Tons of great stuff around the internet, and it is my job to bring it to you, dear readers. The articles this week are brimming with awesomeness, so check them out! We have martyrdom, tradition and religion, secularism, abortion, and eschatology all rolled up into one Really Recommended Posts feature! Let me know what you think!
Unmythical Martyrs- Recently, a book called “The Myth of Persecution” has alleged that Christianity made up its long history of persecution. Check out this insightful critique of such a position.
Tradition is Unavoidable- What do we do with tradition? Should we be for faith but against religion? What role, if any, does tradition play? I found this post very helpful for summing up concisely some solid answers to these and other questions.
Five Challenges for your Secular Friends- Carson Weitnauer notes that there are some very serious problems facing those with a secular worldview, and offers five primary challenges to that position.
Response to a Pro-Choice Opinion Piece- I recently read an article which argued that “pro-life” is a misnomer. It was so terrible I thought about putting up a response post. Then I found this one, which already did my work for me. Success! Check out this excellent post which gives thoughtful answers to a number of misconceptions about the meaning of “pro-life.”
Book Review: The Harbinger- It isn’t surprising to me that this book has been remarkably popular. Go into (almost) any Christian bookstore and you’ll see it frontlining the Christian fiction section, or somewhere thereabouts. The book uses fiction to suggest that the USA is following the pattern of judgment found in the Bible. Check out this excellent review of the work which addresses some of the primary issues it raises.
Here we have another excellent round of posts from across the net. Please, if you look at nothing else, look into the Gosnell case. The link I have here really puts the matter well. The other posts this week are just as important and interesting, however. We have posts on the divinity of Jesus, the “King James Only” debate [what's that? check out the link!], Rob Bell and spiritual reality, the dominion of nature in Genesis, and Sam Harris on morality. As always, pass this post to your friends and let me know what you enjoyed!
The Gosnell Trial and Destroying the Image of God- Who is Gosnell? The horrific details of this trial confirm that the image of God is under assault. But that assault goes beyond the obviously criminal actions of this man. They extend to the fact that we have undermined the image of God in humanity by devaluing human life, period.
Did the divinity of Jesus emerge slowly after many years of embellishments?- Wintery Knight presents a fantastic summary of the evidence that the divinity of Christ was a belief tied to the earliest years of Christianity.
King James Only Debate (VIDEO)- It is depressing to admit that this is a debate, but there are in fact Christians who believe the King James Bible is the only Bible we should use because… well, watch this debate and find out. I think that James White did an excellent job refuting this position.
Rob Bell’s Recipe for Spiritual Disaster- Rob Bell has seemingly prided himself in asking the tough questions that no one is asking. But what about the answers? Are there answers? Check out this thoughtful post on Bell’s theological system. Be sure to also check out my study guide of his book, “Love Wins” which comes with links to a chapter-by-chapter review I did as well.
Does Genesis 1:27-28 authorize exploiting nature?- Dan Story has written a fantastic overview of the issues related to interpreting Genesis 1:27-28 (dominion over the earth) as a command to exploit nature. Be sure to also check out his further analysis. For more on that issue, check out my Caring for Creation: A discussion among evangelicals.
Sam Harris’ Equivocation on “The Good”- Max Andrews offers a brief yet poignant look at how Sam Harris has erred on his attempts to ground objective morality in a non-theistic system.
I have once again gone to all corners of the internet to present you, dear reader, with a list of links so diverse, so wonderful, so amazing, that you will not be able to stop until you have read them all. Do not worry, dear reader, there are more Really Recommended Posts available to you [scroll down for more!]. This week, we read about Mark Twain and GK Chesterton, fine-tuning, science fiction, natural law, preparing Christian youth, and watch a video on justice!
Something of the Same Magic: Mark Twain and G.K. Chesterton- two phenomenal writers are compared in this excellent post on the developed thought behind each of their insights. As an avid reader and longtime Twain fan, I enjoyed this post immensely.
New Study: formation of life-permitting elements carbon and oxygen is fine-tuned- More evidence for the fine-tuning required for life is made clear through nature. This is a very insightful post which deserves your attention. For more on the fine-tuning argument, check out my post: Our Spooky Universe: Fine-Tuning and God.
