LIVING THE STORY OF BELIEF: MARILYNNE ROBINSON’S “GILEAD”

Consider a quote from the The Varieties of Religious Experience: “This inferiority of the rationalistic level in founding belief is just as manifest when rationalism argues for religion as when it argues against it.” Here William James attempts to describe the varieties of religious experience and in doing so approaches his topic in a way that frames religion in terms that continue to resonate with readers today. Charles Taylor made the same point in Varieties of Religion Today. For James religion is a matter of the heart more than the head. Religious apologetics and theology are not doomed for James because they are irrational, rather they are superstructures, elaborate abstractions derived from a more primordial existential feeling. Continue reading “LIVING THE STORY OF BELIEF: MARILYNNE ROBINSON’S “GILEAD””

EVANGELICAL TESTIMONY AND CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS

One of the most influential visions of Christian apologetics in the history of Western Christianity comes from Augustine’s De doctrina Christiana, where the figure of the apostle Paul encountering Stoic and Epicurean philosophers at Athens (Acts 17) becomes inflected with the oratorical skills of a Ciceronian rhetorician: Continue reading “EVANGELICAL TESTIMONY AND CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS”

ARGUING ABOUT ATHEISM: READING FIVE CHRISTIAN RESPONSES TO THE “NEW ATHEISTS”

There are good reasons to read a response to the so-called “new atheists.” When I was young my mother saw that I was an overly inquisitive child who had a seemingly infinite set of questions about current affairs and religion. I remember with fondness when, in 1987, I got my first edition of the Guinness Book of World Records—so many facts to explore and things to learn! I also remember some of the books that sat next to my consecutive Guinness Books, written by Christians responding to the perceived threats of modern life in the 1990s: Lee Strobel, Philip E. Johnson, Ravi Zacharias, and Josh McDowell. Ironically, it was Zacharias’ book, Can Man Live Without God?, that actually raised, rather than settled, so many lasting and perplexing questions. Continue reading “ARGUING ABOUT ATHEISM: READING FIVE CHRISTIAN RESPONSES TO THE “NEW ATHEISTS””