Web Notables (Feb. 12, 2015)

Arguing with atheists, Israeli socialism, duty v. love, God's chosen government, etc.

By The Editors Published on February 12, 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.

10 Things I Wish Christians Considered Before Arguing with Atheists, from the website onfaith. Number 10 in Michael Lehmann’s list: “Does an atheist’s encounter with you make it easier for him to believe in God? . . . You’re talking about the God of grace who is responsible for the existence of anything — and who has revealed his limitless love for us through Christ. Our lives should point toward the God we worship.” Lehman edits the Jesus & Dawkins blog.

Israel’s Left: Out with the New, in with the Old, from the website RealClearWorld. Although the Israeli left blames the settlements for the country’s economic problems, the real problem is socialism, writes Gidon Ben-Zvi. “After Israel’s independence in 1948, Socialist Zionism established a highly centralized economic system dominated by political cronyism. While the statist policies of Israel’s successive labor governments failed to create a socialist paradise, they did succeed in building monolithic, unresponsive bureaucratic institutions that held back the country’s economic growth for decades. Israelis learned to live in a perpetual state of impoverishment.”

First Comes Duty, Then Comes Love, from the “Student Voices” section of Intercollegiate Review. Some Christians stress following the rules (duty), others authenticity (love). Law student Brian Miller responds: “Our culture is too self-obsessed to be told that their feelings or happiness somehow factor into the equation. Duty is not all that matters, but it may be all that matters right now. Transformation of character, if it comes, will only come after you renounce the self and take up the hard task of submitting to your obligations.”

The Oldest Trick in the Book Reviewer’s Book, from Public Discourse. In a step-by-step explanation of how a hostile reviewer completely distorted the meaning of his Conscience and His Enemies, leading Christian academic Robert P. George explains that the review is

a discrediting project — a hit piece designed to suggest that . . . I reversed course when it served my partisan purposes. But his argument trips on a confusion of moral and constitutional rights so elementary — at least for anyone who has been to law school, and especially for someone who teaches at one — that one labors to credit it as an honest mistake.

What Would An Ideal Polity Look Like From a Christian Perspective?, from Canon and Culture. “What then does the Bible say about the ideal form of civil government? Absolutely nothing. To then argue for one form over another goes where God has not gone,” argues Southern Baptist scholar Jonathan Leeman. “When you idealize a governing structure and concept of justice that does not have the express endorsement of Scripture, you risk both the idolatry of substituting man’s wisdom for God’s, and you risk trading one set of injustices for another.”

Canon and Culture is published by the Southern Baptist’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Embryos: Natural Death and Moral Obligations, from National Review Online. Ramesh Ponnuru offers a short response to another writer for the magazine who claims that human beings in the earliest stage of development don’t have a right to life.

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