Wednesday, February 20, 2013
This verse is such a wonderful summary of how we can know God: through the forgiveness of sins. It is also appropriate to think about during Lent, when the focus is on repentance, and how Christ carried our sins to the cross. Jeremiah 31:34b: "They all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." We are forgiven through the sinless death of Jesus Christ on our behalf, brought to us by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. That is how we know God our Father! All thanks be to Him.
I am a big fan of history. To be honest, in school through the 12th grade I found it to be one of the most, if not the most, boring subject around. In college I suddenly found myself interested, once I realized I was learning about real people like you and me. I still find it fascinating that widely held beliefs in one era can be the exact opposite of those held in a different era. I try to keep an open mind when considering beliefs of another period. It is easy to mock them, and think of ourselves as infinitely more intelligent and advanced than people in other times. In some cases, we do have advanced knowledge. In other areas, we are lacking and would do well to consider some older habits and beliefs. One subject that interests me is birth control. I find it incredible that the Christian church, across denominations, condemned it until less than 100 years ago. I used to think it was just the influence of newer technologies. However, there is more to it. How did our society change as much as it has? How did Planned Parenthood get started, and how did Margaret Sanger influence the church and in turn, society? Here is a gem of an Issues, Etc. radio program, called "Evangelicals and Birth Control". The guest is Dr. Allan Carlson. There is also a print article on the page I linked, if you would rather read about it than listen to it. Even though the title speaks of evangelicals, the program would be informative for anyone interested in American or church history. I think it is a wise practice to understand how and why a society changes. Sometimes we take our own beliefs for granted, and don't really examine why we believe as we do. Stan always says, "Know what you believe and why you believe it." That is good advice.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
I have recently been thinking about the lack of substance in the last presidential debates. Most of the responses to the questions reminded me more of sales pitches than deep explanations of why one view was better than the other. Here is an excerpt from an article, "Doing better on 'hard cases'" in the January 26, 2013 issue of World Magazine, by Marvin and Susan Olasky, quoting Amherst College political science professor Hadley Arkes: "Arkes recommends that pro-lifers pursue 'a strategy Abraham Lincoln used when he asked slave owners, why are you justified in making a slave of the black men? Is it because he is less intelligent than you? Ah, beware! The next white man who comes along, more intelligent than you, might enslave you. Is it because he is darker? Ah, beware again. The next white man who comes along with a complexion even lighter than yours may enslave you.' "We're simply making the same kind of principled argument, so we say, why is that offspring in the womb anything less than human? It doesn't speak yet? Neither do deaf/mutes. It doesn't yet have arms and legs? Well, other people lose arms and legs in the course of their lives without losing anything necessary to their standing as human beings."