Tuesday, October 30, 2007

No More New Films

I am quitting seeing new films. Not that I see many. The last one was about two years ago. Recently I viewed a film with a redeeming message called "Bella." It was well acted and touching in many ways; but one violent scene--with almost no blood and guts-is still haunting me. (I don't want give away the movie, so no details.)

Opting out of most of hyperactive, hyperbolic American culture has sensitized me to this kind of thing. It is too much. Yes, this scene was probably mild compared to most of the violence out there in films. And it was not gratuitous in that the event depicted was central to the movie. But it could have been done less emotionally, less devastatingly The pychic aftereffects of this scene are too great for me. No more.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Watch the Hyperactive Watch

Looking over some watches in Sears today, I noticed several that blinked and flashed (for no apparent functional reason). I said to the salesperson, "I'm already overstimulated by American culture. I don't need any more." This comment was probably lost on her, but maybe not on you, faithful reader.

Everything must move, must dance, must dazzle, must project...in post-sane American culture. We twitch on command. It must be loud, large, and fast (as my wife just said on our walk).

I bought a watch with no day and month reading--too complicated for me to set--and no light show. It is not digital; too much is already digital. It is not garish. How about quiet, small, and slow--not loud, large, and fast?

Majoring in Submission

World on Line features a short article about a Southern Baptist college that offers an emphasis in homemaking. In it, you will find comments from author and editor, Rebecca Merrill Groothuis. They unfortunately included more quotes from Dorothy Patterson than by Rebecca.

In the comments Rebecca submitted to World, her final comment followed a succinct argument (which World declined to print). It went like this:

The Genesis creation account never says the woman was created to serve and obey the man. When God formed the woman out of the man, the man did not see her as his subordinate. No, the man identified the woman as one who was like him—in contrast to the animals, over which woman and man had joint authority. Yes, the woman is a help (Hebrew: ezer) to the man, but God is also an ezer to humans; yet God is not subordinate to humans!

The idea that God created the woman to serve the man and the man to have decision-making authority over the woman logically entails that women are not equal but are necessarily and intrinsically inferior to men (see Discovering Biblical Equality, chapter 18).

“Equal but different” makes a good slogan, but it doesn’t make good sense.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Debate: Christianity and Atheism

Dinesh D'Souza (author of What's So Great About Christianity) and Christopher Hitchens (author of God is Not Great) recently debated at King's College. I will not give a point by point commentary, but limit myself to three comments, the first of which is the most important.

1. At 1.26 D'Souza completely sells the farm epistemologically and apologetically--despite the many fine points he made throughout the debate. He claims that his religious belief is not knowledge. He does not know it to be true; he only believes it. In so doing, he seems to restrict knowledge to what is empirically verifiable. But there is no reason to do. We know many things apart from empirical evidence (such as basic moral claims). Moreover, we can infer the existence the supernatural from the natural (the project of natural theology; see In Defense of Natural Theology, which I co-edited and to which I contributed a chapter.) D'Souza goes on to say that while he leaps toward God, Hitchens leaps toward atheism. I groaned loudly to myself when I heard it (although my wife probably heard me). Many in the crowd applauded.

This is tragic. We must enter the public square making knowledge claims, not mere faith claims that are allowable, just as allowable as theism or some other worldview. We need to try to out argue the opposition by marshalling the strongest possible arguments for Christianity and against atheism. In fact, D'Souza gave some strong arguments not adequately rebutted by Hitchens by the time he sold the farm. There was no need to do so; and in so doing, he sets a terrible example for Christian persuasion in the public realm (despite the virtues he exhibited in the debate).

2. The form of the debate was poor. Neither speaker has enough time for opening comments or for rebuttal. The supposed "cross examination" devolved into haranguing at time, with the moderator (Marvin O'laski) failing to intervene to keep order. Serious debates should have strict rules.

3. Both speakers issued cheap shots by insulting the other speaker in ways not required by their arguments. This may get applause, but makes no logical point.

Apparently, D'Souza has come to a more mature Christian conviction recently. He is not known as a philosopher, but as a social critic and political writer. I never detected an overt Christian worldview in the several books I've read by him over the years. At that crucial time of 1:26 this weakness showed. I have not yet finished his book, however. Perhaps I'll say more then.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Crazed about God: Frank Talk about Frank (not Francis A.) Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer (formerly Franky Schaeffer before the fall) has written a memoir savaging everything about his parents, Francis and Edith, and about evangelicalism in general. About fifteen years ago, the younger Schaeffer left Protestantism for Eastern Orthodoxy and began to write tasteless, loosely autobiographical novels satirizing and lampooning his family. That was bad enough. Now he has blessed us with a gossipy expose on his life and associations with famous evangelicals called Crazy for God. I'll spare you the precious subtitle.