When Youth Aren’t Prepared- What happens when we do not prepare Christian youths for the challenges they will face? Deeper Waters, an incredibly thoughtful blog, discusses the implications.
Barsoom or Bust! (Movie Review: “John Carter”)- One of my favorite websites (and podcasts!) features this excellent review of “John Carter.” Be sure to also check out my own review, in which I discuss a number of worldview issues which are raised by the movie: A Christian look at “John Carter”
A Christian Hart [intentional misspelling], a Humean Head- Are you interested in natural law? Of course you are. Edward Feser, one of the more lucid thinkers I know, writes about David Bentley Hart’s critique of natural law, while also expounding the theory. This is well worth the read.
Nicholas Wolterstorff at the Justice Conference- [Video] Nicholas Wolterstorff is a huge name when it comes to justice, having written extensively on the topic. Check out this lecture he gave on justice and Christianity.
Evidence for the Resurrection: The “minimal facts” approach- Perhaps the most widely known argument for the historicity of the resurrection is the “minimal facts” approach. Check out this excellent summary of Gary Habermas using this argument.
Resurrection and Worldview- A fantastic article presenting both evidence for the resurrection and an analysis of how our worldview plays into how we evaluate such evidence.
Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ- William Lane Craig evaluates the resurrection in light of recent scholarship. He also makes an argument from the minimal facts.
Unlikely Story of the Women- Here, one of the historical to believe the resurrection account is defended closely. Namely, the fact that women were the eyewitnesses to the event. Yet the accounts of these women are seemingly contradictory. What do we do with that?
The Meaning of the Resurrection- What does Jesus’ resurrection mean for the world?
The Resurrection of Jesus- Many more articles are linked here. A great resource if you want to more fully engage the issue of the resurrection.
Book Review: “The Risen Jesus and Future Hope- An in-depth look at Habermas’ approach to the resurrection.
Very often, I am just taken aback by the consistent high quality of posts I turn up in a search across the web. Check out the posts I bring to your attention this week! The topics include Loftus’ “outsider test” of faith, John Carter, Farmers, Richard Dawkins, morality, and Rob Bell with the emergent church.
Loftus vs Marshall I: An Alphabet of Errors (on Science and Faith)- I can’t tell you how much I recommend this for reading. Loftus is one of the up-and-comers in the “New Atheist” movement, and he is in love with his own devised argument against theism: “The Outsider Test of Faith.” Marshall exposes numerous flaws in Loftus’ latest work on the topic, as well as showing many of the difficulties which persist in his position.
A “John Carter” Calendar: Twelve Months, Twelve Reasons to Visit Barsoom- A great look at reasons to watch “John Carter,” a film I feel has been very underrated. I have written an analysis of the movie itself, in which I discuss many of the themes found therein: “A Christian look at ‘John Carter.’”
God Made a Farmer (Video)- A video recognizing women farmers, which is itself a companion to the original, a Dodge Super Bowl commercial which lauds farmers generally but doesn’t show any women. That original version, itself very much worth watching, can be found here. I found the message here to be very endearing.
Richard Dawkins defends the moral goodness of infanticide and adultery- I’ll be one of the first to say atheists are perfectly capable of being moral people. God’s moral law is clear to anyone. Yet, once someone denies that grounding for morality, it is permissible for them to develop all kinds of random moral systems. Dawkins’ comments about infanticide and adultery are just one example of the kind of hedonism which can occur when the basis for morality is jettisoned.
The Submergent Church- A powerful image showing the way some “emergent” people have put holes into the notion of orthodoxy and thus undermined their own credibility. This is one of my favorite websites, and I highly recommend that you follow it: No Apologies Allowed.
I have found another round of excellent posts around the internet, and I will share them with you! This week, we look at zombies, complementarianism, moralistic therapeutic deism, Faith, video games, and Oz. As always, drop a comment about what you liked!
Warm Bodies: Exhuming Humanity- Anthony Weber looks into both the book and movie “Warm Bodies” to find a too-true account of humanity, with some confusing messages along the way.
How Complementarian is the Bible? (video)- Philip Payne, author of Man and Woman, One in Christ (my review is linked), offers a presentation on the Bible’s view of women and whether it entails complementarianism–the view that women are to be subordinate to men.
