“fertile mix of science and religion”

or as I like to say, you don’t replace something with nothing. here is a peek, but go check out the rest of the interview.

KLEFFEL: Armstrong sees the role of religion as a guiding force for ethical behavior. Margaret Atwood brings that notion to life in her newest novel, “The Year of the Flood.” It’s set in a dystopian near future where genetic engineering has ravaged much of the planet. The survivors have created a new religion.

Ms. ATWOOD: This group, which is called God’s Gardeners, has taken it possibly to an extreme that not everybody will be able to do. They live on rooftops in slums on which they have vegetable gardens. And they keep bees. And they are strictly vegetarian, unless you get really, really hungry, in which case you have to start at the bottom of the food chain and work up. And they make everything out of recycled castoffs and junk. So they’re quite strict.

KLEFFEL: Atwood points out that the beginnings of her religion of the future have already appeared in the present.

Ms. ATWOOD: Indeed, we now have the Green Bible among us,….

HT to iain murray

Religion v. the Gospel

helpful reminder and summary. here are some to get you started, but please do go read all of them.

RELIGION: I obey-therefore I’m accepted.

THE GOSPEL: I’m accepted-therefore I obey.

RELIGION: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.

THE GOSPEL: Motivation is based on grateful joy.

RELIGION: I obey God in order to get things from God.

THE GOSPEL: I obey God to get to God-to delight and resemble Him.

RELIGION: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or my self, since I believe, like Job’s friends that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.

THE GOSPEL: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while he may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.

RELIGION: When I am criticized I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a ‘good person’. Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costs.

THE GOSPEL: When I am criticized I struggle, but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a ‘good person.’ My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ. I can take criticism.

RELIGION: My prayer life consists largely of petition and it only heats up when I am in a time of need. My main purpose in prayer is control of the environment.

THE GOSPEL: My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration. My main purpose is fellowship with Him.

philosophers go at each other

and there is a play by play. very interesting stuff. Plantinga is the christian and Dennett is the militant atheist. Much more at the link.

3:52 pm – I have just realized that Dennett is taking far too long. The session is supposed to end in 8 minutes. Dennett argues that naturalism is an alternative religion. Dennett is ending with a joke. He is now going after the Christian fish. It is clear that something terrible is coming. Dennett tried to come up with an alternative to traditional Christian Ictus. He notes that it is an acronym and so he tries to come up with a latin acronym for Darwin. It translates as follows: “Destroy the author of things to discover the nature of the universe.” This was his last response. Basically, he is talking about murdering God. Dennett has revealed a deep wickedness in his character. I will never take him seriously as a philosopher again.

3:55 pm – Plantinga begins. He claims that he isn’t clear as to how what Dennett said bore on Plantinga’s claim. This is true Plantinga. He first asks what the argument is. He is unphased and was clearly prepared for this. He is exposing the point that Dennett only told stories and really didn’t make an argument against Plantinga’s claim. This is a wonderful way to reply. Ignore the profound insults that culminated in a suggestion that we kill God to understand the universe. Appear un-phased and focus on the philosophy. Dennett was classless. Plantinga is only focusing on the argument. A Goliath ad hominem attack is felled by the simple stone of careful analysis.

hat tip to Jonah Goldberg

religion v. redemption

While we are talking about Mark Driscoll, here is probably my most favorite ten minutes from him that I have yet heard. Just watch this (several times) and think about it.

thought for the day

from David Bosch, Believing the Future via Todd Hiestand.

“Mission is more than and different from recruiting to our brand of religion; it is alerting people to the universal reign of God.”

David Bosch in Believing the Future

you don’t replace something with nothing

As I have said before several times and as I will keep saying as long as I am allowed, you don’t replace something with nothing. A post-christian, post-modern culture is not one of rational empirical scientific harmony. It is one of superstition, paranoia and worship of men.

present case in point Maggie Mertens of Smith College, who penned, “I will follow Him” Obama as My Personal Jesus.

here is the beginning. Pay close attention to the parts I bolded below.

Obama is my homeboy. And I’m not saying that because he’s black – I’m saying that in reference to those Urban Outfitters t-shirts from a couple years ago that said, “Jesus is my homeboy.” Yes, I just said it. Obama is my Jesus.

While you may be overtly religious and find this to be idol-worshipping, or may be overtly politically correct and just know that everything in that sentence could be found offensive, I’m afraid it’s true anyway.

As with many spiritual enlightenments, mine came in the middle of a bleak, hopeless period of my life. The innocent, idealistic world of politics that had shaped my childhood, the one that taught me how the president is a good guy, one who makes you feel safe, gives a speech on TV every once in a while and one you’d feel honored to shake hands with, had been slowly whittled into a deep rooted cynicism to anything politically related.

The crush of the Bush victory over Gore was only the first mar on my previously consummate ideal of the American administration. And the tragedies just kept continuing: Bush’s response to the Sept.11 attacks, the invasion of Iraq, the tax cuts for the rich, the downward spiral continued squashing my scant hope that the political world and state of our country could be saved.

Then I found my miracle. Stumbling through my hopeless world, afraid to turn to anyone with my political questions of morality, my concerns about the afterlife of the country I called home, a voice spoke to me.

emphasis added.

What do you do with religious fervor like this? For a mere mortal politician? Imagine how people like Ms. Mertens will react if Obama loses the election. Imagine how they will react if he wins and when he inevitably proves himself to be a mere human politician with all of the foibles and weaknesses inherent to the genre. What will people like Ms. Mertens do when the oceans don’t stop rising and people keep fighting and poor people still don’t have enough food and so on and so on? will they be disillusioned? will they double down on a bad bet by believing it is the evil satanic republicans at fault?

Seriously, where does this kind of thing go? Does anybody except me find the whole phenomenon fraught with menacing possibility? In case you don’t see the menace, I will let Maggie Mertens make it explicit for you with her concluding paragraph.

I’ve officially been saved, and soon, whether they like it or not, the rest of the country will be too. I will follow him, all the way to the White House, and I’ll be standing there in our nation’s capital in January 2009, when Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States of America. In the name of Obama, Amen.

Whether you like it or not…. Whether the rest of the country likes it or not….. You will be saved. In spite of yourself. Hope you like the experience.

again, you don’t replace something with nothing

here is the fourth installment in a sometimes series of posts.

Mollie Hemingway has an excellent column on this phenomenon. Take some time this weekend and read it over.

here is a tease:

The reality is that the New Atheist campaign, by discouraging religion, won’t create a new group of intelligent, skeptical, enlightened beings. Far from it: It might actually encourage new levels of mass superstition. And that’s not a conclusion to take on faith — it’s what the empirical data tell us.

“What Americans Really Believe,” a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.

and here is the conclusion:

Anti-religionists such as Mr. Maher bring to mind the assertion of G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown character that all atheists, secularists, humanists and rationalists are susceptible to superstition: “It’s the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense, and can’t see things as they are.”

go read all the good stuff in between.

hat tip to Mollie’s husband, Mark Hemingway.