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Chuck Bearden
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Chuck Bearden

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Around the world there are a total of 7,102 known languages, of this gargantuan amount twenty-three remain popular enough to be considered…
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“Zantovsky’s book is not primarily about Havel’s thought, though it gives an expert and reliable account of the principles that guided his thought and action. Its treatment of his seminal 1978 essay ‘The Power of the Powerless’ is superb. Havel’s genius was to locate the specific features of the ‘post-totalitarian regime’—ideological to the core but no longer relying on mass violence in the manner of a classic Leninist-Stalinist regime. Like Solzhenitsyn before him, Havel saw the ideological lie as the glue holding together a totalitarian or post-totalitarian regime. The green grocer who thoughtlessly raised the sign ‘Workers of the World Unite’ above his produce stand was ‘ritualistically’ reinforcing the hold that the regime of the lie had on human souls. The spiritual decision ‘to live in truth’ could break the lie’s ritualistic stranglehold and open up a space for personal integrity, human rights, and even a nascent civil society. The ‘power of the powerless’ lay precisely in the ability of truth to break through the ‘automatism’ of the lie.”
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In my exhaustive research for today's comic, I read that John Steinbeck often signed his books with a drawing of the Pigasus, a mythical flying pig. He also included the Latin motto "Ad astra per alas porci": "To the stars o...
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“I have my (now more libertarian) social views, which I express in social media and elsewhere but I am constrained as a minister not to seek to use my office to achieve my social goals (to be left alone). This is not to say that the Christian faith has no social implications. It does but I am not free to use the pulpit or the congregational prayer to impose my social views on the congregation. When it comes to social issues, like everyone else I must compete in the marketplace of ideas, I may persuade but I may not claim the sanction of the Christian faith or the authority of the Christian church for my interpretation of current events. The history of the church is clear. It is not possible to harness the Christian faith or Christ to some social agenda without imperiling the fundamental message, doctrines, and practice of the church. Such a harnessing has always threatened the mission of the church: the pure preaching of the gospel of free acceptance with God by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone; the pure administration of the sacraments, and the use of church discipline.”
– R. Scott Clark
Like Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834) before him, Rauschenbusch's Pietism had not equipped him to address the challenges before him. Like Schleiermacher, Rauschenbusch turned to the liberals fo...
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Difficult (for me) to see the obvious take-away (don't corrupt the pulpit with politics) and not feel concern about the other side of the coin (a changed heart will care about victims).

Side A: don't say (from the pulpit) "thou shalt not have an abortion"

Side B: changed hearts will care about unborn children and their parents

A watered-down gospel easily accomplishes "A".
A genuine Gospel leads to "B".
Gotta be tough for a pastor to preach what leads to "B" and still restrain himself w/r/t "A".

You won't hear this in the media ... won't get it from either side.
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Electron microscope video of phonograph needle in an LP groove. About 1/400 actual speed. Captured via Tektronix MDO3000 oscilloscope.

This video was made via the "stop motion" animation technique.  I moved the LP by 50 microns at a time, and captured a frame after each move. The setup inside the microscope was made possible by the fact that there are two separate stages with their own motion controls. I fixed the needle to one stage and the LP to the other so that I could get both parts into the frame at a good angle.
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During the Civil War, British Presbyterian biblical scholars told their southern American colleagues who supported slavery that they were reading the Scriptural texts through cultural blinders. They wanted to find evidence for their views in the Bible and voila — they found it. If no Christian reading the Bible — across diverse cultures and times — ever previously discovered support for same-sex relationships in the Bible until today, it is hard not to wonder if many now have new cultural spectacles on, having a strong predisposition to find in these texts evidence for the views they already hold.

What are those cultural spectacles? The reason that homosexual relationships make so much more sense to people today than in previous times is because they have absorbed late modern western culture’s narratives about the human life. Our society presses its members to believe “you have to be yourself,” that sexual desires are crucial to personal identity, that any curbing of strong sexual desires leads to psychological damage, and that individuals should be free to live as they alone see fit.

– Tim Keller, The Bible and same sex relationships: A review article
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Chuck Bearden

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David Koch & Dick Cheney supported SSM before Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama did. You learn something new every day.
The Supreme Court on Friday struck down state bans on same-sex marriage, bringing the United States one step closer to the freedom-loving utopia envisioned by right-leaning philanthropy baron David
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“When the New York Times columnist Ross Douthat asked the comedian Bill Maher to locate the source of human rights, he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘It’s in the laws of common sense.’”

“Unable to make sense — as Alasdair MacIntyre says — of the mutilated philosophical traditions that once gave our now everyday language its meaning, we curl up into our little corner of history and — fingers crossed behind our backs — resort to wishful assertions. As a classic sentimental nihilist, Stephen Fry, says: ‘I know that lies will always fail and indecency and intolerance will always perish.’ Really? On what evidence?”

“Far more likely to perish, unfortunately, is the ‘open society’. As the philosopher Leszek Kolakowski wrote: ‘the extension and consistent application of liberal principles transforms them into their antithesis . . . [A]mong the dangers threatening the pluralist society from within . . . what seems to bode most ill is the weakening of the psychological preparedness to defend it.’ Perhaps he had in mind Bertrand Russell’s boast ‘I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong’, which is today echoed by Ricky Gervais: ‘We have nothing to die for. We have everything to live for.’ Will history be kind enough to let us get by on that alone?”
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Finally, it seems to me that there is one respect in which Darwin's dangerous idea is vastly more dangerous than Dennett realizes. According to Richard Rorty,

 “The idea that one species of organism is, unlike all the others, oriented not just toward its own increased prosperity but toward Truth, is as un-Darwinian as the idea that every human being has a built-in moral compass–a conscience that swings free of both social history and individual luck.”

Rorty's pronouncements do not always inspire maximum confidence, but here he seems to be on to something (although like Dennett he fails to see the real danger here). He says that two ideas are un-Darwinian: that we have a mind oriented towards the Truth and a conscience that puts us in touch with right and wrong.

– Alvin Plantinga
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The invocation of "states rights" among those waving the Confederate flag while fighting for the evils of slavery and segregation has been devastating to the cause of limited government.

Not only were the institutions themselves an affront to liberty, but in fighting to defeat the institutions, the federal government claimed more power. And to this day, when any conservative tries to make a principled argument in favor of returning more power to the states, they have to grapple with the fact that for many Americans, such arguments are tainted by their historical association with slavery and segregation.
The tragic massacre at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., has re-ignited the debate over the legacy and meaning of the Confederate battle flag, which still flies on the grounds of the state capitol. I'll shelve the separate discussion over the relevance of the flag to the motivations of Dylann Roof, the prime suspect in the fatal mass shooting, and focus on a different point: why conservatives should hate...
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One for Kinch, that fearful Jesuit.
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“If identity is a matter of psychological conviction and can override and even directly contradict biology, then we have no basis to privilege the soft biology of race over the much more significant biology of sex.”
– Carl Trueman
The Rachel Dolezal case raises obvious questions about identity but do not expect the bien pensants . . . .
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