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Family of man on Malaysia flight comforted by faith - Dekalb Daily Chronicle

Family of man on Malaysia flight comforted by faith - Dekalb Daily Chronicle | Christian Articles |

KELLER, Texas – The brothers of a North Texas man who was aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing over the South China Sea said Sunday their family is leaning on faith and holding out hope for good news about the man they last saw about a week ago.

Philip Wood, an IBM executive who had been working in Beijing over the past two years, had recently returned home from Asia before his next assignment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Wood came back to Texas to visit his family before relocating to the Malaysian capital, his brother, James Wood said.

The Saturday flight was supposed to be his final one to China’s capital. James Wood told the Associated Press during an interview at the family’s home in the Dallas suburb of Keller, Texas, that Philip Wood was supposed to make the final arrangements there for his relocation to Malaysia.

“This was going to be his last trip to Beijing. It just happened to be this one,” James Wood said.

“There is a shock, a very surreal moment in your life,” Wood added.

“Last Sunday, we were all having breakfast together. And now, you can’t,” he said during a phone interview earlier in the day, as the family got ready to attend church. Their faith, he said, is what’s helping the family through this trying time.

“My brother, our family, we are Christians. Christ above else is what’s keeping us together,” he said.

Philip Wood, 50, was one of three Americans who were aboard the Boeing 777 when it lost contact with air traffic control as it was cruising on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members. It isn’t known with whom the other two Americans, Nicole Meng, 4, and Yan Zhang, 2, were traveling.

James Wood described his brother, a technical storage executive at IBM Malaysia, as an “outgoing, gregarious, friendly, loving man” who was excited about moving to Malaysia.

“He loved to travel while he was over there. His job gave him the opportunity to do that,” James Wood said.

James Wood said that his brother is divorced and that one of his sons attends Texas A&M University and that another is an alumnus of that university.

He also pointed out that, along with his brother, members of hundreds of other families were aboard Flight MH370.

“I just wanted to say to all the other families that are around the world: We’re hurting. We know you’re hurting just as much, and we’re praying for you,” he said.

The family has been contacted by the U.S. Department of State and the embassy in Malaysia, Wood added.

A second brother, Tom Wood, said the events have left “a real hole in our family,” but he said they aren’t giving up hope.

“You never know,” he said. “I’m not gonna close that door until we need to close it completely.”

So far, no explanation as to what happened to the plane is available. There was no distress signal before the plane vanished from the radar.

he family is watching CNN, BBC and other news stations, waiting for small pieces of information as they trickle down, he said.

But, “with a situation like this, when a plane just disappears ... it leaves you with a lot of questions,” he said.


AP writer Juan Carlos Llorca contributed from El Paso.

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Faith and Reason - The Economist

Faith and Reason - The Economist | Christian Articles |

Faith and reason
The Economist
TO GREENS, men like John Shimkus—the chairman of a congressional body that oversees work to curb air, soil and water pollution—represent a special sort of bogeyman. Mr Shimkus, a Republican from rural Illinois, is not just staunchly pro-industry, anti-regulation and sceptical of claims that man’s activities menace the planet. He also brings his Bible to work. At a hearing on greenhouse gases, he opened it and quoted God’s words to Noah after the Flood. “Never again will I destroy all living creatures,” God promised. This, said Mr Shimkus, was “infallible” proof that neither man’s actions nor rising flood waters will destroy the Earth. So let’s not worry too much about global warming.

Folk like Mr Shimkus feed a perception that American religion and science are doomed to be in conflict, with unhappy consequences for public policy. For decades, the loudest boffin-on-believer fights involved the teaching of evolution in public schools (a battle the boffins nearly always won), followed more recently by disputes about stem-cell research. Rows about global warming are catching up. In conservative states such as Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee and Oklahoma, Republicans have introduced bills urging schools to teach children that there are competing opinions on such “controversial” scientific issues as evolution, global warming and human cloning.

In this section

Ostensibly the goal is to foster critical thinking. But the country’s largest science-promotion body, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), has urged states to reject such bills, protesting that the basic facts of global warming and evolution are not in significant dispute. (Even if the policy response to global warming is hotly disputed, as are the ethics of cloning.) Pro-evolution campaigners are blunter, calling the bills a ploy by the political and religious Right to muscle their way into science classrooms.

Political and religious conservatives do not perfectly overlap. Black churchgoers, for instance, may be stern traditionalists when it comes to morality, yet reliably vote Democratic. Not all conservatives who oppose government action to tackle climate change are religious: plenty of businesses straightforwardly oppose rules which they fear will cost money and jobs. Meanwhile, some strict believers and church leaders think God wants people to take care of the environment; they talk of their responsibilities as “stewards of creation”. But in general the very religious—and especially the third of all Americans who call themselves evangelical or born-again Christians—have been allies for conservatives itching for a scrap with the scientific establishment. Though most evangelicals say that the earth is warming, in polls they are much less sure than the average American that this matters, or that man is to blame.

Why this should be so is a subject of debate, and until recently a lot of guesswork. Evangelical Christianity is a slightly hazy term. To simplify, it describes a faith anchored by a believer’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and which closely follows the Bible. It is an individualistic faith—many jump from church to church until they find a style of worship that appeals—rooted in conservative communities (evangelicals are a majority in nine states, all in the South).

A much-cited theory advanced in 1967 by Lynn White, a historian, charges that the devout draw from Genesis the idea that mankind has “dominion” over nature, and thus think they have a right to exploit the world’s resources. A hypothesis floated in the 1980s draws a link between “environmental apathy” and the belief, among some evangelicals, that the End Times are near. In 2010 Elaine Howard Ecklund, a sociologist at Rice University, caused a stir with a survey of 1,700 scientists at Harvard, MIT and other elite colleges. About a third were atheists (as opposed to fewer than one-in-20 ordinary Americans), just under a third were agnostics, and the rest reported varying degrees of belief.

At the annual meeting of the AAAS in Chicago on February 16th Dr Ecklund unveiled the first results of a still-larger study into science and religion, involving more than 9,000 survey respondents and lots of follow-up interviews. This new survey sought out “rank-and-file” scientists: researchers in company labs, engineers, dentists and so on. To her surprise, Main Street scientists are only a bit less religious than the average American. Perhaps Ivy League scientists are ultra-secular because they are Ivy League, not because they are scientists?

The Al Gore effect

Evangelicals are wary of calls to environmental action, but not necessarily because they feel strutting dominion over nature, Dr Ecklund adds, in a forthcoming paper in the Review of Religious Research. Instead, many describe a rigid hierarchy placing God above humans and humans above the environment. To “respect the earth more than its due”—to quote a young Southern Baptist in the study—is to risk worshipping creation rather than the creator. Many simply trust that “God’s in control”. The evangelicals in the study barely engage with the science of environmentalism, instead querying the motives of those pushing such arguments. They especially bridle when Democratic politicians push for big-government solutions (“The Al Gore Effect”, the paper calls it).

Dr Ecklund and her colleagues at the Chicago seminar wondered if the devout might be won round by environmental arguments stripped of politics and focused on helping people in poor, ecologically vulnerable countries. Climate change need not challenge evangelical theology, it was argued: mankind can cause terrible harm that stops short of ending the world. As for secular-minded scientists, they should beware of conflating their work (explaining the world in terms of natural forces) with what they personally believe (that the natural world is all there is). The worlds of religion and science will not always agree. But America, a big country, has room for both.

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