Tree Huggers and Puppy Kickers

An Evangelical Environmentalist is not an oxymoron. He happens to be a dear friend of mine named Peter Illyn. His cogent Christian convictions shape his environmentalist positions at every turn and are embodied in his work at Restoring Eden. Still, a Christian once asked him suspiciously, “Are you a tree hugger?” Peter responded: “I would rather be a tree hugger than a puppy kicker.” One Christian retorted when he heard this claim, “I’m a puppy kicker.”How could any Christian self-identify as … [Read more...]

The Qur’an & the Problem of Evil: “A Mother Lode of Bad Ideas”?

Ben Affleck recently engaged in a heated exchange with Bill Maher and Sam Harris on “Real Time.” The heated exchange was the result of Maher and Harris’ harsh, sweeping criticisms of Islam, including Harris’s statement that Islam is a “mother lode of bad ideas” (See here the video of the exchange). Beyond the debate’s appeal given their celebrity status and subject matter, some have found it striking that it is figures like Maher and Harris that are launching such criticisms. One well-known imam … [Read more...]

Missing Links: On Faith and Science

It is well known that Evangelical Christianity has often experienced a difficult relationship with science. The Scopes “Monkey Trial” in 1925 left an indelible mark on the psyche of many segments of the movement. As George Marsden wrote, “It would be difficult to overestimate the impact” of the trial “in transforming fundamentalism.” George Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism — 1870-1925 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 184. … [Read more...]

Aristotle, Descartes and Materialism: On the Soul and Body

A key question today in discussions of mind and matter is: can we explain consciousness by way of the brain without remainder, that is, apart from any consideration of an immaterial mind or soul? Aristotle and Descartes argued for non-materialist conceptions of life involving both soul or mind and body. In what follows, I will discuss their views and touch briefly upon a materialist conception.Aristotle’s model of hylomorphism is the combination of matter and form or body and soul as two d … [Read more...]

Holiness Involves the Humane Treatment of Animals

Holiness involves the humane treatment of animals. This is not a politically correct statement, but a biblically correct one.Note for example the prohibition against boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk in Exodus 23:19, Exodus 34:26, and Deuteronomy 14:21. The latter passage reads: “You shall not eat anything that has died naturally. You may give it to the sojourner who is within your towns, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a people holy to the LORD you … [Read more...]

Holiness Is Relational

 Holiness is relational. Behavioral solutions don't solve relational problems. Otherwise, God could say "Take two moral pills and call me in the morning." God solves relational problems relationally.Where did I get this idea? No, I haven’t digested a hallucinogenic. Nor did I pull a rabbit answer out of a hat. Take it or leave it, but my perspective is based on my ruminations over reading the Bible.Jesus came to earth to live among us. The incarnation (John 1:14) is bound up … [Read more...]

Thank God for the Dalai Lama.

For all of orthodox Christianity's differences in belief from the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism, we share many things in common. One of the things I admire most is his profound compassionate care for all of existence, most notably, his supreme regard for humanity. Such compassionate care is on full display in his volume, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality (New York: Harmony Books, 2005). In his essay titled “Ethics and the New Genetics,” he addresses the … [Read more...]