"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their tabloid news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell
1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-7 (NASB)
Observing unbelief in a professing Christian is a terrible thing. Unbelief, which is rooted in spiritual blindness, is deceitful. We must never forget that spiritual blindness is the product of idolatry. These nominal Christians…
•Sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention
•How false teachers go after their prey
•Francis Chan is partnering with false teachers
•The rise of neo-Pentecostalism in South Africa
•Hillsong holds Catholic mass
•Listeners are upset at Todd’s concern about marijuana
•Why we should be against public religious displays
The ERLC president, Russell Moore, responded to the recent Southern Baptist sex abuse report and in doing so, made a subtle jab at Phoenix apologist, James White.
The leftist-progressive Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention was pre-positioned and poised perfectly to capitalize on the news as the denominational sex abuse scandal first broke in the Houston Chronicle. Their virtue-signaler-in-chief, Russell Moore, would soon be out and about on the street corner, praising God that he is not like those ‘unwoke’ souls who make light of such reporting and waving his bony finger of accusation toward a largely innocent group of people. There is nothing quite like victimhood to work up the excitement of Russell Moore, and any opportunity to scold his own denomination will not go unused.
Robert Downen, Lise Olsen, and John Tedesco reported their examination of sex abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention in yesterday’s edition of the Houston Chronicle. Since then, it has virtually gone viral.
Oddly enough, the report doesn’t really uncover anything heretofore unknown about sex abuse in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. What the reporters “uncover” is that over the course of 20 years, there have been 700 victims of sexual abuse.
A few facts should be taken into consideration regarding these numbers.
First, the number of 700 victims presumably includes a spectrum from child molestation to adult counselees who had inappropriate relationships with counselors. The article is unclear exactly what constitutes sexual abuse and may include sinful relationships between consenting adults (which for pastors would be a disqualifying sin).
Second, the statistics of sexual abuse used in the article lumps together abuse by clergy (ordained or vocational ministers) from volunteers or virtually anyone within the confines of a Southern Baptist church. This is a distinction that ought rightly to be made.
Third, the article seems to conflate what Southern Baptist churches consider “sexual misconduct” with what the courts would consider sexual crime. The reporters fail to grasp that a great many Southern Baptist pastors would be fired for far less than what is legally prosecutable. Most secularists reading the article wouldn’t grasp that and would view all the deposed SBC ministers as child molesters and not “random” adulterers or whoremongers. In fact, it seems that from the 700 victims figure it equates to about 220 offenders – according to their reporting – who committed an offense that is actionable either criminally or civilly.
Most troubling among the report is that about 35 SBC pastors were able to find jobs even after their sexual misconduct became known because churches failed to notify others. The reporters indicate that “some registered sex offenders have returned to the pulpit,” but “some” is a vague number. Is it one or two? Either way, the Houston Chronicle plans to report more on that this Tuesday, and so it’s doubtful the bad press will end any time soon.
Least newsworthy in the Chronicle report is the accounting of the misdeeds or cover-ups by SBC leaders. Pulpit & Pen has written about this for years. From Paige Patterson to Jerry Vines to Frank Page, many of the SBC’s leaders have either been personally guilty of sexual misconduct or have helped to cover it up. Most recently, Frank Page resigned as President of the SBC Executive Board due to sexual misconduct but – predictably – the exact situation was undisclosed to Southern Baptists so we don’t know if it was anything from pornography usage to outright molestation. This leaves people to assume the worst (as though bad isn’t bad enough).
Put into perspective, the SBC has approximately 45 thousand churches and more than triple that of ordained clergy. The list of SBC volunteers is virtually incalculable and no doubt extends into the millions.
In the course of twenty years, 45 thousand churches, more than 150 thousand ordained clergy, and millions of volunteers have woefully produced 700 victims of one form or another of sexual abuse.
Maranatha. Awful. Seriously.
[Insert some virtual signaling tripe about how bad sexual abuse is here; everybody knows this, but come off sounding very empathetic and especially heart-broken].
However, to put into perspective, this means that incidents of sexual misconduct impugn approximately 1 in 64 churches, 1 in 214 ordained clergy, and the ratio of abuse victims to volunteers simply can’t be tabulated. This is over 20 years, and not 1 year. Finally, this is by the church’s standard of sexual misconduct and not the magistrate’s standard of sexual crime.
Regardless, one incident of abuse is too much and a single incident of cover-up is tragic (do I really have to say that?).
A Comparsion to Roman Catholics
A 2004 Vatican-sponsored investigatory report said there were more than 4 thousand sexually deviant priests (not volunteers) who molested more than 10 thousand (mostly) boys in the last 50 years in the U.S.
A five-year Australian study found “tens of thousands” of abused children by upwards of 7 percent of priests.
In August of 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury named more than 300 priests who had abused more than one thousand kids in that state alone.
In 2009, Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi acknowledged that upwards of 5% of the Catholic clergy has been involved in sexual abuse cases.
A Perspective on Clergy Sexual Abuse by Catholic Dr. Thomas Plante of the Catholic Santa Clara University says that “approximately 4% of priests during the past half-century have had a sexual experience with a minor.”
There are only 37 thousand Catholic priests in the United States, a much smaller number than there are pastors in the SBC, and they have left tens of thousands of more victims than SBC pastors and volunteers combined and to the power of ten or greater!
There’s really no comparison in the instances of abuse between Papists and Protestants in this regard. The best sources – both secular and Papist – indicate that the percentage of abusers among Roman Catholic clergy is somewhere between 4 and 7 percent. Compare this to instances of abuse among Southern Baptist clergy and laypeople (according to the Houston Chronicle reporting) and you’re at a tiny figure in comparison.
There’s Something Coordinated Afoot
On the heels of the ERLC, Beth Moore, and Karen Swallow Prior-driven #ChurchToo movement – a #MeToo knock-off with an evangelical spin newspapers began to run these reports on sex abuse in various denominations that masquerade as investigative reporting. In reality, the articles have had a tendency to just “look up” already available statistics from already public sources. The headlines each time are nonetheless sensational and serve their purpose.
