Web Notables (Feb. 11, 2015)

Muslims responding to the gospel, modern art, the Lord's Resistance Army, hacking a war, etc.

By The Editors Published on February 11, 2015

“Web Notables” is a daily feature that highlights articles readers may want to see but might have missed. It is compiled by senior editor David Mills.

On Some Uses of “But”, from The New Criterion. Western liberals as well as western Muslims spokesmen say “Freedom of speech is one thing, but . . . ,” write the editors of the journal. “But what?” The issue really “centers around the status of free speech in Western countries that gave birth to that indispensable auxiliary to political liberty. How’s that faring?” Very badly, the editors argue.

Islam: Inherently Violent or Peaceful?, from Christianity Today. “Muslims are responding to the gospel as never before, and that trend will continue,” says Warren Larson, a leading evangelical scholar of Islam. “Muslims are broken and becoming more broken as the days go by. More will reject Islam, but the danger is that they will reject Islam and become atheists. Christians must be on the alert to reach out to them with love and understanding. . . . Most of us in the West couldn’t care less what happens to Muslims—eternally—as long as we stay safe and Muslims behave. Let’s have more hope as to what God is doing. My sense is that we are far too fearful, and many of us lack a sense of mission.”

Telling the Story of Modern Art, from the website Ethika Politka. “[T]he story of modern art is unquestionably the story of what happens to a culture when it loses faith in a God-centered cosmology,” argues Mark Anthony Signorelli. The “aesthetics of subjectivity” make the artist’s freedom “to constitute his own world” the most important thing.

Whatever was inimical to the exercise of that freedom, whatever claimed, in any way, some precedence over that freedom, was to be rejected by the artist.  Hence, as Harries [Karsten Harries, author of The Meaning of Modern Art] notes, “a first and key determination of such art is its negativity.  It is anti-: anti-religion, anti-morality, anti-nature, and in the end even anti-art.”

Why Internet Headline Writers Hate Themselves, from The Atlantic. Because they manipulate people all the time. “Ruthlessly maximizing audience means figuring out what’s working — for you and for everybody like you — and doing it over and over,” confesses Derek Thompson. And over and over and over.

Meet the Mom Who Stopped Joseph Kony, from Christianity Today. Christian human rights activist Shannon Sedgwick Davis — who in the story gives credit to the Ugandans, not herself — used her influence to fund a war against the Lord’s Resistance Army threatening northern Uganda, writes Laura Joyce Davis. “Davis has watched Ugandan leaders embrace LRA defectors — the same rebels who in many cases killed their family members — saying, ‘Welcome home, brother. Let’s go have some tea.’ When Davis asks them how they can forgive, SOG [Special Operations Group] troops say that when the alternative is continued war, forgiveness is the only option.”

When Can a Hacker Start a War?, from the magazine Pacific Standard. The question is both difficult to answer and one most states don’t want to answer too precisely, answers Ryan Fairchild. “One reason states are reticent to make that declaration is that it may come back to haunt them. If you call it an act of war, and later you carry out the same sort of attack, suddenly you’re saying your victim can send bombers back at you. States are treading lightly so they don’t set precedent they don’t want.”

And also:

Pastor Bruce Baugus, writing on the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals’ website Reformation21, argues that “here’s no way around the fact that the omniscient and eternal Word endured ignorance for us and our salvation,” and that’s part of glory.

The writers at The Economist explain the superiority of short words to long ones.

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