The World’s Most Contagious Falsehood Debunked

Okay, I totally thought the goldfish one was true. And I just learned the one about the vikings horns a few months ago. So I’m catching up, albeit rather slowly!

Check out the rest of these 52 common misconceptions. I’m sure the evolution one is likely to annoy some people, but the rest are fun. (Click to embiggen.)

misconceptions (550x1203)dd

Flotsam and jetsam (11/12)

angels

Good Reads

  • Majoring in Fear: Our fear has become a pathological condition, a desperate need to bring the future under control. And we seek therapy from colleges and universities, the therapy of cumulative achievement along clearly marked pathways to success. (First Things)
  • Can Money Buy You Happiness? It’s True to Some Extent. But Chances Are You’re not Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck. (Wall Street Journal)

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Flotsam and jetsam (11/10)

sleeping on couch

Good Reads

  • One-fifth of Americans share religious experience online: One in five Americans share their religious thoughts and experiences on social networks, and nearly half said they saw someone else post “something about their religious faith” on the Internet, according to a Pew Research Center study on religion and electronic media. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Technocracy Versus the Great Books: One of the great prejudices of our time is that direct information is king. But the great books offer another, more satisfying way to realize truth. (The Federalist)
  • A Muckraking Magazine Creates a Stir Among Evangelical Christians: The Jewish newspaper The Forward gleefully reports on the foibles of communal leaders, and Commonweal, run by lay Catholics, publishes work critical of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. But evangelical Protestant journalism is generally more public relations than reporting; World stands out as an exception. (New York Times)
  • Discipleship in the “Age of Authenticity”: The church’s response must be to proclaim a gospel that comes from outside ourselves – no matter how countercultural this may seem. When people in our culture discover how exhausting it is to try to be “true to themselves,” when looking further and further inward eventually shows them they haven’t the resources to transform their own lives, the church must be ready to break in with good news that life change isn’t mustered up from within but granted through grace from without. (Trevin Wax)

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When Angels Dance: The Practical Value of “Impractical” Questions

angel pinWhen people want to harp on the impractical nature of theology, there’s one “go to” analogy that shows up more than any other: the medieval debate about how many angels can dance on the point of a needle.

After all, could there be a better example of theological time wasting? Who really cares? Even if we knew the answer, would it help us feed starving children? Would we be better prepared to share the gospel? Would it accomplish anything useful?

I won’t debate that theologians are sometimes be guilty of wasting time on unimportant matters. But this question may not illustrate what we think. Rather than showing how impractical theology can be, it may be a better illustration of something I talked about in a related post. Theology seeks to help us understand a complex universe created by an infinitely mysterious God. That means it sometimes pursues odd questions, but those often come with unanticipated benefits.

This is the beginning of my latest post over at Christianity.com. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Flotsam and jetsam (11/3)

mine fewer

Good Reads

  • Is Gospel Amnesia Creating a Third Great Schism? Unlike the last two, though, the split hasn’t resulted in a clear line between new denominations and old ones, but runs right through the various churches of the West. On one side stand those who affirm a broadly supernaturalist Christian orthodoxy embodied in the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds. And on the other, you find those who can at best recite the creeds with their fingers crossed. (Christianity Today)
  • Are You a Good Parent? It’s a loaded question, isn’t it? It seems to me that often the people who think they are great parents aren’t, and the parents who are doing a great job (even if imperfect) tend to feel their weakness the most acutely. (Julian Freeman)

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Flotsam and jetsam (10/30)

potential

Good Reads

  • A Catholic church schism under Pope Francis isn’t out of the question: Until this weekend, I had largely believed in the liberal narrative which holds that Pope Francis’s reforms of the Catholic church are unstoppable. But the conservative backlash has been so fierce and so far-reaching that for the first time a split looks a real, if distant, possibility. (The Guardian)

