Should an inerrant Bible be the very foundation of Christianity?

Originally posted on lotharlorraine:

Eric Reitan, a progressive Christian philosopher (having written an excellent book on the New Atheism and one defending universal salvation) gave several arguments against the central place of the Bible for our faith.

How Does God Reveal? Five Christian Reasons to Doubt Biblical Inerrancy

 
The Patheos website is currently hosting a multi-blog conversation about progressive Christianity and Scripture which has generated numerous engaging and thoughtful contributions–such as this one by James McGrath. Because the relationship between progressive Christian faith and the Bible is one of my enduring interests, the sudden flood of interesting essays on the topic has inspired me to take a few minutes to reflect on the issue myself. 

As a philosopher of religion, the way I approach this topic is in terms of a philosophical question: What theory of revelation fits best with the Christian view of God? Put another way, if there is…

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Can all religions be true?

Originally posted on lotharlorraine:

Chuck Queen, a good progressive Christian writer, posted a very thought-provoking text on religious pluralism.

Keeping Jesus, Letting Go of Christian Exceptionalism

The degree to which Christianity will contribute to a more equitable and just world will depend largely, I believe, upon the degree to which Christians can let go of their exclusive claims on God and deepen their actual commitment to the way of Jesus.

This letting go will not come easy for many steeped in traditional forms of Christianity. Christian exceptionalism is deeply entrenched within the general Christian culture—and often feeds upon American exceptionalism, which our political leaders use to justify all sorts of intrusive and unjust polices and actions, such as drone strikes in other countries.

The wave of controversy sparked by a Coca-Cola ad which ran during the Super Bowl is a good example of how embedded in our culture American exceptionalism is. The ad featured…

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Lost

sheila0405:

I experienced this after miscarriages.

Originally posted on Knitting Soul:

lost

“We lost the baby.”

I heard those words coming out of my mouth, and they left a bitter taste. Of course we didn’t lose him. He was right there, still inside of me. There was no heartbeat, but he wasn’t lost. He was dead. Speaking in niceties felt like I was being unfair to this little person who never had the chance to be nursed or rocked or sung a lullaby. He deserved better than euphemisms.

But to say the words, “My baby died”? That was unthinkable. Babies aren’t supposed to die. They coo, they poop, they laugh. They grow up and say “no” too often and “I love you” not quite often enough. They infuriate and invigorate. They surprise you with insights about the world and about you. They are beautiful, terrifying people who make you lose your mind in the best and worst ways.

So I felt stuck in…

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FATHERS DAY POSTSCRIPT

Yesterday was one of the most difficult Fathers Day that I’ve ever had.  No, nobody died, you can relax.  But it was a day where, if anything could go wrong, it did.  The long and the short of it was that I was over three hours late, my dad was in bed, and my mom was in a sour mood.  But my dad was glad I came, and that is all that mattered.

If you are still able, hug your dads today.

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

Today is the trek to see my dad on this Father’s Day 2014.  He is 86, and each year we face the prospect that ‘this year’ will be the final one.  That is very true today.

My dad has had heart disease since his early 50s.  In spite of changing his diet, walking five miles a day, and maintaining a healthy weight, he has had a few heart attacks and CABG surgery.  He also has congestive heart failure and insulin dependent Type II diabetes.  You could safely say his health isn’t really all that great.  His most recent heart attack was a day or so before Thanksgiving last year.

My dad fell in March and broke his hip.  While in the hospital recovering from the surgery, he developed bed sores on his heels.  They would not heal.  My dad had a total of nine hours of surgery on both legs to open up circulation to assist in the wound healing process. Dad was in the hospital for eleven weeks.

My dad has been a bit cranky since he got back, and, understandably so.  He is still in pain from (now) healing wounds, and he was pretty severely decompensated while mostly in bed for nearly three months.  My mom suffers from really bad dementia.  It will be an interesting day.

Still, my dad was a good provider and  now it is my privilege to let him know that, in spite of significant differences between us, I love him dearly.

I hope everyone has a great day today with your dads.  If yours is no longer with you, I will send up a prayer for his soul.

Peace.

 

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Does the progress of science vindicate naturalism?

Originally posted on lotharlorraine:

Deutsche Version:  Weisen die Fortschritte der Naturwissenschaft auf die Wahrheit des Naturalismus hin?

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In the Secular Outpost at Patheos, the insightful atheist and naturalist philosopher Jeffery Jay Lowder wrote an interesting post criticizing theistic explanations.

One sentence at the end of the text caught my attention:

“At this point, the naturalist can hardly be blamed for comparing the track record of naturalistic explanations to that of theistic explanations and sticking with naturalistic explanations.”
The problem with that comparison is that it is very similar to a kind of black-and-white thinking.

