Monday, April 21, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

I really hadn't heard that much press about the film, but it turns out that (surprise!) the media doesn't always promote nice little gems.

Essentially, Ben Stein attempts to shed light on the debate between Intelligent Design (ID) versus Darwinian theory of evolution. Just to give fair warning to Christian and non-Christian alike, this documentary is not out to claim that ID is specific to the Judeo-Christian God (i.e. Creationism) or any other god for that matter. It merely is a theory claiming that the created have a creator (my weak paraphrase).

The film is also not out to stake claim on which theory is correct. It instead shows the academic bias and lack of freedom in being able to even consider ID as a valid theory; read: politics. Nevertheless, Ben interviews several prominent researchers, scientists, and authors from both sides of the theories. Some of the scientists of the ID persuasion discuss how coming out as ID has left them jobless and unemployable. Still others were interviewed on the condition of anonymity and did so because of the potential implications. It is still difficult for me to believe that a gifted researcher could be fired simply for believing in ID, but sadly it is true. Stein claims that in today's scientific world, there is a complete lack of freedom for expressing ideas that challenge the status quo. Interestingly enough, he speaks with a Polish researcher who firmly believes that this is more of an American struggle instead of within the scientific community as a whole.

Stein also spent a considerable amount of time interviewing Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion, a NY Times bestseller), a staunch Darwinist and atheist. It was very informative to hear his personal thoughts regarding his beliefs in Darwin's theory and his own atheist views. (I'll be praying for him).

Ever since viewing the film, my mind has had much to chew on and I'm appreciative of that. On a philosophical level, this film did an amazing job of providing connections between Darwinism, atheism, Hitler, eugenics, and Planned Parenthood. Yes, all of those items are extremely controversial, and I would fail horribly to explain those connections, so I highly suggest you view the film instead. If you have already seen Expelled (or after you have seen it), please leave comments because I would love to discuss it with you.

Click here to visit the site for Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Cool feature: a discussion guide for free

Here is Pluggedin Online's review of the film

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The name of "Jesus"

Last night, my husband and I along with millions of others watched American Idol's "Idol Gives Back" program. After a lot of pomp from celebrities and heart-wrenching videos of impoverished peoples, the finale song began. I about died when I heard Ryan Secreast utter, "Now singing "Shout to the Lord," once again, your American Idols..."

My jaw hit the floor as I stood there incredulously, missing the first few words of the song. I was in disbelief that on such a huge show as that night, they were singing a praise song?!

Leave it to my husband to ask, "Did they actually say 'My Jesus, my Savior...?'" Well, we rewound it and they didn't. It was replaced with "My Shepherd, my Savior..." Jesus is called the "Good Shepherd" dozens of times in Scripture. (John 10:11, 14-16, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd").

I definitely would have preferred that they leave Jesus' name in the song, but at least they were singing "Shout to the Lord!"

There is no sweeter name than Jesus, and no such controversial name as His either. C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity wrote,

"I'm trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse."

So what do you think about "Shout to the Lord" being censored? Was all meaning of the song lost because "Jesus" was omitted, or do you think the overall message could still be accurately perceived?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Words that are Kind, Part II

Well, how did the weekly "Kindness Campaign" work for anyone? I know that I was doing pretty well until about day 6. The idea of having our words be a "life-giving fountain" gave my conversation much needed direction. It also reminded me that our words have power behind them.

In God's awesome power, He is able to speak things into existence. The creation account in Genesis 1 gives clear insight into how the world was created; with the divine imperative..."Let there be..."

...light. And it was so.

...a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth. And it was so.

...waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear. And it was so.

He continued to create the universe(!) as we know it by a command of His voice.

Can you imagine what it would be like to have similar powers with our voice? I, for one, would be commanding silly things such as "Let there be ice cream sundaes" or "Let my walls be painted...teal! No, green! Maybe red?"

While we are not able to physically create anything out of nothingness by a simple command, we are able to help shape and influence others with our words. And that in turn can create positive or negative attitudes, behaviors, and actions.

In a previous post I mentioned that I was about to begin Shaunti Feldhahn's "For Women Only" Bible study with some girls from my Sunday school class. We met last night to discuss our first week of study and the challenges that were presented. One of which was to not say anything negative to our husbands or anything negative about them. Feldhahn's challenge was attempting to forge a direct link between our feelings and our actions. Judging by the responses of my groupmates, it had been a tough week. Yes, having only kind things to say is a difficult task indeed. But how do we attempt to accomplish that?

In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul instructs us to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." Clearly when I flippantly toss about an unkind word or monologue, I'm not taking the time to take those thoughts and sift them through Christ's love. As mentioned in Words that are Kind, there are oodles of proverbs that detail godly speech. Below are a few that continue to remind us to think first, then speak:

Proverbs 15:28, "The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words."

Proverbs 29:20, "There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking."

So this week's challenge on the Kindness Campaign is to slow your dang tongue down! Rein it in along with your thoughts before you speak. I'm convinced a few extra nanoseconds could be of benefit to us all in dealing with others.