Saturday, February 27, 2010
Perhaps a better title would be something like Don’t Allow the Crusades to be Thoughtlessly Added to a Parade of Christian Horribles without Knowing More about It, but I wanted to get your attention.
Rodney Stark’s God’s Batallions is an outstanding book designed to help the educated reader (not only the academic reader) understand the Crusades. You know the routine. You want to talk about Christianity and the village atheist wonders just how you are getting past the horrors of the Crusades and the Inquisition. This book answers the question with regard to the Crusades. Stark brilliantly explains how the Crusades started, what happened in the course of events, and why they finally ended. All in all, the western church comes off pretty sympathetically. Readers who know Stark find it easy to trust him because he always questions excessive claims and makes sure to back his own assertions up with data..More>>
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Among the many discoveries of NASA’s twenty-year-old Hubble Space Telescope is the true age of the universe: 13.7 billion years. That’s when a titanic, incomprehensibly violent expansion – the Big Bang -- occurred, marking the start of the space, time, and physical laws which govern the cosmos as we see it in today. The Big Bang is the Genesis chapter in our scientific understanding of the physical reality in which we live, observe, and wonder.Now scientists have come another step closer to understanding the creation conditions associated with the Big Bang. At the Brookhaven National Laboratory on New York’s Long Island, physicists have cranked up the 2.4-mile-diameter Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider to create temperatures of 7.2 trillion degrees, or 250,000 times hotter than our Sun’s interior. They did it by smashing gold atoms head-on at speeds approaching the speed of light, generating sub-atomic bubbles 40 times hotter than a supernova. Such temperatures have not been seen since the first microseconds following the Big Bang..More>>
When Selfish Gene author Richard Dawkins challenged physicist John Barrow on his formulation of the constants of nature at last summer’s Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship lectures, Barrow laughed and said, “You have a problem with these ideas, Richard, because you’re not really a scientist. You’re a biologist.”For Barrow, biology is little more than a branch of natural history. “Biologists have a limited, intuitive understanding of complexity. They’re stuck with an inherited conflict from the 19th century, and are only interested in outcomes, in what wins out over others,” he adds. “But outcomes tell you almost nothing about the laws that govern the universe.” For physicists it is the laws of nature themselves that capture and structure the universe—and put brakes on it as well.The 2006 winner of the $1.4 million Templeton Prize for Progress toward Research about Spiritual Realities, Barrow follows a string of renowned physicist winners—including Charles Townes in 2005, John Polkinghorne in 2002, and Freeman Dyson in 2000..More>>
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
A mental experiment: is stopping a fleeing purse-snatcher on a moped with a thrown bicycle an example of legitimate defense, or just target practice? Notice the nice wind-up before the pitch, by the way!
Monday, February 22, 2010
As a former Prot pastor, I have stood at the hospital bed-side of a near-comatose woman. A nurse looked at me smugly and said, "She can't hear you." I began the Our Father, and the outwardly senseless woman chimed right in and prayed along with me. The nurse picked her jaw up out of a bed pan and left the room.
Once upon a time I was called in to a hospital where a man in in his last
minutes. He had a hard death. The old man’s daughter, fallen away,
was very bitter, very angry and she unloaded on God by unloading on me.
I tried to impress on her that he had lived a good life in an earthly way and now
his life would continue, but in another and better way.
She was having nothing of it. She was focused on the bad experience as he was dying.
She eventually fumed "Why did your God do this to him? Make any of us at all if this is what happens?"
I responded: "Why did God make you?"
She paused. The light bulb went on."God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.
"Someone had taken the time to drill that into her, and it was still there.
What had been buried for decades, memorized as a child long before she could "understand" what it meant, was there and ready for her in the moment she needed it.
Yes, I am in favor of children memorizing things..More>>