He opposes naturalism (A) against everything incompatible with naturalism (B) and states that if on average science is much more consistent with A than with B, then A must be true.

But this is a fallacious dichotomy. Let us consider different theoretical supernatural models, whose existence as ideas is independent of the first time they came up in a…

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sheila0405:

Lothar’s son is a brilliant writer.

Originally posted on lotharlorraine:

The Problem of Evil revisited by Lothar’s son

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The question of why God or god(s) would allow evil to exist has been a very perplexing and troubling one for every believer attaching to them qualities such as goodness and benevolence ever since the time the Old Testament and parallel near-eastern myths were written.

Recently, British philosopher Jonathan Pierce, Counter-Apologist John and Justin Schieber from Reasonable Doubt, a podcast aiming at challenging the Reasonable Faith ministry of William Lane Craig and promoting “Godlessness”, have had a very interesting conversation about the problem posed by evil for theism before a virtual (white Belgian?) beer.   

Unlike many people deeply involved in the culture war raging between secularism and fundamentalism, the three intellectuals have a very respectful tone towards their opponents and develop pretty challenging arguments worthy of the consideration and attention of every thoroughly thinking religious person.

They should be really applauded for…

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Is fundamentalism destroying Christianity?

sheila0405:

A great post!

Originally posted on lotharlorraine:

The great liberal Biblical Scholar James McGrath just wrote a nice post about this troubling question.

Biblical Literalism’s Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

David Hayward’s cartoon above illustrates the reason why I consider Biblical literalism to be an attack on Christianity, rather than an expression of faithfulness to it. No matter how much they insist otherwise, no one actually takes the Bible literally – not even all the bits that are “clearly” non-poetic.

But that doesn’t stop preachers from telling people they have a stark choice: either accept everything the Bible says, or toss the entire thing aside along with any faith, beliefs, and values they associate with it.

If that were indeed the choice that confronts us, then there would be no alternative to walking away, other than increasingly feigning faithfulness and consistency while hiding one’s hypocrisy.

Both options are detrimental to a healthy spiritual life.

But they aren’t the only options…

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On Parenting

I wanted to pause here.  I think it is a good place to do so.  I want everyone to know that I love my parents dearly.  I’m thankful that they are my parents.  As I continue my story on leaving the theology of Fundamentalism, I don’t want anyone  to think that my parents were/are bad people.  Being frustrated with some of their beliefs does not mean that they were not excellent parents.

I watch “The O’Reilly Factor” sometimes.  Last night O’Reilly had an interesting conversation with Adam Carolla, a comedien/author/social analyst in California.  He is in Hollywood, and he has a radio program and a podcast.  Apparently Carolla made some comments about the responsibilities that parents incur when they have children.  Carolla made the point that parents need to be there for their children, support them financially, and be involved in their children’s lives.  For that, Carolla has been castigated by a contingent of “far left” ideologues.  They suggest that Carolla is being unfair and judgmental towards parents who do not take care of their own children.

What is important to know about Carolla is that he was raised by, in his words, a mom who was content not to work while collecting welfare.  He did not have the intact home he now espouses.  He knows what it’s like to lack good parenting in the home.

My parents had a total of six children.  My father worked two jobs when necessary, to feed and clothe us.  My mom took a part time job outside the home.  They made sure we did our homework.  We had chores to do.  And, we vacationed together, worshiped together, and were taught right from wrong.  In addition, the moms on the block knew who we were.  We knew that if we misbehaved in public, while out playing, one mom would just about always rat us out.  We shared our values with our playmates, and our social fabric was strong.

I just wanted to get all of that out of the way before I continue.  I hope you follow along with me.

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Loss of Perspective: The Cost of Enduring Abuse

Originally posted on Spiritual Sounding Board:

Do individuals suffer harm when they remain in verbally or emotionally abusive relationships?  Cindy Kunsman illustrates the effects through an account of spiritual abuse.

Photo credit:  Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo credit:  Girl at a Window by Balthus    @  Metropolitan Museum of Art

By Cindy Kunsman, UnderMuchGrace.com

After reading Julie Anne’s post questioning whether divorce from an abusive spouse is actually a “sin,” I found myself thinking of the loss of perspective and the gratification that the abuser experiences when an abused person “submits” to their abuser and remains in the relationship. As Patricia Evans puts it in her book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, the person who suffers abuse gradually loses their sense of “confidence and self-esteem without even realizing it” (pg 47). I also recalled a quote from her book that I’d highlighted before and found it when I sought it out today – a statement made by a domestic abuse survivor…

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