When I was in sixth grade, I participated in a debate in which I attempted to convince my fellow classmates that we never landed on the moon.

It was the first time I used the Internet to research, and my partner and I found a treasure trove of information. We couldn’t believe it. It was so obvious. The U.S. clearly faked the moon landing in 1969 to trick the Soviet Union that we had superior rocket technology.

On the day of the debate, we exceeded our allotted 30-minute timeslot by more than an hour. After the debate, we held a…

In November 2004, Kevin Malarkey and his six-year-old son, Alex, were involved in a car accident on their drive home from church.

While Kevin emerged from the collision unscathed, the force of the impact wrenched the six-year-old child’s skull from his spinal column, resulting in what doctors refer to as an “internal decapitation.” A helicopter airlifted Alex’s lifeless body from the scene of the wreck.

However, against all odds, Alex survived his catastrophic injuries. And, in 2010, he and his father wrote a book together: The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven.

In the book, Alex claimed to have been…

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

The inscription, scrawled atop the gates of Hell, is the last thing the souls of the damned read before being ushered to their eternal destination in Inferno, the first part of an epic 14th-century poem called The Divine Comedy.

Composed by Italian poet Dante Alighieri, the Divine Comedy follows Dante himself as he’s taken on a guided tour through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso, respectively). Dante began writing the Divine Comedy in 1308 and didn’t finish until 1320, a year before his death. It’s considered one of the most influential pieces of literature ever written.

Of the poem’s…

If you were compiling a “Greatest Hits” album of Jesus stories, the Parable of the Prodigal Son would definitely make the cut.

During his three year ministry, Jesus told many parables, or short stories. Parables were a popular form of storytelling and preaching in Jesus’s day.

Most modern religious writing and teaching is meant to change our minds. We’re taught what to think about a certain issue through the transfer of information.

Parables, however, are a completely different animal.
Parables teach us how to think about the world around us.

In The Orthodox Heretic, philosopher Peter Rollins writes,

“A parable…

The lead-up to our wedding felt appropriately chaotic.

Two days before we were slated to tie the knot, a “once-in-a-century” storm blew in and flooded the quaint forest wedding venue we had chosen to get married at before we were even engaged.

The rain fell in thick torrents all day, submerging streets and burying front yards under rippling sheets of swift water. We peered through streaked windows and waited for it — prayed for it — to relent. The throbbing thunder and sporadic tornado warnings an answer in their own right.

The next day, Shannon and I set out on…

Here it goes again.

You’re at home, or work, or out with friends.

And then someone,
a family member,
an acquaintance,
makes a comment about a current event or a particular social issue.

Maybe it’s intolerant, ill-informed, hopelessly biased, or downright degrading,
but nonetheless, you can’t let it go. So, you open your mouth and fire back.

Before you know it, you’re engaged in a frustrating battle of wills.
The conversation ends with both of you flustered, angry, and nowhere near close to reconciling the matter at hand.

This has happened to me too many times for me to…

The story of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood has long cast a spell on the public imagination.

The Biblical account of Noah’s Ark has inspired multiple archeological attempts to “recover” the wreckage of the ark across various mountaintops in the Middle East and a $100 million “biblically-accurate replica” that serves as a tourist attraction in Williamstown, Kentucky.

And in 2014, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream fame) drew the Evangelical community’s ire with his bombastic and Jewish mythology-heavy take on the Noah story starring Russell Crowe and Emma Watson.

The guest speaker stands behind the podium.
A clear pitcher of water sits on a stool at his side.

Our youth group listens with rapt attention.
The guest speaker is talking about sex.

He invites three boys to the front and tells them to spit into the water pitcher.
Like, really spit. To make it gross.
The three adolescent boys line up and enthusiastically comply.

Then he invites a fourth boy up to the podium
and tells him to drink the entire pitcher of water.

Cue laughter and groans of disgust from the audience. …

In an instant, millions of people around the world vanish into thin air.

Planes plummet out of the sky. Vehicles, suddenly unmanned, careen out of control. The catastrophic event hurls the world into a state of chaos, anarchy, and panic.

Is this the opening salvo of an alien invasion? A secret military experiment gone awry? An act of terrorism unlike anything seen before?

No. This is the Rapture, the moment when God “rescues” all the faithful Christians from the planet before all literal Hell breaks loose on Earth.

In 1995, Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins released the first installment…

A long time ago, I used to believe that most of the world’s problems could be solved if more people became Christians.

A long time ago, I used to believe that most of the world’s problems could be solved if more people became Christians.

If only more people prayed, read their Bibles, sang worship songs, and accepted Jesus into their hearts, then all our nation’s anger, strife, immorality, violence, and racial division would subside or (at the very least) become more manageable.

More Christians, fewer problems. The world was clearly sick, and we alone held the antidote. Lost in the darkness, only we could illuminate the way for the lost and wayward. Our faith gave us answers, purpose, and community.

But it also gave us something else. Something a little more problematic and insidious.

In Seculosity, David Zahl writes,

“So fundamental is our need…

Joe Forrest

Joe Forrest writes on the intersection of faith, culture, secularism, and politics.

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