In that case, the Star Telegram had “discovered” 412 allegations of abuse in a total of 187 Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Churches going back to time immemorial. These included 168 churches leaders, 45 of which remained in their positions after allegations were made (the Star Telegram did not specify if they were found guilty, but stopped short at “allegations”).
Calculating numbers of IFB churches is a bit problematic, but 2.5% of the United States population lists “Independent Baptist” on census forms and it’s likely double or triple that figure when taken into account that many IFB people just identify as “Baptist” rather than “Independent Baptist.” Some have suggested figures as high as 40 thousand IFB churches, which is nearly equal that of the SBC. I suspect the number is even higher.
When compared to Roman Catholicism, the statistics of abuse pale in comparison, just as with the SBC.
Russell Moore’s Op-Ed
Moore wasted no time in getting out in front of the scandal to shame Southern Baptists, who he insists have not done enough, and to put himself on a pedestal as the woke champion of all things empathetic. He wrote an op-ed for the Dallas News, putting sackcloth and ashes into news type.
Taking the bleeding-heart side of an issue should not surprise us, but what is surprising is the uncharacteristic shade-throwing that Moore did toward Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries.
White had taken Russell Moore to task on Twitter – although not by name – for calling the observation that Roman Catholics have a uniquely bad sex abuse problem on a uniquely high level “wrongheaded.”
White is not alone in the assertion that Paul’s advice “it’s better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:9) applies to priestly celibacy and is at least a partial cause of priests treating choir boys like prostitutes and treating nunneries like brothels.
Moore seems to have struck back at White in the Dallas op-ed.
Others have suggested that the church should not concern itself with questions of “justice,” and that preaching the Gospel itself will resolve matters of injustice. Others have implied that the horrific scandals we have seen in the Roman Catholic church are due to the theology of Catholicism, the nature of a celibate priesthood and so forth. All of these are not only wrongheaded responses, but are deadly dangerous both to the lives of present and future survivors of these horrors and to the witness of the church itself.
Is it really wrongheaded to view forced celibacy as the reason for the screaming-high rate of sexual abuse among Roman Catholic priests?
We know that Russell Moore has a soft spot for Roman Catholicism, but defending it against suspicions that celibacy is responsible for the sex abuse rate is beyond the pale. Of course it’s partially responsible. Even a great many Romanists think so.
Here, Moore claims that White’s argument (or anyone else who might make it) regarding priestly celibacy is “deadly dangerous both to the lives of present and future survivors of these horrors and to the wintess of the church itself.”
Did Russell Moore just say that questioning the role of priestly celibacy in sex abuse cases was a threat to the witness of the church?
I’ve had disagreements with James White, but that is an unbelievably asinine argument to make, if you can call it an argument at all. Moore doesn’t really defend the statement or explain how it’s deadly dangerous, he just makes the truth-claim and drives by to his next talking point.
In the meantime, lest anyone think I’m soft on sexual predators, I’ll restate my position that the best deterrence is a quick trial, a tall tree, and a short piece of rope. To elaborate on that point would be to signal virtue of my own.
President Trump departed Joint Base Andrews Monday afternoon and headed to El Paso, Texas for a MAGA rally.
The President will give a speech about border security just 1,000 feet from the successful border fence in El Paso.
Prior to departing Joint Base Andrews, President Trump said to the press about his rally in El Paso, “We’re going there for a reason, we’re going there to keep our country safe … without a wall, it’s not going to work.”
Trump told reporters that 75,000 people signed up for his campaign rally tonight in El Paso, but the arena only holds 8,000.
A timely warning comes with the latest post from our good friends and fellow polemicists over at the ‘Famine In The Land’ blog. Writing about the praise Bethel Church senior pastor Kris Valloton has for the Pope, Rick Becker warns his readers that “there is the distinct possibility that Vallotton, like the Pope, serves “another Jesus.”
Rick Becker writes:
Interfaith harmony and world peace were not on Christ’s agenda when he walked the earth. Yet that is the agenda of some contemporary false christs who litter the visible church and other religions. The Pope met the Grand Imam of Al Azhar inAbu Dhabi this week, where they “launched the Human Fraternity Document calling on people across the globe to unite to bring about inter-faith harmony and spread a vital message of peace.” We are living in times where prophecy is rapidly being fulfilled in front of our eyes…
The Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this?”
Peter Marshall once said, “We are too Christian really to enjoy sinning, and too fond of sinning to enjoy Christianity. Most of us know perfectly well what we ought to do; our trouble is that we do not want to do it.”
L. Moody wrote of a time when he had to stand for his personal convictions rather than be a part of compromise:
Once I got into a place where I had to get up and leave. I was invited to a home, and they had a later supper, and there were seven kinds of liquor on the table. I am ashamed to say they were Christian people. A deacon urged a young lady to drink until her face was flushed. I rose from the table and went out; I felt that it was no place for me. They considered me very rude. That was going against the custom; that was entering a protest against such an infernal thing. Let us go against custom when it leads us astray.
Some convictions are obvious because God outlines them in His Word. Others are personal between you and Him. Regardless, the principle remains the same. When God sets a warning in front of you, and you deliberately go against His command, you compromise your relationship with Him.
God cannot bless disobedience or compromise. If you want His best, tell Him that wherever He leads, you will follow—forsaking all that does not bring glory and honor to Him.
Lord, You cannot bless disobedience or compromise, so I want to follow where You lead, forsaking all that does not bring glory and honor to You.
 Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 44). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Michelle Obama shared the stage with Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Lopez during the 61st annual Grammy awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California — Obama towered over the other ladies in an ill-fitting shiny ensemble.
The audience melted down and clapped like seals — but outside of the Hollywood-music industry bubble, very few people cared about this awards show.
The 2019 Grammy ratings are in and it’s even worse than last year.
UPDATE, 8:45 AM: They are still sweeping up on many levels from last night’s Grammy Awards at LA’s Staples Center and the final ratings numbers haven’t been sung yet, but music’s biggest night is not looking so big.
In fast affiliate results, the CBS-broadcasted 61st annual Grammy Awards has hit the sour notes of a 5.0/19 rating among adults 18-49 and 17.95 million viewers.
