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doubtThe sociological data is clear: Christianity is on the decline in the United States.  The decline is not limited to one “type” of Christianity (though it is more drastic in some than others), nor is it limited to a particular race, gender, or age.  It is pervasive, but the most significant loss of faith is occurring in the Millennial generation.  Only 56% of Millennials identify as Christians.[1]  Larry Barnett of The Next Generation Project (TNGP) sought to discover the cause.[2]

Using three large representative data sources[3], he discovered that doubt is the major reason people are abandoning their Christian faith.  Christians who report having little or no doubt regarding the truth of Christianity are the most likely to be confessing Christians, regardless of age.  Millennial non-doubters are just as likely as all other generations of non-doubters to be confessing Christians.  Those who harbor significant doubts about the truth of Christianity, however, are more likely to abandon their Christian faith.  Age is a significant factor among the doubters, with Millennial doubters being much more likely to abandon Christianity than older Christians.

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Cohabit - Not MarriageThe American College of Pediatricians explains why cohabitation is bad for society in just about every way imaginable.  And yet cohabitation continues to rise as the folk wisdom says it will increase one’s chances of marital success.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The most happiness does not come from receiving the benefits of marriage (sex, playing house) without actual marriage, but from marriage itself.

 

See also: The sociology of cohabitation: “Shacking up” isn’t such a good idea after all

refugeesA lot of Christians are arguing that our Christian principles, based in Scripture, demand that we welcome the Syrian refugees. This article shows why this is a hasty conclusion regarding the teaching of Scripture.

Surely the Scripture does not mean to say we should allow foreigners to come into our nation who intend to kill us (as if the Israelites would have let the Philistines or Babylonians into Jerusalem!).  And surely those who argue that Scripture demands we accept the Syrian refugees would not cite those same passages if they knew members of ISIS or Al Qaeda were among them, but could not be identified.  But here’s the thing: We know from the experience in France that terrorists are coming in with the refugees undetected, and people have been murdered as a result.  Until and unless we can properly vet these refugees to determine who is a possible terrorist and who is not, how can any reasonable person say we should just let them into our country?  It only takes a few terrorists to produce mass killing.  9/11 and the French attacks are proof of this.

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CohabitationCohabitation – the politically correct term for what used to be called “shacking up” – has become very common in our day.  Nearly 8 million opposite-sex couples live together today, compared to less than 1 million 30 years ago.  Nearly 10% of all opposite-sex couples are cohabiting, and over half of all first marriages are preceded by a period of cohabitation.

How did we get here?

How did cohabitation go from being illegal in all states prior to 1970 and held in moral contempt by society at large to being so ubiquitous and accepted today?  There are several reasons:

  • The sexual revolution removed the moral stigma of premarital sex.
  • Our culture has moved from a culture of traditions and social conformity to a culture of individualism and personal gratification.
  • We shifted from a deontological view of morality to a pragmatic and relativistic view of morality in which any activity that does not cause harm to others is morally permissible.
  • The recognition of the fragility of marriage, and a corresponding fear of divorce.
  • The rise of feminism which rejected the traditional roles played by married women. Cohabitation promised personal autonomy and more relationship equity.
  • The increasing economic independence of women made marriage less necessary for them. And men, who are generally more fearful of commitment, supported the arrangement since it still provided for their needs of sexual gratification and domestic support.[1]

Cohabitation is not what it seems

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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

 

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