By: Stan Guthrie|Published Date: December 05, 2013
The National Football League has taken to dressing its players in bright pink. They sport pink wristbands. Some wear pink cleats. They wipe off their sweat with pink hand towels. Even the referees occasionally throw pink penalty flags. Sometimes, however, this traditionally feminine hue clashes horribly with a team’s regular colors—not to mention the time-honored ambience of the gridiron.
Why all the pink in the quintessential manly sport?
Believe it or not, we are told that this predilection for pink will “raise awareness” about breast cancer. (Ah, now I understand the reason for the garish coloring—apparently all women like the color pink!) Well, I have news for Commissioner Roger Goodell and all the other awareness-raisers in the NFL: I’m already “aware” of breast cancer.
By: Kevin Belmonte|Published Date: November 22, 2013
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the day C. S. Lewis died. To mark this anniversary, he will have a permanent place in Westminster Abbey, there to live on in the heart of his nation, and all who visit his memorial there.
While it is only fitting, and very proper, that Christians the world over remember him on this day, I have found myself unable to shake the thought that we ought not to remember his death—as much as we should bring to mind the many ways his life and legacy live on.
With all the thousands of lives it took, Typhoon Haiyan has left many of us speechless in grief. John Loftus, atheist blogger, author, and editor, has responded rather differently, though, taking advantage of the tragedy with an article at Debunking Christianityon“The Top 10 Christian Responses to Typhoon Haiyan.”
There’s something seriously insensitive about taking rhetorical advantage of the disaster the way Loftus has done there, which is ironic, considering that he’s trying to expose Christian insensitivity. There’s a deeper irony in here than that, though.
By: Regis Nicoll|Published Date: November 15, 2013
In a rare, unguarded moment, physicist Lawrence Krauss confided, "I worry whether we've come to the limits of empirical science.”
That was over four years ago. Since then, experiments at the Large Hadron Collider have confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson, an elusive particle thought to give rise to the most fundamental property of our universe: mass.
Commonly associated with weight, mass is the measure of an object’s resistance to an applied force. But what gives an object its mass, and why is it that some particles, like electrons, have it and others, like photons, don’t?
By: Stan Guthrie|Published Date: November 07, 2013
For me, the holiday season started early this year. Let me explain.
Anyone following the news has noticed the increasingly sharp rhetoric of politicians, pundits, and the people. One side of the argument is said to be “holding a gun to the head of the American people.” The other accuses the Obama administration of using National Park Service “thugs” to close down memorials and parks. There are threats of economic disaster over the shutdown, reports of lying, rumors of profound disrespect, rage and blame over the broken promises of Obamacare.
By: Roberto Rivera|Published Date: November 05, 2013
On October 9, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta announced that a state funeral would be held for the, at last count, 359 migrants who died when their boat capsized near the island of Lampedusa on October 3.
More than 500 people were crowded onto a 66-foot boat that set sail from Libya. The victims, who mostly came from Eritrea and Somalia, were a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of migrants from Africa who attempt to enter the European Union illegally each year. Many, like the victims, come via the Mediterranean. Many -- an estimated 19,000 in the past 25 years -- also perish in the attempt.
By: Kevin Belmonte|Published Date: October 28, 2013
A little over 200 years ago, in 1811, the British writer Hannah More published a book called "Practical Piety." Its title seems daunting, but it was in many ways "The Purpose-Driven Life"of its day. Widely read throughout the U.K. and America, it went through 12 editions in 10 years in Britain alone. In this book, as with so many of her writings, More was a herald for the heart of the Anglican faith. Her friend William Wilberforce was among many who had a great admiration for her gifts.
And if "Practical Piety" enjoyed something like the popularity of "The Purpose-Driven Life," Hannah More wielded a pen reminiscent of C. S. Lewis. Her style was winsome, learned, and wise.
As a signer of the Manhattan Declaration in support of life, marriage, and religious liberty, I’ve been sensitive to charges of theocracy: that we've mounted a campaign to run America by private religious values.
A spate of books supposedly exposing some grand theocratic threat came out several years ago, nicely summarized by Ross Douthat in a2006 First Things article. Just two years ago Sean Faircloth published “Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All—And What We Can Do About It,”a book that Richard Dawkins recommended to atheists as an important source of social and political strategy. I found that book's look-out!-they're-after-us! tone mildly entertaining, which was about the best I could say for it. Of course there is no shortage of blog posts and articles sounding the same warning.
When evolutionism’s front man, Richard Dawkins, wrote, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist,” he grossly overstated his case. If atheism is to be more than wish fulfillment for folks troubled by what Thomas Nagel calls “the cosmic authority problem,” it must be based on a materialistic narrative that accounts for chemical evolution and biological evolution. The former explains how life first arose; the latter, how current life forms developed from earlier ones.
A half-century after gaining independence from British colonial rule, Kenya received one of the ugliest birthday presents imaginable. Last month, al Shabaab terrorists from Somalia commandeered Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall, singling out Christians.
“As the attack began,” the Associated Press reported, “the al-Qaida-linked gunmen asked the victims they had cornered if they were Muslim: Those who answered yes were free to go, several witnesses said. The non-Muslims were not.”
By: Roberto Rivera|Published Date: October 01, 2013
When I first heard about Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s movie “Don Jon,” I wondered if making a contemporary version of “Don Juan” was even possible. As it turns out, the answer is “not really.”
The original Don Juan was created by the 17th-century Spanish playwright Tirso de Molina and is the title character of his most-celebrated work, “El Burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra.” “Burlador” is derived from burlar, “to mock.” Thus, Don Juan is the “mocker”—not the “trickster,” as Wikipedia translates it—of Seville.
