This was a good week for interesting articles. Behold the list, below. I’ve divided the articles into general categories:
On Christian Life
Secular culture in the West is obsessed with entitlement and “identity.” More specifically, this often produces a culture where we feel outraged if anyone is ever offended. The author of this piece pushes back on this madness with a brilliant, commonsense observation – that’s life, so deal with it.
There are a few things in life that are legitimately a crisis and we ought to be willing to acknowledge a genuine crisis as such. But, your child being mildly teased or insulted at school is not a crisis. Your child sitting the bench on their sports team is not a crisis. A teacher or coach speaking harshly to your child is not a crisis. Your child not getting the part in the school play is not a crisis. Your child getting cut from a sports team is not a crisis. Your child striking out to lose the game is not a crisis. All of these things may be unpleasant, but they are opportunities for Christian parents to instruct their children, discipline them in a cruciform worldview.
This is a short, important little article. The author warns, “Spirituality can be a cheap substitute for righteousness.” Indeed!
Yes, some people who are “religious” (even, gasp, professing “Christians”) are not really Christians at all. This shouldn’t surprise us, but it often does. Read this short introduction, and listen to the accompanying sermon for more.
This is an article from The Atlantic, and it’s a good example of the secular take on origins. Even in the title you sense the author has a kind of wonder and awe for the evolutionary process. Notice how he describes origins as a “song of fire and ice.” This is not dispassionate language; it’s the rhetoric of reverence and, dare I say, worship.
The Achilles’ hell for this worldview, of course, is that it assumes an incredibly complex and complicated being (like, say, an animal) evolved without any conscious design or designer.
You can see some of the absurdity of the evolutionary worldview in this article from The Babylon Bee. Can an iPhone naturally evolve from lower lifeforms, without an intelligent, conscious designer?
“The current theory is that a small, single-cell pager device was formed from electronic parts floating in the ocean,” Dr. Rashad Shami of Harvard University told reporters. “The pager then figured out how to reproduce, and natural selection took care of the rest.”
A complex item obviously had to have a designer. This it is with the world, the universe, the galaxy and ourselves. That designed is God. He revealed Himself in the pages of the Old and New Testaments, and most specifically in His unique and inly Son, Jesus Christ, who came to set everything right. Read about His Good News here.
Jason Lisle is a Christian apologist who holds a PhD in Astronomy. He has worked for Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research. Lately, he has began his own, new ministry – The Biblical Science Institute.
He wrote this satire article to poke fun at the idea that obviously complex things (like, say, an article from a website) have an intelligent designed behind them. To accomplish this, he wrote his article to argue that science proves the article you’re reading actually had no designer at all.
You might think that someone wrote this article. But of course, you would be mistaken. Articles are not written by people. They are the result of chance. Every intelligent person knows it. There might be some people who want you to think that articles are written by people. But this view is totally unscientific. After all, we cannot see the person who allegedly wrote the article. We cannot detect him or her in any way. The claim that this article has an author cannot be empirically verified, and therefore it must be rejected. All we have is the article itself, and we must find a scientific explanation for its origin.
The excerpts from the comments section, below the article, are even better than the article itself. Using evolutionary presuppositions (the very same ones evolutionists often use to ridicule a Christian view of origins), Lisle pokes fun at this worldview. Enjoy.
Theology and Nerdy Stuff
Robert Cara has a new book out arguing against the New Perspective on Paul. Here, he discusses his work and why it matters:
The New Perspective on Paul is broadly united on its view of the theology contained in Second Temple Jewish literature. Arguing that these documents do not contain a doctrine of works righteousness, Paul certainly cannot be arguing against such a view—quite simply because it didn’t exist.
Dr. Cara examines the Jewish sources and “cracks the foundation” of the NPP by demonstrating how they incorporate meritorious works and thus establish the traditional Protestant view of Paul and his doctrine of justification.
Weird, Insane or Both . . .
No. Just . . . no. The horror . . .
First, someone might pour molten turkey fat down a drain. A few blocks away, someone else might flush a wet wipe down a toilet. When the two meet in a dank sewer pipe, a baby fatberg is born.
