Kierkegaard: Prune Juice for the Soul

Kierkegaard is good for cleaning out the system. He's like prune juice for the soul. Kierkegaard cleans out the system of dead orthodoxies and bland generalities. The scandal of God’s particular Word Jesus confronts each and all of us and calls for a response of faith. Will we dare to draw near?We cannot hide behind clerical collars and pimp Jesus for profit; bourgeois Christendom must bow the knee to Christ (See my piece, “Can’t Pimp Jesus”). Nor can we hide behind logical syllogisms that ar … [Read more...]

Don’t Spit on God

Nobody is scum or refuse. Every human has inherent dignity and worth as someone created in God’s likeness. When we spit on somebody, we spit on God, for humanity is the spitting image of God.What does it mean to be created in God’s image? Many answers have been given throughout history. Some have spoken of the image in rational terms. Humanity is par excellence the thinking or wise creature (Homo sapiens). On this view, we best image God through reason.  After all, what other creature does Go … [Read more...]

Fears of Science and the Church: Are They All in the Head?

Many religious people are suspicious of significant issues in science. Many people—religious and non-religious alike—reflect suspicions and indifference toward the church (especially among younger people); one of the reasons for many young people leaving the church is the perception that churches appear hostile to science, as a Barna study claims. Could it be that many if not all fears and suspicions of science as well as the church are in the head?Regarding the suspicion of key consi … [Read more...]

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...]