Archive for March, 2009

“Nanotube Tech Transforms CO2 Into Fuel”

March 24th, 2009 1 comment

This seems brilliant to me. I don’t understand why this is not getting more news. It seems like it should be viable, but I don’t know all the details. Sounds like a great idea though.

Nanotube Tech Transforms CO2 Into Fuel:

Powered by sunlight, titanium oxide nanotubes can turn carbon dioxide into methane, which can be harnessed as an energy source

It goes on to point out that,

One big advantage of methane over other hydrocarbons like hydrogen gas is that an infrastructure already exists for methane… “It’s a clean and sustainable cycle as long as you have sun and water.”

I dig it. The abstract can be found here: High-Rate Solar Photocatalytic Conversion of CO2 and Water Vapor to Hydrocarbon Fuels (if you have ACS Journal access you can read the full thing) via the journal, Nano Letters.

Categories: Science Tags: , ,

“The coming evangelical collapse” - I don’t see it

March 10th, 2009 5 comments

Both Matt MacAdam and Bill Berger have pointed me to an article by Michael Spencer called The coming evangelical collapse:
An anti-Christian chapter in Western history is about to begin. But out of the ruins, a new vitality and integrity will rise
(the original, complete posts can be found at Spencer’s website: The Original Coming Evangelical Collapse Posts). While a lot of things that Spencer said resonate with me, I don’t know if I completely agree with where he thinks evangelicals are heading. While I won’t do a full commentary here, I wanted to mention a few things about his article.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants.

This is a pretty bold statement. To Spencer’s credit, he is not claiming that this is news or necessarily backed in research; it is his commentary on the way he sees things. That being said, it is still a bold statement. Here are the primary reasons he thinks Evangelicalism will collapse:

Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake.

While I think this was especially true in the 80s and 90s, I think this has lessened as of late. Many want to distance themselves from the religious right. While I am conservative in my politics, I don’t really associate myself with them, and I know that many others don’t either.

We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught.

I completely agree. I do think that the youth need to be aware of culture and how it impacts the church, but they also need to know where their faith comes from and what it is based on. They should be able to articulate what they believe and why just as easily as they can articulate what happened on the latest reality show.

There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile.

I don’t think that my church really falls into any of those categories. I don’t feel I am saying that just because I am biased, but because the church is vibrant, relevant, and has a real, meaningful impact on our city.

Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.

I am not exactly sure what he means by that. Is he saying evangelical seminaries or graduate schools are not proper educational institutions? Regent might disagree with that (and so would I).

The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to “do good” is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.

This is another statement that I cannot totally buy. I think that many churches now see the need to work in their communities, not just because they want more people to come, or even people to come to Christ (even if they would like that to happen), but because they are understanding that there is a huge need in their community. There is always “good” to be done and churches are starting to realize that more and more.

Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.

While Evangelicals aren’t really “strong” here in the northwest, this is definitely a concern. Instilling values in our children in the midst of many conflicting world views can be a difficult, but necessary task that we are all responsible for.

The money will dry up.

Well, sure, that is possible. But wherever people find value, their money will follow.

With the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey noting that “non-religious” populations are on the rise and many Protestant denominations on the decline, evangelicals definitely have reason to worry. But, in my opinion, there aren’t actually fewer religious people, but merely more people who are being more honest with their affiliations and beliefs. It would be my contention that nominal Christians (of which there are definitely many) are realizing that they no longer have to identify themselves with Christianity if they don’t actually believe the things that are part of the faith. Regardless of why the numbers are declining, I doubt that those of devout faith are willing to let their churches die.

Spencer’s article is well worth the read because he does end on some helpful and hopeful notes.

We need new evangelicalism that learns from the past and listens more carefully to what God says about being His people in the midst of a powerful, idolatrous culture.

While I am not as worried about our impending doom, I think his cautions should be heeded.

Hummm… I feel like this post has been a bit of streaming-of-consciousness… but there ya have it.