The religious right is being left behind
...Perhaps the biggest impact may be on demographics. There is, as demographer Wendell Cox has demonstrated with regard to the United States, a direct connection between religiosity and birth rates. The two global regions with the least religious engagement, Europe and East Asia, already suffer very low birth rates and hyperpaced societal aging. In contrast, virtually all religions, whether Hindu, monotheistic or Confucianism-based, are familialistic – much of the rituals of religious life center on kinship. Secularism, however, turns many of these values upside-down. It simply cannot, as author Eric Kauffman puts it, “inspire the commitment to generations past and sacrifices for those yet to come.”...
Tim Challies: Sex on the Silver Screen
...Nakedness and sexuality are common themes in today’s movies and television. It seems increasingly rare to find a movie or show that doesn’t have at least one lingering shot of nudity or one steamy scene of passion. And even while so many Christians feel freedom to watch it all, I am increasingly convinced that we should not. I am increasingly convinced that Christians should avoid watching movies with scenes of nudity and sexuality. There are many reasons for this, but today I will constrain myself to just one—one that I have found particularly compelling and convicting.
Let’s begin here: What we see on the screen is both fact and fiction. When it comes to nakedness and sex in movies, we sometimes lose the fact in the fiction. What we watch is a fictional story, but one that has been acted out in real ways by real people. This has important implications when it comes to a bedroom scene. To film that scene, real people had to remove real clothes, bare real bodies, touch each other in real places, and move together in a real bed. It may not have been full-on sexual intercourse, but it still involved real acts between real people. The reason sex scenes look real is that to a large degree they are real. Those are not fake breasts you see, the actors are not exchanging fake kisses or fake caresses, she is not pretending to straddle him...
The BBC has become obsessed with sex
...I know it’s expecting a lot, but imagine for a minute, if you can, that we live in a sane world – a world in which the national broadcasting channel had other things on its mind than the twelve-month US presidential campaign, the mawkish and extensive coverage of the deaths of pop-stars and the tawdriness of the film and TV awards. It’s instructive, by the way, to notice that the annual presentations of tat to tat are called awards ceremonies. But that is exactly what they are: the pseudo-religious rites of our decadent and solipsistic consumerism. But please, if you can, suspend your disbelief for a second and imagine the modern world as a better place. Further, imagine the BBC as an intelligent, knowledgeable institution with an interest in matters a little higher than the bread and circuses of pop trash. If you can manage to imagine that, then ask yourself what sort of questions the guys and gals on Panorama might have asked...
Doctors 3D-print 'living' body parts
Custom-made, living body parts have been 3D-printed in a significant advance for regenerative medicine, say scientists.
The sections of bone, muscle and cartilage all functioned normally when implanted into animals.
The breakthrough, published in Nature Biotechnology
, raises the hope of using living tissues to repair the body.
Experts described the technology, developed in the US, as a "goose that really does lay golden eggs"...
Hawaii declares state of emergency over Zika virus, dengue fever outbreak
...The state has been in the midst of a dengue fever outbreak on Hawaii's Big Island, where there were more than 250 confirmed cases.
There have been no locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus in Hawaii, Ige said in a news conference Friday. But there's concern that the islands could be at risk because mosquitoes that can carry dengue fever also can carry the Zika virus...
Germany blames wave of sex assaults mostly on refugees
...The crimes, described as unprecedented by authorities, sparked uproar in Germany and a heated debate about the country's ability to integrate almost 1.1 million people who sought asylum there last year.
The incident has led to both a political and a personal backlash against the mostly Middle Eastern and North African asylum seekers that flooded the country last year.
Numerous migrants reported being attacked themselves randomly in the wake of the Cologne assaults, and Chancellor Angela Merkel's soaring popularity took a major nosedive afterwards. The Cologne sexual assaults even almost led to an international incident with Russia...