Archive for June 2007

The Weight Of Beauty

30 June, 2007 EUTC

Michael Lawrence has come out with 2 articles on attraction here and here. The context is single men not dating godly women who they do not find attractive enough. As I’ve tried to understand what he’s saying I’ve come to represent it mathematically:

B = k E + (1-k) I

B represents our perception of Beauty on others, E represents external beauty, I represents internal beauty or conformity to Christ, and k is a number between 0 and 1 that represents the weight given to E. This equation is a gross oversimplification, but the idea is that the world and sin lead us to believe that k ought to be close 1, but really in line with true biblical beauty it ought to be much smaller.

Michael also speaks about how culture defines external beauty, based on the book The Beauty Myth (extract); however other research indicates that there is a substantial consistency in some of what is considered beautiful by different cultures. Similarly, what Michael has in mind when he speaks of how our view of the image of beauty is corrupted may also be overstated.

Michael is excellent in discussing that we can encourage and help develop in others biblical beauty as well as improve our appreciation of it ourselves. The need to challenge the messages of the culture is well made and illustrated by these articles, we do well to consider that instruction carefully.

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Modesty Survey Results

28 June, 2007 EUTC

TheRebelution.com: The Modesty Survey
Back on St Valentine’s day the folks at The Rebulution posted the results to their modesty survey, which they describe as ‘a resource to help Christian girls (and guys), not a list of legalistic rules… which encourage young women to focus on the heart, not the hemline, to honor their parents, etc.’. I didn’t find the presentation conducive to examining the results, so I have now made up a spreadsheet based on their data. Their website includes a lot of other resources on this topic.

I switched some of the questions around so that agreeing with the statements always represented a more conservative position (so in particular agreement with questions regarding clothing implies the clothing is immodest). If the reversed questions had been asked then the results would likely have been slightly different, but not by much. Then I ordered the percentage agreement (including agree and strongly agree) for each category of questions. The questions are not consistent in form, eg. they vary between asking whether something is a stumbling block, immodest etc., but hopefully this doesn’t make too much difference so that the percentages can still be seen as a consistent measure of the extent to which guys struggle with these various things. That said it clearly illustrates that guys vary in their attitudes/struggles with lust. So for example, 6.9% don’t agree that miniskirts as immodest while 9.1% find sparkly, shiny skirts a stumbling block, regardless of length.

Here are some more examples with the % who agree or agree strongly that these things are immodest/stumble-inducing etc. in parentheses: showing any cleavage (70.3), exposing the stomach when wearing a swimsuit (57.5), the lines of undergarments being visible under clothing (71.6), reaching into the shirt to adjust a bra strap (65.4), spaghetti-strap shirts and dresses (60.8), skirts that fall above the knee (58.4), the way a girl walks can be immodest (74.9).

Dawkins On The Improbability Of God

5 June, 2007 EUTC

In The God Delusion Dawkins responds to claims that certain entities are too complex to have formed by chance by arguing that since such a designer must be even more complex, he must also be less likely. He turns this into his argument for why there is almost certainly no God: since a creator God (particularly one like the Christian God) is extremely complex, He is also extremely improbable.

The problem with this argument is that Dawkins gives no reason why the probability of an uncreated spiritual entity is thus dependent on its complexity. It might make sense for biological entities where there is some mechanism for chance formation in mind, but why should the probability of God existing depend thus on His complexity? Dawkins’ main argument for atheism turns out to be fundamentally flawed.

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