I remember the scene in the movie The Mission in which one of the characters responds to the statement “thus is the world” by saying “no, thus have we made the world – thus have I made it.” I wonder whether we do the same thing when we who are academics in the postmodern era analyse everything in terms of power struggles. I appreciate very much the fact that so many disciplines in the humanities and social sciences have turned a critical eye… Read more

I really enjoyed learning from student blog posts not only what they are finding engaging in my class on the Bible and music, but also what they are finding frustrating. One example of the latter was my mentioning in passing of historical questions, doubts, and debates related to the stories of the crucifixion of Jesus as found in the Gospels. I found the student’s blog post about this interesting because it stemmed from the student’s Catholic faith, and yet Catholicism… Read more

I actually had a draft post for a while, planning to blog about hell and Jesus, which was called “Christians approach hell (and Jesus) from different angles.” But then the image below came my way via Facebook, and it not only prompted me to return to the subject, but seemed to deserve to be the starting point for the post. What do you think? Was that the right choice? I think that the above actually illustrates nicely the way our… Read more

This pithy statement came to my attention via Facebook but originated with Ian Panth on Twitter: “The Ark is an abattoir of Scripture in the guise of a shrine.” There are other things in the Ark that will make you stop and stare like the utter nonsense in the text and the credulous crowd that eats them up. It is a jaw dropping head shaking romp through collective madness. The Ark is an abattoir of Scripture in the guise of… Read more

The X-Files episode “Kitten” does something that many episodes in the rebooted series have done, namely delved deeper into the backstory of major characters to explore how those experiences shaped them. In this case, the focus is on Walter Skinner. The episode begins with experiences Skinner had in Vietnam, seeing his friend and fellow soldier John “Kitten” James exposed to an experimental chemical, and witnessing how it changed him from being terrified and overwhelmed with fear to a savage killer… Read more

The season one finale of Star Trek: Discovery brought the major arcs of the season to a satisfying conclusion, while also leaving us eager to see what happens next. Spoilers ahead! Early in the episode, we see that Michael Burnham is not simply going to go along with Captain Georgiou from the Terran Empire, who says that her information is giving the Federation a fighting chance, and asks whether Michael is with her or against her. Michael says she is… Read more

I had the opportunity to make a guest appearance at one session of this year-long workshop for local artists, talking about creation in the Genesis 2-3 creation account as received and interpreted in Christian and Gnostic sources. The works that the artists have produced in past years have been incredible, and I have no doubt that the same will be true in February 2018. And so I am sharing the announcement so that you can mark your calendars and hopefully attend! Read more

This call for papers for the AAR annual meeting in November is worth sharing here, falling as it does at the intersection of religion and science fiction: Transposition of Religious and Theological Concepts Through Worldbuilding I am working to organize a panel proposal for this year’s American Academy of Religion conference for the Religion and Science Fiction Unit. In particular, I am looking for fellow panelists interested in presenting papers on the topic “Transposition of Religious and Theological Concepts Through Worldbuilding.”… Read more

I recently shared a poster for one of our calls for papers. Time for another: You can also find the text of the call for papers on both the SBL (Digital Humanities) and AAR (Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity) web pages. Online Resources and Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity This joint session with the AAR section Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity will include both a selection of invited papers and proposals. We are accepting papers that explore online resources relating… Read more

I recently spoke with Jim Lebans of the Canadian Broadcasting Company about religion and the singularity. Here is the program they put together: It is fascinating to hear the result, as they brought together not only my own conversation but that of other academics into a fascinating combination. On their website they add: Superintelligent machines as prophets or gurus Another way to imagine our relationship with the superintelligent machines is to think about the gods of mythology. As Theologian James McGrath points out,… Read more

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