Really Recommended Posts

This category contains 145 posts

Really Recommended Posts 8/28/15- The Socratic Method, Planned Parenthood, science, and more!

postI have put together another slew of reads with which you, dear readers, can engage. Here we have evidence for God, Planned Parenthood, Peter Boghossian’s “Street Epistemology,” evaluating scientific discoveries, and boys and girls. I hope you enjoy them! Let me know your thoughts, and be sure to let the authors know as well!

Can the Evidence for God Have Other Explanations?– Natasha Crain, a Christian apologist focused on putting together apologetics for parents and children, answers a question from a skeptic about the evidence purporting to show the existence of God having other explanations. Short answer: of course it might have other explanations; the problem is whether these explanations are better. Check out her post for elaboration.

A Response to “Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, You F*****g Idiots”– In the typical, well-reasoned manner of those who support abortion on demand, a”Skepchick” published a profanity-laden video and a shortened blog-version of the same response to those asking questions about Planned Parenthood. Here is a response to said video.

Boghossian’s Street Epistemology is Not the Socratic Method– Peter Boghossian attempts to reason believers out of their faith, largely by defining faith however he wants. Here is an analysis of his “Street Epistemology” and its attempts to use the Socratic Method against believers.

Girls’ Area– All the recent discussions about boys and girls and whether we need labels for boys’/girls’ toys and bedding has some farther reaching consequences. Here’s a post which highlights how perceived gender roles can impact children.

How to Evaluate Certainty in Scientific Discoveries– A good discussion of the use and importance of error bars in calculations, with the expansion of the universe as a case-study.

Really Recommended Posts 8/21/15- Science Fiction, Debate the New Testament, and more!

postAnother week, another round of fresh reads for you, dear readers, to enjoy! This week we have posts on a science fiction author you may not have heard of, a debate between an atheist and a New Testament scholar, theology and miscarriages, a pro-life post with some good arguments and advice for advocates, and creationism.

Cordwainer Smith– Cordwainer Smith was a science fiction author who was also an Anglican. He developed a unique and compelling world full of intriguing insights into humanity, religion, and free will. Here’s a post that develops some of his thought and reflects a bit on his body of work.

How Not to Argue Pro-Choice: Eleven Completely Misguided Arguments– Clinton Wilcox has written a valuable piece here responding to a pro-choice article that alleges to discredit 11 common pro-life arguments. Not only does he respond to each of the 11 attacks on pro-life arguments, but he also clarifies some arguments that we probably shouldn’t be using.

Fact-Checking Dan Barker from Our Recent Debate [with Daniel B. Wallace]– Here’s a meaty read that will help you dive into some of the extra-biblical evidence related to Jesus Christ, among other things.

Miss Carry: The Theology of Unrealized Motherhood– Miscarriages happen to anywhere from 10%-50% of all pregnancies. Yet we don’t often talk about the emotional impact these can have on families. Here’s a post reflecting on the need for a theology of unrealized motherhood.

Billions of Stone Artifacts: Witness to the Ancient Occupation of the Saharan Desert– Joel Duff continues his series responding to an Answers in Genesis argument about the sheer volume of stone artifacts in Africa. The basics are that the fact that billions of artifacts exist means that human occupation must have been much longer than a young earth creationist timeline allows for.

Really Recommended Posts 8/14/15- changing the Bible?, apologetics, carbon dating, and more!

postAnother round of Really Recommended Posts for you, dear readers! This week we have textual criticism, an interview with an author, discussion of how stories change the way we think, historical apologetics, and examination of the reliability of carbon dating. Check out the posts and let me know what you think here!

Why Publishers Change the Bible (And That’s OK)! (infographic)- A very helpful, concise, and visual way to see how textual criticism works and why sometimes verses are taken out or added into the Bible.

Interview with God’s Crime Scene Author J. Warner Wallace– J Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective but also a Christian apologist. Here’s a great interview with him about his apologetics ministry and his recently-released book, God’s Crime Scene, which I reviewed here.

