Author's note: I wrote the following article on the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001, as a remembrance of what I experienced. Mine was nothing compared to those who died on that day, to their loved ones, or to those who survived. But what happened on that day was not merely personal, it was national. It was also theological. What happened on that day raised profound questions about God, suffering, and the purpose of evil in the world—issues I explore in my eBook: A 911 for 9/11: Finding Answers to the Evil of September 11, 2001.
On a beautiful New England morning I was driving from Boston to Rhode Island to visit a client. The morning air was crisp and fresh. The sun had just enough warmth to keep the chill at bay. The sky was a stunning hue of blue. It was one of those days that made you wish you worked outside.
That is how the morning of September 11, 2001, began. It ended in ugliness and rubble - and 3,000 of our fellow citizens dead. more >>
An atheist airman who is refusing to say "so help me God" in the Oath of Enlistment statutorily required to reenlist in the Air Force, has threatened to file a lawsuit against the Department of Defense. He now has until November to comply with the requirement or leave when his contract expires, according to an Air Force official.
Air Force spokeswoman Rose Richeson told the Air Force Times that the unidentified airman stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada continues to serve and will remain in service until November, when his contract expires. If he does not take the oath as required by then, he will have to leave.
"The airman's term of service expires in November," said Richeson. "He has until this time to complete the Department of Defense Form 4 in compliance with the Title 10 USC 502." more >>
My question may sound socialistic to some of my fellow conservatives; nonetheless it is a question that must be addressed. American high school graduation rates are at an all-time high, but the education gap between rich and poor continues to grow. Noble and expensive attempts to close this gap—including subsidized preschool and the controversial implementation of the Common Core State Standards—have largely failed. In the case of Common Core, where wealthy and middle class parents are hiring tutors to compensate for its weaknesses, the "reform" aimed at equalizing the playing field may actually be making the problem worse.
Why is it so difficult to elevate the academic performance of low-income children? A growing body of research indicates that part of the answer may lie in the tremendous amount of brain development that takes place during the first three years of life. Babies are born to learn, and we now know many neural networks in the brain are significantly strengthened or weakened long before a child has entered formal schooling.
According to a 1995 University of Kansas study (Hart and Risley), children of educated parents hear 2,100 words an hour. In contrast, those with working class parents hear 1,200 words, and children whose parents are on public assistance hear only 600. The vocabulary and attentiveness of the primary caregiver—whether it is a parent, a nanny or a daycare worker—plays a central role in the cognitive skills children will demonstrate later in life. more >>
WASHINGTON — Contrary to popular opinion and previous research, the Christian Right was not responsible for people leaving their church, a new study finds.
While those who have left the Church appear to mostly have sympathies on the left side of the political spectrum, a correlation between those who have left the Church and views of the Christian Right does not imply that the Christian Right caused them to leave, according to researchers Paul Djupe, associate professor of political science at Denison University, and Jacob Neiheisel, assistant professor of political science at University of Buffalo, SUNY.
In their paper, "The Choice That Matters: Politics in the Role of Leaving Congregations," presented Aug. 30 at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Djupe and Neiheisel found that politics was related to the reason some chose to leave their congregations, but not in the way many imagine. more >>
Some people argue that America never was a Christian nation, even if most of the colonists were very devout. After all, some of the Founders were Deists and devotees of the Enlightenment, which in its extreme form in France tried to replace God with Reason.
Still more argue that America is not a Christian nation now. Barack Obama said on June 28, 2006: "Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation—at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."
To test whether this is true or not, we might consider what a Christian nation would look like. more >>
When David Limbaugh let his friend Steve know that he had doubts about Christianity, he was surprised by Steve's response. Instead of a blast of arrogant judgmentalism, Steve responded like a Christian should—with grace and evidence. What has happened since that time is told in Limbaugh's excellent new book, Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel. Limbaugh artfully tells his journey from skepticism about Christ to skepticism about skepticism and ultimately to trust in Christ.
David is a lawyer, but he doesn't write like a lawyer. While he's intellectually precise, he writes as if he's sitting across the table from you, anticipating your questions and objections. This is rare for a book of Christian evidences (often called Christian apologetics). Such books often read like technical manuals, but not Jesus on Trial. Limbaugh not only does a masterful job of highlighting the abundant evidence that supports Christianity, his insights into what the scriptures actually say will have you marveling at the tapestry of scripture and the Savior who wove it.
From the very beginning, Limbaugh bares his soul, holding nothing back about how his previous doubts were shielded by an embarrassing lack of knowledge. He writes, "I knew, after all, that I hadn't really given the Bible itself a hearing, much less a fair one. To my surprise— and this is embarrassing to admit—Steve showed me how verses of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, were tied to others in content and theme with remarkable frequency. Amazingly, I had never looked at a reference Bible before, and I was blown away. My ignorance was on display, but Steve wasn't remotely judgmental— to help me learn more, he even gave me that Bible. I was genuinely intrigued to discover that the Bible was not simply a mishmash of stories, allegories, alleged historical events, and moral lessons. There was obviously a pattern here, and for the first time in my life the Bible appeared to me to be thematically integrated. The scales on my eyes started peeling away." more >>