Maybe Belief Is a Matter of Choice for Some

I’ve gotten into more than my fair share of interchanges with people on the internet arguing over whether or not faith is a matter of personal volition. Can you simply choose to believe in God or Jesus if you don’t already? And do people who leave the faith of their youth do so by choice? Or [Read More…]

Help! My Grandchildren Are Becoming Calvinists

A retired friend of mine who now considers himself an agnostic has been struggling for some time to navigate his relationship with his children and grandchildren, all of whom are still religious themselves. In particular he’s been working through his differences with his daughter, now a thoroughgoing Calvinist, which precipitated a heated interchange over the [Read More…]

What Bowling Can Teach Us About Prayer

I suppose I started celebrating Father’s Day a day early when I took my nine-year-old bowling yesterday, but of course that won’t stop me from doing it again today when I take her to my favorite place for catfish and hushpuppies (not a normal fare for a guy trying to keep from putting back on [Read More…]

How Faith is Like Playing Minecraft

I recently had something that was as close to a religious experience as I’ve had in a really long time, and a light bulb went on in my head that changed the way I see a whole lot of things. So much human behavior suddenly makes sense to me now, and I’d like to try [Read More…]

Maybe Fighting God Isn’t the Point

Not every development in human evolution serves to perpetuate the species. Not every variation benefits us in more ways than it harms us. There ultimately is no rhyme or reason to what happens from moment to moment—there is only order in what remains over the long haul because only those things beneficial to the preservation and [Read More…]

Our Biggest Mistake: We Did As We Were Told

Those of us who broke up with Jesus (he wouldn’t return our calls) are accustomed to having our motives and our sincerity questioned by those still happy with their faith. We get it all the time. We hear that we weren’t authentic enough, or we weren’t fully surrendered to the will of God, or we had some [Read More…]

Note From a Pastor: Finding Meaning in Our Myths

This past weekend I got an email from a Presbyterian pastor (PCUSA) asking some really good questions, and I’d like to share them with you here in abbreviated form (with permission, of course). I think they’re good appetizers for a better-than-usual discussion about how faith and religion function in the world, and about the consequences [Read More…]

Can You Choose NOT to Believe?

I try not to get sucked into too many arguments about religion in my friends’ social media spaces because I never know how personally their friends and relatives will take the discussion. Arguing in the comment section of a blog or on Reddit is one thing, but when you’re on people’s Facebook walls you may be crossing [Read More…]

Faith and the Power of a Magic Feather

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” –Philippians 4:13 Growing up evangelical, no message featured more prominently in my understanding of the Christian life than this verse. After John 3:16, this verse tops just about everybody’s list of favorite Bible passages, rivaled only by the verse in Jeremiah that says “I know the [Read More…]

Making Your Faith Impossible to Disprove

A few days ago I reshared an article entitled “Why I Broke Up with Jesus” which always inspires a predictable set of rationalizations from people defending their tradition using the same time-tested tools I learned to use when I was a Christian. I’m always glad they do it, too, because it brings into such stark relief [Read More…]