‘Soul’ and the Life Well Lived

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Pixar’s ‘Soul’ and the Life Well Lived

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Pixar’s Take on Purpose is Spot On

JOHN STONESTREET WITH SHANE MORRIS

It remains to be seen which of the COVID-caused disruptions to our previous way of life will permanently change things. For example, while parents of small children don’t miss the popcorn prices, it still feels a bit strange for a brand-new movie to go straight to the living room instead of the theater. Still, Disney-Pixar’s latest release, Soul, is easily worth breaking out the Orville Redenbacher…

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Navigating the News in 2021 from a Christian Worldview

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Navigating the News in 2021 from a Christian Worldview

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A recent headline that isn’t exactly news announced the findings of a recent Gallup study: “Americans Remain Distrustful of Mass Media.” Six out of ten Americans trust the media either “not very much” or “not at all” when it comes to reporting the news fairly and accurately. 

Truth be told, I’m among those six. I’m tired of bias, of opinion pieces masquerading as reporting, of buried leads, and hysterical fearmongering. Apparently, many Americans are tired of these things, too. Last year, a major news network flashed this caption, “Fiery but mostly peaceful protests after police shooting,” as its reporter stood in front of buildings that were burning to the ground. Last week, America’s paper of record ran a glowing piece on freedom in China, where people may not have freedom of religion, speech, or assembly but enjoy going to nightclubs thanks to their dictator’s handling of COVID. And don’t get even get me started on the news coverage of the events this week…

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** NOTE; FSM and FSMWO are not by posting this article endorsing or recommending you subscribe to World magazine or any other products associated with BreakPoint. We are however Highly recommending that you continually, as the article suggests, read and stay informed with news that is at least conservative and biblical leaning if not Biblical or Christian Worldview based. 

OTHER RESOURCES:

FRC’s The Biblical Worldview Series

“Why do so Many Christians not have a Consistently Biblical Worldview?”

Don’t Stay for the Applause

Man has a propensity to forget why he was put on the earth: 

Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) Larger:

Q. 1. What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.


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Don’t Stay for the Applause

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A few years ago, a popular Christian singer ended her set by leading the audience in “O Come All Ye Faithful,” even though it wasn’t Christmastime. By the time the song was over, and the crowd’s attention was pulled back to the stage, the singer was gone. While it was her concert and not a church service, she hoped to point to God and not herself. When it was time for her well-earned applause, the singer was out of sight…

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The Majesty of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio

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The Majesty of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio

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Christians have so many wonderful resources that can help us celebrate Christ’s birth and prepare our hearts for His second coming, and one of them is sacred music. The abundant supply of truly majestic Christmas music points to a long line of theological artists, individuals who took seriously both what truth needed to be said in music and how it could be said so as to be both memorable and beautiful. Perhaps the greatest offering of all is Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.

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The Call to Be Countercultural

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Today’s BreakPoint: The Call to Be Countercultural

BP 8 28 2020

JOHN STONESTREET WITH MARIA BAER

Two years ago, when Jackie Hill-Perry, a talented writer, poet, and speaker, spoke at a Wilberforce Weekend, she had the entire room leaning forward in their chairs. A powerful speaker with a powerful testimony about following Christ out of a lesbian lifestyle–no one in the audience wanted to miss a word.

Recently, Perry shared her testimony in a YouTube interview with Christian comedian KevOnStage. After leaving a long-term relationship when she gave her life to Jesus and after years of discipleship and deep involvement in the Church, Jackie married Preston Perry, a poet and apologist. They have two daughters, with a third baby on the way.

When, in the YouTube interview, Jackie shared she still struggles with same-sex attraction, her host was noticeably surprised. So was his audience. Many commenters accused Jackie of “suppressing her true self” and “denying the humanity” of others with same-sex attraction. After days of social media pressure, KevOnStage decided to take down the video.

The anger directed at the Perrys reflects a sad fatalism that permeates both the LGBTQ movement and the so-called “gay-affirming” Christians. Their critique is rooted in a bad idea, that our sexual desires fundamentally define us. Therefore, anyone with same-sex attraction will be ultimately powerless against it. No other temptations or sins are thought of this way…

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WAP and “Cuties”

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Today’s BreakPoint: WAP and “Cuties” What America’s Number 1 Song Says About Us

BP 8 26 2020

JOHN STONESTREET WITH DAVID CARLSON

Though Americans remain a morally serious people, at least in our quickness to condemn each other as “Hitlers” for various misdeeds, we are clearly not concerned with moral consistency. We demand churches close to stop the spread of COVID, but not Wal-marts, bars, or casinos. We protest police violence with acts of violence. We celebrate Hugh Hefner as some great liberator of women, and, weeks after his death, condemn Harvey Weinstein. We say “character counts” when it’s their guy in office, but not when it’s our guy.

