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Trends
Hmmm… an interesting research report today suggests that the real winners in the Catholic sexual abuse scandal over the past few years were… wait for it… BAPTISTS!
This paper considers substituting one charitable activity for another in the context of religious practice. I examine the impact of the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal on both Catholic and non-Catholic religiosity. I find that the scandal led to a 2-million-member fall in the Catholic population that was compensated by an increase in non-Catholic participation and by an increase in non-affiliation. Back-of the- envelope calculations suggest the scandal generated over 3 billion dollars in donations to non-Catholic faiths. Those substituting out of Catholicism frequently chose highly dissimilar alternatives; for example, Baptist churches gained significantly from the scandal while the Episcopal Church did not. These results challenge several theories of religious participation and suggest that regulatory policies or other shocks specific to one religious group could have important spillover effects on other religious groups.
via Freakonomics Any thoughts? Todd
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Controversy
It was supposed to be a big debate on Baptists and Calvinists.  Well, it never happened.  Now, three years later, it has all come down to blocking on Twitter… According to Examiner.com: Today marks the three year anniversary of a historical debate that was supposed to take place between Dr. Ergun Caner and Dr. James R. White on “Baptists and Calvinists.” The irony is that on this very same day, October 16th, 2009, Dr. Caner blocked Dr. White from following him on twitter. Some Christians are left asking, can’t a Southern Baptist get along with a Reformed Baptist? What’s the story behind the Caner/White conflict? As always, history tells the story. The conflict between Dr. Caner, the President of Liberty Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, VA, and the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries Dr. James R. White goes as far back as April 2006 (although perhaps to even 2005, see page 23). Dr. Caner preached a very strong anti-Calvinist sermon at Liberty that left many students (and theologians across the board) in shock. In the sermon, Caner redefined what was historically known as “hyper-Calvinism,” and introduced a host of common misrepresentations regarding historical “5-point Calvinism.” Dr. White reviewed the sermon several times on his webcast The Dividing Line (also on youtube here) to document these errors. At one point, Dr. Caner made an even more radical assertion, saying that “Calvinists are worse than Muslims.” Caner has not retracted this statement, nor will Caner publicly refer to White as a Christian. The conflict finally culminated into the planned debate: Monday, October 16th, 2006, 6pm, at the New Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. A debate on Calvinism. The debate was jointly agreed upon between James White and Tom Ascol (favoring Calvinism) and Dr. Ergun Caner and his brother Emir (critiquing Calvinism). Ironing out the details, however, was another matter. The four exchanged a series of letters regarding the topic, format, and setting of the debate. Words were exchanged between the moderator, Dr. Bret O’ Donnell, and White before things got further off the tracks: Click here to read the ‘blow by blow’ history of why this debate never happened; and how petty both sides can become… And click here to read James White’s latest shot to reignite this firestorm. Whatever will we do?  We will never know who would have won the debate!  How shall we think? Actually, I think neither won this debate.  In fact… they both lost it. (Oh great… there’s two more people who will block me on Twitter.) Todd
Today marks the three year anniversary of a historical debate that was supposed to take place between Dr. Ergun Caner and Dr. James R. White on “Baptists and Calvinists.” The irony is that on this very same day, October 16th, 2009, Dr. Caner blocked Dr. White from following him on twitter. Some Christians are left asking, can’t a Southern Baptist get along with a Reformed Baptist? What’s the story behind the Caner/White conflict? As always, history tells the story. The conflict between Dr. Caner, the President of Liberty Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, VA, and the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries Dr. James R. White goes as far back as April 2006 (although perhaps to even 2005, see page 23). Dr. Caner preached a very strong anti-Calvinist sermon at Liberty that left many students (and theologians across the board) in shock. In the sermon, Caner redefined what was historically known as “hyper-Calvinism,” and introduced a host of common misrepresentations regarding historical “5-point Calvinism.” Dr. White reviewed the sermon several times on his webcast The Dividing Line (also on youtube here) to document these errors. At one point, Dr. Caner made an even more radical assertion, saying that “Calvinists are worse than Muslims.” Caner has not retracted this statement, nor will Caner publicly refer to White as a Christian. The conflict finally culminated into the planned debate: Monday, October 16th, 2006, 6pm, at the New Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. A debate on Calvinism. The debate was jointly agreed upon between James White and Tom Ascol (favoring Calvinism) and Dr. Ergun Caner and his brother Emir (critiquing Calvinism). Ironing out the details, however, was another matter. The four exchanged a series of letters regarding the topic, format, and setting of the debate. Words were exchanged between the moderator, Dr. Bret O’ Donnell, and White before things got further off the tracks:
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