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

Imagine you are young man in high school. Excellent grades, aspiring young basketball star – the world is your oyster. Enter the back pain, the initial medical consults, and the first cancer diagnosis. Surgery and redo surgery. Basketball career over, in and out of hospitals, a new reality takes form. Repeated spine surgeries not only have the pleasure of extended hospital stays, but an unspeakable pain of which most of us could only imagine. High school goes from the best of times… Read more

Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is one of the most powerful books I’ve read in my life. A pyschotherapist whose landmark theory was lived through the horrific experience of not only losing freedom, but facing a new reality in a concentration camp. Such horror I cannot pretend to understand – only recollect a harrowing feeling I experienced watching Solomon Northup’s story in 12 Years as a Slave. There is no shortage of philosophies of the highest good, but for extraordinary individuals like Solomon Northup… Read more

An interesting read from author and astrophysicist Mario Livio. Unlike the title’s suggestion, the text is not a metaphysical deep dive on God and the applicability of mathematics. While this may be disappointing, it is important to consider the author’s perspective. Livio himself is not religious, though he has respect for those with a religious worldview. The tone of the text is agnostic as his interests are not in metaphysics/philosophy of religion, but mathematics. There is no cross-comparison of theological realism/irrealism and mathematical realism/irrealism…. Read more

For Aquinas, knowledge begins with sense perception. ‘Our natural knowledge takes its beginning from sense. Therefore it can extend only so far as it can be brought by (reflection on) the things of sense.’ (S.T., Ia, 12, 12) Neither a strict empiricist, nor a strict rationalist, though Aquinas believed that though knowledge starts with sense perception, it’s completed in abstraction – experiencing the particulars and reasoning towards universals. Knowledge of God entails both this metaphysical inference as well as a faith… Read more

A surprising quote from Bryan Magee, one of my favorite historians and commentators of philosophy. His writing is clear and eloquent, and in his Confessions of a Philosopher, also very humble, personal, and autobiographical. His love of the big questions and metaphysics is loaded in every page. As he’s an atheist with a lean towards Kantian metaphysics, we’re quite far off on theology and metaphysics, but as truth-seekers and metaphysicians with an interest in morality, we stand together on the radical… Read more

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