Certainty is Doubt

I love teaching the first year seminar class “Faith, Doubt, and Reason.” Reading Clifford and Tillich, the Bible and Hume, all in one semester makes for great conversations. In Monday’s class we talked about the meaning of faith. Clifford famously discussed the moral implications of accepting claims on insufficient evidence. When Tillich was brought into the [Read More...]

How Do You Know That?

Jerry Coyne has written an incredibly lengthy complaint about a book he has not read. His rant suggests that deep down he knows that there is something wrong with the picture, but that doesn’t manage to stop him from simply plowing ahead. He begins by pointing out something that theologians have been saying long before [Read More...]

The God Beyond God

A variety of traditions, including Christian mysticism and modern existentialist theology, have spoken of the “God beyond God.” This is the very ancient idea that, beyond any sort of anthropomorphic deity that we may think of and tell stories about, there must be an even greater reality that transcends our ability to comprehend and describe. [Read More...]

Struck by Grace

“Do we know what it means to be struck by grace? It does not mean that we suddenly believe that God exists, or that Jesus is the Saviour, or that the Bible contains the truth. To believe that something is, is almost contrary to the meaning of grace. Furthermore, grace does not mean simply that we are making progress [Read More...]

Mystics and/or Atheists

Dale Tuggy has been interacting with a recent post of mine here on my blog, and now in a post over on the blog Trinities. He considers the viewpoint of Paul Tillich, that God is Being itself and not one being among others, to be a form of atheism rather than of Christian theism. He [Read More...]

Liberal Christianity in Three Books

Rod Dreher shared a challenge aimed at combating religious illiteracy: offer a list of three books – and no more than three – that will together give an adequate introduction to a particular religion. Other bloggers have already responded. So which would I choose for my own liberal Christian tradition? There is a real sense in [Read More...]

Christianity as Ultimate Concern

In my First Year Seminar class “Faith, Doubt, and Reason,” I shared the thought experiment “What Would It Take To Make You Lose Your Faith?” That’s something I shared here on the blog previously, and because of the scenario it has come up in connection in recent discussions of religion and science fiction in general, [Read More...]

Tillich on Liberal Faith

Even the faith of the liberal needs expression and some communal formulation, and it needs to be defended against authoritarian attacks. Even more: the ultimate concern of the liberal needs concrete contents, as does every ultimate concern. He also lives in institutions of a definite historical character. He, too, has a special language and uses [Read More...]

Beyond a Copernican Spiritual Revolution

David Hayward posted this cartoon, depicting the sea change in the direction of so many being “spiritual yet not religious”: Some will find the shift from the church at the center to the individual at the center offensive and problematic. But it isn't that different from what Jesus talked about when he said “the Sabbath [Read More...]

The Religion Scholars Song

Here’s a song written with the aim of using rhyme to help you remember key points about theologians and religion scholars of the 20th century. Of course, such aims often prove harder to fulfill than one had hoped. Enjoy the silliness! I expect that those who’ve studied religion or been to seminary will get the [Read More...]

Christian Faith is not Belief, nor Certainty

A young Christian wrote an e-mail expressing concern about doubt. I thought I would share what I wrote to them, in case it is helpful to others: I wonder whether you may not have understood the “faith” referred to in the New Testament primarily in terms of holding the right beliefs. If you consider Paul’s [Read More...]


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