The Best Stories– How do fictional stories impact us in “real world” ways? Here’s a post that discusses the impact that stories can have on our lives and the way we think.

A Look at the First Apologists–  Here is a great post that shows how the first Christian apologists approached the task of defending the Christian faith. The interesting thing to note is that the first apologists were all Messianic Jews.

Can We Verify Carbon Dating’s Reliability?– Young Earth Creationists often question the reliability of dating methods used to verify an “old earth” perspective. Here’s a post that shows how carbon dating can be independently verified.

10 Questions for Target Critics Regarding “Boys’ Toys” and “Girls’ Toys”– I’ll admit it, I’m not a huge Rachel Held Evans fan. But I do think that the questions she asks here, although somewhat tongue-in-cheek, get at some good points of concern regarding some comments about Target’s “gender neutral toys” policy. Specifically, she references an article by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and asks some pointed questions of it. I think it’s worth seeing a different perspective on the issue, and I think that some of the comments by CBMW are clearly ridiculous (see RHE’s question #s 3 and 4).

 

Really Recommended Posts 8/7/15 – Planned Parenthood Edition

 

A Pro-Life Demonstration at the Supreme Court. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

A Pro-Life Demonstration at the Supreme Court. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

I think it is an appropriate time to present a series of posts on Planned Parenthood and the wrongs that are being perpetuated within our midst. Thus, I have accumulated some resources from all over for your to browse and become more informed on regarding Planned Parenthood, abortion, and related issues. Please read and share these posts. We can no longer be silent: we must speak up for those who are unable to speak up for themselves.

Meet the Filmmaker Exposing Planned Parenthood–  An interview with David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Process, the group that has released a number of videos exposing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the use of fetal body parts. A quote from the article: “All we had to do was say two things. Number one, that we supported their work. And number two, that we wanted to buy their fetal body parts. Those were the magic words. And they were willing to bend over backwards to accommodate that.”

Considering the “Planned Parenthood’s Abortion is only 3% of what it does” Defense– It has been parroted time and again: abortion is only 3% of what Planned Parenthood does! Therefore… what? When you look at the numbers, that 3% is pretty significant. Not only that, but the argument itself is quite faulty as an excuse.

Planned Parenthood Videos: Is this a Wilberforce Moment for the Church?– William Wilberforce was a defender of human rights who helped to get slavery outlawed across the British Empire. One of his strategies was to show people slave ships so that they couldn’t pretend not to know what was happening. The Planned Parenthood videos have shown only some of the horrors of abortion. We need to stand up, not look away, and refuse to allow it to continue.

The Faqs: What You Should Know about the Planned Parenthood Defunding Vote– This post discusses the vote to defund Planned Parenthood in light of various questions that arose around it, including why the Republican majority leader would vote against it (hint: it’s not because he’s in favor of abortion).

The ‘Ick Factor’ And The Planned Parenthood Videos– Is the response to the Planned Parenthood videos really just a gut “ick factor” reaction? Is it instead based on something more concrete?

“Keep Your Eye on the Ball”– A refutation of one of Planned Parenthood’s responses to the videos that are being released. It points to some of the absurdities being circulated in defense of Planned Parenthood.

Should You Be Outraged with Planned Parenthood Today? (Flowchart)– A flowchart that asks whether we should still be upset with Planned Parenthood over their abortion practices.

A Voice for the Voiceless– Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, argues that feminists ought to speak up against abortion, particularly in light of the recent videos.

Now We Know Her– A personal story about a family prepared to abort their child should any defects have been spotted. This post demonstrates some of the inconsistency in the pro-choice reasoning, but does so in a winsome and personal fashion.

Silence in the Face of Evil (Comic) – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor who was martyred by the Nazis for his resistance, argued that silence in the face of evil was itself an act: not to act is to act. Here’s a little quote from him alongside a comic.

My Own Posts 

Whose Body Parts Are They?– I ask a simple question in light of the Planned Parenthood videos: whose body parts are they?

Abortion, the Violinist Analogy, and Body Parts– A common argument for the moral permissiveness of abortion is the violinist analogy. Here, I analyze that in light of the Planned Parenthood videos.

Planned Parenthood Does Much Good– I analyze the argument that Planned Parenthood does much good and whether that should matter.

Really Recommended Posts 7/31/15- Planned Parenthood, the next Earth, the Quran, and more!

postI’m pleased to present to you, dear readers, another round of “Really Recommended Posts.” This round includes posts on science, the Quran, Planned Parenthood, and a four-legged snake.

Response to Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’ Washington Post Opinion Piece– A point-by-point rebuttal of Planned Parenthood’s response to the recent revelations regarding the possibility of their selling of body parts. Richards’ response leaves something to be desired.

Earth 2.0? Not Quite. – The recent revealing of an “earth-like” planet has sent some into spirals of hyperbole and extrapolation. What might we say about this “Earth 2.0”? Check out this post to find out more.

Why the Discovery of the Oldest Quran Fragments is No Big Deal– Recently, fragments of the Quran thought to be the oldest ever have been discovered. Does this demonstrate the truth of Islam? I think this is a good post on the apologetic significance of this find, though I do think that the increased ability to do textual criticism of the Quran is a pretty important aspect of the find.

How Atheists Try to Incorporate the Big Bang into their Worldview– Although not exhaustive, this post on some of the ways that some prominent atheist have tried to explain (or explain away) the Big Bang and its significance for the origin of the cosmos is worth reading and taking note of.

A Four-Legged Snake! Has the Edenic Serpent Been Found?– Does the discovery of a four-legged snake demonstrate the truth of young earth creationism?

Really Recomended Posts 7/24/15- Pantheism, Parenting, Headship, and more!

postAnother week means another go-round of the web with some great reads for you, dear readers! This week we have a broad array of posts featuring pantheism, apologetics for kids, “male headship,” distractions and dedication to scholarship, and creationism. Let me know what you thought of the links and be sure to let the authors know as well!

Aristotle’s four causes versus pantheism– Can pantheism account for the world we actually observe? Here, prominent Scholastic Philosopher Edward Feser makes an argument that pantheism fails to account for the different kinds of causation we observe in the world.

How to Get Your Kids to Ask More Questions About Their Faith– Natasha Crain offers some thoughts on how to get kids invested in their faith through asking questions. I hope to one day implement some of these ideas into my own home, when my child is maybe a little older :) (he’s 10 months old right now).

Headship Madness: The Headship Litmus Test– How does the notion that male headship is necessary and the biblical view lead to it being a kind of litmus test for theology generally and church practice explicitly? Here’s a post exploring how this view often does lead to headship becoming the test for sound theology.

Terry Mortenson concedes: “Stone Age” tools are a problem for Young Earth Creationism– Here’s an analysis of recent comments from an Answers in Genesis scholar on one argument that has been used against young earth creationism. This is a pretty major problem for trying to fit the timeline of YEC into the evidence we have.

 

Strive to be the Spiritual Bruce Lee (Comic)-  We need to work to avoid the distractions that often get in the way of our spiritual practices and work towards building the kingdom instead of blowing time on such things. That said, we also need to balance some time for doing activities we enjoy and relaxing. Here’s a comic that speaks to the need to beat distractions.

Really Recommended Posts 7/17/15- Inside Out, women and sacraments, apologetics, and more!

postI’m excited to present this week of “Really Recommended Posts” to you, dear readers, because it is a truly extraordinary lineup. I’ve worked ’round the clock (or at least for an hour) to read and bring to you some excellent posts from all over. Our diverse reads today include the latest Pixar movie, “Inside Out,” the necessity of not sharing (or apologizing for) fake news, women in sacramental churches, an exciting new book, and the criminal justice system. As always, let me know what you think! Be sure to let the authors know you appreciated their posts as well.

Inside Out– One of my favorite web sites, Empires and Mangers, takes a look at Pixar’s latest smash hit, “Inside Out.” Anthony Weber looks at the worldview issues raised in the movie, as well as how it might be used to start discussions about some good topics with children. Check out this great reflection.

