Anthony Horvath is a speaker and author, addressing the importance of equipping the Christian Church for today's challenges. A former religion teacher and long time apologist, Anthony is in touch with today's shifting trends.
Posted 12/14/09 at 10:53 AM | Anthony Horvath
G. K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton wrote his spiritual autobiography, Orthodoxy, in 1908. The amazing thing is how relevant his arguments and insights are today.
I think there is an unfortunate tendency in our society to always be focusing on the 'new.' The newer truth is always to be preferred over the older, even if this flies in the face of the definition of 'truth.' Let's face it, we give incentives to make this happen. A good example is in academia, where the surest way to fame is to posit the newest and most unique proposal- the more controversial the better. One sees this very clearly in the 'historical Jesus' debate. Jesus was married, Jesus was gay, Jesus didn't exist, Jesus was a philosopher, Jesus was... these proposals make headlines and the proposers famous. Since scholars utter them, newspaper men assume they are credible. There is little fame to be gathered from defending the 'traditional' line. But the 'traditional' line exists precisely because after this weeks scandalous announcement is forgotten, the 'old' position still stands. But that isn't reported, so no one ever hears that. FULL POST
Posted 11/30/09 at 10:04 AM | Anthony Horvath
"You can't take it with you." That's what we Christians think but I'm not so sure it is strictly true.Do you remember Matthew 6:19-21?
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where theives break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where theives do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I always understood the general idea of this passage but for a long time, the closer I looked at it the more confused I got. How does one store up treasures in heaven? Apparently, there are things you can take with you! What are they? And again, just how does one store something in heaven? FULL POST
Posted 11/19/09 at 9:48 AM | Anthony Horvath
Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that organizations like Planned Parenthood have their origins in eugenics movements which in turn were formed to deal with the 'problem' created to society by the end of slavery. Using primary source material throughout the 2 hour documentary, Maafa 21 details how birth control measures such as abortion and sterilization were originally presented in the context of eliminating 'undesirables' from society. Highest on that list for the original eugenicists: black people.
Maafa 21 focuses on the 'womb-lynching' of blacks in America but given my own personal story I want to emphasize that the same arguments given by eugenicists regarding black people was- and is- applied to other groups, as well. Maafa 21 makes the important point that the eugenics programs under Hitler didn't merely single out Jews, but also targeted black people. I should like to add that those with birth defects and disabilities were also targeted. This is not to take away from the compelling argument that Maafa 21 makes, but simply to point out that eugenics arguments are not exclusively applied (in the past, or today) to black people.
Posted 11/16/09 at 3:42 PM | Anthony Horvath
The recent passing of hate crimes legislation is causing some consternation in Christian circles but not enough and the concern it is raising is mostly of the wrong kind.
True, it is bad law. The idea that there can be different punishments for the same crime based merely on motive is a principle that is begging for abuse. More worrisome is the idea that others can be held accountable for the crimes of another. What this really does is make 'offending' a crime in itself. Rather than an objective act in space and time- the criminal act, if you will- something becomes criminal if it is associated with something that others find offensive. And being offended is something subjective.
The passing of the hate crimes legislation has a lot of meaning, will reveal many implications, and is a definite sign that the Christian worldview is under seige. I contend, though, that the real battle was already lost. I speak of the battle for logic, reason, common sense, and, in a word, the rule of law. FULL POST
Posted 11/3/09 at 1:50 PM | Anthony Horvath
Several surveys have been released over the last year. It has been awhile since I've posted here and these surveys would have been good opportunities to do so. However, the trends these surveys document have not gone away and now still remains a good time.
Here is the simple reality: In under 20 years, the Christian church in America has declined by about 10%. In raw numbers, Christianity more or less held steady. This is deceptive. First of all, America itself increased by tens of millions in the last century. Christians made up a smaller share of these new Americans and the ones who are tend to be immigrants. This is true of the Catholic Church in particular. In the meantime, the percentage- and raw numbers- of 'religious nones' have increased.
When we translate these percentages into actual numbers, we come to the uncomfortable conclusion that millions of Christians in America have left the faith. Not only have those who report having no religion whatsoever increased, but this group is composed largely of those who were Christian at one time. FULL POST
Posted 3/17/09 at 3:48 PM | Anthony Horvath
Jesus said that unless you become like little children you cannot enter the Kingdom of God. In Mark 10:15 he says, "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
Hyper-intellectuals on the atheist front perceive this approach as intellectual suicide. They see a passage like this as prima facie proof that religion, Christianity included, is childish. One wonders if these folks have children or ever spent any time around them.
I've got four of them and if Jesus means to include them in the pattern of 'little children' then a revision in our traditional, sentimentalistic interpretation is called for.
