Voices

Outside over there

Entering blog time, where the living is energetic but not easy

Issue: "What is art?," March 20, 2004

WORLDMAGBLOG.COM: OUR READERSHIP IS steadily growing, but some WORLD subscribers still haven't taken a look at our daily news content. Some don't regularly use a computer or don't have good internet access. Others worry that if they dive in it will be hard to get out: The interactivity-with readers making comments and others then carrying on an electronic conversation with other readers-can be overwhelming.

That's a reasonable concern: WORLD magazine is very carefully contained, as we try to wrap up a week's news and provide a unified biblical perspective on it. Worldmagblog is sprawling and sometimes wild: We post a dozen or so items per day, and during the first week of March one of them alone, "Thoughts on the marriage amendment," received 156 reader comments. (The entire WORLD mailbag typically has room for about 16 letters.)

This magazine is the apple of my eye and a terrific use of time for busy people, and yet ... if you don't stick a toe into the blog you're missing not only the incisive observations (ahem) of Gene Edward Veith and myself, with occasional contributions from other WORLD staffers, but also our expanding number of sub-blogs: Seven deeply thoughtful pastors and 13 generally thoughtful and often-witty students and young professionals (Generation W[ORLD]-clever, huh?) offer their perspectives as well.

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Most of all, since many of us tend to hang out with others who think like ourselves, you're missing the comments that not only Christians but atheists and homosexuals offer-and that's useful in teaching us how to evangelize and how to defend biblical positions. For example, the best argument against same-sex marriage is that God's against it, but that doesn't take us far in a society where most people cite the Bible only when it pleases them, and others scorn God's commands entirely.

Faced with anti-biblical biases, Christians can either give up, or we can build alliances with those who make judgments based on historical evidence. We shouldn't fear that, because one indication that God created the world and mankind is that those who live by the Bible are not only wiser but generally happier and healthier (many exceptions, of course) than those who don't. Blogging helps us to build stronger arguments that can appeal to the undecided.

Here's an excerpt from my Worldmagblog post that started the ball rolling toward 156 comments: "In our American liberty theme park, it's much easier to add than subtract.... How would the marriage amendment expand and protect people's rights? We need to stipulate that marriage is not only about love; it's also about providing the best environment for child-raising. We should explain that we are fighting for a children's protection amendment, since children should have the right to be raised by both a father and a mother. Those who want to change the definition of marriage are taking away children's rights."

Some commenters immediately challenged that with anecdotes about children who are happy with their two dads or two moms, so I was glad when others came to my aid. Michael Sierk commented that "allowing gay marriage will, in the long run, end up hurting more children because it will reinforce the idea that marriage is about the wishes of the two (or more) individuals involved, and not about raising the next generation." Kyle Ambrose wrote, "Children as a whole will be harmed by living in a society in which maleness and femaleness are considered unimportant, and where fathers and mothers are not regarded as essential components of a family."

When a homosexual commenter complained that a marriage amendment would dehumanize him, I learned from the way Joe Hootman flipped the argument: "Ultimately, the vision of the gay marriage movement is a profoundly dehumanizing, mechanical one. What used to be natural, organic understandings of personhood (husband and wife) will be stripped down to portray people as equivalent, interchangeable cogs ('applicant 1,' 'applicant 2'), with nothing to distinguish between them. Any one cog can fit into any combination thereof. It's the ultimate expression of the cold modernism that many folks complain about on so many other fronts."

I won't summarize here the anti-Christian arguments; I hope you'll take the blog challenge and read for yourself, then respond. We write tightly in both publications, but the magazine has a unified voice, while the blog has diverse riffs that sound blended to some and cacophonous to others. We'll continue putting on provocative items, so please try the blog-you may like it.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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