The Temple

Stem Cell Research

President Bush vetoed a bill that would have allowed for Embryonic Stem Cell research. There needs to be more non-political discussion about this issue. My biggest problem is that we have opposition to this process and seem happy to have a victory for the pro-life movement, but the embryos are still being destroyed – without the research. So where is the moral victory? If in fact the destruction of an embryo at this stage of development is murder of the same order as the holocaust, are we opposed to it only if it means that the taxpayers pay the bill? Hundreds of thousands of unused embryos are destroyed by fertility clinics because couples no longer have a need or use for them. I fail to see what the problem would be if those embryos were used in research. Satisfied with our “moral” political victory, the so-called holocaust goes on.

“Cal Thomas’ article against stem cell research….is not particularly useful, because it does not deal with his fundamental belief that human personhood begins at conception. Similarly, articles by medical groups that promote stem cell research are not helpful, because they do not touch on their fundamental belief that embryos are not human persons. If there is to be any hope of resolving these issues, we must debate when human personhood begins. If we can reach a near consensus on this, then abortion, in-vitro fertilization, stem cell research and other debates will neatly resolve themselves.” Comment letter to the Jewish World Review

Here are some links to information on stem cell research:

I am not endorsing the sites, they just looked interesting to me as I am reading more about this issue. My encouragement is not to take your cues on this issue from politicians, but to educate yourself – let’s talk about this.

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June 20, 2007 Posted by | Christianity, Culture - Values, Ethics, Politics and Religion | 1 Comment

Substitutionary Atonement

My fourteen year old sent me this video with this comment:

“…apparently calvinists are heretics now hahaha”

My response to my son is as follows:

Amazing, he doesn’t understand the link between substitutionary atonement and particular atonement. If Christ made a substitutionary atonement for all men, then all men would be saved having their sins completely paid for, regardless of whether they accepted it or not, it would be paid for and there would no longer be a foundation for condemnation. He doesn’t make the connection, then cannot see that his universalism is more of a problem than my particularism.

Beware of deep thinkers like Jerry Falwell.

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June 20, 2007 Posted by | Theological | 10 Comments

Great Quotes about the Bible

Tim Challies has gathered some great quotes about the Bible, check them out here.

June 10, 2007 Posted by | Bible | Leave a comment

National History Day

Well, the family is in Washington DC for National History Day. Our High School sons have made it to the finals having placed first in California in the Group Presentation category. Their project is entitled: Tragedies Committed in the Name of Honor. It should be a great week.  The awards ceremony is webcast live at the National History Day Website, Thursday June 14 at 8am EST.

June 10, 2007 Posted by | Personal | 2 Comments

Leon Botstein on Stephen Colbert

Click on the link for an interview with Leon Botstein by Stephen Colbert (check out the VodPod in my sidebar).

Colbert makes me laugh, and the discussion has an interesting God element to it. Botstein gives a common tolerant humanist view about the existence and nature of God (God is human capacity), and it is OK with him if you still choose to believe in an archaic version of God. A little different than the strident atheists of the Dawkins – -Harris – Dennett variety.

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June 9, 2007 Posted by | Culture - Values, God's Existence, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What a Church Should Be…

Virgil Vaduva at Unfinished Christianity has an interesting post on What a Church Should Be.

Interesting how the parallels between the end of Isaiah and the end of Revelation can give us insight into the nature of the church. If heaven is no more tears, the church should be about removing the reason for tears, wiping away tears.

June 8, 2007 Posted by | Christianity, Church | Leave a comment

Ode to Jerry Falwell

Optional Title to this post: “I am voting for an Atheist for President”

Has it been long enough?

What is the required waiting period before we can talk about the legacy of Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority? Well, here goes. I think this blog post will get me in trouble.

The Moral Majority was the worst thing to happen to the church in my lifetime. Evangelical Christianity got into bed with the Republican Party and thus began the linkage that has defined our “position” and “opinion” about many issues. By aligning ourselves politically, we have emasculated our message. People are not transformed by the right party in office, society is not transformed by the right set of laws. People and then society are transformed by Christ, the message is the gospel. It is high time that we disassociate ourselves from any political party. It would be in the best interest of the nation if an atheist were to be elected president. I am looking for a qualified atheist candidate. He will have my vote. Some comments and observations.

