Social


The Heritage Foundation did a study that discovered children raised in a home with married parents are 82% less likely to face poverty.  Only 7% of children living in homes that fall below the poverty line were living with married parents. – Salvo Magazine, Issue 23, Winter 2012, p. 20.

If we truly want to fight poverty, then let’s promote marriage!

CA has proposed a bill that would allow for school kids to use the bathroom of their choice, based on their own perceived gender identity.  Craziness.

Salvo24Here is a gem from Louis Markos in “Just Brilliant: Three Things only a PhD Can Believe,” appearing in the latest edition of Salvo magazine:

Though most Americans fancy that feminism only means “equal pay for equal work,” the feminism I have witnessed being taught in our modern universities has little to do with the rules of fair play in the workplace. Students who enroll in a psychology or sociology class today, even if that class is taught in a Christian college, are indoctrinated to believe that there are no essential differences between the sexes. More than that, they are taught that there is no such thing as masculinity and femininity, that the differences we see between boys and girls are merely a product of long-standing customs of socialization, such as giving boys trucks to play with and girls dolls to play with.
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STIsFrom the Huffington Post:

According to new government reports, there are nearly 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections each year in this country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly half of these new infections occur in people between ages 15 and 24.

Researchers also found that there are 110,197,000 cases of STIs in total in the United States right now, including those occurring in people who newly contracted an infection and those who have been living with an infection. Young people between ages 15 and 24 make up more than 20 percent of the overall cases of both new and established infections.

Let me get this straight:

  • There is one sexually transmitted infection for every three people in the United States.
  • There are 20 million new infections each year
  • This costs us $15,600,000,000 annually

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Tom Chivers defines secularism as “the belief that the state should be neutral towards the religious beliefs of its citizens.”[1]  As I read his definition it struck me how different it is from other definitions I have read, and how one’s theological bias can affect their definition.  For example, Christians have often defined secularism along the lines of “ordering society as if God did not exist, or His existence is irrelevant.”  Tullian Tchividjian defines secularization as “the process through which God and the supernatural are relegated to the fringe of what’s important in society,” adding that “a secularized society is a society that has determined to make God and the supernatural socially irrelevant even if they remain personally engaging. It restricts the relevance of God to the private sphere only. …God may be important individually but he is rather unimportant socially and culturally. He may be alive and well privately but publicly he is dead.”[2]

So is secularism the idea that government should be religiously neutral, or is secularism little more than social atheism?  Is it just a matter of perspective?


[1]Tom Chivers, “Atheism may be lonely, but it’s honest – and the loneliness can be fixed, http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomchiversscience/100149264/atheism-may-be-lonely-but-its-honest-and-the-loneliness-can-be-fixed/; Internet; accessed 30 October 2012.
[2]Tullian Tchividjian, “The Irrelevance of God”; available from http://theologica.blogspot.com/2007/07/irrelevance-of-god.html; Internet; accessed 30 July 2007.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the birth rate has declined to 63.2 children per 1,000 women, the lowest in national history.  Birth rates are declining for those in lower age-brackets, but not surprisingly, increasing for women aged 35-44.  Unwed mothers account for 40.7% of all births.  Not good.

A lot of people think the government can recognize same-sex unions as “marriage” without any detrimental effects on religious institutions and religious liberties.  I think this is a delusion.  The legal recognition of same-sex unions will almost inevitably result in religious discrimination on a social level, and likely on a legal level as well.  

How can the government say on the one hand that a failure to legally recognize same-sex unions as “marriage” and treat them as equal to opposite-sex unions in every way is to engage in discriminatory behavior, and yet at the same time permit churches to discriminate against same-sex couples by refusing to marry them?  Talk about legal schizophrenia!  Consider the logic involved: 

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If you are like me, you thought reading books was becoming passe.  Reading books is what people did in the old days before television and all of the various forms of entertainment we have today ruined people’s desire to read.  Apparently that’s not the case.  Book-reading is more popular than ever, perhaps due to increased education and the internet. It would be interesting to see how these figures break down based on age.  I would still venture to say that teenagers read less today than they did in days past, but hey, I could be wrong about that too.

