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EPS Symposium on Faith and Scholarship
For the last two decades, I’ve been wrestling with the question of how the Christian faith intersects with the academy. I’ve recently written a book, The Outrageous idea of the Missional Professor, in which I set forth some of my findings. (see the companion website here). One of my essays from the book deals explicitly with the topic of the integration of faith and scholarship. An excerpt of that essay can be seen here. Today, at the evangelical Philosophical society website, an online symposium was posted in which scholars interact with my original essay. I am humbled and gratified for the opportunity to be pushed, critiqued, and encouraged by these scholars. In this post, I’ll highlight the abstract for each of these essays and point you to the full text.
Atheism, Arrogance, and Intellectual Vice
This past June in Vancouver, the atheists Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins were recorded speaking about the despicable (Christian philosopher and theologian) William Lane Craig at the Imagine No Religion 5 Conference. As I listened to this brief (less than 3 minute) rant, I was amazed at the arrogance of the two. It was a brief window into a not often enough talked about aspect of some within the new atheist movement: smug arrogance and a corresponding intellectual viciousness.
When Appeals to Mystery Mask Intellectual Laziness
Appeals to mystery by so-called emergent Christians was rampant when postmodernism was all the rage. The knowability of God was swallowed up by the mystery of God. “We can’t know anything definitive about God, He (or She, or It) is wrapped in a shroud of mystery,” we were told. God is “beyond the veil” of human knowledge. As a result, we were to embrace the mysterious as we worshipped a God of our own experience and, all to often, our own image.
The Divine Game of Clue: God’s Crime Scene by J. Warner Wallace
As I kid I loved playing the game Clue. Who murdered Mr. Boddy, with what, and where? My favorite culprit was Colonel Mustard, who loved candlesticks and libraries. I’d be that villain if I could choose. In the new book God’s Crime Scene, J. Warner Wallace takes us on a fascinating journey to another crime scene, a cosmic crime scene as big as the universe, seeking a culprit responsible for reality itself.
American Jesus: Pawn or King?
In Stephen Prothero’s book American Jesus, the Boston University Professor of Religion details how Jesus became a national iconoclast and icon. The purpose of Prothero’s book is to discern the “cultural Jesus:” the Jesus understood by Americans both historically and today.
Two Purposes for the Miraculous
Modern man is quick to deny the miraculous. “Miracles are impossible”—says the Bultmannian—since Nature is the whole story. “Miracles are improbable”—says the Humean—since laws of nature are exceptionless and miracles are violations of these exceptionless laws. “Miracles are not necessary”—says the scientists—since science is quickly closing all gaps in knowledge, gaps that pre-moderns used to plug by invoking God.
Five things I learned on my literary tour of England
This summer I had the opportunity to teach on C. S. Lewis and his apologetics for our seminary while at Oxford University. To teach on one of my favorite authors, in Oxford where he lived and taught most of his adult life, is a dream come true. To say I am a fan of Lewis is a bit of an understatement. I visited all the sites connected to Lewis—the Kilns where he lived, Magdalen college where he taught, The Eagle and Child where he so often ate, Holy Trinity Church where he worshipped and is now buried.
Was Jesus just a Great Moral Teacher?
The question of Jesus’ identity has perplexed and fascinated us since he arrived on the scene 2,000 years ago. In our own day we seem to have a Jesus for everyone: Super-hero Jesus, Common Guy Jesus, Homosexual Jesus, Traditional Marriage Jesus, Democrat Jesus, Republican Jesus, Mormon Jesus, Oriental Jesus, and so on. Pick a cause or an agenda, and there is a Jesus waiting in the wings, ready to offer his support. Why does everyone want a piece of Jesus, yet so often, not the whole? That is, why are we so ready to ascribe to Jesus the status of a great moral teacher, a teacher who we can use for our own personal or political agenda, yet we hesitate to call him Lord?
Daniel Dennett, the Future of Religion, and Disenchantment
Earlier this week, the Tufts university professor of philosophy and new atheist provocateur Daniel Dennett wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal explaining Why the Future of Religion is Bleak. The basic thrust of the article is that religion thrives whenever information and knowledge is repressed and/or personal or corporate calamity leads the ignorant masses to turn to deity for a crutch. In the age of the internet and mass media, religious dogmatist are no longer able to dupe their followers into thinking there is truth to their religious doctrines, and thus, the future of religion is bleak.
Does Jesus answer our biggest questions?
Aristotle said, “All men desire to know.” He was right. We long to be rightly related to reality. We long to know the truth and to find ourselves in a story that is satisfying. I believe that we can know the truth, and when we find it, we will find answers that satisfy our soul. The answers to our perennial questions of existence, meaning, purpose, love, beauty, morality, and God are found in Jesus Christ and the religion he founded.