Welcome to Advent, readers! This week, we take a look at a series of free devotions for Advent, the role of women in the church, fossilized soft tissue, and more! Check them out, and as always, drop a comment to let me know your thoughts.
The Advent Project- A pretty sweet deal: Biola University, one of the best schools out there (not biased at all ;)), has a series of Advent devotions going up daily available on their site. Each has a work of art, a music selection(s), and a brief reflection upon the coming of Christ, the incarnate God, into our lives. I’ve been following them as they go up and have enjoyed them all. Check them out for an excellent way to meditate on the meaning of Christmas.
The Incomplete Gospel of Biblical Womanhood- I found this post regarding the notion of “biblical womanhood” to be quite informative and thought-provoking. What is meant when people refer to the concept of “biblical womanhood”? How do women fit into this concept? Check out the post for some good thoughts.
Do Fossilized Ink Sacs Discolor the Case for an Old Earth?- One common argument from young earth creationists is that findings of soft tissue undermine a case for an old earth. After all, how would such soft tissue remain preserved for such a long period of time? Here, Fazale Rana, a biochemist, investigates such claims.
Did the Apostles Really Die as Maryrs for their Faith?- A brief but interesting look into the claim that the disciples died for their faith.
Our Love-Hate Relationship with Christian Art- Christianity has long been at the absolute cutting edge of the arts. No, seriously! But nowadays there is a lot of skepticism against Christians being involved in the arts. Check out this article on Christianity and the arts.
Here, we have a very diverse array of topics from stewardship to Mormonism, from inerrancy to creationism. Check out the posts. As always, let me know what you thought about them! Leave a comment, leave a link to tell me about a post you recommend (and why!). Enjoy the posts, friends!
some thoughts on Stewardship- The question of “stewardship”–what are we to do with the gifts we’ve been given?–is one of the toughest questions, I think, for the Christian to tackle. Here, Beth Wartick tackles the question in a thought-provoking way which also may serve as a call to action. Check it out.
Evidence from science, philosophy, and history against Mormonism- The Mormon faith makes a number of claims which may be investigated scientifically, historically, and/or philosophically. I have explored some of these issues myself, and here Wintery Knight provides a number of evidences against the claims of Mormonism.
Young Earth Creation Science Argument Index- A quick list of young earth creationist arguments explained alongside rebuttals? Sign me up! Check this out. I think it’s a great resource.
Review: History Channel’s Bible Secrets Revealed (Episode I: Lost in Translation)- The History Channel has gone way downhill from when it first launched, in my opinion. I remember when they had–wonder of wonders–historians and archaeologists on every show to talk about major findings and/or various moments in history. Now it seems they continually release shows that sensationalize everything and veer far off-course from the interesting study of history they used to provide. Anyway, “Bible Secrets Revealed” is yet another example of this sensationalist turn for the History Channel. Check out this look at the first episode and the errors it spreads. [H/T Tim McGrew].
Is this the Best of All Possible Worlds? (Alvin Plantinga) [VIDEO]- Here, the analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga tackles the question of whether this is the best of all possible worlds. I agree very much with his assessment of the topic.
5 Views on Biblical Inerrancy (A Live Discussion from ETS)- A pretty interesting blog article summarizing 5 positions on biblical inerrancy as discussed at the recent Evangelical Theological Society conference. Read it from bottom to top, because it was really written live!
I have to admit, I think this is one of the most engaging “Really Recommended Posts” I’ve put together. There are multiple views presented on two of these posts, and the others give some good food for thought. Check out opposing views on charismatic/miraculous gifts; delve into the notion of concordism from different sides. Leave comments to share your own thoughts on these issues. Then, archaeology, abortion, the Noah movie, and Hume round out the discussion. I hope you’ll drop some comments to let me know your thoughts.
Debate: Have the New Testament Charismatic Gifts Ceased?- The “Strange Fire” book and conference have caused a huge amount of discussion to arise within evangelical circles regarding miraculous/charismatic gifts. Do these gifts continue past the New Testament times? Here, Michael Brown debates Sam Waldron on this topic. I have also written presenting four major views on this topic should you like to explore the topic more deeply. Which side do you think is correct? Why? Leave a comment!
