March 30, 2019

Last week, Scientific American published an interview with Marcelo Gleiser, a theoretical physics professor at Dartmouth and this year’s winner of the Templeton Prize, in which he said some things about the interplay between science and faith that ruffled some feathers. Gleiser, who identifies as an agnostic, said a number of things I would disagree with, mostly because of the way he seems to be defining his terms. But semantics aside, I have to admit that he makes a legitimate… Read more

March 29, 2019

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” –Philippians 4:13 Growing up evangelical, no message featured more prominently in my understanding of the Christian life than this verse. After John 3:16, this verse tops just about everybody’s list of favorite Bible passages, rivaled only by the verse in Jeremiah that says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…” I know these verses top those charts because I still have a plethora of Christian friends in my… Read more

March 19, 2019

In my youth group days, we had a skit we would perform in which someone portraying Jesus would follow the protagonist around wherever he went, silently accompanying him throughout his daily routine. Jesus would sit invisibly beside him in class, walk with him through the halls, and even go out with him on dates (creepy), but he’d never say a word. He just stood there, watching. The point of the skit was to drive home that Jesus is there all… Read more

March 12, 2019

I remember once venerating “the gospel” as a sacred message with which you weren’t supposed to tamper. In fact, I recall reading somewhere that even if an angel from heaven were to appear delivering an alternative message, faithful Christians should disregard it. Given how precisely that comment anticipated the Mormons (I mean Latter-Day Saints), I sometimes wonder if Joseph Smith wasn’t just trolling everybody. In context, Paul was berating the gullible residents of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) for accepting… Read more

March 5, 2019

Back in 2014 when I finally came to grips with the fact that I was no longer a Christian—and in fact, an atheist—I made the decision to “come out.” A number of reasons supported this decision, even though I knew by doing so I’d be causing pain and anger and risking rejection and disapproval from family, friends, co-workers, and even possibly future employers. (I was both right and wrong, by the way. While a number of people did react just… Read more

March 4, 2019

I’ve got about a dozen blog posts in the queue waiting to see the light of day, but life hasn’t yet afforded me the time I need to get them finished. I feel like I’m zeroing in on some seminal ideas, too—maybe not new to everyone else but still new to me—so I’m eager to get the chunks of time I need to get those done. My current crop of students is dramatically accelerating the aging process, plus I think… Read more

March 1, 2019

**Originally this story appeared under a slightly different title, but I’ve altered a couple of words so people can share it with a wider audience.** This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple. The man spoke first: John: “Hi! I’m John, and this is Mary.” Mary: “Hi! We’re here to invite you to come kiss Hank’s butt with us.” Me: “Pardon me?! What are you talking about?… Read more

February 27, 2019

Yesterday the United Methodist Church decided to revert back to a hardline stance against same-sex relationships, and many of my friends are heartbroken by this move by the second largest Protestant denomination (trailing only my own family’s Southern Baptist Convention, which has never accepted gay marriage). Backtracking like this almost certainly means a major split is on the way, and I’ve gone through a series of conflicting emotions as I read their expressions of pain and sorrow. Witnessing their pain… Read more

February 26, 2019

You may not find this as fascinating as I do, but I recently came across a video put out by The Gospel Coalition, a think tank for Calvinists co-founded by Tim Keller, a Presbyterian pastor and author who herein verbalizes his own reservations about human evolution. What stands out most to me is that while Keller has used up a great deal of ink over the years arguing that science and the Christian faith need not be mortal enemies, he… Read more

February 20, 2019

I’ve struggled a lot with precisely how to view religion, but I may have finally turned a corner on one particular facet of the question. My opinion of religion is perhaps more complicated than that of most people. I don’t subscribe to any particular religions (anymore), but I also don’t agree with those who talk as if religion is something than can be eradicated from the planet. I think it’s more a feature than a bug; at this point I… Read more

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