An Embarassing Week for Christians Sharing Fake News– Here is some advice that we all need to take to heart. Ed Stetzer goes beyond just calling on Christians to check their sources to a real urgency to repenting and admitting wrong when we do share falsities. This is a phenomenal read that deserves to go viral.

Women Leadership in Sacramental Churches– The debate over women’s “role” in the church looks different in those church bodies which are sacramental in nature. I am Lutheran and have experienced the kind of reasoning outlined in this post to try to restrict women’s places in the church firsthand. This is a good read that will not only broaden perspectives about sacramental churches but also make headway in the debate over women in the church.

New Book by James Warner Wallace: “God’s Crime Scene: A Cold Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe– Here is some background on an exciting upcoming release from the author of “Cold Case Christianity,” J. Warner Wallace. It looks like it will be examining arguments like the fine-tuning argument for the existence of God. I wrote a glowing review of Wallace’s previous book, and I look forward to reading this one as well.

Obama frees drug offenders whose terms ‘didn’t fit crimes’– I think that the criminal justice system has turned into a major issue of injustice that we need to address. I think the President’s calling attention to this is a great thing, regardless of what political stance I and others take. There is gross injustice in inequality of sentencing for drug-related crimes, and there is data to back up that much sentencing is racially-biased. We as Christians must speak up for those treated unjustly, and this is an issue worth talking about. What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them here.

 

 

 

 

Really Recommended Posts 7/10/15- Kangaroos, Cosmology, Fidelity, and more!

postMy apologies for missing the “Really Recommended Posts” last week, we just moved to Iowa and it was a very hectic week. We’re back in action now with a list of great reads for you. Be sure to let me know what you think, and let the authors know as well!

Dear Ken Ham: About Those Kangaroo Fossils…- Ken Ham’s response to why we don’t find kangaroo fossils from Ararat to Australia is another example of poor reasoning. Here, a response is offered to his argument.

So you think you understand the cosmological argument?– A lot of mistakes are made when evaluating the cosmological argument. Here’s a post by Edward Feser that explains several of these mistakes and answers some criticisms of the argument.

Think the “Billy Graham Rule” would have saved Tullian? Think again– There has been much commentary on the sexual infidelity of a fairly prominent church leader, Tullian Tchividjian. A lot of it has focused on how he should have stayed separate from women in general and avoided being along with women, as the “Billy Graham Rule” argues. But what does this say about women and men? Read on. My thanks to a friend on Facebook for sharing this.

Sci fi, free will, and the problem of evil– what might the resonating themes about free will in science fiction have to say about reality? Here, Clay Jones analyzes several aspects of science fiction with an eye for a greater metanarrative. My thanks to a friend on Facebook for sharing this.

Review: Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity… and Why it Mattes by David Kinnaman– This is a book I really enjoyed, though I share some of the concerns raised in this review. It’s worth reading the review to get an overview of the book’s content and some of the issues it raises. If I may be permitted a somewhat brief story here:

This was actually a pretty formative book for me when I read it some time ago (6+ years?). I remember finishing the book and feling supercharged to try to spread the truth of Christianity in a winsome manner. And quite seriously minutes after I finished and felt this supercharge of missional energy, a man showed up at the door of the house I was staying at at the time (a pastor’s house) and said he needed spiritual help. He entered the house right when I cracked open the door and kept saying he needed prayers.

I prayed with him and then thought he was going to leave, but he would not. He kept looking at the cat and saying he wouldn’t hurt a cat, and that he’d tried to kill himself a couple times that night by speeding and going through stop signs. I kept a short distance between he and I because he seemed clearly disturbed in some way.

Finally he did leave, answering the prayer I was saying over and over in my mind to God to protect me. I called the police but nothing ever came of it that I know of.

I’m still not sure how or why that happened, and I’m hoping I made an impact, but I don’t think I’ll know until the hereafter.

