When you consider that he has been at the top of his profession, has had a lifetime to prepare, and has recently published a book on these themes, it is quite surprising to see how weak his case is. Don't take my word for it. Let's plunge in.
Although the Talmud may have spoke about Golems, Isaiah spoke about 'wearying' the people with 'frankincense.' The full verse reads as follows: 'You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings, nor honored me with your sacrifices.'
Ella Baker had a 'pro-choice' moment. In that moment, she seized the opportunity and made a decision that would turn the tide of history. She chose to do what far exceeded herself. Her name, her work and her spirit thrive.
If you tuned in to the Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye creationism vs. science debate, you may well have found yourself thinking, 'This guy just doesn't get it.' And, regardless of which side you're on or which guy you were referring to, you were probably right.
Many atheists, myself included, have been overly optimistic that a rational argument will be sufficient to change minds. I now think the best we can do is make good points in a reasonable and pleasant manner.
No matter what side of the creation-evolution debate you are on, your partisanship costs you dearly. Why? Because it costs you the ability to read the Bible on its own terms. What do we lose by straightjacketing the Bible with the creation-evolution debate?
Contemporary folks take the Sabbath commandment to liberate us from the stresses and timetables of modern life so that we can seek inner peace, spirituality, harmony with nature, etc. But the Bible offers different rationales.
It's my hope that the movement of atheist organizations into communities throughout our nation will motivate the honest discussion of religious beliefs. Those who believe and those who don't should be able to share perspectives, and ultimately, decide what narrative is real.
Faith can help us make better decisions. Faith empowers us with the humility of our human condition, empowers us to deal with reality and to do our part of the deal, and opens us up to the hope that God will do his part as well.
Why not start with any of the sins Jesus mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount, like divorce? Over one million people in this country get divorced for non-Biblical reasons and that affects a lot more people than homosexual behavior.
Nicodemus's night visit to Jesus is not exactly empathic, but there is an intimacy to the setting. It is a tête-à-tête: Not a Sermon on the Mount, not a raising of Lazarus, but a private conversation between people who have studied God.
But what if God had other intentions for the Bible? What if God didn't intend for it to be the unquestioned final authority on everything that we've turned it into? What if, dare I say it, God doesn't care about the Bible as much as we do?
Happy Feast Day of the Ass! No kidding. Animals get short shrift in religious beliefs and practice (apart from the Hindu cow, and sacrifice, of course), so I found it quite wonderful to stumble on an old tradition celebrating the biblical donkey.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.