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Think Christianly

Think Christianly: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Climate Change Data Dumped Article and A Christian Perspective on the Global Warming Debate

Green used to be just a color. Now it is a way of life, big business, and the source of no small amount of scientific controversy. We are now familiar with words that don't normally go together like carbon and footprint.

So what do we make of the Global Warming Debate? From a Christian perspective, we do have a responsibility to take care of and steward God's creation (cf. Gen.1-2). But this is not always easy to sort out in the modern world or even what this looks like amidst human priorities and the various ethical and economic issues raised.

In a recent article in the Times Online, it is being pointed out that there is some curious activity surrounding the dumping of the raw data on climate change and is worth a read.

"SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

The admission follows the leaking of a thousand private emails sent and received by Professor Phil Jones, the CRU’s director. In them he discusses thwarting climate sceptics seeking access to such data.

In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”

The CRU is the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change sceptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible.

Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, discovered data had been lost when he asked for original records. “The CRU is basically saying, ‘Trust us’. So much for settling questions and resolving debates with science,” he said..." More...

Also, here is a helpful introduction to this topic by Dr. Jay Richards from a Christian perspective. Here are some of the key questions he addresses and that all of those involved in the global warming / climate change debate need to think carefully about. (And if the raw scientific data is not being made available to the public...this makes coming to an informed conclusion kind of difficult).
  • Is the earth warming?
  • Are we causing it?
  • If the earth is warming and we are causing it, is that bad?
  • Would the advised policies make any difference?
Click here to watch...

One final word on this. This is a contentious topic. So whatever view you hold, we need to remember to consider the evidence without demonizing the people with whom we disagree. This is the only sound way forward if progress is to be made.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

A Prayer That God Answers

"Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."--Psalm 86:11

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving as a way of life

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations."--Psalm 100:4-5

Happy Thanksgiving from Think Christianly!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pro-Darwin consensus doesn't rule out intelligent design By Stephen C. Meyer

(CNN) -- "While we officially celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" on November 24, celebrations of Darwin's legacy have actually been building in intensity for several years. Darwin is not just an important 19th century scientific thinker. Increasingly, he is a cultural icon.

Darwin is the subject of adulation that teeters on the edge of hero worship, expressed in everything from scholarly seminars and lecture series to best-selling new atheist tracts like those by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. The atheists claim that Darwin disproved once and for all the argument for intelligent design from nature.

And that of course is why he remains hugely controversial. A Zogby poll commissioned by the Discovery Institute this year found that 52 percent of Americans agree "the development of life was guided by intelligent design." Those who are not scientists may wonder if they have a right to entertain skepticism about Darwinian theory.

We are told that a consensus of scientists supporting the theory means that Darwinian evolution is no longer subject to debate. But does it ever happen that a seemingly broad consensus of scientific expertise turns out to be wrong, generated by an ideologically motivated stampeding of opinion?

Of course, that does happen. Many ideologically driven crusades in science -- the earth-centered solar system and eugenics, for example -- survived long after supposed evidence for these ideas evaporated. And precisely the same thing is happening today in the ideologically charged field of evolutionary biology. Indeed, there are strong scientific reasons to doubt the consensus about Darwin's theory and what it allegedly proved.

Contrary to Darwinian orthodoxy, the fossil record actually challenges the idea that all organisms have evolved from a single common ancestor. Why? Fossil studies reveal "a biological big bang" near the beginning of the Cambrian period (520 million years ago) when many major, separate groups of organisms or "phyla" (including most animal body plans) emerged suddenly without clear precursors. Fossil finds..."

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Doubting Darwin on His Anniversary

"As On the Origin of Species hits its 150th anniversary tomorrow and we witness the height of focused media attention on Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, why do so many remain unconvinced?"

Here is the audio...

Check out

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

How to watch a movie and Hollywood Worldviews

Wisdom, awareness, and discernment for watching Movies.

“As viewers, we must be sensitive to our own weaknesses and negative propensities…we must be careful to draw personal lines that we will not cross, based upon what particular things affect us negatively when we are exposed to them in movies.”—Brian Godawa

A Great book is Hollywood Worldviews and also check out plugged in online.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christianity and Culture...How Do They Relate?

Finding out how to live in the world without being of it has always been difficult. But we need to continue to think hard about it each generation.

“Beyond the pages of the New Testament even a casual history of the church discloses an incredible diversity of situations in which Christians have found themselves: persecuted and reigning, isolated and dominant, ignorant and well educated, highly distinguishable from the culture and virtually indifferentiable from it, impoverished and wealthy, evangelistically zealous and evangelistically dormant, social reformers and supportive of the social status quo, hungry for heaven and hoping it won’t arrive to soon. All of these polarized possibilities reflect diverse cultural self understanding. Inevitably, in most generations Christians have pondered what their attitudes ought to be.”—D.A. Carson

More posts on this in the days ahead.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to respond to the next blockbuster book/documentary/movie that questions traditional Christianity.

Two years ago, Dr. Darrell Bock wrote an excellent article about how to react to the latest "big story" about Jesus. Just in time for the Christmas season and the reruns on the Discovery's well worth the read.

"We need to understand that public discussion of the Christian faith has changed—permanently. So the next time you hear an earth-shattering announcement about Jesus from the media, don't get angry. Rather, take three deep breaths, sit down with your Starbucks coffee, and watch how the announcement is treated on blogs and other media. Above all, prepare yourself for the opportunities it presents. This is how religious news comes to us now. It requires a fresh response...." (More)

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Moving Beyond Sunday Morning Christianity

“Our lives are often fractured and fragmented, with our faith firmly locked into the private realm of the church and family, where it rarely has a chance to inform our life and work in the public realm. The aura of worship dissipates after Sunday, and we unconsciously absorb secular attitudes the rest of the week. We inhabit two separate “worlds,” navigating a sharp divide between our religious life and ordinary life.”—Nancy Pearcey

This was one of the quotes that led me to start Think Christianly almost 6 years ago. A very important observation from a very important book:
Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Heart Matters

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."--Proverbs 4:23

Biblically speaking our lives are lived from our hearts. That word encompasses our emotions, will, thought life, and overall posture. Though transformation begins in the mind (cf. Rom. 12:2); we are called to pay close attention to our hearts. How's your heart?

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Monday, November 16, 2009

'Fireproof' Creators' Next Film about Fatherhood

“Courageous,” the fourth film by movie-making church ministry Sherwood Pictures, will follow four police officers as they wrestle to make different decisions that will impact the lives of their families. The four men will go through a tragedy together that will challenge them to fulfill the role of fathers as God intended it to be....(more)

Fireproof has impacted LOTS of marriages in a positive way. I hope courageous does the same.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Understanding Islam from a Christian Perspective

What is Islam? What does Islam teach? How are the teachings of Islam similar to those of Christianity? How are they different? Here is a helpful article from Probe Ministries:

"First, we want to take a look back at the history of Islam. Islam was founded in the early seventh century by Muhammed. When he was 40 years of age, in A.D. 610, Muhammed claimed to be receiving messages from God. These messages were later compiled and recorded in the Koran--Islam's holy book.

About this same time, Muhammed began preaching against the greed, economic oppression, and idolatry that plagued the Arab peoples. He called on the many factions of the Arab peoples to unite under the worship of Allah, the chief god of the Arab pantheon of deities. Though his message was initially rejected, by the year 630 he had succeeded in gaining control of Mecca, the economic and religious center of the Arabian peninsula.

Though Muhammed died two years later, the religious/political movement he founded rapidly spread throughout the Arab world, and far beyond. By A.D. 750, the Muslim empire spanned from Spain in the west to India in the east. In the centuries that followed, Islam penetrated deeper into Africa and Asia, extending as far as the Philippines. During its "golden era" Islam claimed some of the world's finest philosophers and mathematicians. It was during this time also that Islam and Christianity clashed as a result of the Crusades to reclaim the Holy Land from the Muslims...." (more)

Answering Islam

Biblical Training Lecture on Islam

Ravi Zacharias on Islam

Helpful Books:

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Truth and Comfort

"If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair."--C.S. Lewis

Truth is not comfortable at times; in fact it can make us downright uncomfortable. But in the end, it is the only thing on which to base a life.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

In Intellectual Neutral

Here is an excerpt from an article on loving God with all of your mind by William Lane Craig

"A number of years ago, two books appeared that sent shock waves through the American educational community. The first of these, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, by E.D. Hirsch, documented the fact that large numbers of American college students do not have the basic background knowledge to understand the front page of a newspaper or to act responsibly as a citizen. For example, a quarter of the students in a recent survey thought Franklin D. Roosevelt was president during the Vietnam War. Two-thirds did not know when the Civil War occurred. One-third thought Columbus discovered the New World sometime after 1750. In a recent survey at California State University at Fullerton, over half the students could not identify Chaucer or Dante. Ninety percent did not know who Alexander Hamilton was, despite the fact that his picture is on every ten dollar bill.

These statistics would be funny if they weren't so alarming. What has happened to our schools that they should be producing such dreadfully ignorant people? Alan Bloom, who was an eminent educator at the University of Chicago and the author of the second book I referred to above, argued in his The Closing of the American Mind. that behind the current educational malaise lies the universal conviction of students that all truth is relative and, therefore, that truth is not worth pursuing....(MORE)

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is the Supernatural Real?

Is physics and chemistry all there is? Is it reasonable to think that the supernatural is real? J.P. Moreland makes a brief, but compelling case...

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Apologetics Study Bible for Students Video

Are the students in your youth group prepared to defend their faith? Or even back up one step, can they even understand why they believe themselves? I want to tell you about a project I was able to be a part of that could make a big difference for your students. It is the apologetic study bible for students and here is a video that talks a little about it. Sean McDowell is the editor and did an outstanding job and I contributed five articles to it (Feb 2010). Knowing what we believe is a good start...but we must go beyond that to the why.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why Community?

"The most important reason to pursue deep community is not for the physical or emotional benefits it brings, great as those may be. Community is the place God made us for. Community is the place where God meets us."--John Ortberg

Read John 17.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Do you listen?

He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.--Proverbs 13:13

We all need good input along the way. How quickly we seek it and heed it has a lot to do with our success. God's word is our primary source of input but don't neglect bringing wise friends and mentors in as well.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Why Bother With Discipleship?

I came across this challenging article and wanted to pass it along. Why spend time following Jesus if Christianity is all about someday and not today? Dallas Willard offers some helpful thoughts...

"If we are Christians simply by believing that Jesus died for our sins, then that is all it takes to have sins forgiven and go to heaven when we die. Why, then, do some people keep insisting that something more than this is desirable? Lordship, discipleship, spiritual formation, and the like?

What more could one want than to be sure of their eternal destiny and enjoy life among others who profess the same faith as they do. Of course everyone wants to be a good person. But that does not require that you actually do what Jesus himself said and did. Haven't you heard? "Christians aren't perfect. Just forgiven."

Now those who honestly find themselves concerned about such matters might..." (More)

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Being like Jesus...

Quite a thought...but that is the goal of the Christian life (i.e., becoming more like Jesus cf. Rom.8:29). Dallas Willard offers us some sage advice, “We cannot behave ‘on the spot’ as Jesus did and taught if in the rest of our time we live as everybody else does.” But that leads us to the needed, but uncomfortable question of how am I living?

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is there any scientific evidence for life after death?

Here is part of a Q & A To the Source did with Dinesh D'Souza about his new book, “Life After Death: The Evidence.” (It is a question all of us have to answer...)

Troy Anderson: After defending Christianity from the onslaught of attacks by the New Atheists in your bestselling book - "What's So Great About Christianity" - you're now taking on the question everyone ultimately faces: What happens when we die? What prompted you to turn your attention to this fascinating topic?

Dinesh D'Souza: Well, in a way, the topic of life after death is broader than Christianity because it's something that every religion asserts and it's something that everybody at some point wonders about: Is this life the only life, or is there something more? In this book, I set aside the faith-based argument and I say, "Okay, let's look at reality and lets see what modern knowledge and scholarship has to show." And the beauty of this approach is we find that modern scholarship and knowledge - far from undermining the idea of the afterlife - provides some important supportive corroboration for it.

Anderson: Although you point out in your new book - "Life After Death: The Evidence" - that 80 percent of Americans affirm life after death and the percentage is closer to 100 percent in non-Western cultures, the New Atheists tell us there is no afterlife. Why do you believe they are wrong?

D'Souza: First of all, the New Atheists are at the tip of a certain kind of social iceberg.

They are the most aggressive advocates of a view that many intelligent people have in our culture. This is what I call the Enlightened People's Outlook. Historically, these people may be a minority, but they are very confident of their view because they believe that they are supported by the evidence of science. Their view is reductive materialism, which means there is really only one kind of stuff in the world and that's material stuff. If that is all that we are then there is no life after death. So the core of my book is to refute this materialist idea and to show there actually are positive arguments for the afterlife.

Anderson: In the book, you offer three key arguments in support of the afterlife: one from neuroscience, one from philosophy and one from morality. Would you tell us why they offer a persuasive legal brief for what happens when we die?

D'Souza: The first one is called, "Why It Matters?" Why is the issue of life after death important?

Second, "Why It's Possible?" and here I show that physics and biology offer no obstacles to the religious understanding of life after death, and specifically the Christian understanding. Then, in the third section, I show "Why It's Probable." In other words, why this is not only possible, but it's actually makes sense. Nevertheless, I concede that it's a topic in which you can't have complete certainty. And therefore I bring in practical arguments for believing in life after death.

Anderson: Let's start with the first argument. What does neuroscience tell us about the possibility of life after death? (click here for the rest of the fascinating interview)

Jesus of Nazareth answers this question by saying, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26)

Here is the book:

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

William Lane Craig at Watermark Community Church on the Moral Argument for God's Existence

Does God exist? Is there any good evidence for this claim? I think so. And one of the better arguments is the Moral argument. Dr. Craig gives a short explanation of it here.

For more, see Craig's website, Reasonable Faith and also his book by the same title:
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At the End of Slavery and the International Justice Mission

We can end modern day slavery. Do you believe that? Take 2 minutes and watch this video and then share it on facebook, twitter, blog, or email the link to family and friends. People's lives can be changed if we work together on this. Many thanks to the International Justice Mission for standing in the gap and all the incredible work they do.

How You Can Get Involved

Change happens when ordinary people do what they can to take action. We can end slavery — but the battle will take all of us. How will you help shatter this system of oppression?

Take action today with one of these steps:

  • Host an At the End of Slavery house party or screening event. The fight against slavery will take all of us — Bring friends, colleagues, members of your church or community together to view and discuss the film and join the fight against slavery.
  • Learn more about modern-day slavery. Educate yourself so you can raise your voice on behalf of victims of this oppression. Start by reviewing these recommended books to learn more and this Q & A about slavery.
  • Advocate with your elected members of Congress. Members of Congress need to know that their constituents care about securing protection from violent oppression for the global poor. You don't need to be an expert to make a difference! Visit IJM's Justice Campaigns for updates, action alerts and more information on how to get involved: IJM Justice Campaigns.
  • Fund rescue. Pay for the rescue the poor cannot afford with a financial gift to IJM's frontline work to fight slavery. Make a gift today, support IJM monthly as a Freedom Partner, or learn about hosting a table at an IJM Benefit Dinner in a city near you.
  • Integrate the fight to end slavery with your faith. Become an IJM Prayer Partner and consider hosting a screening of At the End of Slavery at your church.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Which Jesus?

“Students of Jesus today are faced with a multitude of options, ranging from the traditional Jesus who was Savior, Lord, and founder of the church, to a Jesus who was considerably different—a Jesus who was a sage, a religious genius or social revolutionary. These latter three portraits though clearly drawing their energies from live wires in the Gospels, leave us with a Jesus who is not big enough to explain his crucifixion, his following, or development of the Church. If we today are going to be honest about Jesus, we have to choose a Jesus who satisfies all the evidence historians have observed and who will also explain why it is that so many people have found him to be so wonderful that they attend churches every week to worship him.”—Scot McKnight

For more, see the excellent book, Jesus Under Fire by Wilkins and Moreland

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Why the Bible?