But I can’t help but think on it once in a while and wonder if what I did made a difference; if somehow that was God leading someone who needed help to where they needed to be.

Really Recommended Posts 6/19/15- Creationism, memes, masculinity, and more!

postAnother week, another round of excellent reading from around the web for you, dear readers. We have analysis of creationist scholarship, a look at an exciting new book, historical apologetics, pro-life method, and analysis of a meme that attacks Christianity. As always let me know what you think, and let the authors know you enjoyed their posts as well!

The Dangers of Poor Scholarship: A Creationist’s Take on Feathered Dinosaurs– How do Young Earth Creationists often interact with science stories? Is there method consistent? Here, there is an analysis of creationist methodology when it comes not only to feathered dinosaurs but also to how the evaluate faulty arguments and lack consistency.

Malestrom: Swept up in the Currents of a Changing World (Review)– Color me delighted to see a book like this coming out. Our perceptions of what it means to be masculine are deeply embedded in our cultural norms. I have often engaged with complementarians who inform me of exactly what they think men ought to do or what men are “at their core.” But this they do without even acknowledging that even today there are cultures with differing understandings of what is masculine. How might we separate the good from the bad when it comes to talking about masculinity? This book seems to offer a way forward.

William Warburton’s 18th Century Defense of Christianity– It’s amazing how many historical defenses of Christianity are effectively lost in our time. The study of historical apologists is a continually fruitful one that yields great rewards for those who pursue it. Here, Doug Geivett highlights how even arguments that seem tied to their own time periods may provide us with new insights into controversies of our day.

John Reasnor Fails to Show that Incrementalism is Unbiblical– Clinton Wilcox engages in a debate over method when it comes to pro-life reasoning. Some have been arguing that we must do pro-life activism in such a way that only those laws or methods that ban all abortion may be supported. Is this reasonable? Wilcox analyzes the argument. I have provided a lengthy overview of and review of a debate on the same topic.

Will Your Murderer Be In Heaven?– Nick Peters offers an analysis of a meme floating around recently that attacks the goodness of Christianity because one’s own murderer might be in heaven. How does this attack hold up under scrutiny?

Really Recommended Posts 6/12/15- Luther, Treecats [what!?], and more!

snowl-owl-post-arpingstoneSorry I’m a bit late today folks. I was on vacation and still catching up to some stuff after a beautiful cruise in Alaska! Anyway, this week I still got some diverse reads for you, dear friends! We have reads ranging from Luther on the Lord’s Supper to science fiction creatures, from Paley to Thomism, and even a comic! Check them out and let me know what you think!

The Lord’s Supper – Martin Luther’s Journey to the Bible– Martin Luther’s theology of the sacraments is central to his view of Christianity and the Christian life. Here’s an extended blog post looking at how he developed his doctrine of the Lord’s Supper.

I’m a Theology Nerd (Comic)- Yep, pretty much this. I am a huge theology nerd, in case anyone didn’t notice. This comic captures some of the reasoning behind that pretty well: if you really think there is a transcendent, loving, creator of the universe, how could we not love to learn more and more about that being?

Crossing the Heath with William Paley (1743-1805)– Doug Geivett continues his fascinating series on historical Christian apologists with one of the most famous to have ever lived: William Paley. He especially emphasizes Paley’s design argument, with a nod towards his historical arguments as well. I have written on Paley myself, and interested readers should check out my posts in the linked text.

Neo-Scholastic Essays– Edward Feser has a new book out that collects many of his essays together for your reading pleasure. Why care about Edward Feser? He is, in my opinion, the clearest thinker on Thomistic philosophy writing today. And he writes a lot. Check out his blog and be sure to look into his books as well. I’ve written on some things from Feser before.

Treecats Climb Into Children’s Hearts– David Weber is my favorite science fiction author. He’s got all kinds of awesome military sci-fi out there that you should read! Here’s a post that should warm your hearts too about his going to classrooms to share the love of literature with kids! I had the chance to meet Weber not too long ago, and I’ve written on his portrayal of women and religion in science fiction as well.

 

 

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