We Live at the Mercy of Our Ideas

I recently spoke with a youth worker who told me he was not teaching theology and apologetics to the students in his youth group because he was focusing on “practical Christian living.”  Certainly he’s well-intentioned but with this approach, I have no confidence much practical Christian living is going to happen in the lives of those students. This dichotomy between beliefs and behavior represents a profound misunderstanding amongst Christians and not only does it harm our young people but the church-at-large.  Here’s why.

We are what we think.  Recent discoveries in neuroscience make this clear.  Change your thoughts and you can change your brain chemistry.  In turn, these brain alterations affect how we deal with things like anger and anxiety.  False ways of thinking lead to destructive patterns of living.  When young people have false ideas about God, His requirements, the authority of Scripture or the meaning of life, certain behaviors follow.  We live at the mercy of our ideas. 

Of course, before neuroscience came along God had been telling humanity this from the beginning.  His Word is filled with instruction about the relationship between thought and action: 

  • Hosea 4:5 & 6 – You stumble day and night, and the prophets stumble with you...my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
  • Romans 1:28 & 29 – Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness...
  • Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
  • Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
  • Colossians 1:9 & 10 – For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God...
  • II Timothy 2:25 – Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.
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The Greatest Show on Earth (Richard Dawkins)

I love a good challenge. I would much rather read a difficult book that makes me think deeply about my convictions than one that provokes little thought. This is why I eagerly anticipated the release of The Greatest Show on Earth, by Richard Dawkins.

With The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, River Out of Eden, and many more, Dawkins has established himself as one of the foremost contemporary defenders of Darwinian evolution. As soon as a copy of his book arrived at my doorstep, I enthusiastically opened the Amazon.com box and jumped right into the book, hoping to be challenged to take another hard look at the evidence for evolution.

With this background information in mind, it’s difficult to express how disappointed I was at the demeaning rhetoric and lack of substance that characterizes The Greatest Show on Earth.
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why I respect Atheists

Radio interviews are almost always enjoyable, especially when the host permits call-ins. I love the raw nature of a live q&a; it's energizing.

But one call-in this year caught me off-guard. Frankly, I was stunned and couldn't fill the space fast enough for air time, so the comment went unanswered except by the host who thanked the caller for taking the time...

The interview was on my book, Finding an Unseen God: Reflections of a Former Atheist. Many have commented on how I treat Atheists and their belief system with respect throughout the book. I thought the reasons were obvious--but that is my error.

In response to the interview, the sincere, non-belligerent, concerned caller said, "You should not honor the Atheist, because the Bible says that, "the fool says in his heart that there is no God.'" Then he went on to make another point...which I honestly don't remember because I was a bit dazed.

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Missing Link a Dead End

Every so often some new fossil discovery is heralded as the "missing link" that will finally corroborate Darwin's theory.  A few months ago the fossil "Ida" was released to the public (it was actually found years ago) and heralded as the "eight wonder of the world" that would finally silence Darwin-doubters. Ida was proclaimed in major newspapers, covered in a cable-TV special, and the feature of a new book. However, new discoveries are showing that it's a complete evolutionary dead-end. This should not come as a surprise to those of us who are skeptical of Darwinism, but it is surprise how strongly the media has come out against it.

Check out this link!

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Upcoming Apologetics Conference

In case any of you aren't yet aware, there is an amazing apologetics conference coming to New Orleans in November. This is the annual "lay" conference during the Evangelical Theological/Philosophical Society.  Speakers include William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Greg Koukl, Gary Habermas and me (doing the youth section!). There are some general sessions on the Bible, the existence of God, comparative religion, current "hot" topics in apologetics such as Bart Ehrman as well as some practical workshops on doing apologetics in the local church. Check it out here (http://www.epsapologetics.com/). If you can't go, it would be well worth getting the CDs."

Sean M

Tags | Theology

Why I am Abandoning the Term ‘Mystic’ (and Most Terminology)

I had a conversation with a friend today that caused me to rethink my approach, positions, and even my writing style. I realized from this conversation that although my stance may not be one of pointing fingers, calling people morons, and generally telling the world why my view is better than someone else’s, I may (at times) come across that way.

If you have been a commenter or lurker on “The Infinite in Everything” for a while, you have likely heard me rant about fundamentalism, atheism, liberalism, biblical scholarship, calvinism, and most recently mysticism. I love talking about these subjects, but recently it has come to my attention that my snarky attitude (as funny as I may think it is) can really be quite unhelpful. This blog is my playground, so I conduct my theological experiments here in wanna-be-Albert-Einstein-esk ways. Sometimes it works, but like all experiments, it fails at times too. So, maybe it is time for a little self- and blog-evaluation.

What if my approach has been entirely wrong? What if I need to abandon the terminology I use to articulate my views on faith in favor of something that is more helpful? Here’s an example. I thought my story about the guy who wrote me off because I was a mystic was funny, but a commenter, who went by Paulos, was quick to correct me, when he said:

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Dawkins on Colbert Nation

For those of you who missed it, Dawkins made his second appearance with Stephen Colbert. It's a must see! As always, Colbert is hilarious, but also gets to the heart of the matter between naturalism and Christianity. This is a great teaching opportunity for teachers, youth workers, and even parents. Enjoy!




Patrick Dodson: God Is Not In Control

Patrick is a father first, then teacher/writer/cook/photographer and sometimes prophet. He lives and works with Heather in New Zealand and has four beautiful game designing (Josiah), film directing (Jordan), artistic (Jasmine), and acting (Levi) children. You can check them out at www.patrickdodson.net .


God Is Not In Control
Q: Why do the innocent suffer?
A: Because we don't take care of them.

Q: Why are there so many poor in the world?
A: We're selfish and don't share wealth or resources properly.

Mysticism is like Green Eggs and Ham

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, mystics were a sect of orthodox Christianity. Today, they are often labeled cultic-style prophets or hippies. But what if mysticism still has something to offer us and we are missing it because of misplaced labels?


The Crazies Ruined the Fun for Everyone

I have had my fair share of run-ins with cultic prophets. There’s no way around it: They’re crazy. I don’t immediately doubt people who claim to have seen visions of God, had transcendent experiences, or encountered semi-divine creatures, but I am a bit leery of them.

Eugene Cho: we cannot fully grasp the infinitude of god…

Eugene Cho, a second-generation Korean-American, is the founder and lead pastor of Quest Church in Seattle and the executive director of Q Cafe, an innovative non-profit neighborhood café and music venue. He and his wife are also the visioneers of a new organization to fight global poverty called, One Day's Wages.


in our human finitude, we cannot fully grasp the infinite of god...

We can try but we cannot fully understand the fullness, majesty, and glory of God.

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