Eventually, more fat, oil, and grease congeal onto the mess and build up into giant stinking globs. When they get big enough, fatbergs can clog sewers entirely, sending raw sewage gushing into streets. By the time a 15-ton monstrosity was pulled from the sewers of London’s Kingston borough in 2013, many of the neighborhood’s toilets had backed up.
After this week, everything I have is focused on President Trump. The Donald had a bad week . . .
Ben Shapiro, writing for National Review, has a very good article on the aftermath of Charlottesville, and the increasing polarization in our country:
And so here we stand: On the one side, a racist, identity-politics Left dedicated to the proposition that white people are innate beneficiaries of privilege and therefore must be excised from political power; on the other side, a reactionary, racist, identity-politics alt-right dedicated to the proposition that white people are innate victims of the social-justice class and therefore must regain political power through race-group solidarity.
None of this is new, of course. The Left has engaged in identity politics since the 1960s and engaged in heavy violence in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The white-supremacist movement has been with us since the founding of the republic. But both movements had been steadily shrinking until the last few years.
Now they’re growing. And they’re largely growing in opposition to one another.
In fact, the growth of each side reinforces the growth of the other: The mainstream Left, convinced that the enemies of social-justice warriors are all alt-right Nazis, winks and nods at left-wing violence; the right, convinced that its SJW enemies are focused on racial polarization, embraces the alt-right as a form of resistance. Antifa becomes merely a radical adjunct to traditional Democratic-party politics; the alt-right becomes merely a useful tool for scurrilous Republican politicians and media figures.
Three factors led to this self-reinforcing growth loop.
Read the article to find out what these three factors are.
The President can’t communicate. He is singularly inarticulate. He cannot express himself coherently. He is the living epitome of verbal diarrhea. Whatever you believe about his policies, we all wish the man could express himself better. Peggy Noonan, writing in The Wall Street Journal, explains:
The public Mr. Trump is not without sentiment and occasional sentimentality, but the deeper wells of a broader love seem not there to draw from. Seven months in, people know they can look to him for a reaction, a statement, an announcement, but not for comfort, inspiration, higher meaning
In his brief statement, Romney demonstrates what leadership looks like.
This is a defining moment for President Trump. But much more than that, it is a moment that will define America in the hearts of our children. They are watching, our soldiers are watching, the world is watching. Mr. President, act now for the good of the country.
Doug Wilson always sugarcoats everything, doesn’t he!? In this piece, he praises President Trump for his now infamous, sarcastic remarks in response to the proposed removal of Confederate monuments. Wilson correctly identifies that the Left has been throwing a tantrum for some time, and that appeasement has never solved a tantrum – it merely postpones it for a bigger explosion a few moments later:
This is why the removal of Confederate symbols and statues is a big deal. A people can decide to put up statues, and a people through their elected representatives can decide to take them down again. It might be a shame or not, depending on the symbol. But because it would be a function of debate and deliberation, what is at stake is the subject under discussion—the statue or symbol itself.
But there is another way of conducting public affairs, where the impetus to do something is because somebody is pitching a fit. And that means that if you capitulate, you are not just capitulating on that subject. The issue is not what decision you are making, but rather how you make decisions. If a surly two-year-old boy is throwing down in the toy aisle at Walmart, you are not just negotiating with him about the particular toy he wants. You are actually talking about everything in the store.
There’s been a lot of talk about racism, slavery and dead Confederate politicians and soldiers in the past week. Most of it is by people who have no idea what they’re talking about.
We can fix this. Read James McPherson’s landmark book Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. It will move you beyond the soundbites, talking points, and other falsehoods and actually teach you what happened in that important period leading up to the Civil War.
Too Profound for any Other Category
John “Blood Moon” Hagee has been a busy boy:
“This puppy won’t sell like my classic blood moon book,” Hagee told reporters as he typed at 150 words per minute. “I mean four blood moons? That was a once in a lifetime deal—every prophecy guru’s dream. But I can still sell a few hundred thousand copies as long as I can find some kind of tenuous connection to Daniel, Zechariah, or Revelation.”
Teachers, beware! Learn from other’s mistakes . . .
Their violent seizure of power complete and their appetite for sugar unquenched, the students took control of the classroom, locked the doors, taped paper over the windows, and demanded a ransom of candy bars, Oreos, and Airheads to release Mr. Cabrera
Finally, I leave you with this: