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Think Christianly

Think Christianly: April 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Song of Science

"Nonbelievers may hear all the notes of science, but without a theistic context and perspective they will not hear the song."--George Marsden

For more on the often confusing relationship of faith and science, see the excellent Science and Faith: Friends or Foes? by C. John Collins

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dave Barnes New Music Video - 'God Gave Me You'

OK, this is a bit different, but very cool. I just wanted to celebrate my college roommate's recent success. Dave Barnes has come a long way and worked very hard--and is a very talented Christian songwriter and performer. Here is his new video and link to his new cd. Check it out! Way to go Dave!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

72% of Millennials 'more spiritual than religious'

I came across this article today--front page of USA Today and written by Cathy Lynn Grossman.

Most young adults today don't pray, don't worship and don't read the Bible, a major survey by a Christian research firm shows.
If the trends continue, "the Millennial generation will see churches closing as quickly as GM dealerships," says Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources. In the group's survey of 1,200 18- to 29-year-olds, 72% say they're "really more spiritual than religious."

Among the 65% who call themselves Christian, "many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only," Rainer says. "Most are just indifferent. The more precisely you try to measure their Christianity, the fewer you find committed to the faith."

Key findings in the phone survey, conducted in August and released today:

•65% rarely or never pray with others, and 38% almost never pray by themselves either.

•65% rarely or never attend worship services.

•67% don't read the Bible or sacred texts.

Many are unsure Jesus is the only path to heaven: Half say yes, half no.

"We have dumbed down what it means to be part of the church so much that it means almost nothing, even to people who already say they are part of the church," Rainer says.

The findings, which document a steady drift away from church life, dovetail with a LifeWay survey of teenagers in 2007 who drop out of church and a study in February by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, which compared the beliefs of Millennials with those of earlier generations of young people. (MORE)

For helpful commentary on this, see Ed Stetzer

For more research on the emerging generation, see "Souls in Transition"

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Monday, April 26, 2010

No hooking up, no sex for some coeds

Here is an interesting article about life within the hook-up culture in college over at CNN. It is possible and wise to save sex for marriage. (see below)

"Almost every weekend, there is a tradition called raging at Vanderbilt University.

It's a recurring, drunken activity that isn't the proudest moment for student Frannie Boyle. After consuming large quantities of alcohol before a party, her night would sometimes end in making out with a stranger or acquaintance.

Casual hook ups fueled by alcohol may be the norm across college campuses, but Boyle, now a 21-year-old junior at the school, chose to stop. Her reasons to quit hooking up echo the emotional devastation of many college students, particularly girls whose hearts are broken by the hook-up scene.

"I saw it [hooking up] as a way to be recognized and get satisfaction," said Boyle, shaking her blond ponytail. "I felt so empty then."

The hook-up culture on campuses may seem more pervasive than ever, especially as media outlets, books and documentaries rush to dissect the subject, but some college women and men are saying no.

Some, like Boyle, experimented with hooking up and quit. Though she is Catholic, she says her reason for disengaging herself from the hook-up culture had more to do with the unhappiness she experienced afterward. Others influenced by religion have abstained from casual physical activity from the moment they set foot on campus.

The idea of rejecting hook-ups may not be as strange as it sounds in a generation surrounded by sex. Pop star Lady Gaga recently announced she was celibate and encouraged others to follow. In Kelly Clarkson's song "I Don't Hook Up," she addresses the dominant hook-up culture: "I do not hook up, up I go slow, so if you want me I don't come cheap."

The term "hook up" is ambiguous, usually defined as a no-commitment, physical encounter with a stranger or acquaintance. Hooking up can range from just a make-out session all the way to sex. Other lingo for the no-commitment sexual encounters are "booty calls" or "friends with benefits."

Various academic studies have cited at least 75 percent of women have engaged in hooking up on campus, and the number is usually higher for men. The activity is most likely precipitated by alcohol, studies show. Boyle's decision to quit hooking up leaves her in the minority." (read the rest of this article at CNN)

The view that sex is just a private, consumer based, physical act that can be detached from the rest of the human person with no consequences for the future is a myth that modern neuroscience (and sociology) obliterates. Every parent, student, youth pastor, pastor--well everyone--needs to read "Hooked: New Science On How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children" by Joe Mcilhaney and Freda Bush.

Their conclusion? “But now, with the aid of modern neuroscience and a wealth of research, it is evident that humans are the healthiest and happiest when they engage in sex only with the one who is their mate for a lifetime.” I guess the Bible is not as outdated as people think.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sometimes it is better not to say anything at all

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."--Prov. 10:19

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Is our behavior determined by our DNA?

“There is an inescapable component of heritability to many human behavioral traits. For virtually none of them is heredity ever close to predictive. Environment, particularly childhood experiences, and the prominent role of individual free choices have a profound effect on us. Scientists will discover an increasing level of molecular detail about inherited factors that undergird our personalities, but that should not lead us to overestimate their quantitative contribution. Yes, we have all been dealt a particular set of genetic cards, and the cards will eventually be revealed. But how we play the hand is up to us.”--Dr. Francis Collins (former head of the human genome project)

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Court Strikes Down Patents on Two Human Genes; Biotech Industry Trembles

Do you own your genes?

In a far-reaching judgment that could have major implications for the biotech industry, a federal judge in Manhattan has struck down patents related to two human genes linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancers, BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Myriad Genetics held the patents, and women who want to find out if they have a high genetic risk for these cancers have to get a test sold by Myriad, which costs more than $3,000. Plaintiffs in the case had said Myriad’s monopoly on the test, conferred by the gene patents, kept prices high and prevented women from getting a confirmatory test from another laboratory [The New York Times]. In his decision, United States District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet found that the company’s patents were invalid because the genes are “found in nature,” and products of nature can’t be patented. In essence, he agreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that the genetic code contained in each human being’s cells shouldn’t be private property.

Tuesday’s decision, if upheld, could have wide repercussions for the multi-billion dollar biotech industry, which is built on more than 40,000 gene patents. Already, about 20 percent of the human genes have been patented. The decision, however, is not binding on other federal courts and other judges may or may not abide by it. But it does the set the stage for years of litigation over other gene patents. Myriad Genetics (more)

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bioethics in the 21st century. Are you prepared to engage them? you can be. I'd start here:

and then:

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review of What Darwin Got Wrong

Sean McDowell has a short and helpful review of a new book, by committed atheists, rejecting the current Darwinian approach to evolution.

I started reading What Darwin Got Wrong (2010) assuming it was written by two creationists or proponents of intelligent design. To my pleasant surprise, I could not have been more wrong myself! The authors, Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, explicitly describe themselves as “outright, card-carrying, signed-up, dyed-in-the-wool, no-holds-barred atheists” (xiii).

The authors make it clear from the outset that they are not trying to undermine naturalism or even give a boost to creationism or ID. In fact, they probably fear that people like myself will pick up a copy and use it as a critique of naturalism. The main thesis of their book is that “natural selection is irredeemably flawed” (p. 1). They are careful to distinguish between common descent and natural selection, clarifying that they have no problem with the former. But they do consider the neo-Darwinian mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutation as “radically untenable” (p. 44). Natural selection may play a minor role in the development of life, they say, but not possibly the major role assigned to it by evolution supporters. Why?

They note that evolution is believed to have driven the development of (more)

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Interview on Apologetics 315 - Audio Now Available

Hey everyone, I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Apologetics 315 discussing Welcome to College. It's now available.... Check it out!

And if you haven't purchased graduation gifts for the students you know...consider putting a copy of Welcome to College in their hands so that they will be prepared for the challenges and opportunities of college life.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Anne Rice Interview About Her Journey of Faith at I am second

“Famed Interview with the Vampire author Anne Rice confesses there is no rest and no peace without God, in a new video in which she talks about her return to the Christian faith.

For 38 years, Rice was a “Christ-haunted atheist,” she says in a recently posted “I Am Second” video. Her vampire novels were a reflection of her internal struggle living in the godless world she created.

The vampire, she says, is a metaphor for the outcast and the person who feels cut off from God.”

Watch her fascinating and vulnerable video at I am Second (click here)

More of the article, here.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Bible, Creation Care, Climate Change, and the Environment - A Christian Perspective

“The biblical picture is that human beings, as image bearers of God, are placed as stewards over the created order. We bear a responsibility for how we treat and use it. We are part of the creation as well as its crowning achievement. God intends for us to use and transform the natural world around us for good purposes. Proper use is not misuse. But as fallen creatures, we can mess things up.”—Jay Wesley Richards

Biblical & Theological Principles

· God owns all of creation (Ps. 24:1).

· Creation exists for and displays God’s glory (Ps. 19:1-4; Col. 1:16-18).

· Humans have a unique and privileged status among all of creation (Gen. 1:27; Matt. 6:26).

· Humans possess a unique calling to steward and cultivate creation (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:15; Ps. 8:4-8).

· All of creation has been affected by the fall (Gen. 3:17-18 & Rom. 8:19-22).

Some Helpful Resources:

Helpful Websites:

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Discrimination Lawsuit Filed against NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab for Harassing and Demoting Supporter of Intelligent Design

"Supervisors at NASA’s prestigious Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) illegally harassed and demoted a high-level computer system administrator for expressing support of intelligent design to co-workers, according to a discrimination lawsuit filed in California Superior Court.
The lawsuit was filed by attorneys on behalf of David Coppedge, an information technology specialist and system administrator on JPL’s Cassini mission to Saturn, the most ambitious interplanetary exploration ever launched. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a NASA laboratory managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) where robotic planetary spacecraft, such as the Mars Rovers, are built and operated. Coppedge was a “Team Lead” Systems Administrator on the Cassini mission until JPL demoted him for allegedly “pushing religion” by loaning interested co-workers DVDs supportive of intelligent design.

“For the offense of offering videos to colleagues, Coppedge faced harassment, an investigation cloaked in secrecy, and a virtual gag order on his discussion of intelligent design,” said attorney Casey Luskin of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Luskin serves as a consultant to the Coppedge lawsuit. “Coppedge was punished even though supervisors admitted never receiving a single complaint regarding his conversations about intelligent design prior to their investigation, and even though other employees were allowed to express diverse ideological opinions, including attacking intelligent design.” (More).

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Importance of the Heart

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

How is your heart these days? (biblically speaking, 'heart' includes our emotions and thoughts). For more, see Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard and It Came From Within by Andy Stanley (below)

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Great discussion on the Historical Jesus at Christianity Today

Here is a link for some good articles interacting about historical Jesus studies (Darrel Bock, NT Wright, Scot McKnight, and Craig Keener).


Two very helpful books:

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Monday, April 12, 2010

The Truth is Not Always Useful

But it is always the only thing to build a life on:

“Christianity claims to give an account of the facts—to tell you what the real universe is like. Its account of the universe may be true, or it may not, and once the question is really before you, then your natural inquisitiveness must make you want to know the answer. If Christianity is untrue, then no honest man will want to believe it, however helpful it might be; if it is true, every honest man will want to believe it, even if it gives him no help at all.”--C.S. Lewis

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Can Animals Be Gay?

Not your average Easter cover story...but culturally interesting...

"The New York Times Magazine offered a photograph of bunnies on the cover of its Easter Sunday edition, but the paper was asking a rather unusual question: “Can animals be gay?”

“Various forms of same-sex sexual activity have been recorded in more than 450 different species of animals by now, from flamingos to bison to beetles to guppies to warthogs,” reported Jon Mooallem. Well, that’s a rather surprising statistic on many levels. It seems that researchers have been attempting to document these activities and to explain them. Thus far, there has been only a smattering of documentation and significant controversy over how to explain it.

Mooallem explains:

Within most species, homosexual sex has been documented only sporadically, and there appear to be few cases of individual animals who engage in it exclusively. For more than a century, this kind of observation was usually tacked onto scientific papers as a curiosity, if it was reported at all, and not pursued as a legitimate research subject. Biologists tried to explain away what they’d seen, or dismissed it as theoretically meaningless - an isolated glitch in an otherwise elegant Darwinian universe where every facet of an animal’s behavior is geared toward reproducing.

The magazine’s cover story begins in Hawaii, where observers are documenting the behavior of albatrosses. One researcher, Lindsay C. Young, noted the existence of some single-sex pairs of the birds, some of whom have “been together” for several years or more. Are these lesbian...." (more from article)

Here are a few thoughts on appealing to nature to normalize human behavior:

1) Yes some animals do seem to act in this way on occasion. What follows from this? Animals also engage in acts akin to rape and devouring their own young. Do we really want to look to animals for normative ethics? On what basis do we move from "is" to "ought"?

2) Are we (humans) nothing more than animals? Are we simply dancing to our DNA? If so, this is very demeaning to us as humans. It assumes we have no control over our actions.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

My Time at Valor in Denver

I just got back from a great time in Denver, CO. Valor Christian High School is using my book Welcome to College: A Christ-Follower's Guide for the Journey for their senior seminar. Earlier in the week they invited me to come and do 2 days of Q & A with their seniors. It was an incredible time! I love interacting with students and encouraging them along the way in following Christ. College is filled with both challenges and opportunities. The students were fun and engaged and asked honest questions. And everyone made me feel very welcome. So thanks to all the seniors at Valor and especially Jim and Aaron for helping to coordinate the time to come out.

I was reminded that we all need input and encouragement--we never grow out of that. But students especially need that during this season of life. Consider putting Welcome to College in their hands for graduation presents along with the Apologetics Study Bible for Students. All of us who have been through college know that questions will come. But what is harder to come by is helpful Christians answers to those questions...when we need them most.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Central Claim of Christianity is Historical

“Christianity is not a code for living or a philosophy of religion; rather it is rooted in real events of History. To some people this is scandalous because it means that the truth of Christianity is inexplicably bound up with the truth of certain historical facts, such that if those facts should be disproved, so would Christianity. But at the same time, this makes Christianity unique because, unlike most other world religions, we now have a means of verifying its truth by historical evidence.”—William Lane Craig

“…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins…If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”—1 Cor. 15:17-18

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Crucial Gaps" Filled by Fossil Discovery?

Here we go again...

"Another year, another fossil with some serious media backing. This week it's a Homo habilis said to be "almost-complete" — of course, the report from the Telegraph also claims that Homo habiliswas "previously unknown," so you might want to take that with a grain of salt......Are you surprised by this? After Australopithecus anamensis, Ida, and Ardi? By now the pattern should be clear: Big media push celebrates fossil that doesn't actually prove anything." (more)

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Is There Any Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus?

Yesterday, I had the great privilege and joy of preaching our Easter service at Fellowship Bible Church. My topic: The Resurrection: Fact or Fiction?

What is the difference between believing in Jesus and the Easter Bunny? That may seem like a silly question...but what would you say?

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Did the Resurrection Really Happen?

If you read one book on the resurrection, read The Case for the Resurrection by Gary Habermas and Mike Licona.

It is very readable and well argued!

Also, William Lane Craig at Reasonable Faith, here

He is risen! Happy Easter from Think Christianly!

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Friday, April 2, 2010

From Death to Life

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."-John 5:24 (NIV)

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