Monday, September 1, 2014

All Around the Web - September 1, 2014

John Stonestreet - Respectable Barbarism
It’s pretty clear when a worldview is barbaric, because worldviews have feet. They reveal themselves in the real world. We saw it the other day when the Islamic State, or ISIS, terrorist group beheaded American journalist James Foley. ISIS then posted the video for a shocked world to see. Only the most depraved, fanatical person would label such behavior as morally correct.

But what about the respectable barbarism—you know, the kind that wears a suit, gives snappy interviews, and carries an advanced degree?

I’m speaking of the famous British atheist Richard Dawkins, who caused quite a stir the other day when he said that it would be immoral not to abort a fetus with Down Syndrome. Yes, you heard that right. Responding on Twitter to a woman who tweeted that she would face “a real ethical dilemma” if she became pregnant with a Down Syndrome baby, Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, replied: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

Fully consistent in his atheistic, utilitarian worldview, Dawkins added, “Suffering should be avoided. [The abortion] cause[s] no suffering. Reduce suffering wherever you can.”

Baptist 21 - Fault Lines in the SBC

Fault lines within the SBC - Ashley Clayton, Frank Page, & Jon Akin from CP SBC on Vimeo.

Daily Signal - 7 Reasons Why the Current Marriage Debate Is Nothing Like the Debate on Interracial Marriage
Is opposition to same-sex marriage at all like opposition to interracial marriage?

One refrain in debates over marriage policy is that laws defining marriage as the union of male and female are today’s equivalent of bans on interracial marriage. Some further argue that protecting the freedom to act publicly on the basis of a religious belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman is like legally enforcing race-based segregation. This leads some people to think that the government is right to fine a New York family farm $13,000 for declining to host a lesbian wedding in their barn.

These claims are wrong on several counts, as I explain in my Backgrounder: “Marriage, Reason, and Religious Liberty: Much Ado About Sex, Nothing to Do with Race.” Here are the top seven reasons why:

Thom Rainer - Seven Thoughts about Christian Leaders and Platforms
  1. Platforms are not new for Christian leaders, but social media has expanded their potential influence. I look at my own platform as a resource God has given me to steward. I thus must manage it as any great gift God has given me.
  2. Platforms provide huge opportunities for Christian leaders to get gospel-centered messages to the world. It would be a tragedy if Christian leaders were not building platforms. The rest of the world is getting their messages out.
  3. Ego is a major danger for Christian leaders with growing platforms. I confess to that sin myself. On more than one occasion, I have taken great pride in “my” platform. My ego got in the way of the message.
  4. Monetization of a platform should be treated with the same stewardship as any other money we receive. There is nothing inherently evil about monetizing some aspects of a platform to provide the resources to expand the message even more. Many Christian leaders have for years accepted financial gifts for speaking and writing. The danger comes when the money becomes the end instead of the means.
  5. As in any ministry, Christian leaders must be above reproach in their use of their platforms. Like any medium or method, a platform can be used to tear down or build up. Unfortunately, we have far too many accounts of the former.
  6. The lines are not always clear between a personal platform and an organizational platform. I am writing this article on a Saturday afternoon (my theoretical “free time”). But it will be used to expand my personal platform as well as help my organization. The lines can be very blurry at times. Again, I must be above reproach and accountable for what I do.
  7. A platform can enhance a sense of Christian community. A platform cannot and should not replace the community that is present in a local congregation. But I love the way Christians across the world can connect with one another. I just pulled a statistic on my own blog and found that someone from almost every country in the world has visited my site the past year (nearly 200 countries). I love seeing brothers and sisters in Christ around the world connecting with one another.

Smithsonian Magazine - What Lies Beneath Stonehenge?
We walked the Avenue, the ancient route along which the stones were first dragged from the River Avon. For centuries, this was the formal path to the great henge, but now the only hint of its existence was an indentation or two in the tall grass. It was a fine English summer’s day, with thin, fast clouds above, and as we passed through fields dotted with buttercups and daisies, cows and sheep, we could have been hikers anywhere, were it not for the ghostly monument in the near distance.

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