January 31, 2020

Back in the 7th grade I got invited to a weekend-long retreat put on by my church in homes scattered all over the city. It was still the mid-1980s, and the Cold War had not yet fizzled out, so we were still obsessed with whether or not the Russians were going to nuke us, a fact which preachers and evangelists exploited relentlessly. The youth minister who led our Bible study that weekend was just such a fellow. [ iTunes | spreaker | youtube | pdf ] As… Read more

January 22, 2020

It never fails that every time I try to deconstruct the traditional Christian concept of eternal conscious torment, someone chimes in to tell me the church has either never really believed in it, or else they got it wrong all those centuries. The correct version of Hell, they inform me, is the “outer darkness” version in which people just get isolated from everyone and everything, almost like a cosmic-sized sensory deprivation chamber. [ iTunes | spreaker | youtube | pdf ] Call… Read more

January 16, 2020

SCHOOL’S BACK IN SESSION, and yours truly has been buried under a gigantic pile of grading, ACT prep, and family trips for the last several weeks. But the time has come to dive back into putting out podcast episodes (about halfway through now) and working on a couple of manuscripts. The first manuscript is essentially done and will be a self-published anthology of the posts making up the current podcast series. The second will be a kind of counterapologetics book… Read more

January 15, 2020

One day at the pool I saw a toddler almost march right off the edge of the pool deck and into the deep end. Her mother had called to her from across the deck, warning her in a very serious tone to STOP! RIGHT NOW! But the little girl didn’t stop (you have met a toddler before, right?). In fact, after her mother’s warning she started walking faster, laughing hysterically. [ iTunes | spreaker | youtube | pdf ] This whole… Read more

December 20, 2019

I receive a good many emails and private messages from friends who still struggle with the fear of Hell. The curious thing about this is that most of these people have quit believing in God for all intents and purposes. Most of them have left the religions of their youth (or of their young adult lives), and yet they still fear everlasting torment. But how is that even possible? [ iTunes | spreaker | youtube | pdf ] It makes a lot… Read more

December 13, 2019

“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” –Ecclesiastes What is the biblical attitude toward the life of the mind? [ iTunes |  spreaker  | youtube | pdf ] Is the Christian faith pro-intellect? Or does it maintain a fundamentally antagonistic posture toward learning, toward education, toward research and development, and toward academic and scientific endeavors in… Read more

December 11, 2019

When I was in college I used to get so perturbed by my Bible professors because they all seemed so annoyingly liberal. It was a shock to my system, since I grew up Southern Baptist and since the school I was attending was a Baptist college as well. Our religion professors were far more liberal than any of the students, most of whom had chosen this college precisely because they wanted a conservative Christian education. Our English professors were practically fundies compared… Read more

December 6, 2019

Defenders of the Christian faith can’t stop moving discussions about their religion from objective matters to subjective ones, from measurable things to the immeasurable, and from quantifiable subjects to those which are completely nebulous—or more to the point, unfalsifiable. This is a telling compulsion, and every time it happens it reminds me why I eventually lost my ability to believe their grand narrative. I recognize these tactics because I practiced them first on myself. [ iTunes | spreaker | youtube |… Read more

December 3, 2019

Do you know how many people the Bible says were raised from the dead on Easter weekend? When Christian friends engage me in debate about the reliability of the Bible, I like to ask them this question to see how well they know the book they so revere. One of the hallmarks of fundamentalism is the belief that the Bible cannot be wrong, and that has produced a plethora of problems for American society. [ iTunes | spreaker | youtube… Read more

November 29, 2019

I’ve said before that I’m not much of a fan of Jesus. If the reports of what he taught his followers have any truth to them, he said a number of things to which I object (and I don’t mean just the parts about believing in invisible spirits). [ iTunes | spreaker | youtube | pdf ] The Jesus I Don’t Like For one thing, he modeled for his followers a kind of fanatical abandon which doesn’t really translate well into normal,… Read more

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