How Technology Replaces God

Have you ever interrupted a quiet time — with God, right? — to check something on your phone?  Have you ever dragged yourself to church, feeling a bit groggy, after binging a show on Netflix? Did you know those experiences were designed? For instance, in 2017, Fast Company reported on …

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Who Created God?

A surprising agreement with Richard Dawkins Richard Dawkins, emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and an author of worldwide renown, has on many occasions challenged the idea that Christianity is a reasonable worldview.  As Dawkins puts it in The God Delusion, “I am attacking God, all …

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Reality Has Consequences

Reality has consequences. This is a more important truth than the very popular (and important) saying “Ideas have consequences.” And it is far, far more important than the saying “Elections have consequences.” But, nevertheless, it is a truth often ignored. For instance, there is a …

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We Searched the World For You

At the 2013 Harvard Law School Commencement, the J.D. speaker, Josie Duffy, shared a beautiful insight from the beginning of her studies.

To set the stage, Josie related a story from one of the first orientation events for new students at Harvard Law. In Memorial Hall, Dean Martha Minow regaled the entering class by praising them for all of their incredible achievements, the reason they were admitted into Harvard’s hallowed gates.

These are people, Josie remarks, who have cured diseases, written books, and run small countries. At this moment, already feeling rather impressed by her remarkably talented classmates, Josie looked down and realized she was wearing her sweater inside out.

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Does the Gospel of Mark Claim that Jesus is God?

One of the more challenging claims against the Christian faith is the historical claim that the earliest writings about Jesus don’t even claim that Jesus was God.

After all, if the earliest biographers didn’t worship Jesus as God, why, the question goes, should we? If Jesus’ divinity is a later, legendary, and mythological development, then there’s no point in maintaining that fiction.

In this post, let’s consider, first, Dr. Bart Ehrman’s statement of the problem, and then, a rebuttal of this claim from the opening lines of the Gospel of Mark.

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Kumaré and Jesus: A Comparison

Have you seen the documentary Kumaré? It is a fascinating expose of false religious movements: how they are created, maintained, and grow to influence others. The filmmaker, Vikram Gandhi, said he made the film to “tell a cautionary tale about spiritual leaders. We trick ourselves to believe them so we can be happier too, so this was just sort of trying to unveil the trick.” [Warning: spoilers below].

The basic plot line of the film is aptly described on the official film’s webpage:

Sri Kumaré is an enlightened guru from the East who has come to America to spread his teachings. After three months in Phoenix, Kumaré has found a group of devoted students who embrace him as a true spiritual teacher. But beneath his long beard, deep penetrating eyes, and his endless smile, Kumaré has a secret he is about to unveil to his disciples: he is not real. Kumaré is really Vikram Gandhi, an American filmmaker from New Jersey who wanted to see if he could transform himself into a guru and build a following of real people…

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Did Jesus Claim To Be God?

Many feel that Jesus was just a good moral teacher. Others believe Jesus was a prophet. Some are unsure, but don’t think Jesus was crazy enough to think he was divine. Perhaps Jesus was an inspiring teacher.

However, a close reading of the New Testament documents makes it clear that these theories are more about our feelings and speculations than the facts of the historical record. We have to ask: what weight should we give our own interior spiritual sensibilities and how much should we prioritize the facts of history? As we look at the historical record, the case is clear: Jesus claimed to be God.

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Is Christianity Too Good to be True?

Intellectually honest people don’t want to believe something because they find it comforting. Rather, they want to believe whatever is true, no matter the consequences. However, this very good commitment to ‘the truth, whatever the consequences,’ can create an intellectual dilemma, because many true beliefs are also comforting.

So let’s consider what to make of the claim that “Christianity is too good to be true.”

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Is Faith Opposed to Reason?

The idea that faith is opposed to reason is a popular one. But is it true?

For instance, some Christians feel that “faith needs no reasons.” I mean, if you really believe in God, what is the point of explaining this belief with evidence, facts, and logic? When you already have a strong belief in God, what’s the point of adding reason? If a truck has four good wheels, why add five more?

In a formal sense, among Christians, this position is known as fideism. Alvin Plantinga, one of the most eminent Christian philosophers of our time, explains that fideism is the “exclusive or basic reliance upon faith alone, accompanied by a consequent disparagement of reason and utilized especially in the pursuit of philosophical or religious truth… [a fideist] urges reliance on faith rather than reason, in matters philosophical and religious…[and] may go on to disparage and denigrate reason.”

A Christian fideist is one who says “I just believe because I believe! I don’t need or want reasons for my faith in God!”

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Five Books for Skeptics and Seekers

Do you ever feel like you have to have all the answers for your skeptical friends? Here’s the problem: it is way, way easier to ask a hard question than to give a good answer. In the space of five minutes someone can ask twenty incredibly difficult questions: how can we know anything at all? Maybe the Bible was altered by a group of powerful religious leaders – prove me wrong! How do you know Jesus is God? What about the violence in the Old Testament? How do you reconcile faith and science? What is your opinion on evolution? Doesn’t the Bible contradict itself? And on and on it can go…

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