 

HT: Scot McKnight

I would highly recommend that you watch the video clips at http://www.massresistance.org/media/video/brainwashing.html. They are from a documentary showing how elementary and junior high kids can be indoctrinated to believe homosexuality and same-sex marriage are morally acceptable (something the film extols as a virtue). If you think homosexuality is wrong, but that the issue of homosexuality is a private matter that isn’t going to hurt anybody so we should just sit back and do nothing, you need to watch this video. The gay rights movement has gone beyond the “just leave us alone to do what we want to do in the privacy of our own homes” days and into the day of approval advocacy. They are not content to be allowed to live how they want to live–now they want to make sure that you approve of their lifestyle as well. It’s too difficult to change adults’ minds, so they are targeting the young.

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I have a theory about racism.  While I know racism is real, I think a lot of what passes for racism is actually a misdiagnosis of ethnocentrism (the idea that one’s culture is superior to others).

Each culture has its own unique worldview, values, and practices.  Humans tend to be suspicious of worldviews/values/practices that differ from their own.  In some cases, we can even despise all or some aspect of certain cultures (often for illegitimate reasons such as “I had an experience in which a person of X race did me wrong, therefore I don’t like people of X race”).  Many times, the skin color of the people in the culture we despise differs from our own as well.  But is the color of their skin the cause of the animosity?  No, I don’t think so.  The person from culture A with skin color B despises people from culture X with skin color Y, not because he hates skin color Y, but because skin color Y serves to identify the people who belong to the culture who thinks/acts in ways he despises.  In other words, race is incidental to the animosity, not the source.

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The Barna Research Group has released a report containing six reasons young people leave church after age 15.  This report is a summary of a book by David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group.  You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Church is based on eight national studies of teens who disengage from the Christian church/faith.  Kinnaman discovered that the six major reasons teens leave church can be summarized under the following umbrellas (3 out of 5 teens disengage from the Christian church/faith for one or more of these reasons):

  • “Reason #1 – Churches seem overprotective.
  • Reason #2 – Teens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.
  • Reason #3 – Churches come across as antagonistic to science.
  • Reason #4 – Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.
  • Reason #5 – They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity.
  • Reason #6 – The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.”

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If Christians firebombed every publisher that printed publications speaking ill of Jesus and Christianity, there would be few publishers and publications left.  But alas, we don’t resort to violence to defend our faith.  Islam is a peaceful religion, remember?  It’s those fundamentalist Christians that we have to watch out for.

A 7 year old boy who is living life as a girl is being allowed to join the Girl Scouts of Colorado (GSOC).  Initially he was rejected, but when the media began inquiring over the decision, the organization reversed course.  According to GSOC they are “an inclusive organization.”  Come on!  It’s called “Girl” scouts because it is meant for girls, not boys.  Have we become so insane with political correctness that we’ll treat people according to what they feel to be, rather than what they are?  What’s next, allowing humans to compete in dog shows because they feel like a canine?

That was the headline of the Daily Mail.  While I am fully aware that not all conservative Christian teens practice abstinence, I was stunned at the idea that there is virtually no difference in the rates of premarital sex between Christians and non-Christians.  According to Relevant magazine, a 2009 study revealed that 80% of evangelicals between 18-29 years of age had sex, compared to 88% of their peers.

Do you find this statistic shocking?  Do you have reason to doubt the validity of these findings?  Assuming the stats are accurate, I’m not too surprised myself.  In a sex-crazed culture like our own, it takes a lot of moral fortitude to abstain from sex before marriage.  And when you couple that with a culture that discourages young adults from marriage until their late 20s or early 30s, it’s no wonder so many young Evangelicals are succumbing to this sin.

