Category: theism

Is there such a thing as ‘Christian’ music, writing, art, etc?

I try mightily to keep myself from having unexamined beliefs. I turned one up, though, in the last month or so, no doubt because of the writing contest and online apologetics conference I was working on. The writing contest, for example, is labeled as a Christian writing contest. I began to think about how an endeavor like writing, or any endeavor at all, could justify being termed ‘Christian’ and realized I had never really thought about it much before, and had rather accepted the presumptions that had been handed down to me. I hate it when I do that! Even if the presumptions are right!

However, what I turned up when I began my examination may surprise the reader. In Evangelical circles, the Christian sub-culture is a constant temptation and Christianese the prevailing language, which I myself attack in this post warning about Christianese and shibboleths. There is a silly sense within Christendom that you can slap the label ‘Christian’ on front of something and you’ve sanctified it. The truth usually is that it’s merely been rendered more marketable within the Church.

The reader would be wrong if he thought that the presumption handed down to me was the one I just described, however.

Share

My Letters from Antony Flew About “There is a God.”

In this post find published letters from Antony Flew to Christian apologist Anthony Horvath that bear on the question of whether or not Flew’s book “There is a God” accurately reflects Flew’s views.

Share

The Epistemological Bottleneck And God’s Respect for Human Inquiry

One of the enduring criticisms against Christianity is that it is anti-knowledge, education, and learning.  This blog has taken aim at this criticism before, most notably taking Richard Dawkins to task for his misuse of an Augustine quote ostensibly about ‘curiosity.’  I currently have an open challenge to Dawkins to repudiate his use of that […]

Share

Five Things Killing Christianity: Is the End of Christianity At Hand?

The number one thing killing Christianity in America today:

Lovelessness.

All the rest of the things on the list tie back to this. The Christian Church exhibits constant lovelessness in much of what it does. Many readers will jump to the idea that Christians are very loving, and to an extent, I agree. Many readers will find the assertion nauseous because they think of ‘love’ as some wishy washy sentiment. Both sets of readers misunderstand me. One of my contentions is that Love itself is misunderstood, because unlike other doctrines, this one has not been systematically explored from the Scriptures. We all act as though we intuitively know what ‘love’ is. In fact, we have culturally driven notions that are derived from hundreds of years of romanticism. The Bible- the New Testament in particular- portrays a love that is much different. It is earth shattering, and embodied in the activities of the early Christian Church.

None of this should be construed (though it will be, to my chagrin) as a repudiation of all the things we currently do to ‘show’ we love God. It isn’t. If we were doing those things AND loving our fellow Christians… to the death… there would be no problem.

But, I contend, we aren’t doing that. God tells us that if we love him, we’ll love the brothers. We have it stuck in our head that if we love him, we’ll love him.

But that’s not what he said, and that is why outsiders, ultimately, do not find Christianity credible. Indeed, it is why Christians themselves are dubious, and in fact, sometimes falling away altogether.

Share

Review of The Easter Answer (to Barker’s Easter Challenge) by Stephen Kingsley

My first exposure to Dan Barker was his so called ‘Easter Challenge.’ I had already emerged from my own crisis of faith and had already determined some principles for sorting out alleged Biblical contradictions. The more I read Barker’s writings, the less impressed I was. I put the Challenge to good use, though, having my New Testament courses take up the ‘challenge’ for their spring project.

It never crossed my mind to try to actually correspond with Barker. I assumed the whole thing was just some sort of cheap shot. Having read Kingsley’s book I see that was a mistake. He documents how Barker and other hyper-skeptics really thought they had something here and took the alleged silence of Christians as telling.

I am glad, therefore, to see that Pastor Stephen Kingsley has taken up the ‘challenge.’ According to Kingsley, he has contacted Barker with the ‘answer’ but Barker has demurred and hasn’t yet responded.

Has Kingsley done it? Has Kingsley really and definitively reconciled and harmonized the Easter accounts?

Share

Christian Self-Interest the Key to Environmentalism?

I discovered today that a post a couple of weeks ago about Christians and the environment popped up on a Christian environmentalist blog. My post was ‘Shouldn’t Christians Care about the Environment?” and the brief response (if it was a response at all) was called ‘Self-interest makes Christians better ecologists.’

I actually couldn’t tell from the entry whether or not the blogger agreed or disagreed with my post. There is only one sentence: “Anthony suggests that the reason Christians make better ecologists is that they put people first.”

This isn’t much to go on but there was still something about it that compelled me to reply.

Share

How many guards at Jesus’ tomb?

If I were to ask you how many guards were at Jesus’ tomb after he was placed there after he was crucified, you would instinctively say ‘Two.’ When I was teaching New Testament that was in fact the common answer. And who can blame anyone? Look at the art and presentation of the Easter story.

Now, the text definitely makes it clear that there were more than two guards. This is clear enough from a reading of Matthew 28 which says that ‘some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests [what] had happened.’ Clearly, ‘some’ of the guards means that others remained while others- not “one of the guards'” but “some of the guards” went into the city. For this to work it seems to me you’d need at least four guards. If these are in fact Roman guards, then four is in fact the minimum that protocol would dictate, with each man taking three hours out of the night.

If pressed, I personally suspect that thirty to fifty guards were present but even if there were only sixteen it is virtually impossible that they all fell asleep and they all failed to notice a bunch of disciples slinking about, clawing at a honking big tombstone, and then extracting the body. We are talking about Roman soldiers here, after all.

Share
Pages: Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Next