Now, that’s all likely to be adjusted in the final numbers but right now the Alicia Keys fronted three-hour plus running ceremony is down almost 8% in the key demo from the fast affiliates of last year’s record low James Corden host Grammys. It’s a bit of a flip move when you look at the total audience in this early round of ratings. The 17.95 million that watched last night the awards shows is up 1.7% from the viewership that the 60th annual Grammys had in the fast affiliates last year.
Right now, it looks like last night’s Grammys are on the way to being the lowest rated ever as they fall beneath last year’s demo action.
It turns out politics and Trump bashing turns off viewers — who could have ever predicted that?
If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
Have you ever felt uncomfortable during church? Even in an age in which quaint hand fans have been replaced by powerful air-conditioning systems and wooden pews have been exchanged for upholstered ones, people can still feel terribly uncomfortable during a worship service. This discomfort has nothing to do with a church building’s amenities. Often, it has everything to do with the Holy Spirit’s conviction.
Sometimes God will use a statement by your pastor or a reading of Scripture to burn a truth into your heart. Often, the message can be uplifting. At other times, it can be a sobering reminder that you still have an issue with which you must obey and trust God.
If God has pricked your heart, deep down you will know the truth. And the longer you delay in dealing with the issue on God’s terms, the more difficult it will be to finally submit to God’s will.
There is an escape to the trap that the enemy has laid for you. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31–32).
When you accepted Christ as your Savior, His Holy Spirit fully equipped you for freedom. Chains of bondage are a needless hazard for the believer. The truth can make you the ultimate escape artist.
Equip me for freedom through Your Word, O Lord. Break the chains that bind me so I can escape from captivity to sin.
In recent months a major political and moral shift has been underway across America. The legality and morality of both infanticide and murder are actually being debated. But not under those terms. No, euphemisms are being used to obfuscate what is truly at stake- the lives of millions of people- your children’s lives, your grandchildren’s lives, for generations to come.
If we continue to ignore this debate and do nothing, we do so at a severe intellectual, moral, and personal cost. This post will help you see through the intentional obfuscation of those who are actively attempting to deceive you into supporting these atrocities.
The Terms Used
The debate over infanticide and murder are logical extensions of the debate over abortion. On one side, people argue that terminating a pregnancy (up to and including while the mother is in labor) can be justified (the “pro-choice” position), while the other side argues that there exists no such justification (the “pro-life” position). The pro-choice advocate gets emotionally heated because they believe that a mother has the right to exercise autonomy over the life of her unborn child. The pro-life advocate gets emotionally heated because they believe that no human, including the mother, has the right to exercise autonomy over the life of any unborn child.
In the midst of the emotional exchanges, some advocates on both sides attempt to take a more objective approach and provide evidence for their position in an effort to bring a logical resolution the debate. If one side is successful in this goal, then their emotional responses may be justified by the evidence, but if that position is not justified by the evidence, then the emotional responses (and the position itself) is not justified and logically must be abandoned. The abandonment would include all laws and legal decisions that support the position as well. Today, I want to take some time to examine the available options and see how they square with reality and experience.
Is Abortion A Matter of Opinion?
I take the position of being pro-life. I do not hold this position to be merely my opinion that is only “true for me;” I hold this position to be objectively true, whether anyone believes it or not, and that it applies to all people in all cultures at all times. Not only is this a matter of fact position; I have the evidence to establish that this position accurately reflects reality and should be held by others as well.
In my discussions with pro-choice advocates, they will present any and every way they think may get them past the pro-life conclusion. Many of them believe that they can choose (true to their label) any number of ways to escape the pro-life position. Do they succeed? I believe they do, but it comes at a steep price. Today I want to present four options that the pro-choice advocate has to choose from in their effort to maintain their position in opposition to mine (the pro-life position), but I wish to also show that the cost is too high for any of the options to be reasonable or desirable.
Examining the Pro-Life Argument
To see what these options are, let us examine the pro-life argument:
If the unborn are human and if it is immoral to take the life of an innocent human, then it is immoral to take the life of the unborn (abortion).
There are three components to this argument that may be attacked by the pro-choice advocate. If one or more of those components are successfully defeated, then the conclusion fails. These three components are addressed throughout the book “The Case for Life” by Scott Klusendorf, but here is a video that gives an overview:
Simply stated, the unborn are human (component #1 is established by science), and it is immoral to take the life of an innocent human (most people agree with component #2 and evidence it in numerous ways), thus it is immoral to take the life of the unborn (the conclusion). This is a valid, logical argument (component #3- modus ponens).
If the pro-choice advocate wishes to deny its conclusion (“it is immoral to take the life of the unborn”), then he/she must deny that the unborn are human (which would be anti-science), deny that murder is immoral (which would be anti-human), or deny the validity of the argument (which would be illogical). The pro-choice advocate, indeed, has multiple options to choose from in their support of abortion:
A. Be immoral (accept the conclusion)
B. Be anti-science (deny unborn are human)
C. Be anti-human (deny immorality of murder)
D. Be illogical (deny logic and reason)
Every one of those options denies some feature of the world we live in; they violate the reality we all experience. The first violates what we know to be objectively good. The second violates nature. The third violates humanity. And the fourth violates logic.
Of course, none of those options is mutually exclusive (more than one can be chosen), but is any combination of those options really desirable?
I mean, who wants to be
immoral? Who wants to be
anti-science? Who wants to be
anti-human? Who wants to be
illogical? And who wants to be more than one of those, much less all four? The reality is that no one really wants to be any of those.
Avoiding The Options?
In an effort to ignore this argument and avoid those options, many abortion advocates will raise emotionally charged issues like financial hardships, career and life ambitions, future potential suffering of the child, the mother’s bodily autonomy, rape, incest, and many others. However, unless what they appeal to can successfully undermine the humanity of the unborn, the immorality of murder, or the validity of logic, the conclusion stands, and the abortion advocate is still stuck with at least one of the undesirable options. Some pro-choice advocates even appeal to the health of the mother to avoid these options; however, when further investigated we find that the conditions they say necessarily “medically indicate” abortion have alternatives (see this thorough analysis of this challenge by Clinton Wilcox of the Life Training Institute: “Are Late-Term Abortions Ever Medically Indicated?“)
For The Love of Truth, Is there Another Option?!
