Please remember that these are rough notes used to decide on topics. If you have comments on them, just use the comment form. Any reader can suggest new topics, changes to topics, or make remarks on the topic in question.
Possible, although rather late compared with the posts on the topic:- https://energion.co/discuss/2016/01/13/is-the-future-open-and-not-preordained-yes-and-no/
From Elgin : Obama last State of the Union, and since we are within a month of voting we could discuss Trump why he is doing so well and is he fit to be president on the one hand and Hillary and any number of scandals that surround her. One question I have is why is she still even in the race? And, of course, Bernie, and can he win (given that he seems to poll better than Trump…)
(Without a second US voice, this one might not be a runner)
Dealing with problems on “our team” be it a political party, Christians in history (e.g., Inquisition), etc. There is a tendency to either defend them regardless or immediately cast them out (i.e, the Inquisition was done by people who were not really Christians.) But actually accepting and dealing with them is much harder. As I’m somewhat disillusioned with what has traditionally been “my team” from around 1968 until I gave up politics in 2005…
The Nostra Aetate item could also fuel a discussion as to the extent to which the Pope is able to speak for Christians who are not Catholics (and remind people that Catholics are a majority of Christians), and/or discussion as to whether aiming for “one Church” is a viable way to move (after recent moves from the Pope to draw closer to the Lutherans and Orthodox, and similar moves from the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding the Orthodox.
Is it reasonable for us to fixate so much on attacks in Paris when an attack the day before in Beirut killing over 40 went more or less unreported until Paris occurred? There have been attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria this week, including Tuesday killing over 50 people, but we see nothing about that in the media, just a lot of coverage of a dead police dog that day…
Given that the terrorist’s stated objectives are to make us overreact, both in reprisals abroad (which they state give them more recruits) and in persecution of Muslims at home (which they state help formulate a binary view of “us and them” in currently moderate Muslims and give them more recruits), should we play into their hands by doing what they want? Are they right about the mechanism? Should we damage our own freedoms more out of a desire for security tight enough to stop this happening where we live?
(From Michael) One related item to the Paris attacks is the refugee crisis in Syria and how several countries and several states in the US are now refusing to receive refugees. Is this a proper response? Does the command to care for the widows, orphans, poor, strangers etc. apply to countries or only to individual believers? If it applies only to believers what should be the response of Christians to these events? What practical steps should churches take?
(I’m considering this as the final and longer discussion)…
I don’t know if any of you have read Karen Armstrong’s “The Battle for God”, but I consider that to give a fine analysis of some of the root causes of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism (and Christian and Jewish fundamentalisms as well). In general terms, this kind of fundamentalism can be contained by leaving them to their own devices in their countries of origin, but Elgin has a point when it comes to Islamic State, which considers itself a Caliphate, and yes, it’s objective is world Islam of it’s own nasty variety, which is a neoconservative harking back to the early days of Islam. They won’t stop unless they’re stopped. Do we (as in the USA, Britain and other parties to the “War against Terror”) have a moral obligation to find a solution, given that we were very instrumental in producing the circumstances which led to this?
If we are, how do we justify this from the teachings of Jesus, and what constraints are there on us in pursuing this objective?
Global Christian Perspectives is a weekly Google Hangout on Air hosted by Energion Publications, with co-hosts Elgin Hushbeck, Jr., Chris Eyre, and Allan Bevere. Guests are Energion Publications authors and friends.
From Allan: Here’s a possible topic for this Friday. I am greatly concerned about the lack of antibiotic research. I am guessing you and I will agree on this fundamentally, but it may be worth discussion.
Why New Antibiotics Never Come to MarketThere has been a big to-do over student protests at the University of Missouri which has led the president to resign. I think there are many things coming into play here that would allow for some good discussion.Campus Protests
The idea that a faith-based group would be giving children false information really worries me. I am entirely happy to have people stress the most moral approach, but we are talking about young people here, and everything I know indicates to me that a lot of them are going to experiment before choosing a partner for life. Indeed, I recall seeing some statistics indicating that the teen pregnancy rate is higher in the more religious southern states where one might assume that abstinence is pushed very strongly – is this at the expense of sensible advice on, for instance, contraception?
There is a significant social stigma to not wearing a red poppy in the lead-up to Remembrance Day here, and a lot of criticism has been aimed at some celebrities who have appeared on TV without one. I stopped watching our Festival of Remembrance some years ago, as it was looking rather too much like a military parade; I think Remembrance should be a mediation on the horrors of war and why we should not fight any more of them, if at all possible.
