A Christian’s Stroll Through the Portable Atheist

Call it the anti-Bible.  A consolation of writings for the faithless,  the infidel, the unconvinced.  I picked up the book because the topic is interesting.  I also thought it could be helpful in understanding why some people find faith incredulous or just don’t have an interest in spirituality.  With major names ranging from the new atheists to some of the old, the book offers a who’s who of disbelief and logical discourse.  I thought it could be interesting to share my initial reactions as I worked through the book, giving my own impressions of the work and offering some comments relating to elements that I find most persuasive/useful, even if one maintains a faith oriented perspective.  So begins the journey, like Don Quixote and the windmills.  If anything else, it hopefully should be interesting.

My initial impression of Christopher Hitchens is that he is an engaging writer.  His metaphors and allusions are quite colorful and his rankor is rich with  journalistic wit.  I immediately am somewhat perplexed though with the main contention of Hitchen’s rub.  He rails on and on about how illogical the Christian faith is, all the while using innumerable allusions, references and parallels to Christian ideas, events and theological descriptions.  This is what I find so interesting.  If Christianity were as illogical as he claims, such journalistic wit would be wasted, as it would run aground on countless logical dead ends.  What I find to be the opposite, is that Hitchens is able to be so engaging and artful BECAUSE OF the fact Christianity is logical and consistent.  Someone is overstating the case here, with intricate logical discourse nonetheless.  Hitchens may weave a masterful narrative of disbelief but it hinges on the solidity of the logic of Christian discourse.  To suggest otherwise seems to render Hitchens style impotent.  With every artful pary of the journalistic sword, I become less convinced of its powerful thrust.  Time will tell if the rest of the book offers more than this but that is my first impression with the introduction at least.

The Theory of Evolution in Two Minutes

I thought this was a quick and dirty explanation for evolutionary theory that gets at the core elements taken into consideration regarding the overarching theory.  In science, a “theory” is made up of already existing facts and laws, which are combined to articulate a larger explanatory narrative i.e. a theory.  So when people say something is “just a theory” what they don’t realize is that in science, the facts and laws drawn upon to make such a claim are not in question.  The larger explanation utilizing said data is what is up for discussion.  The laws and facts drawn upon have already been shown to stand up to rigorous empirical testing and verification.   If we can clear up the use of this terminology, it can get us further down the road in discussing these kinds of questions.  Hope it helps.

Why atheism is sometimes good

Sometimes atheism can be a good thing. Let me explain. From time to time, I come across folks who have rejected God for various reasons. When we get around to finding out the reasons for their turn to atheism, often times, they describe a divine being in which I too have no problem saying does not exist. The issue is their conception of God. It simply does not correspond to the loving God of theism. Anytime our view of God is a cheap knock off of the all-powerful, all-loving deity, it is right to conclude that that God must die. The mistake so often made by people in this situation is that they just stop there. They become satisfied with atheism. The means becomes an end. The only problem is, it really doesn’t satisfy. What is needed instead, is a superior conception of the Almighty. Only when we have a more accurate view of God, can we hope to be saved from our own depravity and selfishness. If we replace our old view of God with a better one, we can begin to start the healing process and get out of the cul-de-sac of atheism. Then, like Zarathustra, we can say to those ill-conceived notions of some white dude with a beard floating in the clouds, “God is dead” and turn our attention towards the vision of the Alpha and Omega, who is, who was and who is to come. Only to a God of infinite moral perfection can it be said, “You are worthy to be worshipped.” All other Gods need not apply.

We are all Made of Stars

Source: Hubblesite.org

If you’re familiar with the band Moby, you’ll know that he has a song called “We are all Made of Stars.” The idea is an uplifting one, it being that humanity is united together by the very makeup of our physical composition. How is this the case? When we study cosmology, we learn that all the basic elements for life i.e. carbon, nitrogen, oxygen etc. were forged in the deep nuclear furnaces located in the center of stars. As stars age and decay, they eventually explode, ejecting their contents into the dark abyss of deep space. In the formation of planets and new stars, these elements combine through gravitational forces and the process continues. Yet, for a unique planet such as ours, the expulsion of these elements proves fortuitous, for they become the building blocks of life. Were it not for the existence of stars and their element forging capacities, we would not exist. I think this points to the truly vast and wonderful design embedded in God’s created order. The Bible talks about the fact that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. This must be true, for we are no less than stardust. It doesn’t get much better than that. Hard to believe and yet nevertheless true. We are the unique formations of materials originating in the hot, dense center of colossal balls of light which we can see with the naked eye when we look to the heavens at night. A small reminder of how very special we are in God’s sight. Something to consider when you feel a little down sometimes. We are all made of stars and that’s pretty dang incredible!

Meaning and Myth

This short video from N.T. Wright is a helpful discussion on understanding the use of the term “myth” as it relates to conversations around Gen. 1-3. Many people get hung up on terminology when they are trying to attach historicity concerns to literary elements of a narrative. If Genesis is a narrative about God’s creation, humankind, and sin, then we need to attend to those elements when considering its interpretation, not time-lines and modern notions of history.

God is Love

I post this video knowing the message may be lost over the “too cutesy” kind of feel but there are some important messages in it that need to be heard in spite of that.  Something to consider. 

“Move On” from Sondheim! The Birthday Concert

God spoke to me through this song in a profound way. It addresses a deep longing in my heart to make a difference in this world. Sometimes I am reticent to share those feelings closest to me for fear of insignificance. This song reminds me its not about how the world perceives me as much as it is about making myself known. I want to make things that count. I want to break through…through to something new. I have to keep moving on 🙂