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Posted 1/4/15 at 2:57 PM | Robin Schumacher
If you’ve been following the news, you have no doubt seen or heard about Newsweek’s (perhaps the magazine should be more aptly titled Newsweak) Christmas-timed article “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin”, written by Kurt Eichenwald. As Christians, we should be used to demeaning works like this each Christmas and Easter, but I’ll admit, it’s still tiring to read more of the same from those who look to misrepresent God and His Word.
My purpose here is not to correct the legion of historical inaccuracies, poor logic, bad stereotypes, misinterpretations and misrepresentations in Eichenwald’s article. Dr. Michael Kruger has already decisively accomplished that in Part 1 and Part 2 of his refutation, as has Al Mohler in his rebuttal piece. Instead, what I’d like to address is the overarching thesis that Eichenwald puts forward, which I believe is every bit as flawed as the explicit arguments he makes against the Bible. FULL POST
Posted 12/28/14 at 12:40 PM | Robin Schumacher
In an excerpt from his recent book, Living the Secular Life, professor / atheist evangelist Phil Zuckerman claims that a variety of political and sociological factors are putting an end to religion in America. Zuckerman asserts it’s not the influence of Richard Dawkins or intolerant mocking of Bill Maher that are swaying people away from God, but instead thinks there are five cultural winds that are blowing individuals out of the religious ranks and into the secular fold.
Let’s hear what he has to say.
Zuckerman’s first point is that the rise of various religious-political groups that tightly coupled themselves with the Republican party in the 1980s has only served to “alienate a lot of left-leaning or politically moderate Americans from Christianity. Sociologists Michael Hout and Claude Fischer have published compelling research indicating that much of the growth of “nones” in America is largely attributable to a reaction against this increased, overt mixing of Christianity and conservative politics.” FULL POST
Posted 12/17/14 at 10:23 AM | Robin Schumacher
It’s official. I don’t watch AMC’s The Walking Dead anymore.
Without a doubt, I have always been an action movie kind of guy and am the sort that believes it’s a crying shame that Arnold Schwarzenegger has never received an Oscar.
OK, kidding on that last part.
But it’s true that I’m an action-hero, Sci-Fi, and general fan of movies where things blow up and good guys are going up against the bad guys with lots of hardware (the battle kind). So it was only natural that sooner or later I’d start watching The Walking Dead, which has all of that in spades.
But recently I pushed ‘stop’ on Netflix for the last time where The Walking Dead is concerned and felt that it was time for me, as a Christian, to say ‘enough’. FULL POST
Posted 12/10/14 at 7:54 AM | Robin Schumacher
There is no getting around the proclamation of Jesus’ virgin birth at Christmas. Numerous hymns and songs mention the teaching, as do scores of Christmas messages from church pulpits.
But is the idea of Jesus’ virgin birth that big a deal?
Many years ago, emerging church teacher Rob Bell asked that very question in his work, Velvet Elvis:
What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry and archaeologists find Larry's tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionyslan religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births? But what if as you study the origin of the word virgin, you discover that the word virgin in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that time, the word virgin could mean several things. And what if you discover that in the first century being "born of a virgin" also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse? What if that spring was seriously questioned? Could a person keep jumping? Could a person still love God? Could you still be a Christian? FULL POST
Posted 11/30/14 at 7:24 PM | Robin Schumacher
How ‘bad’ are the things that you do – really? Dr. Michael Welner wants to be able to tell you.
Welner, a leading forensic psychiatrist who has testified in some of America’s most infamous violent crime cases, is looking for yours and other’s input on creating a human depravity standard with the end goal being to codify the concept of evil for the justice system. What Welner and his associates at the Forensic Panel in New York are attempting to do is formally draw up lines of demarcation between poor-bad-worse-heinous behaviors so those prosecuting crimes and juries that hand down decisions can have guidelines with which to work for properly assigning judgments.
