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January 15, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Assumptions of our modern political and legal structures

Legal prohibitions work
Norms work
Incentives work
Top-down legal structures work
Rights and security must be balanced (in limited cases of procedural rights, rights are often treated as trumps)
The problems of government are outweighed by the needs of the community
Pure democracy doesn’t work. Representation is better.
Checks and balances are good and create accountability
Power should be distributed (separation of powers, etc..)
Education is the basis for democracy and representative democracy
The press can help keep the government accountable.
Politicians are generally good
People are generally good.

Here are a couple other jumping off points for reflection:
What are the assumptions of public policy?
What are the assumptions of (modern/enlightenment) political philosophy/political theory?
What are the assumptions of (modern) organizational theory?

January 13, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Best quotes on Acedia, Lethargy, and Inaction

Acedia . . . is a profound withdrawal into self. Action is no longer perceived as a gift of oneself, as the response to a prior love that calls us. . . . It is seen instead as an uninhibited seeking of personal satisfaction in the fear of “losing” something. The desire to save one’s “freedom” at any price reveals, in reality, a deeper enslavement to the “self.” There is no longer any room for an abandonment . . . to the other or for the joy of gift; what remains is sadness or bitterness within the one who distances himself from the community and who, being separated from others, finds himself likewise separated from God.

— Jean-Charles Nault, OSB

Most of us want to be safe. We want to find a cocoon, a spiritually, psychologically, economically, and physically gated community in which to live without danger and disturbance. The care-free life, a life a-cedia, is our cultural ideal.

— R.R. Reno

When used in the moral sense, the person seized by acedia is the affect-less individual, the one incapable of investment or commitment, a person who cannot get deeply involved in any cause or relationship. . . . Sloth as moral apathy is what hinders a person from pursuing that which is good. It is a refusal to seek the good because it is difficult and demanding.

— Kenneth R. Himes, OFM

Sloth is a type of escapism, an evasion of responsibility. It comes down to a form of “practical atheism”. . . . What is at stake [whether in] pride or slothfulness is a negation of appropriate humility; a denial of relationality and community; a quest for self-sufficiency that, in the case of sloth, involves too thoroughgoing an adsorption in the views and evaluations of others. . . .

— Jean Bethke Eishtain

The vice of noninvolvement is said to be endemic in the Western world. The acedias is a person without commitment, who lives in a world characterized by mobility, passive entertainment, self-indulgence, and the effective denial of the validity of any external claim. . . . Sometimes [acedia] is identified with sloth or idleness, but that is only the external face of an attitude marked by chronic withdrawal from reality into the more comfortable zone of uncommitted and free-floating fantasy. The temptation to acedia is an invitation to abandon involvement and leave the pangs of creativity to others.

— Michael Casey, OCSO

We may say this of the face of Sloth: . . . it is the face of those . . . in whom the sap seems never to have arisen.

— Henry Fairlie

It is not at all clear that these three features of modern society—fun industries, fashions, and celebrity cult—banish boredom. Analogy with aspirin is appropriate: high dosage means not the absence but the presence of pain.

— Orrin E. Klapp

The peace we can aspire to is not a harmonious peace of the grave, nor a submissive peace of the slave, but a hardworking peace of the brave.

— William Ury

The original quotes are here.

January 12, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Can We Truth the Bible? Is the Bible Historically, Culturally, and Personally Reliable? by Tim Keller

January 12, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

The Best Purpose Driven Life quotes by Rick Warren

“Resentment always hurts you more than it does the person you resent. While your offender has probably forgotten the offense and gone on with life, you continue to stew in your pain, perpetuating the past. Listen: those who hurt you in the past cannot continue to hurt you now unless you hold on to the pain through resentment. Your past is past! Nothing will change it. You are only hurting yourself with your bitterness. For your own sake, learn from it, and then let it go.”

Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

“If not to God, you will surrender to the opinions or expectations of others, to money, to resentment, to fear, or to your own pride, lusts, or ego. You were designed to worship God and if you fail to worship Him, you will create other things (idols) to give your life to. You are free to choose, what you surrender to but you are not free from the consequence of that choice.”

Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

“Why is this happening to me? Why am I having such a difficult time? One answer is that life is supposed to be difficult! It’s what enables us to grow. Remember, earth is not heaven!”

Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

“We’re not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be! Earth is not our final home; we were created for something much better.”

Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

“Your value is not determined by your valuables, and God says the most valuable things in life are not things!”

Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

“Life minus love equals zero.”

Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

January 12, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Rick Warrens “Purpose Driven Life” Review

People consciously and unconsciously seek out their purpose in life. They want their lives to have meaning and purpose—they want them to have impact and significance. And as we grow older and contemplate the reality of our temporary time here on earth these questions get ever more present, ever more real.

We reflect on our time on earth and we want to connect with something real, authentic. We want to connect with the genuine and the truthful and genuine compassion, joy, and love. We want the virtuous fruits to grow in our friendships and communities and ultimately in our own lives. We want to be that person of character who will sacrifice not only for their kids and family but also for their neighbors, community, and even nation.

