Some Favorite Quotes from Confronting Christianity

I know I’m a little late to this, but I just finished Rebecca McLaughlin’s Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion (Crossway, 2019), which I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s similar in both style and content to Tim Keller’s Making Sense of God, which is the last book I read in my current research project on apologetics. Confronting Christianity tackles a wide variety of issues, from classical objections like “how could a loving God allow so much suffering?” (chapter 11) to the most immediately pressing questions of contemporary Western culture like “doesn’t Christianity denigrate women?” (chapter 8) and “Isn’t…

Apologetics Should Speak to the Heart

I’d like to make apologetics my next major intellectual project. This is what I want to give my thoughts and spare reading to during my late 30’s. It’s been brewing in me for a while. Part of it is my innate love of philosophy, which I haven’t formally studied since college, and which feels refreshing and fun to go back to. The greater reason, though, is that it seems like we are at a fascinating cultural moment in which fresh work in apologetics is needed. I thought about this recently while reading my latest book in this personal project, Tim…

God Whispers In All of Life

I think logic and argument can suggest God. I have personally benefited a lot from apologists like William Lane Craig who do this so well. But, of course, this is not the only way to suggest God. It is possible to make God plausible, not as the conclusion of a thread of reasoning, but as the premise of human experience. This approach says, in effect, “if God does not exist, so much of life—so much of what we simply assume everyday in the way we function—becomes mysterious and inexplicable.” Such a strategy is often rationally avoidable. But that does not…

Why Do We Love Music?

I love music. I have over 500 CDs of Dave Matthews Band concerts, and I have vivid memories of specific moments in my life listening to them. For example, I remember listening to the long build up of “Seek Up” in June 2004, while driving to a dinner event at the church I was working at in Chattanooga. It is burned into my memory as if it were yesterday. Most of us have similar memories. When we think about favorite music, whether it be classical or country, Beethoven or Bono, most of have memories and associations that touch upon the deepest…

What I Liked and Disliked About Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I enjoyed watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi last night, but I also found myself unsatisfied with some features of it. At the risk of incurring the wrath of those who loved it, here I list several things I liked, and several things I disliked. I am not a big Star Wars know-it-all so this is basically worthless. Also it has *spoilers ahead* so don’t read it if you haven’t seen it yet. WHAT I LIKED I liked the moral ambiguity invested in Kylo Ren. The fact that he hesitated in killing his mother showed a glimmer of good in him, and you…

Just Babies Making Up a Game

One of my favorite passages in all of literature is Puddleglum’s response to the Lady of the Green Kirtle in The Silver Chair. The Lady (an evil sorceress) has several characters trapped underground, and with the help of a little magic is trying to convince them that Narnia and Aslan and the rest of the “Overland” do not actually exist. The characters are on the verge of giving in when Puddleglum stomps on the magic fire in these words: One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying…

The Problem of Evil is a Problem for Everyone

“If God is all-good and all-powerful, why is there so much evil and suffering in the world?” This question, the age-old “problem of evil,” is probably the single greatest argument of all time against the existence of God. The question has both a “global” and a “local” presence—it is a logical dilemma puzzled over by philosophers, and it is an emotional struggle that every sufferer will face. Its both academic and everyday. When we are with someone who is suffering, its probably best to avoid words altogether and stick with tears, silence, and prayers. In my pastoral role I have…