Every four years Americans elect a president, and every four years Americans engage in passionate dialogue, discussion, and argument about who should be elected and what role the voting citizen should play. Inevitably, every election cycle also brings with it certain platitudes, talking points, and pithy remarks that make the rounds on social media and in our conversations. Many of these perspectives are unhealthily myopic or downright false, and despite attempts to bring clarity to the conversation, these bad ideas just won’t disappear. Here I address the most egregious examples that have lodged themselves into our political discourse in the hopes of transforming us into a more flourishing body politic. Continue reading “Misguided Political Beliefs in an Election Year”
On the eve before the 2016 presidential election, America is simultaneously expectant and exhausted. This election cycle has felt longer than most because of the character of the front-runners, their dirty campaigns, and the myriad of questions their candidacies have sparked. I have already voted, but I’m not here to debate that; if you know me, you know where I stand on this issue. Instead, I want to pause and step back, and consider a more foundational issue for American Christians who want to be politically informed and engaged, but who are struggling to understand the relationship between their religious beliefs and their American citizenship.
Following up on my Public Discourse essay from last August (“Shut Up, Bigot! The Intolerance of Tolerance”), I have written a second essay that addresses the central objection I encountered to my original piece. The main objection was that tolerance for traditional views of human sexuality and marriage (i.e., opposite-sex relations that are exclusive and permanent) is impermissible, because traditional views are discriminatory and harmful — on the same level as racism, misogyny, and banning interracial marriage. To see how I respond, read my essay below. Continue reading ““Shut Up, Bigot! Civil Rights and Same-Sex Marriage” – Explained and Defended”
I never thought this would happen, but Donald J. Trump is now the nominee of the Republican Party for the 2016 election. Much could be said about this. How sad, pathetic, and self destructive it is. How the other candidates attacked each other and never took Trump seriously. How the anger and ignorance of the GOP voters has gotten us into this pickle and given Hillary Clinton the greatest gift one could give her: a head-to-head match up against a buffoon, who can draw a majority of Republican voters, but who will be hard pressed to do the same with the general public (there’s a chance Trump could beat her, but it will be tough). Continue reading “The Republican Party and Conservatism”
The Donald. What a migraine you have been for the Republican Party this election year! From loud mouth to bad mouth, from funny antics to acidic behavior, from rude to outrageous, Donald J. Trump has shocked us all. We never thought he’d get this far; oh, that he hadn’t! Yet here we stand, on the verge of Super Tuesday March 1, and the beginning of the two week critical stretch to the winner-take-all primaries on March 15. This is when we’ll find out if the GOP electorate really want a candidate like Trump as their nominee. This is when we’ll discover if the other four candidates (Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, and Carson) have what it takes to challenge the front runner (obviously Kasich and Carson don’t, and why they’re still running is a mystery to us all), and if they do not have what it takes, if they then have the humility to bow out to let a worthy challenger to Trump emerge. These are critical days and weeks. Continue reading “Donald Trump: On Issues and Behavior”
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
1 Peter 3:15 is a familiar verse to Christians who regularly engage in apologetic ministry. It is the primary verse used as biblical justification for apologetic engagement, and it has long been understood as a valuable and non-negotiable part of the Christian life. However, recently in western Protestantism, there has been a movement to reconsider the classical approach to Christian apologetics. With publications such as John Wilkinson’s No Argument for God (2011) and Myron Penner’s The End of Apologetics (2013), some Christians argue that apologetic argumentation and reasoning is counterproductive for Christian witness. Peter Enns, the Abrams S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University, has also written along these lines, and a couple weeks ago penned a brief post on his Patheos blog articulating his view of apologetics. The article has spawned 259 comments to date, a substantial interaction that demonstrates public interest in this topic and thus its importance. Continue reading “The Disparagement of Apologetics”
On Wednesday August 12, 2015, my article, “‘Shut Up Bigot!’: The Intolerance of Tolerance,” was published by The Public Discourse. In it I explain the origins of the “bigot” accusation hurled at anyone who holds to traditional sexual norms. The root of this problem is a false understanding of tolerance, which is animated and propped up by postmodern epistemology. To encourage civil discourse and mutual understanding, we must oppose postmodern thinking that pervades our culture and practice true tolerance. Here’s a link to the article:
On Friday June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry (Obergefell v. Hodges). The country has practically erupted in simultaneous celebration and deep disappointment, and news stations and social media have carried numerous discussions and debates. The conversations surrounding homosexuality and same-sex marriage will continue for some time, but it’s important to maintain kindness and civility with one another, even when we strongly disagreed.
I am currently working on a response to both Supreme Court decisions, but this morning I saw a well-known millennial Christian leader post a good question on Facebook (Rachel Held Evans). I want to respond to her question, as I think it is a genuine question that many people have and that needs answering. Continue reading “Understanding Rights and Same-Sex Marriage”
In the course of researching for my Master’s level thesis this semester I have run into the consistent idea from Christians and biblical scholars that America today is in many ways the equivalent of the Roman Empire of antiquity.  This is almost invariably presented as a negative thing, as the distasteful – and even evil – aspects of the Roman Empire are discussed in conjunction with America’s beliefs, domestic policies, and worldwide influence. Since my thesis is focusing on Jesus’ teachings about and encounters with the Roman Empire of the first century, I have had the opportunity to wrestle with contemporary application that applies anti-imperial rhetoric in the New Testament to empire-like states and entities today. Continue reading “Is America the Roman Empire Redux? Cultural Hermeneutics in the Spotlight”
What is truth?
Truth is a property that adheres to a proposition (the content of a sentence) if and only if the proposition corresponds to reality as it actually is. Propositions, as truth bearers, can be either true or false but they are not facts. Facts are neither true nor false; they just are. Facts are the standards by which the veracity of propositions are adjudicated. Nor are propositions sentences, which one philosopher defines as “a linguistic object consisting in a sense perceptible string of markings formed according to a culturally arbitrary set of syntactical rules, a grammatically well-formed string of spoken or written scratchings/sounds.”  Sentences would not be possible without propositions, but the two should not be conflated. Continue reading “What is Truth?”