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Rich Hannon

Could Baby Jesus Solve Quadratic Equations?

Consider this thought experiment:

You are placed in a time machine and transported back to Bethlehem shortly after Jesus’s birth. You enter the stable and see Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and perhaps a few shepherds. Approaching the baby you kneel and gently ask Him (in your native, modern, non-Aramaic language): “Dear Jesus, What are the solutions to the equation: 3x4 + 20x2 + 50 = 2x4 + 5x2 -4?”

What response do you think you might get?

Global Leadership Summit and an Adventist Congregation

In 1995 Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, IL) started a two-day event called The Global Leadership Summit (TGLS). It exists to “transform Christian leaders around the world with an annual injection of vision, skill development, and inspiration for the sake of the local church”. Attendance that year was 2200 at one location. This year’s totals were expected to be over 135,000 attendees, 400 locations, 76 countries and 37 languages, worldwide.

Galileo Goes to Jail

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An often-believed subtext in the Adventist Faith/Science conundrum is that here are two worlds in collision. From the disparaging and presumably oxymoronic epithet ‘Seventh-day Darwinians’ to the short-chronology requirement for membership in the Adventist Theological Society, contemporary Adventism struggles with the question of compatibility – can revelation be reconciled with science? And, where we presently cannot, how should we proceed?

Interpreting the Bible Can Be Difficult

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These days the word ‘interpret’ is a red flag to some people, who fear it is a license to distort the ‘plain reading’ of scripture down some slippery slope toward heresy.

But I’m trying to use it in a much less threatening way. We each have to interpret and apply this collection of writings we call the Bible personally, so our lives might be changed for the better. So we are (first of all) happier, and our words and actions will reach out to, and bless, others.

Jesus Wars

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In Mark 8:29 Jesus asked his disciples “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” Simple and clear, right? Well, if so, it certainly proved exceedingly difficult for the church to subsequently work through all of the questions and issues that surrounded and intertwined Peter’s initial declaration.

How do you have both Monotheism and a Triune God? And, is Jesus fully God and fully man? Seemingly intractable paradoxes.

Flipping the Argument

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Recently on this website there has been heated discussion regarding the Michigan Conference’s decision to deny tuition subsidy for its workers who might wish to send their children to La Sierra University. The rationale for denying subsidy is the presumption that LSU’s approach to teaching evolution constitutes apostasy.

Suffering and Death (Question of God - Alt. S.S. 11 of 11)

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The lesson last week was entitled The Human Condition and the lecture material and DVD discussion focused on the so-called Problem of Evil. This week the DVD conversation lead by Dr. Nicoli returns to much of the same material but there is more of an emphasis on our mortality and what may lie beyond.

The Human Condition (Question of God - Alt. S.S. 10 of 11)

The DVD conversation in this session (and the next) addresses a topic known generally as The Problem of Evil (POE). In this essay I want to first define it, add some corollary definitions, then break the argument and possible responses down into a three-round dialectic.

There are multiple articulations of the Problem of Evil. Epicurus (341-270 BCE) said:

  1. If a perfectly good God exists, then there should be no evil in the world.
  2. There is evil in the world.
  3. How then can a perfectly good god exist?

Love Thy Neighbor (Question of God - Alt. S.S. 9 of 11)

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In this session we turn to what last week I labeled ‘right-based’ (duty-driven) ethics. Dr. Nicholi begins the DVD conversation by, in effect, asking about the validity and applicability of The Golden Rule, so we will start there as well.

The Moral Law - Part B (Question of God - Alt. S.S. 8 of 11)

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In the previous session we began what will be several classes devoted to ethics. I argued last time (I’m sure controversially for many) that a criterion for moral grounding known as Divine Command Theory (DCT) was simplistic and inappropriate. That session is a bit like a fork in the road. If you cannot agree with that conclusion then, at minimum, you may find these next several weeks irrelevant or even annoying.

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