Here’s How COVID-19 Restrictions Curb Religious Freedom

Here’s How COVID-19 Restrictions Curb Religious Freedom

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What happened when the Supreme Court last week blocked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s limits on religious gatherings? Heritage Foundation’s Zach Smith explains…

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Today’s BreakPoint:

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Two articles from The Colson Center for Christian Worldview a ministry that equips Christians to live out their faith with clarity, confidence, and courage in this cultural moment.


 

Evolutionary Psychology, Natural Selection, and Human Misbehavior

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The Post-Pandemic Church and Pre-existing Conditions

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Why Young People Leave the Church—and Why They Stay

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Why Young People Leave the Church—and Why They Stay

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JOHN STONESTREET  WITH SHANE MORRIS

You know what I’m happy to leave behind in the 2010s? The headlines about how Millennials are killing everything. “Millennials are killing mayonnaise,”  “Millennials are killing golf,” and “Millennials are killing real estate because they spend all their money on avocado toast.” Those are real headlines.

Sadly, there’s at least one Millennial-related headline we can’t leave in the last decade: Millennials are killing churches.

According to Pew Research, four in ten Americans between the ages of 23 and 38 now say they are religiously unaffiliated. This is the biggest drop in religiosity between generations ever recorded.

While part of the hemorrhaging is explained by the forty-year decline in mainline Protestant bodies, evangelicals are not off the hook. We cannot say that conservative theology, in and of itself, is enough to shrink-proof your church. The Southern Baptist Convention, for example, America’s largest evangelical denomination, just hit a 30-year membership low.

Young people have left evangelical churches and are still leaving, and new data can fix some of our wrong thinking about it.

Continued at Source

What’s Wrong with the Weed Biz?

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What’s Wrong with the Weed Biz?

It Harms People!

JOHN STONESTREET  WITH ROBERTO RIVERA

In the 1967 film, “The Graduate” (which I do not recommend), Dustin Hoffman plays a recent college grad who is clueless about what to do next. At a cocktail party celebrating his graduation, one of his parents’ friends takes him aside and says, “I want to say one word to you .  . .  Plastics . . . there’s a great future in plastics.”

Today, the one word on the lips of far too many investment advisers is “cannabis.”

A recent article in the “Motley Fool” online investment guide tells would-be investors “there’s a decent chance” 2020 will be a significantly better year for the marijuana industry and marijuana-related stocks than last year.

Why? Because there’s a “decent chance” that three new states – New Jersey, Arizona, and Nebraska – will join the legalized marijuana trend in some form or fashion this November.

Illinois legalized the sale of the drug on January 1st, with the lieutenant governor of the state promising “a new day” for residents of that state, “particularly those that are black and brown.” Here’s what she meant: Besides legalizing recreation marijuana for anyone 21 or older with a driver’s license, their new law created a “Social Equity Cannabis Business Development Fund,” whose goal is to promote diversity within the marijuana industry.

So, would-be weed-entrepreneurs from communities that have been “disproportionately impacted” by the war on drugs can not only get loans from the state, they can receive “technical assistance in preparing their license applications,” and reductions in their “license and application fees.”

Promoting entrepreneurship in struggling communities is a laudable goal, but you have to question the wisdom of infusing a community already “disproportionately impacted” by the war on drugs with state-subsidized drug dealers.

Encouraging and incentivizing residents to use marijuana is the last thing these communities need, particularly from the state. Governmental and marketplace enthusiasm for legalized marijuana overlooks that marijuana is not a “safe” drug, despite what we are so often told.

Last year, in one of our most popular BreakPoint commentaries of 2019, I discussed the link between marijuana use and psychosis. And this isn’t the only health risk associated with marijuana use. See the YouTube channel “COncOrdance” for an entire playlist devoted to the subject. Not only is the creator of the playlist a cellular biologist, he’s an atheist. So, he cannot be accused of pursuing some religious, moral, or cultural agenda under the guise of science.

In addition to the link between cannabis and psychosis, there is a link between cannabis and increased stroke risk, and research is becoming increasingly clear about the drug’s impact on the heart and the lungs. All of this is covered by the YouTube COncOrdance series, with links to peer-reviewed studies from scientific journals. Most importantly, the series debunks the myth that “cannabis never killed anyone.”

