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April 15, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Why are their no signs or symbols of the partnership between Jesus and God?

Signs of the Partnership:
What sign(s) do we have that the Olympics have a history? Well we have very similar–but even more profound and moving examples of signs of that partnership.

The sign of that partnership is the fact we have the Bible.
The sign of that partnership is the size and scope of Christianity (that the Gospel message & the spiritual transformation has been so effective since roughly 2000 years ago)
The sign of the daily activity of the church.
The sign of our consciences.
The sign of prayer. Jesus is the conduit of prayer.

These are big symbols played out on a massive, massive global scale. So, for instance the non-partisan Pew Center points out:

A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 2.18 billion Christians of all ages around the world, representing nearly a third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion. Christians are also geographically widespread – so far-flung, in fact, that no single continent or region can indisputably claim to be the center of global Christianity.

Thats incredibly epic!! That size boggles the mind!! And to think that doesn’t take into account generations and generations of Christians that span the time from us back to Jerusalem around AD 30, some almost 2000 years back.

In some sense, the symbols we have are our communication with to that era–due to what they communicated to us.

What if those clear, bold, and EPIC signs aren’t what you were expecting?
So, is God supposed to have a Cross in the sky, sort of ala The Bat Signal? Is that the kind of symbol you are looking for? Is it like a Coca-Cola Ad?

Thats an interesting question….but a bit of an unintentional straw-person. It seems to be an attempt to put God in a human sized box. If I were God, I would expect Him do X. Or perhaps conditioning our faith or belief based on God’s intention to live up to our expectations RE: the minutia of life.

April 15, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Another quick rant against reductive materialism, neo-atheism, hyper-rationality, and the worldview of scientism

If you can present credible, objective, verifiable evidence that your god (a supernatural entity associated with a religion) actually exists, I’ll immediately stop being atheist and join your religion.

Objective and verifiable:
Multiple New Testament Testimonies
Backed up by Historians
Integrated with the Old Testament Prophesies
Reasons given for Creation by design versus Big bang chaos, including the Penrose number and fine tuning, along with the fact we exist in the first place or that the initial bang happened in the first place.
Science, the university, the passion for reason, and the core of modern day ethics (Golden rule, relational ethics, and the family have origins in the Bible)
The best books on leadership were written by Christians or people influenced by the Christian tradition.

Christianity just makes more sense. Why?
The Christian worldview coheres better than the worldview of scientism, which believes in determinism and lack of free choice
The Christian worldview coheres better than the worldview of scientism, because it possits a world that lacks both meaning and purpose (ergo no reason to be here, no reason to do anything).
Scientism unnecessarily sets up false either/or scenarios (aka false dilemmas).
Reduction to physics and chemistry guts what makes us human–its looking for answers in the wrong place. Thats counter-intutive and irrational itself.

Faith Integrates the either/or, which is the superior option:
Faith integrates with science rather than opposes it.
Faith integrates with wisdom, intuition, and emotion rather than opposes it.
Abductive reason & faith are both necessary for the scientific enterprise and for innovation (imagination & brainstorming and trust & relationships in the lab). Eliminating those forms of knowledge or eliminating them as effective reasons for actions fundamentally cuts down human choice (and would cause science to sit at an absolute standstill in terms of discovery)
Faith integrates with brain science (neuroscience & the human condition) because its an integration of reason & emotion. It acknowledges those integrations rather than falsely trying to turn us into robots, animals, or Spocks.
Ultimately, the New-atheism would turn the clock back on all the discoveries of Christians (to whatever extent those Christians were inspired by their Christianity when the going got tough or to whatever extent their Christianity inspired their work from a thinking model–and we’re talking about groups of the most fundamental science and some of our most famous Nobel prize winners). We pretty much wouldn’t have modern computers & other innovations without these discoveries at their present stage–because their work is trans-disciplinary. Nathan Ketsdever’s answer to Science: Who are some notable scientists that believe in the existence of God? (this post probably cites about 200 major scientists including all the links–as well as a number of Nobel Prize winners)

Faith answers where science is fundamentally unable to due to its limits and focus. Asking science to play philosophy effectively is like–you have to have a mediator or sorts that sees things at a different level.

