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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mass Shootings in the U.S.: Why Are Americans So Angry?

Even though the United States account for less than 5% of the world’s population, 31% of the total number of mass killings worldwide between 1966 and 2012 occurred there.[1] I contend that a rise in passive aggression and the related intolerance accounts for much of the difference. In other words, it could be that Americans generally are getting nastier and more angry at each other.

The full essay is at “Mass Shootings in the U.S.

[1] Stan Ziv, “Study: Mass Shootings ‘Exceptionally American Problem’,” Newsweek, August 23, 2015.

Is God the Father Marginalized in Christianity?

The name of Jesus (or Christ) is common on Christian lips. “Jesus saves” is a typical expression, whereas expressions highlighting the Father or the kingdom of God are much less frequent, and explicit references to the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) are essentially missing. As the three manifestations, or “persons,” of the Trinity are consubstantial (i.e., of the same substance), the hypertrophy (i.e., maximizing one part of a system) is worthy of investigation. This is not to say that equal attention to all three is optimal; Jesus himself says in the Gospels that he came to preach the mysteries of his Father’s kingdom. This statement implies that followers of Christ should focus most on the Father and his kingdom. That this is not the case suggests that historical and contemporary Christianity has missed the point. This should hardly be surprising, for throughout the Gospel of Mark, strangers get Jesus’ point whereas the disciples tend to miss it.

The full essay is at “Is God the Father Marginalized?

Jesus is clearly the focus at this church. (Maliz Ong)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Migrants Overwhelming Europe: Unfairness Impeding the E.U.

More than 100,000 migrants, many of them refugees from conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, entered Hungary from January to August 2015, the vast majority en route to the more affluent northwestern E.U. states. A record 50,000, many of them Syrians, reached Greece by boat from Turkey in July alone. Meanwhile, Hungary was building a fence along the state’s border with Serbia, where 8,000 migrants were staying in parks, to keep more migrants from entering.[1] I contend that the disproportionate power of the state governments relative to that of the federal government accounts in part for the difficulty that the E.U. has faced in coming to grips with the tremendous influx. This case suggests why redressing the imbalance in the federal system has been plagued with difficulty.

The complete essay is at “Migrants Overwhelming Europe.” 

Police disperse migrants at a registration place in Kos, Greece. Should the E.U. leave it to the state governments to handle the crisis? (Yorgos Karahalis/AP)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

American Consumers Using Gas-Savings to Reduce Debt: Frugality or Responsibility?

The steep drop in the price of oil in July 2015 was a concern for traders. Drillers and other energy companies comprise a significant portion of the S&P 500 index. “The upside to falling oil is that all the money that drivers are saving at the gas pump should mean more spending by them at stores — and a faster-growing U.S. economy. But Americans are choosing to pay off debt instead of going shopping.”[1] Is this a bad thing? In reckoning it as such, Wall Street analysts are missing the big picture, even financially.

The full essay is at “Wall Street Defining American Society.”

Gas at a station in January 2015 (ABC News)

[1] Bernard Condon and Ken Sweet, “Why Stocks Are Tumbling 6 Years into the Bull Market,” The Associated Press, August 23, 2015.