“If I Weren’t a Christian, I’d Be a Buddhist”—Beyond Straw Men

“If I weren’t a Christian, I’d be a Buddhist.” I remember sharing these words several years ago during an apologetics seminar in the Pacific Northwest. I was concerned that the Christians with whom I was sharing about a Christian engagement of various religious traditions, including Buddhism, did not realize how deep, mysterious and profound many non-Christian faiths are.When we view religious others in superficial ways, we often approach them and their arguments as straw men, which we can ea … [Read more...]

Isaac Newton: Was He a Friend or Foe of Religion and Nature?

Was Newton a friend or foe of religion? What about nature? Let’s start with religion. I suppose it depends on the meaning of ‘religion.’ From the vantage point of Trinitarian faith, the answer would be “no.” He was vehement in his rejection of the received Trinitarian orthodoxy of his day. Newton’s view of God resembled the ancient heretical doctrine of Arianism with his belief that Jesus was first among created beings, and whom God elevated as his subordinate and mediator to his right hand.[1] … [Read more...]

Flat Earths and Flattened People: How Our Pictures of the World Can Hurt Humanity

The air in the room went flat. A friend of mine challenged me on my particular ethical stance as a Christian based on what he took to be the Christian religion’s retreat in the face of science over the centuries. Just as the church once believed in a flat earth, only to rescind the view later, so the church will eventually come around to retract outdated ethical views of human nature in view of science’s ongoing advance. It was as if he spoke gospel truth given how a few friends listening in rea … [Read more...]

The Galileo Affair: Was His Conflict with the Church Really about Science vs. Religion?

If one were to argue that the Church’s fallout with Galileo was one of science vs. religion, one would also need to argue that it was about science vs. science, biblical interpretation vs. biblical interpretation, and politics as well as personalities. In fact, one would be hard pressed back in Galileo’s day to separate religion, science, and politics. They were often intertwined.Further to my recent post on Copernican thought,[1] the following quotation puts forth several of the issues sur … [Read more...]

An Unguarded Strength Is a Glaring Weakness

“An unguarded strength is a glaring weakness.” A wise sage, Dr. Calvin Blom, shared these words with me several years ago.* Even our strengths can become weaknesses if we do not put a guard on them.Charismatic, creative and energetic leaders can run over people if they are not careful; they must submit their gifts, passions and drives to the Lord. Only then can they move others as catalysts for God’s kingdom work. Those who have the gift of compassion must be sure not to bleed mercy in such … [Read more...]

“What is man that you are mindful of him…?” How the Copernican Revolution Promoted Human Value

It has often been claimed that the Copernican Revolution demoted the cosmos and humanity’s value in the universe at large.[1] The scientific move from a geocentric to heliocentric universe may have dethroned Aristotle’s particular view of the earth’s centrality, but not humanity’s importance in the overarching scheme of things. Paradoxically to how the modern mind often conceives the matter, Aristotle and others following him did not see centrality in the universe as necessarily a positive qualit … [Read more...]

Don’t Be Confused: Immediacy Is Not Intimacy

I was speaking with a Native Hawaiian the other day, who remarked that all too often visitors reduce Hawaii to Waikiki. The touristy thinking at times is: if you’ve been to Waikiki, you’ve experienced Hawaii. Not really. Even if you or I visit one of the islands, that does not mean we have really experienced the richness of Hawaiian life and culture. There is such diversity.No doubt, the same could be said of various places around the world, as well as the people who inhabit those places. Eve … [Read more...]