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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? . . . ►►►

Department: Collateral Damage | Salvo 44

Silicon Debauchery

More Evidence the Hookup Culture Is Human Malware by Nancy R. Pearcey

. . . A society's view of sex reflects its deeper commitments—its prevailing ethos or worldview. The sexual liberation ethic stems from an underlying idea that the world is a product of blind, material forces. As a recent New Yorker article put it, "the loyalty oath of modernity" is that "nature is without conscious design . . . the emergence of Homo sapiens was without meaning or telos" (purpose). And if the human body is said to have no meaning or purpose, neither does sex. On one hand, that means we are free to make up our own rules. On the other hand, it means that under all the hype about being bold and experimental is a fundamental despair—the belief that sex is insignificant in a literal sense: signifying nothing. . . . ►►►

Department: Maneuvers | Salvo 44

The Unthinkable Universe

It Strangely Points Where Materialists Dare Not Boldly Go by Regis Nicoll

. . . Nagel, who himself is not a strict materialist, lets on that materialism is a belief system grounded, not in a rational examination of how the world is, but in a non-rational sensibility of how a person feels the world should be. The conflict arises because, as Heisenberg explained, "The ontology of materialism rest[s] on the illusion that . . . existence, the direct 'actuality' of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range." That leaves materialists to explain the unexplainable, absent the Cosmic Authority, with a stranger-than-fiction narrative in which everything comes from nothing through lofty labels and clever constructs. . . . ►►►

Department: Opening Salvo | Salvo 43

Wreckers in the Dark

Social Ills & Opposition to Safe Harbor Lights by James M. Kushiner

. . . Wreckers sometimes refused to aid a floundering ship and even went so far as to place false lights to guide ships into danger. Sometimes they killed wreck survivors. Moderns will shake their heads at the wreckers' violence and opposition to the increased safety brought by lighthouses. Yet many people today oppose measures to make life's seas safer for children because they benefit from child endangerment. Consider how many occupations are tied to the shipwreck of the modern family . . . ►►►

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: Camouflage | Salvo 41

Whirled Views

A Framework for Mapping Reality & Engaging Ideological Confusion by Terrell Clemmons

. . . Salvo readers should be familiar with the concept of agenda—driven science, and to those who listen with an ear to discern it, it's clear that Sagan, Rose, and Tyson are using science as they understand it to advance an agenda—to influence the way people think, with the aim of changing their behavior. This is the stuff of propaganda, and like most propaganda, Cosmos served up a slickly produced package of truths, half-truths, and subtle lies, skillfully laced with running undercurrents of moralistic appeals to emotion. How does one respond to wholesale agendas like this without coming off as an abject contrarian? Try the worldview reset. . . . ►►►

Column: Deprogram | Salvo 43

Up for Grabs

In Science, When 'Anything Goes,' Everything Goes by Denyse O'Leary

. . . Ruse reflects on the role played by popular science celebrities in spreading the postmodern approach: "Science is an inflated medium of exchange these days . . . but its value has been eroded by the charlatans making obviously partisan and sometimes wild and contradictory 'scientific' claims." Pop science celebrities have been around for as long as any of us can remember. But Ruse chronicles a subtle shift. Both Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson have made clear that philosophy is either "dead" or "a useless enterprise," something one certainly did not hear from past icons like Albert Einstein. . . . ►►►

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. . . . ►►►

Column: Headquarters | Salvo 38

Doctors Delusional

Transgender Disorder & Really Bad Psychiatry by Boris Vatel

. . . Lacking diagnostic means that produce quantitative evidence of a person's condition, such as blood tests, or unambiguous visual data, such as what one sees on a microscope slide or an MRI image, the field of psychiatry relies on a complex set of mental constructs for its notions of normality and pathology. However, inherent to that set of mental constructs is the notion that there is such a thing as verifiable, objective reality. To suggest that there is no such thing as objective reality, or that reality is less important than what one wishes it were, renders the entire concept of psychiatric disorder invalid. In fact, the only way to accept the transgender phenomenon as psychiatrically normal is to say that, as a measure of reality, physical evidence is subordinate to what a person believes about or wishes for himself. And on that logic, we have no basis for calling anyone delusional. . . . ►►►

Feature: Headquarters | Salvo 43

Quo Vadis, U?

When Christian Universities Lose Faith by Daniel Adler

. . . Just what is a Christian university? The question is as complex as it is pressing, in no small part because of the increased sec-ularization of higher education. As historians James Turner and Jon Roberts argue in The Sacred and the Secular University (Princeton University Press, 2000), Protestant universities founded on religious principles in the early days of America had, by the late twentieth century, largely abandoned these convictions. This change occurred in the span of about 200 years, a relatively short window of time. Institutions once dedicated to the faith now serve as contemporary temples of secularism. . . . ►►►

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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