Since I started blogging at the Christian Post in March 2009, I have written approximately 3000 articles (though most of them — since 2010 — have been here, at randalrauser.com). Now, in celebration (Or commemoration? Recognition, perhaps?) of ten years of blogging, I have decided to select ten articles, one from each of the last ten years.
Are these my best articles? By what metric? Are they my favorites? I can’t claim that because when you write 3000 articles, you lose track after a while. However, these are broadly representative of the various topics I have addressed over the years: a dollop of theology, a dash of popular culture, a call for civility, an exercise in defensive apologetics.
Many Christian apologists devote the bulk of their time to articulating specific arguments for Christianity. That has never been my primary focus. Instead, I have focused on articulating a suitably robust, generously orthodox, and culturally engaged understanding of Christianity while responding to objections and critiquing alternative perspectives. Among those alternative perspectives, my primary focus has been on atheism and naturalism. For more on my perspective and its epistemological underpinnings, see the section “What does Randal believe and why?” on the About Randal page of this website.
And now, without further ado…
2009: “Can Christians call God ‘Mother’?” I am a systematic theologian by training. So it is somewhat ironic that I don’t write about first-order theological topics that often. However, I do so on occasion, and this article is an early example. This article was reposted at randalrauser.com in 2011 but it originally appeared at The Christian Post (where my articles that are no longer available online). In the article, I present an overview case for the theological rationale behind the use of female metaphors, pronouns, and names for God in our theological discourse.
2010: “Doing your belief inventory (or how not to be a fundamentalist)” One of the most significant ways to help people develop a strong Christian faith is by helping them see that they can (and indeed, should) have various degrees of conviction toward different Christian doctrines. Not every hill is one to die on. I provide a commendation of this process of becoming self-aware in this call to develop a “belief inventory” regarding Christian doctrine and personal belief.
2011: “Quote others the way you would have them quote you” My long concern for people to steelman other people is on display in this article where I offer a critique of the practice of quote-mining while defending a long-time victim of the practice: Martin Luther. Do I always follow the advice in this essay by carefully seeking to understand each quotation from an interlocutor in its immediately literary and social contexts? Alas, no. But I do try.
2012: “How good is God Behaving Badly? A Review” I have reviewed many books over the years (links to more than eighty reviews are found on the Reviews section of my website). This remains one of my favorites. I picked up David Lamb’s book God Behaving Badly at an academic conference, read it on the flight home, and wrote a review the morning I got back in the office. Interestingly, a couple of years later a reviewer on Good Reads named “David Lamb” gave my book The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver, and Other Apologetic Rabbit Trails a measly 2 star rating. Was it the same David Lamb? You be the judge!
2013: “Errant statements in an inerrant book” One of the biggest questions I have faced through the years is how to make sense of the Bible. I have literally written dozens of articles on the topic, but I would probably recommend beginning with this one. It’s essential reading especially for evangelicals and exvangelicals who are hung up on a particular understanding of biblical inerrancy.
2014: “Stop supporting World Vision? On the ethical vision of some conservative evangelicals” Over the years, I have devoted a lot of firepower on the evangelical church. After all, this is my tribe, and critique, like charity, should begin at home. Moreover, I’ve seen the damage produced by the evangelical church up close, and this ridiculous boycott of World Vision was a great example, so I said my piece.
2015: “The Myth of the Free Thought Parent” In this article, I take aim at atheists, naturalists, humanists, secularists, and freethinkers who are sufficiently lacking in self-awareness that they actually believe they are not inculcating a worldview in their children. That is false: we all are teaching our children a way of looking at and living in the world, and the sooner we come to terms with the fact the sooner we can begin to direct some critique at our own worldview rather than simply focusing our critiques on others.
2016: “Why you can’t say the total evidence supports (or does not support) Christianity” This simple article is an exercise in epistemic humility. Once we recognize that none of us can possibly have mastery of all the evidence available to all people, we will hopefully be more circumspect in leveling sweeping charges of irrationality at others.
2017: “The Hiddenness Argument Revealed: A Review” One more book review made it onto my list. In this case, it is my review of J.L. Schellenberg’s The Hiddenness Argument, a real gem of a book that provides a valid and plausible (but in my view, unsuccessful) case against theism. Still, if we all wrote books in the way that Schellenberg does, the world would be a far more civil and intellectually rigorous place.
2018: “Is God’s Love ‘Reckless’?” Sloppy religious language bothers me and saying God’s love is reckless is sloppy, plain and simple. It’s important for Christians to think about what they’re singing. And in this article, I make the case that they should not be singing this popular praise and worship song.
So, that’s it, a random sampling of 10 articles from a corpus of more than 3000. Feel free to take a gander through this back catalogue and share your thoughts.