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Are We Really Just a Blank Slate? A Conversation with Steven Pinker – Al Mohler

In one of his more recent and fascinating podcasts, Dr. Mohler discusses the subject of man’s nature with well known evolutionary psychologist, Steven Pinker.

In this interview, two things are worth noting.  First, Dr. Mohler proves yet again that he is a gentleman.  He allows Dr. Pinker to present his view without interruption.  He doesn’t try to triangle the guy.  He doesn’t yell.  He doesn’t snicker.  He asks clear questions in a straight forward manner.  So if you’re looking for a debate, this isn’t the download for you.  Dr. Mohler does provide some thought-provoking commentary at the end, however.

Secondly, if you’re interested in hearing firsthand how a fairly consistent naturalistic evolutionist thinks, you’ve come to the place.  Man is a soul-less chemical bag, in Pinker’s worldview, that should behave morally. 

A Gentle Correction

I always enjoy reading Anthony Bradley, a WORLD magazine columnist.  Dr. Bradley, an Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at The King’s College in New York City as well as a Research Fellow at the Acton Institute, provides keen insights into the church and the impact of the culture upon it.  He is often called upon by the mainstream media to give his commentary on events of the day, particularly those involving racial matters.

Yesterday he had an intriguing article on how Christians producing hip-hop music often show more theological integrity and depth in their lyrics than most of the Contemporary Christian Music being produced.  Having listened to some examples, I agree.  I’ve heard some hip-hop songs with the Heidelberg Catechism and other doctrinal statements that are theologically rock-solid.

Extinction

The startling headline grabbed my attention: “Religion May Become Extinct in Nine Nations“. Reported yesterday by the BBC, a group of researchers, using something called nonlinear dynamics, has found indication that religion is not only declining but heading toward extinction in at least nine nations

The #1 Counseling Issue

Hopefully what I am about to tell you is not true for other pastors.  Yet given the epidemic, I would not be surprised if it were so.  Over the last decade of my ministry the number one counseling issue, measured both in number of cases as well as in length of time, has been pornography and its awful impact on souls and families.  Even as of late, I have had to offer counsel yet again where a home life has been devastated by it.

God’s Word conveys to men how their wives are to be considered by them.  The most common imagery is that of a garden, a stream, or a vine created to be delightful to man and bear fruit for his enjoyment (see Genesis 3:15-24; Psalm 128:3; Proverbs 5:15-19; Song of Songs 4:12-16). 

On the Other Side of Complexity: Christian Conviction in the Late Modern Age – Al Mohler

Dr. Al Mohler recently gave the fourth annual Gaffin Lecture at Westminster Theological Seminary, and I must say that it was absolutely brilliant.  Picking up a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity,” Dr. Mohler provides a penetrating analysis of Western thought.    

While some may have a hard time following his message at points, as he does stroll through the halls post-modernity and neo-orthodoxy, as well as modernism, highlighting not only the key thinkers, but their ideas, I suspect that most will still be able to grasp the main points of his lecture.

Trust me when I say this.  The last ten minutes are worth the price of admission.  His critique of fundamentalism, as well as evangelicalism, is powerful.  And for many, the antidote he proscribes will prove very surprising.

Bell’s Hells

Here at Gentle Reformation we have made the conscience decision not to engage in endless internet controversies and cyberspace name-calling.    Self-admittedly we are reluctant to put up our dukes, and we sigh deeply when in church courts (a more proper boxing arena than the internet) we are called upon to handle conflicts.  To that end we have declared in our guiding principles we will not cry “Wolf!” very often.  Yet I feel the need to do so today.

Rambling Reviews of an Audio Scavenger

I love a full MP3 player.  And last week, my MP3 player was pretty darn full.  Ah, yes, the simple pleasures in life!

So, yeah, I’ve listened to quite a few messages lately.  It’s been a strange mixture.  A little bit of everything.  Nothing life changing, exactly, but no downright duds either.  It’s for this reason I’m going to go with the shotgun approach today.  Not a slug, but buckshot.  So here we go.  Time to ramble.

Electronic Dog Leash

Taking my daughter to a friend’s house a few times recently, I have noticed a sheltie collie at the end of one T-street on which I turn.  The little dog stands at the front edge of its fenceless yard, waiting for cars coming to its street.  As a car reaches the T of the intersection, the collie races madly to the end of the yard, then abruptly leaps and spins in the opposite direction and charges back that way, the whole time barking constantly.  As you drive past, you notice it keeps repeating this process – flying back and forth, back and forth, with non-stop barking.  Obviously it has been trained with an electric fence and collar, because it stays right on the front edge of the yard and never crosses the side edges of the property.  Indeed, the last time I went by the collie had worn a path in the snow right down to the ground.