The Religion of Star Wars

The following is an excerpt from an excellent article by Peter Jones, executive director of truthXchange, a ministry that exists to recognize and respond to the rising tide of neopaganism. Click here for the full article.

With the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, those who believe in the one true God have an opportunity to engage the culture with the truth about the timeless spiritual struggle that exists in the world.

I believe there are good reasons for viewing this film. We can certainly respect its artistic and entertainment value. Galactic battle scenes and human drama are entertaining. But also, by seeing this movie, Christians can sharpen their understanding of both contemporary culture and their appreciation of the Christian faith, allowing them to see in antithetical clarity both the Christian message and the message of Star Wars in order to present the gospel in a fresh way for our time.

continue reading

Did the “Virgin Conception” First Appear Late in History?

Some critics have argued the "virgin conception" of Jesus is a late mythological addition attributed to Christian believers many centuries after the fact. These skeptics presume, of course, the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were written far later than the 1st Century, when eyewitnesses would have been available to refute the additional mythology. The history of the early Church reveals, however, that the "virgin conception" was recognized and accepted very early in history. The first opponents of Christianity recognized that Mary gave birth to Jesus without an identified earthly father and claimed that Jesus was, therefore, illegitimate. Celsus (a Greek philosopher and opponent of Christianity) echoed this charge in the 2nd Century in his work entitled, "The True Discourse". It's clear that the issue of Jesus' parentage was an early concern, and the first believers were committed to the idea of the "virgin conception":

continue reading

Year in Review: Barna’s Top 10 Findings

In its 30-year history, Barna Group has conducted more than one million interviews over the course of hundreds of studies, and has become a go-to source for insights about faith and culture, leadership and vocation, and generations. Barna Group has carefully and strategically tracked the role of faith in America, developing one of the nation’s most comprehensive databases of spiritual indicators. Barna Group works with thousands of business, nonprofit organizations and churches across the U.S. and around the world,

With the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, a jump in concerns about religious freedom, and an overall secularization of Americans’ views, 2015 was a year of increasing anxiety among people of faith. Barna compiled its top 10 findings and trends from a vast array of research conducted in the past 12 months:

continue reading

Are the Birth Narratives in Luke and Matthew Late Additions?

Many critics, in an attempt to discredit the "virgin conception", have argued that the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke are simply late additions that were not present in the first versions of the gospels. These claims are typically based on (1) Efforts to find stylistic differences between the birth narratives and the rest of the text, and (2) Efforts to find subject shifts that occur immediately after the birth narratives and the remainder of the text. But these approaches to the Gospels fails to demonstrate the birth narratives are late additions for the following reasons:
continue reading

In the Heart of the Sea

Oscar winner Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”) directs the action adventure “In the Heart of the Sea,” based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s best-selling book about the dramatic true journey of the Essex.

In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby- Dick. But that told only half the story. “In the Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.

continue reading

What Do We Mean When We Use the Term, “Virgin Conception”?

I’ve been broadcasting and writing lately about the “virgin conception of Jesus”, and as I’ve been discussing the topic with some of you on social media, I’ve seen some confusion about the term. As a Christian, I accept the fact that Mary miraculously conceived Jesus while remaining a virgin. Two Gospel writers (Matthew and Luke) make this rather incredible claim as part of their description of the birth and genealogy of Jesus:

continue reading

Does Design “Imperfection” Prove God Is Not the Designer of Life?

Skeptics have argued against the involvement of an external designer on the basis of perceived imperfections within biological structures. If there is an all-powerful intelligent designer, this designer would be working from scratch and should be capable of creating optimally designed micro-machines and biological structures. Evolution, on the other hand, modifies and builds from existing structures, and this process won’t necessarily produce design perfection. Scientists and philosophers who identify imperfections (and liabilities) in biological organisms point to these deficiencies as evidence against the involvement of an external intelligent agent. Some skeptics have also offered DNA as an example of design imperfection, given the presence of non-functional genes (“junk DNA”) within a variety of genomes. According to these critics, if a powerful, intelligent creator designed the DNA with these non-functional “pseudogenes”, the designer was apparently error-prone, wasting millions of DNA bases. Imprecise evolutionary processes resulting from random gene mutations are offered as a better explanation for the non-functional genes we find in DNA. But examples of apparent biological imperfections fail to negate the reasonable existence of a designer for the following reasons:
continue reading

Main Street; Morrison, Illinois

Is home the same place you grew up?

Hopefully, you don't think the question is stupid, mundane, or trivial. I think it's important because I think most people are searching for home. Current refugees are in search of a place where good wins out and where they can put down roots and live in peace. Soldiers fight for our homeland. We lock doors at night because we want to protect loved ones and because we want to rest at home.

Yet, my current home is not where I grew up--though Morrison remains my hometown. My stepfather's real estate office is on Main Street, right across from where the bakery used to be--where my grandfather bought me donuts every Friday morning during my middle school and high school years. There is an annual 'paint the town' event on Main Street and it's where homecoming parades marched down and I remember the storefronts being decorated for some home basketball games.

continue reading

The Meaning of Advent

One of the great joys of Christmas is the arrival of special guests. It may be a son or daughter who has been away at college or in the military. It could be a favorite aunt or uncle who has flown in for the holidays. Friends might be coming to share a holiday dinner. Whoever it is, you anticipate the arrival of your guests and prepare yourself and your home for their coming. And finally, when you hear the knock or the doorbell, you jump up, eager to welcome your loved ones into your heart and home.

That spirit and emotion are at the heart of Advent, a way of celebrating Christmas that may be new to you. Perhaps you’re aware of Advent but don’t know a lot about what it means or what you’re supposed to do about it. When you hear the word, you probably think of candles and calendars. While those are often involved in the celebration, they are merely symbols of what Advent is all about.

continue reading

Can Atheists Solve the Problem of “Free Will” by Redefining It?

In my book, God’s Crime Scene, I explain how free agency presents a problem for atheistic naturalists who try to explain it from “inside the room” of the natural universe. In God’s Crime Scene, I examine eight pieces of evidence in the universe to determine if the best explanation for these evidences are found “inside” or “outside” the “room”. Free agency is one of the eight evidences I investigate. Materialistic atheists must address an important dilemma: according to their worldview, we live in a physical universe in which natural laws act on matter over time, yet we have the persistent, practical experience of making what appear to be free choices as we love, reason and make moral judgments. We also condemn or praise each other as though our choices and decisions are our own. How are we to reconcile the material, deterministic nature of the universe with our own experience of free will and responsibility?
continue reading
Syndicate content

Popular Blogs


Sign-up for the Newsletter
Sign-up for the Newsletter
Get the latest updates on relevant news topics, engaging blogs and new site features. We're not annoying about it, so don't worry.