A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
___
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Why Can't Science Explain Consciousness?

from Philip Goff-- Durham University
___
It's the greatest scientific challenge of our time.

Explaining how something as complex as consciousness can emerge from a grey, jelly-like lump of tissue in the head is arguably the greatest scientific challenge of our time. The brain is an extraordinarily complex organ, consisting of almost 100 billion cells-- known as neurons-- each connected to 10,000 others, yielding some 10 trillion nerve connections.

We have made a great deal of progress in understanding brain activity, and how it contributes to human behavior. But what no one has so far managed to explain is how all of this results in feelings, emotions and experiences. How does the passing around of electrical and chemical signals between neurons result in a feeling of pain or an experience of red?

The problem of consciousness... is radically unlike any other scientific problem. One reason is that consciousness is unobservable. You can't look inside someone's head and see their feelings and experiences. If we were just going off what we can observe from a third-person perspective, we would have no grounds for postulating consciousness at all.
___
The entire article from livescience.com can be read here.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Why Does God Give the Gift of Eternity?

It's a question not often asked. The belief in eternal life is at the heart of the Christian faith, but why does God give the gift of eternity? If everything God does is purposeful, then obviously everlasting life is granted for a reason? It's not a "just because" kind of act.

Of course, one could quote John 3:16 at this point-- "‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." So, God offers us eternity because of God's love for us. That's a great place to start, but let's probe a little deeper.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Scriptures and Prayer for the Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Haggai 1:15b-2:9 or Job 19:23-27a

Psalter: Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21 or Psalm 98 or Psalm 17:1-9

Epistle: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17

Gospel: Luke 20:27-38
___
Almighty God, you hold all the powers of the universe within your hands, and we are your children. Turn us to the splendor of life in you, transforming us through Jesus Christ our Savior, and strengthening us in every good deed and word. Amen.

Friday, November 08, 2019

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction: Oh, Deer!

Lobster fisherman rescue deer swimming 5 miles from shore

By Ben Hooper

Nov. 5 (UPI) -- A commercial lobster fisherman shared video of the unusual catch he netted 5 miles off the coast of Maine -- a disoriented swimming deer.

Ren Dorr said he was fishing with his crew about 5 miles off the coast of Harrington when they spotted a deer swimming away from land.

"Couldn't let the poor guy suffer and drown," Dorr wrote in a Facebook post.

Dorr said his crew took the deer for a half hour taxi ride to the nearest beach and dropped it off on dry land before continuing with their fishing.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

On Faith and Faithfulness: Post Reformation Day and All Saints Day Reflections

Last week was Reformation Day (October 31st) and All Saints Day (November 1st). That the two fall next to each other is a fact of history-- Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany on October 31st. But this year I have pondered the theological connection between the two days.

The doctrine central to the Protestant Reformation is justification by faith. There is nothing we do to earn God's favor. We have already received the favor of God in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Salvation is offered to us as a gift. All we have to do is accept it. Our faith in Jesus Christ is what puts us in right relationship with God-- nothing more, nothing less.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

On Ecclesiastical Identity and Idolatry: The Church as Transnational Community

I recently returned from spending two weeks in Zimbabwe. I was at Africa University to teach at the graduate school in theology. It was a great experience all around, but perhaps the one thing that excited me the most was meeting and interacting with Christians from all over the world. There were students at AU from thirty different African countries. I interacted with professors and administrators from Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ethiopia and other places. I met and conversed with other visiting professors from Germany, Denmark, and Congo. In worship and conversation, I experienced a glimpse of Revelation 7:9-12:

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Scriptures and Prayer for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

See the source imageOld Testament: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 or Isaiah 1:10-18

Psalter: Psalm 119:137-144 or Psalm 32:1-7

Epistle: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12

Gospel: Luke 19:1-10
___
Holy God, all our worship is met by the cleansing gaze of your passion for justice. Enfold us in your grace that we may embody our devotion in acts of justice and in defense of the helpless, to the glory of your name. Amen.