Century Marks

Century Marks

Skeptics in the pew

Nearly one out of five scientists who claim to be atheists or agnostics go to church at least some of the time, according to a study done at Rice University. The scientists don't do it for themselves but rather for their children. They want them to be exposed to the morality taught by churches, and they want their children to decide matters of faith for themselves. Most of these nonbelieving scientists come from families who were not deeply involved in religion, and they became involved only when they had children of their own (ABC News,  December 7).

From the ground up

Christians typically think of humans as stewards of creation, says Theodore Hiebert, an Old Testament professor. That view, based on the Genesis 1 account of creation, needs to be counterbalanced by the Genesis 2 account of creation. In the latter account, humans aren't portrayed as  stewards over creation, but as an integral part of and servants of nature. In the second account, humans aren't created in the image of God as the crowning achievement of creation; rather, they are formed out of the fertile earth just like other forms of life. This vision of creation emphasizes human interrelatedness with nature and the need to serve it, rather than using it to serve human needs (Interpretation, October).

Folly of war

In 2010, Bob Woodward interviewed President Obama as part of his research for the book Obama's Wars. As the president ushered Woodward out of the Oval Office at the end of the interview, Woodward showed him a quotation from a book on World War II. The quotation said that war is corrupting and that it tarnishes the soul and the spirit. Obama said, "I have sympathies with this point of view." Then he told Woodward to go home and read his Nobel Peace Prize speech. Woodward took the president's suggestion. In that speech President Obama concluded that though "war is sometimes necessary . . . war at some level is an expression of human folly" (Woodward, Obama's Wars).

Courage to be

Bonnie Ware has long worked in palliative care, spending time with the dying during the final weeks of their lives. Over the years she's heard the same regrets from the dying. They wish they had had the courage to be themselves, rather than trying to meet expectations. They say they should not have worked so hard—a lament heard especially from the older generation of males. They regret not having had the courage to express their feelings, even if doing so would have caused others pain. They say they should have stayed in touch with their friends and given more time to nurturing friendships (Activist Post, November 30).