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News

Saturday Selections - July 6, 2019

Parents: don't squelch your kids' interest in Creation (1 min)

Global warming hopelessness

In response to climate-change cataclysmic predictions, some wonder: "Why save for the future if there is no future?"

Why Board games are booming in a digital age

"...more and more people using screens at work....When we finish, do we really want to stare at a screen some more?"

Liligers, Ligers, and tigons, oh my!

Some have misrepresented the Bible as teaching a "fixity of species" – i.e. that all species stay the same. But instead the Bible speaks of "kinds" and those kinds can involve a lot of changes, like all cats descending from just one cat kind...even as they all still stay cats.

Sex and statistics

Statistics can be twisted this way and that, so what's commonly being reported in the media can turn out to be the complete opposite of the truth. In this example, you may have heard recently that conservative Protestants have miserable sex lives, and are indulging in porn at a similar rate to the world. The truth is very different.

The Fine-Tuning of the Universe (8 min)

Our planet, solar system, and the universe are improbably fine-tuned for us to thrive. How could everything happen to be just so? The secular world offers up the multiverse theory. They say that while it is too improbable to believe our universe could be this fine-tuned if we had just the one chance at it, the odds could be improved if there were actually billions upon billions of other universes out there – then this would just happen to be the one where everything lined up right.

But what evidence is there for the multiverse theory? Just as much as there is for leprechauns. Or unicorns. Or fairies.

Yet, this is what secular "science" offers us.

News

Saturday Selections - June 1, 2019

Six ways not to read the Bible (4 min) Dr. Dane Ortlund shares 6 ways that we do, but shouldn't, read the Bible. When GMO children have children In crafting genetically modified children, are we thinking of the lasting repercussions of this human experimentation? What makes people have babies? The link between cultural values and fertility rates (10 min read) Women need to average 2.1 babies each to maintain a stable population, one to replace her, one to replace her husband, and that .1 to address the sad reality that not all children survive to adulthood. But in the US last year the average total fertility rate dropped to just 1.728 babies per woman. Why so low? Some were blaming the economy in years past, but it has improved now. The doom and gloom message of the environmentalists, that portray children as a curse on the planet rather than as the blessing God says they are (Ps. 127:3-5, Prov. 17:6, Ps. 113:9, etc.), might be part of it. This article provides additional reasons. The foundation of the abortion debate "There is no way to guarantee, as some pro-life people seem to want us to do, a world safe for the unborn child that is also a world of total sexual and economic autonomy. In any world in which autonomy is the highest ideal, the child — that incarnate sign of our dependence and existential poverty — must go." A parent's guide to failure (9-page e-booklet) We've all learned some lessons from failure, so are we as parents hurting our children when we shelter them from failure? Monopoly is not a realistic game (3 min) It might be one of the most popular games in the world, but Monopoly perpetuates a faulty understanding of economics: the fixed pie fallacy. This fallacy says there is only so much wealth to go around (a fixed pie)  so the rich can only increase their wealth at other people's expense. But as this video explains, it's not true – the pie can grow! ...

News

New York Times takes dads to task about housework

When will men stop shirking their share of the housework? That was the question a recent New York Times article asked, and the answer it gave was, if it happens it will be some time between 75 years from now and never. According to the author, Dr. Darcy Lockman: The amount of child care men performed rose throughout the 1980s and ’90s, but then began to level off without ever reaching parity. Mothers still shoulder 65 percent of child-care work. The rest of the article explored why this inequity still exists, even among “progressive couples…who thought had made a prenatal commitment to equal parenting.” Interestingly, the article puts the blame on innate male and female differences: men are supposedly more comfortable than women with “getting away with something.” So why do men do less than women? Dr. Lockman thinks at least part of it is because they don’t feel guilty about shirking while women do. FEE.org’s Jon Miltimore points out another possibility: maybe men do less child care and work inside the home because they are busying putting in more hours outside the home. According to the Pew Research Center, women do more inside the home – 32 hours, compared to men’s 18 – but dads average more hours of work overall. When child care, housework, and paid work is all added up, dads spend 61 hours each week working, while moms average 57. It turns out that moms and dads don’t split any of the work exactly 50/50. The same Pew data showed that dads in 1965 used to spend just 2.5 hours a week caring for their kids. By 2016 that had increased to 8 hours, and we can be thankful for the change. Nothing in marriage and parenting is ever going to be 50/50 because God made men and women with different roles, interests, abilities and weaknesses too. Then He told us to pair up so we could compliment – not duplicate – one another. Christians can echo the French with a rousing “Vive la différence!” but we should never forget that our kids need not only their mom but their dad too....

