Three Bad Bible-Study Questions

In many ways, the prevailing (and dramatic) shifts in western culture during the past few centuries all center on a single issue: truth—and how we learn it (if we can). To Christians, who worship the One who claimed to be Truth (John 14:6), these cultural shifts prove exceedingly relevant. If we are not mindful of our culture’s changing views of truth, we will imbibe the spirit of the age unwittingly. This is especially evident in…

A Transcendent New Year

As regular and predictable as the rotation of heavenly bodies is astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s New Year’s Day tweet. A few words may change, but for the past several years on January 1 he has expressed some sentiment like this year’s offering: “Not that anybody’s asked, but New Years [sic] Day on the Gregorian Calendar is a cosmically arbitrary event, carrying no Astronomical significance at all.”   Equally inevitable is the frustration voiced by many…

Questions in the Wake of Suffering

When tragedy strikes, as it did in Las Vegas this week, people begin to ask questions. It is part of human nature: we reason, consider, speculate, and ultimately seek to find answers that will provide meaning or comfort.   Why did this happen?   Where was God?   Couldn’t we have prevented this?   These are important questions, but they are not necessarily the questions to which Scripture gives answers. That is, if we look to…

Philosophical Kitsch

As a wee lad in high school, I remember being struck by one particular quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five: “Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.” The she to which Vonnegut refers is Billy Pilgrim’s mother, and the thing that she purchased in the gift shop to give her life meaning was a crucifix, which hung above Billy’s bed as…

Lincoln’s Insight for Today

In his book The Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope, Andrew Delbanco shares what he considers “one of the most remarkable” of Abraham Lincoln’s writing, a short reflection only, perhaps intended as the beginnings of a speech. Lincoln writes:   If A. can prove, however conclusively, that he may, of right enslave B.—why may not B. snatch the same argument, and prove equally, that he may enslave A?— You say A., is white, and…

Bernie’s Blunder

Although I’m a tad late to the party (I only blog once a week), I think I should offer some words of response to the comments Senator Bernie Sanders made last week at the confirmation hearing of Russell Vought, an evangelical Christian. I think some response is in order because the views Sanders espouses have broad cultural appeal, even though they betray misunderstanding, illogic, and hypocrisy. It is very likely most evangelical Christians will have…

A Virtual Gospel

Yesterday, Ezra Klein of Vox interviewed Yuval Hariri, the Israeli author of Sapiens and his latest, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. In Homo Deus Harari envisions humanity’s future (including its likely end) with specific focus on technology and artificial intelligence. Near the end of the interview, Harari makes this claim about religion generally, and Christianity in particular:   You can think about religion simply as a virtual reality game. You invent rules that…

Living Post-Haste

We have a baby just learning to walk. Like all children who are taking their first steps, when she moves too fast, she stumbles. She is at her best when she is slow and deliberate, for now at least. I think the same could be said of all of us. Move too fast, and you’re liable to stumble. Slow down, think carefully, choose deliberately, and you’re likely to fare much better. Now, this isn’t a…

The Great Gospel Opportunity

As I mentioned last week, we are currently living in a culture of division and hostility. Our desire to vilify our political opponents has led many to accept and promote #FakeNews and #AlternativeFacts. We are more wedded to our ideology than to reality, in other words; more committed to our narrative than to truth.   This all feels fairly depressing, I admit. But the current backlash against #FakeNews and #AlternativeFacts also presents us with a…

#FakeNews and #RealSin

#FakeNews. #AlternativeFacts. There seems to be a lot of buzz these days about the media we ingest and whether or not we can opt-out of reality. For Christians, that brings with it a tremendous opportunity, as I’ll try to explain in my next post. But it also carries with it a clear and present danger.   Now, I feel a bit like Jude in wading into this topic. Like him, “although I was very eager…