Six Month Photos

I have added a bunch of new Dana photos to the gallery. Check them out.

Today we took Dana to the doctor for her six month checkup. All is well, Dana is in the 50th percentile for her weight and length.

She weights 16 lbs 2 oz, and is 26 inches long. She is such a big girl!

In fact, she’s such a big girl that I had the doctor pierce her ears. Dana wasn’t too happy about it at first (I think she thought it was a strange immunization shot), but she seems quite happy with them now. Check out the pictures!

Relevant Network – September 2004

I’ve receive yet another shipment from Relevant Network. I keep telling people it’s one of the best values I’ve ever seen in ministry.

Here’s what I got in this month’s kit (slightly delayed due to Florida hurricanes).

Books:

  1. Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller ( Dick Staub interview)
  2. Facedown, by Matt Redman
  3. The Relevant Church, edited by Jennifer Ashley (came with study guide)
  4. God’s Relentless Pursuit, by Phil Strout
  5. The Revolutionary Communicator, by Jedd Medefind and Erik Lokkesmoe

DVDs

  1. Highway Video Volume 9
  2. Igniter Video’s Together Team Hoyt

CDs

  1. Planetshakers: My King
  2. Watermark: The Purest Place
  3. Shawn McDonald: Simply Nothing
  4. Derek Webb: The House Show
  5. Jami Smith: Wash Over Me

Plus I got the usual five issues of Relevant Magazine and the Relevant Leader magazinelet.

Not too shabby.

Stanford Band At It Again

The notorious Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band has struck again. Perhaps their most famous previous performance was a routine featuring a pregant nun while Stanford played Notre Dame.

Actually, their most famous stunt was probably The Play.

Anyway, they’re at it again:

Stanford athletic director Ted Leland apologized Monday to Brigham Young University and its fans for a halftime show by the Cardinal band that poked fun at polygamy with five dancers wearing wedding veils.

(source)

Researching the band, I noticed that their website is categorized according the seven deadly sins. Charming.

At least we won the game.

Dawkins Dubiously Debunks Divinity

I stumbled across a link to an article by renowned atheist Richard Dawkins titled What Use is Religion?.

With a title like that, how could I not read it?

I was disappointed. Dawkins is a skilled essayist–even though I usually disagree with him I enjoy his writing style. He throws in the most fascinating illustrations, and his logic is engaging.

This article, however, fell flat.

The key paragraph:

Natural selection builds child brains with a tendency to believe whatever their parents and tribal elders tell them. And this very quality automatically makes them vulnerable to infection by mind viruses. For excellent survival reasons, child brains need to trust parents and trust elders whom their parents tell them to trust. An automatic consequence is that the truster has no way of distinguishing good advice from bad. The child cannot tell that If you swim in the river youll be eaten by crocodiles is good advice but If you dont sacrifice a goat at the time of the full moon, the crops will fail is bad advice. They both sound the same. Both are advice from a trusted source, and both are delivered with a solemn earnestness that commands respect and demands obedience.

So religious faith is a byproduct of childhood naivete?

The problem with his argument is that it doesn’t explain why so many adults continue to believe this specific “bad advice” received in childhood.

After all, we reject both specific mythologies (Santa Claus) and specific beliefs (bad people always have bad things happen to them). Why then do so many keep believing in God (especially so many smart ones) if it’s just another piece of bad advice?

Also, I’m not sure his theory could account for adult converts from atheism.

His argument, intriguing though it is, doesn’t hold water.

Dawkins hatred of religion is fairly well known, and has always interested me. It’s one thing to not be religious, it’s another thing to hate religion utterly.

That’s why I was struck by this anecdote:

I have never forgotten a horrifying sermon, preached in my school chapel when I was little. It was horrifying in retrospect: at the time, my child brain accepted it as intended by the preacher. He told the story of a squad of soldiers, drilling beside a railway line. At a critical moment, the drill sergeants attention was distracted, and he failed to give the order to halt. The soldiers were so well schooled to obey orders without question that they carried on marching, right into the path of an oncoming train. Now, of course, I dont believe the story now, but I did when I was nine. The point is that the preacher wished us children to regard as a virtue the soldiers slavish and unquestioning obedience to an order, however preposterous.

I don’t know Dawkins, but I can’t help but wonder if that story (and others like it) help account for his zealous atheistic convictions.

While trying to explain away adult beliefs via childhood experiences, it seems that Dawkins inadvertently does the same to himself.