The emotional, financial, and physical difficulties, pain and other challenges are enormous, yet as we contemplate the intellectual and moral sacrifices that must be made, a struggle ensues between the head and the heart. This struggle is not to minimize, invalidate, or deny the difficulties, pain, challenges of these issues; rather it is to recognize the reality of those and the denials of reality that they push us towards. Perhaps abortion is not the only solution and remedy to the difficulties, pain and challenges. As we engage in this struggle, another option that can reconcile the head and the heart, reality and our challenges, does seem to emerge:
E. None of the above (Be Pro-Life)
True to Reality
Being pro-life is the only
logical option available. Further, the pro-life position, contrary to the pro-choice position, is the only option that preserves the right of the little woman in the womb to make her own choices and exercise her own bodily autonomy in her life. This is precisely what the pro-choice position aims to do but ironically fails to accomplish every time an abortion is executed. The pro-choice position cannot avoid violating the right to choose of the women in the womb.
Many pro-choice advocates will accuse pro-life advocates at this point of being “anti-woman.” However, I must ask this question: if limiting the liberty of a woman is “anti-woman,” then what is killing a woman before she even has a chance to taste liberty?
The pro-choice position is self-defeating and self-destructs no matter which direction its advocates attempt to argue and no matter which of the previous options is chosen.
True to the Real Challenges
No one has ever claimed that choosing life is easy. In fact, it can be down-right difficult emotionally, financially, and physically. Being on the side of truth is rarely easy. False views must be easier, relatively speaking, than the true view; otherwise, they have no appeal. Those who value truth over increased difficulty and are willing to deal with increased difficulty for the sake of truth have a daunting task on their hands when the difficult situations arise regarding pregnancy and an uncertain future for both parents and child.
For those who are pregnant and are willing to accept difficulty for the sake of truth, numerous options exist to help with the various difficulties that will arise. I go through just a few of them in my post “Providing The Case Against and Solutions for Abortion.” I encourage you to investigate the options and choose which ones best fit your needs and goals. Talk with friends and family, who also value truth, so that they can help share the burdens and carry you through.
For those who have had an abortion and feel the weight of what has happened (whether chosen or coerced), there is healing, there is forgiveness, and there is redemption. I highlighted the “Silent No More Awareness Campaign” in a recent post because of their ministry to post-abortive mothers and families. They, themselves, have been wounded by abortion and have become “wounded healers” for you. As emphasized by this ministry, the only hope offered through healing, forgiveness, and redemption for the post-abortive mother is obtainable because of the most important event in the history of the world: the
Resurrection of Jesus Christ. From the words of the Apostle Paul:
If Christ has not been raised from the dead, there is no forgiveness for any sin, including abortion, and there is no healing from it. The Apostle Paul had committed murder before he met the risen Jesus, yet Paul was granted forgiveness for his sin by Christ. Jesus’ resurrection, as with the pro-life position discussed throughout this post, is not a matter of opinion; this historical event has been established as a real event through the evidence (see “The Risen Jesus and Future Hope” by Gary Habermas). Because of the evidence, you can be confident that Jesus’ Resurrection, and the promises of forgiveness, redemption, and healing are not mere platitudes to give false hope but that they are real and are offered to you by the Creator of life, Himself.
Concluson- Pro-Life Eternally
No matter where you are, if you were once pro-choice but have now chosen to take the pro-life position, it not only leads to truth and life for the unborn, it leads you to the Giver of Life and eternal Life through Jesus Christ. It is pro-Life to the fullest extent.
For more resources, please see these posts as well:
Earlier this month, a long kept list of Ph.D. scientists who “dissent from Darwinism” reached a milestone – it crossed the threshold of 1,000 signers.
“There are 1,043 scientists on the ‘A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism’ list. It passed the 1,000 mark this month,” said Sarah Chaffee, a program officer for the Discovery Institute, which maintains the list.
“A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism” is a simple, 32-word statement that reads:
“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
Launched in 2001, the list continues to collect support from scientists from universities across America and globally. Signers have earned their Ph.D.s at institutions that include Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania. Others on the list earned their doctorates at Clemson, UT Austin, Ohio State, UCLA, Duke, Stanford, Emory, UNC Chapel Hill and many others universities. Still other signers are currently employed as professors across the nation.
Those who sign it “must either hold a Ph.D. in a scientific field such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, computer science, or one of the other natural sciences; or they must hold an M.D. and serve as a professor of medicine,” according to the institute.
The group points out that signing the statement does not mean these scholars endorse “alternative theories such as self-organization, structuralism, or intelligent design,” but rather simply indicates “skepticism about modern Darwinian theories central claim that natural selection acting on random mutations is the driving force behind the complexity of life.”
According to Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Klinghoffer, the signers “have all risked their careers or reputations in signing.”
“Such is the power of groupthink,” he wrote. “The scientific mainstream will punish you if they can, and the media is wedded to its narrative that ‘the scientists’ are all in agreement and only ‘poets,’ ‘lawyers,’ and other ‘daft rubes’ doubt Darwinian theory. In fact, I’m currently seeking to place an awesome manuscript by a scientist at an Ivy League university with the guts to give his reasons for rejecting Darwinism. The problem is that, as yet, nobody has the guts to publish it.”
In interviews with The College Fix, some of the list’s signers explained why they were willing to go public with their skepticism.
“[Darwin’s theory] claimed to explain all major features of life and I think that’s very unlikely. Nonetheless, I think Darwinism has gotten to be kind of an orthodoxy, that is it’s accepted in the scientific community unthinkingly and it’s taught to kids unthinkingly,” said Michael Behe, a professor of biological sciences at Lehigh University.
“Getting a list of scientists who point out that they don’t believe the orthodoxy can kind of open up some minds hopefully,” he said.
“It is clearly a growing trend with biology to think that Darwin missed a whole lot of biology and cannot explain a good deal of evolution,” Behe added.
Regarding how his colleagues view the list, Behe said, “Most of my peers are unaware of it, but those who are aware of it don’t like it one bit. They think that anybody who would sign such a list has to have a dishonorable motive for doing so.”
Taking a stand comes with a risk. Scott Minnich, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Idaho, said he has many times been accused of being “anti-science.”