Science even (subtly) acknowledges that it really doesn’t and can’t answer the meaning question (its just not humble to say those words out loud). You have athetists now who realize that science isn’t enough to provide meaning (being anti- and skeptical isn’t exactly a prescription for progress). There are some times when a frame of hope, optimism, and faith are required….there are times when skepticism about certain issues (including skepticism itself are required).

In terms of Christianity. Its core wisdom–its core truths are fundamental. Certainly the notion of testing everything is incredibly utilitarian–but it fundamentally can answer instrinsic question or much about the real lived experience of our interior lives–where things are certainly messy–but vitally, vitally important to who we are as humans–and ironically can’t even answer the questions about abductive reasoning which form the core for innovation and risk-taking in society.

People think when they throw off the principles of ethics they might get a better world somehow–but I fail to see how thats true (given the absolute failure of relativism) along with the primary need for human rights and for justice. And a utilitarian, consequentialist ethic has been throughly thrashed as irrational in anything but public policy. You’ve got to have love and nurturing–so-called feminine virtues….which science hasn’t always been kind to (which is why it took till almost 2000 for work around emotional intelligence to emerge).

Conclusion: A Call for the Future:
Most scientists are probably humble enough to realize that we vitally need an integration of emotion and reason to live human lives–to borrow from the intuitive and imaginative as a fundamental pre-condition to achieve innovation, discovery, and progress. It wasn’t cold rationality that caused JFK to set in motion our trip to the moon…..nor was it cold rationality that cause Steve Jobs to take a leap of faith at multiple times in his career to venture forth and be different (by the way, in the Think Different ads, I think you’ll notice that the people in the video played on both sides of the brain. In fact, Saatchi and Saatchi probably weren’t cold and calculating either–my guess is they were a bit on the creative side. It was the value, purpose, mission, and story that put Apple at the fore-front. It was the creative design fused with engineering which made them the best company of all time. For those who follow the worldview of scientism to abandon those who push society forward with their
1) risk taking
2) innovation & creativity & brain storming
3) leadership and relations with emotional intelligence
4) inspiring & encouraging & uplifting
5) dealing ethically
6) providing accountability via ethics and emotion
7) creating a virtuous society rather than a chaotic one
8) purpose, meaning, and personality

Its only by integrating our universities….(subject-wise….and end up with T-shaped people like IDEO & the Stanford D-school believes in)
Its only by integrating out minds…..(rationality& emotion)
Its only by integrating our teams……(that we get multi-dimentional teams & multi-perspective teams)
Its only by breaking down the barriers between the sciences and everything else–that the free flow of information & the hegelian dialectic & progress can really take place.

PS. This essay brought to you by the left and right sides of my brain.

April 7, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Three quotes on the interaction between science and religion

“Science is the only reliable way to understand the natural world. But science is powerless to answer questions such as ‘Why did the universe come into being? What is the meaning of human existence? What happens after we die?”
Francis Collins

“Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but they look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided. Neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect.”
Physicist Freeman Dyson

“Science and religion have different purposes, different limitations, different modes of action. But they are both part of every culture and every person. They need to exist in some vital and healthy whole in which each is integral. This means not simply a tacit agreement to ignore each other but open interchange between them with all the possibilities of mutual growth and transformation that entails.”
Robert Bellah

April 5, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Quotes from “A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature”

Quotes from “A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature”

Beauty, Design, & Complexity of the Rose
“Time and again, against the notion that nature is randomly ordered and hence ultimately meaningless and unintelligible, we find beauty, intelligibility and being entwined throughout nature. Entwining is not quite the right word, however, for these aspects really aren’t separate to begin with, though we can mentally separate them, in abstraction. The elegant beauty of a rose, for example, isn’t something added to the plant; the rose is beautiful in the fullest sense, from surface to microscopic depth. The beauty, and the beautiful intelligibility, of the flower–its identifiable form and color, its layers of integrated cellular and molecular structure, its ultimate chemical constitution–is not something added to or extrinsic to the flower; it is the flower. And the is-ness, or being, of the rose is meaningful to us insofar as we know it, to whatever degree we have penetrated its intelligible order, layer by layer, and understand how it is that the underlying layers of complexity culminate in a rose.”
“In other words, a rose is most meaningful to us when we understand it as a kind of dramatic culmination, one possible only because all these layers of complexity are integrated by and toward the whole, brought into harmony in and by the living form itself. Understanding how the elements or parts are brought together harmoniously in the whole is a central goal of science to which the analysis of the whole to its parts is a mere handmaid.”

