Jesus and Space Aliens
Something I’ve wondered since a kid is how the Christian church would react if intelligent, sentient life from outside Earth were discovered. A silly question in some ways, since there is no evidence of space alien life, either scientifically or from scripture. But particularly in light of the recent declassified U.S. Navy files and videos on U.F.O.s, the subject deserves serious consideration. What effect would the existence of alien life have on the truth of Christianity?
Most likely, the revelation of alien life would lead to a massive departure from the Christian faith and organized religion in general. While there may be a temporary surge in church attendance from people looking for a familiar comfort, like after the September 11th attacks, a large chunk of people would see alien life as fatally undermining the claims of Christianity, discrediting the religion.
In 2014 Pope Francis said that he would baptize Martians if they requested it. This would be the second reaction: all persons, human or alien, have a need for a savior, who is Jesus. This is a plot point in Orson Scott Card’s famous Speaker for the Dead…
On Anselm and Bare Reason
At the beginning of the year I started reading through the works of Anselm of Canterbury. I have decided to post some of my miscellaneous thoughts on different aspects of his writing from time to time throughout the remainder of the year.
The preface of the Monologion lays out the goal of the book: for Anselm to write intelligibly and accessibly on the divine essence without making his argument from the authority of scripture. My initial skepticism in that approach flowed from the impossibility to separate the rational from the revealed. Dividing the discernment of God’s essence from nature, apart from scripture, is the beginning of jettisoning divine self-revelation in scripture in the pursuit of rationality. His approach to me smacked of pursuing of a neutral starting point (an impossibility), namely human reason. But there were two aspects of the Monologion that cooled this skepticism…
On Praying for Arms to Regrow
Prayer by its nature acknowledges the supernatural dimension of creation. There is a God who transcends and upholds the universe, yet is also so immanent as to hear the cries of creation. Prayer presupposes that the transcendent God is not only capable of controlling and altering the mechanics of the universe, but actually does providentially intervene in response to prayer. This is why God’s people can, in confidence, petition him to heal those who are sick. We understand that even if the normal means of healing are ineffective, he can still act and provide restoration to the broken.
But we do not pray for severed arms to regrow. Why not? At first glance this case seems similar to other medical conditions, like terminal cancer: there is an aspect of creation, someone’s body, that is broken and in need of healing, and the available medical resources are inadequate to repair the damage. God can intervene and heal, right? But we don’t pray for the regeneration of a lost limb, and tend to scoff at those who do as acting in futility. It is here that atheists reject prayer as a foolish superstition. It cannot seem to follow its own rules when it matters most and falls into special pleading…
On Biblical Counseling and Psychology
Warren Throckmorten, Professor of Psychology at Grove City College, has had a great series of posts and dialogues on the differences between Biblical Counseling, Christian Psychology, and secular psychology. The impetus of the series are 95 theses on counseling that the Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors Heath Lambert has issued. Throckmortern is continuing to evaluate the theses in a helpful way.
This interaction has done more to convince me that counseling (Biblical or otherwise) and (applied?) psychology are different fields altogether that overlap in some areas. Counseling can and should be done with people who are not experiencing mental disorders or undergoing trauma, but who simply need guidance…
On Lack of Christian Consensus
I was reading an excerpt of Tony and Bart Campolo’s book Why I Left, Why I Stayed over at Hemant Mehta’s Friendly Atheist blog. The book focuses on Bart’s well known apostasy to Humanism and his father remaining a Christian….