Amid the liberal press’ opinings about the failed Bush strategy in Iraq comes a NYT Op-Ed entitled A War We Just Might Win, which outlines the recent real advances in Iraq. Should we stay? Can we see a free Iraq before pulling out? Time will tell, but the recent shift of Iraqi opinion AWAY from Al Quaida and the Salafists may indicate a chance for success. The growing unity of non-terrorist Islamists can also be seen in the celebrations over the recent Iraqi Asian Cup win (NPR).
A major factor in the sudden change in American fortunes has been
the outpouring of popular animus against Al Qaeda and other Salafist
groups, as well as (to a lesser extent) against Moktada al-Sadrís Mahdi
These groups have tried to impose Shariah law, brutalized
average Iraqis to keep them in line, killed important local leaders and
seized young women to marry off to their loyalists. The result has been
that in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists
and turn to the Americans for security and help. The most important and
best-known example of this is in Anbar Province, which in less than six
months has gone from the worst part of Iraq to the best (outside the
Kurdish areas). Today the Sunni sheiks there are close to crippling Al
Qaeda and its Salafist allies. Just a few months ago, American marines
were fighting for every yard of Ramadi; last week we strolled down its
streets without body armor.
Joe Carter has posted an interesting reflection on lessons learned from the Iraq war. It’s a pessimistic rant on the character of US foreign policy, and not what you expect. I’ve summarized his main points below, but go read the entire article, it’s good.
The NYT had an interesting analysis (in 2004, old news now relevant) of the Bush and Kerry bumper stickers, and how the Bush ones communicated strength, movement, and confidence, while the Kerry ones communicated the opposite. Check it out. Also, check out the current spate of stickers, as well as those from history.
I’d say Hillary has a strong one, while Obama’s font is a little thin, and Edwards’ is just plain weak. I think McCain and Rudy have simple, strong stickers (though McCain’s font is a little thin), and Bill Richardson and Hillary both have dynamic swishes that indicate movement (though Richardson’s star is a little stronger). Neato.
What do you do if your children are all of the same gender (e.g. female) and you want one of the other gender (e.g. male)? What you are seeking to do is called "family balancing." You could use a "natural" method, which includes adjusting your diet, monitoring vaginal temperature, secretions, and the calendar for correct timing of intercourse, and special vaginal douches to adjust the pH. Or you could use more advanced technologies. But do these technologies, or even sex selection itself, pose ethical and moral dilemmas?
If there ever really was a debate about the differences between Islam and Christianity, it should now be ended. Islamic jihadist in Afghanistan have kidnapped 23 South Korean Christians. While the followers of “the religion of peace” have already killed at least one hostage, the South Korean’s were there to volunteer in the hospitals and do humanitarian work. But of course, the Christians are the ones to blame and who should stop their behavior.
It’s not just Christians pushing for modesty as a virtue that young and old should practice. Twenty-something Jewish author Wendy Shalit has just released her new title, Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It’s Not Bad to Be Good.
Challies.com has a nice review of the book.
As previously discussed, Christian (and Jewish) modesty are dissimilar to the Islamic suppression we see in such things as the forced wearing of the burqa. Anti-modesty forces like to try to throw the modesty out with the burqa, errantly thinking that they are the same thing. It’s a good thing virtues never really stop being good for you, even when they do go out of style.
Darwinists hate the common association of their pet theory with eugenics, not to mention it’s role in giving scientific validation to Nazi eugenics. But the historical connections are unavoidable. (BTW, the same goes for the eugenic roots of the murderous Planned Parenthood).
Take, for example, the textbook that gave rise to the infamous Scopes trial, A Civic Biology: Presented in Problems (1914). This textbook that led to allowing the teaching of evolution as science was also blatantly racist.
Near death experiences (NDEs) are highly subjective, but longtime death and dying expert Elizabeth Kubler-Ross co-authored a nice survey of many NDEs, and summarizes the commonalities. Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon–Survival of Bodily Death is a very interesting study.
Also, the co-author wrote a follow-up book of Reflections On Life After Life: More Important Discoveries In The Ongoing Investigation Of Survival Of Life After Bodily Death.
Howard Storm, UC Berkeley graduate and professor of arts at Northern Kentucky University, was a long-time atheist. That is, until he nearly died and found himself heading for hell.
The fog thickened as they went on, and it became gradually darker. Overwhelmed with hopelessness, he told them he would go no farther and that they were liars. He could feel their breath on him as they shouted and snarled insults. Then they began to push and shove him about, and he began to fight back. A wild frenzy of taunting, screaming and hitting ensued. As he swung and kicked at them, they bit him.
Even though he couldn’t see anything in the darkness, he was aware there were dozens or hundreds of them all around and over him and that his attempts to fight back only provoked greater merriment. They began to tear off pieces of his flesh, and he realized that he was being taken apart and eaten alive, methodically, slowly, so that their entertainment would last as long as possible. In that wretched state he lay there in the darkness.
These types of things have been around for a while in various places, but a new line of toys from One2believe will be carried by Walmart. More Jesus junk! They look kinda cheap – I mean, can they stand real use? We’ll see, I’m sure I’ll be getting some for the kids. I think I’d rather have Biker Jesus.
In Part I, we examined the TSNT translation of NT passages that deal with homosexuality. We discussed why this supposedly "gay-friendly" translation doesn’t seem that friendly, and why it may be a translation based on a hermeneutic of common Greek usage, while not considering the theological culture and history of the writer (the Apostle Paul). Today, we look at the infamous passage in Romans 1 (previously discussed here).
A recent study challenges the conventional wisdom that going off to college results in students leaving their faith. Researchers at The University of Texas found that those who never went to college had the highest rates of decline in church attendance (76.2 percent), diminished importance placed on religion (23.7 percent), and disaffiliation from religion (20.3 percent), while those who obtain a bachelor’s degree had the smallest drop in all three categories.
Specifically, 19% of Evangelical Protestant young adults report a decline of importance of religion, while 62% admit a decline in church attendance. It appears that students still see the value of their faith after college life, but American individualism has led them to under appreciate the importance of practicing their faith with others.
I just reported on the Study New Testament for Lesbians, Gays, Bi, and Transgender, but this bible doesn't seem to destigmatize homosexuality in its translation of the NT – except that it doesn't use the term "homosexual." And I must say, its interpretation of the passages, supposedly using the most up to date understanding of ancient Greek, seems to interpret a lot more than it translates.
Books such as Daniel A. Helminiak‘s What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality have promoted a pro-gay interpretation of both the OT and NT passages that deal with homosexuality. In general, they take an approach that says (a) that only homosexual (temple) prostitution, and rape are condemned, but not homosexuality proper, (b) that homosexual orientation was not understood or addressed, and (c) that the gospels do not record Jesus ever condemning homosexuality. Of course, there are many credible responses to these claims.
However, one NT scholar, Ann Nyland, has taken this more liberal hermeneutic to heart, and has produced a "gay-friendly, woman-friendly" NT translation called The Source New Testament (TSNT). You can purchase it at the publisher (out of print until end of July) or purchase in PDF at gayandlesbianbible.com, and you can read an interview with Nyland at Better Bibles Blog, as well as an interview at gayandlesbianbible.com.