Here’s an interesting video of 20 Christian academics answering questions related to science, reason, and faith. Along the way, they comment on miracles, free will, the problem of evil, foreknowledge, evolution, and son on. And, the academics run the gamut from evangelicals like J. P. Moreland and William Craig to thinkers who reject almost anything miraculous or supernatural in the world. So, it’s a good video for getting a feel for how a broad range of Christian intellectuals respond to these questions.
Anyone familiar with BioLogos shouldn’t be surprised that they’re not real keen on intelligent design. But, if you’d like a short video explaining why, here you go. The first half of the video is the most interesting, offering quotes from leading intelligent design proponents, followed by comments from other scientists explaining the broader scientific community views intelligent design arguments. (Note: this is a short video, so don’t look for evidence/arguments here.)
The second half of the video, offering “theological” perspectives on intelligent design is a complete waste of time. For some reason, Thomas Jay Oord thinks that God’s love precludes intelligent design because it would have God “forcing” creation to do things. And, Denis Alexander writes the whole discussion off by appealing to Augustine as support for a “traditional” creation theology that we need to get back to. I’m hard pressed to see how either approach is likely to be helpful here.
[Update: Apparently I linked to the wrong video. Although BioLogos says you can link to the video from their YouTube channel, I can’t find it. Granted, I often can’t find things. So, that’s no surprise. For now you’ll have to view the video on the BioLogos site.]
I couldn’t resist. I really couldn’t. I thought about saving it for tomorrow’s Flotsam and Jetsam, but it was too much fun.
HT 22 Words
- Richard Dawkins arues that employers should be allowed to discriminate based on “private” religious beliefs.
Religious beliefs should never be privileged over other beliefs, simply by virtue of being religious. Either a particular belief is relevant to eligibility for employment or it is not.
So I’m beginning to wonder if it’s “a wrap” on this whole “missional” movement splash, especially in terms of church planting? I can definitely see the wind being taken out of the sails for some. I’ve been particularly curious about crickets I hear when bringing up a few issues among missional Christians:
- Peter Enns discusses whether Adam and Eve were celibate in the garden.
More importantly for us, the interpretive principle by which one ancient interpreter handled this specific issue is a very common one in contemporary Christian interpretation: using other parts of the Bible to inform our interpretation of Genesis. The question, then, is: how our application of this principle differs from this one example below, if at all?
- Michael Jensen asks, Is There Value in Suffering.
From the point of view of biblical faith, there is no inherent value in suffering. Like much that is evil in our world, human suffering is a perversion and a disruption of what should be. It has entered the world because of the dislocation of the relationship between human beings and their creator – the good God who purposed his creation for his own delight and that of his creatures. Suffering is an aberration – it has no value for its own sake. It is not good in and of itself. In the Psalms of the Old Testament, we read some impassioned pleas to God about the absurdity of suffering.
- And, here’s a quiz to see if you can name the 10 most popular websites in less than two minutes.
- James McGrath offers a very nice review of Science, Creation and the Bible: Reconciling Rival Theories of Origins by Richard F. Carlson and Tremper Longman III
- Mark Goodacre points out a BBC 4 series on the King James Bible that looks like it could be interesting.
- Matt Flannagan begins a series called “Fallacy Friday” with a post on What Is an Argument?
- According to one recent study, even thinking that you’ve had alcohol can impair memory and judgment. I wonder if that means that thinking you haven’t had alcohol even when you have would lead to improved memory and judgment?
- And, here’s a list of 17 Things You Didn’t Know about Seinfeld.
- Matthew Flanagan has begun posting a revised version of his argument regarding the genocide of the Canaanites. Today’s post argues that Joshua should be read as hagiography rather than literal history:
Thus Joshua itself appears to be full of ritualistic, stylised, formulaic language. It therefore looks like something other than a mere literal description of what occurred. In light of these facts Wolterstorff argues that Judges should be taken literally whereas Joshua is hagiographic history; a highly-stylised, exaggerated account of what occurred, designed to teach theological and moral points rather than to describe in detail what actually happened.
- iMonk reflects on the significance of the Christian calendar after Epiphany.
But for now, in these days following Epiphany, it is time for one remarkable Jesus-prompted surprise and delight after another! Our minds boggle and heads shake at the insightful words Jesus speaks. Our jaws drop in amazed wonder to see him exercise power over nature, bring wholeness to broken lives, and restore vitality where death once reigned. Fear and dread knot our stomachs as cosmic conflict erupts. But Christ speaks with authority, and all is peace.
- Michael Hyatt offers six reasons on Why I Stopped Reading Your Blog.
- Justin Taylor points out that many Francis Schaeffer’s lectures are available online.
- James McGrath offers a nice collection of links on recent posts related to evolution.
- Brian Fulthrop offers some thoughts on T.F. Torrance’s Atonement.
- And, here’s a list of the Top 10 Bizarre Toys for Kids. I have to warn you, some of these are seriously twisted and I’m pretty sure that I’m going to need therapy now. The “God Almighty” toy at the top of this post comes from this list.
