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American physicist and Nobel winner Steven Weinberg has famously said, "Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard has both positive and negative aspects. In the end, I do recommend reading it. But don’t give it to non-Christians expecting it to be a dramatic replacement for reading the Gospels themselves. The authors tell an engaging history of Jesus’ life, but they falter seriously on some important parts of that history, which displays their bias.
I think one of the biggest obstacles to people grasping the meaning of the Gospel is that they misunderstand the message. For various reasons, people think what we're offering them is a way to be good enough to go to Heaven. It's the message of every other religion – a system to follow to be moral enough or appease God. It's what has been preached in a lot of purportedly Christian churches.
I've seen it time and time again. People are less likely to notice bad reasoning when it's presented in an appealing package. Our thinking, no matter how clear, is liable to be swayed by whether or not we like the messenger.
Someone brought this video to our attention and asked what our response is. It's a nicely made video, but the argument is so flawed the response seems simplistic.
I watched an interview recently that Larry King did with Martin Short several months ago. Larry King has been interested in what happens after we die for a long time because, as he freely admits, he's afraid of what comes after. I've noticed that he asks his guests about this often when they've dealt with death in their lives.
Nancy Pearcey has a really great article explaining a strategy for more effective conversations and public dialogue over controversial issues. In this case, she writes about sexual identity and transgender politics.
As I listen to many of the subjects in debate today in our culture - the dialog between secularists and Christians - there's a fundamental difference in perspectives that I think we need to be aware of if we're going to try to be persuasive. Faith and religion have been relegated to the realm of wishful thinking and personal preference. For many we're talking with and in the public discourse, it has nothing to do with reality. Religion is a personal taste, like ice cream, so it's bizarre to them that we're trying to get them to like the same flavor we like.
Greg will be teaching an online class next week Wendesday for the European Leadership Forum. The topic is "Credo: The Story of Reality." You're invited to register and join the class.
An Austrian man won the right to wear a pasta strainer in his drivers license photo because he claimed it was the headwear for his church – the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Some atheists use the "Spaghetti Monster" as a supposed parallel to theism to show it's ridiculous.