Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Some miscellaneous stuff that you might enjoy.

From the Wall Street Journal, about The Science of Irrationality:

We like to see ourselves as a Promethean species, uniquely endowed with the gift of reason. But Mr. Kahneman's simple experiments reveal a very different mind, stuffed full of habits that, in most situations, lead us astray. Though overconfidence may encourage us to take necessary risks—Mr. Kahneman calls it the "engine of capitalism"—it's generally a dangerous (and expensive) illusion.

What's even more upsetting is that these habits are virtually impossible to fix. As Mr. Kahneman himself admits, "My intuitive thinking is just as prone to overconfidence, extreme predictions and the planning fallacy as it was before I made a study of these issues."

Read the whole thing, though. It is quite short, but good food for thought. We certainly aren't rational!

From Michael Gorman's blog:

...In addition to its approximately 1,000 military bases worldwide, the U.S. has drone operations in and from numerous countries. And, according to this apparently well-researched article, “In less than three years under President Obama, the U.S. has launched drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. It maintains that it has carte blanche to kill suspected enemies in any nation (or at least any nation in the global south).”

I know that many “progressive” Christians have been huge fans of Obama. Christians of all stripes need to remember that empires with two parties are still empires.

Killing should bother us—especially such impersonal killing and disregard for other nation's borders. Can you say hubris?

From the Brazos blog:

We are not so much integrating human and technology as we are confusing the two.

And for that reason, I think that the trend will continue, and even accelerate. Too few people are asking questions about what is desirable. We tend to ask, instead, only about what is possible. That is the nature of a culture, like ours, that is enamored with technology, and sees it as a means of salvation. And my main response to this is a simple line of questions. “Has it made us happier persons? Has it made us more content as persons? Has it made us better persons?”

Yep; sadly, we worship technology.

Finally, Roger Olson cites some examples of the exegesis of Romans 9, both Calvinist and Arminian, that don't go the double predestination route. He concludes with these thoughts:

But, as I said earlier, it is not only Arminians who offer exegesis of Romans 9 that conflicts with traditional Calvinist interpretations. Lesslie Newbigin, for example (hardly an Arminian!), also explained Romans 9 in the Arminian manner (which is also how it was interpreted by ALL the church fathers before Augustine!)–as dealing with nations and service rather than individuals and their salvation.

Finally, Arminius himself offered a very cogent exegesis of Romans 9.

My point in quoting Wesley was NOT (as some disingenuously imply) to say that Arminians have no alternative explanation of Romans 9 based on exegesis. It as simply to say that ANY interpretation of Romans 9 or of ANY OTHER scripture that makes God arbitrary and unloving, in brief, a monster, is impossible BECAUSE there is no reason to believe Scripture if God, its author, is evil and not good. The (perhaps unintended) view of God as actually WANTING many people to suffer eternally in the flames of hell for his glory (as Theodore Beza asserted) undermines the validity of Scripture itself. It makes it untrustworthy because it is only trustworthy if God is trustworthy and an evil God is not trustworthy.

Amen and amen!

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