Thursday, January 26, 2006

Some Thoughts on Orthodoxy

The Times has an interesting article on the new Pope's first encyclical. The article lauds Benedict for his emphasis upon love, but in the midst of its praise demonstrates an interesting bias against religious faith. It labels orthodoxy as "divisive" and later highlights the fact that the encyclical does not mention such issues as abortion, homosexuality, contraception or divorce.

Two thoughts come immediately to mind. The first is that while the issues mentioned by the article certainly fall under the purview of Catholic teaching, they do not constitute the heart of Christian thought. They represent the fringes of Christian thought; they are the areas where many Christians take a stand and where they come into sharp conflict with the world around them. But they are not the heart of Christianity.

The second thought is that if we consider the heart of Christianity, or what we might call orthodoxy, we should realize that it is not a burden that was ever meant to divide. The title of the Pope's encyclical, in fact, demonstrates this point. God is love. That short phrase captures deep theological truths and points to the heart of orthodoxy. God exists. He loves. And what greater love is there than that a man (especially Jesus) might lay down his life for his friends?

That, to me, is a breath of fresh air. And it is the air of orthodoxy.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Hopeful Story

Liberia has elected Africa's first female leader . Though Liberia has a long road ahead, we can at least now be hopeful that it's on the right track.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

From the "Unintended Irony" File

Gotta love the title of CBN's update on the so-called "Battle for Christmas." Consumers fighting for Christmas? Huh?

It used to be that Christians fought consumers over the true meaning of Christmas. It was thought that there was nothing more poisonous than the identification of Christmas with shopping. Now it seems as though consumers are fighting the forces of secularism to get Christmas back into the shopping mall. Is Christmas just not the same if it isn't endorsed by Target? Do we really need corporate sponsorship of the newborn Christ? Have we gone mad?

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Death Penalty: A Modern Day Slavery?

Christians today are often in favor of the death penalty because of biblical support. The institution is clearly just, as it was used by God in the Old Testament, therefore its use is appropriate today. 21st century Christians, however, are quick to condemn slavery. Not because of a lack of biblical support, but because we can see that the context of biblical slavery is vastly different from the the way in which it was practiced 160 years ago. American slavery, obviously, was a tool of racism and oppression. I therefore find it immensely satisfying that for every southern Christian who defended the instutution, there were one or more abolitionists who fought against slavery in the name of Christ.

My hope is that Christians will look past simple biblical support and into the heart of the American criminal justice system. The death penalty is just not working in large American communities. It, like slavery, has become a tool of racism and oppression. The death penalty, if it is ever to be just, must be impartial and without error. Sadly, in our country the death penalty is neither of these things. It is a punishment avoided by the rich and inflicted on the poor. And it is a punishment that can be manipulated by those in power. As long as that remains the case, it will remain an institution in need of repair.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Following up on some metaphysical struggles

Bill made an excellent comment on this post, that I finally replied to. Although I still don't have a satisfactory answer hammered out, I think the issues are starting to surface.

My real problem is I don't want to be a Platonist, but the possible nominalistic consequences of nominalism are a greater evil.

I have done a bit of reading on this in contemporary analytic works and now I have been reading some of Peter Abelard (Medieval) on this, but I still don't have a clear enough picture to be happy yet :).

Teasing this out a bit more here. I would be appreciate some good resources or suggestions about Aristotelian Metaphysics and the solution of the problem of universals. I am planning another read through of JP Moreland's book later in the semester.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

How About Some Medieval Fun?

I stumbled across the Shaft theme song translated into Middle English today. I laughed so hard I just had to share it. "Homo est animal rationale, mortale, risus capax"
Translation: Man is a rational, moral animal, capable of laughter.
(HT: Got Medieval)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Spin Doctors on Iraq?

While it has been stated that the American media is generally anti-Iraq war biased, I have held out hope that the media would at least recognize the good if (as) progress is made. The brave citizens of Iraq are in the middle of something which should be moving toward progress, and right or wrong the U.S. is involved. Historically, freedom is often bought with blood, and many Iraqi citizens seem to concur with Patrick Henry that the price is worth paying. How ironic, in light of our colonial heritage that the BBC titles their article on Iraq "Iraq voters back new constitution" when CNN titles their article "U.S. military death toll in Iraq reaches 2,000". I thought the British are the conservative and objective voice of the news, while the Americans are supposed to be optimists. What is going on?

Follow-Up: Hours later the BBC has put up the same AP article as CNN under the same title. I don't think I am back to square one though. I believe that the steps toward real freedom for the Iraq people should be more celebrated EVEN IF one disagrees about the beginnings of the war or the multi-national (or what is left of it) presence there.