From the symposium website: “Moral Machines? The Ethics and Politics of the Digital World” is a symposium organized by two research fellows, Susanna Lindberg and Hanna-Riikka Roine at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. The aim of the symposium is to bring together researchers from all fields addressing the many issues and problems of the digitalization of our social reality, such as thinking in the digital world, the morality and ethics of machines, and the ways of controlling and manipulating the… Read more

Phil Ledgerwood paraphrased the conversation between Jesus and those who accused him of casting out demons through the power of Beelzebul: JESUS: I’m casting out demons. The kingdom of God has come. I’m binding the strong man to pillage his house and reclaim Israel. Etc. Etc. OPPONENTS: You only have authority over demons because Satan has given it to you. JESUS: If that were true, then Satan would be fighting against himself and destroying his own kingdom. OPPONENTS: … JESUS:… Read more

Somehow I’ve managed not to blog about Westworld, despite having found both seasons incredibly engaging, and replete to overflowing with religious themes and symbolism. As Janey Tracey wrote early in the first season: It’s nothing new for AI movies and TV shows to explore themes such as the godlike creation of intelligent life, the desire to destroy your own idols, and the notion that the definition of humanity involves some level of imperfection. However, Westworld isn’t exploring these themes tangentially; they seem to… Read more

Neil Carter has written such a detailed and insightful post about the history of conservative Evangelicalism and its effect in shaping the church of today, that it didn’t seem adequate to merely circulate a link to it on social media. Early in the blog post Neil writes: [D]isregard for blacks, for immigrants, for women, and for the poor is woven into the fabric of white evangelicalism in ways they cannot see because it’s all about what their theology doesn’t say rather than… Read more

Some things that I have been reading recently have brought two of my past publications into conversation with one another, in a manner that I never expected. I wrote an article on John 5:18 many years ago, focused on whether Jesus is a rebellious son, in making himself equal to his father. You can read that article online, courtesy of Butler University’s institutional repository. I also wrote a book chapter on the question “What Would Jesus Drink?” which also had… Read more

I have long found myself puzzled by the statement attributed to Jesus in the New Testament, depicted as a response to the accusation that he cast out demons through the power of the prince of demons, often rendered as Beelzebul. Jesus asks (Mark 3:23-26), “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided,… Read more

  Heather Goodman wrote this on Facebook, and I thought it was such a great way of making an important point, that I asked for permission to share it: I think too many Christians start with the idea that Evolution would have to make sense theologically first, in order for it to be true. Something doesn’t have to make theological sense to be true. It’s either true or not true. Theology has to grapple with reality, we can’t force reality… Read more

I finally got to see the movie version of A Wrinkle In Time recently, and it was interesting to have that experience coincide with watching the most recent episode of The Expanse. Madeleine L’Engle’s novel A Wrinkle in Time was one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading as a young person, and I loved the other books in the series as well. It was very strange watching the movie and feeling as though, on the one hand, it was very clearly not aimed at… Read more

I still recall when I first spotted a first very early mention of Richard Grigg’s forthcoming book Science Fiction and the Imitation of the Sacred. I shared a link, commenting on how interesting it looked. Someone left a comment under the link, asking why the title referred to “imitation” of the sacred, rather than simply the sacred. Not long after, the publisher contacted me to ask for an endorsement of the book, and so I was delighted! Here’s what I wrote:… Read more

The New Yorker shared this cartoon: Here’s the caption: “I’m sorry, but we believe in tradition—marriage should exclusively be about bringing a brief moment of calm between two warring kingdoms.”  There have been a lot of memes about “traditional marriage” or “biblical marriage,” many of which highlight stories such as Solomon’s many wives and concubines. What most of them fail to adequately incorporate is the very different social functions of ancient marriages vs. modern ones, regardless of the gender of… Read more

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