The Counter-Cultural Teachings Of Jesus

The criterion of dissimilarity is particularly useful when looking at the parable in the Gospels usually known as the “parable of the talents” (although it is Matthew, writing for a wealthy urban audience, who changes the value of the money entrusted to the servants to this exorbitant amount). In an early Jewish-Christian Gospel not included [Read More...]

Protestant Hinduism in the Bhagavad Gita

Among my favorite parts of the Bhagavad Gita (which I’ve been re-reading as I teach my course on South Asian Civilizations) are the images of panentheism and inclusive monotheism. Among my favorite lines are: “all that exists is woven on me, like a web of pearls on thread” (7:7, tr. BarbaraStoler Miller) and “When devoted [Read More...]

Let God Be True And Every Young-Earth Creationist A Liar

Is “creation science” science? The answer to this question becomes clear through a simple glance through the footnotes of John Whitcomb’s classic The World that Perished. When he wrote the book, he avidly kept up to date with young-earth creationist publications, even ones self-published by their author, but his quotations from mainstream scientific sources (magazines [Read More...]

Award for the Most Hypocritical Argument in the History of Creationism

I am reading parts of John C. Whitcomb’s book The World That Perished which I included in this semester’s readings for my course on religion and science. I want students to get a first-hand impression of what young-earth creationists have to say, as well as of their critics. In college “teaching the controversy” may be [Read More...]

Who Do My Opponents Say That I Am?

A new book will be appearing early in 2008 entitled Who Do My Opponents Say That I Am?: An Investigation of the Accusations Against Jesus (T&T; Clark). This is an exercise in what has been called “Christology from the side”, using outsiders’ and opponents’ views as a way of investigating the historical figure of Jesus. [Read More...]

Christianity Without Resurrection?

Today in my Sunday school class (discussing John 11), I went off on a tangent to explain the background of Jewish and early Christian thinking about the resurrection. I always consider this important, since for most contemporary Christians, the afterlife is about ‘going to heaven when I die’ and not ‘rising again on the last [Read More...]

Being Good Without God

Bertrand Russell talks about morality as a motivation some people have for adhering to and promoting religious belief. It is a point made more recently by Richard Dawkins. There is certainly some room for criticism of the Christian tradition on this point. Although Matthew’s moral universalization of the Golden Rule as the basis for divine [Read More...]

Evidence and Faith: The Creationist Paradox

There is a fundamental tension in young-earth creationism. It is claimed that there is evidence for not only creation but a young earth that anyone with an open mind will be persuaded by. Many other theologians and preachers, however, have found themselves speaking of a need for faith in order to perceive God’s hand, whether [Read More...]

Why I Am A Christian

Today the philosophy club at Butler University held a lunchtime discussion of Bertrand Russell’s famous essay, “Why I Am Not A Christian“. One criticism of the essay that I offered in the discussion is that it offers a no more sophisticated or academic a treatment of stories in the New Testament than fundamentalists would. The [Read More...]

The God Gene

On my recent trip I took along Dean Hamer’s book The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes. Since he apologizes for the title as not of his choosing, I will not comment on it, except to say that it was a factor that led me to not read the book sooner. I [Read More...]

Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Religion, Science and Art

Today was the last day of a conference I was attending entitled TRANSDICIPLINARY APPROACHES OF THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN SCIENCE, ART AND RELIGION IN THE EUROPE OF TOMORROW. For me, in many respects the highlight of the conference was learning that there are actually fans of science fiction in Romania. Apparently I just hadn’t encountered any [Read More...]

The Expanding Universe

Recently, I experienced a moment in which I didn’t simply know theoretically that I am a complex combination of subatomic particles and mostly empty space. I felt it. And as I thought about this further, I wondered whether, if one could view a life form such as a human being at the subatomic level, one [Read More...]

St. Augustine’s Confessions…Stolen!

My colleague in the history department who told me about this thought it could serve nicely as the introduction to a novel or movie. It is true, and so the author/filmmaker could rightly claim “This story is based on real events.” Every copy of St. Augustine’s Confessions (but not his other works) that was in [Read More...]

The Gospel of James the Lesser

No, this post isn’t about a newly-discovered extracanonical text. It is good news regarding yours truly (using ‘the lesser’ to distinguish myself from my doctoral supervisor, James Dunn). My second book has been accepted for publication by the University of Illinois Press! The title is The Only True God, and it will look at Christology [Read More...]