Posts Tagged “Christianity”

Gender Roles

Gender Roles in Christianity

A while back, I got a request from my sister that I should write up something on my blog about gender roles in religion. And while I, the good brother that I am, have been trying to do so, such a topic is a difficult one to cover. The difficulty is that religion, with all its diversity, has had numerous effects, both positive and negative, on gender roles. While Hindus, for example, have goddesses that are worshiped, Islam has women living behind black veils. Such a topic would be too broad. So what about Christianity specifically? Even within just this one religion, there have been numerous responses to gender roles over the centuries of the Christian religion. But I will do my best to examine some of the answers that have been given from the first century CE until today, as well as a more general discussion about why gender roles exist and whether they are helpful or harmful to society.Continue Reading

Sign with line through Christian cross

Contesting Christianity: Wrapping Up

Religion · · 19 comments

Well, we have come to the end of my ten-part series. What a journey it’s been! I hope that it has been informative and has made you think about which arguments can or should be used to defend Christianity, and which should be left aside. But to wrap up this series, I’d like to share a few more thoughts about how to think about beliefs in general.Continue Reading

The Empyrean, by Gustave Doré

Contesting Christianity: Personal Experience

The next argument I would like to deal with concerns personal experiences. While this argument is widely used by Christians and believers of other religions, it is difficult to pin down and make explicit. It is odd that something which seems to be one of the primary factors for religious belief is so notoriously hard to put into words. Often it comes down to, “I just know God exists.” But I find that a deeply unsatisfying answer when there is nothing to back up that knowledge—other than perhaps a vague feeling. Nevertheless, considering the impact it evidently has on believers around the world, I think it is important to deal with it. As I have already written about prayer and miracles, those topics will not be covered here. Instead, I would like to talk about three things: visions and other strange occurrences, the “changed life” phenomenon, and personal feelings.Continue Reading

Philosophy - Plato and Aristotle

Contesting Christianity: Philosophical Arguments

As far as my experience has shown, philosophical arguments do not play a large role in the life of most believers. Most people seem to come to be a Christian either from growing up into a Christian family or through an intense emotional experience of “conversion”. Nevertheless, philosophical arguments for the existence of God and/or the truth of Christianity have a rich historical tradition, from Thomas Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo to Descartes and Kant. And while many philosophers have conceded that these arguments are ultimately unsuccessful, they still do have their supporters even today. So I’d like to take some time to examine a few of the most common philosophical arguments for God.Continue Reading

Praying hands

Contesting Christianity: Prayer and Miracles

Religion, Science · · 13 comments

Prayer and miracles are two more key aspects of Christianity. While it seems that the Christian faith could survive without these things, it would seem to be a pretty bland religion if it did. The efficacy of prayer is often touted in church services as evidence for the truth of Christianity. And miracles are a key element of some Christians’ defense of the faith as well. But do these arguments hold up to scrutiny? I would argue that they do not, and that the reason these arguments are used is because the individuals using them don’t adequately ask themselves what they might expect if God did not exist. Like any good scientist, in order to evaluate a hypothesis, we must establish what we would expect if the statement were true, and what we would expect if it were false. I am going to attempt to do just this in regard to prayer first, and then miracles, to determine whether these phenomena can reasonably be used as evidence of God’s existence.Continue Reading

Jesus' resurrection

Contesting Christianity: The Resurrection

I think it is safe to say that of all the doctrines of faith present in Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus has to be the most fundamental. Paul himself said that “if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain…. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:14,17-19). Thus, while there are some Christians who do not believe in a literal resurrection, for most Christians it seems to be critical to the faith.Continue Reading

The Bible

Contesting Christianity: Biblical Accuracy

Religion · · 14 comments

One of the keystones of the Christian faith is the Bible. Without it, there is very little that can be said about Christianity. All the primary doctrines of faith are in it or derive from it, and the main figure (Jesus Christ) is only found with any detail inside its pages. So, clearly, a defense of the accuracy of the Bible is crucial for the Christian.Continue Reading