The God of What-If: Deconstructing the Idolatry of Theological Hypotheticals
Note: This article originally ran at Earth & Altar. “Clearly, whatever you are, you are in your self; you are not derived from another. You are the very life by which you live, the knowledge by which you know, the goodness by which you are good, and so forth.” –St. Anselm, Proslogion, XII As finite beings locked into a linear timeline, it is easy to think about the “what-ifs” that could have been. Where would
The Enticing Sin of Ascetic Disdain
In some circles, there seems to be a movement against empathy. Two relatively recent articles demonstrate this: Joe Rigney’s “On the Enticing Sin of Empathy“ at Desiring God and Kevin DeYoung’s “What Does it Mean to Weep with those who Weep?” at the Gospel Coalition. Rigney’s piece imitates C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, in that it is an epistle from the demon Screwtape to his fiendish nephew and novice tempter, Wormwood. Pseudo-Screwtape begins by reminding his protege
I, Thou, and the Need for We: An Incarnational Reading of Martin Buber
According to Jewish philosopher and mystic Martin Buber (1878-1965), there are two modes of relationality: I-it and I-thou. In the I-it framework, the other is viewed as an “it” to be acted upon. This third-person way of relating naively presumes that one enjoys intellectual mastery over the other, and is rooted in an imperious epistemology that believes it can “list” the qualities which comprise the other. The result is a form of relational utilitarianism, where
Freedom of Speech Round Table: Revising Our Definition of Freedom
As Christians, our relationship to freedom of speech is complicated. On the one hand, it is certainly a gift. C.S. Lewis once remarked in Mere Christianity that it’s good Christians cannot impose their views of marriage onto non-Christians, because Christians would not want Muslims to forbid drinking alcohol. In an ever-secularizing world, freedom of speech is a necessity: I have to be okay with the existence of acts of speech like “Immersion (Piss Christ)” by
Is Doubt A Good Thing?
Considered generally, doubt is beneficial to human beings. While we all begin life in a state of ignorance—relying upon the care and concern of others to survive—too many of us eventually enter a state of arrogance. Neither position is desirable, but these are the two ends of the spectrum of knowledge spectrum toward which we gravitate. Christians who see pride as the root of all sin are inclined to value doubt when it counteracts pride.