Then, last week, after three-plus years of the #MeToo movement protesting the objectification and abuse of women, the most objectifying song in history, one that reduces women to nothing more their private parts, hit #1 on the charts. I couldn’t possibly share the lyrics of this song … any of them. Please, do not look them up. The two women rappers who perform this song repeatedly call themselves prostitutes, although not using that word, and beg men to treat them as such.

By any definition, legal or otherwise, America’s most popular song and its accompanying video are best called pornography, and is available everywhere to anyone of any age…

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A Letter to ‘Cancel-Culture’

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Today’s BreakPoint: A Letter to ‘Cancel-Culture’

BP 7 10 2020

JOHN STONESTREET WITH SHANE MORRIS

To do or to say something insufficiently progressive these days risks the wrath of what’s being called “cancel-culture.” A mostly young and mostly online gaggle of so-called “social justice warriors” will attempt to silence anyone they deem to hold views sufficiently problematic or insufficiently “woke.”

So far, the list of cancel-culture’s casualties includes editors who publish controversial op-eds, campus speakers whose views were labeled “unsafe,” professors who quote from egregious classical literature, and researchers who published their politically incorrect findings…

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Tweeting Something Isn’t Necessarily Doing Something

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Tweeting Something Isn’t Necessarily Doing Something

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JOHN STONESTREET WITH MARIA BAER

“You are not a social media handle. Don’t feel pressure to post and repost everything to show that you care. Advocate locally. Be incarnate.”

Last week, a pair of activists launched a social media campaign that quickly went from advocacy to unintentional irony. To show solidarity with African American victims of police brutality, the women encouraged Instagrammers, especially major corporations, to post a black square in lieu of a picture, in order to leave space on the platform for people of color.

As well-intentioned as Blackout Tuesday was, with people across the country continuing to express outrage over the police killing of George Floyd, it started to unravel nearly as fast as it caught on. Upon further reflection, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to ask people to post in order to show how they weren’t going to post.

Nor was it practical. So many individual and company Instagrammers posted black squares, that entire portions of the site went essentially blank. If the intent was, as described, to amplify black voices, a sea of black squares drowned them out instead…

CONTINUED AT: SOURCE

 

The Master Designer—the Song

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The Master Designer—the Song

 

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Nothing Comes from Nothing

JOHN STONESTREET  WITH MARIA BAER

Recently, a popular scientist and podcaster was asked which scientific suppositions he holds most dear. The self-proclaimed devotee of New Atheism struggled to choose just one. There was, of course, his belief that the world is totally understandable, that we could eventually find every answer to every question through scientific investigation, and, of course, that no Divine intervention or starting point was required to explain life, including human beings.

He failed to mention any blind spots, however, including one so blatant it infects not only so much of modern science but also so many who report on their work. I’m talking about the underlying habit to think that whatever seems to be the most likely answer to a question must be the correct one.

From this belief the rest of us get cultural myths such as “the science is settled,” an idea which the pioneers of the scientific method would find strange, to say the least. Since science studies the world through observation, hypothesizing, data collection, and testing, it is, by definition, unsettled.

Mathematics can be settled, but not science.

Think, for example, of the sheer number of animal and plant species which are still being discovered each year. Think of the geological realities and chemical reactions and pandemic viruses that we’re still figuring out. In light of all of the uncertainty that drives our scientific exploration, is it really plausible to think science is certain about where everything comes from and how it got here?

To explore this question further, courtesy of a wonderful bit of storytelling, check out the wonderful documentary from Exploration Films called “The Master Designer – The Song.”

Not only does the film explore the specialized designs of some fascinating animals, including the honeybee and the elk and the wolf to name a few, but it connects their intricacies to key stories in history. In other words, the film describes the providence and design of God from the smallest biological details to historical developments that would have been quite different without those details. For example, do you know which insect helped prevent America’s defeat in the Revolution?

The film is fascinating, and it’s beautifully done. Think: the beauty and excellence of a nature documentary without the evolutionary assumptions throughout… And, by the way, if you have an HD screen and a good sound system, even better. Turn the lights off and the volume up, especially when the crickets sing.

Each animal studied in the film reveals a genius of design.

Honeybees carve their comb into hexagons, the shape that mathematically ensures the highest possible volume of honey. The stomach of a bison contains four compartments that not only work seamlessly together but allow it to digest even the most difficult-to-eat substances. Wolves’ paws are padded to allow them to travel long distances over ice without freezing. Camels can lose hundreds of pounds but, thanks to their humps of fat storage, remain healthy in the desert.

Given the complex world as revealed by this film, the theory that life evolved through natural selection proves too simplistic. If bees had to learn slowly, over millennia, how to store honey, how did the middle generations survive? If bison stomachs gradually evolved to the highly effective, intricate systems they are now, where are the fossilized examples of all the failures? Their “steps along the way”?