News

Saturday Selections - May 25, 2019

Ordinary amazingness (2 min) It's a dandelion. And here, too, the Creator has crafted his magic, putting it on display for all who have eyes to see. Save money: stop changing your oil We're called to be good stewards of what God gives us, and that applies to how often we change the oil in our cars too. For years now, we've had it drummed into our heads that good, stewardly, car owners change their oil every 5,000 kilometers (or 3,000 miles). But, as Philip Reed shares, for some cars that just isn't true anymore. How did all the pollsters get the Australian election massively wrong? Michael Cook argues they did it to themselves when they shifted from being simply opinion takers to trying to be, in subtle ways, opinion makers. Free e-book: R.C. Sproul's Everyone's a Theologian For a limited time (I don't know how long) you can download Sproul's fantastic, accessible, and really enjoyable book on systematic theology, Everyone's a Theologian. You do have to give your info, but for this book, and with this organization, that seems a very good and safe trade. Abortion, evil, and the sovereignty of God (10 min read) That God is sovereign can be a great comfort, but reconciling His sovereignty with the wickedness of rape – why does He let this happen? – is hard. This is a deeper read, but worth the effort. Hungary wants at least 4, China considers 3, while India ponders a 2-child limit For 35 years China used forced abortions, sterilizations, and infanticide under its infamous one-child policy. But that's brought them to the entirely predictable demographic crisis of one child having to care for two parents and four grandparents with no help from siblings or cousins...because they don't exist. In 2015, finally recognizing this looming crisis, China changes to a two-child policy. Might they now be considering a three-child policy? It seems even the godless Chinese government is being forced to recognize at least one biblical truth: that children are not a curse, but a blessing. (Meanwhile, India is pushing for just 2 to restrict the size of Muslim families. And in Hungary, the government wants women to have at least four, and if they do, they don't have to pay income tax for life.) 7 reasons (43 min) Ray Comfort shows that there is a large muddled middle that is pro-choice mostly because they've never heard someone speak clearly and compelling for the unborn. And Comfort shows the power of analogies to make clear, at least for those who have ears to hear, why the 7 most common reasons for abortion don't justify it at all. ...

News

Saturday Selections - May 18, 2019

Caterpillars feeding on an explosive treat (3 min) BBC Earth is all about getting viewers closer and deeper into Nature than we've ever been before. And in this clip what we find is freaky coolness. While the BBC never gives God his due, by giving us in-depth looks at His creativity they can't help but prompt praise for the One who made it all. Tardigrades too tough for evolution? Here's a fascinating anti-evolution argument: Natural Selection has no reason to over-engineer. So why can the Tardigrade survive being frozen at -267ºC? And why can it revive after being hit with 250 times the radiation needed to kill a Man? Israel Folau thrown to the lions Australia's top rugby player has been fired for an Instagram post that noted, unless they repent, drunks, adulterers, liars, thieves, atheists, idolaters, fornicators, and homosexuals will go to hell. But he's not backing down. 5 charts that show the world is improving for mothers We can sometimes get tricked by all the doom and gloom in our daily news  into thinking the world has never been worse. To provide a little balance - and show how much we have to thank God for – here are five charts that show how some things are better than ever. The religious language of climate change John Stonestreet notes that the way the world talks about climate change is religious, with transformative language, its own list of sins, and its own damnation too. Keynes vs. Hayek: round 2 Rap and Economics? Can it get any better? ...

