The Subtle Power of Facebook

Jun 18th, 2016 | By

This May, the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, invited a group of conservative leaders to his Silicon Valley board room to discuss the perceived Facebook bias against conservative views and positions being displayed on the Facebook platform. He denied bias against conservative views. The alleged censorship focuses on a feature on Facebook?s desktop version called ?trending topics,? which relies on special curators to help select the new items to highlight. . . But leaving aside this controversy over the ?trending topics? part of Facebook, I want to concentrate in this Perspective on the subtle but real power of this social network. A few items for consideration:

The Global Religious Landscape and the Growing Secularization of the World

Jun 4th, 2016 | By

The Pew Research Center periodically issues valuable studies on religious movements, trends and often speculates on what present tendencies tell us about the future. The Pew Center recently published its Global Religious Futures, which gives focus to eight major global religious groups and speculates on what present tendencies tell us about these groups through 2050. What follows is a summary of the Center?s salient findings:

Answers to Religious Questions People Ask

May 21st, 2016 | By

I recently came across a noteworthy article that summarizes Google searches among Americans seeking answers to religious questions. The results are curious and reveal much about American culture in the early 21st century. Here is a brief summary of some of the salient findings:

The number one Google question in America is ?who created God?? Second is why does God allow suffering? If God is all powerful and all good, how can He allow suffering? The third most-asked question is, ?why does God hate me?? The fourth is, ?why does God need so much praise??

Girls, the Social Media and Human Sexuality

Apr 30th, 2016 | By

Two recent books explore the impact social media and sexuality issues are having on American, adolescent girls: American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales and Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape, by Peggy Orenstein. Several important insights are gained from these books:

The Deteriorating Social Fabric of America

Apr 23rd, 2016 | By

America in the 21st century seems disorderly, somewhat chaotic and rather dysfunctional. There are four major forces sweeping through American civilization all of which partially explain this disorder. Columnist David Brooks capably summarizes these four forces: 1. Global migration is leading to demographic diversity. 2. Economic globalization is creating wider opportunity but also inequality. 3. The Internet is giving people more choices over what to buy and pay attention to. 4. A culture of autonomy validates individual choice and self-determination. The Economist emphasizes the importance of both Google and Facebook in this culture of autonomy. . .

What Is the Difference between Sunni and Shia Islam?

Mar 26th, 2016 | By

In today?s Middle East, there are two major Islamic powers striving for power and influence?Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran. This rivalry is tense and fueled by centuries of bitter hatred and competition. This rivalry is evident in Yemen, Iraq and the bitter civil war in Syria. What is the difference between these two branches of Islam? Why does it matter and how important is this difference in understanding today?s complex world?

Evangelical Christianity: Its Role in a Hostile World?

Feb 20th, 2016 | By

Evangelical Christians should, by nature, be optimists.  Our hope for the future is rooted in our confidence in Christ?s return and the establishment of His kingdom (Titus 2:13).  But, because evangelicals have enjoyed such influence in American culture, it is the immediate future that causes so much anxiety.  Evangelicals no longer influence public policy, culture?s
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The Scourge of Biblical Illiteracy

Feb 6th, 2016 | By

Important researcher and evangelical Christian, George Barna, has written: ?The Christian body in America is immersed in a crisis of biblical illiteracy. How else can you describe matters when most churchgoing adults reject the accuracy of the Bible, reject the existence of Satan, claim that Jesus sinned, see no need to evangelize, believe that good works are one of the keys to persuading God to forgive their sins, and describe their commitment to Christianity as moderate or even less firm?? Consider additional evidence Barna has surfaced of widespread biblical illiteracy in America:

Wheaton College and the Theology of Islam

Jan 23rd, 2016 | By

Larycia Hawkins, tenured associate professor of political science at Wheaton College in Illinois, has taught at Wheaton since 2007, but, through her recent comments about Islam, has created a firestorm at this evangelical college. . . In December, Wheaton suspended her and placed her on administrative leave because her ?theological statements seemed inconsistent with Wheaton College?s doctrinal convictions.? The College explained that ?While Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic, we believe there are fundamental differences between the two faiths, including what they teach about God?s revelation to humanity, the nature of God, the path to salvation, and the life of prayer.?

Altering Human Heredity: Gene Editing and the Power of Genetic Technology

Jan 9th, 2016 | By

On 1 December 2015, at the opening of a three-day meeting in Washington to discuss the ethics and use of gene editing, David Baltimore of the California Institute of Technology perceptively declared, ?Over the years the unthinkable has become conceivable and today we are close to being able to alter human heredity.? This meeting, called the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, was convened by the national academies of three nations?the United States, Great Britain and China. The primary focus of this meeting was to discuss whether gene editing should be used to make heritable changes to the human gene line.