A Big Problem with Intelligent Design: “Don’t Look at My Bad Side”

"Intelligent Design" is a theory, a theology really, that claims that the complexity, beauty, order, or "irreducible complexity" of creation couldn't have occurred randomly. The apparent "intelligence" of creation itself demands that we posit an intelligent designer.It's a contemporary spin on a older argument, articulated with sophisticated by William Paley. Paley's "divine clock-maker" argument for a Creator of the universe was based on the premise that, just as the existence of … [Read more...]

“Persistent” Elizabeth Warren Just Enacted one of Jesus’ Parables

I opened up CNN.com today to discover this huge headline: "Nevertheless, She Persisted"These were the words of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, explaining his invocation of Rule 19, a rule that disallows senators from "impugning" another senator.The "she" is, of course, Elizabeth Warren, who had delivered an impassioned speech against the nomination of Jeff Sessions. In her speech, Warren read from a 1986 letter from the late Coretta Scott King, MLK Jrs widow, in which Martin … [Read more...]

A “Case for Christ” Movie? On the Problem with Apologetics

A few weeks ago I went to see Silence, the Scorcese film (based on the novel by Shushaku Endo) about Portuguese Jesuit missionaries in Japan during a period when Japanese Christians faced martyrdom for converting.During the previews, I was startled out of my comfortable seat by a preview of an upcoming film called The Case for Christ. For anyone who might not recognize the title (which is to say anyone who didn't grow up evangelical Christian in the 80s or 90s), The Case for Christ is a … [Read more...]

Statement Against Ban of Muslim Immigrants (by United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities)

Donald Trump's ban on Muslim immigrants from 7 predominantly Muslim countries (none of which he has business interests in) continues to generate vocal and widespread opposition.Thankfully, high courts have recently intervened, reminding us all that the US can be in fact a country of "law and order," though of a different sort than Trump desires.But Trump and his administration will continue to vigorously fight the courts' intervention, against the angels of our better, wiser, and … [Read more...]

“Pain-in-the-Arse” Nun Says Sex Isn’t Dirty

A Spanish nun, Sister Lucia Caram, recently shocked the Catholic world when she suggested, on TV no less, that sex might not be dirty.The real point of controversy was her implication that Mary and Joseph might have actually had sex, like normal married couples do.This striking notion contravenes the official Catholic teaching of the "perpetual virginity of Mary." This is the papal teaching that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life -- she was not just a virgin when she conceived … [Read more...]

Theology After Babel: On the Role of “Theological Theology” in Public Discourse

What should be the role for theology in public discourse? And, how theological should theology be? Another way to put that: How deeply and explicitly rooted in a particular religious tradition?In Ethics After Babel: The Languages of Morals and their Discontents, Jeffrey Stout makes an argument for the important of, shall we say, theological theology in public discourse.He writes, Academic theology seems to have lost its voice, its ability to command attention as a distinctive … [Read more...]

The Inauguration of the Gold-Crowned Jesus

With the inauguration of Donald Trump, the Religious Right hopes for a "new Jesus movement."Yesterday, the day before the inauguration of the most unusual president-to-be in recent American history, a group of 200 or so evangelical Christian leaders (and a few others) exulted in the new day they see coming: A day when the progressive policies of Obama will be rolled back like the waters of the sea.They see the results of the recent election as the working of God's providence, for … [Read more...]

Epiphany, Acts 15, and How the Church Makes Decisions

On Epiphany Sunday, Christians celebrate all sorts of events related to the stories surrounding the birth of Jesus.But in the Christian (Latin) West, the celebration of Epiphany has primarily centered on the story in Matthew of the Magi, priests from the East who had heard news of Jesus’ birth and came to worship him and bring him gifts.This story is celebrated as the very beginning of Jesus’ mission to the Gentiles, because the Magi, foreign Zorastrian priests, represented the non … [Read more...]

Theologians Opposing the Nomination of Jeff Sessions

I joined with many other Christian theologians and other faith leaders in signing a petition against the proposed nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.The petition is here.For those uninitiated to the reasons why progressive Christian theologians would adamantly oppose Trump's nomination of Sessions, a recent Washington Post article provides a summary of 10 Things to Know about Jeff Sessions.Included in that summary is Sessions adamant and consistent opposition to … [Read more...]

“True Truth” isn’t the Answer to “Post-Truth”

We're living in a post-truth society now, they say.This is what all those conservative evangelicals once feared, right? The onslaught of postmodern relativism would usher in a thoroughly post-truth world, where ideologies (devoid of solid reasoning) reign supreme, where feelings rule over reason, where morality is simply up to the individual, where everyone is trapped in their own perspective, where Absolute Truth is demolished and truth becomes simply the truth that is true for me, … [Read more...]