The world of dew
Is the world of dew.
And yet, and yet --
-- Kobayashi Issa
I am convinced that certain geographical areas “prefer” certain religious traditions. In certain areas of the Nation – I will concentrate on the US, though I think analogous remarks apply elsewhere – climate, topography, and history conspire to render the spiritual climate favorable to what I will call “rule-based” or “command-based” traditions that emphasize a Deity Who stands outside human history, but occasionally intervenes to formulate rules of conduct and to issue commands. Members of these traditions tend to speak in terms of God being “in control” and in political metaphors of monarchical sovereignty. It is quite common, also, especially in the American tradition of conservative evangelical Prot
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
Sometimes even smart and literate people are somewhat naïve when it comes to science. We had an example just recently when educated and sophisticated people compared prevalent conservative skepticism about climate change / global warming with almost non-existent skepticism about the causes of the recent solar eclipse. But this turns out to be a case of dueling misconceptions about differences in scientific methodology: the methodology used to substantiate climate change and the methodology used to account for solar eclipses. The differences are subtle, requiring a working knowledge of the history of science, but important in appreciating the extent to which the two cases – climate change and eclipses – are not quite comparable. Almost. But not quite.
I am riding this partic