The Knower and the Known- Interview with Stephen E. Parrish– Stephen Parrish is a Christian philosopher who has written a wonderful tome on philosophy of mind. Here’s an interview with Parrish about the central themes of the book. See also my review of the book. I’ve read it a few times now, and it is phenomenal.
Ben Hur: An Epic Movie of Christian Forgiveness in an Empire of Hate– A great look at the Christian themes that can be found in the latest iteration of the classic story of “Ben Hur.” Also check out my own reflections on the film.
Obama’s Pardons– Whatever one’s political affiliation, I believe this post from Thinking Christian will be a thought-provoking read. It is by someone who was incarcerated, and speaks to the real injustice in some portions of the United States’ criminal justice system.
Science and the Optimistic Naturalist– Is it truly rational to punt to possible future scientific understanding to answer what are currently understood as metaphysical questions?
I’m excited to present this week of “Really Recommended Posts” to you, dear readers, because it is a truly extraordinary lineup. I’ve worked ’round the clock (or at least for an hour) to read and bring to you some excellent posts from all over. Our diverse reads today include the latest Pixar movie, “Inside Out,” the necessity of not sharing (or apologizing for) fake news, women in sacramental churches, an exciting new book, and the criminal justice system. As always, let me know what you think! Be sure to let the authors know you appreciated their posts as well.
Inside Out– One of my favorite web sites, Empires and Mangers, takes a look at Pixar’s latest smash hit, “Inside Out.” Anthony Weber looks at the worldview issues raised in the movie, as well as how it might be used to start discussions about some good topics with children. Check out this great reflection.
An Embarassing Week for Christians Sharing Fake News– Here is some advice that we all need to take to heart. Ed Stetzer goes beyond just calling on Christians to check their sources to a real urgency to repenting and admitting wrong when we do share falsities. This is a phenomenal read that deserves to go viral.
Women Leadership in Sacramental Churches– The debate over women’s “role” in the church looks different in those church bodies which are sacramental in nature. I am Lutheran and have experienced the kind of reasoning outlined in this post to try to restrict women’s places in the church firsthand. This is a good read that will not only broaden perspectives about sacramental churches but also make headway in the debate over women in the church.
New Book by James Warner Wallace: “God’s Crime Scene: A Cold Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe– Here is some background on an exciting upcoming release from the author of “Cold Case Christianity,” J. Warner Wallace. It looks like it will be examining arguments like the fine-tuning argument for the existence of God. I wrote a glowing review of Wallace’s previous book, and I look forward to reading this one as well.
Obama frees drug offenders whose terms ‘didn’t fit crimes’– I think that the criminal justice system has turned into a major issue of injustice that we need to address. I think the President’s calling attention to this is a great thing, regardless of what political stance I and others take. There is gross injustice in inequality of sentencing for drug-related crimes, and there is data to back up that much sentencing is racially-biased. We as Christians must speak up for those treated unjustly, and this is an issue worth talking about. What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them here.
I don’t often weigh in on the political sphere. However, I think there is a lot of misunderstanding over why many Christians are opposed to the HHS Mandate. It is important, first, to know what the HHS mandate is. It is just as important to know why people are opposing it. Even if you oppose its opposition, it is important to know the other side’s reasoning. I’ll keep this as brief as I can.
What is the HHS Mandate?
Simply put, the HHS mandate is a proposed regulation to force Roman Catholic and other organizations to provide services (like paying for abortions or contraceptives) for their employees. In other words, it forces them to pay for services to which they are religiously opposed.
What’s NOT the issue?
The issue here is not whether abortion is right or wrong. The issue is not whether contraception is right or wrong. The issue is not whether any individual ethical decision is right or wrong. One doesn’t need to agree with others on these issues to realize what the actual issue is.
What is the Issue?
The issue with the HHS mandate is that it destroys religious liberty by forcing organizations to pay for services to which they are ethically opposed. Think of it this way: You’re part of a religion which is opposed to doing various drugs. Should it be legal to force you to pay for marijuana for your employees if they desire it?
To explain it even more simply: I am not a Mormon, and I like caffeine well enough. Mormons are opposed to drinking caffeine. I would not try to force them to pay for coca-cola for their employees because this would be a violation of their conscience and religious liberty.
Here’s the key: even though I don’t necessarily agree with the ethical principle, I do agree with allowing for religious liberty and not forcing others to pay for services to which they are opposed religiously.
Analogy: one key battle was the fight over whether certain Native Americans would be allowed to utilize peyote (a drug from a cactus) as part of their religious ceremonies. Though I personally would be against using drugs, I would not oppose the use of such a substance in another’s religious ceremony. Why? Because it would violate their religious liberty.
So what’s the big deal?
Simply put: if the HHS mandate passes, it is the U.S. Government telling certain religious practitioners that although they are religiously opposed to certain services, they will be required to pay for them as a religious organization.
In other words, it is a gross violation of religious liberty. Whether you are Mormon, Catholic, Protestant, atheist, Muslim, or of any other persuasion, you should be against this mandate. One can’t help but think that if we allow such a violation of liberty in this area, it only sets up for violations of liberties in other arenas.