Theology

Believe It Or Not, Atheists Need Hermeneutics Too!

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Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 11.11.55 PMI’ve recently been in several discussions where I defend what the Bible says against skeptics. Now, you might be thinking, “Uhm… yea, that’s what apologists like you do,” and you’d have a point.

But this is different.

I’m not only defending what the Bible says; I’m defending the idea that the Bible actually says anything at all.

The skeptics aren’t denying that there are words on the page, of course. But they are denying that there is a proper interpretation of those words. They are [apparently] under the impression that the Bible isn’t actually saying anything objective at all, and that all (or most) interpretations are somehow equally valid.

As a side note, I am amused by this. These same skeptics are the ones who point to passages in the Old Testament in an attempt to say that God is behaving immorally. But their arguments rely upon the fact that there is an objectively correct interpretation of Scripture. The skeptic must be consistent; either the Bible does have an objective meaning, or it doesn’t. You can’t have it both ways.

If the Bible is saying something objectively testable, our goal (and the goal of proper hermeneutics) is to understand what the Bible is actually saying. The Bible claims to be making statements about [historical, spiritual, theological, etc] reality, and can therefore be tested.

On one hand, I guess I sort of understand the confusion. After all, our post-modern-esque culture tends to rip verses out of context and apply them where they don’t actually apply.

————— Continue reading at TheologyMix.com —————

For a really interesting conversation between Christian Tyler Vela and Thomas, the host of the Atheistically Speaking podcast, click here! (and here for the 2nd episode) (and here’s Tyler’s after-the-show commentary)

God: The Ever Receding Pocket of Scientific Ignorance?

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Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 5.17.14 PMYou’ve probably heard it before.

God is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance that gets smaller and smaller as time goes on” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Creationists eagerly seek a gap in present-day knowledge or understanding. If an apparent gap is found, it is assumed that God, by default, must fill it.” – Richard Dawkins

Ignorance of nature’s ways led people in ancient times to invent gods to lord it over every aspect of human life.” – Stephen Hawking

Yes, people used to marvel at thunder and lightning and come to unreasonable conclusions. They did not know what was going on, and they concluded that God (or gods) must be responsible. This is a gap reasoning.

But when someone is looking at the available evidence and coming to a ‘therefore God exists,” it is not a God of the gaps conclusion. Many of the logical arguments concluding with “therefore, God exists” may be invalid, unsound or totally wrong, but they’re not gap-reasoning.

If someone says, “I don’t know… therefore X,” that is gap-reasoning.

If someone says, “Here are several reasons why it is reasonable to conclude that X,” that is not gap reasoning.

God: The Ever Receding Pocket of Scientific Ignorance? – Theology Mix

Annihilationism 101 – An Introduction to Conditional Immortality

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I do not hold to the ‘traditional doctrine’ of Hell; the doctrine of eternal conscious torment. I am an advocate of “annihilationism”, otherwise known as “conditional immortality”. My disbelief puts me in a minority amongst Christians, but I don’t exactly know why. I think all evangelicals should hold to annihilationism, and my hope is that this post will be the first step in you embracing annihilationism.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 10.50.12 AMFor those of you new to this discussion, the advocates of the ‘eternal conscious torment’ view of hell are known as ‘traditionalists’. The advocates of annihilationism are usually known as annihilationists or conditionalists.

A little while ago, a group of friends and I ordered some pizza, hung out for a while, snagged a movie off of Amazon and sat down to watch it. This movie was “Hellbound”, and it was a fairly decent examination of the doctrine of hell and the various views on it. It seemed to be primarily focused on the debate between ‘eternal conscious torment’ (ECT) and universalism, brought about by Rob Bell’s statements questions about the existence and/or nature of hell. While annihilationism was given some time in the movie, it was largely unconsidered and left as something worth thinking about… but less interesting than the other two options. It wasn’t off the table, it was just sorta pushed aside.