There are none.

Towards the end of “The Master Designer,” there’s a long list of scientists whose study was built on a foundational belief that God had created the natural world, including brilliant minds like Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton and astronomer Johannes Kepler, who famously said that his work was not discovering something for the first time but rather “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”

Between the interesting stories and the incredible images and footage, this is a film for people of all ages. Although I personally enjoy the gritty, food-chain blood and gore you might find on Animal Planet, there’s none of that here to scare little eyes. Instead, the thrust is on describing the intricate design of each animal, which ultimately points to the wisdom of the Designer. You can pick up a DVD of “The Master Designer – The Song,” or it’s also available to stream on various platforms, including Amazon and ChristianCinema.com.


Resources:

‘Christian’ Atheists?’

The title would seem to be an oxymoron yet in reading the article I see it is these modern unbelievers calling themselves by such names. – Mike

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‘Christian’ Atheists?’

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A Faith Too Good to Be False

JOHN STONESTREET  WITH SHANE MORRIS

Last week, actor John Rhys-Davies, best known for playing the dwarf Gimli in “The Lord of the Rings” films, gave a strong defense for Christianity.

Speaking to the Christian Post from the red carpet at the Movieguide awards, Rhys-Davies said, “We seem to forget that Christian civilization has made the world a better place… We owe Christianity the greatest debt of thanks that a generation can ever have…” he went on, crediting it for the ideas of religious liberty, free speech, and individual rights.

Rhys-Davies, who recently starred in an animated adaptation of “Pilgrim’s Progress” and is the lead in an upcoming biopic of Saint Patrick, said he often finds himself sticking up for Jesus in his line of work.

The strange part of this story is that Rhys-Davies is a self-professed “rationalist and a skeptic,” not a Christian. Yet he is still able to see how the faith of Christ’s Church, as author Alvin J. Schmidt puts it, “changed the world” for the better.

Rhys-Davis is just one of many skeptics, atheists, and secularists of late who reject the rhetoric of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris and recognize the immense good the Gospel has done for the world. Whereas the so-called New Atheists slandered Christianity as being backward and poisonous, a new crop of unbelievers see it as beneficial, beautiful, and maybe even in some limited sense, true.

Take Douglas Murray, British journalist, political commentator, and author of the new book, “The Madness of Crowds.” Though a self-professed non-believer and gay man, Murray admits to admiring Christianity and “the positive role it has played in building Western civilization.” He even labels himself, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, a “Christian atheist.”

In a recent dialogue with Christian writer Esther O’Reilly on the “Unbelievable” podcast, Murray praised Christianity’s “revolutionary moral insights” such as the command to “love and forgive your enemies.”

“The more atheists think on these things,” he confessed, “the more we may have to accept that…the sanctity of human life is a Judeo-Christian notion which might very easily not survive [the demise of] Judeo-Christian civilization.”

But even more than recognizing Christianity’s usefulness, Murray sees the faith as meaningful. Describing a trip he took last year to the Sea of Galilee, Murray admitted he couldn’t stop thinking that, as he put it, “something happened here.”

Murray was one of several “Christ-haunted unbelievers” discussed on a recent BreakPoint Podcast conversation between Shane Morris and Esther O’Reilly.

In addition to her recent interaction with Murray, O’Reilly also contributed to an upcoming book about clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, another who has articulated a strong respect for Christianity from the perspective on non-belief.

According to O’Reilly, skeptics admitting to the Christian faith’s positive influence on history is only the headline of this story (although we’d be remiss to not include the recent book “Dominion” by Tom Holland as yet another example). O’Reilly thinks that under the surface, spiritual truth is being found too, much like the skeptics C. S. Lewis describes in the essay entitled “Myth Became Fact.”

Lewis, himself a convert from atheism, wrote, “A man who disbelieved the Christian story as fact but continually fed on it as myth would, perhaps, be more spiritually alive than the one who assented [to it as fact] and did not think much about it.”

With O’Reilly, we hope the flame of myth and meaning fans into full-blown belief, that they will come to see Christianity as “the place where the heart’s deepest longings and deepest intuitions about what is good…connect(s) with the mind’s deepest understanding [of what is true.]”

After all, no unbelief can survive that moment. Just ask C.S. Lewis.

Catch Shane Morris’ conversation with Esther O’Reilly on the BreakPoint Podcast.


Resources:

What’s with “Christian Atheists”? An Interview with Esther O’Reilly Shane Morris | BreakPoint Podcast | February 17, 2020

Douglas Murray cherishes Christianity. What would it take for him to believe? George Brahm | Premier Christianity | January 14, 2020