- Andy Crouch discusses the Ten Most Significant Cultural Trends of the Last Decade. (HT)
Ten years is a very short time. As I reflect on the world in 2011 compared to the world in 2001, I’m less struck by how much has changed than by how much is the same. Terror, war, new technology, economic boom and bust, surprising political triumphs followed by sudden changes of fortune—yup, sounds like the 1990s, 1980s, 1970s, and 1960s to me. It’s almost axiomatic that any change big enough to shape an entire nation or society happens in long waves spanning generations, not a mere ten years.
- Denis Alexander discusses the theological implications of human genomics, specifically recent studies dealing with the relationship between modern humans and neanderthals.
Do these findings have any particular theological significance? It is difficult to know why this should be the case. In the Judeo-Christian tradition humankind uniquely is made “in the image of God”. The suite of capabilities that emerged during human evolution is necessary but not sufficient to do justice to this much discussed theological insight.
That’s why, despite all the technology that makes communicating easier than ever, 2010 was the Year We Stopped Talking to One Another. From texting at dinner to posting on Facebook from work or checking e-mail while on a date, the connectivity revolution is creating a lot of divided attention, not to mention social angst. Many analysts say it’s time to step back and reassess.
- Brian LePort caused a bit of a stir last week by arguing that the Apostle’s Creed can serve as a minimum basis for Christian fellowship. He has followed that up with two other posts on the same topic (see here and here). The discussions have been interesting and are definitely worth following.
- Mashable has an interesting list of 8 Sci-Fi Technologies That Are No Longer Just Fiction.
- And, here is this year’s List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.
- A NYT article has generated a lot of interest as it tries to explain why global warming actually causes unusually low temperatures.
It’s all a snow job by nature. The reality is, we’re freezing not in spite of climate change but because of it.
- iMonk reflects on Mary and the contemplative life.
It is unfortunate that we divide action and contemplation. It is unfortunate that we sometimes suspect those who pursue a robust inner life.
In short, both Jewish and Christian traditions treat him as Herod the Terrible. The historian, however, is fully aware, despite Herod’s grave shortcomings, of his unparalleled political and cultural accomplishments….All in all, in view of these unquestionable achievements Herod deserves to be known as the one and only Herod the Great.
- If you haven’t heard already, the oldest human remains ever discovered may have been found recently in Israel, possibly upsetting the standard theory that humans originated in North Africa.
A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern man, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old.
- Jason Goroncy offers a very helpful summary of 12 ways to prematurely write off Yoder. If you’re interested in John Howard Yoder, anabaptism, or “constantinianism”, you should check it out.
- R. Scott Clark discusses some of the differences between Baptists and reformed theology on the New Covenant.
- And, here’s a list of 6 animals humanity accidentally made way scarier (warning: Cracked is not always the most appropriate website around).
- BioLogos is posting a two-part article from James Bradley on Why Dembski’s Design Inference Doesn’t Work.
This article challenges that belief by questioning some of Dembski’s assumptions, pointing out some limitations of his analysis, and arguing that a design inference is necessarily a faith-based rather than a scientific inference.
- Cynthia Nielsen discusses Foucault’s critique of the modern subject.
I conclude that most if not all of Foucault’s condemnatory remarks concerning the subject are not intended as a death sentence for the subject per se; rather, his objective is to lay to rest a particular socio-historical construction of the subject and subjectivity. That is, Foucault’s critique is directed expressly at themodern construction of an ahistorical, autonomous subject as sovereign originator of meaning, one untainted by his own particular historical and socio-political context.
- Kent Eilers has a nice post on Plagiarism & the Seven Deadly Sins.
Pride – Plagiarism is driven by the refusal of limitation. A student comes up against their own intellectual limits, the time allotted in a busy semester, etc., and, unwilling to accept limitation, compensates by deception.
- James McGrath points out that Brian Abasciano’s doctoral dissertation from the University of Aberdeen “Paul’s Use of the OT in Romans 9.1-9” is available online. And, I should have commented on this a while ago, but Jonathan Robinson has also made is MTh thesis available online, “Sex, Slogans and Σώµατα: Discovering Paul’s Theological Ethic in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.”
- Nick Norelli offers a detailed review of James McGrath’s The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context. And, both Joel Watts and Brian Fulthorp have nice reviews of Tim Gombis’ The Drama of Ephesians: Participating in the Triumph of God.
- Travis McMaken comments on 5 Must-Read Recent Books on Barth.
- And, Mashable offers some suggestions for the best places to get free Kindle books.
Every year, Answers in Genesis sponsors a trip to the Grand Canyon and invites people from around the country to attend. I’ve been invited for this next summer and I need to decide if I’m going to go.
The point of the trip, of course, is to present data from the Grand Canyon that ostensibly supports a “young earth” understanding of creation. But, you don’t have to be a young earth creationist to attend. As I understand from people who have gone on previous trips, at least half of the group tends to be either undecided or openly in the “old earth” camp. So, it’s a good chance to interact with people from a variety of perspectives, even though the purpose of the trip is to provide arguments in favor of one particular perspective.
The bonus is that the trips are heavily subsidized. So, at the very least you end up with a pretty cheap river-rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. And, you get to hang out with professors from schools around the country at the same time.
So, what do you think? Would you go on a trip like this? Why or why not? Should I go? I haven’t really commented much about creation issues on this blog, but I’m not a “young earth” guy. A trip down the Grand Canyon would be pretty amazing. I’m just trying to decide if this is the way I want to do it.