Friday, May 31, 2013

All Around the Web - May 31, 2013

John Stonestreet - Materialism vs. Reality |

C. S. Lewis observed that the most dangerous ideas in a society are not the ones argued, but the ones assumed. And there’s little doubt that in most universities across the United States, secularist materialism, in one form or another, is the assumed and unquestioned perspective from which most subjects are understood and taught.

So much so, that even professors theoretically committed to open-mindedness and inquiry are like the proverbial fish who don’t know they’re wet. And if they can’t recognize their own materialist limitations, then neither do the students they indoctrinate.

Let me be clear. The real problem with secularist materialism is not that it is now largely assumed and unquestioned. And it’s not even that materialist explanations are never right, because they are at times.

Rather, the problem is that as a worldview, materialism is so severely limited. You see, the “rules” of secularist materialism are that nothing other than purely physical causes or processes can be considered when looking at any area of life. Self-deluded as “neutral and scientific,” materialism disallows up front any metaphysical, spiritual, or supernatural considerations at all.

The Gospel Coalition - Parents, Do You Think Before You Post? |

Most discussions of children and online protocol center on privacy settings and password safety for school-age children, but my concern starts earlier. Are we parents protecting and preserving the future privacy wishes and best interests of our small children in our own online posting choices?
Every day parents use social media and the blogosphere to offer up photos and posts chronicling all manner of child misbehavior, parental frustrations, and mishaps involving bodily fluids. I think these posts are made by well-meaning parents, unaware that they are creating an online identity for their children. But with every post, we construct a digital history of our child's life—a virtual scrapbook for public viewing—and we might want to think harder about the trail we are leaving behind. Do our comments and photos preserve our child's dignity or gratify our own adult sense of comedy? Do we post our thoughts to satisfy a need to vent? Do we miss the truth that our families need our discretion far more than our blog followers need our authenticity?

There is a reason we don't vent about or post potentially embarrassing pictures of our spouse or our mother-in-law: the real possibility that they will see what we have posted. No such danger exists with a young child . . . or does it? Cyberspace feels fleeting and forgiving, but it is neither. Consider that your toddlers will likely one day see the online identity you have created for them. And so may their middle school peers, their prom date, their college admissions board, and their future employers. But far more important than what the outside world will think of this digital trail is what your child will think of it.

Joe Carter - Study: Christians Who Tithe Have Healthier Finances |

Some of the more interesting findings from the study include:

• 77% of those who "tithe" give 11%-20% or more of their income, far more than the baseline of 10%.
• 97% make it a priority to give to their local church.
• 70% "tithe" based on their gross income, not their net.
• 63% started giving 10% or more between childhood and their twenties
• Tithers carry much less debt than most people and are financially better off than Christian non-tithers—80% of "tithers" have no unpaid credit card bills; 74% have no car payments; 48% own their home; and 28% are completely debt-free.
• What keeps non-tithing Christians from giving: 38% say they can't afford it; 33% say they have too much debt; and 18% said their spouse does not agree about tithing.

First Thoughts - Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, but Not Your Homeschoolers | The title is great don't you agree?

The Romeike family, about whose case I previously posted, has lost its latest round in the federal courts. In a unanimous ruling, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Obama Administration’s contention that the Romeikes are not victims of persecution.

The question is not whether Germany’s policy violates the American Constitution, whether it violates the parameters of an international treaty or whether Germany’s law is a good idea. It is whether the Romeikes have established the prerequisites of an asylum claim—a well-founded fear of persecution on account of a protected ground.
The Romeikes have not met this burden. The German law does not on its face single out any protected group, and the Romeikes have not provided sufficient evidence to show that the law’s application turns on prohibited classifications or animus based on any prohibited ground.
The family will in all likelihood appeal this decision, asking first of all for an en banc rehearing before the entire Sixth Circuit and then for their day in court before the Supreme Court. I do not have high hopes for them.

Reuters - Court rules bin Laden death photos can stay secret |

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the U.S. government had properly classified top secret more than 50 images of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden taken after his death, and that the government did not need to release them.

The unanimous ruling by three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a request for the images by a conservative nonprofit watchdog group.

Judicial Watch sued for photographs and video from the May 2011 raid in which U.S. special forces killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, after more than a decade of searching.

The organization's lawsuit relied on the Freedom of Information Act, a 1966 law that guarantees public access to some government documents.

HT: Thabiti
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