No, I have not yet read it. I don't know if I will. (I read the "sneeringly cynical"--to quote my wife--review of it in secular/leftist magazine, The Nation, which took to the book as judging the elder Schaeffers as hypocrites and all of religion as ingenuine and dangerous.) The writings and life of Francis Schaeffer have deeply shaped and inspired me, as regular readers know. Years ago, I read two of Franky's earlier books (Addicted to Mediocrity and Bad News for Modern Man), which, despite some merits, struck me as shrill and not as compassionate or insightful as his father's work.

Whatever the failing of Frank Schaeffer's family, there is a simple moral lesson here: "Honor your mother and father." As an Orthodox adherent, Schaeffer is not exempt from the Decalogue. Honor does not mean self-deception concerning the sins of one's parents, but it does not include distributing gossip. Yet junior Schaeffer endlessly exacts revenge on the purported failings of his parents, thus bringing misery on his siblings and others as well as delight to those who desire to sneer and hiss at the benighted Christians. He thus partakes of the rotten zeitgeist that drags everything supposedly exalted through the mud of resentment, anger, and rage. Call it debunk-ology, a putrid practice that is purely negative, self-serving, and (at least in this case) narcissistic.

I may have talked myself out of reading this book. It would just encourage him, although I am tempted to review it somewhere. Then again, as Walter Martin once wisely told me, "You can fight a skunk and win---but who wants to?"

Monday, October 22, 2007

Missing Persons: Thoughts on Impersonal Education

Personality is the fundamental fact of existence. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God" (John 1:1-2). God is a personal being; in fact, God is tri-personal without being three gods. This God breathed on the earth and created human beings in God's image and likeness, built for relationships with the Creator and the creation. Of course, the fall marred all of this by introducing a futile attempt to escape from God, resulting in the alienation from self, others, and nature. Nevertheless, "the Word became flesh and lived among us, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14), that human persons might be restored by the divine personhood of God, that the healing of relationships would break out everywhere, and truth be restored to the earth.

This theological prologue should inform and inspire our educational endeavors: our learning, teaching, studying, and writing. Education is meant to bring restoration of persons by persons, whereby knowledge is communicated in life-shaping ways. I love knowledge and I love students, and I want to bring the two together.Now consider the manifold degradations of persons in American education. I will only list several with minimal comment.

1. Grades replace careful comments about a student’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential for growth.
2. Class sizes often make it impossible to learn student’s names, to know them in any meaningful sense. But such knowing makes teaching and learning deeper, better.
3. Many courses exclude personal presence entirely--on line education. One may hear a lecture recorded or perhaps see a video, but there is no person-to-person ambiance. It is privatized, segmented from any sense of community.
4. Students typically travel to and from classes, often involving the traversing of great distances; they have little time to linger and discuss matters after class. They are too busy being in transit to be anywhere for long.
5. Our Western sense of time is so chronologically oriented that event time (or kairos) is eclipsed. Classes last a precise time; after that, it is "time to go." Students fidget. But perhaps it is time to remain, to linger, to sit in silence. But no, the clock says... And we obey.
6. Multiple choice and true/false tests fail to test persons for knowledge. One can guess correct answers. Students can be good "test-takers" (an impersonal method) and not good learners. This is also vanity and a grasping of the wind. This mode of reduction also inhibits writing skills. Writing is a distinct avenue for personal expression—for eloquence, for articulation in one's own voice. Standardized tests mute it.

One could go on, but what is the answer? I honestly do not know, so I lament and make the best of my opportunities--and dream a bit.

