Monday, December 15, 2014

Can we be sure that Jesus existed?

This article in Wikipedia on the historicity of Jesus is a reliable guide to mainstream scholarly opinion of ancient historians.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Why is there an obesity epidemic?

This article seems sensible. It is quite persuasive, I think.

According to the article, we are getting fat because:

1. We are eating more junk food
2. Our sugar consumption has skyrocketed
3. We gain a lot of weight during the holidays, which we never get rid of 
4. We started getting fat when low fat diets [which were high in sugar] were introduced
5. Food is cheaper than ever before
6. We are drinking more sugary soda and fruit juices
7. Increased food variety contributes to overeating and weight gain
8. We don't burn as many calories when working 
9. We are eating more vegetable oils: mostly from processed foods.
10. When we eat in a group, it dramatically increases the number of calories consumed
11. We are sleeping less
12. Our calorie consumption has increased dramatically 


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Three Paradoxes of Atheism

Neil Shenvi's Three Paradoxes of Atheism is worth chewing over.
The whole article is worth reading. This is his conclusion:
In conclusion, I want to summarize the paradoxes I believe are inherent to the atheism.
  1. Truth-seeking. If a truth-loving God doesn't exist, then truth-seeking is neither intrinsically good nor morally obligatory. Therefore, paradoxically, the Christian has grounds to urge all people to seek the truth and to claim it is their moral obligation to seek the truth whereas the atheist has no grounds to urge others to seek the truth or to claim it is their moral obligation to do so.
  2. Moral reflection. Suffering and evil in the world is so prolific and horrendous that we instinctively avoid thinking about it to preserve our happiness. If Christianity is true, then all suffering and evil will one day be destroyed and healed. If atheism is true, suffering and evil are pointless and will never be rectified. So, paradoxically, a Christian gains the emotional resources to reflect honestly on suffering by reflecting on reality (as he perceives it) while an atheist gains the emotional resources to reflect honestly on suffering only by ignoring reality (as he perceives it).
  3. Moral motivation. If Christianity is true, then all of our moral choices have tremendous, eternal significance. If atheism is true, then none of our moral choices have any eternal significance. So, paradoxically, the Christian gains the motivation to act morally by reflecting on reality (as he perceives it) while the atheist gains the motivation to act morally only by ignoring reality (as he perceives it).
None of these observations imply that atheism is necessarily false or that Christianity is true. But I hope that they do cause atheists some serious reflection. At least in these three areas, there is a conflict between the general perception that atheists live a life of realism, facing the truth about reality squarely, and the philosophical and psychological reality of atheism itself. In contrast, Christianity not only provides a basis for the idea that truth is of intrinsic value, but provides resources to enable the Christian to conform his beliefs and behavior to the truth. I would like to gently suggest that those who value truth-seeking and realism should consider whether atheism can justify or support either of these ideals.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Old Earth Creationism?

There is a wealth of interesting information on this page about biblical scholars who are open to the possibility of the universe being very old..

Friday, November 21, 2014

Has the author of Hebrews been found?

In this blog post, Aimee Byrd tells us that she finds David Allen's arguments for Luke being the author of Hebrews to be quite persuasive.

So do I. We don't know for sure, but I think there is a lot going for this suggestion. It is much more likely that it is Luke, than any other New Testament writer.

It is well worth chewing over Allen's book, Lukan Authorship of Hebrews

David Alan Black's The Authorship of Hebrews: the case for Paul is also interesting, but not nearly as convincing.

Hebrews has more in common with Luke and Acts than it does with Paul's letters, I think.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fundamentalism is not the real problem

It's not how strongly you believe, but what you believe, argues Clint Roberts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

IS and Israel in Joshua's time: similar or different?

Andrew Shead, of Moore Theological College, Sydney shares some thoughts on how today's Islamic State's actions might relate to Israel's in the time of Joshua, in the Old Testament.