing opponents of progressive social engineering.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Christianity and Racism

A more current version of this post is available here.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Is Christianity a Religion?

Depends on your definition, doesn’t it.

As a unit of language, the word ‘religion’ has acquired so many nuances that it is almost useless. Everyone has his or her own idea of what religion means, but they often differ drastically from one another. It has become one of those words that just doesn’t really communicate much anymore.

If I ask, “Are you religious?” and you say “Yes”, I have actually discovered very little indeed about what you believe.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Agnosticism and Folly

“Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
(Proverbs 9:17)
Solomon, wisest man of his day and the greatest king of Israel — at least by the world’s standard of measurement — talks about two alternatives we all face in life, picturing them by extended metaphor as a pair of women offering invitations.

On the surface there are similarities: both women are offering food of a sort to those who are simple, naïve or untaught, just as we all are when we come into the world.

But the similarities end there.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Too Hot to Handle: A Reason Outside Ourselves

The most current version of this post is available here.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Moment That A Human Being Encounters

A more current version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Deadliest Attack on Happiness

Author Trent Hand lists what he believes are the deadliest attacks on happiness:

1.   Comparing yourself to others
2.   Talking about your dreams instead of going to work on them
3.   Listening to people with nothing positive to say
4.   Focusing on the news
5.   Deciding someone else needs to change
6.   Thinking “happiness” is a destination you can reach
7.   Forgetting to say “thank you”

Clearing negative influences out of our lives does have a certain utility.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

You Don’t Want to be ‘That Guy’

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Big Questions and the Loss of Faith

The most recent version of this post is available here.