Weekly Roundup (Shutdown Edition)

If the cover image worried you for a moment, fear not, faithful readers.  The Evangelical Outpost did not shut down this week.  We’re an essential service!

Politico takes us on a photo tour of the previous 17 federal government shutdowns.  (What might be most surprising to many people, given the current level of rhetoric in the media, is just how many times the government shut down during the Reagan administration with a Democrat-controlled House).

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Matt Welch writes at CNN that, while the shutdown is bad politics (especially for Republicans), it’s ultimately nothing to worry about.

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In the midst of all the budget battles raging these days, with frequent calls from Republicans to lower taxes and cut entitlement spending, Andrew Quinn argues that it’s time for conservatives to make explicit what is already implicit in their economic goals: championing the poor.

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Not only is the world still spinning during the federal government shutdown, but worlds beyond our solar system are too.  Here’s the first cloud map of one such exoplanet.

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Warning: This article is graphic and not for those with sensitive consciences, but it is a must read (especially for those with children):  Experiment that convinced me online porn is the most pernicious threat facing children today.

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From r/atheism to the Richard Dawkins Foundation’s Facebook page, online atheists love their memes, especially the ones that are “devastating” to religon as well as being humorous.  Here are few such Devastating Arguments Against Christianity (Courtesy of the Internet).  As it turns out, the arguments are indeed devastating…just not to religion.

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Stanford Team Sheds Light on the Medieval Foundations of Modern Science.

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Desiring God’s 2013 National Conference was all about C. S. Lewis, with some fascinating topics and a stellar speaker lineup (including Phil Ryken and Kevin Vanhoozer).  The free video and audio is availabe here.

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When creativity and love meets technology, magic happens:  Creative Dad Takes Crazy Photos Of Daughters.

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Essayist and programmer Paul Graham has written a brief and helpful article on How to Disagree.  For the visually inclined, here is a an image based on his essay ranking the 7 types of disagreement.

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33 Of The Most Hilariously Terrible First Sentences In Literature History:

Betty had eyes that said come here, lips that said kiss me, arms and torso that said hold me all night long, but the rest of her body said, “Fillet me, cover me in cornmeal, and fry me in peanut oil”; romance wasn’t easy for a mermaid.

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Part two of the Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, is going to be a massive hit at the box office, despite the underwhelming first installment.  How do I know?  Two words:  The ‘Batch (just listen to the final moments of the new trailer):

Weekly Roundup (Or: How Sherlock Survived His Deadly Fall)

A young writer has some advice for church leaders trying desperately to attract and retain young people: change carefully and wisely. What young people say they want in their 20s is not necessarily what they want 10 years later.

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Keeping up with the times: Pope Francis to Offer Plenary Indulgences via Twitter.

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Just because: This Is What It Would Look Like If You Dropped Manhattan Into the Grand Canyon.

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Behold, The Six Types of Atheists (or, how Social Scientists make obvious observations and try to pass it off as actual work).

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Matthew Tuininga asks, What if our Grandmothers were actually right?:

There is a story that plays itself out over and over in American culture. Progressive activists proclaim that a particular element of traditional wisdom about the family and parenting is the residue of old-fashioned religious convictions, with little relation to reality or to human flourishing. Invariably, social scientists lend their voices and expertise to the cause, insisting that there is no scientific evidence for the legitimacy of the older norms; surely, it is assumed, research will show that liberty and tolerance is the appropriate way forward. Eventually the activists and the academics find the support of the media and other cultural elites, who call for an end to the stigmatization of those who violate the old norms and mores.

As the decades pass however, a host of new problems arise, problems that society has never had to face. The abandonment of older assumptions about the family, it turns out, has a tremendous social cost after all. Research in the social sciences begins to suggest that even if the older ideals were rooted in religion and tradition, they make a whole lot of sense scientifically as well. We’re not sure why, but it turns out that our grandmothers really did have some wisdom.

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Doug Wilson offers some clear-headed advice for social conservatives frustrated by the tactics of the opposition and their allies in the Media Industrial Complex.

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In the wake of the Texas abortion bill and the nausiating attempts at a “Stand with Wendy” campaign,  Democrats for Life are asking us to Stand with Kirsten Powers instead.

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The perception among non-Calvinists is often that Reformed folk are arrogant, argumentative, and downright rude.  Scott Clark of Westminster Seminary California points out that every individual is unique; there are rude Arminians and grumpy Baptists, just as there are kindly Calvinists.  Still, he admits, the perception is not without foundation, and so he attempts to offer some reasons why (some) Reformed people are such jerks.

Some, when they first discover “the doctrines of grace” (code for unconditional predestination and justification by grace alone, through faith alone) can actually become angry that they’ve been denied these truths for so long. It’s as if one grew up in England (pay attention Carl) and suddenly discovers that food can be pleasant, that just a few miles to the southeast there is a people of strange tongues and marvelous food beyond one’s wildest dreams! Gaining this knowledge can produce genuine frustration. Having tasted French food, our Englishman is beside himself. It’s all he can talk about. It’s all he wants to read about. It’s all he cooks. The first time his Mum brings out the usual Thursday night dinner, he rages at her, but she doesn’t know any better. She’s never been to France and wouldn’t know pain au chocolate if it hit her on the head.

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Speaking of raucous Reformed folk, many young evangelicals are breaking from their fundamentalist roots and embracing “Christian liberty” when it comes to alcoholic beverages.  I for one enjoy craft beer immensely, even dabbling in a bit of home brewing.  But is this liberty, fueled as it so often is by a reaction to legalism, becoming its own kind of legalism?  Brett McCracken at Mere Orthodoxy probes: Are you free to NOT drink?

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The New Theist himself (William Lane Craig) debates Sam Harris on the possibility of objective morality without God:

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Jon Negroni has discovered a grand secret hidden in plain sight, what he calls “The Pixar Theory”:  Every single Pixar film is directly connected to all the others, creating the biggest and most complex narrative in film history.  (Well…maybe).

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And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for.  Last year, in the final moments of series 2 of BBC’s Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch’s titular character plummeted off a rooftop to his death…only he somehow survived.  Fans have been baffled, to say the least.  Finally, Cumberbatch himself has decided to break the silence and explain how Sherlock survived.  Using stuffed animals.