How to Defend an Anti-Trinitarian Theology– This post presents a challenge for those who would attempt to defend an Anti-Trinitarian theology from the Bible. It outlines the difficulties that face those who would take such a position. Well worth the read, trust me!
Biological Determinism and the “Oughtness” of Manhood– “If the eligibility criteria for church leadership includes possessing a Y chromosome, then we have already bought into the notion that our genes determine who we can and cannot be in the body of Christ.” If we are biologically determined, what follows from that?
The Danger of Teaching Kids to Be True to Themselves– If we teach kids to simply be true to themselves, what follows from it? Here are some potential pitfalls from the popular “be true to yourself” philosophy. Do you think that they are overstated, or not?
Bones of Contention: Ape, Human, or Fraud? Young Earth Creationists Respond to the Dinaledi Chamber Fossil Discovery– A survey of some of the popular Young Earth responses to the recent find of a possible homo fossil.
Humans and Persons– Here’s a post that challenges the hard division between humans and persons that some are trying to press for for the sake of certain moral commitments.
Another 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.
Another 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).
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?
Another 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.
My 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.
I had the chance to watch “Jurassic World” this weekend. It was pretty cool to see the dinosaurs back in action on the big screen. I enjoyed the tie-ins to the previous movies as well. Here, I will reflect on some of the worldview issues the movie raised. There will be SPOILERS in what follows.
I’ve reflected on genetic engineering of humans in the past, but Jurassic World brings up some other difficulties that would perhaps be brought about by such a practice. Unintended side-effects were part of what created the Indominus Rex, a truly terrifying beast that had aspects of all kinds of different dinosaurs mixed into it to make it scarier.
I am by no means an expert on genetic engineering, but I do wonder whether tampering with the human genetic code could lead to some unintended side effects as well. Is it possible that our messing around with certain factors could deeply impact others? If so, what might that suggest about the moral status of genetic engineering?
Dinosaurs Would Kill People!
Jurassic World is not a friendly place for humans. Carnivorous dinosaurs–and even herbivorous dinosaurs–would be extremely dangerous to humans to say the least. Sure, the Velociraptors would have been smaller, and there is no Indominus Rex, but there were Ultraraptors and Giganotosaurous and the like. Why care about this from a worldview perspective? Well, most simply, because it seems that any worldview which would suggest that humans and dinosaurs managed to survive alongside each other has some serious difficulties with which to deal if it is to be believed. The young earth creationist position does hold to this exact view: that humans and dinosaurs at one point lived alongside each other.
Perhaps the young earth creationist would simply argue that the really powerful and dangerous dinosaurs did not exist alongside humans. The Earth is indeed a massive place–perhaps God simply ordered things such that the T-Rex and the human were not living in the same area. This counter-argument has some power to it, but then we must consider the very foundation of the young earth perspective: that this view is allegedly based on the Bible. Yet the authors of the Bible are allegedly aware of dinosaurs, according to some young earth creationists, and used words like behemoth to describe them [I do not think this is a legitimate interpretation; the behemoth is not a dinosaur]. In that case, it seems that such dinosaurs did indeed live alongside humans.
Moreover, the question would have to be asked of what biblical evidence there is for such convenient ecological sorting that would keep dinosaurs from utterly obliterating humanity.
Men and Women
There are a number of issues with statements or assumptions about gender that come up in the movie without being addressed. Why does Claire keep her high-heels on the whole time and how do they not break? Is it for the sake of the viewer? What about Zach’s continual lusting after the young women his age when he has a seemingly loyal girlfriend back home?
Interestingly, it is Claire who ultimately saves the day, despite Owen seeming to be the hero throughout. Her quick action to grab T-Rex to fight Indominus was a good turnabout on the expectations the movie built up regarding men and women.
Are You Not Entertained?
The investors in Jurassic World were worried that the profit margins weren’t as high as they had hoped. The answer was, as argued by Claire, was to genetically modify the dinosaurs to make them more fearsome and interesting. There was something deeply ironic about this because the movie almost seemed to be referencing itself: perhaps people have gotten bored by seeing T-Rex doing stuff: they need INDOMINUS!
I was thinking about how this might reflect on our culture and our insatiable need for newer, bigger, and better. But is this a true need or is it something that we are using to fill the voids in our world? I think too often we try to fill the holes in our view of reality with the wrong things, and the ironic commentary here–intended or not–was well-taken.
Jurassic World is not a movie made for deep reflection on the various issues it raises. But the fact that it does raise this issues is, in itself, interesting and worth thinking about. What are your thoughts on the movie? What of genetic engineering, gender issues, or humans living with dinosaurs?
Movies– Read other posts on this site about movies written from a worldview perspective. (Scroll down for more.)
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Another 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?
Another week, another round of Really Recommended Posts! Here we have posts on “celebrity books,” a pro-life debate, young earth creationism, what it means to be a man, and Zen Buddhism. Check ’em out, let me know what you think, and let the authors know as well!
When We Evaluate Zen Buddhism by Its Own Standards– What happens when you evaluate a religion like Zen Buddhism by its own standards of truth and the like? Check out this post to find out.
A Response to John Piper: What does it mean to be a man?– Frequently, Christians who have specific views of what gender “roles” are supposed to be package their cultural notions of what these roles ought to be in as well. Thus, it is claimed that men like cars, but women like shoes. Often, these claims are made straight-faced as if they apply to all women and men in all times and places. I have seen this time and again. Here is a response to John Piper on this very topic.
Celebrity Books– People don’t always read books unless they are “celebrity” authors. Do you often just buy books because of the author on the front? I know I do. To be fair–this often works out well. Here’s a post looking at some of the downside of this.
Is It Wrong to Pass Incremental Pro-Life Laws?– Here is a snippet of a debate on pro-life method with the question of whether we should pass incremental legislation. I summarized this debate here and analyzed the debate here.
My Response to a Young-Earth Critique of “Navigating Genesis”– Hugh Ross responds to a critique of his recent book on Genesis. The specific challenge raised is the location of Eden.
I’m pretty sure we’re not going to get nice weather here in MN for anything more than one 5 hour period at a time. Alas. Anyway, I took the chilled days to find you some more good reading. As always, be sure to let the authors know you appreciated what they wrote and let me know what you think here.
Curiosity Rover Update: Diverse Geological Formations on Mars– Not only does this post have some really beautiful imagery from Mars (seriously, it’s like a science fiction story come true!), but it also discusses how the geology of Mars might pose an interesting problem for young earth creationists.
Self-knockout: A Twitter dialogue with a Hindu against Christian Evangelism– The Nepalese Earthquake led to many Christians praying not just for the physical but also spiritual needs of those impacted. This led to major pushback from many Hindus who argued that Christians are “soul vultures” and should not evangelize. Here’s an interesting look at a dialogue with one of these Hindus who attacked Christians for sharing their faith.
The Biology Professor Who Hated our Outreach Exhibit– Pro-Life advocates continue to show how embryology and related sciences help support the case against abortion. Here’s a post about one biology professor who took issue with the use of scientific evidence against abortion.
How “faith” works in the prosperity gospel (Comic)- A nice flowchart depicting the way faith allegedly works according to the prosperity Gospel.
Upon the Ground of Men– There is a lot of anger (I don’t think this word is to strong) towards those who argue for gender-inclusive translations of the Bible and the like. Here’s a post that looks at some of the difficulties gendered translations face.
Bonus Link: Sam Harris’ performance in a discussion with Noam Chomsky left much to be desired. Sam Harris, one of the “new atheists,” has activated wanton violence against Muslims and other peoples of faith. Here, he had a dialogue with a noted activist against state-sponsored violence. How did it go?