Brr! It’s cold in Iowa… but not as cold as it was in Minnesota! I still walk around without a coat on in 30 degrees (F) due to my time spent in the frozen north. Anyway, the cold has given me time to read, and I present this latest round of really recommended posts to you, dear readers. There are posts about stay-at-home dads and egalitarianism, Batman and Christianity, Answers in Genesis’s position on “kinds,” the flying spaghetti monster and Santa, and censoring pro-life voices! Wow, I’m excited. Let me know what you think, and be sure to let the authors know you enjoyed their stuff, too!
Egalitarianism is for Men, Too– As a stay-at-home dad currently, I wrote this post for Christians for Biblical Equality to show some of the challenges faced in my life as well as how an egalitarian theology can benefit men. This one is from the heart, folks.
Review and Christian Reflections of My Favorite Works on Batman– Here’s a literary apologetics post on different Batman graphic novels. I decided to pick up one of these to start my own reading of Batman, since I’ve always enjoyed Batman. It is important to apply the Christian worldview to every aspect of our lives–including the fiction we read–and this is a good post showing how to do that.
Are Ruminants Derived from a Common Ancestor? Ruminating on the Meaning of Noahic “Kinds”– The Young Earth Creationist group, Answers in Genesis, is known for squeezing animals onto the Ark by reducing the number of species required, appealing to the notion of “kinds” in order to allow for common ancestors. Here is an analysis of just how difficult this assertion is to maintain.
God, Santa, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster– Often, atheists claim that God is on the same level, evidentially, as things like Santa Claus and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Here is an analysis of that claim.
Six Ways I’ve seen Pro-Choice People Censor Pro-Lifers– Here are six common ways that pro-choice people have interfered with people who are trying to choose to listen to pro-lifers on college campuses and elsewhere.
We have already made it to December! Can you believe it? I can’t. That doesn’t mean I won’t keep delivering the goods, however! This week we have posts on women in the early church, dinosaurs and young earth creationism, an evil god?, the theology of Star Wars, and the Planned Parenthood shooting. As always, let me know what you think–and be sure to let the authors know as well. Also, because it’s already snowed a couple times, we’re switching back to the snowy owl to bring our post, Hogwarts style.
A Theology of Star Wars– Star Wars Episode VII comes out soon. I bet that’s news to you! I may or may not have my tickets to an early showing. The world will never know. Anyway, here’s a free e-book (sign up to newsletter required) on Star Wars and Christian theology. I haven’t gotten through the whole thing yet, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far.
Four Myths about Women in the Early Church– The topic of women in the early church is quite interesting. I’ve only read one book on the topic, but I’d like to explore further. This post highlights some myths about women in the early church that are largely taken as givens. In the debate over women in the church and home, it is important to get our facts straight.
Is an Evil God as likely as an All-Good God?– Edward Feser analyzes Stephen Law’s (in)famous “evil God challenge,” in which Law alleges that the evidence for the existence of God cannot bring us to a good God, so an evil God is just as likely. I have analyzed Law’s argument myself, and I believe I demonstrate that the assumptions behind his argument would yield radical skepticism if held consistently.
Why Pro-Life Advocates are not responsible for the Planned Parenthood Shooting– Some have alleged that the recent, horrific attack on a Planned Parenthood building can be blamed on the pro-life movement. Here is an analysis of that ad hominem attack vs. pro-life advocates that gets at the heart of the issue.
Where did all the Dinosaurs go? Ken Ham’s Climate and Human Induced Dinosaur extinction hypothesis– Young earth creationists must deal with the evidence we have about dinosaurs and their lives. Here is an analysis of Ken Ham’s hypothesis regarding what happened to all the dinosaurs after they purportedly survived a global flood alongside humans.
I’m getting this round up a little late because I was traveling. I hope you all had safe travels (if you traveled) and some time to reflect on the blessings God gives us over this holiday weekend. I’m on a bit of a time crunch so I’ll let you just get to the posts!
7 Lies Purity Culture Teaches Women– The “purity culture” movement seems to be filled with misconceptions about men and women. Here are some difficulties with what has come to be known as “purity” teaches women.
