Monday, September 10, 2007

Re: Racial Disparity

A student of mine comments on our Feedback Page about our recent post on the academic shortcomings of minority students. Give it a look.


The Challenge of Iraq

Reading between the lines of this brief but very good primer on the history and problems of Iraq, one gets the impression that a major impediment to any kind of functional government in Baghdad is Islam. What is needed between Sunni and Shia is trust and forgiveness and Islam is not a religion notable for its emphasis on either.

Indeed, a religion that emphasizes retribution and vengeance and which is deeply ingrained into the cultural assumptions by which people live is not likely to result in harmony between groups which have been at each other's throats for centuries. It's interesting to note that every Arab state is either a dictatorship or a monarchy. True democracy is not part of the heritage handed down to Arabs by their Islamic tutors and ancestors.

The challenge the United States faces is trying to impose a form of government based on Christian assumptions of freedom, equality, civil rights, and honesty on people who despise Christianity. Yet what realistic alternative do we have at this point but to do our best to try?


Scandal, Scandal Everywhere

The buzz around Washington for the last two years has been all about how the Republican party is the party of corruption, etc. etc. Not that there haven't been Republicans who have disgraced the party and the ideals they were elected to work for, but the notion that corruption is a monopoly of the GOP is going to be a much tougher sell now that eleven New Jersey Democrats, including some big fish and friends of Hillary, have been indicted by the FBI on corruption charges.

Michelle Malkin has the details.

Coming on the heels of the Norman Hsu scandal this news can't be helpful. By the way, how is Hsu feeling, I wonder, after his sudden illness?

Meanwhile, the lips of the MSM are zipped tight on separate scandals involving Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein. If you look on the sidebar on the right of Malkin's page you'll find the background on these stories which the media, ever vigilant to broadcast every tawdry truth about Republicans, have done their best to say nothing about.

I wonder when Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews at MSNBC are going to get around to mentioning this. Probably this week, I should think.


Dawkins on Hitchens

I haven't yet read God is Not Great: The Case Against Religion, by Christopher Hitchens, but judging from Richard Dawkins' gushing review any serious reader looking for a telling argument against the truth of Christianity will find the book disappointing.

If Dawkins' analysis is any measure, the closest Hitchens comes to scoring a blow against Christian belief is when he trots out the same old higher critical hypotheses about the New Testament's supposed lack of authenticity. It's a pretty shallow harbor in which to anchor an argument that Christianity is false, but Dawkins gives us no reason to think he has access to a deeper one. A readable antidote to this old chestnut is Mark Roberts' Are the Gospels Reliable?

Hitchens also tries to discredit Christian belief on the basis of the alleged "evil" of the Gospel message. What exactly is that evil, you ask? It turns out to be the vicarious atonement of Jesus Christ. Really. After finding all manner of horror in the sacred writings of the Muslims and Jews, the best that Hitchens can do to show the moral equivalence of Christianity to Islam is to hold up the idea that God became man to demonstrate the depth of His love for us by sacrificing Himself in our place. In Hitchens' mind that's a terrible evil.

Those not familiar with this aspect of Christian theology are invited to read this little allegory and decide for themselves where exactly the evil lies in the idea of substitutionary atonement.

Anyway, like I said, I haven't read Hitchens book, and perhaps if I had I would be more impressed. If any readers have read it and think that it makes a stronger case against Christianity than what I've suggested here please let me know.