October 31: Reformation Day

Cranach_MartinLutherBut wait, I thought it was Halloween. Well, there would have been no Halloween with ghosts and ghouls and candy galore if not for Reformation Day. There is some argument among scholars as to whether Halloween has solely pagan or Christian roots. It is indisputable, though, that without the November 1 holiday (holy day) of All Saints Day (instituted by Pope Gregory III in the eighth century to honor all saints and martyrs), there would have been no Halloween. The day before came to be known over time as All Hallows Eve, and eventually become Halloween.

So how does Reformation Day come into the picture? On this day in 1517 Martin Luther, dismayed by what he considered some corrupt practices in the Catholic Church, penned what has come to be called the 95 Thesis. He then nailed it to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. What was a common means of entreating intellectual debate in the 16th Century, written in Latin and not the vernacular, ended up starting a Reformation that turned the Western world upside down.

A brief 5 Minutes in Church History by Stephen Nichols gives a concise explanation of why this day turned into Reformation Day.

Those Who Write and Tell The Stories, Control the Culture

BrokebackI recently wrote a post at The American Culture about how the hot fall TV trend is interracial lesbian relationships. I argued that Hollywood has long had an agenda to normalize homosexual behavior, and because of that many Americans vastly overestimate the gay and lesbian population. One commenter, Edmond D. Smith, was kind enough to say that because I had the temerity to say such things that I am “obviously racist, sexist and homophobic.” You gotta love that: three for the price of one! In the fevered totalitarian leftist secularist progressive mind if you speak unpopular truths, to them, you are unmitigated evil. But speak we must.

As I wrote in that previous post, last year the CDC did an extensive study and found that self-professed homosexuals make up 1.6 percent of the American population. Yet because of popular culture, and specifically the number of gay and lesbian story lines coming out of Hollywood, most Americans would be shocked at this number. I got startling confirmation of this distorted perception from my own family not long ago. I don’t know why I was so surprised. (more…)

Science is Becoming God’s Best Friend

God's UndertakerWe live in a secular age, at least in the West, in which the dominion of science for all the good it has done has essentially replaced God for many people who find religion untenable. If “Science” says it, people believe it, few questions asked. In a little discussion with a co-worker recently the issue of religion came up, and being the consistent agnostic she is she said, “I’ll stick with science.” I guess she thinks science can answer the questions and address the issues religion and philosophy address. It can’t. She obviously hasn’t thought deeply about any of this. No surprise. Most Americans don’t.

Many atheists misuse the authority of science as a battering ram against belief in God, as if science itself makes belief in God a relic of a bygone era of simplistic faith. One reason they do this is because they define faith in a perversely self-serving way. Faith, which for them only applies to religious belief, is either believing something when evidence is lacking, or believing something we know is not true.  If that is what faith actually is, I wouldn’t be religious either! (more…)

Notable Quotation

ColsonColson’s public-square work offers modern evangelicals a workable model. Initially, Colson considered himself contra mundum, “against the world,” as a believer. He wished to stand against evil. He never lost this vital perspective, but his friend, First Things editor Richard John Neuhaus, suggested Colson tweak the self-descriptor. The Christian, he said, is contra mundum pro mundo, “against the world for the world,” an elegant and accurate summation of evangelical engagement with a fallen order. The believer, and particularly the public-square witness, opposes evil, but does so not to defeat opponents or gobble up cultural territory. We are against the world out of love, seeking always to win lost friends to Christ and usher them into flourishing.

–Owen Strachan. “Chuck Colson Was Not a Culture Warrior: And anyway, he stopped “winning” his battles a long time ago.”

Notable Quotation

[T]he disciples of scientism had a material explanation for the universe that they thought was rock solid. Now that explanation has collapsed, and we have the discovery of fine tuning pointing toward intelligent design strongly enough that it has convinced several Nobel laureates in physics. This is just one of the spectacular counterexamples to scientism’s grand progress narrative. The evidence for intelligent design is growing, not shrinking. Believers need not shrink back from the academy, from the sciences, or from the public square. We’re on the side of history and evidence — not to mention the Alpha and the Omega.

–Jonathan Witt, “The Scientific Evidence for God is Growing, Not Shrinking: The atheism that masquerades as science misrepresents the history of science.”