On David Gushee’s Dishonesty

Earlier this week David Gushee continued his sad decline with a cowardly piece for Religion News Service. It’s all par for the course for progressive evangelicals like Gushee, of course, which is why I’m generally not too bothered by what they say. But even so the dishonesty in this particular piece is jarring and merits further comment.

I could quote multiple lines, but this one will suffice, to begin. In talking about those awful backwards bigots (that he used to hang out with), Gushee writes, “(Religious conservatives) are organizing legal defense efforts under the guise of religious liberty, and interpreting their plight as religious persecution.” Continue reading

Mere Fidelity: On Plagiarism, with Justin Taylor

 

Justin Taylor, Senior Vice President at Crossway Books, joins us this week to talk about the badness of plagiarism. He and Matt get into an argument; hilarity doesn’t quite ensue, but a good time was had by all (we think.)

If you enjoyed the show, leave us a review at iTunes. If you didn’t enjoy the show, let us know and we’ll work to make it better. Or we’ll ignore you, and you’ll feel better for having vented your feelings. We are here to help, either way. And if you want to subscribe by RSS, you can do that here.

If you’re interested in supporting the show (you know, with money), you can check out our Patreon here.

Finally, as always, follow DerekAlastair, and Andrew for more tweet-sized brilliance.  And thanks to Timothy Motte for his sound editing work.

Francis Schaeffer and Christian Intellectualism

In his recent essay on Christian intellectualism, Alan Jacobs dates the high point of the public Christian intellectual in America as being in the late 1940s. Citing the influence of thinkers like CS Lewis, WH Auden, and Reinhold Niebuhr, Jacobs argues that the movement began to fade in the 1950s and, by the 1960s, was largely a spent force. By that time Lewis, Auden, and Niebuhr were no longer as relevant in contemporary debates and the next generation had not yet emerged. By the time that generation of leaders did, Jacobs argues, the culture had moved past them and they had become more conversant in the intramural discussions happening in conservative religious circles rather than the broader cultural conversation. Continue reading

Global Economies, Immigration, and Precarious Places

I’m pleased to publish this essay by Matthew Peterson.

In response to somewhat shrill claims by some Christian intellectuals that Christians ought to support mass migration, and oppose Brexit, Stephen Wolfe recently published an article at Mere Orthodoxy arguing that Christians can (and perhaps should) oppose immigration. Stephen draws from an impressive array of natural law sources to argue that the differentiation between foreigner and citizen is good, and a natural part of human life. This differentiation is integral in protecting the particularities in and through which communities are formed and given their deep particular character.

This position regarding the deep particularity of places is also argued, persuasively, in a piece by Alastair Roberts published by Mere Orthodoxy on Brexit, and the necessity of making peace between the cosmopolitans who tended to oppose Brexit and the locals who favored it. Alastair lays out the competing anthropologies on which hopes for mass immigration, and opposition to it, are based. According to a liberal anthropology, we are all interchangeable individuals, whose connection to our land, our parents, and our people, is merely accidental; on the other hand, according to a more Biblical anthropology, our person is always deeply embedded in the particularities of a people and a land. Continue reading

Mere Fidelity: The Olympics and Sport, with Michael Austin

Philosopher Michael Austin joins us to discuss the Olympics, sport, and whether we should watch any of it anyway. Austin is the editor of a variety of volumes on philosophy and sport, is a frequent writer at Psychology Today, and is a professor at Eastern Kentucky University.

The excerpt Alastair read is below, and is taken from this article:

In their beliefs, Coubertin and his followers were liberals in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill. Deeply suspicious of conventional theistic religions, they promoted Olympism as a substitute for traditional faith. “For me,” Coubertin wrote in his Mémoires Olympiques, “sport is a religion with church, dogma, ritual.” In a radio address delivered in Berlin on August 4, 1935, he repeated his frequently expressed desire that the games be inspired by “religious sentiment transformed and enlarged by the internationalism and democracy that distinguish the modern age.” Nearly thirty years later, Coubertin’s most dedicated disciple, Avery Brundage, proclaimed to his colleagues on the International Olympic Committee that Olympism is a twentieth-century religion, “a religion with universal appeal which incorporates all the basic values of other religions, a modern, exciting, virile, dynamic religion” (pp. 2-3).