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Flotsam and jetsam (10/29)

ancient grammar police

Good Reads

  • Have Jedi created a new ‘religion’?  What might have started as an intellectual exercise by fans adding to the movies and filling in the gaps, has become an attempt to build a coherent religious code. (BBC)
  • The State of Theology: New Findings on America’s Theological Health:  In our desire to serve the church in fulfilling the Great Commission, these findings help to point out common gaps in theological knowledge and awareness so that Christians might be more effective in the proclamation, teaching, and defense of the essential truths of the Christian faith. (Ligonier)
  • Evangelical Leader Denounces Ex-Gay Therapy: Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore denounced reparative therapy at a conference here, saying the controversial treatment that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation has been “severely counterproductive.” (Sarah Pulliam Bailey)

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Flotsam and jetsam (10/27)

trapped humans

Good Reads

  • What Are Americans Most Afraid Of? The nationwide survey was conducted by researchers at Chapman University….It’s considered the first comprehensive nationwide study of what strikes fear in Americans, and it’s the first of what is planned to be a yearly study. Here are the top five things Americans fear the most. (io9)
  • 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Reformed Theology: Reformed theology — or Calvinism — gets a bad rap. Calvinists are often seen as condescending, believing themselves to be part of God’s “elect.” It’s a cold, rigid theology that leaves no room for grace, oppresses women, and eliminates the need for evangelism. Or is it? (On Faith)
  • Corporate Worship Is Better Than Your Quiet Time: It might help to think of an analogy. If you host a dinner party and invite a few friends from different social circles, how disappointing would it be if your friends only chose to interact with you? One of the great joys of hosting is connecting people you love to one another. (Desiring God)

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Flotsam and jetsam (10/22)

good boy

Good Reads

  • Five Things the Synod Just Did:  Essentially, the “relatio” (or report) published today, at the close of the Synod, will serve as a starting point for future discussion.  It was also presented with great transparency, including even sections that did not win the necessary votes for complete approval. (America)
  • New figures reveal massive decline in religious affiliation: In five decades, the number of people with no religion in Britain has grown from just 3 per cent of the population to nearly half, according to a new survey. Among adults aged under 25, nearly two-thirds define themselves as “nones”, or people with no religious affiliation. (Christianity Today)
  • The Lost Art of Reading:  Today, most scholars reject the idea of esoteric writing, even denying that it ever existed. This blindness has consequences. In Philosophy Between the Lines, Arthur M. Melzer explores the history of esoteric writing and argues that if we refuse to understand it we will inevitably misread and underestimate the greatest books of Western Civilization. (The Washington Free Beacon)

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Flotsam and jetsam (10/20)

sad meals

Good Reads

  • Of Michael Landon and Brittany Maynard: Suicide has made Maynard an international celebrity. Partly, that’s because she is the perfect icon: young, pretty, newly wed, tragically dying, and transgressive for wanting to kill herself rather than face the rigors of late-stage brain cancer. But that alone doesn’t explain why she has received the kind of high-profile attention usually reserved for movie stars, rock stars, and presidential candidates. (First Things)
  • Biblical Illiteracy by the Numbers Part 1: The Challenge:  Simply put, we have a biblical literacy deficit in part because we have a spiritual maturity deficit. Plenty of research shows the correlation between spiritual maturity and reading the Bible. If you want spiritually mature Christians, get them reading the Bible. That’s a statistical fact, but more importantly, it’s a biblical truth. (Ed Stetzer)
  • For a Better Brain, Learn Another Language Multilingualism has a whole slew of incredible side effects: Multi-linguals tend to score better on standardized tests, especially in math, reading, and vocabulary; they are better at remembering lists or sequences, likely from learning grammatical rules and vocabulary; they are more perceptive to their surroundings and therefore better at focusing in on important information while weeding out misleading information. (The Atlantic)
  • Has the Church Learned Anything from Ferguson?  If the Church is to be a good student of Ferguson, we must challenge the status quo. We must find intolerable the current ideologies that allow indifference to thrive. (Relevant)

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