Worth Reading - 4/13

1. Conference attendance and porn usage: a tragic and shameful connection:

I interviewed hotel managers about this when I was teaching in the sociology department at Univ of Virginia. All managers said that porn rates increase during conferences in general. That’s normal because they have more guests. A few admitted that it seems to be the same or a bit more when Christian conferences come to town. One manager was a Christian and he said a line I’ll never forget: “Unfortunately, ‘they know you are Christians by your…porn consumption’ is more truthful than ‘love’ when it comes to this.”

2. The ERLC treats the problem of porn, because it is a real issue in the world:

God didn’t leave us to fight this battle on our own. He sent His Son for our sake. Think about this — the Creator of the Universe cares about the problem of porn. What a tiny, finite problem for the One who chooses to sustain the burning of gaseous beings in space and gravity’s effect on the tides! This is not to say that sin is some small, overlook-able act. Sinning against God — whether contemplating murder or lustfully clicking your way out of a porn site — is an act of what R.C. Sproul calls “cosmic treason”. We act against the will of the only One who deserves to exist. And still, He gives us grace for even the most shameful, despicable worries.

America’s addiction will never be satisfied. The problem of porn will not go away on its own. We have to fight it. We have to put on the whole armor of God. We have to mortify our sin. John Owen wrote, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you,” and he couldn’t be more right. If we aren’t killing the problem of porn, we will ruin our future hope of human flourishing and pillage the wondrous riches of God’s great grace, launching assault on the Lord’s precious gift to sinners.

3. Why does college tuition cost so much? The answer may not be what some people claim it is:

The conventional wisdom was reflected in a recent National Public Radio series on the cost of college. “So it’s not that colleges are spending more money to educate students,” Sandy Baum of the Urban Institute told NPR. “It’s that they have to get that money from someplace to replace their lost state funding — and that’s from tuition and fees from students and families.”

In fact, public investment in higher education in America is vastly larger today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was during the supposed golden age of public funding in the 1960s. Such spending has increased at a much faster rate than government spending in general. For example, the military’s budget is about 1.8 times higher today than it was in 1960, while legislative appropriations to higher education are more than 10 times higher.

In other words, far from being caused by funding cuts, the astonishing rise in college tuition correlates closely with a huge increase in public subsidies for higher education. If over the past three decades car prices had gone up as fast as tuition, the average new car would cost more than $80,000.

4. Our irrational fear of flying. A discussion of why it really still is safe to fly:

It’s still easily one of the safest ways to travel. Public perception has been skewed by recent disasters, such as the Germanwings crash and last year’s two Malaysia Airlines tragedies. Intense media coverage and horrifying disaster photos can make people fear extremely rare events while blithely ignoring more commonplace risks. Statistics show, however, that the chance of a passenger dying on any given flight with one of the world’s major airlines is just 1 in 4.7 million. In any given year, your chance of dying in a traffic accident is 1 in 14,000. You even have a higher chance of dying in a lightning strike (in any given year, 1 in 1.9 million). In the 1970s, an average of 68 commercial planes crashed each year, with 1,676 fatalities. But thanks to vast improvements in cockpit protocols, computerized navigation equipment, and the aircraft themselves, those figures have been almost halved, to 40 crashes and 832 deaths. Last year, about 100,000 flights took off around the world every single day. Of the 33.4 million annual flights, only 21 crashed — an almost miraculous safety record. As aviation safety expert Carl Rochelle puts it, “the most dangerous part of your airline flight is the trip to the airport.”