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Read part 1 here Can There Be Good without God? In 1982, I lived in Thailand for seven months supervising a feeding program in a Cambodian refugee camp named Sakaeo. My charge: 18,250 Khmer refugees who had escaped the holocaust perpetrated on Kampuchea by the Khmer Rouge after the fall of Phnom Penh in 1975.
The billboards read: “No God? No Problem. Be Good for Goodness’ Sake,” and “Are You Good without God? Millions Are.” The point was clear: Morality in no way depends on belief in God. And why should it? Atheists can be good, too. New atheist Christopher Hitchens regularly challenged his religious opponents to suggest a single act of goodness they could perform that he, the atheist, could not accomplish with equal success.
The images are sadly familiar. Buildings ripped from their foundations. Corpses mingled with debris. Parents and friends grieving for lost loved ones. Flowers and candles and makeshift memorials. New Orleans, Newtown, New York, Littleton. In one sense tragedies like these will never be old news. And when new disasters inevitably arrive, the question on the lips of so many is an age old query: “Where was God?” One Wrong Answer
Judith Jarvis Thompson's Violinist Argument Isn't a Good Defense of Aboriton I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard Judith Jarvis Thompson’s famous “Violinist” argument. I was driving south on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles listening to a radio talk-show. It shook me up so much I almost had to pull over.
I never like the question, “Do you take the Bible literally?” It comes up with some frequency, and it deserves a response. But I think it’s an ambiguous—and, therefore, confusing—question, making it awkward to answer. Clearly, even those of us with a high view of Scripture don’t take everything literally. Jesus is the “door,” but He’s not made of wood. We are the “branches,” but we’re not sprouting leaves.
Three years ago I sat on a short bench in a small stone church on the outskirts of Oxford. In a tiny graveyard outside was a flat tombstone with the name “Clive Staples Lewis” etched into the granite. The pew my wife and I were sitting in was the same place C.S. Lewis occupied with his brother Warnie every Sunday morning for decades as they worshipped together at Trinity Church.
A Christian’s theology is minimally defined by two miraculous events. The first miracle no one ever saw, because it could not be seen except by God alone. The second miracle only a few saw, but multitudes have experienced. These miracles happened within days of each other in the middle of the Jewish month of Nissan, in the spring of 33 A.D. It was the week of Jesus’ passion. Best Christmas Verse You’ll Never Hear
Does the Bible teach that Christians are to listen for God's voice to guide their decisions? The keynote speaker’s list of spiritual qualifications was not lengthy. There were no references to his academic letters, theological acumen, skill at biblical living, or personal holiness. Instead, he was simply introduced as “a man who hears from God.” It was the ultimate sign of spiritual competency. The implication for the audience was clear. He listens to God; they should listen to him.
It seems like every time I turn around I hear of another prominent Christian thinker or theologian who has embraced Darwinism. It’s deeply disconcerting. In light of the stature of these Evangelical leaders, some people are going to ask, “What do they know that I don’t know? I thought this was a done deal. It’s either Darwin or God.”
Not long ago I read a stunning (and scathing) response in a blog post by a Christian woman who was furious with those taking exception with the “Christian” convictions of a well-known Mormon media personality. “If only you would get on your knees and pray asking God to give you the wisdom and the discernment you need, you would see and know [this Mormon] is the real deal,” she wrote. “But instead you…ridicule him and the Mormon church…[rather than] doing your own research.”