The Moral Majority bunch was telling us back before Bill Clinton that our nation was doomed if he was victorious. It didn’t happen. The predictions of national disaster did not materialize, and the USA is still here. We survived Bill. We are surviving George. Now we are hearing the same about Hilary. I wouldn’t vote for her, but we will survive Hilary as well, if she is elected. For crying out loud, we survived Jimmy Carter. All the doomsday Christian mouthpieces on “christian” radio and media need to stop manipulating the church with threatening rhetoric. People like Paul McGuire need to stop undermining Christian pastors who do not see eye to eye with him politically, and who refuse to turn the pulpit into a political tool. It is not Christianity to enforce the law as a means to turn people to good. America will not be a better place if we enforce an opposition to gay marriage. America will be a better place if the church will preach the gospel, feed the poor and minister to the orphan and widow – no matter who is President, no matter if gays win the right to shared health care (and what difference does it make if we grant people health care benefits? How do we in good conscience deny people that opportunity?). What message did the Baptists send to the nation in boycotting Disneyland a few years back? It isn’t hard to interpret: “we hate gay people, they are ruining our nation.” The trite cliche we use – hate the sin, love the sinner – is more for us than them. Gays rightly hate that phrase because it rings so hollow. The church has not loved homosexuals, shame on us.

The Moral Majority duped the church into thinking that our power is political. What a major mistake. What bad theology. I would be happy if Christians never cast another vote, if only they were practicing Biblical Christianity. We have used politics and political clout as an excuse to not practice our faith. We should be ashamed of ourselves. The fight against abortion has become politicized. The church has no standing or voice in the popular discussion because we have aligned ourselves politically. Our view is seen not as an argument for truth, or morality with a compassionate tone, rather it is seen as Republican and Religious. As a result, we never talk about the act and our pleas are not seen as genuine, rather they are seen as partisan and dismissed. They will now forever be seen that way. A genuine dialog with the power of a moral voice has been exchanged for a political game with the power of a majority. We win, you lose or vice versa. We have reduced ourselves to the level of a PAC, with a limited life span. Now our voices are strident, appealing to another secular methodology – screaming on the radio in shock jock fashion. Bravo.

You want a legitimate cry against abortion? Fill Christian homes with children that women delivered and gave up to a loving family. Line up those children along the beltway or the mall in DC, then you will have a voice with power. Do something driven by the love of Christ for both the woman considering abortion and her child, and then we will have power to be heard. We should learn the lesson that Mother Teresa exemplified – genuine Christianity will not be overlooked because there is no law against the fruit of the Spirit. Christians have gotten away from that genuine expression, exchanging it for the sheer force of numbers.

Many believe that we have accomplished our task by having elected a Christian president. When have we not had a “christian” as President?????? It is high time we elected an Atheist. Maybe then we will see that even though the Constitution does not specifically mention the separation of Church and State, the church of all groups should not be opposing the separation of Church and State. I am a proponent of the separation, as should every believer. To morph the two is disaster. We should do all we can to avoid that marriage. The church’s recent efforts scream that we desire a marriage of church and state. Hence our visceral and violent reaction to gay marriage and the accompanying rhetoric that our nation will suffer irreparable damage if we allow gay marriage (all the fall of the Roman Empire examples inserted here).

Why don’t we just make signs we can post outside of our churches: No Gays allowed; If you have had an abortion, try Buddhism. The church is not a political organization. Neither Jesus nor Paul or any other New Testament figure ever model this strategy for us. If anything their strategy was just the opposite: the politics of the day had no bearing on their mission or their method. It should have no bearing on ours either.

I was going to add the caveat that I am speaking about the church not about individual Christians who can and should express themselves politically, but as I mentioned earlier, I will gladly exchange a genuine Christian for a voting “christian” any day of the week. I was also going to add the caveat that I am not arguing for either abortion or the validity of the gay experience, but the political “christian” doesn’t care – I will simply be vilified and called names. So be it.

Can I blame Jerry Falwell for this mess? Well, I think he rode the wave and many of us followed along for the ride. It is time for a new direction for the American Church.

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June 5, 2007 Posted by | Christian Living, Christianity, Culture - Values, Politics and Religion | 8 Comments

What the World Eats

Check out this Time Magazine pictorial on what the world eats, interesting.

ht: Between Two Worlds
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June 5, 2007 Posted by | Culture - Values | 1 Comment