Revelations of Suffering in Final Fantasy X and Shusaku Endo’s Silence– Look, if you follow this blog you know I’m a big nerd. Is it any surprise that I love Japanese Role-Playing Games? Final Fantasy X was one of my favorites, though I found some difficulties with its worldview. Here’s a great post comparing the game to what sounds like a wonderful novel, particularly on the notion of suffering.
Christianity: The World’s Most Falsifiable Religion– Christianity stands on an historical claim. That claim is the resurrection of Jesus. Does that make Christianity unique? This post argues that the falsifiable nature of Christianity makes it worth considering.
The 10 Least Popular Books of the Bible (Infographic)– I rediscovered this one a little while back and I just love it. It helps us to think about those books we may not be reading as much–and gives us the opportunity to learn more about them.
Are Pro-Lifers Hypocrites?– A common charge against pro-life groups is that they are hypocritical, for various reasons. Here is a post answering one popular meme/comedian on the topic.
Aborting Aristotle by Dave Sterrett explores some of the metaphysical background needed to discuss the morality of abortion. It is a brief book best seen as a primer on issues related to abortion in philosophy.
The book proceeds in a logical fashion from showing that inconsistency doesn’t undermine the good things that people like Aristotle or Thomas Jefferson said, then arguing that metaphysics is necessary, and moving on through examination of some of the primary grounds for believing abortion is permissible: uncertainty and materialism. Then, arguments are put forward showing that natural law can be a basis for rule of law, that distinctions related to substance are important to the debate, that all humans are persons, and that we are persons not based on what we do but rather on who we are. The book ends wit ha chapter showing some ares of agreement or disagreement between pro-life and pro-choice advocates.
Weighing in at 120 pages, the book is quite brief on these various topics. Again, it functions as a primer, not an exhaustive overview of any of these issues. That limits its usefulness in some ways, as there are other books which provide groundwork on philosophy before diving into the abortion debate with greater depth. Where Sterrett’s work excels is in its focus on the concept of “substance” and its importance for understanding personhood. He demonstrates that much of the debate boils down to one’s philosophical background, and advocates one which sees humans as substances.
Aborting Aristotle is a great read for someone looking to ground themselves in the abortion debate. It is the kind of book that one should read before delving into some of the meatier works on ethics and bioethics related to abortion.
+Provides much-needed background knowledge of the abortion debate
+Builds a framework for discussing various arguments about abortion
-Relies a bit too much on quotes
I have scoured the ‘net and some of my favorite blogs to provide you with another round of excellent reads through your weekend and into next week! I hope you’ll enjoy them! Let me know what you think, and be sure to tell the authors you enjoyed their posts as well! The topics we have this week include Dean Koontz’s Innocence, the homo naledi fossil find, apologetics and atheism, and whether you can be pro-life as a man.
Responding to the Astute Observation that I am a Man– Are men allowed to be involved in discussions about abortion? Here, Josh Brahm discusses the common accusation that men cannot talk about pro-life/pro-choice issues.
Dean Koontz’s Innocence– I read this book about two weeks ago and loved it. Here is a fantastic look at some of the worldview-level issues the book raises. Dean Koontz is a Christian author who is one of the highest-selling authors in our time.
Bones of Contention: ICR Claims Homo naledi fossils of “imaginary creature”– ICR is the Institute for Creation Research, a Young Earth Creationist organization.
Repressed knowledge of God?– Thomistic philosopher Edward Feser questions whether it is accurate to say atheists have repressed knowledge of God. Specifically, he enters into a critique of apologist Greg Koukl. What are your thoughts on this discussion?
Women and Church Politics: Living Outside the Bubble– Politics in church? Surely not! Okay, yeah they’re there. Here’s a post that discusses how church politics can impact women.
I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s roundup of posts from around the web. You can watch a video explaining egalitarian theology from Genesis, survey challenges your kids might encounter for their faith, learn about pro-life dialogue, discover theology in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and explore a cold time before a young earth could have existed. Let me know what you think of the posts, and be sure to let the authors know as well.
