Does the soul exist? Or are we just physical bodies? In this Table Talk, Doug Huffman argues for the existence of the soul. He presents seven different philosophies on the existence of the soul, with the philosophies ranging from one extreme to the other. In his presentation of the different views on the existence of the soul, Doug presents the shortcomings of each extreme view, argues for a middle ground philosophy, and presents ways for Christians to move forward in studying this subject.

Doug’s has a handout of his notes.

A helpful general bibliography of works addressing this issue has been provided by Doug Huffman:

Bibliography on Neuro-biology and the Soul

This Table Talk is from The Mind-Body Problem series.

What is a person’s nature composed of? In this Table Talk, JP Moreland explores what the Bible teaches about human nature, as well as explains various philosophical views on human nature and their strengths and weaknesses (an overview is provided in JP’s notes).

Specific sources relevant to JP’s Table Talk:

Dualism in biblical culture:

John Cooper, Body, Soul & Life Everlasting (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, rev. ed., 2000);

N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, Minnesota:  Fortress Press, 2003), pp. 81-84, 128-34, 140-43, 190-206)

Cartesian dualism:

Richard Swinburne, The Evolution of the Soul. Oxford: Clarendon, rev. ed., 1997

Thomistic (substance) Dualism:

J. P. Moreland and Scott Rae. Body and Soul. Downers Grove, Illinois:  2000.


Paul Churchland, Matter and Consciousness. Cambridge, Massachusetts:  MIT Press, rev. ed., 1988

Jaegwon Kim, Philosophy of Mind, Boulder, Colorado:  Westview Press, 1996

This Table Talk is from The Mindy-Body Problem series.

Should Christians participate in politics? In this Table Talk, Dave Peters and Doug Geivett answer this question, explaining why it is vital for Christians to actively participate in politics and elections. They each also discuss which candidate they will be voting for and why they feel called to vote for their candidate.  An overview of their presentations is available from both Dave’s handout and Doug’s handout.

This Table Talk is from the What Does Jerusalem Have to Do with Washington? series.

Christian political reflection did not begin in 1980 with Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority. Ever since Jesus said “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and render unto God what it God’s,” Christians have been contemplating exactly what is Caesar’s and what is God’s. This Table Talk provides an in-depth look at this 2000 year old conversation and some very specific applications to our world today.

Andy’s notes are available in a handout.

This Table Talk is from the What Does Jerusalem Have to Do with Washington? series.

In this Table Talk, Chris Davidson and Jonathan Anderson each discuss Kurt Simonson’s photography exhibition “Home is Where.” Chris’ PowerPoint commentary explores the relationship between photography and poetry, analyzing the similarities between the two. In the final portion of the discussion, Jonathan’s PowerPoint commentary provides a personal reading, or interpretation, of Kurt’s exhibition and the structure of its layout.

This Table Talk is from the Christianity and the Arts series.

Fred Sanders discusses the life and work of Dorothy L. Sayers, including her theological works. How did Sayers, an author who had also worked in advertising, become such an impactful amateur theologian? Fred Sanders examines how Sayers utilized her concise writing skills to succinctly state the core tenets of Christianity in a language that was accessible to the common person.

This Table Talk is from the Inklings: Spirit and Story in 20th Century England series.

Melissa Schubert begins her discussion with a brief overview of the life of  J.R.R. Tolkien. She then focuses on Tolkien’s poem   Mythopoeia and his defense of myth. Melissa highlights how Tolkien believed that myths are important because they are a form of creativity that reflect the first Creator. She continues by explaining how Tolkien viewed the structure of myths as a parallel to the joy and redemption that is found in Christianity.

This Table Talk is from the Inklings: Spirit and Story in 20th Century England series.

In this discussion, Chris Mitchell explores the life of G.K. Chesterton, including explaining the atmosphere of faith and society during G.K. Chesterton’s life in England. He explains how Chesterton revitalized and reinvigorated faith and theology in English society at the time, and continues to do so today by his work on enjoying the simple pleasures in life. Mitchell explains how Chesterton advocated for enjoying life’s simple pleasures, and how this is an important aspect of Christianity and faith.

This Table Talk is part of the Inklings: Spirit and Story in 20th Century England series.

This is part two of a five-part series on the perils and pitfalls of integrative thinking. A previous post considered “Hermit Crab Integration,” which uncritically adopts existing social structures and cultural artifacts. A related, but slightly different problem concerns this post. We call it “Christmas Tree Integration.”

Christmas Tree Integration

Not only does the secular academy define the structure of an academic discipline, it also loads that discipline with content. When a Christian pursues higher education, that content becomes the measure of competence and its mastery is the right of passageinto the academy. To achieve competency, a course of graduate study must be followed which is deep, demanding, and detailed. When it comes time to teach this same discipline to others, the starting point will almost certainly be the content that was learned in graduate study.

But if one is teaching at a Christian institution, the stated goal is not merely that one delivers the core content of an academic discipline, but that it is “integrated” with a Christian worldview. The most common solution to this is to search the core content for points of contact with the Christian faith and attach these to specific biblical texts that address or seem to address the topic in question. The verses are often listed parenthetically in the syllabus as if it is from these texts that the content is derived. But the fact of the matter is that the content preceded biblical study, it did not follow from it. There was no systematic study of the Scripture or of Christian theology or of Christian reflection upon the subject matter. The biblical references are hung upon the content as ornaments upon a Christmas tree. The result is something that is biblical in appearance and secular in essence.

A distinctive danger of Christmas Tree integration unfolds for those who take the time to look up the parenthetical Scriptural citations. One often discovers that: 1) a relevant word is mentioned in the passage but it is used in a way that is incidental or unrelated to the topic of the academic discussion, or 2) the topic is merely mentioned but it is not subject of the biblical teaching, or 3) the topic is the subject of the biblical teaching, but the biblical teaching is distinctively different from or even contrary to the teaching offered in the syllabus.  These fallacies are all by-products of biblical study done after the essential content is already determined. The pressure to force passages to fit the pre-determined content is enormous and multiplies hermeneutical errors that are common enough without the pressure of an already filled-in syllabus.