September 20, 2021

Let’s Talk about the Occult—Theologically Recently a student at a major Christian university wrote an article in the student newspaper defending the use of tarot cards—as not demonic and as compatible with Christianity. Tarot card “reading” belongs in the larger category of “the occult” and specifically divination (foretelling the future by paranormal means). Three biblical passages stand out as opposing all forms of divination: Deuteronomy 18, Isaiah 8, and Acts 16. As anyone who is biblically literate known, the latter… Read more

September 17, 2021

Let’s Talk Some More about Cults—Theologically (Follow Up/Part 2) This is a follow up to the immediately preceding blog post with the same title. There I talked about meanings of the word “cult” and marks of cults. Again, let me remind everyone that neither I nor you can name specific organizations as cults because of legal problems and court cases. The word “cult” has taken on such pejorative connotations that labeling any existing (not now defunct) organization a cult can… Read more

September 13, 2021

Let’s Talk about Cults—Theologically The word “cult” has been stretched to the breaking point. Today, many people label any group a “cult” if they think it is strange. It may be religious or no-religious; either way it is a “cult” if it appears to them “weird.” This is the pedestrian notion of “cult.” On the other hand, religious scholars who study “new and alternative religions” are very reluctant to label any group a cult because of the extremely pejorative connotations… Read more

September 9, 2021

Let’s Talk about Compatibilism—Theologically What is “compatibilism,” you ask? Most simply defined, it is the belief that determinism and free will are compatible. That is, it is possible to believe in both without contradiction. What is “determinism?” Any belief that everything that happens is determined to happen; it could not happen otherwise. Everything happens according to a “blueprint,” as it were, or everything happens according to a natural cause and effect relationship such that nothing is truly contingent. Now, I… Read more

September 5, 2021

*Note: This is a guest post by my friend, Lutheran theologian Ted Peters, one of the most notable and influential Protestant theologians in America. He does not speak for me. He may or may not respond to comments or questions. I will not respond for him. If you choose to respond, know that I (the moderator of this blog) will simply delete any overly lengthy, uncivil, argumentative responses. All responses here must be constructive in nature, promoting dialogue and not… Read more

September 2, 2021

Let’s Talk about Correctness (Political)—Theologically The term “political correctness” has been around a long time. I think I first heard it used about language in the early 1980s. Generally speaking, “political correctness” is the idea and practice of using language in ways that promote equality and liberation from oppression. I will offer here, initially, just one example. A student refers to all humans beings, collectively, as “man” as in “Man is created in God’s image and likeness.” Today it is… Read more

September 1, 2021

Let’s Talk about Circumcision—Theologically *I realize this is an extremely sensitive subject and some people may not want to read this essay for that reason. Please stop now if you might be offended by this essay or the ensuing discussion (which I will monitor and moderate very carefully). I promise to avoid all vulgarity, but what is vulgar for some is not vulgar for others, so if you suspect this whole subject is vulgar to you, please don’t read on.*… Read more

August 29, 2021

Let’s Talk about Cremation—Theologically Many Christians and others are opposed to cremation. Why? I have heard several reasons offered. First, some conservative Christians (and other religious people) are worried about cremation and resurrection. How will they be raised if they are cremated? Second, some people, including some Christians, think cremation is simply disgusting; they are emotionally revolted by the thought of their bodies being burned to ashes. Third, some people, including some Christians, think of cremation as a “pagan” method… Read more

August 25, 2021

Is There Such a Thing as a “Sin of Empathy?” Recently Christianity Today has carried a story (online) about division in a very well-known conservative evangelical mega-church in the Upper Midwest. The pastor, successor to a major conservative, Calvinist, evangelical pastor who retired (but is still writing and speaking), resigned under pressure from some portion of the large elder board and some congregation members. One of the accusations made against him and some other elders and pastors, according to the… Read more

August 22, 2021

Let’s Talk about COVID-19 Theologically COVID-19 has been one of the major topics of conversation, to say nothing of research and confusion, for the past year and a half. (I’m writing this in August, 2021.) I first heard of it while at a conference on science and theology in Seattle. I was co-writer of a grant for teaching science in seminaries. One day I walked down to Pike Place Market during a break between conference sessions. The place was crowded…. Read more

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