November 22, 2018

I enjoyed talking with students in my historical Jesus class about miracles. I think there is a lot that distracts from having meaningful engagement on the subject – ideas about “natural laws” and what rational people can or cannot believe. More often than not, even the very effort to define what is meant by a miracle helps to bring about more substantive and deeper conversation. Does it require divine action? Does it have to be unusual? Does it have to involve… Read more

November 21, 2018

Matt Brake and I geek out about pop culture in this episode of the ReligionProf Podcast. Matt is the series editor for the new book series that Lexington and Fortress have launched, focused on the intersection of theology and popular culture. Last week on the podcast the focus was religious studies and Star Wars. This time it’s theology and popular culture. But the two (theology and religious studies, I mean) are not always as far apart as might first appear…. Read more

November 20, 2018

I agree with Ross MacKenzie – it was indeed really striking to hear Adam and Eve invoked in this explanation of the history of the European Union’s Common Economic Market and of the rationale for how it approaches competition. But even more noteworthy is the comparison Margrethe Vestager makes between a regulated free market and the democratic political process. We pay so much attention to the competition between candidates, the advertising through which they sell their product to us in the… Read more

November 19, 2018

If people who follow the mainstream history on Xian origins are like flat earthers, that makes Encyclopedia Britannica into “flat-earth propaganda”. That’s a pretty extraordinary claim. — Jonathan “Vote” Tweet (@JonathanMTweet) November 1, 2018 See also this quote from an article in The Atlantic about “epiphanies” (of the sort that scholars have, but the religious overtones of the term raise other issues that might be worth reflecting on): “Just because you have an epiphany doesn’t mean it’s going to be true,”… Read more

November 18, 2018

I was going to write the words below when sharing a link to Bob Cornwall’s post about forgiveness as a theological construct. But as I developed my thoughts, I decided it might be better as a post on my own blog. Here is what I was (and of course still am) inclined to share: The meaning of the cross is not that Jesus somehow makes it possible for God to forgive us, or persuades God to do so. The meaning… Read more

November 17, 2018

I’m grateful to IO9 for drawing attention to this video about the Matrix sequels and how, when viewed as adults, you will likely enjoy them more than you did originally. I love that the video’s maker emphasizes the difference between a younger and an adult perspective, and how now that he watches videos about philosophy for fun, watching a fun action movie woven through with philosophy is likewise enjoyable. The video is detailed and is worth watching for the connections… Read more

November 16, 2018

Paul Barford shared this quote from David Anderson, which I think exposes a sinister aspect of the “ancient aliens” idea that many are prone to miss: The central claim of the show is that humans could not have achieved feats of engineering and science without the help of aliens. If they’re right, humans are pretty dumb. If they’re wrong … well the whole show is an exercise is denigrating human achievement. There’s no evidence that aliens visited earth in the… Read more

November 15, 2018

On Facebook, Laura Robinson shared a blog post by Alisa Childers from the Gospel Coalition website that offered yet another of its characteristic attacks on more mainstream forms of Christianity. In this one, they focus on what they perceive as similar points made by atheists and progressive Christians (not noticing that we made them first and the atheists borrowed them from us). Here is what Robinson wrote in her critique of the piece by Childers: Okay, I want to talk… Read more

November 14, 2018

This week’s episode of the ReligionProf Podcast features Ken Derry who, along with John Lyden, edited the new book The Myth Awakens: Canon, Conservatism, and Fan Reception of Star Wars. The book is published by Cascade, an imprint of Wipf and Stock. The incredible thing about it, the thing that I couldn’t believe when it was pointed out to me and yet must acknowledge is true, is this: this is the first complete volume focused on Star Wars undertaken from… Read more

November 13, 2018

I have another example to share of a cultural blind spot that affects how we read a famous beatitude. I have a great deal of time thinking about the differences between Matthew’s “poor in spirit” and Luke’s “poor,” but less about the more puzzling part, for a reader in a rich country, namely the meaning of “poor in spirit.” Isn’t it more appropriate to say that it is the rich in spirit who are blessed? But teaching my class on… Read more

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