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The New Atheists today scoff at people of faith. Richard Dawkins has even urged his followers to mock people of faith. The same people bristle at the suggestion that they, themselves, have faith.
Dawkins is sweeping in his statements, defining faith for the masses and allowing no prisoners. But his definition of faith is loaded with his assumptions about what faith is, ignoring the evidence – even the evidence right in front of him when he debated John Lennox.
To this point, we might even say that Dawkins is guilty of the charge he levels against Christians and other people of faith. Let me explain.
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I was on vacation in the north woods last week, disconnected from the world at large and from the urgency of current events for the most part. Bits and pieces of the tragic violence that occurred in Charlottesville filtered through, and I came back to be confronted with the full on force of those events this week.
I still don’t know all the details, but I know that what happened is a product of racism at its worst. It is nothing short of domestic terrorism. I am left with a dull ache, a heavy sadness and a lot of pessimism about our future as a country.
These events aren’t as raw for me as they likely are for others. I was away when the full brunt of the violence took place. I am also a white man.
But, I am human. All people are brothers and sisters. I believe we were all made, male and female, Jew and Gentile, black and white, in God’s image. Therefore, we are one. I believe every individual, therefore, of every tribe, nation and tongue has intrinsic value. Racism is not only senseless; it flies defiantly in the face of our Creator.
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The last presidential campaign was brutal and exposed a number of seeming violations of some of the most fundamental rights and the laws that protect them that we enjoy in the United States. For the first time in history, we witnessed a candidate that not only objectified women but boasted about sexual assault against women. But there were more subtle and, perhaps, more insidiously dangerous violations of fundamental rights and laws going on that have not drawn the visceral reactions they deserve.
The fundamental right to freedom of speech seemed to be in jeopardy, and we barely noticed. Continue reading
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Are we Americans that gullible? Or are we simply unwilling to suspend our penchant to believe everything that affirms our political views? Maybe its a matter of not being able to stop the momentum of our own biases as they carry us down the streams of our own predispositions.
I spent a half hour reading Facebook posts one day following the Comey hearing. The exercise can be summarized by the following article title: Breaking: Comey Hearing Confirms Whatever You Already Wanted To Believe (it’s satire folks).
I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Throughout the presidential season, we were certain that our partisan counterparts were trapped in their own echo chambers, while we had an uneasy feeling, burping to the surface at times like the perpetual heartburn we work hard to ignore, that we might be living in our own. Even the most ardent political junkie looked forward to the day when he would sigh in the relief of victory or retreat to lick his wounds in relative peace.
But the peace never came. After a flurry of news and opinions on the scourge of fake news, we have been off to the same race we doggedly followed before. The Comey firing and hearing now is just the latest in the perpetual laps that go round and round.
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Should there be a religious litmus test for public office?
That question has arisen in regard to Russell Vought, an appointee to the office of deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. As a Wheaton College graduate, he defended the College’s decision to terminate the professor who wore a hijab in solidarity with Muslims and said that Muslims worship the same God as the Christians. His statements made in that defense became the subject of his confirmation hearing.
In his statement, Russell Vought, stated what most orthodox Christians and Muslims believe: that Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God. Christians obviously believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, and Muslims believe that Allah, alone, is God, and Muhammad is his messenger. Those beliefs are held by millions of people and are not controversial, in that sense.
An increasingly large segment of western society views religious beliefs negatively and takes the position that religious beliefs of this kind do not belong in the public square. They go further, implying that people who hold such religious beliefs are not qualified for public office. Thus, the question: should there be a religious litmus test?