Egalitarian from the Start (Vide0)– this sermon is from Richard Davidson, author of the monumentally important study on sexuality in the Old Testament, Flame of Yahweh. He argues that, from the beginning of creation, egalitarianism is the ideal perspective.
17 Ways Your Kids Will Encounter Challenges to their Faith– Children will encounter a great number of challenges to their faith as they grow up. Simply being aware of the way children can be confronted by these challenges will help parents prepare to answer them and help their kids find answers.
Four Practical [Pro-Life] Dialogue Tips from My Conversation with Brent– Josh Brahm, an excellent pro-life speaker, offers some dialogue tips alongside a case study of an actual conversation he had with a pro-choice advocate.
Star Trek Theology- “Remember Me”– The Sci-Fi Christian, an excellent website and podcast, offers up this heaping helping of theological analysis of The Next Generation episode, “Remember Me.” It’s an episode I enjoy immensely, and I also enjoyed reading this post. Check it out.
A Holocene Cold Snap In the Year 2,200 B.C. (Before Creation)– Here is an analysis which challenges the Young Earth timeline, because it demonstrates that we can observe weather patterns from before dates set by groups like Answers in Genesis.
Hello, dear readers! I have another round of posts that I hope you will enjoy perusing. The topics this week include apologetics, an objection to the pro-life position, patriarchy and biblical sex, and some tiny organisms that pose some big problems. Let me know what you think, and be sure to tell the authors you enjoyed their posts as well!
Apologetics Started in the Bible– Some Christians object to the use or import of Christian apologetics. However, apologetics got its start in and from the Bible. Here’s a post showing how.
Biblical Sex: Patriarchy’s Great Enemy– This post highlights the fact that in the Bible, male-female sexual relations really go against the paradigm of complementarian theology.
Book Review: “The Grand Weaver”– Ravi Zacharias is an excellent Christian apologist. Here’s an in-depth look at one of his books from Luke Nix. I recommend reading this one because it will give you some insights into Zacharias’ approach to apologetics. The book itself is also excellent.
Diatoms: Tiny Organisms Highlight Big Inconsistencies in Young Earth Flood Geology Models– Diatoms are tiny organisms that put up some big difficulties for young earth creationist models. Check out this post to read about some of these difficulties.
Response to objection that pro-lifers are “nowhere to be found once our children are born”– It is commonly objected that the pro-life position only cares about children in the womb. Once they’re born–who cares? I think that it is important for the pro-life position to be holistic and look at the totality of life rather than simply looking at unborn life as worth protecting. Here is a post that directly confronts this common objection.
One argument that is often used to defend certain acts which are argued to be immoral is the notion that these acts are “legal.” For example, one might say they are personally opposed to abortion, but it is legal and so they do not seek to end abortions. A more specific example has been the defense of Planned Parenthood in regards to donating fetal tissue. It is argued that the donation is legal, and so no wrongdoing has occurred. Evidence from the recent videos released seems to suggest that those fetal tissues might be sold, rather than donated, but that is not the issue at hand. The question to address here is: “Does the legality of an act make it moral?”
Thus, in the case of Planned Parenthood’s donations/sales, if legal, does it follow that it is moral?
To be blunt, the legality of an act is not enough to make it moral. One clear example of this would be antebellum slavery, which was legal for quite some time in the United States. Would those who want to assert that legality is enough to make an act morally permissible agree that slavery, at that time, was moral? If so, that is a tough pill to swallow. But we can go beyond that example and see how Nazi Germany was treated. After World War II, several of the perpetrators of the Holocaust and other atrocities committed by the Nazis were put on trial. The first of these became known as the Nuremberg Trials. The argument they made, however, was that they were obeying the law of their land. The argument was thus made that there was no law to which they could be held accountable.
