Charles Murray on Another Great Awakening in America

This excerpt is from an article on The Daily Caller:

Q: Is there a way to reclaim some of the values that we lost that you think are so fundamental to our exceptionalism?

A: That’s another way of asking whether America is capable of major cultural change. We know that the answer is yes. The Civil Rights Revolution is a good example. It went from a standing start in about 1954 to a national change of consciousness that enabled the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to pass just ten years later. The three (or four, depending on who’s counting) religious Great Awakenings are other examples. So it’s possible. I wouldn’t bet the ranch that one will happen.

via Charles Murray says America no longer exceptional | The Daily Caller.

Mendacity Prevailing

Our news media does not seem sufficiently interested in the truth.  Their reporting consists so often of half-truths.  They seem to choose the stories, or the aspects of stories, that fit their worldview and that advance their agendas.  It’s discouraging to read news while knowing that you are reading only selected portions of news.

Contrast this with the apostles who told us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about Jesus Christ.  In the Scriptures, truth prevails.  In modern media, mendacity is prevailing.

Sex on Campus – She Can Play That Game, Too – NYTimes.com

This article from America’s most prominent newspaper indirectly communicates the standards – if that term can even be used in this context – of sexual morality on college campuses in this country.  That the article is not considered outrageous and shocking is an indication of how close to the “mainstream” its opinions are.  Had we not been gradually going this direction for the last 50 years, the article might be a wake-up call.  As things are, however, it is just one more occasion for the public to hit the snooze button on the alarm.

Sex on Campus – She Can Play That Game, Too – NYTimes.com.

Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity – Larry Taunton – The Atlantic

Larry Taunton, of the Fixed-Point Foundation, writes in The Atlantic (June 6, 2013) about his research into why and how young people are becoming atheists.

Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity – Larry Alex Taunton – The Atlantic.

This research matches my own experience, which has been that behind every “objective, dispassionate, utterly rational” account of how someone became an atheist is a life which in some way has harmed, and usually betrayed, in such a way that faith in God is no longer considered a desirable option.

What the Apostles and Prophets Taught Me

This post can be considered a follow-on to these two posts:

The Evangelicals, Charismatics, and Pentecostals all taught me the authority of the Scriptures.  The Scriptures were the work of the apostles (from whom came what we call the New Testament) and the prophets (from whom came what we call the Old Testament).

The apostles and prophets have been the bedrock of certainty in my knowledge of God.  They bear unwavering witness to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.  In the Scriptures, we have what Eve did not have – a reliable written source to which we may turn in time of temptation.

The Evangelicals may fail – and have.  The Charismatics may fail – and have.  The Pentecostals may fail – and have.  The Apostles and Prophets, however, did not fail.  They remained faithful to the end – and that is why their writings have remained with us.  They testified to their message of faith and hope and love with blood – their own.  That is why both they and their writings are revered.  They bore faithful witness to Him who loved us and released us from our sins by His blood.  Their collective wisdom – for it is the wisdom of He who sent them – will last through all ages.  The pages they left us are rock solid and worthy of our unwavering trust.

Pope Reaffirms Marriage Is One Man and One Woman for Children

Excerpt:

ROME, July 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In his first encyclical letter, released this morning, Pope Francis has reiterated that marriage is a union of one man and one woman for the procreation and nurturing of children.

Bravo!

via Marriage one man and one woman for nurturing children: Pope Francis’ first encyclical | LifeSiteNews.com. [Editorial note, June 19, 2014: This page to which this links is no longer being maintained.]

Quote: Tennessee Williams on Honest Writing

If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.  –  Tennessee Williams

If Tennessee Williams is right, we should not be surprised to find a verse like this in the Bible:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Why Is Faith Important?

Sam asks, “Why is faith important to you?”

To answer this, I first have to answer a question he asked earlier in his comment (linked above):  “What precisely do you mean by using the word “faith” (or, “belief”)?”

Let me answer by quoting the most definitive and authoritative statement on the subject that I can think of:

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

A few verses later comes another statement which adds light to this one:

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

To put this issue in personal terms, faith is the conviction that God is…and that it’s beneficial to trust Him.

So, that’s what faith is.  Now, why is it important?  Because it’s the only way to relate productively to a person you cannot see (i.e. sense physically).

I don’t find anything irrational or even non-rational about this process.  Quite the contrary, I find it completely and necessarily rationale…or else I wouldn’t engage in it.

The original disciples, who knew Jesus personally, did not have to believe that He was, for they could see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears that He was.  Once He was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, however, they had to rely upon faith in Him for they could no longer contact Him by their physical senses.

When Jesus was in a physical state, he was limited in the number of human interactions he could have at any one time.  By resuming His spiritual state, He is accessible by every single human being simultaneously.  The trade-off is that His invisibility requires our trust.  This trade-off seems well worth it from our point of view.

Moreover, in a physical state, Jesus could walk beside us, but in a spiritual state He can dwell inside us – a far greater form of intimacy.  Again, this exchange of states seems entirely beneficial to us.

Therefore, faith is important because it enables us to enjoy a God who is greater than all of us.  Without faith, we are forced to live in doubt and uncertainty regarding our origin, our fate, and our worth.