Featured Issues

The Coming Dystopia: Technology and Human Obsolescence

Jul 15th, 2017 | By
iipi071517

This summer I have read two books which present an overview of humanity that is both enlightening and shocking. Written by Yuval Noah Harari, whose Ph.D. is from Oxford and who now teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the books have profoundly affected me: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2015) and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2017). Harari combines insights from genetics, anthropology, cultural studies, as well as social and epistemological history in his two books. In his first book Harari argues for three broad “revolutions” in the history of humankind: . . . Harari’s second book looks to the future and Harari sees basically a dystopian future, which is what I am most interested in for this Perspective.



In Vitro Gametogenesis: A New Revolution in Reproductive Technology?

Jul 8th, 2017 | By
iipi20170706

The newest development in reproductive technology promises to be far more controversial than in vitro fertilization (IVF), which accounts for about 70,000, or almost 2%, of the babies born in the US each year. [Indeed, more than 6.5 million babies have been born worldwide through IVF and related procedures.] According to Tamar Lewin reporting on this new development, “Within a decade or two, researchers say, scientists will likely be able to create a baby from human skin cells that have been coaxed to grow into eggs and sperm and used to create embryos to implant in a womb. The process, in vitro gametogenesis, or IVG, so far has been used only in mice. But stem cell biologists say it is only a matter of time before it could be used in human reproduction—opening up mind-boggling possibilities.” What are some of these possibilities?



Ben Sasse’s Solution to the Emerging Adult Crisis in America

Jul 1st, 2017 | By
iipi20170701

Nebraska Senator, Ben Sasse, has written an enjoyable and important book entitled, The Vanishing American Adult. His book addresses what Jeffrey Arnett calls the “emerging adult” phenomenon in our culture. Because of technology and affluence, Sasse sees the nature of this “crisis” as centered in the “digital world” and its “polarizing effect, its tendency to favor emotion over reason, and because citizen engagement in a republic requires reasoned debate, critical thinking, the thoughtful contesting of ideas, and individuals willing to stand up for what they believe, even when challenged,” this crisis is serious. With the emerging adult, adolescence is perpetual and this reality threatens our republic and our freedom in a way not seen before.



Does Sin Affect the Human Ability to Think Clearly?

Jun 24th, 2017 | By
iipi20170622

In 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, the Apostle Paul makes an astonishing argument about the Holy Spirit’s role in enabling the Christian to think, reason and embrace truth. He contrasts the “wisdom” of the world with the “wisdom” of God. God’s wisdom is revealed, and human wisdom without God leads to foolishness and the defiant rejection of God’s wisdom. But when we have the Holy Spirit, this changes. Paul utilizes a logical argument:



The Six-Day War: 50 Years Later

Jun 17th, 2017 | By
iip20170617

The 50th anniversary of the famous Six-Day War of 1967 is upon us. With it are coming the normal cries and accusations against Israel for its “occupation” of Palestinian land. For much of the world, Israel remains a nation unforgiven for its occupation and its refusal to seriously negotiate with the Palestinians. The BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement against Israel is popular on American college campuses, if nowhere else. . . Let’s do a quick review of what actually happened 50 years ago and in the subsequent decades:



Is Donald Trump “Our Dream President?”

Jun 10th, 2017 | By
iipi20170610

President Trump delivered the Commencement address at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia this year. This is the institution founded by Jerry Falwell, founder also of the Moral Majority and other organizations in the late 20th century. Falwell epitomized the attempt by evangelicals to influence the direction of Republican Party politics in 1980s and 1990s. In many ways, he also symbolized what became known as the “Religious Right” in those decades. His son, Jerry Falwell, Jr., is now Liberty University’s president. In introducing President Trump a few weeks ago, the young Falwell called him “our dream president.”



Understanding Globalism and the American Economy

Jun 5th, 2017 | By
iipi20170617

As I have argued in previous editions of Issues in Perspective, one of the major debates occurring within the American political culture and which is also an aspect of international affairs is globalism vs. economic nationalism. The appeal of economic nationalism over globalism explains the electoral victory of Donald Trump and, to some extent, the Brexit phenomenon. But as with so many things, there is a need for balance and clear thinking in this debate.



Is Abortion “God’s Work?”

May 27th, 2017 | By
iipi20170527

In a recent editorial in the New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof gave focus to Dr. Willie Parker, who operates an abortion clinic. Parker has written his autobiography, entitled Life’s Work, in which he claims, “I believe that as an abortion provider, I am doing God’s work. I am protecting women’s rights, their human right to decide their futures for themselves, and to live their lives as they see fit.” Dr. Parker is an African-American Christian and an OB-GYN doctor who practices medicine in the South. Both Parker’s memoir and Kristof’s editorial make two claims: That only recently have evangelical Christians come to oppose abortion and that historically Christianity has not opposed abortion. Are these claims true?



Globalism and the Upending of American Politics

May 20th, 2017 | By
iipi052017

Republicans responded to the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama with a visceral disdain and hatred for these two presidents. American evangelicals joined enthusiastically in such responses. Now Democrats are responding in almost identical ways to Donald Trump. As hardened as American conservatives were toward Clinton and Obama, now the American left is equally as hardened toward Trump.



Handling Guilt, Identity and Sin in a Secularized Culture

May 13th, 2017 | By
iipi20170513

One of my favorite writers today is David Brooks, and his recent book, The Road to Character, has challenged me in many ways. In a related essay, among the many points Brooks makes is that “religious frameworks no longer organize public debate . . . We have words and emotional instincts about what feels right and wrong, but no settled criteria to help us think, argue and decide.”