Monday, October 27, 2008

Will String Theory Tie the Knot?

It seems to me that science has become more and more abstract in order to explain the world around us. Namely, it has gone from bodies to cells to molecules to atoms to quarks to strings. From each progression, the answers have become more and more complex. Can something like string theory finally tie the knot between the physical world and the spiritual world? Or, metaphorically speaking, is science doomed to chase “ghosts” (aka empty truths)? Thank you in advance for any feedback.

What is the Soul?

Some interesting questions came up in a religious studies class that I'm taking, and I'm not sure how to answer. One of the main question boils down to: what exactly is a soul? We've been discussing it for a while, and I think it's been a bit one-sided on the reductionist side on what is meant by "soul." What does it include? Memory? Consciousness? Language? How do we know it's there? The reductionists say that there really is no such thing as the "soul" in the traditional sense, and that all these things we attribute to the soul have been explained by neuroscience. I've tried researching it, but I'm not even sure where to start.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Corinthian Women

I somehow found this link and as I was reading some posts it was good to see issues ironed out. It made me think of a question I have that I figured I'd find a better answer to later if I read some commentaries or invested more time in researching but since you seem more knowledgeable than me I'll ask you and maybe you can direct me where I should go for more info. Anyway, its 1 Corinthians 15:34-35,(1 Corinthians 11:13-15), I think those right now are good there's other little things you know I don't think I would know what to say if someone said hey were not the "weaker partner"(1 Ptr 3:7) but anyway I'm asking because one of my friends belongs to an apostolic church so there's all these rules for women and I kind of want to start dialogue going on interpreting the bible and giving these verses the proper context they deserve. Okay thanks.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sabbath - Is God Serious?

Jesus commands us to rest on Sabbath Day. However, many poor/working-class people have to work on Sundays to survive. The economy also won't function if absolutely no one is working on Sundays. So is Jesus' command to make disciples in every nation a reality, or more like a vision/illusion?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Christian Identity in a Pluralist World?

Question Posted by ieatsuka:
This was a question I heard someone else asked, but I have pondered it myself as well: What defines a Christian? In this pluralist, postmodern world, definitions are highly subjective, and anyone can call themselves anything. What's the difference between a Christian and a "christian"? From an essay I wrote tonight:

*********
This is the story of "Joe," a dorm-mate at UC Berkeley last year. Joe had a friend named "Jack", with whom he went to high school. They were good friends and socialites, partying it up and having fun through high school. However in college, Jack was reached by a local church through which he heard about the Gospel in earnest, and started getting more and more involved in it.Being in the same small group at that church, Jack was visiting my dorm and stopped in my hallway. Joe was also present and we struck up a conversation. It came up that Jack had started attending church, and Joe was reasonably surprised - as it was not something you'd expect from Jack. "Church? Nah, you don't need that stuff." Jack did not make much effort to defend his actions.Joe continued by pulling out the christian cross necklace he wore - "look, I'M a Christian," said Joe. "I even wear a cross necklace! It's just that i'm not a very good Christian - i don't go to church and i drink and party, but i can still call myself a christian." And that's the story of the christian Joe and his Christian friend Jack.And I realized, anyone can call themselves a christian - just not a very good one, and *sarcastic voice* who are you to say they are not a christian? aren't christians not supposed to judge others? While Joe was joking in his claim to be a "christian," even in his joking he made a very good point. Anyone can claim to be a christian.
********

I wrote an entire essay with my thoughts, i'd still like to hear yours. The definitions I came up with are:A CHRISTIAN is a follower of Christ - one who follows with sincerity. Even if his heart is not wholly for God, it is progressing in that direction. A Christian cannot be worldly - if a man or woman's heart is for Christ, it precludes the selfishness, pettiness, and vanity of the world.A "christian" is someone who, for whatever reasons considers himself one, but does not have his or her heart set on Christ - anything else in their heart is moot - they are a "christian." The worst thing about one, is their illusion - of security, of spirituality, or worst of all, of "divine right." These illusions can range from somewhat benign, to unfathomably malignant.

Monday, August 4, 2008

End of Mark?

This question wasn't submitted by anyone, but because we just finished the Remarkable Jesus message series at Gracepoint Berkeley, I thought that I should open up a thread just in case someone had a question. As Pastor William covered during the message, the earlier copies of the Gospel of Mark is missing the last few verses - so we decided to cover only up to chapter 16 verse 8, since that's what we know for sure as being written by John Mark.

