Christian Architecture

The only true Christian architecture of the first century was one of living stones and not of brick or mortar. This community-centered ideal accompanied the development of Christianity from its rural Jewish origins into the urban Gentile mission. Edward Foley, Foundations of Christian Music: The Music of Pre-Constantinian Christianity, p.52. [Read more…]

Yoda: Islamic Philosopher and American Supreme Court Justice

I was struck to learn the precursors to the famous words that Jedi Master Yoda speaks in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Although I have yet to find the precise original source, the sentiment finds expression in this quote attributed to Ibn Rushd (better known to some as Averroes): Another similar sentiment is expressed [Read More…]

Why Jesus Died

The quote comes from my post “Remembering the Needs of the Many at Christmas.” [Read more…]

Skepticism vs. Scholarship

Jonathan Bernier sums things up nicely: There is an unfortunate tendency in many circles to suppose that critical scholarship consists of pronouncing negative judgments on early Christians’ own self-understanding of their origins. I would suggest that this is a misunderstanding of what it means to be a critical historian. The critical historian is one who [Read More…]

Avoiding Plagiarism

Dear students, here’s a super-simple tip on how to avoid plagiarism. Imagine someone reading your sentence and asking, “How do you know that?” If the answer is something like “I read/heard/saw it somewhere” or “somebody told me,” you should acknowledge that source. If the answer is something like “everybody knows that,” you probably don’t need [Read More…]

United by Doubt

The quote comes from James A. Haught’s book 2000 Years of Disbelief. For more about Ustinov’s views on religion, see his interviews in the “This I Believe” series and with Mike Wallace. There is certainly a sense in which beliefs – held dogmatically – divide people. And recognition of our shared uncertainty has the potential [Read More…]

Brief Quotes and Simple Explanations

The above cartoon from Abstruse Goose is called “Special Relativity Simply Explained.” But somewhat amusingly, if you download the image, it is called “How to ruin a scientist’s career overnight.” The comic illustrates an important point: a big issue in our time is not merely fake news, but looking to the news at all, even [Read More…]

Not Liberal, Just Literate

Hemant Mehta drew attention to an article in the Star Tribune about meteorologist Paul Douglas, who is an Evangelical Christian and wants to persuade his fellow Christians to accept the evidence for climate change. The quote in the meme comes via the article, but is originally from his recent book, Caring for Creation. [Read more…]

C. F. D. Moule on History and Christian Faith

Matthew Montonini shared a quote from C. F. D. Moule about history and faith. Here is a longer excerpt: Decision there must be if there is to be Christian faith. Faith is faith, and no amount of photography and tape-recording of events could compel it. To see is not necessarily to believe. But, on the [Read More…]

The Myth of Mythicism and Undebunkable Skepticism

Jonathan Bernier noted in a recent post “the special pleading involved in rejecting a consensus position adopted by virtually every New Testament scholar (that Jesus existed) while accepting without reflection a consensus position adopted by most but hardly all such scholars. If we are all mistaken on something so fundamental to the discipline, then how [Read More…]