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Web Exclusive | Salvo 45

Saving Truth on Human Sexuality

How Does Christianity Differ from Other Religions On Homosexuality? It's Probably Not How You Think by Terrell Clemmons

. . . "Sorry if this is off topic," the young woman stammered into the microphone, "but, um, I've searched for answers and I can't seem to find any, so I thought I'd come tonight and ask you guys. Where does Christianity, if it does at all, differ on homosexuality as opposed to other religions, and if so, how?" Her quivering lips and trembling hands revealed the magnitude of struggle it had taken just to voice the question. The auditorium fell silent as all eyes turned to Abdu Murray, who had just taken part in a university open forum on major world religions. . . . "There are only so many worldviews to choose from," he began. And none of them would provide an answer that unconditionally validates her humanity. None, that is, except for one. But before getting to that one, he surveyed the others. . . . ►►►

Feature: Headquarters | Salvo 44

Grounded Faith

Sinking Roots for Youth Ministry in an Age of Advanced Skepticism by Terrell Clemmons

. . . Millennials are the first generation of Americans to grow up in a culture where skepticism is the default setting. Their parents may have accepted "because my church says so," but they're not buying that. And really, why should they? Instead of aiming for "sticky faith" then, what parents and leaders need to work toward is a grounded faith. And in an environment of default skepticism, this will require beginning at the beginning: Does God exist? . . . ►►►

Feature: Headquarters | Salvo 45

The Lights by Which We See

Science Is Knowledge by Reasonable Faith by Regis Nicoll

. . . The materialist operates on the belief that "nature is all there is," that no supernatural or noumenal world exists. The word "belief" signifies something that is not scientifically proven. In fact, this foundational assumption is neither scientifically proven nor provable because, given that only natural explanations are allowed, materialistic science depends on the very premise it is trying to demonstrate. Thus, like all worldviews, scientific materialism is founded on a faith statement. But faith is not limited to materialism's foundation; it forms part of the ideology's superstructure as well. . . . ►►►

Department: Home Front | Salvo 34

Girl Watching

Raising Daughters in Troubled Times by Marcia Segelstein

. . . Another phenomenon of living in a cyber world is what columnist Clive Thompson calls "microcelebrity." Teenage girls getting ready for a party "make sure they're dressed for their close-up," he wrote in Wired magazine. They know there will be photos and that those photos will be posted online. The danger, says Sax, is that girls who get caught up in what he calls the "cyberbubble" will find it hard "to know where they came from, where they are, and where they want to go." Overly concerned about the image they present to the world, they won't feel at home with who they are. In fact, Sax worries that the result of early sexualization and excessive use of social media is that girls may not know who they really are. . . . ►►►

Feature | Salvo 37

You Gotta Believe

Atheist or Not, You Already Have More Faith Than You Realize by James S. Spiegel

. . . You might say that your belief in the reliability of your senses is an article of faith. After all, it is something that you hold to be true without conclusive proof. Moreover, it is a conviction that has practical consequences for every moment of your waking life. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you conduct yourself according to this conviction that your senses are reliable. In short, you devoutly trust your senses. This is just one of the ways that all of us live by faith, regardless of what our particular worldviews happen to be. There are many other unprovable beliefs that we all share. Faith, it seems, is not really an option but is fundamental to the human condition. . . . ►►►

Department: Opening Salvo | Salvo 29

All Played Out

The Unsavory Legacy of Porn by James M. Kushiner

. . . I don't miss the Playboy Building with its 9-foot sign looking down on Michigan Avenue. As I passed by the various doctor's offices at the other former "Playboy Building," now busy with people coming to find out why their bodies aren't working properly and what can be done to heal them, I kept wondering what will it take for our cultural leaders to admit that the sexual revolution didn't work. The destruction of "ancient taboos and biblical morality" has led to disaster: broken homes, fatherless children (like Dorothy Stratten), abortion, venereal diseases, and sexual addictions—would any society flourish by promoting the underlying causes of such afflictions? . . . ►►►

