The Realest Realist

“First thing’s first, I’m the realest.”
— Early 21st century poet and philosopher Iggy Azalea

A while back, I was having a discussion with my spiritual adviser and brother-in-law Jeremy about the similarities between the Christian church and Apple Computers. More …

Some Videos for Your Thinkbox to Get the Year Started Off Right

Here are a few videos to get 2016 rolling in a thoughtful and thought-provoking way. First up is William F. Buckley and Malcom Muggeridge discussing faith and doubt: Next, the Stand to Reason blog asks the question that nags at all believers from time to time, “How do I know if that inner voice is God speaking to me, or just me?”: More …

Here, I’ll Make it Easier for You

Above is a scene from the (great) movie Searching for Bobby Fischer, where the demanding chess tutor is teaching the chess prodigy wunderkind how to see the board. The actual, concrete position of the pieces keeps the boy from engaging his creative vision to see where they could be. He needs the pieces to be more abstract, more conceptual, so the teacher More …

The Fabricated War Between Religion and Science

We’re constantly told that science and religion are like Kanye West and Taylor Swift — arch enemies incapable of coexistence, two Venn diagram circles that don’t overlap at any point. Well, dear reader, I know smart, cosmopolitan people like you and me don’t believe that. But how did that misconception become part of conventional wisdom? Who Hatfield-and-McCoy-ified science and religion? Justin More …

Would You Invite Aliens to Your Sunday School Class?

I mean space aliens. The E.T. kind. When I saw the title of this post on io9.com — “How Would Christianity Deal with Extraterrestrial Life?” — I expected it to be some kind of smarmy parody of how those ignorant Bible-thumpers would respond to a visit from Mr. Spock (“Get off’n my property, ya pointy-eared demon!” <shotgun blast>). But it’s actually More …

Or Rather, What to Do When People Keep Telling You You’re On the Wrong Side of History

Michael Hanby uses some very long words and very deep thinking to advise on “what to do when you are on the wrong side of history.” I recommend reading the whole thing (and if you’re like me, maybe reading it two or three times before you get it). But if you don’t have time, here’s the gist: Don’t let yourself More …

Are Crazy Religious Stories Good for Our Brains?

Connor Wood at the Science on Religion blog thinks that yes, yes they are: To put it simply, the mind’s causal stories tend to assume that whatever has happened in the past will determine what happens in the future. In the crisp realm of Newtonian physics, this is generally a good assumption. But in the unmanageably complex sphere of personal More …

Christians are from Mars; Non-Christians are from Venus

The scene: Adam Gopnik writes an article for The New Yorker condescendingly describing the decline of religion in the West. (I’m not including a quote, because it’s nothing you haven’t heard a thousand times before. The only difference is that it’s in The New Yorker and therefore longer than most such articles and in close proximity to pretentiously unfunny cartoons.) More …

When Theologians Talk About Economics

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry has some interesting comments on mistakes that religious types make when they let their pronouncements wander into the field of economics: Now, it’s fine to make non-scientific claims when you are not making science. But when we mistake science for theology—and vice versa—we make mistakes. When some clerics disputed the heliocentric model of the Solar System on the More …

Big Bang Science Raises Questions

As it should. Raising questions is one of the main jobs of science, after all. But some of those questions are addressed straight on, and others are danced around harder than a boom box in either Breakin’ or Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. GetReligion highlights some of the latter kind of questions in the coverage of recent Big Bang experiments. First, More …

When Arguing Religion, Consider Using the Bible

David French has some observations about the hesitance of Christians to explicitly discuss faith in debates with non-believers: One has to swim in Evangelical waters to understand how completely we’ve accepted the veracity of the bad faith critiques from the secular Left. We run around wringing our hands, saying things like “we’ve got to make sure we care about children as More …

Does America Even Want Religious Freedom Anymore?

There was a time when religious freedom was a big deal to Americans. It used to be at least a consideration. I mean, it is in the Constitution and all. People have asked for all kinds of things — psychedelic mushrooms, exclusion from the draft, not to get blood transfusions when they’re bleeding to death — and if they cited More …

How Science and Religion Became the Hatfields and the McCoys

Connor Wood has a compelling post on the history, and the future, of the ongoing slap-fight between science and religion. There are a lot of quotable parts, so I’m going to quote a lot: since the 19th century, the religion-science divide has been encouraged by the popularizers of Science for the sake of their profession. What do I mean? Here’s what T.H. More …

Worshiping God without Church

As someone who doesn’t really get into the churchy worship experience, this post from Donald Miller really speaks to me: …I experience an intimacy with God I consider strong and healthy. It’s just that I don’t experience that intimacy in a traditional worship service. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of sermons I actually remember. So More …

Which Team are You Praying For?

On Super Bowl Sunday, sports and religion intersect like no other day in American life (possible exceptions: anytime Notre Dame and BYU play each other in anything; Joel Osteen’s church-wide foosball tournament). Walter Russell Mead shares the stats and adds a dose of good sense: According toa recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), half of American sports fans More …

Thinking Christianity

Most people live like they believe there are two worlds — a physical world and a spiritual world. The physical world is the one they see themselves in 99% of the time, while they only worry about the spiritual one during particularly exciting Sundays and on Halloween. These two worlds have no overlap, and they operate under completely different rules. More …

Is Atheism a Luxury Good?

What’s the relationship between atheism and wealth? Do societies become wealthy because they reject religion? Or do they reject religion because they think they can afford to? …namely, there’s good evidence that atheism and secularism are much more costly, in terms of sheer energy expenditure, than religious ways of organizing society. As I said, this may not make immediate sense; what More …

Rachel Held Evans has a Dysfunctional Relationship with The Poor

Dave Ramsey, as Dave Ramsey does, recently published on his website a post that calls attention to the fact that people who are rich tend to share similar behavior patterns, and people who are poor tend to share similar behavior patterns. For instance: 70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat More …

Supplementing Coverage of the Hobby Lobby Case

Be careful with what you read in the mainstream media about the Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court. You can bet that they’ll give short shrift to the religious issues involved. Luckily, sites like GetReligion help to lengthen the shrift. Here they provide some much-needed clarification to the folks a the NY Times: The Times story will lead most More …

The Back-and-Forth of Prayer

Some great thoughts on prayer from Thomas McDonald on God and the Machine, pointing out that prayer is not a monologue: We may be fine with the idea that we initiate a conversation with God and he listens, but does not reply directly (unless we are gifted with a mystical experience). Let’s turn that completely around. In fact, we’re not More …