What is moralistic therapeutic deism?- A fascinating post outlining the state of beliefs in contemporary Christianity. The post also goes into “debunking” this position. This is well-worth the read because we have essentially an entire generation of children who hold this position growing up in our churches.
Hebrews 11:1-3- Defining Faith- Edgar Andrews has a fantastic post up on how we define faith, in contrast to many modern notions and distortions. Edgar Andrews is the author of what I think is one of the greatest introductions to apologetics available: “Who Made God?”
Review: Of Games and God- I found this post on a book about video games and Christianity pretty interesting. I appreciated the notion that the issue is much more complex than some people paint it: “The simple truth is that those not significantly invested in the world of video games often lack a point of reference to understand and interpret this artistic culture. Rather than condemning those who have genuine concerns about this new medium, however, Schut takes the time to work through what they may have missed—as well as the places where their impressions may be correct.” Check out this interesting review.
Recommending Viewing: DIsney’s “Return to Oz” (1985)- One of my new favorite sites (and podcasts!) is “The Sci-Fi Christian” (readers know this is for good reason: I LOVE science fiction). Check out their excellent look at a 1985 Disney movie on Oz, which offers a different look into the world than either the new movie or the old classic.
It really is difficult to keep up with all the excellent posts around the internet. But, I have taken the liberty of doing some of that work for you and found a diverse array of posts on fascinating topics. Read them, love them, comment! This week, we’ll be looking at the prosperity gospel, Calvinism, women in the Bible, Young Earth Creationism, the History Channel’s TV show on “The Bible”, and design flaws in creation.
The Prosperity Gospel Revisted- I found this post about the “Prosperity Gospel” quite fascinating. Dan offers critical interaction with the notion that the Gospel is about empowering us to gain. I also really recommend checking out the entire site, Rockadoodee, which is always thought-provoking.
Jerry Walls: What’s wrong with Calvinism? (Video)- One of the most interesting evangelical scholars writing right now, Jerry Walls, evaluates Calvinism. I found this video quite interesting. I’ve met Walls in person and I find him to be very gracious and thoughtful.
Correcting Caricatures: Women in the Bible [This link appears to be broken now... I don't know why. Please let me know if you can view it]- Eminent scholar Walter Kaiser looks at several key texts related to women in the Bible. I found this fascinating and enlightening. Whether you are egalitarian or complementarian, it is worth reading.
2013 International Conference on Creationism- The Geochristian outlines a number of interesting discussions at this conference, which is where all the major scholars within the Young Earth Creation movement meet. Alongside this article, you should check out these articles on the state of Young Earth Creationism: The State of Creation Science as Measured by Scholarly Publishing- this one looks at scholarly works by YECs over a recent period of time and evaluates what it means for YEC; The Next Generation of Creation Scientists?- this post looks at who may be stepping in to fill the roles of the major YEC organizations.
The Bible–Night One Review- A look at the theology in the new TV series by the History Channel: The Bible.
If God Designed Humans, How Do We Account for “Design Flaws”?- One of my favorite blogs, “Well-Spent Journey” examines the notion that humans are flawed designs as an argument against intelligent design.
Having scoured the internet for great posts to commend to my readers, I have turned up this smorgasbord for your reading pleasure.
My Father’s “Eviscerated” Work – Son of Hobbit Scribe J.R.R. Tolkien Finally Speaks out- Christopher Tolkien gives some fascinating insight to the world of the Lord of the Rings as well as Tolkien’s writing process in this interview/overview. I find it unfortunate that he feels his father’s work has been distorted by all the commercializing, and in particular I am saddened by his analysis of the movies. I have enjoyed them greatly and found The Hobbit in particular to be edifying (see my analysis of the first Hobbit movie). Nonetheless, this was a fascinating read.
William Lane Craig: [Young Earth] Creationism is an embarrassment- A Youtube video that is really a picture with an audio file in which Craig discusses the scientific impossibility of the young earth position which is held by the majority of evangelical pastors. The problem is that some have taught that the only Biblical position is that of the young earth interpretation and when youths realize that the earth is not 10,000 (or so) years old, they will fall away.