While newer research continues, the risks of marijuana on physical and mental health are well-documented and have been for some time. So why are so many states rushing headlong towards legalization?

There are two answers. First, states just cannot resist all the money to be made. This is obvious in the way marijuana legislation is sold to citizens. Second, citizens are easily sold because of an impoverished understanding of freedom. As Os Guinness has summarized, we think of freedom as merely the absence of restraint, the ability to live and do as we please.

While theoretically, such freedom is limited by the potential harm to others, we’ve become experts at ignoring or spinning such potential harms to get what we really want.

True freedom is different. It’s freedom to live as God intended, as image bearers at work restoring God’s good creation. We oppose things not because we are killjoys, but because we embrace a bigger, fuller vision of the human person. In other words, we find ourselves against such so-called freedoms, because they are not freedoms at all. They will not make us more human, but less.

Resources:

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These 3 States Are Likely to Legalize Marijuana in 2020 Sean Williams | The Motley Fool | January 4, 2020

 

No Lies Necessary

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No Lies Necessary

Christianity Is Good for You

Belief in God is good for you… and not just in the eternal long run. There’s a powerful link between religious devotion and happiness, mental health, and participation in community.

Earlier this year, Pew Research found that actively religious people report being happier, on average, than both atheists and “nones”—i.e. those who claim no religious affiliation. The religiously observant are also less likely to engage in risky behavior like premarital sex, drinking, and smoking, and more likely by far to join non-religious groups like charities, clubs, and civic associations. In other words, there’s a clear and well-documented connection between an active faith and nearly all of the accepted measures of personal well-being.

And, of course, beyond the belonging, beauty, and moral certainty faith in God brings, religious people enjoy hope in the face of struggle, suffering, and even death.

But what if you don’t actually believe in God? What if you don’t think there is life after death? Can you still enjoy these benefits and, for that matter, pass them on to your kids?

It may sound like a silly question, but psychoanalyst Erica Komisar recently offered a serious answer in the Wall Street Journal. She writes: “I am often asked by parents, ‘How do I talk to my child about death if I don’t believe in God or heaven?’”

Her answer? Lie to them.

She explains: “The idea that you simply die and turn to dust may work for some adults, but it doesn’t help children. Belief in heaven helps them grapple with this tremendous and incomprehensible loss,” especially “[i]n an age of broken families, distracted parents, school violence, and nightmarish global-warming predictions.”

Now, most people who listen to BreakPoint don’t have to worry about the dilemma that Komisar is describing. But there are some atheists and skeptics in our audience. I know because I hear from them. And to any of them considering taking this advice, just know: The Bible is filled with warnings not to put God to the test, or to mock Him.

As C. S. Lewis observes in “The Screwtape Letters,” the Creator of the universe will not be used as a convenience: “Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of Heaven as a short cut to the nearest [pharmacy].”

No, atheist parents shouldn’t lie to their kids. They should fall on their knees before the living and very real God and teach their children the truth about who He is and how much He loves them.

Still, Komisar’s advice is more interesting, to me, for what it says about unbelief than what it says about belief. Think about it: Komisar admits that a God-less worldview is inadequate for both navigating life’s deepest sorrows and accounting for life’s highest joys. Shouldn’t the fact that faith in something beyond the bare, material world of atheism is necessary to handle the here and now tell us something?

This idea that our thirst for deeper meaning is a clue about the nature of reality and the meaning of the universe is one C.S. Lewis articulated beautifully, and remember, he was writing in the context of the lows of war and the highs of victory. In Mere Christianity, he argued: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

If belief in God, in an afterlife, in Heaven, and in meaning that transcends death is so good for children and adults alike, and if it’s necessary to fully make sense of this world, we might consider the possibility that all these things are actually true.

And we should always point our kids to truth, not just because of its practical benefits. After all, one of the greatest rewards of the Christian faith is that our highest joy and the universe’s highest truth are in full agreement.

Resources: Don’t Believe in God? Lie to Your Children | Erica Komisar | Wall Street Journal | December 5, 2019