I’m going to be adopting a new format for my regular Thursday posts. Monday posts will continue to feature an original article, but on Thursday I will be compiling the latest episode of my (newly resumed) Answers for Ambassadors podcast, any YouTube videos I’ve recorded that week, links to the best articles I’ve read recently, and other bits of miscellanea.
This week, I have a short video talking about the 30-year gap between the events of Jesus’s life and the first written gospel accounts, and what that means for our confidence in the Bible’s accuracy. My podcast starts a series on The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and the links discuss the social implications of healthy families, how power undermines the church, and the need for virtuous elites.
About 30 years passed after Jesus’ ascension before the first gospels were written. Skeptics argue that this gap before the first written record undermines the accuracy of the New Testament, but a more careful look at how collective memory can preserve history shows that we have every reason to trust the gospel accounts.
Answers for Ambassadors Podcast
This week’s podcast begins a series considering Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. In Chapter 1, Dawkins argues that we need to distinguish between a mystical sense of the majesty of nature and what he labels “supernatural religion.” He also attacks the idea that religion deserves any special accommodation in the rough and tumble world of ideas. And he is largely right on both counts…
Best Reads of the Week
It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a healthy home life. A new study in Arizona shows that having married parents may be the single best predictor of academic success, especially for boys. Meanwhile, another study finds that children of divorced parents are significantly more likely to be non-religious when they grow up.
I think this article overstates things a bit, but it is worth reading and pondering nonetheless. “I once heard Steve Brown relate this story on the radio: ‘A Muslim scholar once said to a Christian, “I cannot find anywhere in the Qur’an that it teaches Muslims how to be a minority presence in the world. And I cannot find anywhere in the New Testament where it teaches Christians how to be a majority presence in the world.”‘” The Bible does tell us everything we need to know in order to live as a majority presence in the world, but the point remains that prosperity and power have rarely been good for the church.
David French ponders what happens to a nation “when the worst elements of the elite prevail.” He suggests the moral decay among American elites is partially attributable to the fact that “we are increasingly redefining excellence as the mere act of winning.” I would only add that in a naturalistic, Darwinian world, winning is the only thing that can possibly matter. Is it any wonder, then, that people who have been taught they live in such a world behave accordingly?
Stuff I Like (Affiliate Link)
One way in which I support my wife and I through this site is with Amazon affiliate links. If you click this link to Amazon.com, bookmark the page, and use that bookmark every time you shop, you will help to fund my work without any cost to yourself.
My recommended item for today is SharkBite plumbing fittings. I had to replace the main water shutoff valve in our home last week, and SharkBite fittings made it easy to cut out the old valve and put in a new one in less than an hour. They come in essentially every shape and size and are designed so you can simply pop them on without messing with compression fittings or sweating the pipes. I use them whenever I have a do-it-yourself fix like replacing a leaking toilet shut-off valve. As with pretty much every DIY project, YouTube has a vast collection of useful how-to videos.
Photo of the Week
I snapped this wildflower at Point Reyes National Seashore a few years ago while visiting family in California. The water in the background is Drake’s Bay, where Sir Francis Drake landed in the course of circumnavigating the world in 1579.
(Check out other photos at my Etsy shop.)