Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

Retrying Scopes

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Apparently, State Sen. Raymond Finney (R-Maryville) thinks the 1925 humiliation wasn’t enough. Oh no, he wants to retry the monkey:

A Tennessee State Senate member has filed a resolution asking the Tennessee Department of Education to address a few basic questions about life, the universe and all that:

* “Is the universe and all that is within it, including human beings, created through purposeful, intelligent design by a Supreme Being, that is a Creator?”
* “Since the universe, including human beings, is created by a supreme being (a creator), why is creationism not taught in Tennessee public schools?
* “Since it cannot be determined whether the universe, including human beings, is created by a supreme being (a creator), why is creationism not taught as an alternative concept, explanation, or theory, along with the theory of evolution in Tennessee public schools?”

I doubt that this bill will go anywhere; it’s most likely a cynical attempt by Finney to score some points with the Religious Right. I have no problem with acknowledgment of a Supreme Creator. I am a Christian. I believe that God created the Heavens and the Earth, and that Jesus came to redeem the world. And, for the record, I have no problem with this theology being studied in classrooms, so long as it’s voluntary.

But I am against the academic fraud that is running rampant in the schools. Conservatives can generally be counted on to expose and fight it, except when it comes to science. For some reason, many Conservative Christians feel the need to have their beliefs taught in science classes, either as outright Creationism or the more covert Intelligent Design. The problem is that neither of these beliefs are science. Teaching them as such represents academic fraud, and quite frankly seems to me to be a sign of weak faith, as if kids will become atheists if they even hear of Charles Darwin.

Science is not the be all, end all. It is simply part of a larger puzzle. I would argue that it is important to learn and understand, but it can only tell us so much. It is silent, for example, on the existence of God. That is the realm of theology. Theology is also important, and is necessary, in my opinion, for a full life. Contemplating things bigger than one’s self and wrestling with life’s big questions is very important for anyone who wants to live a full life.

But just as we would not substitute science for faith, we should not substitute faith for science. We should respect and cherish both, and encourage the honest examination and study of each. Sen. Finney, a doctor, should know this.

Via Bob Krumm.

UPDATE: This post is taking part in the Beltway Traffic Jam.

China to Bush: Practice Religious Tolerance

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

In one of the most obvious ironies in recent memory, a Chinese official has called on President Bush to practice religious tolerance:

Ye Xiaowen, China’s director of the State Bureau of Religious Affair has published a clear rebuke in the People’s Daily of President George W. Bush’s “unilateral” war on terrorism, which he argues has worsened global tensions. Ye also urged the U.S. President to “reflect deeply” upon his ill-judged decision to turn the fight against terrorism into a religious war through employing terms such as “crusade” and “Islamic fascism,” the New York Times reports.

Religious intolerance has been a key sticking point in U.S.-China relations in the past, but the criticism usually flows in the opposite direction. President Bush has repeatedly called upon the Chinese government to protect religious freedom in light of China’s well-publicized crackdowns on Falun Gong followers (see also today’s blog post) and members of the Muslim Uighur minority.

China is the same country, mind you, that allows virtually no religious freedom at all. Human Rights Watch (no stooge for the Bush Administration) recently reported:

“Chinese officials claim the new regulations safeguard religious freedom through the rule of law, but the intentional vagueness of the regulations allows for continued repression of disfavored individuals or groups,” said Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch. “There’s nothing accidental about the vagueness – it gives officials the room they need to legitimize closing mosques, raiding religious meetings, ‘reeducating’ religious leaders, and censoring publications.”

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what “reeducating” usually means. Later in the report, the Falungong sect is mentioned:

While the regulations do not address the issue of what the government calls “cults,” Falungong reported that over 400 of its practitioners are known to have been imprisoned or sent for “reeducation” in the year since the new regulations have been in effect.

But as Prerna Mankad points out: “Perhaps this most recent riposte over religious intolerance should be welcomed, though—if it prompts China to practice what it preaches.” Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen.

UPDATE: This post has joined the Beltway Traffic Jam.

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 25th, 2006

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Bredesen’s Christmas Card, Part II

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

Although I can somewhat understand that some might not like Gov. Bredesen’s Christmas card, I have to agree with Mark Rose:

Governor Bredesen’s Christmas card has caused quite a stir, although I’m not sure why. I love the card. It contains the image of a Muslim girl, the inscription reads “May the peace and joy of this Christmas season be with you and your loved ones throughout the coming year,” and on the back, it says “While it may seem odd to put a portrait of a young Muslim woman on a Christmas card, this Season reminds us that He loves His children most of all.”

First, may I offer my kudos to the governor for using the word “Christmas” instead of the bland “Happy Holidays,” or the politically correct “Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa.” Second, God does love His children. All of them. That is why Jesus Christ came into the world in the first place, because God so loved the world.

Let’s call a political truce until after Christmas. We all should be remembering the true reason for the season, not using a Christmas card as a political football. I think Jesus would agree.

Bredesen’s Christmas Card

Monday, December 18th, 2006

Governor Phil Bredesen has sent out his Christmas cards. This year, he had a rather unique idea: he sent out cards with a painting he did of a Muslim woman he met in Afghanistan. Uh oh.

I wasn’t on his list, so I don’t care. Well, I guess I do, since I’m blogging about it. I don’t think Jesus would be too upset about this, but, as always, I could be wrong. I certainly understand why it bothers some people, but at least he did use the word “Christmas” in his card. That’s more than a lot of people would do.

Theology and Mary Cheney

Friday, December 8th, 2006

Dr. Steven Taylor examines homosexuality and the theological ramifications of it. It’s certainly worth a read.

Stupid

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Political correctness has struck again:

CHICAGO (AP) – A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film “The Nativity Story” might offend non-Christians.

Last time I checked, there is no right not to be offended. My question is why have the festival at all, if Christmas is so offensive?

Misuse of Resources?

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

I also received this e-mail as well as one from State Sen. David Fowler concerning the upcoming vote on the marriage amendment. Both were, of course, requesting money so as to save Tennessee from the horrible homo onslaught. I stopped and thought for a moment… Couldn’t the money donated to these causes be better spent on something else?

If you’re considering donating money to the campaign to ban gay marriage, I do not question your conviction. I disagree with the amendment, but I understand that you are fighting for a cause you believe to be right, and I admire that. But, having said this, would you not agree that your money could do much more good if given to another cause? Literally, your money could make the difference between life and death.

Some organizations that save lives everyday are Samaritan’s Purse, Catholic Charities, The American Red Cross, and probably even your local church through missions and community outreach. I would never pretend to speak for Jesus, but ask yourself, would He prefer your money be spent saving peoples lives (and their souls) or going to support an ad campaign to ban something that doesn’t even exist? I know what I think His answer would be (though, as always, I could be wrong).

Storms A-Coming!

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Good ol’ Pat Robertson is at it again:

The Rev. Pat Robertson says God has told him that storms and possibly a tsunami will hit America’s coastline this year.

The founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network has told viewers of “The 700 Club” that the revelations came to him during his annual personal prayer retreat in January.

“If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms,” Robertson said May 8.

He added specifics in Wednesday’s show.

“There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest,” he said.

Well, given that we ran out of letters when naming hurricanes last year, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that “the coasts of America will be lashed by storms.” And yes, there “may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest,” although it’s unlikely. I’m wondering if Robertson is getting senile or just trying to get his name in the newspapers. Or maybe a combination of both.