News

SI’s swimsuit edition: from barely-there to burkinis

The annual Sports Illustrated (SI) Swimsuit Edition is best known for the next-to-nothing that models wear. So why would this year’s issue feature a model who’s covered up from head to ankles? It doesn’t seem to fit the swimsuit issue’s long history. Most of the year SI is a magazine that could be found without controversy on the coffee table of a sports-minded pastor. But in a bid to boost sales it has been featuring an annual swimsuit issue since 1964. Each year again editors try to figure out how they can display as much skin as possible, while still giving its mostly male readership some means of denying that what they have in their hands is mere smut. That’s why the models almost always wear something, though it’s the sort of something that leaves nothing to the imagination – body paint, fishnets, strategically placed hands, floss. Again, why has an annual issue devoted to ogling decided to include a model wearing a swimsuit that has more material than everyone else’s combined? Halima Aden is Muslim, and the swimsuit she wears is a  “burkini” – an ankle-to-wrist wetsuit combined with a head-covering hijab, its name a combination of “bikini” and “burqa.”  As SI shared and hundreds of mainstream media outlets passed along, this was a “historic first” – the very first time SI has featured a burkini-wearing model in its pages. The magazine has touted other “historic firsts” in the past: the first African American to be featured on the cover, the first plus-size (ie. regular-size) model, and the first amputee. But while they might have been innovations, a barely clad black, or disabled, or regular-sized woman remains a barely-clad woman, and all fit with the issue’s objectifying theme. A covered up woman doesn’t. So what’s going on this year? SI editor MJ Day offered an explanation of sorts, saying that her and model Halima Aden: “both believe the ideal of beauty is so vast and subjective….Whether you feel your most beautiful and confident in a burkini or a bikini, YOU ARE WORTHY.” But what if you aren’t wild about either sort of swimsuit? SI has embraced these two choices, but their issue won’t show any others. If this was really about diversity then SI would get inspired by and follow through on Babylon Bee’s satiric headline: “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Features First-Ever Baptist Model In Floor-Length Denim Skirt” It’s clear then that this was more publicity stunt than anything else. From a Christian perspective what’s interesting is how both Aden’s burkinis and everyone else’s buck-nakedness share something in common. They might be polar opposites but both are rejections of God’s Truth. The one type of rebellion is obvious: you only have to get three chapters into the Bible to know God doesn’t want fallen woman and man displaying all He gave us for any and all to see. God’s design for sexuality involves modesty. SI’s swimsuit issue does not. The problem with the burkini is that in addition to modesty and charity, God also calls us to self-control (Prov. 25:28, Titus 2:6). The burkini – and the burqa it is based on – cover up women in a way that no man is required to dress because this style of dress presumes women have self-control and men really don’t. Thus women have to cover up to save us males from acting on our animalistic instincts. Sadly this man-as-a-Cro-Magnon view is echoed in some Christian circles when lustful thoughts are excused as the unavoidable offshoot of fashion that trends towards tighter and curvier. But make no mistake men, we are called to control ourselves and there is no putting off that responsibility on others. From a worldly perspective, the latest SI swimsuit issue doesn’t make sense. It’s an incoherent muddle, celebrating both brazen and repressed sexuality. But the incomprehensible becomes understandable when we view it through a Christian lens. When we know there is a God-given Truth, and there is an Adversary trying frantically to undermine it, then it’s no surprise when we see him, in desperation, launching attacks from two opposite directions at once....

News

Donald Trump, the pro-life rabble-rouser?

In April the president of the United States made headlines for a movie he didn’t watch, and didn’t comment on. So what was all the fuss about? He let an “anti-abortion” film be shown in his home. In the days leading up to the April 12 screening, mainstream media on both sides of the Atlantic let their readership know that Gosnell, was going to be shown at the White House. Gosnell is the true-life story of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist who in 2013 was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for babies he killed after they were born. At the time both the prosecutor and the mainstream media emphasized that the case wasn’t about abortion, but about the murder of born babies. But what makes the film a powerful pro-life argument is the defense offered by Gosnell’s attorney: he argued that what Gosnell did to these babies after birth was not significantly different from what other abortionists were, with the law’s blessing, doing to babies before birth. It wasn’t enough to get his client off, but the argument is sound, and for any of the undecided in the viewing audience his reasoning could be convicting. President Trump didn’t watch the film, but in the lead-up to the screening he received a lot of criticism. So why did he let Gosnell be shown in the White House? The cynic might say this was a mostly-pain-free way to appease his Christian base – it excited them, and even though it got widespread negative coverage in the mainstream media, that negative coverage was over quite quickly. But there is another plausible explanation: maybe the former pro-choice Democrat has taken a genuine pro-life turn. If so, then this screening was the president making the deliberate choice to take some heat so an important film could get some much-needed publicity. To bolster that case, consider two other examples of presidential pro-life agitation from earlier this year. In January he once again spoke, via video, to the tens of thousands attending the Washington DC March for Life. Then in February, in his State of the Union address, he responded pointedly to a just-passed New York abortion bill. He told the millions watching: There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our Nation saw in recent days.  Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth.  These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world.  And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth. To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb. Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.  And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth:  all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God. This last line is remarkable – it gets at the very core of where our value comes from, and why our worth doesn’t differ, no matter our size, location, or level of development. Our worth doesn’t come from what we can do, but from in Whose Image we are made. Though this is the issue in the abortion debate, it’s almost never heard. We’re all very aware of this president’s faults, so it is not his body of work we are praising here. And we don’t even need to be convinced Trump is sincerely pro-life to see how his provocative, courageous, and sometimes downright insightful advocacy for the unborn is an example well worth imitating. He is loud. May we be so too. Check out our review of Gosnell here. ...

