When Justin Holcomb was 10, he broke into his neighbors' house, blocked up their sinks and tubs, and intentionally flooded their house, causing a lot of property damage. Years later he reflects on what it taught him about 'gratuitous grace.'
"After a month of an uneasy conscience, I was finally found out. Another neighbor had seen me sneaking around and told my parents. My father called me in from playing outside with my friends and asked me if I remembered anything important about the flooding incident. I knew something was up, but I felt like I had to stick with the lie at this point. Finally, my dad told me that I was busted. I experienced an overwhelming sense of shame, guilt for my sins, and intense fear of the consequences. I sobbed and muttered, 'Dad, I’m so sorry. I’ve been asking God to forgive me for so long for this and I don’t know if He ever will.' In a moment of parental love and great wisdom, my dad said: 'If you asked God to forgive you, then you are forgiven. You deserve to be punished and this will cost lots of money to fix. But, son, you are forgiven. Go back outside and play.'"
"...Paul reminds us, we are 'dead in our transgressions and sins… by nature deserving of wrath… without hope and without God in the world' (Eph. 2:1-12). We are unwilling to change, and unable to change our hearts and minds so we would be willing. God justly could have been content to destroy our insurrection and wipe us from the earth. But he took pity on us, and while we were God’s enemies,' 'while we were still sinners, Christ died for us' (Rom. 5:8, 10). The cross is a most unusual weapon of choice, but the death of his beloved Son was the only way that God could defeat our sin and death..."
"At least two of Craig’s arguments could be described as 'knock-down' disproofs of Harris’s position. Craig himself used that term for one of them, noting as he did so that such strong proofs are hard to come by in philosophy, but that this one, based on the logic of identity relationships, was certainly one of them. The other had to do with the impossibility of moral realism if determinism in the strictest sense is true, as Harris believes it to be. Harris’s response to these two logical arguments was to ignore them completely. His rebuttal was essentially a series of word pictures depicting moral outrages for which he held religion responsible. It was an appeal to the gut, not to the head.Harris is the founder of Project Reason ('Spreading Science and Secular Values'). In that role he illustrates and represents the New Atheists’ oft-sounded claim that they represent reason in the face of the irrationality of faith. Yet his response to Craig’s logical arguments was mostly in the form of emotional appeals. There was definite power in Harris’s approach. My guess is that for those who are not oriented toward logical reasoning as a guide to knowledge, he scored more debate points than Craig. But he essentially forfeited the logical argument: the argument based on reason and rationality."
"As for the crusade against sexism, Sunday Telegraph columnist Jenny McCartney argues that feminists have bigger fish to fry (at least, they would if a woman’s place was in the kitchen). Examples include female circumcision, child marriage, human trafficking, rape as a weapon of war and the proliferation of extreme sexual violence in films and on the Internet, she writes. 'I am inclined to think that when one finds a man who believes that women should be cherished and protected, it would be a good idea to send him forth to encourage the others.'"
"Cultural mores are changing, The Times reports; once available mainly in dimly-lit sex shops, vibrators for women are now being sold in national chain drugstores, a supposed sign of women’s empowerment: comfort with discussing and pursuing not just sex but that sometimes-elusive hallmark of 'success,' an orgasm." [By the way, I'm learning that as a newly-married man, I have a much less awkward time reading these sorts of posts than I might have before. I think it's because I now have a sense of, 'Oh, maybe I should pass this off to Kendra. What would she think? Or maybe it's just that I've gained a different perspective. Anyway, this post is a good one.' -SEAN]