Many Christians wrote off the Pixar classic Wall-E because of its hyper-environmentalist message. However, the film’s commentary on human exceptionalism and vocation, specifically the inability of our machines to do our most important work for us, was spot-on. In the world of Wall-E, human beings have a purpose, or a telos that cannot be reduced to maximizing comfort, safety, and convenience.
In the biblical account of reality, humans exist to glorify and love God, and to serve as His special representatives and co-rulers in creation. Human inventions should help towards achieving those ends, extending our abilities, and mitigating the effects of the Fall. Wanting to replace ourselves with our devices assumes that humanity is the central problem of the world that needs to be solved.
Years ago in a Breakpoint commentary, Chuck Colson described the jury selection process in the trial of Jack Kevorkian, the doctor accused of helping at least 27 of his patients kill themselves. Kevorkian’s lawyer attempted to bar anyone who said their Christian faith forbids suicide from serving on the jury, claiming that belief made them unfairly biased.
Religion has been increasingly relegated to the private sphere. Christians are welcome to participate in public life only if they leave their faith at home … [but] [t]he logic of Kevorkian’s defense attorney could be applied to any criminal trial. If potential jurors can be excluded for believing that assisted suicide is immoral, what will be the next step? Will the attorneys of accused murderers be permitted to exclude jurors whose religion teaches that life is sacred?
More than 25 years later, that dismal hypothetical seems less hypothetical.
If all there was to go on were sitcoms, movies, and mainstream editorials, we’d have to conclude that marriage is a direct path to misery, the “old ball and chain” that only ties us down, limits our freedom, and cramps our sexual fun. Many people now think of marriage less as “settling down” and more as “settling.” Young people are told, “You’ve got plenty of time, live a little, first,” as if life ends after the wedding.
The truth about marriage, however, is that it is, statistically, the single best predictor of long-term happiness. Making this even more important to understand is that for at least the last 20 years now, Americans have been steadily getting less happy.
A law in St. Louis banning so-called transgender care for minors can now take effect after a judge struck down a lawsuit challenging it. Activists claim that the science in favor of transgender “care” is settled. It’s not true. Thankfully this judge was willing to say it out loud.
For over 30 years, my friend Greg Koukl has taught Christians how to engage with people across worldview lines by asking questions. His first book Tactics has equipped thousands of Christians to communicate with wisdom and passion. This month, Koukl is releasing a follow-up to that book, entitled Street Smarts: Using Questions to Answer Christianity’s Toughest Challenges.
According to the Associated Press, nearly 50,000 people committed suicide last year, an absolute record in terms of raw numbers and the highest rate in nearly a century. Though, as one scholar noted, there’s always the chance that the numbers are up on account of better reporting, that doesn’t explain the consistent increase in these numbers over the last two decades. Something is broken in the United States, and it’s us.
The relationship between Church and state and culture is and has always been contentious. The recent cultural debate about the term “Christian nationalism” is confusing because participants in the debate tend to use mutually exclusive definitions of the term. For some, it’s idolatry and a confusion of Gospel mission. For others, it’s faithfulness– and the only thing remaining to prevent our children’s co-option into an increasingly immoral culture. There are many questions that must be answered, for example:
A year ago, The Economist urged readers not to bring their “whole selves” to work. While some corporate gurus suggest that we make work feel more like home, the authors beg to differ.
Your professional self displays commitment to the job and eats lunch at a desk. Your whole self is planning the next holiday and binges ice cream on the sofa. Your professional self makes presentations to the board and says things like: “Let’s get the analytics team to kick the t[i]res on this.” Your whole self cannot operate a toaster and says things like: “Has anyone seen my socks?” Pretending to be someone you are not is not a problem; it’s essential.
That description speaks to what lies at the heart of the modern re-definition of “authenticity.”