Century Marks

Century Marks

Modern cathedrals

In his travels about the country as a church consultant, Anthony Robinson has noticed that in many cities the manufacturing plants are shuttered and office buildings vacant. The only institutions that seem to be thriving are hospitals and medical centers, which not only have the latest in medical technology but in some cases incorporate shops, spas, community centers and destination restaurants. These lavish new medical facilities, aimed at the well-insured and affluent, make Robinson skeptical about keeping the cost of health care in check. He calls these elaborate medical facilities our modern cathedrals—evidence that health care is at the center of our lives (Crosscut, June 1).

Looking back

When historian David McCullough was asked what future generations will wonder about us, he answered, "How we could have spent so much time watching TV" (Time.com, June 20).

Tax dollars at work

Kentucky taxpayers are about to subsidize a theme park based on a replica of Noah's ark. The subsidies come in the form of tax incentives. The theme park, developed by an organization called Answers in Genesis, was the brainstorm of the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which advances a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation. "The ministry of Answers in Genesis can't think of a more effective way today to share the gospel with so many millions of people than an ark," states the organization's website (USAToday.com, May 31).

Where’s the conflict?

A large-scale study of American college students shows that a vast majority don't see a conflict between science and religion. Nearly 70 percent of freshmen view science and religion as either independent of each other or as having a collaborative relationship. The rest, who do see a conflict, are divided almost evenly between those who favor the perspective of religion and those who favor science. Students were polled as freshmen and then as juniors to see if their views changed over time. Seventy percent of freshmen who favored religion over science had switched by the time they were juniors to seeing the fields as not being in conflict; 46 percent who favored science over religion as freshmen shifted to that nonconflictual view by their junior year (Huffpost Religion, May 25).

Death as preacher

Kava Schafer, a spiritual director and hospital chaplain, believes that cultivating an awareness of one's own death is a spiritual discipline. She quotes the prophet Muhammad, who said: "Consult your death. The only preacher you need is awareness of your death" (Presence, June).