Why milllennialism is misleading the church


Don’t get me wrong — I think post-millennialism is a flawed theology. But if the Second Coming of Jesus is going to influence how Christians respond to injustice, I don’t want to hear us invoking pre-millennialist pessimism and saying that “Some things are not going to change until Jesus comes.” If that’s the only other option, then I’d prefer the post-millennial view: “Jesus isn’t going to come until some things change.” [Read more...]

Fanon and canon: ‘Harmonizing’ away the Bible

This scene has absolutely nothing to do with the story in Genesis 1.

Right off the bat, then, we have a choice to make. We can choose to accept that this apparent variation is a feature of the book(s) we are reading, and we can then go about trying to learn what such variation has to teach us. Or we can choose to say that this appearance of variation is a problem that must be solved, and we can then go about trying to explain away every such apparent instance of variety, dispute or diversity within the canon in order to buttress our notion that it serves as a clear, simple, unequivocal and univocal authority that can be cited chapter-and-verse to settle all disputes and answer all questions. [Read more...]

How frail a foundation, ye saints of the Lord


If Jesus is the basis for your faith, then your “approach to authority” and “the way in which you read the Bible” can be completely disassembled without you having to “kick your entire faith out the door.” In fact, if Jesus is the center of your faith, then you’re probably going to have to regularly and repeatedly “completely disassemble” your ideas about authority and the way in which you read the Bible. Your faith will require you to do that. Constantly. [Read more...]

The doctrine of the Trinity … it’s a trap!


I probably fall into one of the countless categories of trinitarian heresies. Since almost everyone does, I’ve come to suspect that this is a feature, not a bug, of the doctrine of the Trinity. It’s a trap — an efficient machine for assigning and designating heresies. [Read more...]

If this is a joke, it’s a very elaborate joke


If this is a joke, it’s an incredibly elaborate joke — a hoax perpetrated by a comic genius who finds Christopher Guest’s troupe insufficiently subtle. Which is to say that I’m afraid this is not meant as a joke. Which is to say that I think it is a joke, but that JD Hall doesn’t realize that. He’s not Christopher Guest, he’s Corky St. Clair. [Read more...]

Theodicy and foreign policy: The U.S. is not omnipotent


Andrew Tabler is trying to revive one of the nastiest, most illogical of all the nasty, illogical arguments that misled America into the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. He’s repeating Glenn Reynolds’ ugly, foolish slur that anyone who opposed invading Iraq was “objectively pro-Saddam.” This accusation doesn’t make any more sense in 2013 than it did a decade ago, but I think I’ve finally figured out why people like Reynolds and Tabler trick themselves into thinking it does. They’re not really talking about foreign policy. They’re talking about theodicy. [Read more...]

Fundamentalism vs. reality: How fundie faith destroys itself

Fundamentalism: Take out one piece and the whole thing topples to the ground.

The larger problem is that according to fundamentalism, those falsehoods are inextricably linked to everything else. Everything. So if it turns out that the Earth is actually 4.5 billion years old, then, according to fundamentalism, life has no meaning, happiness is impossible, love is illusion, Jesus is dead, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins, and we are of all people most to be pitied. [Read more...]

YouTube and the God of Job


Toward the end of the book of Job, the character of God starts off listing all the incredible things he’s created as a way of bolstering his authority and trustworthiness. But then it starts to get away from him a bit. God starts grinning goofily at the thought of all these amazing creatures and the argument morphs into more of a reverie about just how freakin’ cool all this stuff he created has turned out to be. It’s like part-way through this theological discourse, the character of God wanders off and just starts surfing the Web, laughing with delight at animal videos on YouTube. [Read more...]