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Facts, Values and The Empty Tomb

Excerpted from Rory Shiner and Peter Orr’s new introduction to Christianity, The World Next Door. (See Steve McAlpine’s review here) Western thought over the last several hundred years has developed some very strict rules about where things ‘go’. We hold key binaries as axiomatic: Public and private, myth and history, science and religion. These distinctions are so fixed in our minds we often become aware of them only when they are transgressed. I (Rory) remember in Indonesia being taken aback as my taxi driver, whom I’d known for all of six minutes, cheerfully asked, “So, which religion are you?” For...

Is Easter Believable?

Is Easter believable? That’s a question people have been asking for 2000 years. It may be a question you’re asking. Or it may be a question your friends or family are asking and you wish you had better answers. Well, this article won’t pretend to give you all the answers you’re after, whatever your current view of Jesus. But it will summarise some key arguments for thinking Easter is believable—that Jesus rose again—so you can draw your own conclusions. It will do so by looking at our earliest evidence for the resurrection, what we call 1 Corinthians 15:3-7. How early...

Bible Contradictions? A Response to Bart Ehrman

‘Just read the text,’ cries biblical studies author (and skeptic) Bart Ehrman again and again during his lecture Are the Gospels Historically Reliable? The Problem of Contradictions. Bart Ehrman puts forward some difficult passages … But a moment or two of thinking erased many of the contradictions. So, I did read the text. And, what I found is that Bart Ehrman puts forward some difficult passages for believers. But what I also found is that a moment or two of thinking erased many of the contradictions. Some of the contradictions were so fragile that it made me wonder if Bart...

Cleo Smith and the Failure of Secular Morality

On the morning of Wednesday, November 3rd, Australia breathed a sigh of relief. Four-year-old Cleo Smith—who mysteriously went missing from her family’s tent 18 days earlier—was found alive and well. She was found in the house of a man named Terrance Darrell Kelly, who has since been charged with kidnapping Cleo. The response to Cleo’s rescue was what you would expect: relief, combined with moral outrage that someone would kidnap a child. Indeed, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in today’s Australia who thought kidnapping a child was acceptable. Everyone agrees that kidnapping Cleo was an evil action. But...

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