Defending Concordism: Response to The Lost World of Genesis One- Concordism is the view that science will line up with biblical teaching about origins and other scientific aspects of reality. One major challenge to the position is the notion that the Bible simply doesn’t address such things. Here, Reasons to Believe, a major concordist group, answers several objections posed against concordism. William Lane Craig has recently answered a question about concordism himself, in which he raises a few objections to the position and explains why he is not a concordist. What are your thoughts on this debate? Leave a comment!
A Brief Sample of Old Testament Archaeological Corroboration- The Old Testament clearly makes a number of claims about the actual historical events of the Bible. Here, J. Warner Wallace addresses some of these claims and notes how we have archaeological research to back them up.
How the ADF kept nurses who wouldn’t perform abortions from being fired- The ADF–Alliance Defending Freedom–successfully reached a settlement regarding a hospital that was going to force nurses with moral objections to abortion to perform them. I find this a particularly stunning case, because so often the pro-choice side says things like “Don’t want an abortion, don’t get one!” But this is shown to be mere lip service, because now the attempt is being made to force even those with moral objections not to get abortions, but to actually carry them out. I am very pleased to see that sound reasoning prevailed and the nurses were not forced to do this or lose their jobs. It remains troubling to me that anyone would even think this could be okay. Check out the post.
How Should Christians Respond to Noah the Movie?- Greg West over at The Poached Egg (an amazing site you should follow if you don’t already!) found this gem of a post regarding the “Noah” movie. Check out my own thoughts on the trailer and upcoming film.
David Hume’s Genuine Theism- A provocative title, to be sure! In this brief post, the author argues that one of Hume’s aims was to restore “genuine theism” over and against rationalistic deism. It’s a quick read, but very thought-provoking.
I have searched the four corners of the internet to bring you, dear readers, these really recommended posts. This week, we explore the Quran, egalitarianism, evidence for the truth of the Bible, the Dark Ages, and more! Check them out. As always, drop a comment to let me know what you thought! Have a post you think I’d be interested in? Here’s your place to share it (but don’t just leave a link! Tell me why I’d like it).
Is the Quran the Book of God? Debate Transcript- This is a very lengthy written debate between a Muslim and Christian on the topic: “Is the Quran the Book of God?” It is well worth a read as it shows the methodology that Muslims frequently use in debates. The cross-examinations, in particular, are highly useful. Although it is lengthy, I do really recommend that you read through this to get a better understanding of the places Christians and Muslims differ. The Christian, I think, did a fantastic job of showing that the Quran claims the Old and New Testaments are inspired, while also showing that one cannot simply claim corruption. The Quran says the Bible is the word of God, but then contradicts the Bible.
Why I’m an Egalitarian- An excellent post in which Leslie Keeney gives the reasons she holds to an egalitarian view–that women should be allowed full participation in leadership in the church and home. She addresses several biblical and social arguments.
Undesigned Coincidences- Tim McGrew points out, in this phenomenal post, the evidences for the truth of the Bible we can find even in those portions we so often skim past. Paul’s greetings provide us with confirmation of the details of his travels as found in Acts, for example. This post is Part 4, but it is standalone in content. Check out my own posts on this argument.
The Dark Age Myth: An Atheist Reviews “God’s Philosophers”- Christianity really slowed down scientific progress during the Dark Ages, right? Wrong. Here, an atheist explains how ridiculous such claims are historically.
Bad- Another great comic post from Adam4d, this one poignantly shows the truths about human nature.
Ad hominems, Special Pleading, Straw Men & Red Herrings: John Loftus’ Response to MandM- John Loftus has written a number of works attacking Christian theism from multiple angles. Here, MandM respond to a critique he leveled against their satirical moral argument. In this post, they analyze Loftus’ arguments in a number of different lights.
Creating Atheists: Made, Not Born- Peter Boghossian’s new book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, has caused a stir. Here, Tom Gilson turns his evaluation to the notion that atheists are made as opposed to born, which is implicitly suggested by the title of Boghossian’s book. It is well worth a read, so check it out.
What your preferred Bible translation says about you- Read it all the way to the end… a very powerful piece about Bible translations and our perceptions.
The Emerging Church- There has been a lot of talk about the “Emergent Church” movement, but it is extraordinarily hard to pin down what is meant by this terminology. Moreover, what–if anything–unites this movement’s thought? D.A. Carson provides some helpful background and a number of great talking points regarding the movement. Although he sometimes over-generalizes, I think, this will give you good insight into what to look for and what to discuss with those wondering about or in the “Emerging Church.”
