February 03, 2008
"Is there some other guy named Nicholas Kristof?" I wondered. But nope, it was him -- the only individual who has an entire category devoted to him on this blog. Joel Osteen doesn't even have that distinction yet.
So I figured there had to be a catch, and clicked on over. And yes, he does seem to find a bunch of things to praise evangelicals for. Even though I really don't consider Jim Wallis to be an example of a conservative evangelical, it is true that even those of us who were considered religious right just a few years ago are starting to find our voice on topics that have been dominated by liberal secularists. Like Kristof.
When he gets it right, he gets it right. I don't necessarily agree with him on the whole stem cell issue, but I have to say that Kristof seems to be getting religion after all.
May 16, 2005
In his attempt to reimagine Christianity, Kristof has engaged the arch-heretic John Shelby Spong. Paul was a gay man who attacked homosexuality to keep his own desires in check. Judas didn't betray Christ, because Paul (as well as the ever-elusive Q source) doesn't mention the betrayal at all. Never mind that Paul doesn't attempt to give an account of the life of Christ, and the betrayal never really factored into his ministry or teachings. If Paul didn't mention it, then it didn't happen. And Q seems to be the last refuge of doubt -- if we see something that all three Synoptics have in common, it has to be from Q (rather than it having to do with the common inspiration of God that the writers labored under).
Kristof comes short of actually agreeing with Spong, but he does say "at least he's engaged in the debate," and encourages liberals to engage conservative Christians on their own turf, on their own terms. If Spong is the best they have, I think they're better off with their current strategy of ridicule and ignore.
March 28, 2005
I especially like this quote -- I think it's particularly relevant.
Yet conservative Christians in the U.S. should take heed. Christianity is thriving where it faces obstacles, like repression in China or suspicion of evangelicals in parts of Latin America and Africa. In those countries where religion enjoys privileges - Britain, Italy, Ireland, Spain or Iran - that establishment support seems to have stifled faith.Sanguis martyrumsemen christianorum-- the blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians. Thank you, Tertullian. Maybe one of these days, the Church will listen to you.
That's worth remembering in the debates about school prayers or public displays of the Ten Commandments: faith doesn't need any special leg up. Look at where religion is most vibrant today, talk to those who walk five hours to services, and the obvious conclusion is that what nurtures faith is not special privileges but rather adversity.
February 15, 2005
He's written a column about "prominent American geneticist" Dean Hamer, and his 'God gene' idea. Kristof likes the idea, it seems -- it explains why so many people decide to be irrational enough to actually believe in this God character -- "... faith may give people strength to overcome illness - after all, if faith in placebo sugar pills works, why not faith in God?"
And I tend to agree that this really, in the long run, doesn't matter.
Of course, none of that answers the question of whether God exists. The faithful can believe that God wired us to appreciate divinity. And atheists can argue that God may simply be a figment of our VMAT2 gene.But, of course, loyal readers of this blog will remember that Dr. Al Mohler has already talked about this book of Dean Hamer's -- waaaaay back in October. And I talked about him talking about it here. So this is really old news. Maybe Kristof should read more Godblogs.
But what the research does suggest is that postindustrial society will not easily leave religion behind. Faith may be quiescent in many circles these days, or directed toward meditation or yoga, but it is not something that humans can easily cast off.
A propensity to faith in some form appears to be embedded within us as a profound part of human existence, as inextricable and perhaps inexplicable as the way we love and laugh.
November 06, 2004
This is tough to admit. And I don't really like the implications of what he has to say -- especially if the Democrats listen to him. He's basically callling the Dems to pay attention to the people that they just assumed would vote for them.
I'd like to see the Democrats become more than the ultra-left version of ultra-right Republicans. This election was painful -- mainly because for so many people, there wasn't an option. I am very impressed that so few people fell for the third-party candidates -- it show that the American people at least know that you have to have some kind of backing in Congress to make any impact.
What I'm hoping to see, in a couple years, is a third party who actually cares about Senate seats. A third party who wants to work in state politics. A third party that is as concerned about winning the governor's mansion as the White House. That would be a third party that is in it for the long haul. And it would be a third party that would have a credible chance at the White House in 2012 or 2016.
It might even be a third party that I could support. The Libertarians could do it; so could the Constitution Party, if they got a little more realistic in their foreign policy. The Green party could do it, though they will still end up skewing further left, just as the Connies would skew further right. A viable third part would make politics interesting again for a lot of people.
October 26, 2004
Then I wandered over to blogs4God, and saw that Gary Petersen had done a much better job at it than I would have. So just go there and read what he has to say, and know that all I can add is a good hearty "AMEN".
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