Hello dear readers! I have put together another list for you to peruse. This week, we’re looking at mosques and churches, using biblical languages in preaching, dealing with aggression in apologetic interactions, the age of the earth based on coral reefs, and “War Room.”
3 Tips for Using Biblical Languages in Preaching– How should pastors make use of that great seminary education and the biblical languages? Well, for one, they should use it big time for research and also doing apologetics. For another, here are some tips about how to use it in preaching in such a way that it won’t go over people’s heads.
The Mosque Denied Today Could Be the Church Denied Tomorrow– When we speak of “religious freedom” we should be aware that that freedom stands or falls for people of different faiths together. That’s why, for example, several Lutheran groups stood with several Native American groups on getting the rights to use various natural drugs in their ceremonies: one day it is trying to make those illegal, the next communion wine might not be served. Here’s a post reflecting on that reality in a time in which a mosque has been denied.
Greg Koukl Explains the Right Way to Deal with an Angry Aggressive Atheist– Unfortunately there are times when people think the way to interact with others is to simply try to “steamroller” them out of the conversation. This doesn’t apply only to angry atheists but can be applied to even theological discussions in which people don’t want to allow for genuine interaction.
Coral reefs are too old to be young!– When we look at the various methods for dating coral reefs, it becomes pretty clear that a Young Earth Creationist understanding of their age cannot hold up under scrutiny.
An Egalitarian War Room Review– I have seen many theological critiques of War Room, from its apparent allowance for people to stay in abusive (verbally) relationships to a kind of God as divine vending machine mentality. Here is one coming at it from the angle of egalitarianism.
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.