“I signed this list when it first came out because of this intellectual deep skepticism I have that the random unintelligent forces of nature can produce systems that outstrip our own intellectual capacity,” he told The Fix.
Minnich went on to quote the writer C.S. Lewis: “Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Law Giver.”
David Dewitt, chair of the Department of Biology and Chemistry at Liberty University, told The College Fix in an email interview he signed the list because “I don’t believe that Darwinism accounts for all living things. Natural selection doesn’t produce new information and can’t.”
Dewitt said he’s not alone.
“I think more scientists are realizing the limitations to Darwinism, specifically in regard to the origin of life and the complexity of the cell. So much of how cells actually work reveal how impossible it is that life arose from mutation and natural selection. As we have learned more and more about molecular and cellular biology, more scientists doubt Darwinism although they may not admit it for fear of repercussions,” Dewitt told The Fix in an email interview.
Shun Cheung, an associate professor of computer science at Emory University, referred The College Fix to his website to outline his concerns.
“When Darwin formulated his ‘evolution theory,’ [he] did not have good microscopes and the cell was a blob to him without any structure. Darwin thought that a cell was simple and without structure. We now know that a cell is like a complex factory consisting of many different components-each with a distinct function. Each part/component is necessary in the entire operation of the cell,” Cheung writes.
What happens when politicians see that their monster stimuli have not delivered? They bring the next rabbit out of a hat. They need a new name and a new magic solution to make citizens believe in the magic of demand-side policies despite the constant failure of those same plans.
Take the Eurozone examples:
A huge stimulus in 2008 in a “growth and employment plan”. A stimulus of 1.5% of GDP to create “millions of jobs in infrastructure, civil works, interconnections, and strategic sectors”. 4.5 million jobs were destroyed and the deficit nearly doubled. That was after the crisis because between 2001 and 2008, money supply in the Eurozone doubled. The Eurozone has been a chain of stimuli since day one.
The so-called “Juncker Plan” or “Investment Plan for Europe” hailed as the “solution” to the European Union lack of growth was the same. It raised 360 billion euros, many for white elephants. Eurozone growth estimates were slashed, productivity growth stalled and industrial production fell in December 2018 to three-year low levels.
The Eurozone’s massive “green” policy plan has made the European Union countries suffer electricity and natural gas bills for households that are more than double those of the US, and unemployment is still twice that of the United States, while growth stagnates. In 2016 household electricity prices averaged 26.6 c/kWh in the Euro area and 12.7 c/kWh in the US.
Let us start debunking some myths about this last rabbit out of the interventionists’ hat.
No, it is not a New Deal, and it should not be.
When FDR launched the New Deal the size of government, public spending and debt were nowhere close to today’s elevated levels.
At the height of the New Deal, federal spending never went above the 1934 level of 10.7%. Even considering the extraordinary cost of the Second World War period, public spending went from a maximum of 43.6% down to 11.6% by 1948.
Not just that. The public sector had very little debt, a maximum of 45% of GDP. Compare that with an already unsustainable annual deficit that does not fall below half a trillion dollars, and debt to GDP of close to 100%.
In an insightful study titled “New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis”, two economics professors from UCLA, Harold L Cole and vice chair of the Economics Department Lee Ohanian determined that the anti-competition and supposedly pro-employment policies of the New Deal destroyed the possibilities for economic recovery. The two economists concluded that if these policies had not been enacted the depression would have ended in 1936 instead of 1943.
In the 1930s, the unemployment rate never fell below 15%. Five years after starting his “New Deal”, Roosevelt’s economic policies had caused one in five active Americans to be without a job. In 1937 there were 6 million unemployed and by 1938 that figure was 10 million people. In the end, it was the Second World War that “ended “unemployment. How? By forcibly recruiting 20% of the active population to work in the war industry, and by spending the equivalent of 42% of GDP on the entire effort. One significant problem was that during those years inflation which rose to almost 20% and even with 1% unemployment there was rationing of basic consumer goods. The US truly emerged from the depression when, at the end of the war, it abruptly cut taxes by one-third and began paying off the debt.
This may begin to sound familiar to you. The New Deal was yet another example of promising freedom and delivering repression.
It is not “Green”.
The US is already the second top market for renewable investment according to EY.
Renewable and green investments are already flourishing without the need for politicians to interfere. In fact, the US is investing more than $40 billion per annum in renewables, and if we add infrastructure and energy efficiency, the US is still the top global destination of productive investment in green energy, technology, and infrastructure.
The US has been able to reduce CO2 emissions while the European Union with the largest subsidy plans and high tax on CO2 increased them. The US has achieved more in developing renewables, technology and energy efficiency without massive tax and bill increases. There is nothing “green” on a central planner’s decision to inflate GDP via public spending. it is the opposite. It artificially increases energy and capital utilization to create false demand signals that end up being bubbles that hurt the economy and make it less dynamic.
There is no need for a Green New Deal. We are already living a period of rising government spending, too high deficits, and debt. Innovation and technology disruption are reducing the energy intensity of GDP faster than any government can ever decide.
Why? Because politicians and governments do not have more or better information about the needs of the economy, consumers or about the pace of innovation and technology implementation. In fact, governments havce every incentive to inflate GDP at any cost, pass the bill to consumers and the debt to taxpayers.
Governments of any colour or ideology do not benefit from technology innovation, energy efficiency, and substitution. Why? Because those are disinflationary factors and the short-term effect is always of creative destruction of obsolete industries… Those that they aim to preserve at any cost. If governments truly cared about the climate and environment they would shut down the most polluting industries, which are all state-owned or government concessions.
There is only one way in which governments benefit from massive stimuli: Inflating GDP building massive construction projects. Increasing inflation by artificially pumping more capital spending and energy use. That is and has never been green, innovative or disruptive. Just plain old interventionism.
This will not be the first or last time that we question the merits of enormous government plans. As we have shown on so many occasions, huge spending on white elephants is partially responsible for global stagnation and excessive debt. Huge pharaonic works that promise billions of dollars of growth, jobs, and benefits that, subsequently, are not achieved, leaving a trail of debt and massive operating costs.
