Archives for December 2016

A Quick Course in Rational Thought (and Persuasive Argument): “Thought 101”

Rational Thought (and Persuasive Argument) 101If there is one thing I have learned from blogging it is that many otherwise intelligent people struggle and fail at thinking rationally. I’m sure I do as well (but hopefully not often). Thinking rationally and sticking to it is difficult; it takes a great deal of effort.Over my many years of interacting with people about ideas I have often heard them refer to something called “Buddhist logic.” They claim that basic rules of logic are “West … [Read more...]

On Learning Our Lessons from History

On Learning Our Lessons from HistoryEveryone has heard some version of philosopher George Santayana’s famous saying that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. The study of history is crucial to knowing what might happen in the future.Please bear with me as I add my own footnotes to Santayana’s maxim: “Whatever has happened in history could happen again.” Now, of course, the past is unrepeatable in the literal sense. An event of the past can never happen … [Read more...]

Two Evangelical Churches on Christmas Eve (2016): As Different as Night and Day

Two Evangelical Churches on Christmas Eve (2016): As Different as Night and Day*No responses needed or wanted*I love diversity. People in America tend to lump all evangelicals together--as if we all think the same, live the same, look the same and worship the same. While we share some beliefs in common (e.g., Jesus Christ is the sole Savior and Lord of the world), we are as different as night and day in other respects.This Christmas Eve I was privileged to attend two evangelical … [Read more...]

Merry Christmas and Please Be Patient….

For a few days around Christmas (2016) I will not be able to moderate this blog on a regular basis. So please celebrate whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year (Christmas, Kwanzza, Hannuka, Winter Solstice or whatever) and check back occasionally. My regular moderation and occasionally postings will resume a few days after Christmas. Thank you for your patience. … [Read more...]

An Excellent Arminian Book on Divine Providence

An Excellent Arminian Book on Divine ProvidenceAs an out-of-the-closet evangelical Arminian I am often asked for recommendation of a book about divine providence from an Arminian perspective. When I have reluctantly admitted there aren’t any I can recommend without reservations, some inquirers have urged me to write one. It’s a task I’ve been reluctant to take on. I have often recommended my friend Greg Boyd’s excellent book Is God to Blame? even though it is not a thorough treatment of provi … [Read more...]

The Transcendent Foundation of Humanism (or Why Human Rights Are not Arbitrary)

The Transcendent Foundation of Humanism (Or Why Human Rights Are not Arbitrary)Recently and before that I have argued here that without a transcendent, “supernatural” foundation, humanism is simply speciesism. Again, as always, someone objected that even if there were a transcendent, supernatural foundation for humanism (such as God), humanism would be “arbitrary.” Here I set out, as concisely as possible, to explain why that is not the case.First, however, please bear with me and exercis … [Read more...]

My Thoughts about a New Proposal about God’s Providence and Power

My Thoughts about a New Proposal about God’s Providence and PowerBelow is a paper I presented at the recent (November, 2016) annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in San Antonio, Texas. This paper was presented as part of a panel discussion of theologian Thomas Oord’s proposal about Christian theology with regard to God’s providence and power in the world. Oord is a Church of the Nazarene theologian who has taught at Northwest Nazarene University. This proposal, expressed most fu … [Read more...]