If there’s one thing everyone agrees on, it’s this: “You shouldn’t use law to force your morality on others.” And if there’s one other thing everyone agrees on, it’s that the other side is always trying to do exactly that. You don’t want to use contraceptives? Fine. Just stop insisting that others avoid them as well. You want to participate in gay weddings? Fine. Just stop making cake vendors do the same. What’s going on
The leaders we follow are often problematic. But are they hypocrites, or “morally-complex” antiheroes? What’s the difference? And what about you and me?
The Christ you follow determines how you vote. If we want political unity, we need to find our way to a single Christ. Here are four possible paths forward.
Our churches preach three different Christs: two with no center and one with no edges. Out of this difference arises our political divide. Is reconciliation possible?
There are four Cardinal Virtues and seven Deadly Sins. But both lists seem to be missing something huge. Solving this puzzle might actually help us make the world a better place.
Some philosophers say, “If you’ve seen a person, you’ve seen their soul.” And they mean that literally. But others seriously disagree. Who is right, and who should Christians side with?
What is existentialism? It has connections with both famous Christians and atheists. So, is it biblical? Could there be a genuinely Christian existentialism, or should we stay away?
Have you ever experienced a conversion? Have you gone from hating something to loving it—but then had to listen to critics who just don’t get it? You used to be in their shoes, of course, so you see exactly what they mean. But you also see how their problems aren’t real problems, are peripheral, or can be resolved. What is going on here? The obvious answer is that you used to be blind and the
Your view of the afterlife affects how you live now. That’s something we can learn from Nietzsche. So, do you believe in heaven, or the resurrection?
A former US presidential candidate recently said that a current US presidential candidate had “coddl[ed] . . . repugnant bigotry,” and that doing so “is not in the character of America.”1 If you would, please consider with me what in the world this could mean. In and Out of Character When we say that doing something is not in a person’s character, we mean that that person is not the kind of person who would
Genesis 1 tells a story of God creating, forming, and filling the universe, while continually delegating responsibilities to created things. Chapters 2 and 3 extend the story by showing how God begins teaching humans to see good. I argued last time1 that this process of delegation and teaching explains both why the Garden contains the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and why God is not around when the serpent appears in chapter
Transferring Responsibilities Last time, I claimed that Genesis 2–3 extends the narrative trajectory of Genesis 1. But what is that trajectory? There are three interconnected movements in the Creation Story. There is a movement from formlessness to form, a movement from emptiness to fullness, and a movement or transfer of responsibilities. Throughout Genesis 1, God gradually delegates responsibility for forming and filling to various parts of Creation. To the Lights, God delegates the responsibility of
A Baffling Story Christians need a coherent account of the Fall, but our forebears have not given us one. If they had, 20th century biblical scholars would not have written things like this: “The sheer irrationality of the command, not to eat of the tree, and of the threat to deprive of life if it was eaten, has had great effect on the history of understanding. . . . God . . . is placed
Irrational Contradiction, or Divine Mystery? The Incarnation is a puzzle, and puzzles are either a lot of fun or a major problem. The puzzle goes like this: Since God created space, time, and humanity, God could exist without space, without time, and without humans. But in the Incarnation, God becomes a temporal, spatial human. How can one thing be both spatial and non-spatial, both temporal and non-temporal, both human and non-human? While Christians often respond,
There’s something economic about theodicies. “After calculating the costs and benefits, God decided that x was worth the price of y.” Plug in “free will” or “a habitable planet” for x. Plug in “murders” or “hurricanes” for y. There’s no money involved, but it still feels kind of crass. This is not to say that theodicies aren’t important. They help us see that theism isn’t irrational, even if the attributes of God and the world