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Undermining Faith Without Evidence

Thursday, April 14, 2016  |  posted by John Schroeder

We are all familiar by now with the Richard Dawkins of the world, “atheists” (I put that word in quotes becasue they have a god, just not a supernatural one) who are utterly dismissive of faith.  They generally present “scientific” arguments against the existence of God, ignoring completely the limits of science itself and the imposition of their agenda upon the data.  There is another “scholarly” avenue of attack against religion that has not caught the public’s imagination as much as Dawkins, et. al., but that I have personally watched undermine the faith of some very committed Christians when they reached seminary.  This avenue is the critical study of the texts of faith, that is to say, the Bible.

Monday, the New York Times carried a piece by

New Evidence on When Bible Was Written: Ancient Shopping Lists

Why, you may ask, is that so provocative?  Well, the very word “written” challenges the deep faith of most believers.  That word implies that the Bible was composed, that is to say authored or thought up, by those that wrote it down.  Most believers would argue that the Bible was “recorded,” some believing in various levels of supernatural inspiration or dictation and others acknowledging that most of the Bible originally started as oral storytelling later recorded in writing.  This latter understanding of “recorded” applies not just to the sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity, but to common literary text like the epics of Homer.

One can forgive a provocative headline as a means of drawing readers, but the Kershner piece is just chock full of such word choice prejudice. Continue Reading

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“Going Red: The Two Million Voters Who Will Elect The Next President–And How Conservatives Can Win Them” by Ed Morrissey

Wednesday, April 13, 2016  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey has morphed into Michael Barone, with a must read deep dive into the seven counties on which election 2016 turns –and why: Going Red: The Two Million Voters Who Will Elect The Next President–And How Conservatives Can Win Them.  Go on this purple state road trip with Ed and you’ll never look at a poll or an election map the same way.  Readable, riveting –and necessary for Republicans– as November 2016 approaches:

Injustice in the Name of Justice

Tuesday, April 12, 2016  |  posted by John Schroeder

Over the weekend the Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed piece from a Georgia legislator regarding the governor’s recent veto of a religious freedom bill.  In it, William Ligon asks, “Why are businesses and sports leagues suddenly championing leftist ideologies that oppose not only religious liberty but even legislation that protects the safety of women and children in restrooms?” He writes it off to political correctness run amok, but I think it is much deeper.

Throughout the country, prosecuting offices on the state and local level are forming “social justice units.”  These are prosecutors whose job it is is to look for crimes that are somehow disproportionate based on race, etc.  One of the key tactics is to define an “under-served neighborhood,” and then target businesses in those neighborhoods for criminal prosecution for various code violations that in other areas might merely result in administrative action of even just inspector driven “fixit tickets.”  It is a fascinating phenomena, penalizing businesses in the neighborhoods that most needs jobs and economic activity, thus stifling job creation and other economic activity.  This also makes me ask the question, “Is not unequal application of the law of itself discriminatory?”  Can you fix social discrimination by discriminating?

It is not just the social pressure of political correctness that has business lining up against religious freedom – it’s the threat of economic harm represented by this kind of law enforcement. Continue Reading

Knowing What We Don’t Know

Monday, April 11, 2016  |  posted by John Schroeder

Yesterday a blog post came into my life from the founder of the web site “The Mad Papist.

As I listen to folks around me every day talk about economic theory, foreign policy, vaccinations, voting, and a million other things, it occurs to me most people suck at forming opinions about things.

They are not, however, to be blamed for sucking at forming opinions.

I am not writing to condemn the Average Joe for being wrong about taxes or the history of Islam. That is to be expected, after all, since he doesn’t have the knowledge or experience necessary to be right.

No, what I am writing to condemn is the fact that the Average Joe is willing to adopt these opinions in the first place. His error is not in being wrong, but in his pretense at knowledge that he does not have, which makes his wrongness inevitable from the start.

That is certainly put far more harshly than I am comfortable with, but he has a point.  See, I do think you, or I for that matter, have a right to our ignorant opinion; I just don’t think we have a right to have anyone listen to that ignorant opinion.  But in this day and age if I do not listen to you, even when you are being quite ignorant in what you are expressing, the common social convention deems it dismissive of you personally if I do not take what you say at face value.  We have become so prideful as individuals that we consider our utterances, no matter how ill-informed they may be, as a part of our personal value.  What the blogger calls “pretense of knowledge” is actually a different kind of pretense – it is the pretense that what we say is of value simply because we say it. Continue Reading

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