Simulated relationships 

11103892_f57d05a21e_oWhy do we often take celebrity deaths so hard?  According to Rev. Travis Berg, citing various experts, it’s because we form “simulated relationships.”  Our impulse to form friendships is displaced onto people we don’t really know, except from the characters they play or their personalities projected by the media.

In our high-tech, low-interaction culture, those kinds of “para-social relationships” are all some people have!  In contrast, God wants us to love actual people and to be part of actual communities in the family, church, and society. [Read more…]

Our attention span drops to below that of a goldfish

goldfish-bowl-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-7ooBw5-clipartAmericans have a very high literacy rate.  The problem is, though people can read, many of them don’t read.  At least not anything longer than a tweet or a blog post.  One-quarter of Americans haven’t read a single book all year.  That can be said of  one-third of American men.

One problem, reports Eric Metaxas, is that our attention span keeps dropping.  In the year 2000, our average attention span was an already unimpressive 12 seconds.  Now it’s 8 seconds.  One journalist observed that this is less than that of a goldfish. [Read more…]

Now that men can become pregnant. . .

A_TransGender-Symbol_Plain2Now that gender has been disassociated from biology and is a matter of personal self-identification, a man can become pregnant.  (That is, someone born with female organs but who self-identifies as a man has to be considered as a man.  If “he” hasn’t had sex-reassignment surgery and has sex with a biological man–I suppose we would have to call “him” gay–then “he” could have a baby.)

Carl Trueman studies a military manual instructing officers how to handle transgender issues, including a male soldier who gets pregnant.

So the body is thought to have nothing to do with gender, with sex, with parenting, with personal identity.  Now Gnosticism has become our new civil religion.

[Read more…]

Unhinged over-reactions to the election

My daughter told me about someone coming up to her after Donald Trump’s election as if to comfort her, saying how she would be “safe” here in Australia.

It’s a common theme I’m seeing on TV interviews, social media, and in the liberal press:  “I am so frightened.”  Columns on how to calm your children’s fears of Donald Trump.  Videos of Clinton supporters weeping and pouting.  “It’s worse than 9/11!”   [Read more…]

The older you get, the happier you are?

A study has found a linear relationship between old age and happiness. That is, the older you get, the happier you are.

Despite the deterioration of the body and the whole array of health and mental problems as people age, happiness increases.  The linear relationship means that people in their 90s are happier than they were in their 80s, and in their 70s than in their 60s, etc.  The biggest miseries are in young adulthood, the supposed prime of life.

I can relate to this.  Consider the stress involved in trying to find someone to marry, in trying to find a job, in raising children, in trying to find success in one’s career.  Older people are on the other side of all that.

But the continual growth in happiness in the post-retirement decades, that’s a mystery, and no doubt a gift.

[Read more…]

Are Christians the powerful or the marginalized?

In the course of a post on why so many evangelicals are supporting Donald Trump, S. D. Kelly tosses off an observation that explains much about the current controversies between Christians and secularists.

Secularists tend to see Christians as “the powerful”; that is, in postmodern parlance, those who are in a position of power and privilege who oppress “the marginalized,” those who lack power and privilege.

But Christians tend to see themselves as “the marginalized,” oppressed by the cultural elite who exclude them and exercise their power against them.

Thus, when a Christian baker refuses to participate in a gay wedding, the secularists see the Christian heteronormative establishment discriminating against marginalized and oppressed gay people.

While Christians see secularists–who control the culture, the entertainment industry, the educational establishment, the government, and the law–imposing their sexual ideology on those with traditional Christian values and punishing them for their minority religious beliefs.

This explains much of the rhetoric, argumentation, and high feelings on both sides.  Are these just two irreconcilable perceptions?  Or can we make an objective case for one side or the other?  Does realizing these different perceptions suggest other ways of addressing these controversies? [Read more…]