It dawned on me recently that a great deal of my frustration with conservative Christianity is the role that fear plays in the narrative of the faith. In their theology, their evangelism, and their politics, it seems to me, conservative Christians rely on and promote fear as part and parcel of the Gospel. This perspective is deeply antithetical to the God whose most frequent command … Continue reading Jesus, Christians, and Fear
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17, KJV) So reads a popular text that is often used by Christians for various variations on a theme that usually centers around listening to the preacher. The usual interpretation is best distilled, actually, by the rendering in the New International Version (2011, not 1973 or 1984): “Consequently, faith comes from … Continue reading Faith Comes By Hearing … reexamining a familiar text
I just had an atheist with whom I’ve been interacting ask me a great question: “What’s so good about faith?” He went on to describe the concept as “believing without seeing,” and compared it to walking across the street blindfolded … something he and I would agree is pretty dumb. So here’s my answer: Nothing, in the way you describe it. That idea that there’s … Continue reading Why Faith?
Recently a friend of mine, while debating my objections to Western Christianity’s doctrine of the Trinity, referred me to Greg Boyd’s post Does the Doctrine of the Trinity Matter? I respect Greg Boyd greatly, as anyone who’s followed me for some time will undoubtedly know. But that post is illustrative of precisely my objection to the usual arguments for the Trinity … the evidence presented, … Continue reading Examining a frequent argument for the Trinity
Lots of folks, when they discuss the truth (or not) of faith, or when they try to sell Christianity to outsiders, spend a great deal of energy on issues surrounding the afterlife. The crassest version, but one many of us have encountered, is encapsulated in the question “do you know where you’d be if you die tonight?” The core message, of course, is that we’re … Continue reading Why do I believe? Part 13 — Not for Heaven’s Sake
With some frequency, some of my Bible-believing friends who tend toward the conservative end of American politics ask me how I can justify my more left-leaning political views. More than a few have expressed genuine consternation that anyone who believes in Jesus could possibly vote Democratic (as I often have), or could oppose certain Republican priorities (as I usually do even when I’m not happy … Continue reading How my faith impacts my politics
The thing that irritates me about most apologists is that they’re so damn sure of themselves. Not all of them are as cocky as William Lane Craig (who, in my estimation, uses sophistry and intimidation to cover up sloppy thinking). However, even gentle ones like Josh McDowell or Ravi Zacharias seem, at least in the stuff I’ve read, to present a neat, airtight package devoid … Continue reading Why Do I Believe? Part 11 – It’s not all positive … Theodicy
In some ways, this may be the most difficult bit I’ve written in my whole apologetics series. I’ve wrestled with whether to post it at all, but I feel honesty demands it. If I’m going to talk about why I believe what I do, I can’t ignore the fact that my personal experience of the divine is a big fat nothing. So here goes … … Continue reading Why Do I Believe? Part 12 – My personal experience is no help!
I’ve been having a variety of discussions with friends lately on the topics of orthodox dogma, the creeds, and related concepts. Regular readers of this blog are well aware of my objection to creeds generally, and to the Nicene Creed in particular. I have recently realized that part of the problem with credal and dogma
One of the greatest comedy movies of all time, I am convinced, is The Princess Bride. And one of my many favorite lines, when Inigo has heard Vizzini describe one too many things as “inconceivable,” is “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Well, that can certainly be said about apologetics, as I realized when a … Continue reading Why do I believe? Part 5 – A parenthetical apologia