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September 18, 2013

Some people balk at the use of liberal and conservative in a religious context. They argue that these are political terms only, and that questions of religious belief and practice are too varied, too nuanced, to capture with broad-stroke labels.

I’m not one of those people. Words can have different senses in different contexts, so there should be no problem re-purposing them from one to the next. And, sure, I agree that beliefs can be complex and so labels are...

September 17, 2013

Why do Catholics teach that Mary was a virgin throughout her life when the Bible clearly says that Jesus had brothers? Ever been asked that?

Let me offer four reasons:

1. The Meaning of Brother

The first thing to understand is that the term brother (Gk. adelphos) has a broader meaning than uterine brothers. It can mean a biological brother, but it can also mean an extended relative, or even a spiritual brother.

Take Genesis 13:8 ...

September 17, 2013

By God's grace, resources for apologists abound today. Thanks to the remote efforts of people like Archbishop Michael Sheehan, Frank Sheed, and G. K. Chesterton—and the more proximate efforts of people like Karl Keating, Michael Coren, and Patrick Madrid—Catholics can no longer complain that there's a shortage of materials. On the contrary, the available information is an embarrassment of riches.

That's on the...

September 17, 2013

In the Protestant community, one of the main principles is sola scriptura—the idea that we should do theology “by Scripture alone.”

There are a number of problems with this idea, and we can illustrate some of them by asking a simple question: “What’s the right way to get baptized?”

This is a revealing question, because there is no place in the New Testament that directly addresses it.

As a result, different groups in the Protestant community have proposed...

September 16, 2013

In an earlier blog post I commented on a published email exchange between skeptical biblical scholar Bart Ehrman and Frank Zindler, former editor of American Atheist Magazine. During the exchange, Zindler took the position that many elements of Christianity are in fact ripped-off from the Roman mystery cult of Mithras...