Hugh Ross vs Danny Faulkner- How Old is the Universe? [Video]- An extremely lengthy video debate between the old earth creationist Hugh Ross and a young earth creationist, Danny Faulkner. If you’re interested in this issue, this will be a very thought-provoking video for you. Be aware that it is over 5 hours long, so you may want to watch it in segments!
Sensus Divinitatis- A brief post which surveys the history of Christian thought on the notion that human beings have a built-in sense of the existence or presence of the divine.
I have given you, dear reader, this edition of “Really Recommended Posts” which is simply bulging at the seams with great content. Herein, you shall discover the myth of the back alley abortion, an analysis of male rule, sociology and religion’s impact on society, Augustine and the creation/evolution debate, and more! Check ‘em out. Let me know what you think!
Is Male Rule a Biblical Ideal?- Here, Mimi Haddad confronts some of the common arguments for male rule in the church and home. These arguments include the fact that Jesus was male, that the 12 disciples were male, etc.
Sociologist Rodney Stark discusses whether religion is good for society- A highly interesting post in which a sociologist takes on claims that religion could be bad for society. Looking into the actual statistics and facts of the matter makes an extraordinary difference to one’s perception.
Pro-Choice “Facts”: Illegal Abortion Deaths- One of the very common arguments for abortion is that we need to keep such things safe. After all, if women will get abortions anyway, we should try to keep them safe. This article examines the myth of the back-alley abortion and exposes it for what it is: a fraud.
The dangers of apologetics- My wife linked me to this article which I think makes some extremely valuable points regarding the nature and practice of apologetics. I particularly liked that the author did not throw apologetics out the window but rather offered pieces of advice for apologists and what to avoid as an apologist. What are your thoughts?
Augustine’s Origin of Species- Within the creation/evolution debate, many continue to allege that one cannot consistently be a Christian and hold to certain views of the age of the universe or the origin of species. Here, Alister McGrath analyzes these claims alongside the wonderful Christian theologian, Augustine.
Signs that the New Atheist Movement May be Collapsing- A post which examines the intellectual collapse of the New Atheism. I think the most fascinating point is the third, that New Atheists are suppressing intellectual dialogue.
John Loftus Exits in Infamy- Speaking of the New Atheists, David Marshall analyzes his own recent dialogue with John Loftus, a[n] [in]famous atheist. The way the dialogue proceeded is highly telling.
Dear readers, this week I stumbled across a collection of posts I had prepared some months ago for your reading, but had forgotten to actually share! I have now rectified that error by placing the following posts before you for your reading pleasure. Check ‘em out, and as always, leave a comment to let me know what you thought!
Dallas Willard – The Nature and Necessity of Worldviews (Video)- An hour-long presentation by the late Dallas Willard on worldviews. He provides some good insights into what makes up a worldview and the applications thereof.
William Wilberforce, Hannah More, and Their Legacy in Public Education- A wonderful but brief historical post reflecting on the impact of Wilberforce and the More sisters upon education today. Christian lives lived.
C.S. Lewis: A Life, by Alister McGrath – Book Review- I haven’t hard the opportunity to read this biography by Alister McGrath, but this review at least quenched some of my thirst by providing a great overview and discussion of the work.
Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity- What are young atheists saying? Whatever it is they are telling us about religion is quite instructive, because it allows Christians to shore up their defenses and counter the distortions atheists have about Christianity. Most importantly, it seems that Christians are viewed as insincere and unconcerned with the way their beliefs should inform their lives. Read this post and get some valuable takeaways.
Allah is not Jehovah- I found this post to be remarkably insightful. There are some who have been trying to synthesize Christianity and Islam. The fact is that these two faiths are mutually contradictory on a number of points. This post by the “Valley Girl Apologist” outlines 21 major differences between Islam and Christianity.
I have brought these posts together from the four corners of the earth in order to provide you, dear reader, with excellent resources on a number of issues. This week, we examine the show “Breaking Bad” and the series of books “The Maze Runner Triology”; we dive into the argument from undesigned coincidences, look at one possible solution to the problem of the Cambrian Explosion, examine some arguments against Christianity, and watch a video examining authority in marriage.
