3 Reasons Christian Blogs Fail

Fail Christian blogs fail, not in attracting readers, but rather, to affect the world for the better. There is a vast difference between a theological blog and a blog whose author is incidentally a Christian. Nothing wrong with either position until one attempts to present themselves as the other. Here are three reasons that Christian blogs fail to connect with the uncountable readership of the interwebs.

 

1. Don’t Hold on to One Sided Arguments

There are many things that mainline Christians accept as settled fact. Google a handful of statements of faith, line them up next to one another and you will see what I mean. Outside of those things however, theology within the centuries old Christian faith ranges far and wide. Writers who fail to avail themselves of the depth and breadth of this theological history usually end up camping on one position without understanding why they are against the other positions that challenge their belief. Take Modalism for example. You read somewhere that it is wrong and your fellow theo-bloggers are not hesitant to throw the heresy flag when mentioning it but, do you know why they consider it a heresy? Simply saying something is wrong is not an argument. Before you go on the offensive or even just take a stand against a particular belief, educate yourself. Understand why the belief arose and why people believe(d) it. Study the proof texts offered in the context of the whole Bible, not just your theological framework. Be able to enter a discussion with something more than “because I said so.”

Oh, and Wikipedia is not to be considered a definitive source.

 

2. Don’t Be the Possessor of an Uninformed Theology

Discussing Christian theology and ecclesiology are immensely complex undertakings. It is an undertaking that requires study and meditation and no small amount of time seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit before you can be effective in your presentation. When you find yourself simply regurgitating the work of others (who have put in the blood, sweat, and tears to arrive at their conclusions) you are doing little more than diminishing the possible impact your post might have. If each of your posts contains the reference “so and so” says “this or that” as the basis for your theological position, I may as well simply go directly to the original thinker’s/author’s website and read the words directly. Any authority that you hope to embed in your writing comes from the reader’s trust in your knowledge. If, when a comment challenges your theological position, you cannot demonstrate an understanding of the challenger’s position you will lose the trust of not only that reader, but others who survey the whole conversation from a distance.

Oh, and John Piper, John Wesley, and James White are not always right.

 

3. Don’t be Self Serving

If your entire reason for blogging to promote yourself, do it in a different format. We have all seen blogs that have a thin veneer of Christianity that peels away to find every post being an exposition of how wonderful/altruistic/sacrificial the blogger himself is. Readers will soon discover that the faith is simply a jacket worn to give the blogger a reason to talk about themselves. Ask yourself how this affects the kingdom. Is it glorified or expanded or masked and diminished by the monumental ego that attempts to supersede it? This is not to say that personal entries, off topic asides, and the pride of sharing some accomplishment are out of place. Each is a part of the life we lead while still a part of this world. The ratio that the reader sees between personal and thematic posts will put on full display what is most important in the eyes of the blogger.

 

There are probably many more topics that could make this list but these are my top three. Then again, I could be wrong.

Argument Adjourned, Atheism and Amorality

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In his book Why Be Moral, Atheist philosopher Kai Nielsen admits the position that the new, angry Atheists like Sam Harris cannot bring themselves to do, that “Pure practical reason, even with good knowledge of the facts, will not take you to morality.” Bertrand Russell, who above all things devoted himself to attempting to live according to reason alone, admitted that he could not account for morality by this method. If reason cannot complete the equation, where are we left to turn?

In every instance of moral decision, there is an evaluation of the opposite positions of good and bad. Moral affirmation cannot be an abstraction. The person who makes a moral evaluation assumes the intrinsic worth in himself and sees that intrinsic worth in the lives of others. In a world of matter alone, there is no intrinsic worth. A moral framework is necessary for the declaration of right and wrong, one which sets the standard for good and bad.

The existence and continued affirmation of a moral framework can lead us to only one conclusion. God exists and is the provider of this moral framework. We can lay it out as:

P1 Objective moral values exist only if God exists

P2 Objective moral values do exist

C God Exists

The arguments from reason for the existence and practice of morality (without God as the lawgiver) trend along the line of humanity doing things in the interest of the community and cooperation for the good of all. The problem is circular though; with an objective source of good and bad how will the billions of sovereign creatures agree on what is good and bad? Since one life (of matter alone) is of no more value than any other life, why would a person ever do anything but in their own self interest? These questions always lead us back to the top of the page.  

 

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Atheism, Amorality, and an Argument Against Again

imageYesterday we left off exploring two important questions that Atheists must answer in a universe composed of nothing but matter:

– When referring to the ‘rights’ of others, where do these rights come from in a world of cellular masses?

– When talking about right and wrong, who defines the meaning of these terms?

Let’s bring another Atheist voice (cheer?) into the discussion. Sam Harris (remember his little book) makes repeated use of moral language throughout his Letter to a Christian Nation. He describes things as good and evil. God especially falls under his moral evaluation as he considers the horrors of the world—disasters, child rape, murder, various evils—and asks why, if there is a God who is presumably good, these evils exist in the world. The trouble that Harris runs into is that, in order to evaluate anything as bad/evil one must have an objectively ‘good’ exemplar. Without that good that all can agree on, who has the authority to define good and bad? Harris? Pol Pot? Stalin? Doug Henning?

This is the main problem that the Atheist runs into when proclaiming their morality and even, superior morality. In order to make such a proclamation, the Atheist must borrow from an objective moral framework in order to make a judgment. Without that framework or its admitted existence, the atheist must defer to his or her feelings to make the call. Bertrand Russell admitted as much,

In a debate with a Jesuit priest, Russell had made a failed attempt to explain the source of his ‘objective’ morality. When the priest asked him how he differentiated between good and bad, Russell answered, “I don’t have any justification any more than I have when I distinguish between blue and yellow…I can see they are different.”

The priest noted “You distinguish between blue and yellow by seeing them, so you distinguish good and bad by what faculty.”

“By my feelings,” Russell replied.

Of course, the follow up question is obvious (but was not asked in order to save face for Russell.) The priest pointed out the corner into which Russell had backed himself by posing this dilemma. “Mr. Russell, in some cultures they love their neighbors; in other cultures they eat them. Do you have a personal preference, and if so, what is it?”

At least Russell is more honest about his agnosticism and the ambiguity of his own views on ethical values than is Mr. Harris. Sam enjoys a morality developed in his own mind but he never answers the question, from where does his intuition as to what is right and wrong come? The Atheist never provides an adequate explanation for how an intuition toward morality can develop from nothing but matter and chemistry.

So, the question we are left with today is, can morality exist apart from a Moral Lawgiver? Discuss amongst yourselves until next time.

Image by Mindsay Mohan

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