Welner says, “In criminal courts today, the decision to charge a case as heinous, atrocious, cruel, depraved or vile rests with the prosecuting authority but, [only] because the law does not include a standard to what constitutes an evil crime. That decision is either visceral, or one that may be driven by political considerations, bias, or sensationalism. A Depravity Standard that is rooted in specific hallmarks of intent, actions, attitude and victimology keeps prosecutors accountable to fully investigate a crime for these unique qualities so that evidence informs decision making.” FULL POST
Posted 11/2/14 at 2:04 PM | Robin Schumacher
A couple of hundred years ago, the streets of London were just as busy at 5:00am as they were during each day’s evening hours. What was the cause of so much traffic at that time of the day?
A preacher named George Whitefield.
Whitefield’s sermons brought huge crowds and even attracted notable skeptics such as David Hume, who was once confronted for attending one of Whitefield’s crack-of-dawn messages. “I thought you didn’t believe the gospel,” Hume was asked. “I don’t,” replied Hume, “but I’m convinced this man does.”
Whitefield’s legendary preaching has influenced many notable theologians and produced countless sermons. However, while Whitefield spoke on many different topics, according to Church historians his central focus was always on communicating the three R’s of salvation. Those of us who struggle to articulate the gospel message to unbelievers would be hard pressed to find a better pattern to follow. FULL POST
Posted 10/5/14 at 10:14 AM | Robin Schumacher
In a recent exchange with a Spanish journalist, physicist Stephen Hawking affirmed again that he was an atheist and asserted that a supernatural Creator is not necessary to answer the foundational philosophical question posed long ago by philosopher/mathematician Gottfried Leibniz: “why do we have something rather than nothing?”
There is no doubt that Hawking’s intellect exceeds the vast majority on this planet (including mine) and that his professional achievements are astounding, especially given his physical handicap, and deserve high respect. But when he argues against the existence of God, I’m rather surprised at his core arguments, which can be found in various works such as The Grand Design. FULL POST
Posted 9/23/14 at 8:30 PM | Robin Schumacher
It seems like most everyone we know right now is going through some sort of painful trial. Many are hurting with medical problems, but others are wrestling with relationship or financial issues, while still others are struggling with parenting difficulties.
As someone said a long time ago, most everyone on the planet is either just entering a trial, in the midst of one, or coming out of a period of suffering.
While most skeptics and atheists continue to rely on the problem of evil/suffering as their number one weapon against the idea of an all-good and powerful God, there is a small but growing trend in unbelievers acknowledging the argument’s bankruptcy. As philosopher Peter Van Inwagen notes, "It used to be widely held that evil was incompatible with the existence of God: that no possible world contained both God and evil. So far as I am able tell, this thesis is no longer defended." FULL POST
Posted 9/7/14 at 5:43 PM | Robin Schumacher
An article in Christianpost summarized a recent Liturgists podcast where Christian music artist Michael Gungor, along with Mike McHargue and Lissa Paino, discussed the book of Genesis and Jesus’ specific knowledge of history, creation and the world. Gungor suggested Jesus was either wrong about the Biblical creation account and the existence of certain persons Scripture portrays as historical (e.g. Adam, Noah) or that Christ deliberately accommodated Himself to the beliefs of the first century people to fit in and in essence chose not to be truthful about those topics.
How should Christians address these assertions? In my view, there are three key topics that, when properly understood, help us reach a reasonable conclusion on the claims made by Gungor and McHargue. FULL POST
Posted 9/1/14 at 8:17 PM | Robin Schumacher
Despite the best effort of critics to challenge the authorship and re-date the Old Testament book of Daniel to something written after the events that were prophesied in the book, the conclusion of one of the most careful and educated theologians I’ve ever known – Dr. Thomas Howe – says in his 700+ page commentary on Daniel: “There has not been an argument that has offered a reasonable alternative to the traditional view that Daniel, of the 6th century BC, is the author of this book.”
It’s no wonder that skeptics want to challenge the book of Daniel. Its astonishingly accurate prophesies about the rise of various empires and political leaders such as Alexander the Great and Antiochus Epiphanes are enough to give a heart attack to anyone who attempts to rest comfortably in their anti-supernatural worldview. If there is a book in the Bible that more than stands up to the poorly thought out atheistic challenge of, ‘Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’, it’s Daniel. FULL POST