Thursday, August 15, 2013

All Around the Web - August 15, 2013

Superhero tanlines from 22 Words

Washington Post - Whatever Happened to the Wrath of God? |

Persons from other traditions will, of course, disagree with us about whether there is a God, whether he is loving and/or wrathful, and whether or not the Gospel is true. But Americans should recognize that the wrath of God isn’t some innovation by a tiny band of fundamentalists. American history is embedded with talk—and music—about the wrath of God.

The Civil War-era hymn “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” after all, is far more direct in its wrath of God imagery than any hymn rejected by the Presbyterians. God is “trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored,” we sing. God is, in this American hymn, wielding a “terrible, swift sword” against injustice. Why is this important? It’s because the Americans singing the song were reminding themselves that slavery isn’t just a matter of regional conflict, but a matter of moral accountability, an accountability that transcends political caprice.

Likewise, the Civil Rights movement grounded its non-violent resistance to Jim Crow wickedness with language about the wrath of God. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the fire hoses and dog attacks of the Alabama police forces by saying, “We will leave them standing before their God and the world splattered with the blood and reeking with the stench of our Negro brothers.” King was pointing a professing Christian populace to a judgment seat.

He was saying what Odetta would sing to the terrorist forces of the Ku Klux Klan and their allies, “You may run on for a long time, lemme tell you, God Almighty gonna cut you down.”

I’m hardly one to tell Presbyterians what they ought to have in their hymnals. But the Gospel is good news for Christians because it tells us of a God of both love and justice. The wrath of God doesn’t cause us to cower, or to judge our neighbors. It ought to prompt us to see ourselves as recipients of mercy, and as those who will one day give an account.

If that’s true, let’s sing it.

Thinking Christian - Morality and Human Nature: Why Atheists Get It Right and Wrong (Part 2) | This is a really helpful article.

1. Evolution is about process. Every species is but a snapshot of a population on its way to being something else. Evolution never lands but for a moment.

2. Evolution cannot make a higher species. Did you think humans were an advanced group? You chauvinist, you! Advanced toward what? Paris japonica has the largest genome of any species. Maybe that’s the relevant measure. Cockroaches are reputed to be the animal species that would  thrive best following a nuclear disaster. Maybe that’s the relevant measure. Rationality? Sure, we have it, but does a raccoon care? There’s nothing there in naturalistic evolution to justify calling us a higher species. All there is, is self-serving prejudice.

3. Evolution cannot distinguish the worth of species. Ingrid Newkirk at PETA said that as far as our food choices go, “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” That’s good evolutionary thinking: we’re all one sort of thing, each of us just our own particular terminus on the particular path that mindless, brainless, purposeless evolution followed (pardon the anthropomorphism) to bring us to be. What makes the path to me (or my distant ancestors, in case you were planning to bring that up) to be of any more worth than the path to my calico cat Callie? I can’t think of anything. So then what makes the outcome worth any more? I can’t think of anything there, either; not on the evolutionary theory, at any rate.

4. Most importantly, evolution does not institute species-ness, in the sense of horse-ness, or maple tree-ness, or of course humanness. The -ness suffix is a fiction, a heuristic convenience foisted by humans upon groupings of organisms to simplify our conceptions.

Special Report - Former Planned Parenthood employees warn about clinic |


Albert Mohler - Who Am I to Judge? The Pope, the Press, and the Predicament | I'm a little late to get to this, but its still good.

Pope Francis pulled a surprise on reporters when he walked back to the press section of his Alitalia papal flight from Brazil and entered into an open press conference that lasted more than an hour. The Pope gave the press what Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton offered as presidents—a casual question and answer session that was on the record.

The biggest headline from the Pope’s remarks was not what he had to say about the scandals at the Vatican Bank, but what he said about homosexuality and, in particular, homosexuals in the priesthood. The key sentence in the Pope’s remarks is this: “If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?”

The papal remarks put the international press into a frenzy. Headlines across the world announced a revolution in Roman Catholic moral teaching, a changed position on homosexuality, or at least an historic “new openness” on the issue of homosexuality.

Predictably, a closer look reveals a more complicated and far less revolutionary reality. Pope Francis did not change or modify one sentence of Catholic moral teaching. The official Catechism of the Catholic Church states that homosexuality is “objectively disordered.” The Catholic Church and this Catholic Pope are not reluctant to offer a moral judgment when it comes to homosexual behaviors. The Catholic Church offers a long tradition of consistent moral judgment on the issue of homosexual acts, and the church declares them to be “objectively disordered” and sinful. That did not change.

Thom Rainer - Four Thoughts from Non-Christians about Christians |

Demonstrate Respect and the Interest of Others 
Don’t Condescend and Discriminate 
Really Care about the Non-Christian and Show It 
Demonstrate Compassion and Respect

All our problems are solved.

HT: 22 Words
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