I attended Prof. Kvanvig’s lecture on atheism at Evangel University last year, but I was unaware that the video had been posted until now. So, here’s the lecture:
By the way, I recently interviewed Prof. Kvanvig about his forthcoming book, Destiny and Deliberation. Here’s the video:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
By the way, Kvanvig is not pronounced “Kwanvig,” as I say repeatedly in the interview. Both Vs should be pronounced.
For those of you who suffer paraskevidekatriaphobia, I’d like to wish you a very happy Friday the 13th!
I hosted a “candid conversation” between my dad, who is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, and several young AG ministers. Four years ago, they started FutureAG.blogspot.com, which was controversial at the time. Anyway, I thought the conversation was interesting. Here’s the video:Vodpod videos no longer available.
PrayforHuckabee.com raises a Rob Bell-like theological question: As Gov. Mike Huckabee contemplates running for president, he wants us to pray for him. “Pray that I will hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit as He leads my steps according to His will.” Which raises the question: “Does God always get what God wants?” If God wants Huckabee to run for president, will Huckabee win the Republican primaries? If Huckabee wins the primaries, will he win the election? If he doesn’t, has God’s will been thwarted?
“How big a stumbling block will Newt Gingrich’s three marriages and admission of an affair pose to his efforts to win so-called values voters?” My guess: Big in the primaries, but small in the general election. On a related note, Eboo Patel wonders whether “a Catholic running against Islam”—such as Gingrich—recognizes the irony of what he’s doing.
Stephen Prothero asks a tough question about American Christian attitudes toward Osama bin Laden: “How Christian can a country be if even Bible believers cannot get behind something as basic to the Bible as the golden rule? Is Jesus really the lord of your life if his ‘hard teachings’ can be so blithely ignored?” Ouch.
Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the Church’s most ancient moral teachings. From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.
But Rev. Robert Sirico thinks Boehner’s critics are confused.
Question: Is the Welfare State a necessary means to accomplish the end of meeting the needs of the poor? If the answer is yes, then Boehner’s critics have a point. If the answer is no, then Sirico is right when he says of House Republicans, “they simply reflect a different, and in many people’s estimation, more accurate and economically-informed way, of proposing how we achieve worthy goals.”
In this vein, check out “Rethinking Redistribution” by Jeffrey A. Miron and “Beyond the Welfare State” by Yuval Levin. You might also want to look at John Cogan’s “The Millionaire Retirees Next Door,” which argues, “Typical retired couples will collect $1 million or more in Social Security and Medicare. This is more than they paid in, and the cost will fall on today’s workers.”
For me, the question is now whether to help the poor but how. I don’t believe that our current Welfare State is sustainable.
Did the PCUSA decide to ordain LGBTQ folk, or did it decide to drop the “chastity in singleness” requirement for ordination? GetReligion.org explains. On a related note: “The momentum of the gay clergy movement, however, may soon grind to a halt.”
Whatever one makes of them individually, however, Sorek and Picard, along with Sephardi figures like Meir Buzaglo, recognize just how crabbed and constricting the categories of “religious” and “secular” truly are, and are trying from different directions to think through Israel’s current cultural impasse and beyond the tired and destructive religious status quo. They thus present a bracing challenge to self-described religious and secular alike, and a daring demand to grasp the responsibility for the Jewish past and future that comes with living in freedom in the Jewish state.
Could America benefit from a similar “thinking through”?
The Christian Science Monitor is publishing an interesting five-part series, “Religion, Politics & the Public Space.”
- “Why ‘God is personal, never private”
- “What can rescue the Arab spring?”
- “Iran’s spiritual leader isn’t a hardline Islamist, but a mystic poet”
- “Abuse of Muslims shows equality is still an open question in Europe”
- “A revolutionary development: Religions are speaking in common tongues”
Imagine an institution that requires its leaders to attend not only college, but graduate school. Imagine that the graduate school in question is constitutionally forbidden from receiving any form of government aid, that it typically requires three years of full-time schooling for the diploma, that the nature of the schooling bears almost no resemblance to the job in question, and that the pay for graduates is far lower than other professions. You have just imagined the relationship between the Christian Church and her seminaries.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
I hosted a “candid conversation” between my dad, who is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, and several young AG ministers. Four years ago, they started FutureAG.blogspot.com, which was controversial at the time. Anyway, I thought the conversation was interesting.
Rod Dreher writes, “This poor old world, weary of words and endless strife, religious and otherwise, doesn’t need more theological books, sermons, doctrinal discourses and debates. It needs more saints. And more storytellers.”
Defending the Constitution, and the Right to Be a Jerk. It’s about Terry Jones, natch.
How should we talk about God online. Advice from James. (And contrary to this op-ed writer’s uncertainty, James wrote James.)
James Nuechterlein: “It is the assurance of the gospel that should free Christians from the compulsion to grasp for the illusory assurances that ideologies put on offer. It is not wrong for us to attempt to discern, according to our best lights, that set of beliefs about human flourishing that most adequately approximates, however provisionally and imperfectly, the God-given ends of justice in a fallen world. That is what in any case people do by nature. But even as we are well advised to put not our faith in princes, so also does it make equivalent sense not to place on our schemes of human betterment more moral weight than they can bear.”