Day by day we get to make the decision of which type of life we are living. Or in the words which story we think we are living in. Is this all about us? Or is there something more going on here?

This is in some sense the question that Rick Warren addresses in the Purpose Driven Life.

Its an important one, because a materialist, naturalist approach to reality doesn’t provide an ultimate purpose to humanity or to our role here on earth. From that philosophical viewpoint: We’re here and then we die. Our universe was an accident. It doesn’t recognize that bigger story—that bigger passion—or the ultimate value of humanity. Naturalistic science hits zero for three on these questions. As such, as a worldview it begins to look like a dead end of sorts.

Reading Rick’s book can help you find your purpose and understand what the human purpose is. If you study and reflect, Rick’s book can help you find your BIG WHY…the thing that Simon Sinek talks about as being so important in both life and business. Rick helps provide a groundwork and basis for understanding those questions—or at least a framework to help navigate those issues. In that sense it is a vitally important read for anyone who cares about their purpose, meaning, and the significance their life will ultimately have.

You can read the first chapter of The Purpose Driven Life by clicking here.

January 7, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Approaches and Methods in Christian Apologetics

  1. Method and means is almost more important than the Truth.  Both are vitally important to communication and persuasion.
  2. The incarnational experience of Christian community is powerful.  That gives us a duty.
  3. “Jesus was asked 187 questions.  He asked almost twice that many questions.” ***
  4. (9:20 to 10:00)  “Those messages changed everything for me.  Seeing God’s fingerprints.  I wanted everybody to hear this.  I sent the messages to friends.  Suddenly I wanted everyone I know to hear this….Not too much later [I became a Christian.” (see below)
  5. He speaks to 4 places in Isaiah. (specificallyIsaiah 44:6-8,Isaiah 45:21-22–although I think he’s getting it specifically from the Dead Sea Scroll version) (NIV & NASB are very close)
  6. Parable of the Elephant.
  7. He walks through his method in relation to the Parable of the Elephant and links it with Jesus.
  8. Speak to the head and speak to the heart.  Explaining the heart of God (its in Isaiah).
  9. Saved = To be Set Right with God.
  10. Predictive prophecy is the way we will know.  About 100 through 39 books in OT.
  11. People can’t intentionally fulfill where you grow up, etc..
  12. Isaiah chapter 9:1-6.  He quotes primarily from 6: “For to us a child is born,
        to us a son is given,
        and the government will be on his shoulders.
    And he will be called
        Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
        Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The videos I believe he’s referring to are available here

[they have 700+ sermons from Gateway on their Vimeo video channel]

This is from John Burke, who is a Christian apologist.

January 6, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

10 Critiques of Miller-Urey Experiments : Abiogenesis, Primordial Soup, and Origin of Life Theory Reviewed and Refuted

That’s about the only good news astrobiologists can expect, though, because all the old criticisms of the Miller experiment by Jonathan Wells still apply:

(1) They still used the wrong gasses: methane, ammonia, and water vapor. For decades, geochemists have not considered it likely these gasses were abundant in the early Earth atmosphere.

(2) They still ignored the presence of oxygen, which destroys the desired products. Wells explained that oxygen was likely abundant due to photodissociation of water in the atmosphere. The oxygen would remain, while the hydrogen would quickly escape to space.

(3) Even if trace amounts of ammonia or methane and other reducing gasses were present, they would have been rapidly destroyed by ultraviolet radiation.

(4) No amino acids have been generated in spark-discharge experiments using a realistic atmosphere of nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water vapor, even in the absence of oxygen.

To this we could add more problems:

(5) The amino acids produced were racemic (mixtures of left- and right-handed forms). Except in rare exceptions, life uses only the left-handed form. Astrobiologists need to explain how the first replicator isolated one hand out of the mixture, or obtained function from mixed-form amino acids initially, then converted to single-handed forms later. Neither is plausible for unguided natural processes — especially when natural selection would be unavailable until accurate replication was achieved.

(6) Undesirable cross-reactions with other products would generate tar, destroying the amino acids. Only by isolating the desired products (a form of investigator interference — one might call it intelligent design) could they claim partial success.

(7) Amino acids tend to fall apart in water, not join. Under the best conditions with cyanamide, Bada and Parker only got dipeptides. Repeated cycles of wetting and drying would need to be imagined for polymerization, but many astrobiologists today think life originated at deep sea hydrothermal vents.

(8) The desired reagents would be extremely dilute in the oceans without plausible concentrating mechanisms. Even then, they would disperse without plausible vessels, like cell membranes, to keep them in proximity.

(9) Lifeless polypeptides would go nowhere without a genetic code to direct them.

(10) The Miller experiments cannot speak to the origin of other complex molecules needed by life: nucleic acids, sugars, and lipids. Some of these require vastly different conditions than pictured for amino acid synthesis: e.g., a desert environment with boron for the synthesis of ribose (essential for RNA).

You can learn more both here and here.  The later can help provide context, depth, and explanation for the quick overviews provided above.

If you want to want to go even deeper, I would suggest watching the following from ARN: Abiogenesis: The Faith and the Facts