A common theme among Christian writers is that God is the ultimate source of morality, often called “the moral argument”. Probably the pithiest expression of this idea is from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, in which one of the characters argues that “if God does not exist, … everything is permitted.” Many readers quickly see where this is going and consider the reverse; if morality is not just a matter of personal taste, then God must exist. Of course this is only a superficial treatment; a more thorough presentation of the moral argument, along with responses to some common objections, is found in the first chapters of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. It’s available in a YouTube version here which I recommend highly.
However one puts it, claiming that morality comes from God is a good way to pick a fight. There is a widespread belief Continue reading “Can a person be good without God?”
The title of this post is a bit odd for a blog about Christianity. After all, I believe Jesus exists (present tense) so the question is a bit like “have you stopped beating your wife?”.
Well, it wasn’t the original title, but I let myself wander a bit with this post, as you’ll see at the end.
Regarding the historicity of the Bible, there’s a spectrum of thought. On one end, we find Continue reading “Did Jesus exist?”
In my preceding post, I examined the question “Is Christianity falsifiable?“. In that post I talked about how each new piece of evidence I come across has the potential of revising my beliefs on specific questions, and how my encounters with significant new information became less frequent over the years. This is not surprising, as very little new relevant information is produced; my own thinking evolves mostly because I come across information that has been out there for years (or even centuries) that I am processing either for the first time or from a new perspective.
However, there is Continue reading “Is the Talpiot Tomb the tomb of Jesus?”
Many of the social issues in our media and politics today – abortion and gay marriage for example -are topics on which Jesus never spoke directly, at least not in any case that was recorded in the Gospels. Christians can consult other books of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience in order to try to draw the correct conclusions on these issues. However, without direct teaching from Jesus, there is always going to be sincere disagreement.
One social issue on which Jesus did speak directly, however, Continue reading “Is divorce acceptable under any circumstances?”
Most Christian denominations do teach that sex before marriage is always a sin, and the importance of chastity is a common theme in Christian literature at least as far back as St. Augustine. I don’t take lightly the weight of tradition in this matter, and the purpose of this blog is not to set my own views up as being authoritative over those of other Christians. However, this blog does aim to honestly confront the issues that might be decisive in driving large numbers of people away from Christianity, and it must be admitted that this is one of those issues. It has been reported that in present-day America, most people have sex before marriage (~95%). So do most conservative Protestants who are active in their faith (~80%). It is not unusual Continue reading “Does Christianity forbid sex before marriage?”
For me, this is one of the most mysterious issues in Christianity. Like many of the other posts on this blog, this one is not going to provide a precise answer, but rather some possibilities to consider.
Nevertheless, while I’m unclear as to the why and the how of it, I affirm that Jesus did indeed die for us. This is not a peripheral part of the Christian message. It does not at all appear to be something added on by the biblical writers or later Church leaders, nor is it something where Jesus has been misunderstood. Rather, it seems to be the abundantly clear teaching of the New Testament that Jesus gave up his life for our sake.
It is true that Jesus taught a lot about morality. But He didn’t present Himself as a moral innovator, but rather as one who illustrates (and calls us back to) timeless moral truths that we already knew inside our hearts. For example, Continue reading “Why did Jesus die for us?”
Many of them probably did. Clearly, throughout all of the Christian centuries, we find many examples of individuals or groups thinking that the “end is near”. The clear teaching of the New Testament is that each Christian should be prepared for the end to come at any time.
There is one passage in the Gospels that might seem to suggest that Jesus predicted that the world would end within the lifetime of the first disciples. Some skeptics point out that the world is still here, and claim this as evidence that Jesus was a false prophet.
The verse in question is “truly I tell you, this generation will Continue reading “Did early Christians expect the end of the world in their own lifetime?”