News

Saturday Selections - April 27, 2019

Real men exercise David Murray's Christian Man Academy offers men, young and old, straightforward advice on what it means to be a godly man. And in this edition he shares why "Real Men Excercise." What does coal have to do with the Flood? "What Kurt was talking about...was unimaginably big: a log mat the size of a continent." Your middle schooler lied Don't just stop your children's bad behavior - make Christ's resurrection personal for them. Why some Christians refuse vaccines on moral grounds This Christianity Today shares the moral objections some Christians have with some vaccines – specifically those that were propagated using tissue from aborted babies – and offers answers to many of those objections. 5 ways the Bible and Economics connect In the Capitalism vs. Socialism debate, the Bible has something to say... 3 simple steps to making your point Greg Koukl gives an overview of 3 simple strategies to use in discussions and debates with unbelievers. This is a 5-minute overview of what he covers at length is his super-user-friendly apologetics book Tactics. ...

News

Saturday Selections - April 20, 2019

Preferred pronouns or jail? This is American but has ready application for most other Western nations. Raising motivated kids (20 minutes) In this first installment of a video parenting series, Brett Harris (father of the Do Hard Things authors) speaks to the problem of unmotivated kids. This is good stuff. And three follow-up videos will be available over the course of the next week. Digital addiction got you down? The key is to replace, not simply restrict In Ephesians 4, Paul tells the thief not just to stop stealing, but to start working so he'll have something to share with others (Eph. 4:27). It isn't enough to stop doing bad; he needs to start doing good. While this New York Times article is secular, its approach to beating digital addiction is along the same lines. Don't simply stop looking at your phone; don't try to beat something with nothing (Matt. 12:43-45); find something that makes God-honoring use of the time He has given you. As Notre Dame burned, what exactly were we mourning? It was a building, not a person. That's what our heads tell us. But our emotions might be saying something else. Why? Mike Rowe on the college admissions scandal: "We're obsessed with credentialing," not education God wants us to be life-long learners. And as Mike Rowe notes, university is one way of furthering our education. 1,000 Ph.D. scientists who doubt Darwin "Evolution is supposed to be as certain gravity, yet nobody goes around saying, 'Gravity is a fact, fact, FACT!' and nobody says 'Gravity is as certain as Evolution.' Against this backdrop, Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture noted last week that the Scientific Dissent from Darwinism has topped 1,000+ names...." ...

News

Career over kids: South Korean women aren’t having babies

A new report has South Korea population beginning to decline in just ten years’ time. Statistics Korea reported in late February that the country’s fertility rate dropped to 0.98, or less than one child per woman. To put this in context, women need to be having at least 2 children each to keep the population stable: one to replace her, and one to replace her husband (the exact figure is even a bit higher – more like 2.1 – to account for infant mortality). This less-than-1 rate means that South Korea’s population is headed for a precipitous drop. Statistics Korea numbers released a month later bore that out. This year, for the first time, the country expects more people to die than be born, with an estimate of 309,000 births, and 314,000 deaths. Immigrants will keep the population stable for a few more years, but starting in 2029 the country’s population is expected to take a sharp (and irrevocable?) downward turn. The country’s coming decline seems to be caused by both women and men devaluing marriage and motherhood. The government has tried to encourage couples to have more children by extending maternity leave and expanding State daycare. But these measures don’t get at the fundamental issue – is being a mother honorable? When a culture values women only for the career they have outside the home, then women aren’t going to want to do anything to impede their progress in that career. Maternity leave – especially longer maternity leave – can’t help but slow a woman’s career progress (it’s hard to get noticed by the bosses when you aren’t there). And while easier access to daycare will mean it's possible to juggle having kids and a career, if career comes first, why even bother with the juggling? As a Church we need to show the world a different way, making it clear we understand children are the blessing (Prov. 17:6, Ps. 113:9, 127:3-5), and the priority (Gen. 1:28, Prov. 22:6) that God says they are. Whether that’s mom sacrificing career opportunities, or dad doing the same by picking a job near a good Church and Christian school, or the two of them giving up nights with the gang, or the pair of them forgoing “me time,” we know parenting is our priority…and our privilege....