1. I attempt to find a few students to invest in more heavily, even if I cannot reach them all in a profound way.
2. I never assign reductionist tests, but only essays. I often allow students to rewrite them (if the class size is not too great). Few do so, but some improve considerably.
3. I pray for my students.
4. Thus far, I have avoided having to create any on-line classes. I wrote against this in The Soul in Cyberspace. I'm happy that my apologetics lectures are on line, but that is not the same as taking the course.But what is the ideal? Perhaps something like this:

1. Students and teachers live not too far from each other or perhaps even on the same compound. They spend protracted time together in many different situations, as Jesus did with the disciples.
2. Class sizes are fairly small, such that students get to know each other and the teacher is allowed into the lives of the students and vice versa.
3. Class timing is more elastic, more kairos oriented and less chronos dominated.Few institutions allow for such oddities. Most that approximate these ideas are probably not "accredited" by an official agency. This would include the L'Abris worldwide and ministries that are similar.

So, I lament...and wonder and dream for something different, something more in the shape of the Kingdom of God. Do you share this dream--as a teacher, as a student? Have you seen it lived out?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Untouchable Children in India

[I received this from The Dalit Freedom Network. No, I seldom recommend TV programs, but this may help get the word out about the Dalits and their desperate needs.]

Advocate. It's a word we use a lot around the Dalit Freedom Network offices. It means speaking up on behalf of 250 million Dalits in India who struggle under 3,000 years of caste oppression. Sunday, October 21 at 8:30 p.m. EST, Nick News will help us spread the word.

The Emmy Award-winning kids’ news cast on the Nickelodeon TV network will air “The Untouchable Kids of India,” which focuses on the personal stories of five Indian teens. The segment will emphasize the efforts of Indian children to jump-start change in the caste system. The broadcast also includes a discussion with DFN partner Kumar Swamy.

Tune in to meet extraordinary Indian kids like Jayesh—a Dalit—and his good friend Asish—a member of the upper-caste. They’ll tell the story of their unexpected friendship and send an important message to American kids their age: the heart of transforming communities lies within kids.

Please forward this e-mail to a friend to help get the word out and remember to watch Nick News on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. EST.

Matt Mancinelli
Director of External Relations
The Dalit Freedom Network

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Comfort After the Loss of a Loved One

Arthur Pink, the noted biblical expositor, wrote a short meditation on Psalm 116:15: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." This comforted us much after the loss of my mother-in-law about a year ago. Pink's essay is on line and gives insight to those mourning for one who has departed the body to be with the Lord.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Romney's Strange View of Faith," from The Rocky Mountain News

October 16, 2007

By Paul Campos

The sociologist Peter Berger once observed that, if India is the world's most religious country and Sweden the least, the United States is a country of Indians ruled by Swedes.
He made this comment at a time when there was something of a consensus among our elites that religion was a basically private matter - one which ought to play little or no role in public policy debates.

That consensus has broken down, to the point where it's routine for presidential candidates to parade their supposed piety, and even to claim it's important that the nation be led by, as Mitt Romney recently put it, "a person of faith."

This view regarding the role of religion in American politics has given birth to its own set of rather bizarre orthodoxies. On this view, it's crucial that our political leaders be sincere religious believers. But apparently it's of no importance what religious beliefs they actually hold, as long as they have "faith."

When you think about it - which is something people like Romney don't want you to do, for reasons that will become clear - this makes no sense.

What would one think of someone who said that it was important for our leaders to be "persons of politics," while remaining indifferent to just what sort of political beliefs they held? Imagine taking the view that it made no difference whether one was a Maoist or a royalist or a Republican, as long as one's political beliefs were sincere.

Or consider a scientist who claims that, while he personally believes that global warming is going to destroy civilization, his opinion has no more value than that of a scientist who denies that global warming represents any sort of serious problem. The important thing, he says, isn't the truth or falsehood of their respective views, but rather that he and the holder of the diametrically opposed opinion are both "persons of science."

In the context of political or scientific belief such assertions would obviously be absurd on their face, but when it comes to religion, people say things like this every day. Just look at what happened to Ann Coulter when she was impolitic enough to point out that, as a Christian, she thinks Christianity is true, and therefore by logical necessity truer than, among many other belief systems, Judaism.

Coulter has a long history of making comments that are as idiotic as they are inflammatory, but in this case much of the criticism aimed at her illustrates the weird etiquette that dominates our public discussion of religion. For example, American Jewish Congress president Richard Sideman claimed "Coulter's assertion that Jews are somehow religiously imperfect smacks of the most odious anti-Jewish sentiment."

In other words, religious belief is apparently a unique kind of belief, which requires believing that one's views regarding the most important questions in the world - compared to which all political and scientific disputes are insignificant - are no better or worse than anyone else's views regarding these questions of supposedly infinite importance.

