Maybe God is a better person than you think

Jesus Creed serves up a guest post by Jeff Cook on one of my least favorite topics: "apologetics" and those awful show-debates between Christians and new atheists.I love dialogue, I do not love this approach to "debate." It turns the conversation into a matter of winning and pushes participants away from their complementary quest for truth and towards thinking of themselves as members of Team Christian and Team Atheist. That's not particularly instructive, interesting or even … [Read more...]

Is God free to decide to cherish a gum thief?

Derek Flood offers a mini-sermon on "Sin and Chewing Gum": Yesterday, I was walking through Dolores Park and heard a street preacher, saying "If you've ever stolen a stick of gum, then you are guilty of sin! If you've ever looked at Facebook at work, then you've stolen from your employer, and that's sin!"Of course we all know where he was headed: If we have sinned — even with a trivial infraction like a stick of gum — then God who is holy must punish us for all eternity in Hell unless we acc … [Read more...]

‘All right, then, I’ll go to Hell’

Rachel Held Evans points us to "95 Tweets Against Hell" from Two Friars and a Fool: Here are all of our 95 tweets, categorized by the kind of argument they are making – ethical, theological and biblical, in that order. What it boils down to is that there is no ethical justification for Hell whatsoever, no good theological reason to posit a doctrine of Hell, and there are literally hundreds of Biblical passages that do not support an eternal Hell of conscious torment. … We did not even scratch th … [Read more...]

A History of Hell and a whiff of sulfur

Turner

Alice K. Turner's The History of Hell is not a book of theology. The book draws on several disciplines, with art history, literature and folklore all playing a much larger role than any formal theology. And that's only fitting, because our idea of "Hell" has been shaped over the centuries far more by art, literature and folklore than it has been by any formal theology.The word "Hell" is an awkward English translation for several different words in our Bibles. Each of these words -- gehenna, … [Read more...]

'Love Wins,' ca. 1321

This is from Alice K. Turner's fascinating The History of Hell, from Turner's chapter on mystery plays. Biblical parables like the stories of Dives and Lazarus or the wise and foolish virgins were not commonly staged, partly because they were not "history," and partly because of an intrinsic dramatic pitfall illustrated by the story of Frederick the Undaunted, margrave of Thuringia. In 1321, he attended a performance of a wise and foolish virgins play put on by a boys' school in Eisnadi and was … [Read more...]

Orthodoxy and ignorance

Mike Todd, writing about Rob Bell's Love Wins and the (over)heated condemnation it has received, offers an insight into this fierce defense of rigid orthodoxies that collides neatly with our most recent Tribulation Force discussion. In particular, he explains why it is that real, true Christian heroes like Rayford Steele and Buck Williams cannot learn, change or grow.Here's Mike, writing about "Love Hell, Conciousness and the (Current) Impossibility of 'Church Unity'": If your spirituality is … [Read more...]

Quench not the Spirit

Rachel Held Evans responds to the recent Southern Baptist Convention resolution affirming belief in "conscious, eternal suffering" for all non-Christians, i.e., Hell.She quotes from Rustin J. Umstattd, a theology professor at Midwestern Baptist seminary, who criticizes author Rob Bell for not realizing that we Christians, apparently, are not supposed to listen when our conscience starts screaming in protest: It is clear that Bell is not comfortable with the idea that billions of people may … [Read more...]

They're spreading blankets on the beach

The Economist: "America's transport infrastructure: Life in the slow lane" America’s dependence on its cars is reinforced by a shortage of alternative forms of transport. Europe’s large economies and Japan routinely spend more than America on rail investments, in absolute not just relative terms, despite much smaller populations and land areas. America spends more building airports than Europe but its underdeveloped rail network shunts more short-haul traffic onto planes, leaving many of its air … [Read more...]


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