Proponents of the mega-stimulus plans ignore the importance of real economic returns in favor of “inflating GDP” in any possible way. A study by Deepak Lal , UCLA professor of international development, discusses the devastating impact on potential growth and debt of stimulus plans in China, and Edward Glaeser’s ” If You Build ” analysis destroys the myth repeated by many of the multiplier effects of public infrastructure. Advocates of infrastructure spending at any cost ignore the most basic cost-benefit analysis, underestimating the cost and magnifying the estimated benefit through science-fiction-multipliers.
Deepak Lal’s study citing Professors Ansar and Flyvbjerg shows that the actual cost-benefit analysis compared to the “estimated returns” when projects are approved, proves to be disastrous. Fifty-five percent of the analyzed projects generated a profit-to-cost ratio of less than one, that is, they created real losses. But, of the rest, only six projects of those analyzed showed positive returns. The rest, nothing. The economy does not grow more, it makes the economy weaker.
The only Green New Deal that works is governments stepping aside and letting the private sector deliver the technology and innovation required. It is already happening.
Of course, there are infrastructure, technology and green economy investments that make sense. They are being implemented as you read this article. The rest is just plain old white elephants for the glory of politicians… with your money.
Expectations for another government shutdown should be soaring as, after reports that talks have broken down over the weekend, President Trump tweets what the Democrats are negotiating for “The Democrats do not want us to detain, or send back, criminal aliens! This is a brand new demand. Crazy!”
The Democrats do not want us to detain, or send back, criminal aliens! This is a brand new demand. Crazy!
“The Dems proposal will result in tens of thousands of criminal aliens and other illegal aliens that are currently detained pending a court hearing or removal to be released into our communities,” said Homan.
He noted the proposals are “making this entire country a sanctuary.”
It will result in “a rush to the border because incoming aliens will know there is no consequence for their actions,” Homan added.
“As I have said all year, the Dems may not abolish ICE but they will cripple them and make them ineffective by severely harming their operational budget.”
So this means roughly 120 million would like to migrate somewhere.
The next question Gallup asked was, “Where would you like to move?”
Of those who want to leave their Latin American country permanently, 35% said they want to go to the United States.
The Gallup analytics estimate is that 42 million want to come to the U.S.
Forty-two million seekers of citizenship or asylum are watching to determine exactly when and how is the best time to make the move. This suggests that open borders could potentially attract 42 million Latin Americans. A full 5 million who are planning to move in the next 12 months say they are moving to the U.S.
Rather than find a solution for the several thousand potential migrants currently at the border, let’s start by answering the bigger, harder question – what about the 42 million who would like to come? What is the message to those millions who will seek entrance either legally or illegally? What should we tell them?
Most U.S. citizens like me just want to know the plan. What is the 10-year plan? How many, exactly whom and what skills will they bring? What do we want? Answer these questions, and the current discussion can be resolved.
Keep in mind that it’s not only 330 million Americans who are wondering — so are 42 million seekers from Latin America.
“In reality there is perhaps no one of our natural Passions so hard to subdue as Pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will now and then peek out and show itself.” —Benjamin Franklin (1771)
A massive investigative report appeared in the Sunday editions of the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News. The headline was direct — “20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms.”
This article, the first of three, contains sophisticated investigative journalism as the team of reporters distills harrowing accounts of rampant sexual abuse in the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The article reveals two chilling and horrifying patterns that have plagued the SBC—first, the reality of sexual abuse committed by church leaders and pastors, and second, the unwillingness of churches to investigate the claims made by the victims of sexual abuse. Indeed, the report uncovers many cases where pastors who committed sexual violence left one church only to secure a pastorate in a different church where they continued to carry out such acts.
The report states, “It’s not just a recent problem: In all, since 1998, roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct… That includes those who were convicted, credibly accused and successfully sued, and those who confessed or resigned.” The disturbing narrative only increased when the article noted that sexual abusers “left behind more than 700 victims, many of them shunned by their churches, left to themselves to rebuild their lives. Some were urged to forgive their abusers or to get abortions.”
The report detailed some 220 offenders who either stand convicted or took plea deals, while dozes of cases await adjudication. The demographic of offenders included pastors, youth ministers, Sunday school teachers, deacons, and church volunteers. Nearly 100 abusers remain behind bars while, as the article highlights, “Scores of others cut deals and served no time. More than 100 are registered sex offenders. Some still work in Southern Baptist churches today.”
A heinous cloud hangs over the SBC. This unchecked pattern of sexual abuse comes like a deluge as scores of churches and denominational structures fail to protect its most vulnerable. Serial sex abusers move from one pulpit or place of ministry to the next and continue to carry out dreadful acts of violence. Ministers of the gospel, entrusted with a sacred duty to care for the people of God in their churches, breach that trust and defame the name of Christ by their actions. These stories of sexual abuse illustrate, in a lamentable way, the barbarity of unrestrained sinful patterns. Indeed, these abusers, caught in the torrent of their rebellion, cunningly hid or minimized their atrocities while churches willfully adopted a policy of ignorance, unwilling to see abuse that stood right before their eyes. They should have seen it. Now, they must see it.
Our first concern must be for the victims. The dark reality of this kind of abuse leads many victims to hide their trauma—they sit silent in their pews while their abusers publicly preach God’s Word. Southern Baptists, indeed, all denominations, must ensure that denominational structures and policies promote safe places for victims to make their abuse known. Failure to do so not only commits gross injustice for the abused but fosters an environment where abusers can continue their acts of sexual violence on other innocent lives. If churches capitulate on this urgent responsibility, they stand culpable for tolerating the cycle of abuse that scandalizes the churches of Christ.
This report raises a myriad of questions. One pressing question centers on the failure of Southern Baptists to see the full, unmitigated atrocity of sexual abuse. Why has there been such failure to see the affect of this predatory behavior? The Scriptures are clear that this kind of behavior in no way marks the people of Jesus Christ.
I would suggest that Southern Baptists, by instinct, have practiced a form of moralism that views sexual misbehavior as an isolated event—deal with it and move on. This simplistic moralism reduces sexual abuse and glosses over the severity of the crime. Sexual abuse is not an isolated act of misbehavior; it leaves in its wake scarred victims as well as malicious victimizers. Abuse of this nature snowballs. What started out as a seemingly harmless lapse in judgment becomes an avalanche of destruction.
