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Interpreting Genesis

Ernest Lucas: Interpreting Genesis in the 21st Century.

This paper suggests that the early chapters of Genesis should be read as a theological text expressed in symbolic stories addressed to ancient Hebrews, and not as a scientific text. When read in this way the narratives become highly relevant to us today. Far from being incompatible with the findings of modern science, Genesis provides us with a framework within which we can pursue our science and technology for the positive benefit of humankind and the rest of creation.

Read more. (pdf)

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New Atheism

Philosophy Now‘s latest issue, “Is God really Dead?”, deals with “the new atheism.”

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The Blueprint

Here’s an excerpt of The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency by Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski.

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Proselytism

Proselytism and Religious Freedom by Gerard V. Bradley. See here.

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Man-Made Drought

When environmentalist are in charge.

It started with a 2008 federal court order that stopped water flowing from northern tributaries on a supposed need to protect a small fish — the delta smelt — that was getting ground up in the turbines of pump stations that divert the water south. The court knew it was bad law, but Congress refused to exempt the fish from the Endangered Species Act and the diversion didn’t help the fish.

After that, the water cutoff was blamed on “drought,” though northern reservoirs are currently full. Now the cry is “save the salmon,” a reference to water needs of the state’s northern fisheries.

Whatever the excuse, 75% of the fresh water that has historically irrigated California is now being washed to the open sea. For farmers in the southwest part of the valley, last year’s cutoff amounted to 90%.

More.

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The War

And the war against Christian beliefs marches ever on.

Christianity deserves no protection in law above other faiths and to do so would be “irrational” , “divisive, capricious and arbitrary”, a senior judge said today, as he rejected a marriage guidance counsellor’s attempt to challenge his sacking for refusing to give sex therapy to gay couples.

In the latest clash between the judiciary and Christian believers, Lord Justice Laws said that laws could not be used to protect one religion above another.

I’d like to see this judge make some of the same comments regarding Islam. I won’t hold my breath, however.

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Beyond the Divide

Beyond the Theism/Atheism Divide. See here.

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Upside Down

Philip Jenkins: Gone South.

These are obviously dark days for the Roman Catholic Church. For over a decade, the U.S. church has been assailed by abuse charges and devastated by the resulting litigation. The Vatican used to console itself with the belief that this was a peculiarly American crisis, but, this year, similar abuse cases have arisen all over Europe—most agonizingly in Ireland, one of the world’s most faithfully Catholic countries. Across the continent, bishops are facing demands to resign, while critics are urging Pope Benedict himself to consider standing down. Some media commentators are even asking if the Church can survive the crisis.

But most evidence suggests that the Church will endure and even enjoy a historic boom–just not in places it has flourished historically. For years, its core has been migrating away from Europe, heading southward into Africa and Latin America. Some Church observers have remarked that the Vatican is now in the wrong location: It’s 2,000 miles too far north of its emerging homelands. The recent abuse scandals will accelerate this radical shift, discrediting older European elites and opening the door to new generations of leaders who are more attuned to the needs and concerns of believers in the southern hemisphere. Literally, the Catholic world will turn fully upside down.

More here.

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Going to Berkeley

You can read the first two chapters of John Calvin Goes to Berkeley here.

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No Slacker

Kevin Drum: Is God Dead? Or Merely Bored?

“Given the durability and predictability of the arguments involved,” says Ross Douthat, “it’s hard to come up with something interesting to say on the question of Christianity versus the ‘new’ atheists.” True enough. But he says David Bentley Hart has done it, and as evidence he points us to Hart’s recent essay in First Things about his weariness with the anti-God contentions of people like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. Their arguments, he says, are just the same-old-same-old, delivered with too little reflection, too much bombast, and a way-too-healthy dose of contempt. And maybe so. Atheists can be as annoying as anyone else, after all.

Unfortunately, when it comes to annoying and stale rhetorical tropes, Hart shows that he’s no slacker either.

Read the rest here.

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36 Arguments II

The Humanist interviews philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein about her new novel, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction.

I linked an excerpt from the book here.

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GM

Reason on GM’s Phony Bailout Payback.

The company is setting the stage for another taxpayer shakedown.

More.

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Big Suprise?

Big Suprise? Yeah, right.

Sections of court papers filed by scandal-scarred former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich that were mistakenly made public show a deeper involvement by President Obama in picking his Senate successor and call into question the president’s public statements on the case.

According to passages in the papers filed Thursday by Blagojevich’s lawyers — which were blacked out under a judge’s order but made visible by a computer glitch — Obama, then president-elect, spoke directly to the disgraced governor on Dec. 1, 2008.

But just one week later — on the day Blagojevich was indicted — Obama told reporters flatly, “I had no contact with the governor or his office, and so we were not — I was not aware of what was happening.”

More here.

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Losing Our Religion

Atheist S. E. Cupp has a new book out; Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity. You can read Chapter 1 here.

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HRW

The New Republic spills the beans on the Human Rights Watch.

On October 19 of last year, the op-ed page of The New York Times contained a bombshell: a piece by Robert Bernstein, the founder and former chairman of Human Rights Watch (HRW), attacking his own organization. HRW, Bernstein wrote, was “helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.” The allegation was certainly not new: HRW had been under assault for years by American Jews and other supporters of Israel, who argued that it was biased against the Jewish state. And these attacks had intensified in recent months, with a number of unflattering revelations about the organization. In July, HRW found itself under fire when a Wall Street Journal op-ed noted that the organization had solicited donations in Saudi Arabia by trumpeting the criticism it faces from “pro-Israel pressure groups.” In August, the blogosphere leapt on one of the organization’s top Middle East officials for having once been part of a team that edited a radical anti-Israel journal. And, in September, HRW suspended one of the primary contributors to its reports on the wars in Gaza and Lebanon after his private hobby—collecting Nazi memorabilia—became public.

Still, to most readers of the Times last October, even those who closely followed debates over Israel, Bernstein’s piece would have seemed odd: It isn’t every day that the founder of a group turns so publicly on his own creation. What few people outside HRW knew, however, was that Bernstein’s op-ed was the culmination of a long struggle inside the organization that had turned increasingly acrimonious over the years. The debate revolved around a single question: Was the world’s most respected human rights group being fair to Israel? Bob Bernstein wasn’t the only person at Human Rights Watch who thought the answer was no.

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Crooks

My youngest son went to high school with Jeremy Crooks, and yesterday Jeremy appeared on Ellen.

You can check out Jeremy’s website here.

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Threatening Letters

The Voice of the Martyrs is reporting that Christians in an unnamed Muslim country are receiving threatening letters.

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Ideas that Matter

John Gray reviews Ideas that Matter: The Concepts that Shape the 21st Century by A. C. Grayling.

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Five Myths

Five Myths About Green Energy by Robert Bryce. See here.

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Censorship

An excellent column by Mark Steyn: Not Too ‘Hip’ and ‘Edgy’ for Censorship.