Most people are not aware of how delicate of an ecology is involved in the formation of the psychology of progress and discovery. We tend to think that our progress in science and technology is something that comes natural to us, an ineradicable drive that most humans possess. They forget that radical change is an anomaly only a couple of centuries old, and that it is a crescendo of moral and metaphysical assumptions that took thousands of years to put in place.
Recently a friend of mine who teaches theology asked me a question about the cross and atonement. His is the Catholic Theologian Jacob Friesenhahn who wrote a book that has deeply influenced me called "Trinity and Theodicy". His question was this:
"My [students usually affirm] the idea of an all-loving God who desires our salvation, but many struggle with "but why the cross?" questions. Do you know of any (short) book chapters or articles that offer a good apologetic on this topic?"
Recently an reporter on Religion and American Culture-- Mr. Kevin Eckstrom-- did an insightful piece on how he deals with his own religious affiliation when he is asked by those who he is interviewing. The essay delves into what we are asking when we ask a person's religion. His interpretation-- which I agree with-- is that our REAL question is not "WHAT religion are you?" but "WHAT KIND of religious person are you?"
Recently, the online zine "The Appendix" did a nice, short form essay about the function of the "End Times" in American Culture, and why certain kinds of conservative Protestant religiosity tend to be obsessed with predicting the end of the world and the second coming of Christ.
Many of the commenters a linked website (io9.com) were amazed at why these Christians would keep on trying to predict the end times after the Millerite "Great Disappointment" of 1844, and all the lesser disappointments that have followed, from the 1970's and 80's "Late Great Planet Earth", to Harold Camping's abortive and costly attempt to predict divine history in 2011. Why keep on betting if the odds are literally 100% that you will be wrong? And I use the word literally in a literal way here: 100% of the attempts to predict the end of the universe, at all times, in all cultures, across the whole world, have been completely wrong.
But what the commenters, in my estimation, got wrong was the motive for WHY certain kinds of religious people become convinced they are living in the "end times". So I wrote this:
This is a bunch of stuff to make us think hard about our incredible love affair with the God of the universe, our astounding infidelities against him, and his incredible grace to heal and restore us through Christ. Everything on this site is copyright © 1996-2015 by Nathan L. Bostian so if you use it, cite me... otherwise you break the 8th commandment, and make God unhappy. You can contact the author by posting a comment.