Questions which occur to me are:-
Do we support our soldiers enough after their service?
Do we lionise soldiers too much?
What is a proper Christian approach to war and those who fight it, given that there is a huge bias in the Gospels towards non-violence?
US Government debt jumped $339 Billion same day the debt limited repealed. We know owe over $18 trillion. Is it really moral to make our kids and grandkids pay for the things we were able to enjoy today?
Two different stories are behind this one. The first is that while some of the polls were correct in 2012, since then they have been wrong, and often not even close. In Kentucky this week the republican was supposed to lose by 3 or 4 points but ended up winning by 9. Nor is this just a US problem as the polls were off in Canada, Israel, and the UK.
Given that consider the following story that candidates are being dropped or moved to the second tier debate because of Poll results. Are Trump and Carson really in the lead or is this just the result of more bad polling?
The US has massively increased drone attacks. And while there may be some room to question the 90% figure, I think the basic point about Drone strikes is valid. Many conservatives have for some time been critical of this increase for 2 reasons. A) Loss of innocent life. Sending in troops is far riskier to the troops but is a much better way to protect innocent life. B) Lack of intelligence gather ability. Troops can take people alive so they can be interrogated. They can also pick up documents, computers, etc.
BTW, It is an interesting paradox, for despite saving innocent lives, sending in troops take more time, is riskier, and often generates much more negative media coverage than having a drone fire a missile. Besides if you do capture the person, what do you do with them? Still, while it is much easier to simply fire a missile from a drone and be done with it, I believe it is often the less moral choice.
Same article different point. The massive increase in Drones attacks is making terrorists. On this I think he is 90% wrong. People throughout history have suffered far worse. Even today, other people groups are suffering far worse often at the hand of Radical Islam. Still such terrorism is mainly confined to one segment of Islam. If you want the real origins of terrorism, I would suggest the book The Looming Towers.
It is pretty clear that if they do not have enough to be outraged by, they will simply make something up as Abbas did recently accusing the Jews of wanted to defile the Al-Aqsa mosque “with their filthy feet” or his eulogizing a 13 year old Palestinian boy as a martyr for being killed after he stabbed a 13 year old Jewish boy who was getting on his bike outside of a candy store as part of the recent wave of knife attacks that is mosque comments have inspired. A significant problem is that they Palestinian boy was not killed, but is in fact being cared for in a Jewish hospital. Question: if the situation had been reversed, do you think a Jewish boy who had stabbed a Palestinian would be cared for in a Palestinian hospital?
Frankly I see things like this as far more disturbing http://www.memri.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5118.htm as are the ISIS “recruitment” videos showing various means of executions that have unfortunately been successful in attracting large numbers of young people. (I will not be providing any links to these).
Bottom line: I see radical Islam as a global conflict, whereas he seems to see it as more of a law enforcement issue. I see his approach as akin to seeking to find and arrest the Japanese pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor. I would also note that the first place we invaded following the attacks on Pearl Harbor was North Africa. BTW, this is a view I have held since the late 1980s and one of things I would ask people following the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 was whether or not the terrorists had to come back and destroy the towers before we would begin to take the threat seriously?
Steel firms in England are closing, while China is dumping cheap subsided steel on the European market. To me this is not an issue of free-trade, but of government interference by China in the market place. Subsidized trade is not free trade. We have similar problems, here with China. One factor to consider is that often this is put solely in terms of jobs. But prices are a factor here. The simple fact the reason most electronics is made outside of the US, (and I would assume England) is that if they were made here, no one could afford them. Often in the US the issue is not so much wages, as this is frequently cancelled out by productivity and transportation costs, but the cost of regulations and the general doing business in the US.
For the in-depth segment some from previous weeks. Please pick one or suggest another.
1) The Global Economy.
How do we balance the issues of the differences among nations in a global economy? I think the biggest problem is a lack of free markets due to factors such as the lack of the rule of law and corruption in so many countries. But somehow I suspect that Chris will have a different view.
One of the problems with the focus on Gun Control following the recent shooting, is that in my opinion, it obscures the real problem: Mental health. The following is an editorial from the Wall Street Journal that highlights not only this problem, but in the process what is wrong with so much of Government, and least in the US.
I believe this is a going to be a growing problem. The bottom line is that unions have been able to gain promised benefits that cannot be paid for. This is even a bigger problem for some states. In California for example Government employees unions effectively control who will and will not get elected for years and by getting there favored politicians elected have received benefits that far exceed revenues. Thus CalPERS is currently close to $1 Trillion short of currently promised benefits.