What’s being mocked is virtue, not just the specific virtue of female chastity, but the general idea of virtue and goodness. Molina’s malicious tempter is called a “demon,” even compared to Satan. He is the embodiment of human sinfulness, which shouldn’t be all that surprising since his creator was a Catholic priest. More to the point, he was a 17th-century Spanish Catholic priest. (Cue music.)
By: Kevin Belmonte|Published Date: September 23, 2013
(Note: This article contains spoilers.)
“Whatever the word great means, Dickens was what it means.” So wrote G. K. Chesterton—someone who knew more than a little about how to grab a reader’s attention.
And G.K.C. was also a master of the follow-up line. Dickens, he said, “is treated as a classic; that is, as a king who may now be deserted, but who cannot now be dethroned.”
That’s a spirited line, and a telling one. Chesterton was right to say many acknowledge Dickens as a classic writer. Yes, but do we read him? He might sit on a throne in the literary pantheon, but have we forsaken his banner? We are the more to be pitied if we have.
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I saw an atheist evangelism training video the other day. They didn’t call it evangelism; for them, it was “treatment intervention” to help people made ill by the “faith virus.” It wasn’t about good news, either, as the word “evangelism” implies. Other than that, though, it sure felt a lot like Christian evangelism training I’ve taken part in.
And it’s ironic: The approach this training took was identical to one I’ve seen Josh McDowell use to give Christian youth reasons for confidence in Christianity. I’ve even used the same approach myself.
In other good news, as Eric Metaxas has told Breakpoint listeners, American evangelicals have joined their voices to that of Pope Francis and opposed American intervention out of concern for the almost-certain disastrous impact it would have on Syria’s Christian communities.
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By: Regis Nicoll|Published Date: September 13, 2013
Thomas Jefferson is said to have quipped, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything that you have." While history does not support the Jeffersonian attribution, it does support the conclusion—witness Soviet Russia, Communist China, and North Korea.
But how big is too big? At what point does the size of government become an obstacle to effective governance and the common good?
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By: Stan Guthrie|Published Date: September 05, 2013
People familiar with the Chronicles of Narnia know that Aslan is a Christ figure who gives his life as a sacrifice for sin, rises again, defeats evil, and sets up an everlasting kingdom. Well, there’s a new Aslan in town, but this onewants nothing to do with the Christ of Scripture.
In his new bestseller, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” Reza Aslan is the latest in a long line of debunkers who seek to demythologize the Man from Galilee. Aslan, now a Muslim, embraced what he calls an evangelical faith (in a “detached, unearthly being”) as a teen before losing it in college. Now he wants us to “question our most basic assumptions about Jesus of Nazareth.” Unfortunately, many of his assumptions, though engagingly presented, seem to have been lifted directly from his own dusty, out-of-date university textbooks. (Aslan’s Ph.D. is in sociology, with a focus on global jihadism.) So it is good to take what he says about Jesus with a grain of salt.
By: Roberto Rivera|Published Date: August 29, 2013
As I type these words, the United States is not at war with Syria. Yet. (Firing cruise missiles at another sovereign nation, no matter how just the cause, is an act of war.) But many of the same people, plus some additions, that were, in the words of Greg Mitchell of the Nation, “So Wrong for So Long,” when it came to Iraq are now urging an obviously reluctant President Obama to “do something,” especially after reports of possible chemical weapon use by the Assad regime.
This leaves me in an increasingly familiar and uncomfortable position: total ambivalence. I understand why the use of chemical weapons changes the moral and strategic equation. There are some lines regimes should not be allowed to cross with impunity. To put it bluntly, it may be their civil war but it is our shared humanity. Not only are there limits to what governments can and should be allowed to do to their citizens -- two obvious examples being the use of weapons of mass destruction and genocide, which, as U.N. Ambassador Samantha Powers has documented, usually go hand-in-hand -- but we really don’t want to live in a world where the use of such weapons are viewed as no big deal.
Russell Moore, incoming president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, says that Christians’ place in America is no longer about a being moral majority but a prophetic minority. He’s right. Not long ago I wrote about three reasons religious freedom matters: freedom of conscience, dethroning the state, and at the point where these two intersect, speaking truth to power. This voice of truth is the Church’s prophetic ministry.
We have been accustomed to being something like a moral majority; we must discover now what it means to be a prophetic minority. There may be no better teacher for us than Jeremiah. I’ve been spending much time with Jeremiah lately, though I must admit I’ve had difficulty getting past the first several chapters. They sound too familiar; too much like the world we live in; and therefore too troubling to hurry through.
I didn't think marriage could be further damaged than it already has been through easy divorce laws. But now an estate lawyer proposes that we lease our spouses—just as we currently do with property.
Since so many marriages end in divorce, writes Palm Beach attorney Paul Rampell in the Washington Post, “Why is there no effort to improve the legal structure of marriage, when it shows itself to be deficient?” After all, circumstances change, and couples may become less compatible after a time. “So why not borrow from real estate and create a marital lease?” he asks. “Instead of wedlock, a 'wedlease.' Couples would commit to five or ten years, and then renew the lease if the relationship is “worth continuing.”
In a recent Gallup poll, 48 percent of Americans identified as pro-life, and 45 percent as pro-choice. If you think that signals the end of the war on children, think again.
In the same poll, 49 percent of Americans said they consider abortion morally wrong, but only 31 percent said that abortion should be illegal, 29 percent that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and 27 percent that abortion laws should be stricter. In short, over one-third of pro-lifers are not so pro-life, supporting the legal status of a practice they deem morally wrong.