Weekly Buzz: 11/10/14

Bill Nye: Undeniable

Bill Nye. (Photo, sans text: CSUF Photos/Flickr)

This week’s buzz features 5 things to know about God and neuroscience, a new Kirk Cameron movie, and Bill Nye’s new book.

New Nye Book

Bill Nye published a book last week, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. It builds on his famous debate with Ken Ham. (In case you missed it, you can read my take on that debate here. I also had a recent exchange with Ham himself.) The book’s back cover sums up its mission:

FROM THE HOST OF BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY COMES AN IMPASSIONED, INSPIRED EXPLANATION OF HOW THE SCIENCE OF OUR ORIGINS IS FUNDAMENTAL TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURE OF SCIENCE ITSELF.

Above, you can listen to Nye read an excerpt of the book. He also did a Reddit AMA the other day.

Lawrence Krauss and Vlad Chituc on the Future of Religion

Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, said that religion could go away in one generation—and we have “an obligation” to make this happen. He makes similar arguments about religion in The Unbelievers. Whenever Krauss says something these days, I feel like Sylvester Stallone in Judge Dredd.

For a much better take on the future of religion, check out Vlad Chituc’s latest, an interesting Daily Beast article: “Why Are Milennials Unfriending Religion?” His analysis, as always, is worth reading:

Krauss says that ending religion is a matter of obligation, but I think our obligations are much different. Instead of eliminating religion—a Sisyphean task if there ever was one—atheists can help to move religion in a more loving, tolerant, and open-minded direction. We can’t make much traction tearing religion down, but maybe we can make the world a kinder and better place.

Vlad’s article includes some interesting tidbits about the cognitive science of religion.

What’s your reaction to these two (very different) takes on religion’s future?

“This Is Your Brain on God”

Speaking of science and God, Rob Moll just wrote a great essay for OnFaith: “This Is Your Brain on God.” Moll, an editor-at-large with Christianity Today, lists five things about “the neuroscience of spirituality”:

  1. We are designed for connection.
  2. Spiritual visions are scientific.
  3. Prayer enhances our compassion.
  4. Religious practice is a health booster.
  5. We become more like the God we seek.

Moll’s article is a worthy read, especially since he makes some pretty bold claims:

In fact, the lack of religiosity — including prayer and churchgoing — has a negative health effect equivalent to 40 years of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

What do you think of his points?

“Why Christians Should Stand up for Atheists”

Rebecca Florence Miller wrote a fantastic post about Christian/atheist dialogue. A long conversation with atheists prompted her essay:

I feel blessed to have met these atheists. I don’t agree with them on faith, but I agree with them on the need to treat each other with respect. I agree with them that we need to make room for people who believe differently. Those differences in belief are crucial and important. I’m not about to give up my wish (and even prayer) that everybody come to faith in Jesus. But I am totally willing to give up my “right” to force everybody to be or act like a Christian [emphasis original].

I really like these last two lines because they mirror how I feel. Her call for Christians to show charity is wonderful, especially in light of the hate mail some Christians send Richard Dawkins.

What do you think about Miller’s take?

Kirk Cameron’s New Movie: Saving Christmas

Cameron’s new movie comes out Friday. It’s about the true meaning of Christmas, and you can watch a trailer for it above. He pushes back against the commercialization of Christmas, something Chris Rock joked about on SNL earlier this month.

Now, I don’t know Jesusbut from what I’ve read, Jesus is the least materialistic person to ever roam the earth. . . . Jesus kept a low profile, and we turned his birthday into the most materialistic day of the year.

Fun fact: I actually enjoyed one of Cameron’s faith-based films, Fireproof. Sorry I’m not sorry.

I also have a theory about Kirk’s Christmas movie. It’s coming out the exact same day as another movie: Dumb and Dumber To. I really hope Saving Christmas is about Cameron “saving” Lloyd Christmas’s soul. (Lloyd Christmas is Jim Carrey’s character in Dumber and Dumber To.)

What do you think of the buzz?

2 thoughts on “Weekly Buzz: 11/10/14

  1. Thank you, Mike for these interesting posts! I particularly enjoyed Rebecca Florence Miller’s insightful post, “Why Christians Should Stand Up for Atheists.” It’s this kind of dialogue that breaks down the barriers of ignorance and distrust that keep us devaluing the religions and belief systems of others and arguing and fighting with one another when we should be embracing our shared common core beliefs.

    The Dali Lama, for example, current leader of the Buddhist religion says his religion is kindness. This is certainly a quality that we can all appreciate. Using our own compassion to broaden our outlook and emphasize commonalities will help us accept one another’s differences and will enrich and increase our own spiritual growth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for these great thoughts! I like that Rebecca Florence Miller combines her call for charity with a prayer for conversion. I think it’s possible, but difficult, to have compassionate interfaith dialogue that explores the real differences between worldviews.

      Like

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