October 7, 2013

I’m gonna come right out and say it: I’m not a big fan of Jesus. I know it’s hip and cool say you don’t like the church but you love Jesus, except I always feel the need to ask: Which Jesus do you mean? How do you determine what he was/is like? I see two basic ways to answer this question. One, you can take the Bible at face value and decide that whatever it says about him must be… Read more

October 3, 2013

In the early summer of 1844, a series of riots broke out in Philadelphia leading to 32 deaths, more than a hundred injuries, and the burning of dozens of homes and public buildings. The reason these riots broke out wasn’t hunger or political oppression or previous acts of violence. No, the reason these riots occurred was that all Philadelphia schools at the time began each day with a Bible reading and one Christian group wanted their children to be allowed… Read more

September 27, 2013

I’d like to tell you about the last time I was able to stomach going to church. First you must realize that this was the culmination of years of struggle and tension for me. Back when I was still a teenager, I had only been a devoted Christian for two or three years before I began to see some glaring inconsistencies between Pauline theology and the superficial religious fixations of the evangelical church. Reading the letter to the Galatians (which… Read more

September 25, 2013

Nonbelievers exhibit a wide array of reactions to the presence and influence of religion in public life ranging from cool indifference or mild disdain to highly vocal disgust and vitriolic public protest. Frans de Waal has reasonably hypothesized that each person’s background probably plays a major role in determining the strength of his feelings toward the subject. “Possibly, the religion one leaves behind carries over into the sort of atheism one embraces…my thesis [is] that activist atheism reflects trauma. The… Read more

September 20, 2013

I’d like to tell you a story about a woman named Maggie. Maggie is a very warm-hearted, loving, self-giving woman who poured herself into her faith, her family, and her church for many years. Maggie’s marriage was the envy of her church friends because she and her husband Josh made an excellent team, and they often led by inspirational example. Her career as an addiction therapist didn’t make them rich by any stretch, nor did Josh’s part-time maintenance job. But… Read more

September 15, 2013

CNN’s Belief Blog posted a short article yesterday by Rachel Held Evans calling for atheists to avoid using the worst of Christian extremism in their critiques against Christianity, offering to return the favor by not doing the same in reverse against atheists. Evans is a favorite Christian writer of mine for the simple reason that she speaks prophetically to the Christian church as an insider. By speaking “prophetically” I mean that she openly speaks up when she sees her friends… Read more

September 10, 2013

Not too long ago, I started a conversation with you girls that we didn’t really get to finish. I stopped because it seemed to be making one or two of you very uncomfortable. I brought up the subject of evolution because one of you indicated you didn’t approve of the idea, and I felt like we should discuss it for a minute. I suppose the subject was a little intimidating, and I think I understand why. The idea that humans… Read more

September 7, 2013

Ancient civilizations used to believe that when a storm or a flood or an earthquake destroyed a village, it meant the gods (or one god in particular) were angry with that village. They would consult their holy men to discern what they had done to provoke the calamity, and he would prescribe the correct penitential path for the community (hint: it usually involved giving something up which benefited the holy man). As one of the Old Testament prophets once asked,… Read more

August 31, 2013

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! 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. This whole scenario was delightfully entertaining to the girl, who lacked… Read more

August 27, 2013

When I was a Christian, I worked very hard at maintaining the tension between faith and reason, much like I see many bright people still doing today.  I poured myself into biblical studies, learned the original languages, took classes on apologetics and worldview, discussed and argued over theology with friends into the wee hours of the morning, and even studied a bit of philosophy along the way.  Like many writers I read these days, I worked sincerely out of a… Read more

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