Which brings me back to Mitt Romney, Person of Faith. Romney is a Mormon, which means that, to the extent he adheres to the tenets of his religion, he believes in various doctrines which, in the eyes of orthodox Christians, are abominable heresies.

Now according to Romney this should be a matter of indifference, because, after all, what counts is whether or not one has "faith." In this way a disagreement about, for example, the divinity of Christ - something which innumerable people have been burnt at the stake for denying - is transformed into a trivial detail, of no real importance.

With "faith" like this, who needs atheism?

Paul Campos is a professor of law at the University of Colorado. He can be reached at .

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Integrity, Technology, and God

[The following essay was published in Denver Seminary Magazine (Fall, 2007).]

Keeping Integrity in a Compromised World:
Resisting Two Technological Temptations
By Douglas Groothuis

The renowned preacher Phillip Brooks astutely wrote that “preaching is truth through personality.” More than that, Christian ministry as a whole should be the demonstration of truth through personality. As followers of the Truth Incarnate (John 14:6), we should radiate God’s truth through a godly personality, one full of Christian virtues, such as faith, hope, and love. We should “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). We should live out Christian integrity, a personal wholeness of holy purpose, and refuse to use devious or improper methods (2 Corinthians 1:12). But keeping our integrity in a compromised world brings its challenges.

We cannot fill ourselves full of virtue any more than we can justify ourselves before a holy God. This is the work of God in Christ alone, as applied through the Holy Spirit first through the once-for-all justification received by faith alone (Romans 5:9; Ephesians 2:8) and then through the moment by moment dependency on God’s ongoing work for our sanctification unto greater Christ-likeness.[1] Jesus taught that we must abide in him and receive strength through the Holy Spirit in order to bear fruit for Kingdom activities (Acts 1:8; John 14-16). This requires knowledge of what God desires of his bride, the kind of fruit we should produce, and the discernment and courage to face down spiritual counterfeits and embrace only biblical beliefs and methods for ministry. Without this, integrity will elude us.

The contemporary scene offers a host of counterfeits in the ways of ministry and Christian living in general. I will focus on only ways areas in which pastors and other Christian workers may be seduced by the spirit of the age instead of relying on the Spirit of God: relying on Bible factoids instead of possessing a deep knowledge of Scripture, and sermon stealing.

Temptation #1: Computer technologies make access to the Bible fast and simple. We can search for Bible texts, import them into sermon outlines, and generally find what we need through quick searches online or through Bible software. While I am happy to use these technologies, they have a down side that may compromise our integrity as Bible-believing Christians.[2] This is illustrated by a student who took a doctrinal oral examination at a theological seminary. When pressed, he could not tell his professors where important events were found in the Bible, although he had memorized quite a few isolated Scriptures. He lacked a sense of the Bible as an unfolding story in book form. The Bible had become a storehouse of accessible facts. When asked him how he had studied for the examination, he said he had used a computer program to produce texts on various doctrinal themes, such as the character of God, salvation, and others. We advised him to abandon his computer generated lists and to read the Bible as a book, to chart its plot line.[3] We assured him this would give him a more well-integrated sense of the Scriptures. He later passed the examination in good form. This young man was a solid student who earnestly pursued Christian ministry. Nevertheless, he had been deprived of theological integrity through the misuse of technology.

Some also claim they do not need to memorize where key Scriptures are located—the book, chapter, and verse—since a laptop can find this in a flash. But knowing where a text can be found is an integral part of being biblically literate, of having God’s truth at our command. One should have this indispensable knowledge of Holy Scripture in one’s soul, not simply on one’s laptop. Biblical knowledge—what the Bible says, what it means, and where it says it—should become well integrated into our personalities, so that God’s truth may be brought to bear from the inside out in every situation.

Computers and the Internet have made the Bible more available to millions, both at the popular and scholarly level. I appreciate being able to click to the online version of the TNIV to find and download texts to use in my writing and teaching. (I used it to copy passages into this article.) However, we lose our theological integrity when we approach the Bible as a storehouse for isolated facts, instead of a rich collection of various types of literature, spread out over centuries and written by different authors in different situations—all inspired by the same Author (2 Timothy 3:15-16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). An integral knowledge of the Bible requires long-term study and reflection on the books of the Bible in their historical and literary context. This is exactly what Denver Seminary teaches its students to do.