If you enjoyed the show, leave us a review at iTunes. If you didn’t enjoy the show, let us know and we’ll work to make it better. Or we’ll ignore you, and you’ll feel better for having vented your feelings. We are here to help, either way. And if you want to subscribe by RSS, you can do that here.

If you’re interested in supporting the show (you know, with money), you can check out our Patreon here.

Finally, as always, follow DerekAlastair, and Andrew for more tweet-sized brilliance.  And thanks to Timothy Motte for his sound editing work.

Are Religious Liberty Restrictions God’s Judgment on Racism?

“I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD.

– Amos 4:6

I did a number of medical school rotations in a Catholic hospital, which meant morning and evening prayers were offered over the hospital intercom every day. While “morning” prayer often came after I had already been at work for a few hours, it was still often a relief to have God’s mercy invoked on behalf of my patients and my colleagues. Continue reading

The Cross and ISIS

I’m pleased to publish this guest post by Tim Scheiderer on how Christians ought to be thinking about their response to ISIS and other similar terrorist organizations.

Islamic terrorism’s path continues to widen in the West. Last year, it darkened streets in the City of Light on a November evening. Parisians and others were out for an evening of varied enjoyments, only for 130 of them to be murdered by eleven ruthless men. The next month, 5,600 miles away, a husband and his wife brought death to a facility for the disabled in San Bernadino. In 2016, so far, terror has struck geographically-ranging locales such as Brussels, Orlando, Istanbul and two more horrific events in France—the Bastille Day killings in Nice and the slitting of a priest’s throat in Normandy. All incidents were carried out by ISIS soldiers or associates. Continue reading

The Nine Constellations of Donald Trump

I’m pleased to publish this guest post from first time Mere O contributor Michael Graham. It’s a nice complement to this older piece by Alastair Roberts. Both pieces in different ways explain why Donald Trump has become the Republican nominee for the president and force readers to reckon with the real problems Trumpism addresses in the minds of many voters, even while they ought to reject the odious standard bearer for the movement.

We have all heard the never ending refrains of Trump supporters:

“He speaks his mind”

“He is an outsider”

“He will build a wall”

“He is a successful businessman”

“He is self-funded”

“He is a self-made man”

“He stands up to _______…” Continue reading

32 Theses (and several more words) on Podcasting

Alan Jacobs has not been shy about his dislike of podcasts—but recently posted an apology, along with a comment and a request. The comment:

I like podcasts that are professionally edited, scripted, festooned with appropriate music, crafted into some kind of coherent presentation. Podcasts like that seem respectful to the listener, wanting to engage my attention and reward it.

And the request:

Does anyone know of similarly well-crafted, artful podcasts made by conservatives or Christians? I have not yet found a single one. Podcasts by conservatives and Christians tend to be either bare-bones — two dudes talking, or one dude talking with maybe a brief musical intro and outro — or schmaltzily over-produced. (Just Christians in that second category.) Anyone know of any exceptions to this judgment? I suspect that there’s an unbridgeable gulf of style here, but I’d like to be proved wrong.

As a Christian in the world of podcasting—I have both a “two dudes talking” show (Winning Slowly) and also a “one dude talking with maybe a brief musical intro and outro” show (New Rustacean)—I found much to agree with, but also much to clarify and a few things to disagree with.

To be clear, this isn’t a plea for you to listen to either of those shows. Rather, it is an explanation of what podcasting entails and why the kinds of things Jacobs is looking for are rare. (That being said: we did time this piece to coincide with the start of Winning Slowly Season 5, which kicked off today with an introduction to our take on the ever-challenging problem of systemic pressures and individual agency, and I think it would be right up the alley of many Mere O readers.)

1. Theses on Podcasting

First, a set of theses on podcasting as a medium. Some of these are obvious; none are intended to be tendentious. Some of them warrant further explanation—for which, see below.

Continue reading