Friday, February 29, 2008

The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey

From Pew:

Biblical Archaeology Review

Good magazine great price this month, free! One caveat, don't pay a lot of attention to the theology.
Biblical Archaeology Review connects the academic study of archaeology to a broad general audience eager to understand the world of the Bible. Covering both the Old and New Testaments, BAR presents the latest discoveries and controversies in archaeology with breathtaking photography and informative maps and diagrams.

BAR's writers are the top scholars, the leading researchers, the world-renowned experts. BAR is the only nonsectarian forum for the discussion of Biblical archaeology. BAR's on-line content is just a taste of what the print magazine has to offer. Read More.

"Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

The trailer for the new movie:

First Things First

This is a fascinating look at the Jewish understanding of creation, going back thousands of years:
In other words, the surprising part of the Bible’s Creation story is that it has phases. In purely religious terms, we would presume that the world was created at once, since an omnipotent Creator has no need for steps. Had Creation not been mentioned in Genesis, the natural assumption would be that it was done simultaneously. The purpose of the Bible story is to introduce a staged process. This somehow raises the stakes on the table of existence, making the righteous maintenance of the enterprise a more profound achievement. Read More.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Turkey in radical revision of Islamic texts

This will possibly have a huge impact on Islam. I'm not sure how it will impact the more conservative Islamic countries...but it is a start:

Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

The country's powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran. Read More.

Changing opinion concerning Iraq.


Fundraising and Planned Parenthood

Stay with this till the end, amazing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey

This is the summary put out by the Pew Research Center.

Expelled the Movie

Great trailer on Ben Stein's new movie on those who dare challenge neo Darwinism.

What is Knowledge?

This is an important question:
Do we the disciples of Jesus possess through Scripture and other means a reliable source of knowledge of reality or do we not? We have seen that this is an important question. The possession of knowledge—especially religious and moral knowledge—is essential for a life of flourishing. To answer this question we must, first, answer another question: What exactly is knowledge and what does it mean to say Christian teaching provides it? Let’s begin in earnest and see if we can find an answer to this second query. Read More.

HT: Theologica

Sunday, February 24, 2008


There has been a new vocalization of fundamentalist atheism. It is something that Christians will have to get used to, it is also something we need to know about. This is a long article but worth the read. Link.

Kosovar Independence and the Russian Reaction

The dynamics of eastern Europe have changed and Russia isn't happy about it. HT: Ken.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia last Sunday. The United States and many, but not all, European countries recognized it. The Serbian government did not impose an economic blockade on — or take any military action against — Kosovo, although it declared the Albanian leadership of Kosovo traitors to Serbia. The Russians vehemently repeated their objection to an independent Kosovo but did not take any overt action. An informal summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was announced last week; it will take place in Moscow on Feb. 21. With Kosovo’s declaration, a river was crossed. We will now see if that river was the Rubicon. Read More.

For a topic that needs to be covered from a Christian perspective:

Huckabee on SNL

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Makes me want to go to Church!

The Arabs and Obama

This is something I had never thought of before:
Last week Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Tamara Coffman Wittes reported from a conference in Qatar that Barack Obama's candidacy is all the rage in the Arab Gulf states.
A friend from the Gulf tells me her young relative was so excited about the Democratic candidate that he tried to donate money over the Internet, as he'd heard so many young Americans were doing. Then he found out he had to be a U.S. citizen to do so. Another young woman, visiting from next-door Saudi Arabia, said that all her friends in Riyadh are “for Obama.” The symbolism of a major American presidential candidate with the middle name of Hussein, who went to elementary school in Indonesia, certainly speaks to Muslims abroad.
That's an interesting way to make a point lost on most American commentators: Barack Obama's father was Muslim and therefore, according to Islamic law, so is the candidate. In spite of the Quranic verses explaining that there is no compulsion in religion, a Muslim child takes the religion of his or her father. Read More.

Friday, February 22, 2008

How young Christians are changing the face of church

The emergent Church is going to make an impact whether people are prepared for it or not:

Speaking in a kindly Southern drawl, University of Indianapolis medical student Todd George, 25, explained why most traditional churches turn him off.

"You're supposed to know the answer to every question about God," he said. "And if you don't, you're somehow inferior."

When he left his hometown of Spartanburg, S.C., to attend Brevard College in North Carolina, George discovered what he called a "community church." "It was so much more laid back," he said. "A lot of the religious jargon that you would normally hear -- 'Salvation comes to those who repent' -- wasn't used. What they said didn't have to be decoded." Read More.

Pentecostalism for the Exurbs

This is a quite devastating editorial on Joel Osteen from Slate:
While Joel Osteen has never formally trained as a minister, he is heir to a theological teaching—the movement known as Word-Faith. Word-Faith holds that believers possess, in divinely sanctioned snatches of scripture, the stuff of miraculous self-healing and prosperity—an odd turn for the Pentecostal movement, which first took root in some of the poorest (and blackest) stretches of the West and Southwest. Read More.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I'd like you to meet Ted.
If you think your having a bad day, just remember Ted.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Honor Politics: McCain's is a peculiar conservatism

Very interesting:
McCain is an honor politician - aggressive in opposing corruption, hypersensitive to inauthenticity or dishonesty, addicted to big causes, essentially uninterested in what most conservatives take to be the substance of politics, and, lest we forget, supremely vain. This is not a wonderful combination, but it is not a terrible one, and it could well be a winning one in November. Conservatives should view McCain not as a hostile force, but as a foreign and unfamiliar presence, bearing real potential as well as real risk. Read More.

The Wrong Stuff

As Obama gets stronger look for more critiques:
The other week, Barack Obama came up with what he doubtless saw as a snappy comeback in answer to Hillary Clinton's oft-repeated boast that she would have the experience to be ready to govern "on Day One" by saying that "it is important to be right on Day One." I hold no brief for either of these candidates, but this, clearly, is exactly wrong, and a reinforcement of Mrs. Clinton's attempts to portray Mr. Obama as callow and inexperienced rather than an answer to them. For being "right" is no more an option for a president than it is for anyone else. Doubtless he will be right sometimes, but he will also be wrong a lot of the time. That is not something he can promise not to be without appearing either to be a fool himself or to be fooling the electorate. It is tantamount to a promise not to make mistakes. How can we take a man seriously as a potential president who would make such an unwise -- indeed, mistaken -- promise? Read More.

Monday, February 18, 2008

George Carlin's New Rules for 2008

From Ben Witherington:

George Carlin's New Rules for 2008

[N.B. I have edited various of these in a PG kind of way :)]

New Rule:
Stop giving me that pop-up ad for ! There's a reason
you don't talk to people for 25 years. Because you don't particularly
like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football
team is doing these days . . mowing my lawn.

New Rule:
Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless you're a
seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found
in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did
you expect it to contain? Trout?

New Rule:
Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care about your
eyebrows: do you have two of them? Okay, we're done.

New Rule:
There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle of this
stuff at the supermarket, water, but without that watery taste. Sorry,
but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water?
Drink some of that salinized water at the beach that comes out of your faucet there!

New Rule:
Stop messing with old people. Target is introducing a redesigned pill
bottle that's square, with a bigger label. And the top is now the bottom.
And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, he will be in the morgue.
Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.

New Rule:
The more complicated the Starbucks order, the more annoying the drinker. If
you walk into a Starbucks and order a "decaf grande half-soy, half-low
fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry,
light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low, and one NutraSweet," boy are you messed up.

New Rule:
I'm not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my card,
entering my PIN number, pressing "Enter," verifying the amount,
deciding, no, I don't want cash back, and pressing "Enter" again, the
kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my
Almond Joy.

New Rule:
Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you
spiritual. It's right above your least flattering feature, and it translates
to "beef with broccoli." The last time you did anything spiritual, you
were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not spiritual.
You're just high.

New Rule:
Competitive eating isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadly sins.
ESPN recently televised the U.S. Open of Competitive Eating, because
watching those 'athletes' at the poker table was just too darned

New Rule:
I don't need a bigger mega M&Ms If I'm extra hungry for M&Ms,
I'll go nuts and eat two.

New Rule:
If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy, old
television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a
remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. Let's
remember the reason something was a television show in the first place
is that the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.

New Rule:
No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings.
Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking
out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't
gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.

New Rule: and this one is long overdue:
No more bathroom attendants. After I zip up, some guy is offering me a
towel and a mint. I can't even tell if he's supposed to be there,
or just some freak with a fetish. I don't want to be on your web cam, dude.
I just want to wash my hands.

New Rule:
When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to know in months.
"27 Months" is way over the top. "He's two," will do just fine. He's not a cheese.

New Rule:
If you ever hope to be a credible adult and want a job that pays
better than minimum wage, then for God's sake don't pierce or tattoo
every available piece of flesh. If you do, then plan your future around
saying" Do you want fries with that?"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What is Orthodoxy?

There are so many Christian terms bandied about today. What is Evangelical, Roman Catholic, Emergent?

This post is a good primer for the basic beliefs that make a Christian a Christian. While I would have encompassed Pentecostalism it still gives a good overall summary of what Christian's believe.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Suicide vests

In The Know: New Iraqi Law Requires Waiting Period For Suicide Vest Purchases

What Will Obama Do When There's No Hillary Firewall?

Good analysis of the campaign Obama will face without Hillary around. The anger that deflects to her will be gone.
The biggest beneficiary of the Hillary loathe has been Obama. Her campaign has been sufficiently subverted and sabotaged by the legions of Hillary haters to the point that it's listing. If her campaign goes down, so will Obama's Hillary firewall. The gloves will be off and it won't be pretty. Read More.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wrong Paul

Wonderful deconstruction of the Ron Paul myth. I was always skeptical of him, especially when I found out that many at storm front supported him. There is a reason he flamed out so badly:
Fantasy, fallacy and factual fumbles from the Republican insurgent. Read More.


From Captain's Quarters:

Danish newspapers have demonstrated solidarity with Kurt Westergaard and Jyllands-Posten today. After the arrests of conspirators determined to assassinate the editorial cartoonist, the other newspapers in Denmark today have reprinted the cartoon that aroused the ire of Muslims in the first place. They want to make the point that no one can intimidate them into silence: Read More.

Why Republicans are Happier

A nice morning pick me up to make you feel even more happy! Link.

Obama Unplugged

Very good analysis on Obamas speech delivery without a teleprompter:
In spite of Obama's obvious strengths in this area, questions linger regarding Obama's gifted speechifying. Do his speeches give us a glimpse at a very special man with a unique vision? Or are we merely witnessing a political one-trick pony? Yes, Obama can turn a phrase better and do more with a Teleprompter than any other modern era politician. But does his special skill set here actually mean anything, or is it instead the political equivalent of a dog walking on its hind legs--unusual and riveting, but not especially significant? Read More.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Multiculturalism Old School Style


In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of “suttee”—the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

‘’You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.” Link.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Selective veiling of free speech?

This concerns pc run amok and an extreme tolerance for multiculturalism.
I'm a bit concerned about the new president of Bryn Mawr College. From today's Inquirer: Read More.

A New Middle East, After All

Seems like things are changing for the better:

George W. Bush staked his presidency on his response to 9/11: on the proposition that the United States had to defeat the virulent forces loose in the Muslim world directly and militarily. In his last State of the Union address, delivered shortly after his first and only grand tour of the Middle East, Bush reaffirmed his intention to continue the fight everywhere he has committed American arms. It is way too soon to give the president a final grade, and it is surely tempting to flunk him, given the high-wire act the country has endured in Iraq. The denizens of the Middle East, however, will remember Bush as the most momentous American leader since an angry Thomas Jefferson sent men-of-war in pursuit of the Barbary pirates. His successor will not be able to walk away from what he has wrought. Let us consider the issues one by one--leaving aside for another day Iran and the menace of a Persian bomb. Read More.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Presidential Frontrunners Would Boost Federal Budget by Range of $7 Billion to $287 Billion Annually

Fascinating summary of the Presidential candidates and the programs they are wanting to start. Bottom line: McCain is the most conservative!
Presidential contenders have been busy portraying their political differences from others inside and outside of their parties, but when it comes to fiscal policy, ideological labels don't necessarily apply. That's just one finding of a comprehensive study from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF), which provides cost estimates -- based on hard data -- for more than 450 of the major candidates’ proposals that would affect the federal budget.