Even though I can access any biblical text electronically, I meditate and memorize Scripture in its context, and challenge my students to do this as well. The living and active word of God (Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 55:8-9) should be present in our thoughts as we teach, preach, write, and converse with others. We should be walking Bibles—even when we are unplugged. As King David affirmed, “Your word I have hid in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

Temptation #2: Although I lament it, some preachers are sinning against God in their methods of sermon preparation. From what I can gather, this may be fairly widespread. This, too, is encouraged by an irresponsible use of computer technologies; and it robs preachers of their integrity before God and their congregations. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal noted that various web pages are offering word-for-word transcripts of sermons by well-known preachers to those who desire to produce successful sermons. Instead of putting in the study time, prayerfully laboring to forge a godly message through the prism of one’s own character, some claim it’s better to acquire material from sermons that are “road tested.” One pastor said, “If you got something that’s a good product, why go out and beat your head against the wall and try to come up with it yourself?”[4]

There is nothing wrong with learning from others and incorporating their insights into one’s sermons. The Internet provides some solid resources for this, if one knows where to look. Some in the two-thirds world—who have very limited access to study tools that those in the United States take for granted—are helped by getting basic sermon outlines online. Nevertheless, we are commanded by God not to steal (Exodus 20:15). Lifting other people's sermons word-for-word without crediting the source is intellectual theft. It also commits the deadly sin of sloth (or acedia), since the one who takes other people’s sermons is not bothering to study out the material for him or herself.[5] By so doing, pastors lose their integrity and their divine authorization.

Denver Seminary has a long and rich tradition of educating its future pastors to craft sermons that are deeply rooted in a proper understanding of Scripture. We have helped shape strong biblical preachers for over fifty years. This process requires the long, hard, and rewarding study of the text, as well as developing faithful and creative applications of biblical truth that fit the congregation to which one is ministering. If preaching is “truth through personality,” the acquisition of truth from the Bible should be taken with the utmost seriousness, since Scripture calls us to integrity and excellence and warns us against shoddy teaching in the name of God (James 3:1-2; Titus 2:7-8). As Paul exhorted his younger co-worker Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; see also Acts 17:11).

Pastors need sufficient time for sermon preparation. Without this, the temptation to cut corners becomes greater. Many pastors feel intense pressure to perform every Sunday and to compete with better known preachers whose sermons are readily available on line. In light of this, congregations should honor their pastors by giving them sufficient time to immerse themselves in the Scriptures so that they might produce fruitful sermons. Moreover, congregations should pray to that end and not compare their pastor to media superstars. When the great British preacher Charles Spurgeon was asked the secret of his preaching, he humbly replied, “My people pray for me.” Truly, there can be no integrity in any aspect of ministry without prayer, since prayer lays hold of the promises of God for our good, the good of others, and for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

A ministry of integrity delivers truth through godly personality. It refuses to be compromised by yielding to temptations, technological or otherwise. As the great missionary Hudson Taylor put it, “God’s work in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”


[1] On this, see the modern classic by Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality (Crossway Books, 2001).
[2] I address this in The Soul in Cyberspace (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1999); see also Quentin Schultz, Habits of the High Tech Heart (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002).
[3] D.A. Carson masterfully develops the plot line of the Bible in The Gagging of God (Baker Books, 1996), 193-252.
[4] Suzanne Sataline, “That Sermon Your Heard on Sunday May Be from the Web,” Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2006.
[5] On the sin of acedia (the Latin term for sloth) and how to combat it, see William Backus, What Your Counselor Never Told You (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2000), chapter six. This book is a wise treatment of the seven deadly sins.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Islamic Mein Kampf

The David Horowitz Freedom Center has created a short multimedia presentation documenting and illustrating Islamic terrorist hatred for the Jews. While this is image-rich, it is also amply documented. The material it contains is also available in a booklet. This force is real. We deny, placate, or ignore it to our own peril.

Television Multi-tasking: A Strange Immersion

For the first time in years, I watched most of a baseball game on television. This is more time spent in front of the great destroyer of Western civilization than I have spent in several years. This bizarre and surreal episode occurred only because the Colorado Rockies are in the playoffs and because I like baseball. But what a shock it was in several ways.

The special effects added to the game were even worse than when I last looked. Multiple images are superimposed onto the field--advertisements, sparks after a pitch, and a colored section put after first base when a base runner was leading off. (I suppose we cannot tell if it is a big, small, or medium lead without this. Thanks.) I did not even understand some of the symbols and additions (which are subtractions). Various data lines are posted at the bottom of the screen. Apparently, television must now multi-task along with everything else, sadly. These alien images appear and disappear quickly, often with sound effects. There is a cartoonish quality to much of it--that is, juvenile.

