Antisemitism In America, 2021

Nov 27th, 2021 | By

In 2017, Yair Rosenberg, an American journalist and an authority on anti-Semitism, cogently summarized five myths about anti-Semitism. Anti-Jewish bigotry is alive and well in 2021—and it must be dealt with frankly and conclusively.

The Lie Of Personal Autonomy

Nov 20th, 2021 | By

In the 1992 Supreme Court case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Justice Anthony Kennedy penned his famous “mystery passage”: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Robert Bork called the phrase indicative of “New Age jurisprudence”; William Bennett derided it as an “open-ended validation of subjectivism” that paves the way for drug abuse, assisted suicide, prostitution, and “virtually anything else”; George Will said it was “gaseously” written; Michael Uhlman labeled it a “thing of almost infinite plasticity”; the editors of First Things called it the “notorious mystery passage.” What seems clear is Kennedy’s underlying conception of human beings as autonomous individuals, choosing their own values and mapping out their own life courses.

Coming To Terms With The Threat Of Iran And China

Nov 13th, 2021 | By

With the end of the Cold War, many assumed the world would enter a period of stability and relative peace. With the growth of Islamic terrorism and the rise of China as a formidable economic and military power these assumptions died. The US remains a world power and is the only power that has the ability to check both the growth of Iran and China. Both are genuine threats to the US and to the world. Permit me an overview of these two alarming powers threating the stability and peace of the world.

Evidence Of Moral Decline In America

Nov 6th, 2021 | By

In 1923 German historian and philosopher, Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), published his famous two-volume historical analysis in one volume, entitled The Decline of the West. Spengler analyzed the various civilizations of world history, arguing that each went through a time of flourishing followed by a period of decline. His central argument was that Western civilization was in a period of decline. [He wrote in German and the term translated “decline” could actually be translated “downfall.”] As civilizations decline, they gravitate to dictatorial power that preserves what they cherish (e.g., stability, order, security). What once marked the core defining elements of the civilization (e.g., religious beliefs, ethical standards) are abandoned as the civilization embraces raw rationalism, skepticism and power.

Israel: The Good News And The Bad

Oct 30th, 2021 | By

My wife and I have found that the daily news is a ceaseless burden. The supreme optimist, Steven Pinker, observes that if you were “to read the news every day for a few decades it would be easy to miss the progress that had been made over that span.” Part of the explanation for this is the time period in question: good things usually happen incrementally, bad things (like natural disasters or murders) happen in shorter chunks of time. The “bad things” oddly, get more coverage.

The “Faith” Of Atheism

Oct 23rd, 2021 | By

In 1933 a group of thirty-four liberal US humanists drafted the “Humanist Manifesto I,” which for its time was a radical document. Committed to reason, science and democracy, the document rejected orthodox and dogmatic positions and argued for a “new statement of the means and purposes of religion.” [Paul Kurtz, ed., The Humanist Manifesto I and II, Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1973, p. 8] The Manifesto maintained that the universe is “self-existing and not created,” explained only by the evolutionary hypothesis. The Manifesto affirmed that the human race is the center of all things and that religion must be redefined in these terms. Finally, the Manifesto rejected capitalism and affirmed some kind of socialist order as the wave of the future.

America 2021: Resentment, Alienation, Endless Political Dysfunction

Oct 16th, 2021 | By

American civilization is in trouble. One troubling symptom is what sociologists are now calling “tribalism” within our civilization. In one sense, the state of our civilization resembles the period between 1850-1860, when the battle lines between the north and the south hardened, which ultimately produced the Civil War (1861-1865). But, the tribalism of 2021 is different. It is not about slavery and the direction of America—slave or free. It is much deeper.

American Higher Education And American Culture, 2021

Oct 9th, 2021 | By

Colonial America saw the founding of important institutions of higher education, all of which stressed preparing men for leadership in the colonies, especially spiritual leadership: Harvard (1636), Yale (1701), the College of William and Mary (1693), the College of New Jersey [later known as Princeton University] (1746), and the Academy of Philadelphia [later known as the University of Pennsylvania] (1755). As each developed a unique intellectual identity, each wrestled with Puritan theology or Anglican theology, as well as the 18th century Enlightenment, which by the 1740s was penetrating all facets of American intellectual life. Each produced the key leaders of the American movement towards independence from Great Britain (e.g., Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison). These educational institutions were centers of both Protestant Reformation thinking and Enlightenment thinking. The tension that arose between these two intellectual and theological revolutions shaped the development of America.

Abortion Update, 2021

Oct 2nd, 2021 | By

The Supreme Court decision in 1973, Roe v. Wade was a watershed in judicial history. The 7-2 decision established the right of a woman to abort her baby up to the point of viability, usually understood to be during the first trimester of the pregnancy. The Court also permitted other situations where an abortion could occur within the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. The result was that America had one of the most liberal abortion standards in the world. Abortion therefore has been at the center of the culture war battles since 1973. It is far from resolved and it has further polarized American culture.

Living With Contradiction: Peter Singer And The Value Of A Human Life

Sep 25th, 2021 | By

The “image” and “likeness” of God is not a human achievement, but a gift conferred on all humans through God’s creative act. According to Genesis 1, God’s creative activity reached its apex on Day 6, when the divine counsel determined to create man in God’s “image” (tselem) and “likeness” (demut). [Theologians call this the imago Dei.] These two terms define the first and fundamental truth about the human race: That humanity was created in God’s “image”, which means that humans represent God. Humans have the capacity to mirror God in everything—and are commanded to do so.