- A NYT article has generated a lot of interest as it tries to explain why global warming actually causes unusually low temperatures.
It’s all a snow job by nature. The reality is, we’re freezing not in spite of climate change but because of it.
- iMonk reflects on Mary and the contemplative life.
It is unfortunate that we divide action and contemplation. It is unfortunate that we sometimes suspect those who pursue a robust inner life.
In short, both Jewish and Christian traditions treat him as Herod the Terrible. The historian, however, is fully aware, despite Herod’s grave shortcomings, of his unparalleled political and cultural accomplishments….All in all, in view of these unquestionable achievements Herod deserves to be known as the one and only Herod the Great.
- If you haven’t heard already, the oldest human remains ever discovered may have been found recently in Israel, possibly upsetting the standard theory that humans originated in North Africa.
A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern man, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old.
- Jason Goroncy offers a very helpful summary of 12 ways to prematurely write off Yoder. If you’re interested in John Howard Yoder, anabaptism, or “constantinianism”, you should check it out.
- R. Scott Clark discusses some of the differences between Baptists and reformed theology on the New Covenant.
- And, here’s a list of 6 animals humanity accidentally made way scarier (warning: Cracked is not always the most appropriate website around).
Here’s an extremely well done mockumentary, narrated by Jeremy Irons, depicting the “majestic plastic bag” as it makes its way across California and to its home in the Pacific Ocean. It’s part of an effort to pass a bill that deals with pollution in California. But, regardless of your take on this bill, this is worth watching. Very well done.
Just a couple of quick links today:
- Here’s David Mitchell offering his explanation of why addressing climate change is like cleaning your room – it’s not fun, but you have to do it or you won’t get any pudding. (HT Byron Smith)
- Apparently there’s a drug cartel in Mexico that uses John Eldredge’s book Wild at Heart to enhance is recruitment and retention strategies. (HT Joe Carter)
- JR Daniel Kirk wants to know why people have a hard time seeing the possibility of historical development in how we should view women in ministry in the same way that the church saw historical development in its understanding of the Trinity – i.e. they both contained implicit elements in the NT that could be developed more fully later. (Hint: It’s because some people think the NT explicitly says not to develop your theology in that direction.)
- Larry Hurtado points out a database of resources at the University of Edinburgh. It’s pretty sparse at the moment, but it might be worth keeping an eye on.
- Here’s an article from the Economist last week on the rise of fundamentlism in the horn of Africa.
- Bobby Valentine gives his “anti-creed,” a list of things he does not believe. Interesting approach. (HT Joel)
Here are all of the posts from my recent trip to the Acton conference:
- In the beginning there was work. And it was good?
- Thoughts on human dignity
- Shouldn’t a Christian anthropology be noticeably Christian?
- The inadequacy of a “Christian” anthropology (Acton 1)
- What makes a view of government/law Christian (Acton 2)
- Questions for a “Christian” view of economics (Acton 3)
- Thoughts from Acton
- Free market economics through the lens of sin, power, and human flourishing (Acton 4)
- Creation theology and human flourishing (Acton 5)
- Sustainable stewardship (Acton 6)
- Concluding reflections (Acton 7)
Sometimes you almost hate to distinguish someone’s argument by commenting on it. And then you do it anyway. I think it has to do with a deep-seated need to punish ourselves for all the undiscovered misdeeds of our lives by repeatedly doing things that we know will only frustrate and anger us. Kind of like golf.
This is one of those times. Princeton ethicist Peter Singer, best known for his arguments in favor of animal liberation and ethics based on personal and group self-interest, raised the question in a NYT online piece yesterday of whether the world would be a better place if all the humans would agree that this will be the last generation of humans. We’ll stop reproducing and just agree to put an end to the human race when we’re done. If nothing else, Singer has a penchant for asking provocative questions.
Singer’s argument actually runs along a couple of veins. First, he argues that our lives are generally less pleasant than we like to believe and that bringing a child into the world is almost certain to cause significant pain and suffering for that child. So, reproduction is far more likely to be harmful to future generations than beneficial. Therefore, we should stop hurting our children by not having them in the first place.
Second, he argues that this is actually in our own best interests. We waste a lot of time feeling guilty for the terrible things that will happen to later generations because of the mistakes that we’re making (e.g. climate change). So, if we agree not to have any future generations, we won’t feel anywhere near as guilty. (Of course, based on the same logic, shouldn’t I just go home and kill my daughters now so that I won’t feel bad about not being a good father?)
Singer is well known for taking the logic of an atheistic, utilitarian worldview and pressing it to see where it ends up. Interestingly, though, here he backs away from the logic of his own argument. Although in the essay he at least tacitly approves the idea that we should reject our “pollyannaism” (i.e. an overly optimistic view of reality), he concludes by arguing that we should not actually off the human race. Instead, he concludes:
I am enough of an optimist to believe that, should humans survive for another century or two, we will learn from our past mistakes and bring about a world in which there is far less suffering than there is now.
What? We’re basically torturing small children by bringing them into existence, but it’s okay to continue doing so on the off chance that somehow we’ll figure things out a few hundred years from now? That’s very comforting.
Apparently Singer finds the vacuousness of his own worldview unpalatable. I don’t blame him.
I’ll stick with my pollyannic conviction that God’s people in God’s creation to God’s glory is a good thing. It’s hard to see at times through the muck and the mire, but I’ll take my hope over Singer’s any day.