Archives For May 2012

gty everest lpl 120525 wblog Everest Overcrowding Could Be Fatal This Weekend

Image Credit: Getty Images

According to an ABC news story, more than 200 people will attempt to reach this summit of Mount Everest this weekend alone. In recent years, anyone able to fork our $75,000 in permits and supply adequate equipment, can attempt to summit the world’s most famous peak. Just last week, four climbers died of exhaustion and exposure on their descent from the top. Experts fear that more may die this weekend.

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My second guest post for Faith ON Campus explores reasons that you might consider seminary, especially if you have no desire to be a pastor. I’d love it if you would give it a read and leave me a comment there:

http://faithoncampus.com/just-keep-breathing-3-reasons-you-should-consider-se…

That video gets me every time. I posted it to my Facebook timeline a few days ago, commenting that we should all have a daddy like Derek Redmond’s dad. One of the favorites to medal in the 400 meters at the 1992 Olympic Games, Redmond tore his hamstring halfway through his semi-final race. Clearly in pain, Redmond refused the stretcher-bearers and hobbled toward the finish, determined to complete the distance under his own power.

The man who comes to Redmond’s aid, despite attempts by security to deter him, is Derek’s father, Jim. In a touching act of solidarity and support, Jim helps his son get across the finish line. The part that chokes me up the most is the moment when Derek puts his head on his dad’s shoulder and weeps. His father responds by putting his son’s arm around him and they keep moving forward.

Now, I don’t wanna get all “Footprints in the Sand” on you, but that’s some touching stuff. Do you know why I think that video gets to me? It’s not because that’s the kind of relationship I want with my dad (I already have that), nor is it because it reminds me of the kind of relationship I have with God. No. It’s because it reminds me of the relationship I want to have with God, but feel like I don’t have. Continue Reading…

This week my cohort continued our readings and conversations about atheism. Our guest in chat was Matt Casper, co-author of Jim and Casper Go to Church. The book is an engaging read of the duo’s adventures to a dozen churches in 2006. Jim (Henderson) is a former pastor who started employing atheist, skeptics, and non-believers to serve as ‘mystery shoppers’ in his church. He’d have them come and fill out a survey of their experience. (Matt) Casper is a lapsed Catholic turned atheist who works in marketing. Together, the two visited a wide spectrum of churches and wrote a book about what they found.

Casper is an interesting contrast to last week’s guest, Dr. Peter Boghossian. He takes a more ‘do no harm’ attitude toward people of faith. His issue is not with the veracity of belief, per se, but with the inconsistency that is often displayed in the lives of ‘believers.’ As he and Jim sit through church service after church service, he often queries aloud, ‘Is this what Jesus told you guys to do?’ Often, the answer is simply, ‘No.’

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Theoretical quantum physicist Dr. Amit Goswami thinks so. Eschewing the long-held belief that science could only describe the world in objective terms, Goswami explore the ‘primacy of consciousness’ in this 2009 documentary. He does not seek to prove a particular conception of God (Judeo-Christian, for example), but tries to make sense of why an overwhelming majority of the people who have ever lived held some concept of a supernatural deity. Instead of concluding those billions of people are delusional, he asserts that their observations of the supernatural must have some sort of substance that can be explored scientifically. He looks at the quantum mechanics paradox, concluding that both materialist and dualist worldviews are inadequate. Instead he offers ‘primacy of consciousness': the notion that consciousness ‘creates’ matter by ‘choosing’ from quantum possibilities. No Solipsist, Goswani posits the existence of a shared non-local quantum consciousness, or ‘cosmic consciousness.’ Check out The Quantum Activist for more (available on Netflix streaming, if that’s your groove). 

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Andrew Jones nails it in his critique of many of today’s worship songs. “When did we stop seeking God’s good purpose and substitute it with our own? Are we silly enough to think the two things are the same? Am I the only person that noticed? Am I taking crazy pills?” No, Andrew, you’re not. I notice all the time. Wrote a post about it last fall, here: http://www.thecrookedmouth.com/an-open-letter-to-worship-leaders

My post will be up at The Other Journal on Monday, May 28. Tony’s response will be posted on Thursday of that week. Do come and join in!

Take a Listen…

May 16, 2012 — Leave a comment

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Sometimes my soundtrack for the day works. Sometimes it’s superceded by *other* things. Today, it’s *other* things. 

 

The past couple of weeks in my D.Min. program have included some fascinating readings, lectures, and conversations. Dr. Alvin Plantinga’s newest offering, Where the Conflict Really Lies, kicked things off. In the book, he makes the argument that there does exist deep conflict between science and religion, but it is not the conflict that one ordinarily supposes.

Plantinga appeals to Newtonian and Quantum physics, microbiology, astronomy, and cosmology to show that what conflict does exist between Christian theism and science is superficial at best. He then uses those same fields to show deep concord between Christian theism and science, and deep conflict between science and naturalism. Scientific theory is agnostic about metaphysical and theological questions. Naturalism, however, is not.

Yet to follow the science, Plantinga asserts, one is forced to conclude vis-à-vis a naturalistic interpretation of the evidence that the trustworthiness of one’s cognitive faculties is very, very low. Why? Because a naturalist’s commitment to unguided natural selection as the driving force of evolution necessarily entails that only those functions which aid in reproduction and evolutionary adaptation have a high probability for selection and preservation in the future generations of a given species. Rational cognition, it seems, fails to meet the evolutionary adaptive criteria.

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