Sunday, 18 March 2018

The Exodus Debunked: Coming out of Egypt

I will continue my deconstruction of the Exodus accounts by concentrating on the issues surrounding the claims of the Hebrews coming out of Egypt. The articles so far have been: The Exodus Debunked: Chronology The Exodus Debunked: A Ridiculous Story with Ridiculous Claims The Exodus Debunked: Camels The Exodus Debunked: Hardening of Hearts The Exodus Debunked: […]


We Can’t Be Bothered to Be Ethical

I recently caught the first episode of the Netflix series, called Dirty Money and executive produced by Oscar-winner Alex Gibney. Indeed, the first episode is his one and concerns the Volkswagen debacle where they essentially conned the entire world, faking their diesel emissions tests. it’s a stark condemnation of the massive car company. Essentially, VW come […]


Saturday, 17 March 2018

Science Finalists and Immigration

I thought, in the context of some of the commenters here at ATP, I would post this excerpt from Forbes. A new study from the National Foundation for American Policy found a remarkable 83% (33 of 40) of the finalists of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search were the children of immigrants. The competition organized each year by […]


Friday, 16 March 2018

Will Trump’s New Secretary of State Prioritize Religious Freedom?

Fired Rex Tillerson was still shuffling strategy. Now experts are looking to Mike Pompeo to set the tone.

Top advocates have spent much of President Donald Trump’s time in office waiting for his administration’s international religious freedom efforts to fall into place.

With today’s firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, they’re left once again wondering exactly how the administration will approach the issue as part of a broader strategy for foreign affairs.

The President announced this morning that Tillerson, who ran the State Department since February 2017, would be replaced by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Mike Pompeo.

Most analysts agree that Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO, fell out of favor with the administration and had a hard time rallying support within the department. As Pompeo takes on his new role, he’ll be stepping into one of the most significant leadership positions in the US government.

“He sets the tone for US foreign policy,” Chris Seiple, president emeritus of the Institute for Global Engagement, told CT. The secretary’s “attention [to religious freedom]—as with any subject—is what people inside the State Department building and foreign ministries alike watch for.”

The news of the leadership transition came just over a month after Sam Brownback was finally confirmed as ambassador-at-large to head the department’s Office of International Religious Freedom (IRF), after several months of delay.

During Tillerson’s year at the State Department, he was a few months late issuing its annual religious freedom report and had relatively brief analysis to share on the state of religious freedom abroad.

Tom Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, expects that Pompeo—an Army veteran and former congressman—will ...

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Lead Us Not Into Scandal

While some other evangelicals stumbled in national news, Graham's Modesto Manifesto kept him from falling.

On countless occasions during his career, usually at a press conference preceding a major crusade, Billy Graham declared that he sensed religious revival was breaking out and about to sweep over the land. In 1948, he happened to be right. During the 1940s, church membership in America rose by nearly 40 percent, with most of the growth coming after the end of the war, as the nation tried to reconstruct normalcy on the most dependable foundation it knew. Church building reached an all-time high, seminaries were packed, secular colleges added programs in religious studies, religious books outsold all other categories of nonfiction, and Bible sales doubled between 1947 and 1952. While Graham and his colleagues in Youth For Christ (YFC) and the Southern Baptist “Youth Revival Movement” were packing civic auditoriums and stadiums, William Branham, Jack Coe, A. A. Allen, and Oral Roberts were filling stupendous nine-pole circus tents with Pentecostal believers desperate to see afflictions healed, devils cast out, and the dead raised.

For evangelists, it was like being a stockbroker in a runaway bull market. As in other fields, however, the boom attracted some whose motives and methods were less than sanctified, who fell prey to the temptations described in Scripture as “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16) but are better known by their street names, “sex, money, and power.” Despite good intentions and behavior, Graham and his associates occasionally found themselves the objects of suspicion and condescension from ministers and laypeople alike. As they contemplated the checkered history and contemporary shortcomings of itinerant evangelism and talked ...

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Thursday, 15 March 2018

Faith in Russia: What Does It Mean?

Many Russians, be they Orthodox or Evangelical, will understandably view their homeland with affection, loyalty, and patriotism.

After brief instructions from the Lutheran Archbishop Dietrich Brauer, we processed up the center aisle of the St. Peter-and-St. Paul Lutheran Cathedral in Moscow, launching the 500th Anniversary observance of the Protestant Reformation.

Robed in gowns and hats of all colors and shapes, leaders of various Christian groups gathered in this important Moscow celebration: Lutherans, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, but there were no Russian Orthodox representative in the procession. As we passed the front row moving toward the raised platform, I saw an Orthodox priest standing.

Even as we gathered around the altar for prayer, he remained apart. Later, I learned that while he would attend the service, he would not join in procession or prayer: according to the ancient Orthodox rule, a priest who prayed with heretics would lose his priesthood.

This is Russia. A country in curious shifts and alterations more mysterious than the Trump/Putin insults and bravados. I live with memory of a state, the Soviet Union, ruled by atheists insisting that the Communist and Marxist dictum of “no God” be their country’s mantra.

But it is wrong to assume that atheism rules, indeed, if it ever did. Make no mistake, this is a religious and, in fact, a Christian country, if one were to define a country by what its people believe. The Pew Foundation noted that 74 percent of Russians identify as Christian. However, even with this remarkable percentage of self-confessed Christians, Russia is dynamically secular, with a definite separation of Christian witness from its civil life, apart from official Orthodox ceremonies.

Its Varied History

To catch up on recent moves by Putin, a quick review of the role of faith in this grand country ...

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Ministries Can Do Better Than Inclusion-Rider Diversity

Rather than wait for outside demands, faith-based organizations should proactively pursue representation as part of their mission.

Once Oscar winner Frances McDormand ended her acceptance speech with the two words “inclusion rider,” so many people Googled the phrase that inclusion became the most-searched word of the night on Merriam-Webster’s site.

In the entertainment industry, a rider refers to special provisions of a contract; in this case, the agreement would require producers to involve a certain level of underrepresented groups in the cast and crew in order for a prominent performer to take part.

The concept was proposed by Stacy L. Smith, director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, in the Hollywood Reporter in 2014, as a way to have “women, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of LGBT and marginalized communities who are traditionally underrepresented be depicted on screen in proportion to their representation in the population.” Earlier this month, actor Michael B. Jordan of Black Panther became the first A-list actor to promise he would adopt the inclusion rider in contracts through his company, Outlier Society Productions.

The aims of the inclusion rider, in the context of the film industry, seem straightforward: to incorporate more diversity on screen and behind the scenes, thus promoting employment and capturing more accurately the diversity of human experience.

However, the concept of the inclusion rider has also raised questions of legality, particularly if possible quotas would actually violate certain nondiscrimination laws, like the federal Civil Rights Act, which protects against discrimination in classes such as race, national origin, and sex.

An article in the American Bar Association Journal reports that Kalpana Kotagal, a partner with Cohen Milstein’s civil rights and employment ...

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