In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world.
To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links
On this half-year mark, I give you the interesting things:
- Religious Liberty and Human Dignity: Tale Of Two Declarations (Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Kevin Hasson). This article from 2003 argues that religious freedom is the fundamental freedom. It starts slow as it lays a foundation, but picks up about halfway through.
- While you’re on Thanksgiving break, please register to vote if you have not already done so. I strongly suggest you register as a Permanent Vote-By-Mail Voter, which simply means that you will receive a ballot in the mail before every election. It gives you plenty of time to research the candidates and issues from the comfort of your dorm room with your ballot in front of you. If you prefer to vote in another state then visit http://www.brennancenter.org/student-voting). If you’re a citizen of another country, do whatever you’re supposed to do there. 🙂
- Some global perspective:
- Did The Media Ignore The Beirut Bombings? Or Did Readers? (Vox, Max Fisher). As far as I can tell, this is factually correct. More interestingly, see The Empathy Gap: Why Have The Paris Attacks Gotten More Attention Than The Beirut Bombings (The Atlantic, David Graham): I think Graham’s perspective is helpful although it understates the importance of perceived novelty. Remember how much coverage the Boko Haram kidnappings received? They were perceived as novel. A bombing in Beirut is (inaccurately) perceived as normal.
- Why Are There Only 53 Christians Among Americans 2184 Syrian Refugees? (Christianity Today, Morgan Lee). This is a great analysis of the numbers. Takes into account factors I’ve not seen discussed elsewhere. FYI, Condoleeza Rice, a nearby Christian with more than a little knowledge of national security issues, thinks the US should take in more refugees. Also, a tweet many of you will appreciate.
- Church Attendance Plunges After Nepal Becomes A Secular State (Christianity Today, Morgan Lee): this one is fascinating. India got angry that Nepal stopped being officially Hindu, and so stopped exporting fuel, and so Christians can’t get to church. Wow.
- China Accused Of Trying to ‘Co-Opt and Emasculate’ Christianity (The Guardian, Tom Phillips and Harriet Sherwood): top Chinese leaders are nervous at the explosive growth of Christianity in the avowedly atheist nation.
- More campus activism links: President Obama weighs in (really). See also A Crisis Our Universities Deserve (NY Times, Ross Douthat): this is a helpful big-picture overview of the college scene. Also, Yale’s Activists Deserve Constructive Criticism (The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf).
- Are Non-Religious Children Really More Altruistic? (Robert Woodberry) — this is probably the last thing I will post on this. I almost didn’t, but WOW what a smackdown. Woodberry is the author of that article I keep sharing about Christianity and democracy.
- Quick Links:
- This Pearls Before Swine comic made me chuckle
- ISIS Has a Help Desk (NBC News): Of course it does. Technology doesn’t get easier to use just because you’re evil.
- The Space Doctor’s Big Idea. (New Yorker, Randall Munroe). The author of xkcd explains both special and general relativity using only the 1000 most common words in the English language.
- The webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has fun with the simulation argument.
Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda — we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles.