Author Archives: startingoverwithchristianity

Suicide and Christianity

The suicide rate is increasing among all sectors of society in the United States.  Two recent suicides of celebrities have brought the issue of suicide into the limelight.

Suicide is most often seen as a mental health issue.  But is that what it really is?  Is lack of mental health treatment what’s causing the growing suicide problem in the United States?

In this podcast, the first of a two-part series, we look at suicide from a Christian perspective.  First, we look to see what the Bible says about suicide.  Then, we look at suicide from the perspective of self-murder.

We look at what determines whether any certain killing constitutes murder.  We look at how murder can be defined in Christianity, and in conjunction with that, we look at the concept of justified killing in Christianity.  We then consider the reasons so many Americans commit suicide.

For a transcript of this podcast, click here.

The Role of Fathers in Families

The idea of God as being like a father is unique to Christianity.  No other major religion has that image of God.  It originated with Jesus.  Jesus told people to think of God as being like a father.

The image of God as being like a father should play a major role in Christianity.  Unfortunately it doesn’t because it was obscured, overshadowed, and spoiled by the doctrine of the Trinity.  But, if we’re going to start over with Christianity, we need to recover the idea Jesus introduced of thinking of God as being like a father.

That’s hard to do in today’s world, though, because fathers aren’t seen as being important.

Why is that?

Are fathers truly unimportant?  Are they dispensable, except as a source of child support and an occasional week-end visit?  If not, what is the importance of fathers?  Has replacing fathers with others served the interests of society?

To think about those questions, we go a roundabout way that includes an interesting look at American society over the past 200 years.  Along the way we encounter a possibility you may not have thought about.  But if you’re open to considering it, you may find it explains a lot about the world we live in today.

For a transcript of this podcast, click here.

Why Do Things Happen the Way They Do?

Are events that happen in the world random occurrences due to chance?

Some Christians would answer, “No, God controls and directs everything.”  Other Christians might not be so fast to blame God for all the world’s problems.

In this podcast, we don’t look at the Bible and Christian beliefs to answer the question if things that happen in the world are the result of random occurrences due to chance.  We go outside the Bible and Christian beliefs entirely and use the scientific method to find an answer.


For a transcript of this podcast, click here

Is God Omnipotent?

Many Christians believe that God is omnipotent, that God has the power to do anything He wants to do.  If that’s true, then God could, right now, at this moment, stop all the bad things that happen in the world.

So why doesn’t He?

Why does God allow so much evil, so much heartbreak, and so many bad things to happen in the world, if He has the power to stop it all in an instant?

In this podcast, we examine the idea that God has the power to do anything.  Does the Bible tell us that?  Or is that an idea that people have developed?

For a transcript of this podcast, click here.

Where Christianity Went Wrong

There is one belief traditional Christianity has that makes it impossible for Christianity to make sense.  This one belief backs Christianity into a corner, for it prevents Christianity from giving satisfactory answers to the deepest questions of life.  This belief also paints a horrible picture of God.

It is the belief that God created everything, absolutely everything.

In this podcast, we examine the belief that God created everything and also look at the insurmountable problems that creates for Christianity.  We then examine that belief and see if it is in fact supported by Christian scripture.  Finally, we look at an alternative to the belief that God created everything, see if it can be supported by Christian scripture, and see if it lets Christianity make more sense.


For a transcript of this podcast, click here.

What Christianity Is All About

What is the main thing, above everything else, that Christianity tells us?  At the most basic level, what is Christianity concerned with?

Many Christians would say that Christianity is all about getting your sins forgiven.  Other Christians would say that Christianity is all about living your life according to certain selected ethical teachings of Jesus.

In an effort to start over with Christianity, we’ll reject both of those in this episode.  We’ll consider something entirely different.  We’ll look at Christianity as a complete world view, an explanation of “the way things are” and “why things are the way they are.”

This way of looking at Christianity is nothing new; in fact, you could argue it was the way ancient Christianity first looked at things.  However, it does require acceptance of something that Christians today have a lot of trouble accepting.

But what are the results of not accepting it?

For a transcript of this podcast, click here.

Interpreting the Bible

Christian beliefs are derived from interpreting things in the Bible.  In general, Christian beliefs are not specifically stated in the Bible.  Every Christian belief is an interpretation of something in the Bible.

In this episode, we first look at how the majority of Christians interpret the Bible.  Then we ask if that process is valid.  Then we look at some of the problems involved with interpreting the Bible.  One problem is that Bible interpretation is a subjective process; that is, it is influenced by each person’s own feelings and opinions.  Different people interpret the Bible differently.

Given that, what is the “correct” interpretation of anything in the Bible?  Is there a single “correct” interpretation of anything the Bible says, or are there a variety of different interpretations that may be “correct” for different people?

If there is one “correct” interpretation, how do we know what it is?  Can we ever know?

For a transcript of this podcast, click here.



The Best Bible Translation

There are a number of different English versions of the Bible available.  Which is the best Bible translation?

Some English translations of the Bible try, in various degrees, to stay true to the manuscript text, while others take more leeway.  Some English translations are really not translations at all but are re-wordings that express the translators’ opinions about what the biblical text means.

The best way to understand the differences in the various English versions of the Bible is to take an example and compare how it is translated in different versions.

In this episode, we look at a short passage from Exodus 4 in six popular English versions of the Bible.  We look at the passage in the King James Version, the New King James Version, the New Revised Standard Version, the New International Version, the Living Bible, and the Message.

Which give an accurate translation and which guide you to a certain interpretation of the passage?

For a transcript of this podcast, click here.

Translating the Bible

The Bible was not written in English. The earliest manuscripts we have of any books of the Bible are in a form of ancient Greek known as Koine Greek. If we want to read the Bible in English, someone must first translate it into English.

But translation is not a simple process of substituting an English word for a Greek word. Decisions and assumptions have to be made. Every translation is, to some extent, an interpretation.  When we read the Bible, are we reading the Bible itself, or are we reading something that has been filtered and altered to fit the existing beliefs of the translators?

In this podcast, we look at the complexities and pitfalls of translating the Bible. We take one verse from the Bible as an example and translate it into English. There are only 17 words in this verse. It should be simple to translate, but we find that it’s anything but simple.

What we find is surprising and will forever change how you read the Bible.

For a transcript of this podcast, click here.

The Ten Commandments and the New Covenant

Most Christians know about the Ten Commandments.  Many Christians feel obligated to follow the Ten Commandments, or at least certain interpretations of the Ten Commandments, in their daily lives.  But in addition to the Ten Commandments, the Old Testament contains about 620 more commandments.  Many of these were given at the exact same time as the Ten Commandments, yet you don’t hear much about them.

Are Christians obligated to follow the Old Testament commandments?  If so, which ones?  If Christians only have to follow certain ones, how do you know which ones you have to follow?

Questions like these have been asked in Christianity since the very beginning.

This podcast begins by examining the Ten Commandments.  Exactly what is commanded in those and how do we know?  Do any Christians really follow them?  Then we move on to the other commandments and consider some of the problems created when Christians select which of the Old Testament commandments to follow and which to ignore.

But in doing that, we encounter an even larger question: How do we incorporate the Old Testament into Christianity?  As we consider that question, we have to wonder: Is Christianity an offshoot of Judaism, or is Christianity something entirely different?