In my various writings on the topic of same-sex 'marriage' (for a complete list, click here) I have argued that government has a duty to recognize marriage as being between a man and a woman. But perhaps the state should get out of the marriage business completely. Perhaps the state should not be involved at all in publicly recognizing certain types of relationships as being marriage. This is the position taken by radical libertarians and it is an attractive solution to the ‘gay marriage’ debate, even among Christians. According to this line of thinking, once the state begins pronouncing that certain types of relationships are marriage, this itself shows that government has overstepped its God-appointed mark.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
A friend recently told me about an experience her daughter recounted upon her return from an Eastern Orthodox youth retreat. In response to a question about violent video games, a priest shared the experience of an Orthodox military chaplain who had served in one of our country’s recent military actions overseas.
Given the fact that there were numerous chaplains available from other Christian groups and very few Eastern Orthodox soldiers, it was a surprise to learn how popular the Orthodox chaplain had been among the soldiers stationed there.
These soldiers were gripped by the horror of taking human life, and the Orthodox chaplain was the only one who met the men where they were and affirmed that grief was an appropriate reaction for what they had done. Though the soldiers were serving their country with honor, and though they were not sinning to kill enemy combatants, the Orthodox chaplain understood that taking another life still leaves a wound on the soul.
By contrast, I am told that the other Christian chaplains were content to merely assuage the soldiers by repeating they had done nothing wrong, reminding them that they were doing their duty and encouraging them not let be troubled by their experiences. Only the Orthodox priest had a clear understanding of the tragedy of our human condition together with an appreciation of the pain that death properly brings. By facing and identifying with the sorrow the soldiers felt, he able to help them grapple with the reality of our fallen humanity and experience the healing and redemption Christ brings.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
“By rearranging the very nature of what it means to be married, gay marriage raises the question of whether family and marriage can be considered pre-political institutions on the basis of natural and biological realities and intrinsic goods. This is because such natural and biological realities are being expunged from the essence of what we are now told marriage.
|John Milbank echoes some of the concerns I raised |
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
In an article I wrote for the Colson Center titled 'Aesthetics and Creation', I pointed out that one of the striking features of the creation account is that God’s activity is not purely functional. He spends one whole day resting from His work and reflecting that it is very good (Gen. 1:31-2:2). The fact that God is able to sit back (so to speak) and appreciate His artwork tells us an important thing about His nature. It tells us that the Lord exercises aesthetic appreciation.
Even if it were not for the creation narrative, this same fact would be evident when, like David in Psalm 8, we consider the work of God’s fingers. When we look over God’s artwork, we see that not everything in our world has a purely functional or instrumental value. Whatever evolutionists may try to say, there are some things that God made just to look nice, to smell pleasant, and to sound delightful. This suggests that God puts a premium on aesthetic considerations.
To read more about this, and what we can learn about the importance of aesthetics from the Genesis creation account, click on the link below:
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
In C.S. Lewis’s book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, there is a fascinating dialogue that happens after the company from Narnia voyage to an island at the beginning of the end of the world. The Narnians meet a star named Ramandu, who dwells on the island with his beautiful daughter.
When the company are told that Ramandu is “a retired star”, Edmund announces, “In our world a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.”
Ramandu replies: “Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is but only what it is made of.”
That’s an important distinction. What a thing is made of is not always the same as what a thing actually is.
I thought of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader last week when I came across an intriguing article by Dr. Michael Merzenich, one of the leading pioneers in the burgeoning field of neuroplasticity.
For background about the book and this interview, see my earlier post 'Introducing Hell and Beyond.'
To read all the interview segments on this blog click here.
To download the entire interview as a pdf, click here.
A Facebook plugin has been imported into the end of this and every other interview segment to facilitate a user-friendly discussion. We want to here from you, so please don't hesitate to leave your thoughts or further questions.
"Given the crucial role that repentance played in his thought, Solzhenitsyn cautioned us not to put too much confidence in political solutions, including the solution of democracy. Democratic institutions, he warned, cannot act as a hedge against the latent corruption of the human heart any more than communism could. This is because democracy is just as capable of being corrupted, and Solzhenitsyn pointed to the triumph of mediocrity “under the guise of democratic restraints” as an example." Saints and Scoundrels, page 334
Monday, May 13, 2013
Last year I posted a link to my review of Nicholas Carr's book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains, which appeared in Volume 2, Issue 2 of Fermentations. I have subsequently published a longer review of the book on the Salvo blog, which can be read by clicking on the following links:
Friday, May 10, 2013
In an article I published last year with the Chuck Colson Center, I explored some of the implications of nudity in public spaces, such as the television airwaves. I argued that, ironically, nudity in public space tends to desexualize us in an important sense.
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Below is the fourth segment of the interview I did with my dad on his new e-book Hell and Beyond. For background about the book and this interview, see my earlier post 'Introducing Hell and Beyond.' To read all the interview segments that have been published so far, click here. To download the entire interview as a pdf, click here. A Facebook plugin has been imported into the end of this and every other interview segment to facilitate a user-friendly discussion. We want to here from you, so please don't hesitate to leave your thoughts or further questions.
RP 14: You say in your Preface that “we do not and cannot know what the afterlife holds.” You also say that the goal of your “imaginative supposals” is to “guard against…imbalance toward error”. But if we cannot know what the afterlife holds, how can we know what constitutes imbalance or error?
MP 14: That was perhaps a poor way of stating it. It was my way of highlighting what I emphasized in the previous answer, that taking one or another firm and dogmatic stand on any