Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Facebook Exchange About Why I Call Myself An Augustinian Democrat

A while back a Thai friend of mine asked me why I call myself an Augustinian Democrat. This is my response to her:

I'm so sorry for taking so long to get back to you about your question. I don't mind answering at all. It's an unusual combination of terms to be sure. Typically if someone is Augustinian then they're more likely to be conservative in their theology and also their politics. I use the term Augustinian to describe my view of our fallen nature as humans and also to describe God's sovereign hand in all of our affairs. Therefore every human institution is broken by sin and in need of reform and restoration, whether private or public.

I use the term Democrat afterward to describe my belief in equality between all people, regardless of race, creed, sex, or culture. I'm pretty strongly egalitarian in my views. So in combining those two terms, Augustinian and Democrat, I'm affirming that every human institution is in need of reforming and oversight. Thus at times I'll end up sounding quite liberal on some (well, many really) issues, and will also be very conservative on others. As I say on a political blog I belong to, I hope I can transcend the left/right divide. And it's my Christian convictions that lead to this point.

I'm so glad you asked, because it helped me to better explain why I use that combination of terms to describe my political beliefs.

Did Neanderthals Possess the imago dei?

I just read a fascinating piece about the relationship between early humans and Neanderthals at the Big Ideas blog. Realizing that early humans and Neanderthals "coexisted" and even interbred, made me wonder if we should consider them to also have the imago dei? This of course strays into a couple of different and tenuous areas of inquiry. One has to do with the fact that any interaction between the two groups would necessarily have to have occurred more than 20,000 years ago, when Neanderthals went extinct. That immediately pushes back at any literal reading of the creation narrative, which among young earth creationists, typically sees the earth as being less than 10,000 years old. It also raises the very basic but also notoriously difficult question of what does it even mean to possess the imago dei or the image of God? So if our ancient DNA was complementary enough so that we could interbreed with our Neanderthal cousins, a DNA difference that would need to be less than 3% for successful breeding to occur, can we legitimately say that we homo sapiens  have the imago dei, but the Neanderthals didn't?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What connection between Glenn Beck and right wing violence?

The Tides Foundation, which prosecutors in California say was among the targets of the anti-government unemployed carpenter Byron Williams before he got into a chaotic shootout with several law enforcement officers Sunday, is also a favorite topic of Fox News host Glenn Beck.
Beginning in 2009 (and as recently as last week), Beck has repeatedly included the group -- along with ACORN, the SEIU and George Soros -- in his cabal of liberals and liberal organizations that are supposedly agents of President Obama's plan to spread Marxist and socialist ideas throughout the United States.
Of course, that doesn't mean that Beck necessarily inspired or influenced Williams' alleged plan to attack the Tides Foundation. But the group has been something of a whipping boy for Beck over the last year.
 Continue reading...

Joel Hunter: Why the Origins Debate Matters for the Church

Friday, July 9, 2010

Big Bang, Big Boom

BIG BANG BIG BOOM - the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

A great stop action short giving an artist portrayal of how life started and may end. Brilliant and troubling.
ht/ Derek Webb, Charles Johnson