A modern Psalm revealed in one of my favorites scenes: The quietness of God, the problem of evil and suffering. It’s a timeless theme. We believe in a benevolent, all-knowing, all-powerful God, yet life often throws us harsh, cold, and cruel circumstances. Enter the free will response – God allows evil to allow free will. For good could not be good and love could not be love, if forced. But on the quietness of God, the supposed needless suffering of… Read more

Jordan Peterson is deep. I came across a fascinating dialogue between him and Sam Harris on Harris’ podcast. It was a very interesting and respectful exchange of ideas. Harris’ background is in neuroscience and he’s a very prominent New Atheist author. Peterson is a particularly progressive Christian, and has an interesting perspective as a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology – he’s specifically interested in underlying archetypes of behavior and belief. Both Harris and Peterson are realists and feel there are mind independent truths,… Read more

Change is hard. Inertia has its own unrelenting staying power, perhaps no more apparent in the great civil rights struggles. With Ghandi as a major influence, and Christ as his ultimate measure, Martin Luther King Junior’s insistence on love and nonviolence was the epoch needed for change. It’s more than counterintuitive to not trade violence for violence. At the exact opposite end of the Civil Rights movement was Malcolm X, embracing an eye for an eye mentality and racial separation. But MLK Jr’s… Read more

Lincoln is no doubt my favorite US President. One of my favorite quotes from him is “if slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong”. It’s actually taken from a letter to Albert G. Hodges in 1864, for which there are some other important sentiments made: “I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel. And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an… Read more

Blood Diamond is a powerful and moving film. One scene in particular, I vividly remember. The backdrop is that an innocent young child, the apple of his father’s eye, was taken captive by warlords, and forced into labor to harvest diamonds. Like all forms of slavery and human trafficking, the goal is to break the captive’s identity and self-worth, and turn them (via drugs, forced labor, prostitution, etc.) into an entirely new person. The theological parallels are striking. The film depicts the shattering of innocence… Read more

Robert Jastrow is one of my favorite agnostic authors on the big questions. As founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a popular author, I’ve very much appreciated his insights on the intersection of science (specifically cosmology), philosophy, and theology. The combination of his knowledge and humility are rare, especially among today’s skeptical scientists who write on these topics (like Lawrence Krauss who wrote A Universe from Nothing). To Aristotle and Liebniz’s timeless question, “Why is There Something… Read more

I dig philosophy of mind. For those with an interest in metaphysics and the big questions, the nature of consciousness is an irresistible topic. Baffling theists and atheists alike, what is the relationship between the body (physical) and the mind (conscious experience)? Is the mind “soul stuff”? If so, how does it react with the body? If nothing exists but the physical, what do we make of the mind? One of my favorite bits on consciousness actually comes from Nobel… Read more

My written exchange (turned philosophical road show) with Adam Lee on the nonreligious channel has culminated into a book! The working title is Meta: On God, the Big Questions, and the Just City (An Uncommon Exchange). It’s being published by Cascade Books, an imprint of the Oregon publishing house Wipf & Stock, devoted to “books that combine academic rigor with broad appeal and readability”. The goal of our book (and live events) is to raise the bar on the how the… Read more

In my reading, I was reminded again how profound James 1 is with some timeless metaphysical and religious themes. The nature of God, the problem of evil, free will, and true religion; look no further. I. Metaphysics (The nature of God, problem of evil, free will) A key topic in philosophical theology, the logical problem of evil asks how it is possible that God and evil both exist. It becomes apparent fairly quick that the definition of “God” and “evil” are both key underlying… Read more

What does it mean to be “religious”? Not in the generic sense, “spirituality” for example, but a religion that God accepts. I’m always taken back be the fact the genuine Christianity cannot conform to a religious “system”. Only through loving action can one call themselves religious. By way of James 1:27, Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep keep oneself from being polluted by the… Read more

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