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Friday, October 13, 2017

What Was Unique About Early Christianity?

What Was Unique About Early Christianity?
Whatever the labels used to identify them, polytheists, Jews, and Christians inhabited very similar worlds of "gods and miracles," and any credible account of subsequent religious developments has to be grounded in that fact.
For example, pagans actually "had no problem imagining one absolute deity." On the other hand, many early Christians could be found dabbling in the magic and divination that so fascinated superstitious pagans.

In short, the world of early Christianity was complex, as were early Christians, whose faith took some decades, if not centuries, to mature. This is good to remember in an era when many of the faithful have forgotten what it means to be faithful in a confused culture such as ours. It might take a few centuries for the church to get its act together again. In the meantime, there is hope. As the subtitle recalls, God manages to use simple and even erring Christians to transform the world.
Bright Thoughts About the University
I've done more than my fair share of bashing the modern university. How about offering a healthy alternative? Okay, read this book review of Restoring the Soul of the University: Unifying Christian Higher Education in a Fragmented Age. Better yet, read the book! Christian higher education itself is in a crisis, mostly of funding. But this may be a temporary problem. The decline of the secular university could signal the first waves of resurgence in Christian higher education if the reimagining encouraged in this book takes root.
Let's Get Real About Nuclear War
Different segments of our culture seem to be casual about nuclear war but in different ways. Some like to bluster about wiping out another nation as if nuclear arms are but another weapon. Others like to dismiss the potential for a terrorist nuclear event in the US as far-fetched. Neither seems to recognize what we're actually talking about and therefore fail to treat the topic with the sobriety it deserves. Enter the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' article "The Effects of a Single Terrorist Nuclear Bomb."
What Horizontal Doesn't Look Horizontal
If the previous link didn't mess with your imagination, this one will—or at least mess with your perception. It's the "illusion of the year" for the 2017 Best Illusion of the Year Contest. Enjoy. Or better, be confounded.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

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