In light of this report and the nature of sexual abuse, an independent, third-party investigation is the only credible avenue for any organizations that face the kind of sinful patterns unearthed in this article by the Houston Chronicle. No Christian body, church, or denomination can investigate itself on these terms because such an investigation requires a high level of thoroughness and trustworthiness. Only a third-party investigator can provide that kind of objective analysis.
Furthermore, Southern Baptists find themselves in a precarious pinch because of its core ecclesiology—an ecclesiology that upholds the full autonomy of local congregations. A Southern Baptist church, legally defined, is a church in friendly cooperation with and contributing to the causes of the Southern Baptist Convention. No denominational hierarchy exists that can force local congregations into conformity. The SBC ecclesial structure directly contrasts with the edifice of the Roman Catholic Church.
From a historical perspective, this story highlights the collision between two Baptist realities: the historic Baptist ecclesiology that posits the autonomy of the local church, while at the same time, the prized convention structure of Southern Baptist churches who have, since 1845, worked together and combined their energies to the furtherance of the gospel around the world.
This report from the Houston Chronicle, however, magnifies the need for a mechanism that identifies convicted and documented sexual abusers who may be considered for positions of leadership within the churches. Basic tools already exist, like background checks and sex-offender registries. Woe unto the church, ministry, or employer that fails to act and act now. The report resounds with overwhelming evidence: many churches of the SBC have failed, and its leaders must enact a strategy to reverse the tides of abuse in our churches. This strategy involves difficulties, particularly for Southern Baptists who must balance the ecclesiological convictions of the denomination with the moral imperative of halting sexual abuse in its churches. The struggle, however, must be met. Southern Baptists must pursue this predicament with conviction and alacrity. Our faithfulness to the church, to the gospel, and to God depends on our readiness to respond.
Indeed, the SBC has had to deal with similar issues in its history. Certain theological controversies moved the SBC to redefine the essence of its membership and the requirements of churches who cooperate with the SBC. The basic principle is that a church must be “in friendly cooperation with and contributing to the causes” of the convention. The SBC amended its documents in light of the sexual revolution. Thus, a church which affirmed homosexuality could no longer remain “in friendly cooperation with the SBC” and thus removed. Some state conventions took direct action to excise churches that have demonstrated racism.
Now, it might be that this crisis will foster a new criterion of vital importance for the churches of the SBC—a church that would willingly and knowingly harbor sexual abuse and sexual abusers should not be considered in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention.
This polity in no way compromises the autonomy of the local church. The SBC, however, has the right to determine the qualifications and standards of its own membership. Thus, the SBC exists as a body of autonomous churches, in friendly cooperation with one another, who hold to the doctrines and moral expectations of Southern Baptists.
And where is the gospel preaching that is bold to declare sin to be sin? Where are the churches that maintain godly order and biblical discipline? How could there be such a toleration of sin?
Another issue Southern Baptist’s must reconsider is the practice of ordination. How does one even become an ordained minister in the SBC? To start, one does not become an ordained minister through the SBC. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the SBC credentials no one; it licenses no preacher. Ordination as a Southern Baptist minister, rather, flows from the local church—a local congregation assumes the responsibility of ordination.
This marks a crucial point where Baptists have forgotten their ecclesiological roots. In the 19th century, the most famous Baptist preacher of the age was Charles Spurgeon. The “prince of preachers” was not ordained. Like many Baptists of the era, Spurgeon considered formal ordination, beyond prayer and the laying on of hands, as foolish and confusing popery.
Further, Baptists do not believe in any sacrament of ordination. We do not hold to a separate status of ministers—yet, we often allow that mindset to infiltrate our ecclesiology. The “ordained minister” is ordained in so far as he remains faithfully active in ministry under the authority and accountability of the local church that ordained him.
A return to traditional Baptist ecclesiology will resituate the status of an ordained minister in its proper context. No person should simply claim the status of an ordained minister and then hop pulpit to pulpit without any investigation, background check, reference call—or, to move from one place of abuse to another. Southern Baptist ecclesiology demands that local churches hold their ministers to a higher standard—a standard in accordance with the Scriptural qualifications for pastors and ministers of the church. A.T. Robertson, renowned New Testament and Greek scholar of the 20th century, pointed to the “hasty laying on of the hands.” Churches rush to ordain an individual based on emotion or sentiment rather than a true affirmation of fitness for gospel ministry. Lackadaisical ordination will produce doctrinally dubious and morally corrupt pastors. This trend must end and churches must take responsibility for those men they ordain for ministry.
In June of last year, J.D. Greear, the newly elected president of the SBC, appointed a task force dedicated to investigating the issue of sexual abuse in SBC churches. That task force is at work and I pray that they will be filled with God’s wisdom and quickly respond to this crisis. The vulnerable need protection and the victimizers need to be exposed.
The trauma of this story bears tremendous anguish and heartbreak. The SBC and all who love this denomination must pray for faithfulness on this vital issue—our usefulness for the kingdom of Christ hinges on our response to this horrifying reality. To be sure, there must be heartbreak and concern—that is a place to start, but work must be done. A long road lies ahead. For the church, for the gospel, for the glory of God, we must meet this challenge with fullness of conviction and fidelity to Jesus Christ.
In a recent post, I set two worldviews on a collision course. One is the worldview of King Jesus ruling over all and the other is the worldview of the man in the mirror ruling the same. And let’s be honest, there is no peace between the two. Judging by the clap back, this is a subject worth exploring a bit more.
It appears a few heard me saying that reformed doctrine means that we should not do justice, that we should not love kindness, mercy, compassion, and “hey you know what, just forget about the sojourner among you.” Some consider my claim that reformed doctrine is incompatible with social justice to mean that reformed doctrine is incompatible with justice biblically defined. One response on Twitter even declared my article “undermines any attempts at equality in human relationships (emphasis mine).”
I in fact would argue just the opposite. The incompatibility of reformed doctrine and social justice means the sweet harmony, yea necessity, of reformed doctrine to true justice. (And I have in mind not only rectifying justice but “do as you would be done by”).