Why We Need Breaking Bad- A fascinating article examining the worldview of the hyper-popular television series, “Breaking Bad.” There are some spoilers for the series in the article. Please be aware how valuable writings like this are right now as the series just came to a conclusion and the buzz is strong. We need to engage the culture now.
Undesigned Coincidences- A remarkably insightful post regarding the argument from undesigned coincidences (I explain one way to utilize the argument from undesigned coincidences). Although third in a series, this post stands on its own. Check it out.
Fazale Rana responds to new paper claiming that rapid evolution explains Cambrian Explosion- The Cambrian Explosion has become the battleground for the debate between Intelligent Design theorists and their opponents. Fazale Rana of Reasons to Believe argues that the Cambrian Explosion is best explained by design.
Devastating Arguments Against Christianity (Courtesy of the Internet)- A fantastic post which engages with some of the popular atheistic arguments against Christianity. This is the kind of post to bookmark and references as these arguments come up.
The Maze Runner Trilogy: Something WICKED This Way Comes- A highly popular young adult series (and slated to become a movie), The Maze Runner trilogy offers a bleak picture of our future. What is the picture it presents? How should we engage in discussions on this trilogy and its themes? Check out this excellent post on the subject. For those of you who want to engage the culture, you absolutely must subscribe to Anthony Weber’s blog, Empires and Mangers.
Mimi Haddad- Ideas Have Consequences (Video)- An excellent clip showing the theologian Mimi Haddad lecturing on the difficulties with abuse in theological systems which rely on authoritarian views of marriage.
A Word of Caution Regarding Induced Pluripotent [Adult] Stem Cells- It is vastly important when debating any issue–but particularly those issues with much emotional attachment–to be careful to make proper distinctions. Here, Matt Rodgers makes a very important clarification regarding the successes and usefulness of induced pluripotent (read: adult) stem cell research. Is it something to be celebrated wildly by pro-life persons? He urges caution. Read the post for why.
Remembering When Star Trek Responsibly Dealt With Disability and Assisted Suicide- Star Trek: The Next Generation is one of my all-time favorite TV shows. In this post, Chelsea Zimmerman analyzes one of the episodes to look at how it thoughtfully deals with some really tough topics: assisted suicide and disability.
First mechanical gear discovered in a living creature- One of the most important arguments for biological design, irreducible complexity, relates to the analysis of systems within lifeforms which, it is alleged, cannot have arisen through undirected processes. The concept of a serious mechanical gear existing within an insect offers a case study for irreducible complexity. Is it the case that this presents a challenge to Neodarwinism? Check out the post.
Cutting the Baby in Half: A review of Neal Shusterman’s “Unwind”- Anthony Weber’s blog, Empires and Mangers, is simply a must-follow if you are interested at all in the relationship between Christianity and culture. Here, he analyzes a work which directly addresses issues related to abortion. What happens when the value regarding human life is shifted beyond recognition? Or… more startlingly, is the dystopia portrayed in this work really a value network which is beyond recognition?
Was there animal death before Adam’s sin?- One of the arguments used by young earth creationists most frequently is the argument that animal death before the Fall decisively shows that any other position is false. William Lane Craig answers this challenge briefly. For my part, I have argued that the young earth view is actually self-referentially false in my post: “Animal Death? A Theological Argument Against Young Earth Creationism.”
One Year Ago, Apologetics Saved My Life- A simply wonderful, raw, existential post on the necessity of apologetics for the life of faith.
The Number of Textual Variants: An Evangelical Miscalculation- Humans are fallible, and as such we often get things wrong. Daniel Wallace has written an excellent article to correct a common miscalculation made in apologetics works regarding the number of textual variants. Thankfully, the response from many authors has been to request changes in their works and strive to correct the error. Even better, it is worth noting Wallace’s conclusion: “All this is to say: a variant is simply the difference in wording found in a single manuscript or a group of manuscripts (either way, it’s still only one variant) that disagrees with a base text.”
Why does God allow so much natural evil from phenomena like earthquakes?- Wintery Knight has gathered together a number of resources to present a sound response to the challenge of “natural” evil like earthquakes, tsunamis, and the like.
Natural Selection is Empty- A short but fairly technical write-up on a work by two atheists which argues that natural selection is incapable of being the lynchpin of the argument for the origin of species.
Book Plunge: There was no Jesus, There is no God- A lengthy critique (with great discussion afterwards) of a recent self-published work arguing that there was no Jesus and is no God.