First of all, my kids aren't uncurious. In fact, they heckle me and harass me and chase me around the house asking questions. The same questions. Over and over until finally I answer them. "Does 'story' start with 'S'?" "Will you staple this?" "Which city is bigger, Milwaukee or Green Bay?" Faith like a little child apparently does not mean not asking questions. It apparently does not mean desisting from learning about reality. It apparently does mean driving your father batty with endless questions about every minute aspect of reality. (See Luke 18:1-8)
Second of all, my kids are... well, thugs. Oh sure, they are soft and sweet and cute for a minute here and there. The rest of the time they are careening off of walls, smacking each other in the nose, swiping cookies from a sibling, distributing legos evenly across the floor in a twenty square foot area... we aren't talking about innocence distilled, here. FULL POST
Posted 3/3/09 at 2:19 PM | Anthony Horvath
In Judges 12, the Gileadites find a way to distinguish between friend and foe by compelling captured refugees to say the word 'Shibboleth.' Evidently, Ephraimites couldn't pronounce it correctly, saying instead 'Sibboleth.' Those that said that latter were struck down while those who said the former were allowed to pass.
'Shibboleths' abound in society, including among Christians. Unfortunately, even among Christians, a Shibboleth isn't simply a quick way to distinguish where a person stands in relation to you but is used in a manner akin to the Gileadite's use, thankfully, of course, without the resulting slaughter.
Every denomination has their own Shibboleths. I don't want to give examples out of fear of unduly offending some Christian here or there- and also because my own examples would be construed as a Shibboleth and I could become a victim of the very same phenomena I am referencing!
However, I can give you examples from outside of Christianity. For example, a good Muslim, after saying the name Mohammed, will add "Peace be upon him." Jews will write 'God' like this: G-d. These are simple examples.
More complicated ones exist, where terms and phrases thrown out in conversation represent whole concepts and arguments and positions cherished within the speaker's faith tradition. A person outside that faith tradition will hear the terms and phrases but, ignorant of the concepts that are evoked, will construe them differently and further conversation will alert the other that 'They don't really get it. They aren't in my group.' FULL POST
Posted 2/26/09 at 11:13 AM | Anthony Horvath |
There are plenty of commentators on Obama's stimulus package that it would probably be superfulous to add my thoughts on that. There are some things that haven't been said that I have decided would be better to address from a distinctly Christian viewpoint.
Ultimately, what the government does is irrelevant to what the Christian does. What I mean is that affairs of governments will ultimately be judged by God. What we will be accountable for, as Christians, is our own personal relationships and how our local congregations function. A bible passage that rams this point home is 1 Cor. 5:12-13
"What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside."
There are problems enough that the Church faces that we perhaps ought to begin setting our own affairs in order and resolving the issues that are more directly under our control.
What are some of those problems? Chronic bible illiteracy, lovelessness, lack of community, hypocrisy, miserliness, rampant divorce, deep debt, etc., I'm sure we can generate the list easily enough. Solutions are hard to come by, though. FULL POST
Posted 2/10/09 at 12:30 PM | Anthony Horvath
Hat tip to Charles for pointing this article out to me.
Recently ChristianityToday had an excellent article on the use of science fiction to communicate a distinctly secular and atheistic world view. If you are a Christian that cares for the state of the Church today and our modern challenge, you should read the article. The article correctly says:
... viewers don't leave movies such as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Hancock, X-Men, and Contact—or television programs such as The X-Files or Heroes—scratching their heads in confusion. We are intrigued, but not surprised. Why? Because stories of advanced extraterrestrials, ancient human-alien contact, superior intelligences roaming the universe, and emerging super-races have grown familiar through repeated exposure. Thanks to the longstanding efforts of a wide range of artists, popular writers, and even scientists, we immediately recognize intelligent aliens and advanced humans. We now see space and the future as sources of hope.
One of the things that I've noted (see this blog entry on Heroes and Philip Pullman) is that the modern method is to denounce anything we might call supernatural as nonsense in one breath, and in the other breath re-issue the same phenomena but provide a naturalistic explanation for it. Heroes is a great case in point, as most of the 'heroes' have powers that, if we ever met them in real life, we'd instantly conclude were supernatural. But Heroes prepares the way for 2 Thess. 2:9-10 in that it provides a 'plausible' explanation for how even the miraculous is merely natural. (In my discussions with atheists, no evidence for natural explanations is necessary- plausibility is sufficient. See, for eg., abiogenesis, and Dawkins hemming and hawing at the end of Ben Stein's Expelled). FULL POST
Posted 1/26/09 at 10:42 AM | Anthony Horvath
Nietzchke said that the last Christian died on the cross. The charge is not fair, of course. At the very least, there is no denying that the first generation Christians possessed a potent message backed up by an amazing witness in their lives. I see no reason not to be impressed by the deeply transformed Peter, Paul, John, James the brother of Jesus, etc.
Moreover, it is clear that Christianity thrived in a society that was positively hostile to it. Skeptical propoganda about Christianity thriving because of the sanction of the state is ridiculous and inaccurate. Constantine did make Christianity the state religion c. 315 AD, but that was nearly 300 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus and throughout those three centuries there was frequent attempts to annihilate the Christian faith.
Fine, you say, but then I say that the last Christian died in Diocletian's persecution (c. 290 AD). There aren't any today.
The charge still is not fair but there can be no question that there is a qualitative difference between the New Testament church and the Church today. Nearly everyone I meet says that if Christians behaved more like we see them behaving in the New Testament (selling off possessions, being martyrs, etc) they would find Christianity more credible. I think that is what Nietzchke was getting at. FULL POST