I’m somewhat hopeful that there is merely confusion over the term social justice. There is a fair bit of that out there. But I’m more and more convinced that the ideology I sought to correct has weaseled its way down further than we think. It may be spreading to the lymph nodes.
Since the 1970’s the term social justice has been vastly understood as a liberal secular political philosophy. Take extra note of that word secular. John Rawls’s work A Theory of Justice paved the way for this modern understanding. His notion of “justice as fairness” states that the principles of justice “are the principles that free and rational persons concerned to further their own interests would accept.”  The principles of justice for a given society do not come down from our Lord. They are not revealed to us.
Rawls asks us to set up principles of justice for a society but (and here’s the catch) without knowing where we would be placed in that society. This is perhaps the best a mere rationalist can do. It is a good try for one who will not acknowledge God in the matter. After choosing a general idea of justice, he says to go on through a list of other theoretical agreements (like a constitution and laws). And the result is, “our social situation is just if it is such that by this sequence of hypothetical agreements we would have contracted into the general system of rules which defines it.”  That’s right. It’s not just if it accords with God’s law. There is no transcendental standard here. Our society is just if the ole’ knocker would agree to the terms we created for that society, having created them out of our own interest (given the spin of the wheel piece).
In other words, justice is defined by greed. But greed regulated by chance… let’s be reasonable people. How could such a notion of justice go wrong?
We reformed evangelicals on the other hand have no need for this social justice which can only lead to injustice. We have the real thing, we have biblical justice. We have a Lord who rules with equity. We have His law and His gospel. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His faithfulness. He has told us to go into all the world and teach others to observe all He has commanded. And that includes caring for the abused, poor, orphan, widow, and sojourner among you.
Has reformed doctrine been misapplied to social issues in the past? Absolutely. Does the fact that God has decreed whatsoever comes to pass mean that we can ignore injustice? Absolutely not. Does God’s sovereignty imply any lack of compassion in Him or in His people concerning the weak and vulnerable? Of course not. God’s saving decrees should not be brought over to our social dealings in a wooden way. But they absolutely must be brought to bear on the greed-fueled ideology driving our present notion of social justice.
We don’t have to be motivated by greed the way social justice is. We don’t have to come up with principles of justice out of the covetousness of our hearts. Our understanding of sovereign grace purges us of that greed and covetousness. It leaves us well equipped to do justice, not the injustice which flies under the pseudonym social justice.
 John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Revised Edition, 10
 John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Revised Edition, 12.
Ever since Gordon Gekko’s character in the movie Wall Street uttered the phrase, “Greed is good,” there has been a wide-spread and oft-repeated myth that capitalism is based on greed. And, so the argument goes, if capitalism is driven by a sinful desire (greed), then it must be rejected as an immoral system.
Such issues have come up again in recent months as a number of new members of congress (and old members) are pushing the country away from capitalism and towards socialism, mostly on moral grounds. Even some well-meaning evangelicals, who have a genuine care for the poor, find themselves drawn to this new movement and its disdain for capitalism.
Chapter five is devoted to the myth that capitalism is driven by greed, and Richards makes a number of useful points:
1. The fact that individuals in a capitalistic society happen to be greedy, does not mean capitalism is actually based on greed. Richards is quick to distinguish the greedy intentions of individuals (which, unfortunately, are prevalent), with the capitalistic system itself.
2. There is a difference between selfishness and self-interest. Capitalism is based on people operating out of their own self-interest, says Richards, not operating out of selfishness. Self-interest is not in itself immoral. Indeed, many of our daily actions are based on self-interest, such as brushing our teeth, looking both ways before crossing the street, and eating healthy foods. One might even say, our self-interest is an act of stewardship of the things God has given us.
3. Thus economic exchanges in a capitalistic system are mutually beneficial. Because capitalism is built on self-interest, then it means that people only engage in economic activity when it is mutually beneficial. When Joe buys meat from the butcher he does so out of the belief that the meat is more valuable to him than the money it costs. Thus, he exchanges the money for the meat willingly. He is not forced to beg for the meat, nor is he forced to buy the meat. He buys it because it gives him a benefit.
Likewise, the butcher also sells the meat willingly. He sells the meat because he believes the money is more valuable than the meat he is selling.
Thus, argues Richards, in a capitalistic system both parties benefit.
4. Capitalism does the best job of channeling selfishness for good ends. Although capitalism isn’t based on selfishness, it does do a very good job at channeling it towards a good outcome. Imagine an economic system that required everyone to act selflessly–it would be doomed to fail. Instead, capitalism, argues Richards, accounts for the fact that some (most?) people will act selfishly and guides their actions into a good outcomes. If the butcher is selfish and tries to sell a piece of spoiled meat, he cannot force people to buy it in a free economy. Thus, it is in his best interest to offer meat that the consumer actually wants. Richards comments, “The cruel, greedy butcher…has to look for ways to set up win-win scenarios. Even to satisfy his greed he has to meet your desires” (123).
5. Capitalism actually encourages generosity. Richards points out, contrary to popular opinion, that there is no evidence that America is more greedy just because its capitalistic. In fact, America is the most generous country in the world when it comes to charitable giving–by a landslide. Richards also observes that there is an inverse relationship between taxation and giving. “The more the government confiscates the less people give. Conversely, the freer the economy, the more people give” (124).
In sum, Richards’ book (particularly chapter five) reminds us that capitalism is not opposed to Christian thinking, but actually is consistent with the Christian understanding of human nature. It recognizes the proper role of self-interest. It encourages freedom, not coercion. It recognizes people are fallen and sinful and channels bad behavior towards good ends. And it ends up providing more prosperity out of which people can give generously.
VATICAN CITY: When Francis becomes the first pope to visit the Arabian peninsula on Sunday, he takes another important step in his efforts to build bridges with Islam and confirms inter-religious dialogue as a keystone of his papacy.
In the long, complicated and often bloody history of papal relations with the Muslim world, Argentine pontiff Jorge Bergoglio stands out for his fraternal language and broader desire to reach out across religious divides. “Pope Francis is different from his predecessor Benedict XVI because he prefers interpersonal encounters to theological subtleties,” said Valentino Cottini who teaches Islamic-Christian…