Department: Reconnaissance | Salvo 32

To Those Who Wait

You Can't Have It All by Mark Oshinskie

. . . Perhaps most fundamentally, the willingness to postpone conception until one's late thirties is based on the culturally encouraged but mistaken notion that women and men are equal in all ways, including biologically. Laws and cultural messages can foster notions of gender equality, but biology does not conform to these notions. Though it seems paradoxical to say it—perhaps because they were so widely touted as boons to women—synthetic birth control and abortion have placed women at a great disadvantage relative to men. . . . ►►►

Department: Basic Training | Salvo 41

Improbably So

Fine-Tuning Is Unlikely, but Unlikely Things Happen All the Time by Tim Barnett

. . . This response may have some rhetorical force, but it makes a fundamental mistake. To expose the error, let me give you another illustration. Imagine your best friend has been murdered and the lead suspect is on trial. In fact, DNA evidence puts the suspect at the scene with the murder weapon in hand. As a result, the defense attorney turns to the jury and says, "The DNA evidence makes it highly unlikely that my client is innocent. But unlikely things happen all the time. For example, for you to exist, your mom and dad had to meet, fall in love, and have sex at just the right time. . . . Would any jury accept this response? I think we would have to say no. But why wouldn't they accept it? It is because there is a better explanation; namely, that the suspect really is the killer. . . . ►►►

Feature | Salvo 41

Eye Openers

Eight Common Factors for Atheists Changing Their Minds About God by Matt Nelson

. . . The factors that lead to faith are diverse, and every former atheist has walked a unique path to God. When Cardinal Ratzinger was once asked how many ways there are to God, he replied, "As many ways as there are people. For even within the same faith each man's way is an entirely personal one." Of course, the future pope was not endorsing the view that "all religions are equal" but rather that there seems to be a unique combination of factors, or steps, that moves each convert towards belief in God. . . . ►►►

Feature | Salvo 36

ETI In the Sky

What the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life Means for Us by Hugh Ross

. . . Whereas previous generations of astronomers lacked the telescope power needed to detect operating Dyson spheres, today's astronomers possess that capability. Four Swedish astronomers noticed that if Dyson spheres surrounded a large number of stars in a galaxy, both the apparent luminosity and the color of those stars, as seen from Earth, would change, while the galaxy's gravitational potential would remain unchanged.3 The team proceeded to search for records of such changes in the latest galaxy survey databases. But out of a sample of 1,359 spiral galaxies searched (only spiral galaxies are candidates for hosting advanced life4), the team failed to detect the existence of a single Kardashev III-level civilization. I am sorry to disappoint Stars Wars fans (or Star Trek fans), but apparently there is no faraway galaxy hosting a confederation of intelligent civilizations on thousands of planets. . . . ►►►

Department: Logistics | Salvo 42

God & the Gaps

A Response to Data-Free Models for Origins by Hugh Ross

. . . By resting their case for nonbelief on Christians' inability to refute every imaginable non-empirical (non-evidence-based) hypothesis for our universe and life, some nontheists present us with an impossible challenge. What they demand would require complete knowledge not only of the physical universe but also of everything that could conceivably exist beyond the universe. The problem here is obvious. Given that our powers of investigation are constrained by the space-time dimensions of the cosmos, no human mind nor any device created by human minds can ever assemble a complete database cataloging all the properties of the universe, let alone what lies beyond. Our inability to ever gain absolute proof, however, does not mean that we cannot access adequate practical validation of the need for a Creator. . . . ►►►

Column: Person of Interest | Salvo 36

Marriage Matters

An Interview with Patrick Fagan by Marcia Segelstein

. . . Patrick Fagan is the founder and director of MARRI, the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (see Allied Front). MARRI studies the impact of marriage, family, and religion on society. Once a practicing psychologist, Dr. Fagan moved into the field of public policy as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Family and Community Policy at the Department of Health and Human Services under President George H. W. Bush. He recently announced the launch of Marripedia, an online social-science encyclopedia that makes research related to family, marriage, sexuality, and religion accessible to the public. Dr. Fagan spoke with us about what makes for a healthy society, the importance of what he calls "the two great loves," and what he sees as a growing crisis for men. . . . ►►►



Salvo 45

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