Monthly Archives: July 2010

We Should Not Ignore the Question “Why?”

From the article Limitations of Science at the website

I think the point of Dr. Miller’s quote was that even a full description of what physical things occur and how they occur in a mechanical fashion does not preclude a third descriptor: why. Philosophical materialists insist that satisfactory answers to “what” and “how” questions are sufficient, and since they are answerable in the laboratory, the picture of reality that the laboratory furnishes for us is, by their estimation, altogether complete. Theists argue that we should not ignore the question “why”, even though it cannot be recovered by the scientific method; discounting “why” as a valid question shows a presuppositional bias toward materialism and does not constitute an argument for it.

First Star

No or yes, or perhaps—
from a distance they all look the same.
What changes is the question.

From the poem First Star by Connie Wanek.

Because One Disagrees

Henry Neufeld responds to the assertion that biblical higher criticism “gives inappropriate license to decide what he or she perceives as truth based on the resources and education of the critic.”

Yet whenever we read scripture we interpret. This criticism of higher criticism does nothing more than reject it because one disagrees with the results. There are problems with higher criticism, just as there are problems with [the alternative method of] reading everything literally. These are problems that require thoughtful responses. I would reject a version of higher criticism that stands on purely naturalistic assumptions. But such a foundation is unnecessary to find value in many of the tools provided.

Asking More Questions

Here’s a sentiment I resonate with when it comes to questions about integrating the Bible and science, from Bill Donahue. It’s comment #33 in this comment thread.

Perhaps the answer here is asking more questions, not answers.

At The Bottom Of Their Faith

A comment by Scot McKnight (comment number 7 in this comment thread) about whether our faith is in the Bible or in Jesus. Which one is the basis for the other’s authority?

At an objective level, what matters, for instance, is that Jesus was raised. If he was raised, whether we have perfect reports or reliable reports or only partly reliable reports, then he was raised and, if raised, something powerful is at work. I have been convinced for a long that time that many Christians actually believe in Jesus because they believe in the Bible, and that faith in the Bible is the bottom of their faith. Others believe in the Bible because they believe in Jesus. We all need to think through this better: our faith is in a Person.

Who’s From Where Now?

David Hayward offering an example of what would be an inappropriately hostile comment to leave on his blog.

Well, men are from Mars; women are from Venus. But you might as well be speaking from Uranus, you stupid idiot!

Different Than Merely Uninformed

Joe Keohane writes about partisanship and facts in an article in the Boston Globe

In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs.

The problem is that sometimes the things they [partisan voters] think they know are objectively, provably false. And in the presence of the correct information, such people react very, very differently than the merely uninformed. Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information, they can entrench themselves even deeper.

In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to any new information. And then we vote.

Ready To Go Where God Is Pointing

Kenton Sparks has given me something to meditate on this week.

The goal of biblically informed theology is not merely to go where the Scripture goes … we must also be ready to go where God, through Scripture, is pointing.

It Makes No Difference Anyway

A comment by Diane to an article about the role of doubt in the Christian life at

God’s worst enemy is apathy, not doubt. Those who doubt care enough to work toward an answer; as opposed to those self-satisfied churchgoers who accept everything superficially, since it makes no difference to their lives anyway. For me, it was Jesus’ command to “Follow me” which has given me the most peace. I can do that, even though I am still very unsure of many doctrinal. [sic]