Question: Isn't it strange that Mark seems to be missing the resurrection account? Doesn't that mean that the resurrection account might have been made up at a later time?

Pastor William gave a good explanation of this in his message this past Sunday, so you can review your notes and post an answer here. There's also some more background (regarding dating) that we could give in support of what Pastor William said - what would that be? All you Gracepoint SET people - you should be able to briefly answer this question in 3 sentences. If not, then it's time to review your notes!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Canonization? Divine Inspiration?

I was wondering about the legitimacy of the Bible as a whole unit. What does "God-breathed" or "divine inspiration" really mean? What constitutes the criteria for being in the Bible, and how is it that a council had the authority to choose it? Is it really relevant to insist on the truth of every aspect of the entire Bible (e.g. does whether Paul actually wrote all those letters have any impact on our faith)? A friend of mine came up with a fairly interesting analogy: how is the collections of the Bible different from a council of scholars coming up with a British literature anthology? Sure, you can pick out key relevant works, but how can you reduce all of Brit lit into just those few works? And what would it take for the resulting anthology to be considered the definitive tome of Brit lit?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Islam Similar to O.T.?

How should we view and understand old testament laws, specifically the ones that seem very similar to the laws enforced by Islamic clerics? I read today in an article that aproximately 29 people were hung in Iran, for offenses ranging from murder to adultery- engaging in relationships outside of marriage. This reminds me of the OT law that those who committed adultery were to be stoned. What's the difference, and how should we understand and articulate the difference?
article link:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/07/27/iran.executions/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Religion - Based on Uncertainty?

"I want to know how belief can be justified, because I can't see it. For example, people may be having a bad time, so they pray. And if things turn around, it was the power of prayer. But if not, then it was because it wasn't God's will. They're self fulfilling prophecies; faith is strengthened either way. How? Where's the cause and effect? People who don't pray and aren't religious - the same stuff could happen to them. Things just happen and I don't see where it's grounded.

I don't see how you could get from here to belief w/o taking a big leap, so how do you convince yourself to take the leap?

And the way I look at it, all we know is uncertainty. No one knows what happens after life for sure. We just live and that's it. That's all we know for sure. So as far as we KNOW, life is all we have. Therefore going to church and singing, etc, praying and all of that.

If we're wrong, then it's kind of a waste of life, which is all we have. There's just no way of knowing that it's doing something."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lack of God's Response?

There are a couple of passages in the Bible that I just don't know what to make of. One example is Judges 19-20. I was always really disgusted by what was allowed to happen to the concubine (and almost to the daughter) and I was also shocked that the only response God gave was to say which tribe would fight first or whether to go battle against the Benjamites when it was the old man and the Levite's fault in the first place. I know that a big point of the book is that in those days the Israelites did as they saw fit, which brought about a lot of evil. But by remaining silent about what happened to the concubine, yet responding to the Israelites' wanting to go to war with each other, it seems like God didn't consider the actions of the old man and the Levite to be very bad. Although, I guess from the few words God does say, I can't really figure out what his attitude was. Similarly, it bothers me a lot that in Genesis 19 the angels don't voice any opposition to Lot's offering his two daughters to the mob. Certain stories like these, among others, made me really question God's character, if he was actually involved in the situation enough to make direct responses to the people, and yet didn't say anything against what was happening.

Our Amazing Designer

This is a video for the bio nerds - I once had someone explain to me every single shot of this video, and I was blown away at the complexity of the design. "It's like a microcosm of a city that duplicates itself," he said.

I just can't reproduce the explanation, but I think just seeing this video does give us a sense of awe and wonder.

video

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gracepoint Church SET 2008

Under this post, I'll be putting up lengthy comments on some analysis of Tim Keller's "The Reason for God", which is the book that we're going through at Gracepoint Fellowship Church summer of 2008. Please refer to the comments of this post.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Defense of Sanctity of Marriage

Does anyone else find the Christian view on marriage difficult to justify given today's moral relativism? How do you defend the sanctity of same-sex marriage when society at large does not necessarily accept the biblical view of marriage? I read the recent breakpoint article on the issue but I was not satisfied by the arguments given there, nor could I imagine a non-Christian accepting the rationale given by the article.

Questions Wanted

Hello everyone,

Because I don't know of a better way to collect questions, please comment on this post with your questions, and I will create a new post with your question.