Much Undead Ado About Nothing- Our recent obsession with zombies and the undead has lead to some interesting philosophical and scientific reflection. Check out Anthony Weber’s excellent post, which relates back to The Walking Dead, among other references.
Bait and Switch- Eminent philosopher Alvin Plantinga evaluates Sam Harris’ book on free will. Spoilers: Plantinga is unimpressed. Read on for his systematic refutation of Harris’ work.
The New Apologetics- Check out this fantastic post on literary apologetics and using imagination in the defense of the faith.
‘Going Clear,’ Lawrence Wright’s Book on Scientology- Scientology is fascinating in its ability to continue. Founded by a science fiction author who describes the real world in terms that reflect those writings, Hubbard founded a religion that continues to fascinate. Check out this look at a recent book outlining the beliefs of Scientology.
Time to Tour the Camp- I found this post on the Holocaust and abortion fascinating and convicting. Please, check it out.
I have to say, the posts for this week are really the cream of the crop. Make sure you follow the blogs I link to here, because they are constantly amazing. We look at The Mortal Instruments, Richard Carrier and the Jesus Myth, the power of prayer, how pornography can destroy the brain, science fiction, and a fun interview!
Empires and Mangers: The Mortal Instruments- What’s all the buzz about surrounding the upcoming movie and the books called “The Mortal Instruments?” Anthony Weber analyzes the series in this fantastic post. I haven’t read the books and I was still fascinated. Do check this one out, as it will be all over culturally. Also, follow this blog because the posts are consistently at this quality. It’s a must-read every time.
Does Richard Carrier Exist?- A fun but rigorous look at whether Richard Carrier exists. Why? Richard Carrier is best known for his denial that a historical Jesus ever existed. Here, Glenn Andrew Peoples and Tim McGrew partnered to use Carrier’s methods on him, to devastating results.
C.S. Lewis on the efficacy of prayer- Have you ever heard the objection that prayer doesn’t work? Matt Rodgers takes on this argument through C.S. Lewis, the eminent Christian writer and theologian.
The Effects of Porn on the Mail Brain- This is a scary, uncomfortable post. The topic is pretty self-explanatory. Pornography is devastating. Let us pray for those under its chains and continue to work against it.
Grand Blog Tarkin- Have fun with this one. It is a blog dedicated to looking at the social and military themes in science fiction and fantasy. I cannot describe how nerd-awesome this is (just a hint: if you get the title, you’d love it… even if you don’t, you’ll still love it). You must check it out.
Mike Robinson interviews J.W. Wartick- A bit of a plug here: check out Mike Robinson interviewing me on his (great!) blog. I’d love your comments.
I could do these every day and still not catch up to the amount of fantastic posts out there. This week’s Really Recommended Posts feature “Love Wins,” natural evil, apologetics methodology, Tolkien, and more! As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts (and recommendations!).
Love Wins Critique- Rob Bell’s book on hell (or lack thereof?) caused quite a stir when it came out, and it continues to be discussed widely. Check out this excellent multi-part critique of the book. You can access all 5 parts here.
Why Would God Allow Natural Disasters? – One of the hardest parts of the problem of evil is the difficulty of “natural evils.” Check out this insightful response to the problem.
Is the Cold Case Still Valid? – One of the debates within Christianity is about apologetics methodology. Should we be evidentialists or presuppositionalists or something else (spoiler: I don’t think we need to be either/or)? This post discusses a critique of Cold-Case Christianity from an apologetic methodology standpoint. The book is phenomenal and I recommend it highly (see my review). See also J. Warner Wallace’s own response to the objection.
John Lennox vs. Richard Dawkins- A great video in which Lennox discusses science and Christianity, set against beautiful backdrops and quotes from the Bible. It also features some other excellent Christian thinkers. It’s worth the watch.
Loyal dog continues to attend mass at church where owner’s funeral was held- Just a heart-wrenching story about a loyal dog. Not apologetics related, really, but I enjoyed it.
Tolkien’s essay, “On Fairy Stories” continues to have massive influence today. Read it here online (or obtain the PDF file to read later). I found this post through another excellent list of links which is well worth checking out.