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…]

The God Who Performs Party Tricks

The God of the Bible is not above performing party tricks. I feel this needs to be pointed out because some I know seem to think they can have it both ways. They insist that the biblical God performed miracle after miracle in order to validate himself, at times upon very specific demand from the [Read More…]

The Bible’s Attitude Toward the Life of the Mind

“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” —Ecclesiastes Secularists like me became legitimately concerned when we first learned that our new president-elect selected billionaire right-wing megadonor Betsy DeVos to [Read More…]

To the Man Handing Out Bibles at School This Week

To the nice old man who handed out Bibles this week at the school where I teach: Dear Sir, I want to thank you for giving out these little orange books you brought with you to our school campus this week. It’s not that often I am handed a free book, and at a government-owned [Read More…]

Paul, the True Founder of Christianity

When I was in college I used to get so perturbed by my Bible professors because they all seemed so annoyingly liberal. It was a shock to my system, since I grew up Southern Baptist and since the school I was attending was a Baptist college as well. Our religion professors were far more liberal than any [Read More…]

Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower: Finding Common Ground

“If Jesus had a ‘sh*t list,’ you wouldn’t find people on it. You’d find attitudes and actions. Not wrong people but wrong ideas, behaviors, and ways of being in the world…He could see the humanity even in the soldiers who were carrying out his execution.” Tom Krattenmaker, Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower, page 28-29 [Read More…]

Why Doesn’t “Sodomy” Refer to a Lack of Hospitality?

Last week I wrote a piece about the traces of nascent humanism in the teachings of Jesus, and toward the end of that post I indicated that I view those socially progressive threads in light of a larger prophetic tradition within the Jewish faith, a tradition in which Jesus himself may rightly belong: [PDF version [Read More…]

Five Times When Jesus Sounded Like a Humanist

I’ve said before that I’m not much of a fan of Jesus. If the reports of what he taught his followers have any truth to them, he said a number of things to which I object (and I don’t mean just the parts about believing in invisible spirits). The Jesus I Don’t Like For one thing, [Read More…]

The Christmas That Wasn’t

Growing up, my favorite superhero was definitely Superman. Hands down, no one else captured my childhood imagination more perfectly than he did. I was also taught to idolize Jesus growing up, and it always delighted me that my boyhood idol so closely mirrored the object of my religious devotion as well.* Both of them were, [Read More…]

Seven Bad Reasons to Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus

Well, it looks like I spoke too soon. Contrary to my previous declaration that Tim Keller was done trying to build a logical case for Christianity and had just moved on to sermonizing, it turns out the second-to-the-last chapter in his apologetics work The Reason for God really did contain one last shot at arguing [Read More…]