What was the world like in 2013 for the planet's most marginalized and vulnerable communities?
1. Syria's Civil War more >>
Pope Francis condemned the increasing inequality between the rich and the poor as well as society's exploitation and manipulation of nature in a lengthy message released ahead of World Peace Day on Jan. 1, 2014.
"It is a truly pressing duty to use the earth's resources in such a way that all may be free from hunger," Francis wrote in his message.
"It is well known that present production is sufficient, and yet millions of persons continue to suffer and die from hunger, and this is a real scandal. We need, then, to find ways by which all may benefit from the fruits of the earth, not only to avoid the widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs, but above all because it is a question of justice, equality and respect for every human being." more >>
A Florida-based animal rights organization that is suing New York state to give legal personhood for chimpanzees holds a neutral stance on abortion.
The Nonhuman Rights Project of Coral Springs has refused to take a position on the debate over whether en utero human life also deserves legal personhood recognition.
Michael Mountain, spokesman for the project, told The Christian Post that regarding the abortion debate "we don't have any position on that." more >>
Researchers at the Association for Psychological Science have released a new study that suggests that awe - specifically brought on by nature - increases one's tendency to believe in God.
Psychological scientist Piercarlo Valdesolo of Claremont McKenna College and colleague Jesse Graham of the University of Southern California showed study participants either footage of BBC's "Planet Earth" nature documentary series or "neutral" news interviews.
After watching the clips, Valdesolo and Graham asked participants "how much awe they felt while watching the video, and whether they believed that worldly events unfold according to some god's or other non-human entity's plan." more >>
At the beginning of this year, many Americans opened their paychecks to find that their take-home pay was suddenly less than it had been the previous month. The payroll tax cut had expired, resulting in the average American worker owing an additional $700 in payroll taxes this year compared to last.
For a two-parent household, that's $1,400 less with which to pay the bills, put food on the table, and fill up the gas tank. But it's far from the only added expense straining family budgets. Oil prices, in particular, have skyrocketed over the past decade, imposing higher direct and indirect fuel costs on families during already tough economic times.
Just like the payroll tax increase, increased fuel costs in the form of high gasoline prices are eating up paychecks while providing no additional economic benefit or utility. In 2012, the average household spent a record $2,912 on gasoline. Compared to the 2002 average of $1,235, that is an extra $1,677 that families have been forced to spend on transportation costs. That's money that could otherwise be saved or used to grow the economy, such as by starting a new business. more >>
Super Typhoon Haiyan and the anniversary of super storm Sandy should remind all of us of the tragic suffering that is part of living in the post-fall world, affected by both human sin and the divine curse (Genesis 3).
But is Rev. Darren A. Ferguson, of Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Far Rockaway, NY, whose home and church Sandy destroyed, right to insist that "climate change" made Sandy stronger than it otherwise would have been?
Assume for a moment (though there is good reason to doubt it) that the world's been warming rapidly and beyond the bounds of natural variability and that, as he put it, "we are the primary cause." Does that entail that Sandy was more powerful because of it? more >>