Mess of Pottage Blog

Luke's "Pro" Blog

Grace vs. Consequences

From the infinitely-rich “God doesn’t give us what we deserve” department, the Anchorage Daily News brings us a cautionary tale:

A Sutton man is being treated for serious head injuries after he was found pinned under his ATV on the Glenn Highway, troopers said Sunday.

Some take-aways:

1. don’t drink and drive

2. not even ATV’s

3. maybe especially not ATV’s

4. and wear a helmet!

Also remember what Matt Groening said so long ago: “At night, the ice weasels come.”

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Grace in Motion

Here’s an excellent example of Grace:

It’s a good place to start the next time you’re trying to imagine how God treats us.

Jesus said, “If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?”

Kudus: Althouse. Cross-posted at JLP.

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GA Committee Recommendations

Several committees at the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) meeting in Pittsburgh have issued reports. These will now be voted on by the General Assembly and if they pass, will be sent on to the presbyteries for voting during the year ahead.

While I’m sure the commissioners did their work as well as they could, I’m personally disappointed with several of their recommendations, including these:

There’s another recommendation that I’m still trying to figure out.

  • Changing the ordination standards to include “repentence” and “grace.” Since it involves ordination standards, I assume the underlying issue is human sexuality, but of course we prefer to speak in generalities.
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Do You Have Free Will? I Hope So!

John Tierney blogs about free will in the Science section of Monday’s New York Times. He’s coming from a non-religious scientific point of view, but here’s the takeaway:

… [people] pragmatically intuit that regardless of whether free will exists, our society depends on everyone’s believing it does. The benefits of this belief have been demonstrated in other research showing that when people doubt free will, they do worse at their jobs and are less honest.

Tierney summarizes some of that research, which shows that determinists are quicker to cheat than people who believe in free will.

However, I would have liked Tierney to address another concern: the presupposition that the universe is deterministic. Is that what scientists think? I was under the impression scientists had identified non-deterministic phenomena in the universe, like radioactive decay. While you can determine the half-life of a radioactive isotope, you can’t predict when an individual atom of that material will decay. Is that deterministic? In other words, if you could wind the universe up again and start over from the same initial state, would those atoms all decay at exactly the same moment they did the first time? If so, wouldn’t that be prediction?

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