Culture & Wordview

The Enduring Importance of the Balfour Declaration

Nov 18th, 2017 | By

On 2 November 1917, a letter was delivered to the Jewish community of Great Britain by the British government committing His Majesties Government to the creation of a “national home” in Palestine for the Jewish people. This “declaration” changed the course of history. For that reason, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, attended a dinner in London on 2 November 2017 with Theresa May, Britain’s Prime Minister, to celebrate the issuing of this letter 100 years ago. Lord Balfour, a descendant of the man who sent the letter, now called the Balfour Declaration, also attended. The Palestinians regard this Declaration as a “great betrayal” and Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that Great Britain apologize for this Declaration, not celebrate it.



The Cultural Disorder of America’s “Fantasy-Industrial-Complex”

Oct 28th, 2017 | By

Few would disagree that American civilization is at a point of confusion, chaos and dysfunction. We are a polarized nation where it is virtually impossible to have reasoned discussions, healthy debates or exercise civility. The family as the center of our civilization is clearly in crisis. Our national government is thoroughly dysfunctional and is more divided than it has been in generations. The threats to our national security are real and there is no consensus on how to handle these real threats. Even the broad American evangelical church’s view of God is what Christian sociologist Christian Smith calls Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. . . How did we get into this mess?



The Legacy of Hugh Hefner

Oct 14th, 2017 | By

Over 3,000 years ago, King Solomon wrote poignantly about his life and about the purpose and meaning of life in general “under the sun.” His observations could be an appropriate epitaph for Hugh Hefner, the founder of the Playboy empire:



A Theology of Marriage

Sep 30th, 2017 | By

It is time in American civilization to recognize the self-destructive nature of both public policy and private behavior when it comes to the institution of marriage, the first institution God created (see Genesis 2:18-25). It is without question an institution in trouble. In this Perspective, I hope to address the institution itself in terms of history and then suggest a biblical theology of marriage.



How Americans Disagree in 2017

Aug 5th, 2017 | By

In mid-June, James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill., armed with a rifle, opened fire on a group of Republican members of Congress practicing for a baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia. Four victims were transferred to the hospital with gunshot injuries: Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a congressional staffer, a lobbyist and a Capitol Police officer. Another congressman and a second police officer also suffered minor injuries. In statements on social media and letters to a local newspaper, Hodgkinson expressed fervent opposition to the Republican Party and called for higher taxes on the rich. He also volunteered for the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. He was not a communist or an extremist member of some paramilitary group. He was an ordinary Midwestern Democrat who detested what was happening in his life and to his nation.



The Coming Dystopia: Technology and Human Obsolescence

Jul 15th, 2017 | By

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

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

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.



Is Abortion “God’s Work?”

May 27th, 2017 | By

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?



Handling Guilt, Identity and Sin in a Secularized Culture

May 13th, 2017 | By

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.”