Every so often, I read something – a newspaper story, a journal article, an interview, a campaign speech … whatever – that elicits from me the following reaction: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot? Ain’t we been here before? And that reaction is often followed by a supplementary reaction: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot? Ain’t we still here? (“It’s déjà vu all over again!” – Yogi Berra) The latest example of this species of déjà vu is an article about the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to eventually evolve into a kind of silicon god with the capability of directing all human affairs, planet-wide. The claim is that this will happen, perhaps midway through the 21st century. The article then goes on to speculate on what choices would have to be made, should such an achievement be realized, and t
I never write book reviews ... until now. Now I am making an exception for three reasons: (1) Philip Yancey's book Disappointment with God is an unflinching appraisal of how long-term disappointment precipitates crises of faith in the life of religiously devout people, (2) the theodical implications of that process, and (3) the theological consequences of (1) and (2). If you have been reading these columns for the last few years, you know that this has been a strong preoccupation of mine. But even though I wrote an Amazon review of Disappointment with God, I was not writing these "Skeptic's" columns at the time. So the following is in the nature of the latter playing catch-up with the former.
The Christian community almost always deals with disappointm
If there were more Christians and Christian ministers like the Rev. Terri Stewart, there is a pretty good chance -- who knows for sure? -- that I would still be one, too. And if there were more monotheists like Terri, it is a pretty safe bet that -- while there no guarantees -- I most likely would not, as I presently do, regard monotheistic religion as a malignant canker on the arse of human spirituality. (For the record: I do have deep and abiding respect for non-theistic religions, e.g., Buddhism and Taoism, where One Big Guy does not run Everything.) We do have our differences, e.g., Terri is much more reluctant than I to offend people. But let's not quibble. Most of all, let's not quibble, given that Terri recently wrote and published what I regard as the most realistic, level-he