Defines humanity and its experience out of existence
“Materialist reduction does not only drain meaning from our zoological classifications; in its rejection of the living organism as real, it drains meaning from the very word life, damaging our language and thought, including the language and thought of scientists and science….
“Its important to keep all of this in mind when trying to grasp the far-reaching significance of the reductionist program, for if all is but a bump and grind of subatomic relationship, then the ontological status of the very being of our experience–and, consequently, the language that is largely based on them–are undermined. If organisms are not real–if cats, dogs, trees and humans are really the accidental accretion of genotypic traits–then the substantive nouns referring to them are merely human constructs…”

Structuralism critiques materialism:
According to structuralism, the parts exist not merely as historical aftereffects of the unpurposed association of yet-smaller material parts, but as recongizable functional entities understood in light of the living whole to which they belong. One of the reasons the structuralist rejection of reductionism is that, contra Charles Darwin, there are great leaps in nature, beginning with the great leap between nonliving and living things.”

“These things, existing as unified beings, can be subject of unified self-directing acts–acts not reducible to genetic epiphenomena–so that ascribing action to them through verbs (i.e. predication) is to mean something about our world.” (other parts of speech do the same thing)

“I’ve been to a lot of parties but I’ve never met the number 7.” (philosophers quip)

“Its one thing to accept the universe as ordered; but ordered in a way that human beings are capable of understanding is an extraordinary thing.”
Paul Davies

April 4, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

A couple random thoughts on combining virtue ethics and deontology

3 Part Ethics: Intent, Means, Ends (consequentially or telos)

Intent and heart can capture consequentialist aims.
–(nothing good except the good will)

Act Versus Rule Utilitarianism

Categorical Imperative
Hypothetical Imperative

Kant and Virtue Ethics/Kant and Aristotle

Super simple ethical breakdown (link)

April 2, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Christianity, Atheism, and Families

However, Christianity makes more sense of babies and families as well as love and relationships and community than an atheist or naturalist or physicalist worldview would.

1) Family has meaning in a Christian worldview….in an atheist worldview it has almost none. Divorce is only wrong to the
2) The wonder of the baby is lost. The choices that the baby makes as it grows and develops are lost. Its innocence is lost too.
3) No choice. no meaning. no purpose or goal, beyond survival and sex. Its a hyper-reductionist version of the complex creatures that humans are.

When families lives weave together its a beautiful and wonderful thing….no chemistry equation or experiment or spreadsheet can come close to capturing that beauty, wonder, and purpose.

March 30, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Best Social Entrepreneur Speeches and Keynotes on Poverty and Social Change

Bono:
• The Good News on Poverty (Yes, There is Good News) TED Talk (link)

Bill Gates (multiple)
• Innovating to Zero (link)
• Teachers Need Real Feedback (link)

Melinda Gates
• What Nonprofits Can Learn from Coca Cola (link)

Jessica Jackley
• Poverty, Money, and Love (link)

Other Social Entrepreneurs:
Steve Jobs
• How to Live Before You Die–Graduation Speech at Stanford University (link)

Ken Robinson
• How to Escape Education’s Death Valley (link)
• How Schools Kill Creativity (link)

Geoffry Canada:
• Our Failing Schools, Enough is Enough (link)

Sheryl Sandberg
• Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders (link)

Jamie Oliver
• Teach Every Kid About Food (link)

Core Principles for Social Entrepreneurs:
Seth Godin (multiple)

Why? Simon Sinek
• How Great Leaders Inspire Action (link)

The Pursuit of Justice (link)

The Quest to End Poverty (link)

Social Good Inc (link)

Inspirational (link)

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