With my minimal online influence, I’d like to place annihilationism back in the middle of the theological table, to be considered with the other two. I am confident that annihilationism will emerge on top as the most biblically, theologically and philosophically accurate understanding of the doctrine of hell. Read the rest of this entry »

Awesome Podcast Recommendation – Rethinking Hell

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Hello everyone! I hope you had a gr8 Christmas and new year! Welcome to 2015!
My normal plan for this blog is to post something on Monday and then a favorite podcast of the week on Friday. However, I’ve neglected this last Monday.

Hopefully you will forgive me. After all, it was between Christmas and the New Year! #HolidayProbs

I do have some good news! My abject negligence will culminate in a decent post this Monday (hopefully) the doctrine of Hell and why I believe the Bible does not teach the [traditional doctrine] eternal conscious torment.
Speaking of Hell… I’d like to introduce my favorite podcast of the week:

mastheadRethinking Hell!
(iTunes link)

Rethinking Hell is probably one of the best series on the doctrine of Hell from a conditionalist perspective I’ve ever encountered. Granted there aren’t that many podcasts that fill this niche, but I’m glad these guys are doing it because they do it very well. And they have a dang cool podcast logo and website banner.

Just look at it. #fire

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 11.58.51 AMIf you’d like to know more about annihilationism (before my post on Monday, of course), listen to the most recent two episodes of Rethinking Hell. It is a 2-part series covering a recent informal debate between conditionalist Edward Fudge and traditionalist Frank Zuber on Moody Radio. Just listening to Ronnie & Chris discuss the issues in this debate will make for a solid primer for anyone new to conditionalism.
You can find the discussion here (the link I had wasn’t working; waiting on a response from Moody for a new link).

Episode 63: Up for Debate? A Response to Kevin Zuber, with Ronnie D and Chris Date (iTunes)
Episode 64: Up for Debate? A Response to Kevin Zuber, with Ronnie D and Chris Date (iTunes)

Many of their other episodes deal with specific responses to specific claims made by critics of annihilationism, and they deal with the objections fairly and substantially. I strongly suggest going to them for a well-informed view on hell from a conditionalist perspective.
Specifically, I really enjoyed episode 4 – The Case for Annihilationism with Glenn Peoples, and episode 7 – Traditional Objections Answered with Chris Date.

If you are a conditionalist, this is a great resource for responding to critiques of annihilationism.
If you are a traditionalist, universalist, or just on the fence on this issue, this is a great way to understand the arguments of conditionalists.

In my post on Monday, I’ll be linking to more conditionalist resources.
Thanks!

And like always, if you have a podcast that you think is just downright amazing, let me know! In the comments or on twitter 🙂

Awesome Podcast Recommendation – Straight Thinking!

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I have a BINGE & accidentally-ignore relationship with many of the podcasts I listen to. Thankfully iTunes doesn’t accidentally ignore podcasts in the same way I do. So when I remember to listen to a podcast, there are several episodes waiting for me! Yay!

straight-thinking-1This is exactly what happened this week with Ken Samples‘ podcast, Straight Thinking (iTunes). My forgetfulness is not meant to be seen as a shot against Straight Thinking at all. I may not always agree with Samples (or Reasons to Believe), but his systematic way of approaching theological and philosophical topics is great. Samples is a great teacher, and rarely am I left wondering what he meant by (insert complex topic here) or where he stands on (insert theological or philosophical topic here) and why.

team-member-kenneth-samplesSamples’ ability as a teacher is 50% of the reason I am recommending this podcast this week. The other 50% is because he has started a lengthy series on logic and critical thinking. I think it’ll be a great opportunity for those looking for a practical look at logic, reason and the proper use of your brain.
#twitter!

He is calling it “Logic 101”, and as of today (12/19/14) he has gone through 4 episodes.
Logic 101A: The Whats and Whys of Logical Thinking
Logic 101B: Thinking Logically about Conspiracy Theories
Logic 101C: Think It Through
Logic 101D: Enhancing Brain-Mind Power

Check it out!
Let me know what you think!

And if you have a favorite podcast that you’d like to recommend, put it in the comments section or tweet at me! @ElijiahT
I’m always looking for new podcasts to binge-listen to.