Thursday, December 24, 2009

John Polkinghorne on the dangerousness of scientific and religious belief

There is one important difference, however, between scientific belief and religious belief. The latter is much more demanding and more dangerous. I believe passionately in quantum theory, but that belief doesn’t threaten to change my life in any significant way. I cannot believe in God, however, without knowing that I must be obedient to his will for me as it becomes known to me. God is not there just to satisfy my intellectual curiosity; he is there to be honoured and respected and loved as my Creator and Saviour. Beware! Let me utter a theological health warning or, rather, promise: “Reading the Bible can change your life” John Polkinghorne.

I haven't read any of his books yet, but if this is any indication of who he is then I can't wait. The above quote comes courtesy of An Evangelical Dialogue on Evolution. And since Christians across the world are celebrating the birth of our Savior, who is called the Word/Logos made flesh, we know because He is the font of all knowledge. Praise God and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

It seems our President is an Augustinian Democrat

This morning's speech by President Obama struck me as being the most Augustinian speech by an American politician that I've seen in my lifetime. It did confirm what I had suspected all along: That he was more moderate than either his most liberal supporters or his most conservative detractors thought. His acknowledgment of our fallen human condition, though not expressed in explicitly Christian terms, nonetheless shows that he understands that the hyper idealism that drives many on the left is not what shapes his understanding. Again, he's not the pacifist that either his most left-ward supporters had hoped or the hard right had feared and, I believe, secretly wished for too. The hard right, just like the hard left, both have an overly idealized vision of the world in which they each have the secret "key" to understand everything. This causes them both to see everything in starkly black and white, Manichean terms and also causes them to see the political "other" as an eternal enemy to be stopped at every turn. Thus, when I read or watch the far right in their interaction with Obama, they want him to be as far left as possible. This theme, or meme, gives energy to their cause. Anything that contradicts this is either ignored or seen as being one more example of his dastardly plan. It's typical conspiratorial thinking that predominates in the extremes of the left and right.
Well, this is turning into a post more about Obama's critics than about him. Suffice it to say I was very impressed by his speech today. It illustrated a nuanced understanding of the human condition that has been largely absent in most political discourse. If this speech reflects even a part of who the President is, than I'm very glad he's the man God has placed in power at this dangerous and troubling time. A realist with idealistic aspirations is not a bad combination.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Final Notification

Getting a "Final Notification" from any one of the "Christian" websites I happen to belong to, tells me nothing, except that they seek to coerce me into accepting their terms.
Getting 'final notification' notices is now so common-place, that I ignore the term all-together. It's emotionally coercive. Some of the sites that use this terminology are considered "Christian." Sadly, that means nothing. Coercive commercial techniques aren't considered anti-Christian by these entities. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised. But as a Christian, in my naivete, maybe I should be. I thought being Christian should illustrate something better.