News

Bad news for PP is good news for unborn babies!

If something makes Planned Parenthood sad, then it’s likely there’s something for the unborn and their advocates to celebrate. That was certainly true when the abortion giant issued their press release “New Data on abortion bans show alarming spike” at the end of March. The report gave reason for pro-lifers to thank God for what progress is being made. So what’s the good new? In the first four months of 2019 we’ve seen: “250 bills restricting abortion have been filed in…state legislatures” 41 states have seen some abortion-restricting bill proposed “Seven states have proposed total bans on abortion” “Six states are down to one abortion provider” While most pro-life bills aren't successful, this is the path William Wilberforce took to end slavery in Britain. He proposed unsuccessful bills and kept on proposing them again and again until finally one of his bills wasn’t unsuccessful after all. In the same way, these 250 bills in 2019 are keeping the plight of the unborn in the public eye. We can hope and pray that God will bless these efforts to change hearts and provide these little ones the protection they need. You can download John Piper's short 77-page biography of William Wilberforce here for free....

News

Saturday Selections - Mar. 30, 2019

Marijuana increases the risk of psychosis Marijuana is often presented as a near harmless indulgence. But a recent study finds that daily use increases the risk of psychosis 3 to 5 times. A modest proposal for prosecutors who lie There's no reason to think this columnist is a Christian, and yet the idea he suggests – to convict lying prosecutors of whatever crime they were charging the defendant with – is a biblical one (Deut. 19:16-21). So why didn't this come from us? When Christians have the confidence that God's Word applies to all of life – even the public square out there – then it will be us sharing ideas like this. The only life dream that makes a girl blush “'I know it’s silly,' one girl said. 'I know. But…' she hesitated, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. 'I really just want to be married. To raise some kids. To take care of a home.' She’s almost embarrassed by the time she’s finished saying the sentiment.” Have you talked to your kids about sex? "For the record, I have talked to my 6- and 4-year-old daughters about sex.... The Internet could gruesomely inform your naïve child. Or you, as their parents, could tell them what they need to know … at the times they need to know it … in ways that they should hear it." Why teens are lonelier than ever Our teens might be more "connected" than ever, but studies find teens feel lonelier than any previous generation since these studies were started in the mid-1970s. Texting is replacing face-to-face interactions...but it isn't replacing the need for it. Michael Wagner on Canada's Christian roots (4 min) Regular RP contributor Michael Wagner shares how the queen's face on our coins testifies to Canada's Christian heritage. There was a time, not so long ago, when we formally recognized that God's law reigns supreme over and above Man's law. ...

News

Saturday Selections - March 23, 2019

#1 reason & #2 reason you shouldn't worry about global warming In reason #1, Del Tackett and Dr. Larry Vardiman discuss how, when you understand the earth is only thousands of years old, it was designed, and it only tipped into an Ice Age after the cataclysmic Flood, then that will have you looking at global warming catastrophism differently than if you believe the planet is millions of years old, was created by chance, and has gone through repeatedly cycles of catastrophic weather in the past. Reason #2 relates to how history shows us that whenever doomsday predictions run up against the Bible, they'll eventually be shown to be wrong. That happened with overpopulation fears, which presented children as a curse, rather than the blessing God says they are (Prov. 17:6, Ps. 113.9, Ps. 127:3-5). Of course, that some global warming proponents now also think of children as being a curse isn't absolute proof they are wrong about the danger of global warming. But we can be confident that solutions that require fewer children are absolutely wrong. Environmentalist pushes for less solar and wind and more nuclear (17 min) While this presenter may or may not be a Christian, his approach to reducing greenhouse emissions aligns with Christianity better than zero population initiatives (which conflict with Prov. 17:6, Ps. 113.9, Ps. 127:3-5) or carbon taxes that hurt the poor (which conflict with Prov. 14:31, Is. 1:17, etc.). I was America’s first ‘nonbinary’ person. It was all a sham. (10 min. read) A man who tried to become a woman shares how he "should have been stopped, but out-of-control transgender activism had made too scared to say no." Best bit of premarital advice we got and love to give... This isn't profound, but it is wise. Is your child enslaved by a complaining spirit? Moody teens most often start as complaining kids. How can we help them in their early years? Sex matters - everyone knows men and women are different (4 min) Philosophy professor and Christian apologist Sean McDowell on how it takes a lot of effort to keep denying the obvious. ...

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