All this detracts from the game terribly. Baseball is deep enough and interesting enough without the technological diversions and "enhancements" (distortions). I doubt I will watch much more (unless they make it to the World Series. Then I might force myself.). It also gave me a headache. Moreover, I could not even understand many of the commercials: images and sounds to no discernible effect, over and over again. What I could understand was puerile, prurient, or pathetic--or all three.

So, who can give me tickets at Coors Field?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On Talk Radio: One Curmudgeon's Take

Since September 11, 2001, I have been listening to a fair amount of talk radio. That means that when I drive, I often listen to Denis Prager, Michael Savage, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Laura Ingraham, Shawn Hannity, Michael Regan, Mark Levin, or others. I do not take the time to listen at home. There are too many papers to grade, books to read, articles to write, etc. This offering is not a comprehensive critique of the form, but a few observations.

1. Some, like Savage and Levin, are incessant and intemperate name-callers. This includes ridiculing people's looks. Savage referred to Ann Coulter as a "transvestite-looking hag" today amidst his rant against her comments that everyone should convert to Christianity. Coulter is not one of my favorite commentators, and I've criticized her lack of modesty on this blog; but ridiculing her as Savage did is simply mean-spirited and pointless. It spreads needless poison through the air. Proverbs repeatedly warns of the dangers of misplaced anger.

2. Prager and Medved seem to be the most fair-minded, knowledgeable, and reasonable most of the time. They rely less on histrionics and more on facts and logic. They are typically fair to those who disagree with them. Nor do they absolutely demonize those whom they disagree with.

3. Even though it is "talk" radio, it is always punctuated by frequent and long commercial breaks, thus not allowing a good head of intellectual steam to get built up. This medium is no substitute for the classroom, the personal discussion, or the reading of books and articles. Talk show hosts have a tendency to be glib and flippant. Hewitt is often annoying on this front, despite his knowledge of politics and law. Although an evangelical, Hewitt seldom seems to integrate a biblical worldview overtly into his program. In fact, none of the talk show hosts engage on this level, despite their forays into religion. Denis Miller is the most glib and talks with a perpetual sneer in this voice. I seldom listen to him for this reason.

4. Talk radio provides a window into perspectives typically ignored by the mainstream media. Savage, despite his frequent bombast and narcissism, often gives angles on issues not found elsewhere. Medved has a good grasp of history, and brings this to bear on issues. He sometimes presents programs made up entirely of his narration of historical events.

5. Ingraham and Reagan strike me as the least insightful of the lot. Ingram relies on special effects--sound slices--that are bothersome. Reagan is not very articulate, to my mind. But I have appreciated his featuring of David Horowitz many times on his program. The latter is on a crusade to bring a more balanced view of politics and culture to the university. See his new book, Indoctrination on this.

6. Callers to these programs can be obsequious and embarrassing in many ways. Many are painfully inarticulate. So few people today seem to work at speaking well. They litter their speech with stutter words--such as like, I mean, ya know, awesome, I have to tell ya, etc., ad nauseum--and have small vocabularies. Hosts often just cut off callers in mid-sentence, especially Savage and Levin. There is little give and take, typically. Rational dialogue is rare in our culture. There was much more of it in The Book of Acts.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Video Vexation

The New York Times reports that a church has used a violent video game to recruit youth. It is a first-person shooter game called Halo. (First-person shooter simulations are used by the military to train soldiers to kill. See the book, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill.) This incensed me, and I emailed the youth pastor. He claims they have stopped using the game. Why it was ever brought into the church is the question. One cannot win the world to Christ through worldiness (Romans 12:1-2; 1 John 2:15-17; Luke 16:15).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's Good to Avoid Bad Arguments for Christianity

On September 20, 2007, I appeared on the radio program "Issues, Etc." with host Todd Wilken. The program was called "Arguments to Avoid in Defending Christianity." The topic was taken from my recent article in The Christian Research Journal.

Monday, October 01, 2007

NPR Philosophy Lesson

NPR had an eight minute segment on how philosophy relates to Iraq. An Oxford Don does an admirable job of applying deontology, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics to the war situation. There are not conclusions, but a quick lesson in moral reasoning.