This blog is maintained on behalf of the Amy Foundation for the purpose of tracking the best Christian journalism we find on the Web. Our posts regularly identify those news articles or opinions in the mainstream media that represent good faith-based writing and example them for other Christian journalists.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The debate between atheism and Christianity continues to rage, this time in the guise of science vs. religion. ...

The a new round is led by Richard Dawkins, Ph.D., a preeminent evolutionary biologist and author of “The God Delusion.” His counterpart, defending the Christian faith and perspective on science, is Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and author of “The Language of God.”

In Time Magazine’s November 13, 2006 cover story, entitled, “God vs. Science,” written by David Van Biema, Dawkins and Collins square off in a one-on-one debate. At its core is the viability of God in a science-based universe.

Here are the concluding parleys of the debate:
… COLLINS: I just would like to say that over more than a quarter-century as a scientist and a believer, I find absolutely nothing in conflict between agreeing with Richard in practically all of his conclusions about the natural world, and also saying that I am still able to accept and embrace the possibility that there are answers that science isn't able to provide about the natural world--the questions about why instead of the questions about how. I'm interested in the whys. I find many of those answers in the spiritual realm. That in no way compromises my ability to think rigorously as a scientist.

DAWKINS: My mind is not closed, as you have occasionally suggested, Francis. My mind is open to the most wonderful range of future possibilities, which I cannot even dream about, nor can you, nor can anybody else. What I am skeptical about is the idea that whatever wonderful revelation does come in the science of the future, it will turn out to be one of the particular historical religions that people happen to have dreamed up. When we started out and we were talking about the origins of the universe and the physical constants, I provided what I thought were cogent arguments against a supernatural intelligent designer. But it does seem to me to be a worthy idea. Refutable--but nevertheless grand and big enough to be worthy of respect. I don't see the Olympian gods or Jesus coming down and dying on the Cross as worthy of that grandeur. They strike me as parochial. If there is a God, it's going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed.
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I am not suggesting that this Time article is great journalism (actually the article’s preamble gives more play to Atheism’s renewed assault of religion than anything else), but it is very enlightening. It also showcases an intelligent defense of Christianity in the face of an intense, scientific-based attempt to discredit faith.

I believe Collins successfully points out that Dawkins’s mind is closed to God, therefore weakening his assertions and credibility with his antagonistic view of personal faith. Dawkins is left to deny it, but he doesn’t overcome the Collin’s point.

Read the article for yourself, consider the issues, and weigh into the debate by writing about it in your hometown paper.

Submitted by,
Bruce Umpstead

Monday, November 20, 2006

Great Article BUT No Scripture

Here is a good news article about Pastor Sarah Bowling in Denver. Given all the clamity surrounding Ted Haggard's demise, any good news about a Colorado-based pastor is good news.

Colleen O'Connor writes the story, titled "A preacher's daughter rocks the faithful with a modern ministry," for the Denver Post on 11/19/06. She writes:
A spiky-haired woman in ripped jeans hangs out with musician John Cooper, frontman for the Christian crossover alt-rock and Skillet.

Looking more like a band groupie than a preacher, she is Sarah Bowling: wife and mother and the daughter of world-renowned Christian evangelist Marilyn Hickey.

As senior pastor of Orchard Road Christian Center with its membership of thousands, Bowling, 38, is one of a few daughters who received the mantle from her mother.

More commonly, men pass their ministry to sons: Billy and Franklin Graham, Oral and Richard Roberts, or Kenneth Hagin Sr. and Kenneth Hagin Jr.

The Grammy-nominated band will rock the church tonight, but first, promptly at 7, television cameras start to roll, and Bowling revs up to interview the band for "Today with Marilyn and Sarah," the popular mother-daughter daily Bible show broadcast on the Trinity Broadcasting Network to as many as 1.5 billion households in 49 countries.

"How did you hook up with Jesus?" she asks each musician.

Eventually, she cuts to her passion: the next generation. ...
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The one thing missing in this news article that would qualify it for the Amy Writing Awards is identifiable scripture. It can be difficult for journalists to fit appropriate passages into copy AND have their editors accept it, but it has been done. The best way to do it is include the favorite scripture passage mentioned by a source. In this case, Pastor Sarah Bowling would have plenty to share.

Good job, Colleen. Keep up the great work!

Submitted by,
Bruce Umpstead (10-20-06)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Opinion in The Chattanoogan

Politics tend to spark debates this time of year, even among "evangelicals." Roger Meyer, Ph.d. posted an article on The today (11/1/06), titled, "Read The Bible And Decide For Yourself," about how faith and politics collide.

It seems that Dr. Meyer takes issues with religious organizations telling him how to vote this election season. Dr. Meyer writes:

If you are an evangelical Christian and have received mail, email, or phone calls telling you what you, as a Christian are to do, you may be as disgusted as I am. Some religious leaders and groups appear to reject the priesthood of believers. Instead they see us as sheep and they as the shepherds, not Jesus Christ. As a protestant evangelical, I believe in the reformation principle of studying and rightly dividing the word of God for myself, using the teaching of the saints of all the ages to guide me.

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It's a well-reasoned, well-written opinion, whether or not you agree with Meyer's opinion; however, it doesn't qualify for the Amy Writing Awards because it lacks identifiable scripture. I also think this opinion exists in electronic form only, and the Awards require paper-based publication.

We still want to encourage Meyer and other thoughtful pundits--professional or otherwise--to KEEP WRITING and expressing their faith-based views in the mainstream press, include appropriate scripture, and enter the Awards.

Good job, Roger! Keep up the good work!

Submitted by,
Bruce Umpstead