UPDATE: Kevin DeYoung provides some good reasons to trust the accuracy of this report.

How the article ends gives you a good sense of it: “We wouldn’t dream of dropping our daughters off at college and saying: ‘Study hard and floss every night, honey—and for heaven’s sake, get laid!’ But that’s essentially what we’re saying by allowing them to dress the way they do while they’re still living under our own roofs.”—Jennifer Moses.

 

HT: Justin Taylor

 

I’m sure you’ve heard that Christians have the same divorce rate as non-Christians.  I’ve long suspected that this is a myth driven by a poor definition of “Christian.”  Many people are only nominal Christians; i.e. while they profess to be a Christian, there is little evidence from their conduct and beliefs that they are.

It seems my suspicions are correct.  The Pew Forum released a summary of recent reassessments of the data that found a strong correlation between church attendance and divorce rates. Brian Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, concluded that “Americans who attend religious services several times a month were about 35 percent less likely to divorce than those with no religious affiliation.”

The most recent polling data from the Pew Research Center has found that support same-sex marriage has risen to 45%, up from 42% last year.  Opposition currently stands at 46%.  As you can see from the chart, support for same-sex marriage has steadily increased, and opposition has steadily decreased since 1996.  It doesn’t take a prophet to predict that unless social conservatives start making a persuasive case in the public square real quick, those who oppose same-sex marriage will be in the minority within two years.  In some parts of the country (Northeast, West), this has already happened.

Support for abortion rights has also risen back to 2008 levels, after a substantial dip in 2009 (47% in 2009, 54% now).  I have a feeling the dip in 2009 was due to some sort of sampling error.  It seems too unlikely to me that public opinion would change so fast, and then change back just as quickly.

The Pew Research Center released a major social trends report in November 2010 on the topic of marriage and family titled “The Decline of Marriage And Rise of New Families” (you may have heard about the cover article on this report featured in Time magazine).  They attempted to evaluate how Americans’ views of marriage have changed over the last 50 years.[1] Some of their findings merely confirmed what most see as common knowledge, but some of their findings were quite surprising.

It took me a number of lunch breaks to read through the report, but it was well worth the time spent seeing how it is chalked full of valuable social statistics.  While I would encourage you to read the full report, here are some of the most significant findings (organized by subject):

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A recent survey in England revealed that 64% of women want a husband who makes more money than them, and 69% would prefer to stay home to be a full-time mother if they were financially able to do so.  

I bet the only people surprised by this are social liberals who thought that if you tell a woman long enough that a successful business career will be more meaningful to her than raising a family, she will believe it.  Apparently women aren’t buying it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying a woman who wants to work outside the home should not do so.  But that is not where most women find their fulfillment in life.  God designed men and women differently.  Most women find their greatest fulfillment in caring for and raising a family, while most men find their greatest fulfillment in being productive in industry for the benefit of their families.  That’s just human nature, and it can’t be socially engineered otherwise.

Justin Taylor pointed to a 2003 essay by Robbie Low in Touchstone magazine discussing a 1994 study in Switzerland on how the church attendance habits of moms and dads affects the future attendance of their children:

  • If dad does not go to church = only 1 out of 50 kids will become a regular churchgoer
  • If dad is a regular churchgoer (regardless of mom’s attendance) = 66-75% of kids will become regular or irregular churchgoers
  • If dad is an irregular churchgoer (regardless of mom’s attendance) = 50-66% of kids will become regular or irregular churchgoers
  • If dad is a regular churchgoer but mom is not = >66% of kids will become regular or irregular churchgoers
  • If dad does not go to church but mom is a regular churchgoer = only 33% of kids will visit a church
  • If neither mom nor dad go to church = only 20% of kids will visit a church

While I suspect American cultural differences could mean these statistics are not entirely transferable to America, clearly a lot rests on our shoulders dads!

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