You may be familiar with Wedgwood pottery. One of the most distinct of Josiah Wedgwood's designs is jasper ware – most commonly with blue or green glaze with classic figures applied in white. He was a well known potter in the 18th century, and was also an abolitionist and innovative business man.
He was born in England in 1730 to a family of potters. They were dissenters of the Church of England, and his biblical values ran deep.
He opened his own pottery and experiments with glazing techniques and colors that became famous. Wedgwood invented the pyrometer to control the temperature in the kilns to ensure consistent quality of his pottery. He introduced a production line in his factory. "He is credited with creating the first illustrated catalogues, employing the first modern traveling salesmen, and pioneering direct mail marketing. He offered money-back guarantees, free delivery, and self-service in his shops. He even set up 'buy one, get one free' sales for his products." As a result, he became a very successful businessman, and his pottery was purchased in the royal palaces of Europe, as well as middle class homes.
Because of his Christian convictions, Josiah Wedgwood had a high view of the intrinsic value of all human beings, and this led him to become involved in the abolition movement in England. He asked one of his designers to create an emblem for the movement. It was a kneeling slave with the caption, "Am I not a man and a brother?" The design became a wildly popular symbol of the abolition movement in England and even America. It could be seen on snuff boxes, pipes, cuff links, and women's jewelry. The jewelry gave women a rare opportunity to express their social and political views when that was very uncommon. Wedgwood helped promote the cause of abolition that led to the end of the slave trade in the British Empire in 1807.
I’ve been hearing the charge that there’s no reason to think the contraceptives Hobby Lobby refused to subsidize (Plan B, Ella, and two types of IUDs) are actually abortifacients, so I was happy to see that Josh Brahm of the Equal Rights institute had collected a series of articles by Dr. Rich Poupard of the Life Training Institute, along with an interview with Dr. Poupard on “How Should Pro-Lifers Talk about Birth Control?” to address this controversy (which is mostly centered on Plan B).
Read through the articles here and watch the interview below. Here’s the bottom line from one of the articles:
Let me contrast Plan B and Ella. Plan B is basically synthetic progesterone, and is merely a larger dose of a form of oral contraceptive that has been used for years. Ella is a progesterone antagonist, which means that it works by blocking the effect of progesterone. The only other progesterone antagonist on the market at this time is mifepristone, otherwise known as RU-486, the abortion pill....
In the case of Plan B – there is no direct evidence that it decreases the receptivity of the uterine lining to an embryo that is attempting to implant. There is some indirect evidence that has concerned many in our movement, but there is also evidence from both animal studies and human studies that indicate no post-fertilization effects from Plan B. In the absence of clear evidence, I urge caution, but cannot state that using Plan B is wrong because of its post-fertilization effects. Lots of my older posts on this topic can be found here....
What about Ella? I will show in following posts that just about everything that I stated about Plan B is completely different than Ella. Ella has been shown conclusively to have an adverse effect on the uterine lining. Investigators admit that if taken in higher doses, Ella will cause an abortion just like her sister RU-486. This is not an emergency contraceptive drug – it is a low dose abortifacient.
Christians fight too hard for inerrancy and inspiration. I am willing to suspend judgment on whether or not the Bible is the "Word of God," yet I can still benefit from its teachings where applicable. I can also believe in Christ without buying that the entire Bible is the inspired Word of God. Factually, it is indeed a library of books written by men; whether they were "inspired" by God is a matter entirely up to one's opinion.
I believe Beethoven's music is inspired, but I can't prove it. Nor does that change anything about it.
Does the question of whether or not the Bible is inspired make a difference? Should it be debated? Give us your thoughts in the comments below, then we’ll hear Brett’s response on Thursday.
In a post at the Gospel Coalition on “Apologetics and the Role of Plausibility Structures,” Joe Carter explains that even when the current set of beliefs held by atheists prevent them from seeing any argument for God’s existence as plausible (no matter how reasonable), those arguments still have an effect on our culture:
Everything that we believe is filtered through our plausibility structures — belief-forming apparatus that acts as a gatekeeper, letting in evidence that is matched against what we already consider to be possible. Plausibility structures filter out claims that we believe cannot be reasonable or potentially true….
Oddly enough, while atheism is a minority view and has been so throughout the history of the world, it is assumed that pluralism requires that we adopt it as the default plausibility structure for almost all areas of human culture. Everything from science and education to politics and public policy is assumed to begin with the assumption that either God does not exist or that his existence is irrelevant. This idea that soft atheism is the neutral ground from which all sectarian matters must be addressed is patently absurd. Not only does this claim fail to recognize that atheism is not religiously neutral, it fails to acknowledge that atheism is quite implausible.
It is this implausibility that needs to be continuously pointed out and brought into the open. Apologetic arguments for the existence of God aid in this effort by pointing out that the belief in God's existence is more probable, more plausible, more reasonable, and more rational than its denial. We should be lovingly generous to individuals who adhere to skepticism or atheism. But when these mystical and improbable beliefs are brought to the public square they should receive the utmost scrutiny and a forceful presentation of their irrationality….
Whether [apologetic arguments] are directly useful in leading unbelievers to Christ, they can be indirectly useful in reshaping the plausibility structures of our culture.
Join us on Twitter this coming Tuesday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. (PT) to ask Alan Shlemon questions about abortion, homosexuality, or Islam. Just tweet your questions to @AlanShlemon during that hour, using the hashtag #STRask.
If you don't have a Twitter account, you can still watch this page on Tuesday to view the questions and responses as they're posted. (Then get a Twitter account. What is this, 2005?)