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Beware Evolutionary 'Just-so' Stories About Religious Belief

As an evolutionary biologist I am fascinated by the emergence of cognitive abilities that make us so distinctive from other living species. There are, however, risks in making up evolutionary "just-so" stories to explain the origins of complex human beliefs.

 

Are We Genetically Predisposed to Believe in God?

This entry was originally posted on February 13, 2010. While the question of evolutionary predisposition toward religious belief may be challenging, Christians need not see it as threatening. In fact, this is actually a Pauline notion that is explored in Romans 1, where Paul claims that it is in mankind’s nature to “know God”.

 

Stochastic Grace

I was raised in a household of atheists. My parents were card-carrying members of the American Communist Party, and therefore the atheism in my household was quite close to the militant anti-theism of the so-called “new atheists”.

 

Denis Alexander on Understanding Creation Theology

In this video Conversation, Denis Alexander asserts that contemporary Christians are not taking the early chapters of Genesis seriously enough.

 

Evolution, the Enlightenment, and Worldviews

In this video conversation, N.T. Wright discusses how the Enlightenment worldview -- which clearly separates God from the world -- has impacted our view of Scripture, and why cleaning the "spectacles" through which we view the world can help us see both Scripture and the world more clearly.

 

Made in the Image of God: Human Values and Genomics

Genes and physiology are seen as something different from "us" and "our mind," and they seem to be controlling us, so we can't even change our mind. Humans are presented as pawns of their biology, puppets dancing to the tune of their genetic masters.

 

Does Evolution Compromise Human Morality?

Once we have a scientific hypothesis for how something exists, it is tempting to make the philosophical inference that this is also why it exists.

 

Series: To Serve and Preserve—Genesis 2 and the Human Calling (3 entries)

In this series, David Buller pays careful attention to the original language and cultural context of Genesis 2, revealing that our responsibility to care for creation is a sacred task given to us by God, not merely a modern secular activity. By taking Scripture seriously, we learn that we have a God-given mandate to be diligent stewards of His creation.

 

Can Science Ever Know Enough?

To say something is poetic is not to declare it ultimately untrue, futile and meaningless—it is to say it is more profound and meaningful and true than many other modes of expression.

 

Series: Genesis Through Ancient Eyes (5 entries)

In this talk, originally delivered at the BioLogos President's Circle meeting in October 2012, Dr. John Walton discusses the origin stories of Genesis 1-3, and why their focus on function and archetypes mean there is no Biblical narrative of material origins.

 

Series: Divine Action in the World (5 entries)

In this talk, Professor Plantinga addresses the fact that many contemporary thinkers—including many theologians—believe that God cannot perform miracles, providentially guide history, or interact in the lives of people, as these activities would be contrary to science. Plantinga, on the other hand, makes the case that this popular view is mistaken; excluding divine action in the world is not a central feature of natural science itself, but a philosophical or theological preference that has been added on to science (and can just as readily be removed). Plantinga concludes that it is completely logical to accept the miracles of the Bible and support contemporary science.

 

Series: The Meaning of mîn in the Hebrew Old Testament (3 entries)

The related ideas of the “fixity of species” and “natural kinds” have been prominent in the science and faith conversation. Some Christians take Genesis to mean that God created (bara) fixed species (mîn). But does the text truly indicate such a concept? Biblical scholar Dr. Richard Hess looks at the Biblical context and meaning of the Hebrew mîn, and suggests that when Christians use it to frame our understanding of the entire created order, we may be asking too much of this single word.

 

Naming 'the God Particle'

The discovery of the Higgs boson would certainly be a breakthrough for particle physics and cosmology, but would such a finding also radically redefine theology’s understanding of God or challenge the existence of such a deity? Is there actually any theological or religious significance in Higgs physics at all?

 

Series: The Genesis of Everything (5 entries)

Theologian, historian and Christian apologist Dr. John P. Dickson addresses the history and interpretation of Genesis 1. Making no claims about human biological origins, Dickson urges us to treat the early chapters of Genesis as a literary and historical statement, and listen carefully to it on those terms.

 

Series: Chosen by God: Biblical Election and the Imago Dei (6 entries)

At the center of the theological and cultural controversy surrounding biological evolution stands the question: “How do human beings—creatures uniquely created in the image and likeness of God—fit into the scientific picture of life’s origins and development?” In this three-part series, Dr. Joshua Moritz endeavors to address this question by exploring what Scripture means—and does not mean—by the designation “image and likeness of God”.

 

What is Scientism?

Scientism is a rather strange word, but for reasons that we shall see, a useful one. Though this term has been coined rather recently, it is associated with many other “isms” with long and turbulent histories: materialism, naturalism, reductionism, empiricism, and positivism.

 

Series: Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople (8 entries)

The six-part series by Dr. Keller considers three main clusters of questions lay people raise with their pastors when introduced to the teaching that biological evolution and biblical orthodoxy can be compatible. As a pastor and evangelist, Keller takes these concerns seriously and offers suggestions for addressing them without requiring believers to adopt a particular view or accept a definitive answer.

 

Series: He Who Has Ears (4 entries)

Scholar and musician Jeff Warren addresses the questions of how music is meaningful, and where that meaning resides, by looking at the popular ideas that musical meaning is entirely subjective to the listener and that the meaning of music can be universal. He also explores the recent trend of attempting to explain music via neuroscience. Finally, he looks into the reasons why music continues to play such a critical role in the worshiping life of the Church.

 

Life and Death

If you go back into the Genesis account, it says “now do not eat this or you will surely die”. There is a whole chain of events that happens when Adam and Eve decide they want to walk away from God.

 

Creation? Which Creation?

In addressing the subject of creation, William P. Brown contends that there is not one story but seven contained in the sacred texts of the Judeo-Christian tradition. The books of Genesis, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Isaiah each provide unique perspectives of the natural world.

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110 resources found (displaying 1-20)
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