Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Afterlife IV

Here's another interesting take on heaven and hell, one that makes more sense than the "traditional" Christian view. Of course, none of us really knows with absolute certainty what lies beyond this life, and the Bible is vague enough on that point to leave open any number of interpretations. But it does seem like it's past time to retire the originally pre-Christian (and decidedly non-Jewish) notion that a just and loving God would inflict infinite torture as punishment for a finite number of sins.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Not So Different

Today I came across this article from the Economist that puts the recent London riots into perspective. It's a valuable reminder of how important it is to understand history. It seems that every generation since ancient times thinks that the generation rising after them is worse than they were, and that the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

One certainly sees that in the rhetoric of conservative Christian groups, who still pine for the idyllic middle-class paradise of the 1950s, notwithstanding that the conservatives of the 1950s just as loudly decried the decline of Western civilization in their own time as they yearned for some earlier utopia.

Yet there is no perfect era. Each generation makes its own mistakes, improving in some ways on its predecessors while falling short in others. Western civilization may someday pass away, as all civilizations do - but in the end its collapse will be a far more complex affair than anyone on any side of whatever political divides exist at the time will be likely to acknowledge. That event will no more lie at the feet of the youth of the day than Rome's fall was caused by the evil gays or the dirty Christians.

It's easy to focus only on the negatives (or the positives) of a particular situation. But the problems we do face will never be solved as long as we cling to such a simplistic view of the world.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Apologies for my longer-than-expected absence from the blogosphere. Between the job search and my recent trip (to attend GenCon, thanks in part to the generosity of a good friend) I haven't been feeling particularly inspired lately. So here are a few links to items that may be of interest...

1. It's nice to see that more evangelicals are beginning to challenge the historicity of the early chapters of Genesis. In my experience, the Bible only truly begins to come alive when you free it from the demand that it function as an encyclopedia and rulebook.

2. A friend pointed me to this story, which resonates with my own experience. From his boyhood crush on C. Thomas Howell to his concern that he may be incapable of a romantic relationship at this point in his life, I can relate.

3. Speaking of stories, there's still a little time to submit yours to John Shore for his upcoming book project on gay Christians. I've sent mine in - which is part of the reason I haven't had as much to say here in recent weeks.

4. Finally, a dissenting opinion on the latest book in George Martin's Game of Thrones series. I still plan to read the book for myself, but it's actually a little reassuring to know I'm not the only fantasy reader who isn't completely enamored with the series. It's a great and groundbreaking epic in many ways, but even the best books have their flaws.