March 26, 2023

I was seventeen in 1988, and Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ had just landed in theaters. I had just started getting into his filmography with Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, and The King of Comedy. I couldn’t wait to see Willem Defoe’s Jesus and David Bowie’s Pontius Pilate.  When I got to the movie theater in my small town, local churches were picketing the film. To get from your car to the box office, you had to push through crowds... Read more

March 20, 2023

For years I’ve convinced myself that I based my faith on a dogged pursuit of truth. “If I’m wrong about this,” I’d tell myself, “I want to know. So I’ll follow the truth until my beliefs align with reality. If that means letting go of Christianity, so be it.” Now, I’m not so confident that this was true. As I look back over the last 15 years, I recognize how I’ve rewritten and reorganized my belief system in ways that... Read more

March 18, 2022

Several years ago, I started publicly deconstructing the topic of hell and received the most vehement pushback. “Good Christian people” sent me death threats (the only issue I’ve received such threats about). Others attacked my character for even bothering to suggest that eternal conscience torture wasn’t real. I brought up the topic again this last week, and many Christians were true to form. Someone close to our family cavalierly declared that you simply couldn’t be a Christian and doubt the... Read more

March 13, 2022

I’ve written about my philosophical and Scriptural problems with the idea of hell in the past, particularly eternal conscious torment (the idea that God will torment bad people throughout eternity). In fact, the posts cost me a potential job with a local church. I may write again about the origins and wrong-headed Scriptural interpretations that morphed into this diabolical doctrine, but that’s not today’s goal. Instead, I want to re-address some philosophical problems with this theology and the need many... Read more

March 6, 2022

I didn’t become a Christian until I was in my early twenties. Yet, decades later, I often wonder if I could be persuaded to care about Jesus in the current cultural climate. American Christian culture has done its best to diminish the flames of faith in me. If I was on the outside looking in today, there’s precious little in contemporary Christian expressions of faith that would convince me of Christian truth claims or the value of believing. In fact,... Read more

May 31, 2021

I fell in love with Dungeons & Dragons as a jr. high kid in the 80s. I spent hours and hours reading manuals, crafting dungeons, and playing games with my friends. I didn’t grow up as a Christian, but I was well aware of the hand wringing in evangelical circles. I had some friends who had to play in secret, and I had others who couldn’t play any character class that practiced magic. I always found it funny that, as... Read more

April 7, 2021

My wife and I just finished watching Q: Into the Storm, which is a bizarro thrill ride into all the strange characters at the heart of the QAnon movement. As we watched the six episodes, I thought of all the people I know who have been sucked in by this nonsense. Some of them are full-on QAnon rabbitholers, but many others have absorbed a lot of the philosophical garbage at the heart of this crusade.   Take, for example, one of... Read more

February 12, 2021

  Disney announced the firing of actress Gina Carano over an Instagram post the company called “abhorrent.” The post ended up being the straw that broke the camel’s back and read, “Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political... Read more

October 26, 2020

It’s not an easy time to be a reasonable person in America. The tension and frustration are so thick that you could spread it on toast, and it feels like ordinary interactions could erupt into violence at any moment. In the midst of this pressure, there’s a lot of discussion about what Christians should be doing to keep the peace. And in many ways, this only adds to the strain. Well-meaning Christians often encourage us to work harder to understand... Read more

October 17, 2020

  Christian historians will be studying evangelical support for Trump for hundreds of years. How did the American church get to the place where they were willing to align with someone of such low moral and ethical character? When you point out the terrible things Trump says and does, Christian supporters say things like, “I’m voting for a leader, not a pastor.” Quite often, they point at his pandering comments about Christianity and say, “He’s a baby Christian.” They follow... Read more

Browse Our Archives