STUPIDITY VS. EVIL
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgement simply need not be believed — in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical — and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters & Papers from Prison, 43. Quoted by Nijay K. Gupta here: Bonhoeffer on Stupidity.
RACISM AS A SPIRITUAL CRISIS
From a joint statement prompted by the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, by pastors Gabriel Salguero, J. Mark DeYmaz, Le Que Vu-Heidkamp, Jeanette Salguero, Bryan Loritts, David Anderson, and Eugene Cho: “At its core the scourge of racism presents a spiritual crisis with real life and death repercussions. And while government and educational programs, together with the efforts of countless individuals, groups and agencies, have long-sought to eliminate prejudice and the disparaging consequences of systemic racism still deeply embedded within our society, it is long-past time to recognize that systemic racism cannot be overcome apart from the establishment of local churches which intentionally and joyfully reflect the love of God for all people beyond the distinctions of this world that so often and otherwise divide. For not only does God require of governments and institutions the work of justice, we, too, the local church, the bride of Christ, have been ordained by God to this task. With this in mind, the American Church can and must do better in providing spiritual leadership toward a healing response. Indeed, we call immediately for it to do so.” Here: Multi-Ethnic Churches Lament America’s Racial Injustice.
ARMINIANISM OUTSHINES CALVINISM
William Birch: “Bluntly stated: the Arminian conception of our most glorious God ascends and outshines that of Calvinism. This, we believe, is an uncontested fact. According to Calvinists like John Piper, “1. God desires His glory more than the salvation of all people. 2. God chooses unconditionally to save only some people.” These confessions do not glorify God but, actually, demean His character, which includes His being inherently holy, loving, good, merciful, gracious, and just. The attempted primary goal of Calvinism is also its greatest failure: it strives to glorify God, but cannot avoid demeaning His character, a tragic consequence created by its erroneous presuppositions.” (Links to this material are no longer on the Internet, as far as I know.)
YOUNG JIDAHISTS BARELY KNOW WHAT ISLAM IS
Mehdi Hasan: “Can you guess which books the wannabe jihadists Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed ordered online from Amazon before they set out from Birmingham to fight in Syria last May? …. Sarwar and Ahmed, both of whom pleaded guilty to terrorism offenses last month, purchased Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies. You could not ask for better evidence to bolster the argument that the 1,400-year-old Islamic faith has little to do with the modern jihadist movement. The swivel-eyed young men who take sadistic pleasure in bombings and beheadings may try to justify their violence with recourse to religious rhetoric – think the killers of Lee Rigby screaming “Allahu Akbar” at their trial; think of Islamic State beheading the photojournalist James Foley as part of its “holy war” – but religious fervour isn’t what motivates most of them.” Here: What the jihadists who bought “Islam for Dummies” on Amazon tell us about radicalisation.
RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY?
Roger E. Olson: “We Christians have, by and large, gone along with history. We are now, with regard to divorce (and remarriage) “on the right side of history.” Good for us? I don’t think so. I could name many other areas where we, American Christians, have by and large gone along with cultural history and adapted to it without critical reflection: materialism, nationalism, anti-intellectual pragmatism, pre-marital sex and cohabitation, alcohol consumption, etc., etc. Whether you agree with my examples is not the point. Who can deny that Christians by and large mirror the rest of society and its cultural norms about what behaviors are acceptable—even within the churches? Being “on the right side of history” should not be our concern. Being righteous should be our concern and that should put us outside of history, in many cases, and ahead of history in other cases.” Here: Should Christians Fear Being “On the Wrong Side of History?”
Chris Tilling: “It follows, then, that a Christian understanding of Truth needs to allow any notion of “truth” to be shaped by the contours of the gospel, or it runs the risk of simply parroting any old Zeitgeist, whether it be gospel shaped or not. And when one speaks of foundational concerns, such as the Truth of Scripture, one needs to be all the more careful. I argue that [Albert] Mohler – though he is not alone in this – has not been careful!” Here: “Unevangelised” notions of Truth.