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Did God Command Genocide?

If you've ever taken any interest in the debate between Christianity and Atheism, you've more than likely come across the following critique of the Bible: "The Old Testament God is hardly one to be worshipped. He's a vindictive, angry, jealous God who commands genocide!"

This line of attack is hardly unjustified. How are we to respond when we come across verses like these?  However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them - the Hitties, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusties - as the Lord your God has commanded you. (Deut 20:16-17) Go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys. (1 Sam 15:3) For some, the solution is easy. Simply pretend like these verses don't belong in the Bible. Problem solved. But this creat…
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Why Theology?

Very rarely in years past did theology put down deep roots in my life. I guess it is because of my natural inclination to question and deconstruct ideas, and my love of playing devil's advocate. This has often gotten me into trouble with my wife, as I'll often take a position in a discussion that I don't even remotely believe, and before I realise it, I am debating her on points that I myself agree with! Sometimes I don't realise I am doing it - debating has always been a bit of a thrill for me.

So why am I now trying to become a theologian?

Theology, I have come to believe, must eventually come to a head. What is it stake is my avenue of faith - how I see God, the Church, others and most importantly myself. What we are pursuing are the big answers that shape our inner thoughts and guide our actions. These aren't the rudiments of math; I cannot prove what is theologically true - but like all of life's important truths theology finds itself in subjective conclus…

Fire and Brimstone

For the past couple years I have been struggling with the way in which the gospel (good news) is often presented. A book that helped me work through a lot of my theology was A More Christlike God by Bradley Jersak.

fire and brimstone

gnashing words
my heart limps on
long before it had left
it was already gone

in the crimson break before
the end, the final night's score
fear perches, ready to take me once more
to taunt and take me to places i know
a fire's horrid answer
the truth will i now know?

memories carved
will one day they crack?
in the life after death
this burden breaks my back

my crime they say
is as clear as the day
of being born
of living
of the air
i am stealing
i once was a light
i could see in a mirror
before it arrived
and darkened my cheer
age has left its mark
and robbed me of joy

oh fire and brimstone
is this who You are?
oh fire and brimstone
i guess i'll run far

when i sought ancient cloth
to relieve the pain
instead of relief
they burdened me again
and …

To my friends

I don't know how to share this, I formally started this a long time ago, but in all reality, I think this has been something I've been working on my entire life.

This is my story, and I hope my story can help you heal. My prayer is that the motion from grief to grief will be rooted in the narrative of hope.

Humanities collective courage to face pain head on has flowed over into my own heart. Some of these stories will be new or old, but I hope you can see the narrative and find some comfort. Feel free to read this in the future, when the hurt is a little less raw - your need of healing is far more important to me than my own, I write this not for sympathy, but because I care deeply for you.

A Child's Favourite Word

I think you are a lot like me, sentimental with strong emotional impression of things that have happened to us in the past. My childhood was relatively beautiful. My parents loved me, raised me with some strong values, provided for me, and did their absolute best…

Is Christian Art Too Much Like Propaganda?

This question has surfaced during the discussion of what constitutes good Christian art. The gospel, which has survived since it was first proclaimed in the first century, has been communicated in a variety of form. In the oral form of the early church, to the musings of the Church Fathers, to visual art in an illiterate world, to being printed on a press; the gospel, in a living way, has transcended mere information and cemented itself as that which innervates human imagination. It survives not only because it exists as beautiful words written on a page, or as a theme of redemption painted on glass windows, or layered upon a moving melody, but because it is the Spirit at work in the hearts of sinful men.

It is thus imperative that any synthesis of the gospel and art be done in a way which respects that mystery. Every generation must wrestle with both the gospel and how to communicate it as it is not something that can ever be figured out. In a society that lives in arrogance at its ca…

Pro (some) Life

With the recent American presidential debate thrusting the abortion discussion into the centre stage, many people have taken refuge in their respective ethical camps. No two camps could be further divided. The battle between who holds the higher right, a mother or her unborn child, is understandably a passionate debate. My personal conviction regarding the ethics of abortion are extremely clear - an unborn child is a human, and no reasonable argument has ever been given to deny personhood to those who are self-evidently human. All "non-personhood" propositions are ad hoc arguments meant to justify the act of abortion. The environmental location of an unborn child or his/her relationship to the mother are moot points; what matters is whether an unborn child is a person. If an unborn child is a person, then it is vulnerable, without the capacity to choose and worthy of every protection by the state. I believe they are persons, and it is not a pleasant reality to live in a worl…

Donald Trump and the Death of Logic

Is logic in America dying?

In 1998 a doctor by the name of Andrew Wakefield published an article in the medical journal The Lancet claiming to have found a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The research, which had a sample size of twelve children was quickly disseminated and latched onto by anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists. In the wake of the article, the scientific method began its due process with independent and governmental researchers attempting to confirm Wakefield's claim and found it to be entirely fraudulent, leading the journal to retract the article's claims. However, the damage was done. Uninformed, albeit well-intentioned, parents began to stop vaccinating their children for MMR and the result has be devastating. Fuelled by celebrity authorities and alternative medicine crusaders, the anti-vaccine movement has had a lasting impact on modern society all over the world. Simply put, where Wakefield's message has caught on, measles has followed.

What has bee…