"Our analyses hopefully will help taxpayers distinguish political posturing from concrete proposals -- many of which would significantly change the size and make-up of the federal budget," NTUF Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady said. "As the public-policy debate on the campaign trail nears its 'Super Tuesday' peak next week, we're providing Americans with the chance to systematically examine how future budget plans may affect their own future finances." Read More.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Chuck Smith: A Pastor's Perspective

Richard Abanes has a new article up on Chuck Smith. It is my belief that Calvary Chapel has had a very positive influence on the Church today. With that being said, there are a few issues that is a cause for concern:

This article is not intended as a criticism of all Calvary Chapels, all CC pastors,
and certainly not all attenders Calvary Chapels. The main purpose of my article is to simply present the views of Pastor Chuck Smith on Rick Warren, based on his own words and actions. I harbor no animosity toward Chuck Smith and greatly admire all that he has done for God in in many years of ministry. Similarly, I admire the Calvary Chapel system of churches, which has contributed significantly to spreading the Gospel and reaching out to the poor, sick, and destitute. Read More.
And here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Exxon's 2007 Tax Bill: $30 Billion

It's hard to believe how much money this is:

Corporate profits receive a lot of media attention, but what receives considerably less attention are the corporate taxes paid on corporate profits. Do a Google search for "Exxon profits" and you'll get about 8,000 hits. Now try "Exxon taxes" and you'll get a little more than 300 hits. That's a ratio of about 33 to 1.

Inside Plug-in Car Tech's Race to Production


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Richard Abanes on Rick Warren

This is good stuff. The endless criticisms of Warren are getting really old.

In a point by point, issue by issue, article on his website Richard Abanes has answered the cottage industry that makes a living criticizing Rick Warren. Read More.

This is a long read, but worth it.

HT: Phoenix Preacher

Monday, February 04, 2008

Photo of an Obama rally you won't see on TV

What's wrong with this picture? Link.

Robert Fisk: The curious case of the forged biography


It arrived for me in Beirut under plain cover, a brown envelope containing a small, glossy paperback in Arabic, accompanied by a note from an Egyptian friend. "Robert!" it began. "Did you really write this?"

The front cover bore a photograph of Saddam Hussein in the dock in Baghdad, the left side of his head in colour, the right side bleached out, wearing a black sports jacket but with no tie, holding a Koran in his right hand. "Saddam Hussein," the cover said in huge letters. "From Birth to Martyrdom." And then there was the author's name – in beautiful, calligraphic typeface and in gold in the top, right-hand corner. "By Robert Fisk." Read More.

Quarter of Brits think Churchill was myth: poll

If you think Americans don't know history!
Britons are losing their grip on reality, according to a poll out Monday which showed that nearly a quarter think Winston Churchill was a myth while the majority reckon Sherlock Holmes was real. Read More.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Previously Unknown Picture of Ernie Pyle

I read both of his books as a kid, they were an intriguing look at soldiers on the front line. Amazing the photo never surfaced till now. Link.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

German Authorities Slam "The God Delusion" for Kids

Atheists, are of course known for their tolerance.
The German Family Ministry is pushing to have a book it says slurs Judaism, Christianity and Islam labeled dangerous for children. The book's publisher says kids have a right to enlightenment. Read more.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Will McCain sweep the south?

Jim Geraghty from the National Review thinks it's possible.

Christian websites you can safely ignore.

This one is wrong in so many ways.

"..On November 17, 3398 B.C., two billion people, with their astonishing technology, vanished from the face of the earth. This lost super race beat us to the moon, to computers, and to nuclear war. A cosmic disaster occurred which wiped out a super civilization and generated 6,000 foot tidal waves the disaster known to early civilizations worldwide as the great flood (the deluge mentioned in the book of Genesis in the Bible, for which Noah constructed the Ark to save a remnant of mankind). :

...The descendants of this super race branched out from Ararat (Armenia) to create civilizations less advanced technologically, but still with some knowledge of their original civilization. The theory of evolution, which believes in the gradual progression of man, cannot stand up to the evidence governed by the laws of thermo-dynamics. The evidence of fully developed cities and an advanced technology of a superior man, whose society deteriorated over time is irrefutable. :

Uh, yeah it is. i will not even go into all that is wrong with that site except to say that it has misconstrued the central tenet of Christianity. Jesus. When psuedo science becomes more important than Jesus, something is seriously amiss. Link.

House Democrats Trim Agenda

The times, they are a changin. From victory and high expectations to...this.