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Matthew Jordan

 

With All Your Mind:
Reflections on Faith and Reason

 

Matthew Jordan is a member of the philosophy faculty at Auburn Montgomery where he has taught since 2010.  He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Ohio State University and an M.A. in philosophy from Talbot School of Theology.  He lives in Montgomery with his wife and their six children.

Monday, 02 June 2014 16:46

Evolution and Atheism

Written by Matthew Jordan

 

 

Last month, I argued that Christians should be more open-minded about evolution than many of us usually are. There is nothing inherently atheistic or unchristian about the possibility that God used Darwinian processes to create life on Earth. This month, I’d like to make two further points about evolution. The first is a challenge to my fellow Christians; the second is a challenge to skeptics who think that the theory of evolution, in the words of Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins, makes it “possible to be an intellectually satisfied atheist.”

Thursday, 01 May 2014 14:59

Evolution and Christianity

Written by Matthew Jordan

 

I am neither a biologist nor a theologian. But I know enough science and enough theology to be worried about the ways in which American Christians tend to think and talk about biological evolution. Many well-meaning believers have embraced three false ideas that have needlessly damaged the reputation of the Church and, with it, the advancement of the Gospel. In this column, I’ll address two of those ideas. Next month, I’ll talk about the third, and I’ll also argue that evolution causes (or should cause) much bigger problems for atheists than it does for Christians.

 

Thursday, 03 April 2014 16:09

The Fact of the Resurrection

Written by Matthew Jordan

 

There are a lot of weird ideas out there. One of the weirdest, in my opinion, is the idea that faith has nothing to do with facts. Many people seem to think that religious beliefs should be more like an allegiance to a sports team or a preference in ice cream flavors than a matter of serious thinking. War Eagle! Roll Tide! Jesus loves you! Chocolate is the best! I like butter pecan! You’re saved by grace! — All of these, the thinking goes, are totally arbitrary, subjective preferences. No one is right or wrong about ice cream; different people have different tastes. And while there may be facts about what the best team in Alabama is in any given year (correct answer: Auburn), “Roll Tide!” is not a statement that can be true or false; it’s just an expression of a personal commitment.

 

Monday, 03 March 2014 14:05

Atheism for Lent

Written by Matthew Jordan

I had the good fortune, when I was in college, to stumble across a book called Suspicion & Faith: The Religious Uses of Modern Atheism. The author, a Christian philosopher named Merold Westphal, argues that there is much to be gained from the study of atheistic critiques of religion. The book begins with a chapter titled “Atheism for Lent.” Westphal’s suggestion is that the Lenten season—the six weeks leading up to Easter, when Christians have traditionally fasted, focused on sin and repentance, and emphasized the more somber side of our faith—is an ideal time to reflect on those atheistic critiques. The idea is not to refute them, but to listen to them. Instead of calling us to battle and trying to prove how right and how righteous we are, Westphal encourages us Christians to look in the mirror and ask how right and how righteous we are. As the prophet Jeremiah so poignantly put the question, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can understand it?” If the Pharisees of first-century Palestine could be the object of so many of Jesus’s harshest rebukes, in spite of their meticulous study of the scriptures and their best efforts at obedience, perhaps we ought to be a bit more cautious in assuming that our way must also be the Lord’s way.

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:06

God and the Problem of Evil

Written by Matthew Jordan

One of the most difficult questions facing any Christian—indeed, any believer in God—is this: how can a loving God allow the amount of suffering we see in the world? If God is good, then He must desire that people not suffer. If God is all-knowing, then He is aware of all the suffering that occurs. And if God is all-powerful, then He is strong enough to prevent all the suffering that occurs. So what gives? Why doesn’t God prevent it? Shouldn’t there be, at a minimum, much less pain and evil in the world?

Thursday, 02 January 2014 15:28

“Big Bang Christianity”

Written by Matthew Jordan

I came to faith as a college freshman in 1996. I was a pretty typical American kid and a graduate of a good public school system. I believed in the standard scientific account of natural history, including the Big Bang and Darwinian evolution, and it never occurred to me at the time that I might need to reconsider the Big Bang in order to be a faithful Christian. (Evolution is a more complicated topic, but it’s not what we’re talking about here.)

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