The Bible In A Minute

A former student suggested I should show this to my class on the Bible. I’m not sure about that, but I definitely thought it was worth sharing here! [Read more...]


As I’ve been blogging Keith Ward’s recent book The Big Questions in Science and Religion, I’ve also been reading Naturalism by Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro. The book, in essence, argues that strict naturalism is opposed not merely to a dualist view of human beings, but to theism. Many of the same issues that plague [Read More...]

Crappy Student Writing

A colleague of mine sent around the following, which I thought I would share with a wider audience, since I know many educators read this blog: Why Do they Turn In Crap? 1. They Don’t Spend Enough Time. The typical student waits until the last minute to write an essay. She has worried and procrastinated [Read More...]

Keith Ward, Big Questions in Science and Religion 6: Is It Still Possible To Speak of the Soul?

In many respects I found this chapter the most interesting and at the same time the most frustrating. On the one hand, Ward helpfully points out ways in which the notion of the soul that earlier Christian thinkers had in mind, for instance Aquinas, were far more in keeping with the Biblical/Semitic tradition than one [Read More...]

When Christians Disagree: Church and State

Today in my Sunday School class we finished our introductory topic on the Bible in the “When Christians Disagree” series. We looked at the example of circumcision, which in Genesis 17 is quite plainly said to be a permanent and absolute condition of membership in the covenant people, even for those not actually descended from [Read More...]

The Bible as Science Fiction

IO9 suggests that it is time for sci-fi versions of familiar Bible stories. That could be interesting. If one ventures outside the Bible slightly, one gets books like 1 Enoch which already fit the genre. Enoch’s “ascension” shows the same sort of pre-modern cosmology I talked about in my last post, although the parallels make [Read More...]

Naive vs. Conscious Literalism

In a recent post I mentioned the distinction Marcus Borg makes between naive and conscious literalism. At heart, the difference is as follows. Naive literalism involves someone (e.g. a Biblical author) treating something as factually true because he or she has no reason to believe otherwise. So, for instance, in the case of the ascension, [Read More...]

Is the Gospel of Thomas Gnostic?

Judy Redman wants to know what you think, so please pay a visit to her blog and participate in her poll! [Read more...]

Keith Ward, Big Questions in Science and Religion 5: What Is The Nature Of Space And Time?

“The ascension is harder to believe in than the resurrection.” Someone made the above statement in a conversation we were having, and I immediately thought of something mentioned in chapter 5 of Keith Ward’s book The Big Questions in Science and Religion. After discussing briefly some traditional notions of time and space in cosmologies of [Read More...]

Keith Ward, Big Questions in Science and Religion 4: Do the Laws of Nature Exclude Miracles?

Ward’s chapter 4 deals with a perennial issue at the interface between religion and science: miracles. Ward rightly points out that laws of nature are mathematical descriptions of aspects of the universe and not “laws” in any usual sense in which that word is normally used. Indeed, one might note the irony that such language [Read More...]

Scholarly Publishing

Since I know lots of academics in different fields read this blog, I thought I’d ask a question of particular interest to us. How do (or would) you list publications on your blog that are aimed at a general readership but are not for that reason lacking in academic value or scholarly content? Many of [Read More...]

Keith Ward, Big Questions in Science and Religion 3: Is Evolution Compatible with Creation?

This chapter begins by noting that many religious worldviews take for granted that things are getting and will continue to get progressively worse, not better. Ward then moves on the the view in the medieval epoch that the cause of anything must be greater than the thing caused. It took the Enlightenment era’s newfound openness [Read More...]

Ironic Sans: A New Hope for the 2008 Election

Thanks to Bad Astronomy for making me aware of the Ironic Sans blog, full of amusing stuff, from this poll, to campaign materials like the following: And to help you prepare for the real election on November 4th, there’s this useful tool: [Read more...]

Around the Blogosphere

Chet Raymo has begun blogging about Ken Miller’s book Only a Theory. Brian Switek surveys reactions to Darwin’s Descent. Clashing Culture hosts the Carnival of Evolution. Jessica Palmer asks if you are sure the earth is round. April de Conick blogs about early Jewish and Christian polytheism. John Drury ponders what happens to funerals if [Read More...]