Two Questions for Christian Readers

Remember you can vote once per day for the Atheism Awards.  I’m one of five nominees for Best Atheist Blog.  More details here.Two atheist blogs in my RSS reader posted open questions for Christians, and since the the Christian commenters here play nice with others nearly all the time, I'd love to dispatch you to take a crack at them.First up, John Loftus, a minister turned atheist and the author of Why I Became an Atheist and The End of Christianity.  Over at Debunking Chri … [Read more...]

More on the Damnably Foolish Virgins

UPDATE: there are Harry Potter spoilers in the comments section.  If this is a problem for you, don't read my reply to Christian H or anything that follows.Thanks a lot to everyone who weighed in with exegesis of the parable of the ten virgins.  More perpectives and references are quite welcome.  Several people said it was impossible (physically and metaphorically) for the wise virgins to save the foolhardy ones; no mortal can fully redeem another person.  A number of people took this as a ju … [Read more...]

The Damnation of the Foolish Virgins

I'm always disappointed when a Mass reading has a perplexing or counterintuitive section, and the priest chooses to focus his sermon on the more obvious moral.  Luckily, I've got you commenters to turn to for exegesis, so maybe you'd like to take a crack at Matthew 25:1-13.For the Gospel selection at Sunday's Mass, the priest read Jesus's parable of the wise and foolish virgins.  In the story, ten virgins go out waiting for the bridegroom but only five were wise enough to bring enough oil to … [Read more...]

[Guest Post] Close Reading of Acts 13

Yesterday, Christian H of The Thinking Grounds posted an outline of how he approaches the Bible (a response to a plea for guest posts).   Today, he's given us a thorough example of what his theory looks like when it's applied.  Many thanks for his contribution.Given how abstract my previous post was, I think that a concrete example is in order. I suggest that you read that previous post if you haven’t already, as I wrote this as a companion to that. I also want to remind you that I don’t … [Read more...]

[Guest Post] A Christian Lit Nerd Reads the Bible

Long ago, I asked Christians to explain how they read the Bible.  At the time, no one wanted to tackle such a complex question in a blog post, so I tried to pry out some answers by including a question on this topic in the Ideological Turing Test.  Today, I'm delighted to announce that Christian H. of The Thinking Grounds has stepped up to the plate (you may remember him from my frequent links to his series on the connection between the self and the body).Christian has written two posts: to … [Read more...]

Doubting the Utility Argument

First, a quick clarification: in yesterday's post about Divine Mystery, I used the phrases 'Catholic' and 'Orthodox' to refer to two broad approaches to thinking about parts of theology. Both approaches are used in various proportions and contexts in each faith. I didn’t mean to present either approach as a totalizing aspect of either tradition, and I’m sorry for the confusion. [/religion is complicated!]So, on to a different part of the responses to that post. Several readers mentioned that … [Read more...]

Where Yuan Went Wrong (Part 2)

This is part of a series of posts which tackles sexual ethics and debating strategies (but not at the same time)A few weeks ago, in my post detailing mistakes atheists make about Catholics, one of the big ones was assuming that Catholicism, a tradition with a 2000 year history, doesn't have at least a plausible sounding explanation for common objections to its tenets.  Now, I know we atheists haven't had as coherent a series of apologetics, but we're not stupid.  If you don't bother to ack … [Read more...]