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Why we're living through the greatest period in history

This earth from space photo comes from a digitally enhanced, 1972 NASA Apollo 16 Mission negative - one of the last manned flights at this distance - 10,000 miles, or 16,000 kilometers (Credit: Royce Bair via Flickr)American jet fighters began engaging the Islamic State in Iraq last Friday; the markets have struggled recently; conflict has been raging in the Middle East.  If you're thinking that these are chaotic times, you're right.  But the news is not all bad.  Far from it, in fact.

A friend recently sent me an article titled, "50 Reasons We're Living Through the Greatest Period in World History."  Here are some of my favorites:

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Why I agree with an atheist on Israel

Atheist Sam Harris speaking on the closing panel of the 2012 Global Atheist Foundation in Australia, April 15, 2012 (Credit: Rocco Ancora via Flickr) Sam Harris is one of the best-known atheists in the world.  He has written several books and scores of articles denouncing religion in all its forms, recently claiming that "science must destroy religion."

Why, then, do I agree with him regarding Israel and Hamas?  Because he's exactly right.

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The Mark Driscoll controversy: how to criticize each other

Mark Driscoll, preaching pastor of Mars Hill Church, on stage, delivers sermon during Easter Celebration at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington, April 24, 2011 (Credit: Will Foster via Flickr) Mark Driscoll has been named one of the 25 most influential pastors of the past 25 years.  More than 15 million people listen to his sermons online each year.  He has written more than 15 books, appeared on The View and Nightline, and written for CNN and The Washington Post.  He is one of the most visible pastors in the world, and one of the most controversial.

In March 2014 he apologized to his congregation for trying to be "a celebrity and a pastor," and pledged to relinquish the former for the latter.  He has also apologized for hiring a firm to spike sales of one of his books, and has been accused of plagiarizing from other authors.

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American general's death: the risk of peace

An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier keeps watch at the gate of a British-run military training academy Camp Qargha, in Kabul August 5, 2014 (Credit: Reuters/Omar Sobhani) A two-star general killed yesterday in Afghanistan is now the highest-ranking American soldier to die in overseas combat since Vietnam.  A gunman wearing an Afghan army uniform turned his weapon against international forces and other Afghans at Camp Qargha in Kabul.  A German brigadier general was injured along with 14 others, half of whom are Americans.

The shooting was the latest in a string of "green-on-blue" attacks, where members of the Afghan forces, or people dressed like them, have attacked U.S. and coalition forces.  More than 85 such attacks have occurred during the war.  Since generals typically have their own security detail, Major General Harold Greene's death highlights the dangers our troops face overseas, no matter their rank.

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Should Christians bake cakes for gay weddings?

Same-sex wedding cake toppers are seen outside the East Los Angeles County Recorder's Office on Valentine's Day during a news event for National Freedom to Marry Week in Los Angeles. Backers of the California ban on gay marriage, Proposition 8, announced their next step Tuesday, Februrary 14, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/David McNew)Are Christians retreating into shells of secluded irrelevance?

Jonathan Rauch describes himself as a homosexual atheist.  He is the author of six books, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., and winner of the National Magazine Award, the magazine industry's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.  He recently wrote a very thought-provoking column warning Christians that our refusal to engage in activities we consider immoral is turning us into "social secessionists" and making us irrelevant to the culture.

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