The argument was rejected, and the legacy of these trials led to the creation of various international law organizations and more specific definitions of war crimes and crimes against humanity. But the question that must be pressed is whether these trials were just. The laws that they were condemned by were largely created after or during the trials themselves. What were the Nazis guilty of? The answer has already been provided, in part, as crimes against humanity. By willingly participating in and carrying out genocide and other atrocities, despite having orders to do so and acting within the laws of their land, the Nazis had still violated a higher law, which held them to a moral standard. There remains much debate over the legal basis for the convictions and executions of those who carried out the atrocities, but it seems that if one ultimately wants to argue that the law is all it requires to make something moral, they must side with the Nazis and agree that they should not have been held accountable for their acts.
We can therefore see that the mere appeal to a law to argue something is moral is not enough. Anyone who disagrees must assert that slavery, as it was being conducted in the United States, was at least morally ambiguous if not a moral good, because it was legal. Similarly, they must assert that the genocide the Nazis carried out was itself at least morally ambiguous if not a moral good, because it was legal and they did it under orders. The absurdity of these two conclusions should lead any reasonable person to agree that the legality of an act is not enough to establish its morality.
Thus, the simple legality of an act does not make it moral. An appeal to an acts legality does not mean it should be dismissed from moral scrutiny. Planned Parenthood should justly remain under intense scrutiny.
I am pleased to present this wide range of topics to you, dear readers! I hope you enjoy the reads as much as I did. We have posts on the origins of the Gospels from an atheistic perspective, domestic abuse, the ontological argument, soft tissue in dinosaurs, and Bill Nye on abortion. Let me know what you think, and be sure to thank the authors as well!
Where the Gospels Came From– This is a satirical post that highlights how broad swaths of internet atheism tend to view the origin of the Gospels. It’s well worth reading as it highlights some of the major errors.
When Staying in an Abusive Relationship is Part of Your Theology– It is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and this post from Christians for Biblical Equality highlights one major difficulty with some theologies- they argue that one should stay in an abusive relationship from theological reasons.
The Probability of God’s Existence is Either 0% or 100% (video)– Kenneth Keathley offers this analysis and presentation of Alvin Plantinga’s ontological argument. He defines terms and answers some major objections, with the objections offered by atheists themselves.
“Soft Tissue” Found in Dinosaur Bones– Creationists sometimes claim that the finds of “soft tissue” undermine the possibility for an old earth perspective. Is that the case? Here is some analysis of this claim and some more recent findings regarding allegations of blood and other soft tissue found in ancient fossils.
Responding to Bill Nye’s Abortion Video– Bill Nye “The Science Guy” made a lot of claims about science and abortion in a video recently. Here’s a thorough analysis and refutation of his claims.
I’m pleased to offer this go-round of the Really Recommended Posts to you, dear readers. I think they are about as diverse as you can get. We have Stephen Colbert on his faith, illegal immigration and Christianity, apologetics, Jesus’ view of Scripture, and Planned Parenthood on the docket today. Check them out and let me know what you thought!
Watch Stephen Colbert, a Lifelong Catholic, on Hearing a Female Priest Celebrate the Eucharist– I don’t put a lot of stock in celebrity comments about faith or politics or really anything. After all, they don’t automatically become authorities simply because they are famous. However, Colbert’s faith is quite sincere, and this whole interview is worth watching. Here’s a clip in which he talks about a female priest celebrating the Eucharist.
American Christianity and Illegal Immigration– Here’s a fairly lengthy look at the historic interaction with illegal immigration that American Christianity has had. It helps provide a historical perspective on some of the current debates regarding illegal immigration.
Apologetics Strategies: The Myth of a Bulletproof Argument– It is easy to think that, regarding Christian apologetics, we can come up with an argument that will convince everyone. Is that the case? Here’s a post on apologetic method that is well worth your time.
Jesus Viewed Scripture as Inerrant: A Reply to Kyle Roberts– A few weeks ago I featured an article arguing all Christians should view the Bible as inerrant. Here is a follow-up post in which Rob Bowman takes an extended look at Jesus’ view of Scripture.
3 Pinnochios to Planned Parenthood Supporters for Slippery Mammogram Language– The Washington Post calls out Planned Parenthood supporters for their claims about mammograms. Look, Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide any mammograms at all. Not a single one. It should not be used as a scare tactic against those arguing to defund the abortion provider.