“The Deluge” by Francis Darby, first exhibited in 1840.
As the new film Noah is now playing at a cinema near you, and the church I am now attending was divinely predestined to come upon this story in their study of Genesis on exactly the same weekend (I’ve been told it was a mere coincidence), the Flood has been on my mind a bit more than usual of late. When it comes to epic stories, they don’t come much bigger than Noah’s. It is surely one of the tales that inspired the term “biblical proportions”.
Back in 2011, when a tsunami devastated parts of Japan and led to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, I was struck by how, even with all of our modern technology and efforts to bend Mother Nature to our will, we can still be brought to our knees by the most basic substance on our planet. I sat down and wrote the following essay, which I now find to be relevant given the discussions about Noah’s Flood, or as it is often called, the Deluge. Included is an admittedly amateur level analysis of the fossil record and the implications of ancient flood narratives. Continue reading
The surface of Mars as seen by the Mars Pathfinder vessel. Official NASA photo
I will come right out and admit it: I am not an expert when it comes to scientific topics. I took all the science courses that I needed to in order to graduate from high school and get my college degree, and I got decent grades in all of them, but that should not be confused with the kind of serious credentials required to speak authoritatively on scientific issues. Nevertheless, I have found that the older I get, the more I tend to contemplate the mysteries of the universe, and by that I mean the entire universe.
One day, when my brain decided to make such a diversion from the “right side” to the “left side”, I found myself contemplating the possibility of alien life, as in life that exists in the universe but not on planet earth. It was then that I thought to ask my husband the question, “If alien life was discovered on another planet, would it make you doubt your Christian faith?” Continue reading
This map shows the relative importance of religion in different countries based on polling data by Gallup. Darker red colors indicate greater importance. Most of the less religious countries are located in or somehow connected to Western Europe. (Several others are former USSR states.) Image courtesy of Wikipedia user Sbw01f.
Author’s Note: The following is a brief essay written back in 2011 which is only now being made public. It is one of a series of such essays that I have produced examining the causes and results of spiritual belief. It is not meant to be a full-length research paper, but rather an initial overview leading to more in-depth work in the future: please keep this in mind when reading it.
Is the secularization of the world inevitable? Not so long ago, any number of scholars would have been ready to answer “yes” to that proposition. Unfortunately for them, time is a funny thing: it does not always play out as one would expect. The world today seems to be just as religious and perhaps more so than it ever has been. Rather than taking a back seat, the realm of the spiritual is at the center of our great political and sociological debates. Why is this, and does it represent an inevitable urge of humanity or merely the last death throes of a world unwilling to embrace change? Continue reading