Living in a fallen world such as we do, death unfortunately remains a fact of life. We have all experienced the loss of loved ones, all struggled with the spectre of death. But what happens when people die? Do they go to heaven? Hell? Purgatory? Limbo? Furthermore, do all dogs really go to heaven, or is that merely the childhood fantasy relegated to the dumpster of bad theology? This month’s Round Table discussion reflects on
498 years ago tomorrow, a young Augustinian monk who taught at the University of Wittenberg nailed ninety-five theses on “The Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Though seemingly innocuous as the time, this event has since been hailed as the start of the Protestant Reformation, a theological shake up in the Western Church that has changed the face of Christianity and Western civilization. In response to the
Theology is important. Good theology is even more important. Everyone is called to “do” theology.1 These are guiding principles here at Conciliar Post, where we seek to thoughtfully, faithfully, and charitably discuss issues of theological importance on a regular basis. Of course, to merely say (or write) that theology holds a place of value is not the same as actually living out one’s faith while seeking understanding.2 Too many times in my own life it
What is Christianity? That seems to be a simple question. At least until you sit down and have to precisely and concisely answer it. Is Christianity a religion? A relationship? A worldview? A movement? An institution? A set of doctrinal beliefs? A series of philosophical arguments? All of these? None of these? Some of these? This month, Conciliar Post has collected no fewer than fourteen answers to this important question of definitions. Ranging across a
Any contemporary reader of the Bible will be struck by the seeming divide between the God of Jesus Christ and the God who commands the destruction of whole nations and the obliteration of Canaanites during Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land. While many Christians simply don’t think about the possible difficulties of a loving God commanding genocide, that has not stopped critics of Christianity—especially the New Atheists—from using portions of Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Judges as
Human beings have long been interested in discerning what the future holds. Throughout recorded human history, people have sought to understand “the End” and what that event entails. Some worldviews adopt an attitude of pessimism regarding the end of the things, theorizing the utter destruction of planet earth by nature or humanity. Other perspectives take a more positive approach, trusting that the ills of the world will be remedied before life ceases on planet earth.
One year ago today Conciliar Post launched. My first post as Managing Editor was titled, “How Then Shall We Speak”, a not-so-subtle tribute to the late great Francis Schaeffer’s classic book on Christian engagement with culture, How Should We Then Live. This post laid out – in general terms – the type of dialogue that we wanted to pursue through the Conciliar Post project, namely, civil and informed dialogue that thoughtfully and faithfully listens before
If you drive through any appreciable stretch of the United States, you are bound to come across churches. In some sparse locales, these places of worship are few and far between, much like the dwellings of those who attend them. In other places, churches abound, with nearly every street seeming to possess its own house of God. When my wife and I lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, one of our favorite pastimes was driving through
A common criticism of medieval Christianity theology centers on the practice of speculative theology, often defined as the asking of seemingly obscure questions which have little bearing (or none at all) upon the vicissitudes of human life or Christian faith. This article considers the value of speculative theology by reflecting on the question of whether or not Christ would have become incarnate if humanity had not fallen into sin.
“When students are first introduced to the historical, as opposed to a devotional, study of the Bible, one of the first things they are forced to grapple with is that the biblical text, whether Old Testament or New Testament, is chock full of discrepancies, many of them irreconcilable…. In some cases seemingly trivial points of difference can actually have an enormous significance for the interpretation of a book or the reconstruction of the history of
There are few times in history so important and yet so obscure as the years following the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, when the movement bearing his name transformed from a band of several dozen followers hiding in terror into an international community that would shape the subsequent history of the world. Despite the paucity of evidence from this period, historians and theologians alike continually return to the earliest years of the Jesus
One of the many unique features of Conciliar Post is the Ask function that allows readers to pose questions to the Conciliar Post community. Unfortunately, this portion of our attempts to further meaningful and informed dialogue has often resulted in questions which are (for a variety of reasons) not suitable for public response. That all changes today, however, as this article stems from the following question asked by a Conciliar Post Reader: What are the
“When the thinker thinks rightly, he follows God step by step; he does not follow his own vain fallacy.”1 Studying the Middle Ages is a complex process, not only for the plethora of information one must process in order to have a halfway-informed perspective into the period, but also for the multitude of ways in which contemporary—modern and postmodern—attitudes that illuminate Christian opinions of this important period of Christian history. One need look no further
The Christian church is facing a crisis. It is losing face, hemorrhaging influence in the public sphere of Western civilization, churches decline in membership, and increasing swaths of people are not longer interested in what Christianity has to offer. This apparent decline is not a new trend to be sure—and stems, at least in part, from the ecclesiastical shift which began during the Protestant Reformation—but it is no less concerning. In order to address these
Few experiences are as formative as those which we repeat on a regular basis. Routines, habits, and liturgies: they all influence who we are, how we live, and the narratives we inhabit. As important as what we do is who we do it with. Human life comes filled with relationships, our interactions with other human beings, people who impact us as we in turn influence them. For Christians, this means that a formative part of
Is “free” community college education for everyone? Jacob Prahlow reflects on the cost, need, and implications for such a proposal.
Theology after Vedanta: An Experiment in Comparative Theology offers an important step forward in comparative studies, laying a foundation for a fruitful (re)reading and (re)working of theological conceptions in our pluralistic context.
In my previous post, I reflected on some of the answers which have been offered to the “question of suffering,” the query about why there is evil and suffering in the world if there is a good and all-powerful God. In today’s post, I hope to begin crafting an “answer” to this question—not an answer in an absolute sense, but rather an perception and understanding by which we can try to make some sense of
As a PhD student, I read a lot. I read for work, school, and fun—hundreds, sometimes thousands of pages each week. Very rarely, however, do I encounter a book that is uproariously funny. Even rarer are books which are simultaneously hilarious and theologically sound. C. T. Casberg’s Genesis of the Dead: A Zombie Comedy of Biblical Proportions, however, fits this bill perfectly. A joy to read, Genesis of the Dead is both side-splittingly-funny and theologically
Why do we suffer? This is a question which, unfortunately, we all must ask at some point in our lives. The 2011-2012 academic year was a year in which this question took on a special relevance in my own life, first in a theology class devoted to wrestling with this question and then in my own life with the illness and death of my Grandfather. Life is painful when the lessons of the classroom become