Worldview Perspectives-July 2005
Is Man an Animal’?
“Scientists to make ‘Stuart Little’ mouse with the brain of a human,” James Langton, New York, 06/03/2005; downloaded 3/16/2005 from www.telegraph.co.uk
“It will look like any ordinary mouse, but for America’s scientists a tiny animal threatens to ignite a profound ethical dilemma. In one of the most controversial scientific projects ever conceived, a group of university researchers in California’s Silicon Valley is preparing to create a mouse whose brain will be composed entirely of human cells.
“Part human, part animal; research raises concerns,” Paul Elias, Associated Press; downloaded 5/2/2005 from www.usatoday.com/tech/science/ethics/2005-04-30- chimera-research x.htm
“On a farm about six miles outside this gambling town, Jason Chamberlain looks over a flock of about 50 smelly sheep, many of them possessing partially human livers, hearts, brains and other organs. The University of Nevada-Reno researcher talks matter-of-factly about his plans to euthanize one of the pregnant sheep in a nearby lab. He can’t wait to examine the effects of the human cells he had injected into the fetus’ brain about two months ago. ‘It’s mice on a large scale,’ Chamberlain says with a shrug.”
One of the hottest topics of recent years has been genetic manipulation. It first began to draw attention when experiments were conducted using plants. Having broken the genetic code, scientists began to take certain advantageous genetic aspects of one plant and splicing them into plants that could use that advantage. Initially, there was a modicum of outcry, primarily from those of the “green” persuasion, expressing a deep concern for the long-term safety of such an action. And there were a few voices who said we had crossed the line (even though I can’t define that line, I understand what they meant), and had started down a slippery slope. In retrospect, they were obviously right.
Biblically, there was a barrier line instituted wherein it was stated that each living thing would reproduce “after its own kind.” While there has been much debate on the definition of “kind,” I don’t really think that mice and men would fit under that classification. This is a serious breach of our “caretaker” responsibilities before a Holy God.
I have often given thought to what the world was like, when the Creator Himself was prompted to “repent that He had made man” and destroyed the known world, with the exception of eight people. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man…”
Religion in America
“Charting the unchurched in America,” Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today, 03/07/2002; downloaded 03/07/2002 from www.usatoday.com
Americans almost all say religion matters, yet more people than ever are opting out. Not just out of the pews. Out from under a theological roof altogether.
People with no religion now account for 14% of the nation, up from 8% when the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, authors of the ARIS, conducted its first survey of religion in 1990. Today the range stretches from 3% with no religion in North Dakota to 25% in Washington state.
‘We haven’t gone to church since we were little children,’ she [Laura Terry of Whidbey Island, Washington] says. ‘Our kids go to (private) school, where they learn the philosophy of all religions, and I think that’s enough. They’re happiest when we’re out looking for adventure every weekend.’
‘On Easter, my son and I go camping,’ says Ralph Leitner of Seattle, as 10 year-old Peter conquers the REI pinnacle. Leitner, an Eagle Scout, teaches a catechism of nature. ‘You can’t help but be spiritual out there.’
Experts see people looking upward, inward, online and out-of-doors for the comfort, connection and inspiration they once sought in formal sanctuaries. Their ‘spirituality’ is unhemmed by ritual, Scripture, or theology. ‘People aren’t really saying, “I have no religion.” They are saying, “None of the above,” says University of Washington sociologist Rodney Stark, co-author of Acts of Faith:
Explaining the Human Side of Religion… ‘People who believe in God – and they do – who pray – and they do — are not secular, they are just unchurched, They’ve never been to church and, in many cases, their parents didn’t go either.’
Washington Cathedral … buzzes with ministries for every niche group and social need … ‘We are not organized religion, we’re disorganized religion. We like to say we’re “interdenominational,” since “non-denominational” sounds so “anti.” ‘We say we major on the majors and minor on the minors all other the things, like what age to baptize or how often to give communion and who gets communion, we say are the minor things we can all disagree on,’ says Skinner [Linda, Associate Pastor], skating past issues that once prompted wars.”
I debated with myself as to whether I wanted to treat each one of the articles in this section individually or collectively. Individually has won out.
Most everyone is familiar with the expression, “can’t see the forest for the trees.” Simply, the implication is that one cannot understand in totality the immediate situation because one is involved in it. I perceive this to be the case with the modern-day church, at least in America. I will be the first to admit that the past fifty to sixty years of Protestant church history has engendered some very undesirable characteristics (and those who know me have probably heard me pontificate on some of these). However, I believe the subtle infiltration of humanism into the common theology, via the scientific promotion of evolution, has given many in the church a “license” to cast off sound Biblical restraint in the name of stifling dogmatism. Utilizing a little poetic license, I deem the situation to be that as recorded in Judges 17:6 — “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Now, before anyone take offense, let me be quick to add that no one, and no set of denominational beliefs, are untouched by this. Rather, what we see is a distinctive self-centeredness in the modern day dogmas; specifically, we see the trends in religious observance as self-satisfying, rather than self-sacrificing. This unconscious behavior expresses itself in many different ways, but when the world begins to recognize this, we can no longer deny that it exists. We should, instead, begin falling on our faces before an All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Ever-Present, Holy Creator — recognizing our positions as creations.
“The Christian market aims for the young and happenin,” Cathy Lynn Grossman and Marco R. della Cava, USA Today; downloaded 06/24/2004 from www.usatodav.com/life/ lifestyle/2004-06-23-christian-side_x.htm
“Marketers are eyeing the 18-to-34 Christian crowd. Watch for:
Gifted, a Christian American Idol-style talent show coming in October to Trinity Broadcasting Network… eight finalists will be picked to croon God’s love ‘in a way that blends seamlessly into “pop” culture,’…
The Word on the Street, billed as ‘a vivid retelling of the Bible in modern British street talk’. . .The company is also running a nationwide faith-based writing contest asking 20-to-30 year-olds: ‘What’s in your head?’
Livin’ It, a DVD release distributed by evangelist Luis Palau featuring a raft of skateboarders and BMX cyclists who mix extreme sports with a Christian message. ‘Kids are not getting reached successfully by the normal crusade model,’ says the director, actor Stephen Baldwin, 37, a born-again Christian. ‘Why? Because we’re usually doing that cheesy Christian thing. We’re dorks’ we’ve got to change this.’
C28, hip Christian clothing, music and accessories shops, now in four upscale malls in Southern California… Founder Aurelio Barreto says many buyers are secular, but ‘most are serious Christians and sophisticated shoppers.”
Boy, you talk about an area where angels fear to tread. Wall-Street and Hollywood marketing techniques have become so well ensconced in the modern day church, that to suggest that it may not have a Biblical base will immediately draw charges such as “you’re still doing that cheesy Christian thing,” or even worse. Do not misunderstand me. There is a place for the understanding of human nature in the promotion of the Gospel; however, to use the fleshly draw of worldly passions is questionable at best (and should be utilized cautiously) and anathema, at worst. Besides, at what point do the Scriptures define that certain age groups should be targeted in the presentation of the Gospel? Feel free to answer that.
I began a series of quotes, purported to have been delivered by Bill Gates at a recent High School graduation. The first half was listed in the May-June newsletter, and below is the remainder. Enjoy!
Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought they were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
Television is NOT real life. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.