Evidently, it’s okay to defend accused terrorists but not to defend the law of the land. For the record, I disagree with Jennifer Rubin’s assessment of the Defense of Marriage Act.)
In case you were wondering (which I’m not): Why (Evangelicals) Love Amish Romances.
This past Sunday, my wife and I watched this very interesting 60 Minutes report on Mount Athos, the heart of Greek Orthodox monasticism. As a Protestant, though, I think these guys might become more like Christ if they left Mount Athos and got involved with the hurly-burly of life.
Do Christianity and capitalism clash? A plurality of Americans thinks they do. My guess is that we’d see different answers if the economy were doing better.
Marshall Shelley reflects on the medium and message of worship: “When entertainment is perhaps the most prevalent form of communication, what does that mean for preachers, disciplers, worship leaders, and others in positions of Christian influence? Do we become entertainers ourselves? Do we refuse to become entertainers? Or do we land somewhere in between?”
Here are ten religious posts that caught my eye today:
Lee Strobel discusses how Easter killed his faith in atheism. If you’re interested in the topic, check out N. T. Wright’s exhaustive study, The Resurrection of the Son of God, which—at 740 pages is not merely exhaustive but exhausting…to hold, anyway. Or read Michael Licona’s The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, which is 22 pages shorter.
President Obama hosted an Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House, and a reporter can’t help but note a political angle (in the penultimate paragraph). Personally, I cheer the president’s statement of faith. Raspberries on his politics, though.
Did the Last Supper occur on Thursday or Wednesday? I wouldn’t mind a few New Testament scholars weighing in with their evaluations…
Walter Russell Mead on how Christian faith matters in a world where the pace and intensity of change is so unsettling.
If capital punishment is a sin, is God a sinner (Genesis 9:6)?
Edward O. Wilson and other evolutionary biologists are having a fight about the origin of altruism, specifically, whether group selection or kin selection best explains its origin. Interestingly, forty years ago, Wilson promoted kin selection as the best explanation. For me, this argument demonstrates how difficult it is to overturn scholarly consensus.
The Barna Group reports on what Americans believe about universalism and pluralism.
Historian John Fea is halfway through a four part series on “the Civil War as a battle between two ‘Christian’ nations”: Part 1 is “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible.” Part 2 is “God’s Judgment Upon the South.” Fea is author of Was American Founded as a Christian Nation? Mark Noll has an excellent book on the Civil War you might want to read if you like Fea’s series: The Civil War as a Theological Crisis.
Ben Witherington posting a chapter-by-chapter critique of Bart Ehrman’s book, Forged: Writings in the Name of God—Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are: Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter2 , Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, and Chapters 7 and 8. I’m reading the book too and hope to have a (much shorter) review up in the next few weeks.
James Hannam argues that science and Christianity can get on better than you think. I always thought they can get along just fine, but evidently there are some atheists who think otherwise. Hannam is author of The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution, which I’m also reading and hoping to review in the near future.
Jesus, Paul and the People of God publishes the papers presented at the nineteenth annual Wheaton Theology Conference, hosted by Wheaton College on April 16–17, 2010. It doubles as a Festschrift of sorts for N. T. “Tom” Wright, whose books—whether academic or popular—alternatively influence and infuriate their readers, especially their evangelical readers. Its authors, though sometimes critical of Wright’s theology, are also personal friends.
The book, like the conference, examined Wright’s theology of Jesus (Part One) and his theology of Paul (Part Two). Following each chapter, Wright offers a short response to the author of the chapter. At the end of each part, Wright outlines the evolution to date of his thinking, using a “whence and whither” formula. The book includes a “Subject Index” and a “Scripture Index,” both of which are helpful for academic readers. A select bibliography of Wright’s books and articles would have been helpful, but it is not included.
For me, Wright’s two “whence and whither” essays were worth the price of the book. Wright is a prolific author. His three-volume series, Christians Origins and the Question of God, contains 2,016 pages of densely argued prose. The “whence and whither” essays helped me understand the gist of Wright’s portrait of Jesus, how he reached his conclusions, and how those conclusions apply to the life of the church today.
Of the other essays, two stood out to me in particular: “‘Outside of a Small Circle of Friends’: Jesus and the Justice of God” by Sylvia C. Keesmaat and Brian J. Walsh and “Wrighting the Wrongs of the Reformation? The State of the Union with Christ in St. Paul and Protestant Soteriology.” The former offered a provocative (and controversial) reading of Jesus’ Parable of the Pounds that got me thinking about economic justice. The latter helped me navigate the debate between Wright and John Piper on the doctrine of justification by faith and suggested “union with Christ” as a point of rapprochement between the traditional Protestant doctrine and Wright’s own interpretation of justification.
Jesus, Paul and the People of God makes an excellent companion volume to InterVarsity Press’s book, Jesus and the Restoration of Israel: A Critical Assessment of N. T. Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God (1999). If you are interested in the critical assessment of Wright’s work, especially from an evangelical point of view, these two volumes are a good place to start.
P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.