A great choice
Dr. Stephen Meyer was a great choice for "2009 Daniel of the Year" (Dec. 19). I read Signature in the Cell and was very impressed with the science and the manner in which he approached it. His God-guided decision to write the book will change our world. Thank you, WORLD. I feel like you expand my brain every issue.
-Jean Meaney; Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Yes, scientists are currently unable to provide a mechanistic explanation for the assembly of the first living cells. However, WORLD's claim that this undercuts the evidence for the evolution of all subsequent organisms from those early cells makes us Christians look foolish. The real "intelligent design" was the creation of a universe with the specific mass, energy, and physical laws that allow the evolution of complex, conscious life-forms like us.
-Scott Buchanan; Lambertville, N.J.
I couldn't agree more with Marvin Olasky's encouragement to Christians to be civil in all matters of difference regarding intelligent design ("War and peace," Dec. 19). I know Hugh Ross personally and he has been attacked by others in the Christian community for old-earth views. Personal attacks besmirch the name of Christ.
-Esther Ziol; Pasadena, Calif.
I was pleased to see that Stephen Meyer was selected as this year's "Daniel." Meyer is, indeed, fighting a good fight. I was saddened, however, to read Olasky's comments chiding young-earth creationists for "attacking" others on what he has judged to be a secondary matter, the age of the earth. How we interpret Scripture is a weighty matter.
-Margaret Harris; Sunnyvale, Calif.
I agree that one should understand the primary conflict of evolution vs. creation (i.e., did God make the world or not?) before one delves into how long it took, and that we should discuss opposing viewpoints in a loving manner. But I am disappointed that most Christians either fail to see the importance of the issue or fear to take a stand.
-Deanna Biles; Tacoma, Wash.
May I suggest that the primary issue with Darwinism is the authenticity of the Bible and its declaration of the power of the living God. Evangelicals might have a much better appreciation of the power of the spoken word of God if they considered the days of Genesis 1 as the time that God spoke rather than the duration of a creative process.
-Ben Kulp; Boles, Ark.
Exercise in narcissism
For Christians, one of the most troubling aspects of eco-militancy should be its anti-children message and strong ties with the culture of death ("An eco-manifesto," Dec. 19). As a young Californian mom, I remember driving weekly under a huge banner that had a graphic of the earth next to the words, "LOVE your Mother-Don't become one." At our local Whole Foods, where I shop occasionally, though uneasily, Peter Singer's organization recently was the cause of the day.
-Tanya Ewing; Charlottesville, Va.
"An eco-manifesto" was superbly written. I was fighting my way through medical school on the first Earth Day and thought this mildly pagan exercise in narcissism would most likely go the way of LSD, but no, it's taken on a life of its own. This is a human-hating religion, much like the worship of Dagon must have been in ancient Palestine, where one's babies were burned to ensure prosperity.
-Hal Boone; Friendswood, Texas
I wholeheartedly agree that a little more compassion concerning other people's lifestyle choices is certainly due. But, regarding your comment that Indonesia is the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter because of its peat swamp forests, as a scientist who researches those forests I would like to clarify that it is their degradation that results in the emission of greenhouse gasses, not merely their existence. Peat soil sequesters carbon if left undisturbed, but when aerated from drainage for agricultural or urban development, the carbon stored in it is oxidized and released as carbon dioxide.
-Megan Cattau; Durham, N.C.
While I respect the decision of WORLD editors and others to sign the Manhattan Declaration ("In the trenches," Dec. 19), I would have liked to see some mention of the dissension the document has caused among evangelical leaders. Respected voices, like those of R.C. Sproul and Michael Horton, have opted not to sign, citing a misrepresentation of the gospel.
-Taylor Nakamoto; Montrose, Colo.
Reading Marvin Olasky's piece on Lauren Green and Handel's Messiah ("'God's hand is in it,'" Dec. 19) reminds me of a talk I once gave on Handel's "For Unto Us" about how the different parts combine in bringing a fantastic crescendo as the piece progresses. It is much like the Body of Christ; each person plays an important part, but we join together as one to bring glory to God.
-Terry Johnson; Westwood, Calif.
I'm calmer this morning, but still profoundly disappointed by your part in perpetuating the portrait of Susan Boyle as learning disabled (or worse!), fragile and unstable, and a flash in the pan ("Subject to interpretation," Dec. 19). She struggled academically and with her emotions, but millions of people do and they're not labeled so cruelly. She's not a carefully molded celebrity so some see her as eccentric, but that's more a breath of fresh air than a liability.
-Judi Buller; Olympia, Wash.
I enjoyed "Running free" (Dec. 19). I knew Jim Ryun and his family in the 1970s in California and I'd like to encourage him to run again for Congress. As I (and many conservatives like me) become more politically active, we will need good, solid conservatives to nominate for office.
-Veda Gonzalez; Halfway, Mo.
There she is
I am a Christian, homeschooling mom and have been involved in the Miss America organization for many years. Thank you to Marvin Olasky for his honest assessment of how his ideas changed once he worked alongside the current Miss America, Katie Stam ("Serving with Miss America," Dec. 19). I heard her speak recently at a pageant forum and she shared her testimony and presented the gospel in a clear and simple way.
-Sherry Ledtke; Saginaw, Mich.
Judging by Janie Cheaney's account ("Art in the heart," Dec. 5), Dennis Dutton's book does establish one thing: Storytelling ability may or may not have given a competitive edge to our remote ancestors, but it is certainly useful for defenders of Darwinian evolution. When you don't have to ground your arguments in any evidence, you can give free rein to your imagination. Speculations about possible adaptive advantages for aesthetics, morality, or religion are sure to win acclaim for confirming evolution's capacity for explaining everything.
-Russell Board; Saitama, Japan
Since receiving a free copy of WORLD last June, I have been hooked. When an issue arrives in the mail, I feel as if an old friend has come into my home. I have been especially moved by the recent articles concerning conservative professors at liberal universities who have been rejected, ridiculed, and treated shamefully because of their faith ("Odd man in," Nov. 21, "Losing a beachhead," Sept. 12).
-Stewart Simms Jr.; Athens, Ga.
No lack of knowledge
"Having none of it" (Nov. 21) offers abundant examples of people with an aversion to religion but openness to spiritual issues. The critical component the article doesn't mention is the Holy Spirit. It sounds like Heinkel's disbelief isn't for lack of knowledge (which religion provides), but for lack of a personal encounter with the Spirit of God.
-Julie Dawson; Port Orchard, Wash.
I read the recent article about the salaries of religious nonprofit executives with my jaw on the floor ("Franklin's purse," Nov. 7). It sounds silly, but my husband and I felt sad and disillusioned. Thanks for helping us decide where to invest the money with which God has entrusted us.
-Robin Langford; East Lansing, Mich.
Media coverage of the Obama campaign and inauguration took off in 2008 and early 2009 ("After the swoon," Jan. 16, p. 76).