Sunday, July 27, 2008

Owen Thomas on the Incarnation

Note what systematic theologian Owen Thomas writes regarding the Incarnation or hypostatic union. The following is taken from his _Introduction to Theology_ (page 150):

"H.W. Montefiore has indicated an even more
fundamental problem in the Chalcedonian definition.
The formula asserts of Christ, 'the same perfect in
Godhead and the same perfect in manhood, truly God and
truly man . . .' The implication is that apart from
Christ we know what perfect godhead [sic] and perfect
humanity are, and that on the basis of the New
Testament testimony we are affirming that Jesus
possessed both. But in fact the Christian faith is
that it is precisely in Christ and nowhere else that
we see what perfect godhead and perfect humanity are.
Now Middle Platonist philosophy involved a doctrine of
God as impassible, completely transcendent and
immutable. Thus on these terms it is extremely
difficult to understand how God and humanity could be
united in one person. But the fundamental thing we
know from Christ is that God can be perfectly united
with humanity. This is where we begin in speaking
about God and humanity. The problem is not how a union
of God and humanity in one person is possible, but
given the union manifest in Christ what perfect
godhead and humanity are."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jehovah's Witnesses and Globalization by Chryssides

Here is a link for an article written by George D. Chryssides. I believe that he attempts to be objective or fair when writing about the religious movement known as Jehovah's Witnesses. One criticism that I have of his work, however, is that he is sloppy or careless with historical details. But maybe he is not a historian. Anyway, his article isn't that difficult to read. One more criticism might be that what is mentioned in the abstract is not fully developed by the author in his actual writing.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rise in STDs Among Older Folks

Sex and older generations: it's not a topic that gets discussed much, not even in the doctor's office. But some physicians say that needs to change, because older patients are leading active sex lives - and their rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may be on the rise.

Whatever the cause - Viagra, midlife divorce, online dating or simple ignorance - studies suggest that STDs are no longer just an affliction of the young. A study published online last week by the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections adds to that growing body of evidence. Researchers at England's West Midlands Health Protection Agency found that in less than a decade, STD rates had more than doubled among people ages 45 and older. And Dr. Babatunde Olowokure, an author of the study, thinks that figure may be low. "These observations are based on a small proportion of people who actually attend clinics," he says. While that proportion of the population has increased overall over the past decade, Olowokure points out that middle-aged and older people tend to delay visiting a doctor for treatment of an STD, or they avoid it altogether, in large part due to the stigma associated with sexually transmitted infections.

In their study, Olowokure and his team counted 4,445 infections (excluding HIV) reported to 19 clinics in the region. From 1996 to 2003, total cases of chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and genital warts among people over 45 increased 127%, from 344 cases in 1996 to 780 in 2003. Rates of STDs increased in patients under age 45 as well, by 97%, during the same time period. In the U.S. the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures - which include prevalence of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea - reflect relatively stable rates of infection in people ages 55 and older, but that data relies on self-reporting, and in many parts of the country it is out of step with what physicians are seeing. "Our rates of syphilis and chlamydia are up across all ages," says Dr. Sharon Lee, a Kansas City, Mo., family physician and medical director of HIV Wisdom for Older Women. According to a 2000 study of Washington State residents, one of the only comprehensive analyses of STD infection among the middle-aged and older, cases of gonorrhea increased 18.2% between 1997 and 1998 among people ages 45 and older; in younger people, that increase was 17.3%.


Friday, July 11, 2008

A Supposed Silver Lining to High Gas Prices?

WASHINGTON - Today's high gas prices could reduce auto deaths by nearly a third as driving decreases, with the effect particularly dramatic among price-sensitive teenage drivers, the authors of a new study said.

Professors Michael Morrisey of the University of Alabama-Birmingham and David Grabowski of Harvard Medical School found that for every 10 percent increase in gas prices there was a 2.3 percent decline in auto deaths. For drivers ages 15 to 17, the decline was 6 percent, and for ages 18 to 21, it was 3.2 percent.

The study looked at fatalities from 1985 to 2006, when gas prices reached about $2.50 a gallon. With gas now averaging over $4 a gallon, Morrisey said he expects to see a drop of about 1,000 deaths a month.

With annual auto deaths typically ranging from about 38,000 to 40,000 a year, a drop of 12,000 deaths would cut the total by nearly a third, Morrisey said.

"I think there is some silver lining here in higher gas taxes in that we will see a public health gain," Grabowski said. But he cautioned that their estimate of a decline of 1,000 deaths a month could be offset somewhat by the shift under way to smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient cars and the increase in motorcycle and scooter driving.

See the whole story at

Friday, July 04, 2008

My Amazon Review of Hal Flemings Book

Hal Flemings has presented a persuasive case for the reasonableness of God's existence. Flemings' approach is innovative, refreshing and hardly ever encountered in other books belonging to this genre. He initiates his discussion of theistic and atheistic arguments by seeking to clarify what the term "God" means. I believe you will find the answers that he supplies in the first chapter of his work to be quite informative. Flemings then proceeds to review what deists, theists, pantheists and agnostics have argued with respect to God's existence. These arguments are handled in an objective and balanced way: the author is not interested in simply pontificating. This part of his work also makes the book a pleasure to read. Flemings' book contains 10 chapters including a discussion of holy books that different religions use and there is a chapter dealing with the problem of evil. I especially enjoyed the chapter about the various arguments that have been posited to prove God's existence. Flemings handles the ontological, teleological, anthropological and scientific arguments for God with the utmost care and skill. I encourage you to purchase this book, if you have ever wondered whether there is logical, scientific or theological evidence that points to the existence of a loving and benevolent or all wise Creator. The information contained in this work can also be employed to help non-theists seriously reflect on the question as well as the reality of God.

Edgar Foster

graduate of the University of Glasgow (Ph.D.)