July 7, 2006
“It is not controversial to contend that in the United States, constitutional law serves as a decisive battleground in the struggle over freedom’s moral and political meaning,” asserts Peter Berkowitz. “It is another matter to assess the impact of the battleground on the battle, to clarify the current balance of power, and to anticipate the battles to come.”
July 5, 2006
Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) admits that political conservatives have often failed to present a comprehensive vision of the underlying commitments and convictions that frame the conservative vision. Beyond this, he laments the fact that some conservatives fail to link those basic convictions with political decisions and matters of public policy. He’s out to reverse that failure, and his new book It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good is one of the most important books written by a political figure in recent American history.
July 3, 2006
Steve Salerno is a reporter with wide experience. As a freelance feature writer, Salerno has written for magazines including Harper’s, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and many others. He has contributed articles to the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. Many of his articles have focused upon “money stories,” that deal with financial scandals and controversies in the business world. Now, he is ready to report on the biggest scandal he has ever encountered–America’s self-help movement.
June 30, 2006
Frustration with the human condition has led many mortals astray. Indeed, the primal temptation that came to Adam and Eve in the garden was, in essence, to escape their own creaturely finitude and grasp after knowledge that had been forbidden them. Thus, by eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve effectively redefined humanity, now “knowing the difference between good and evil.” Efforts to transcend the natural limits of human life and experience are regular features of ancient mythologies and modern literature. Strangely enough, ideas and proposals once limited to the world of science fiction are now taken seriously in some scientific circles. If you demand evidence for that assertion, just consider the “Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights” conference, held May 26-28 at the Stanford Law School.
June 28, 2006
Anne Lamott is a writer of incredible honesty and uncommon candor. Beyond this, she is a highly gifted artist, writing with a fluid and passionate style that attracts readers who quickly feel drawn into Lamott's life and experiences. Writing in the June 25, 2006 edition of The Los Angeles Times, Lamott begins with these words: “The man I killed did not want to die, but he no longer felt he had much of a choice.” The language is truly shocking, and Lamott obviously intends to catch the attention of readers when she speaks of “the man I killed.” If it is attention she wants, she is almost sure to get more than she intended.
June 26, 2006
Intellectuals have largely reacted to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 with a mixture of moral confusion and ideological denial. The root of this moral ambiguity, even in the face of undiluted terror and unquestionable evil, is a particularly dangerous form of moral relativism – relativism buttressed by intellectual prestige. Rejecting this moral relativism as both dangerous and intellectually bankrupt, Christopher Hitchens took many observers in the literary and political worlds by surprise when he became an ardent supporter of the “War on Terror” and declared himself the sworn enemy of any relativistic ideology that would confuse the evil of terrorism with the good of freedom. Nevertheless, the most interesting dimension of Christopher Hitchens’ thought is not the transformation of his political theory, but the contours of his radical atheism—which turns out to include one truth that is lost even on some Christians.
June 23, 2006
Writing in 1927, French observer Andre Siegfried described Protestantism as America’s “only national religion.” To miss this, Siegfried advised, is “to view the country from a false angle.” Now, less than a century later, a major research report provides proof that Protestantism no longer represents a clear majority of Americans. Researchers Tom W. Smith and Seokho Kim of the National Opinion Research Center [NORC] at the University of Chicago have released “The Vanishing Protestant Majority,” a report documenting the declining membership of Protestant churches in the nation.
June 21, 2006
Calls for theological innovation and the employment of “theological imagination” are now routine among mainline Protestants and others prone to theological revisionism. Dismissive of doctrinal orthodoxy and biblical language as out of date, oppressive, patriarchal, and worse, the proponents of theological reformulation intend to restructure Christianity around an entirely new system of beliefs, playing with language even as they reinvent the faith.
June 19, 2006
The fault lines of controversy in contemporary Christianity range across a vast terrain of issues, but none seems quite so volatile as the question of gender. As Christians have been thinking and rethinking these issues in recent years, a clear pattern of divergence has appeared. At stake in this debate is something more important than the question of gender, for this controversy reaches the deepest questions of Christian identity and biblical authority.
June 16, 2006
The church’s engagement with the culture involves a host of issues, controversies, and decisions–but no issue defines our current cultural crisis as clearly as homosexuality. Some churches and denominations have capitulated to the demands of the homosexual rights movement, and now accept homosexuality as a fully valid lifestyle. Other denominations are tottering on the brink, and without a massive conservative resistance, they are almost certain to abandon biblical truth and bless what the Bible condemns. Within a few short years, a major dividing line has become evident–with those churches endorsing homosexuality on one side, and those stubbornly resisting the cultural tide on the other.
June 14, 2006
The American denominational landscape has experienced significant shifts in recent times, but one major story stands out among them all–the massive redirection of the Southern Baptist Convention. America’s largest evangelical denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention was reshaped, reformed, and restructured over the last three decades, and at an incredibly high cost. Was it worth it?
June 12, 2006
“We have figured out your problem. You’re the only one here who believes in God.” That statement, addressed to a young seminarian, introduces Dave Shiflett’s new book, Exodus: Why Americans are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity. The book is an important contribution, and Shiflett offers compelling evidence that liberal Christianity is fast imploding upon itself.