Posts

Showing posts from August, 2008

The Pre-Natal Genocide of Down Syndrome Babies

Like many other pro-life voters I was inspired by the story of the Republican Candidate for Vice President, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. She is a mother of five. Her most recent child has Down syndrome. Gov. Palin learned this well before the birth, but -- living up to her pro-life beliefs -- did not abort.

While reading about Gov. Palin, I ran across a shocking New York Times story about babies with Down syndrome. Perhaps I was naive, or just uninformed, but I had no idea that the abortion rate for the unborn diagnosed with Down syndrome is 90 percent. I like to think that this is not representative of parents nationwide. I have known women who were reluctant to take such tests or rejected them outright because they knew the results would not affect their decision. Still, 90% is a shocking abortion rate.

In addition to the high percentage, the raw number of such abortions continues to grow. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is recommending that all pregnan…

Note on Methodology

Image
Atheists demand "evidence." I don't think atheists care about evidence. Evidence just means that one has something to reason from. What atheists demand is absolute proof, and at a level that can't be given for anything. I would bet that if for some reason atheists didn't like science, no amount of scientific "proof" wood suffice to prove to them that science works; because they would demand absolute proof, which can't be gotten.

In thinking about the two other threads I initiative over the last few days, and the atheist take on my arguments and their 'dicing' of my thought processes, and their refusal to acknowledge standard resiances that I give all the time, I find the following state of affairs to be a good description of the current state of dialectic between atheists and theists on the boards:

(1) Theists have a vast array of knowledge and argumentation built up over 2000 years, which basically amounts to a ton evidence for the existence …

More Mithra Madness (Part 1)

The desperation with which Jesus Myth sympathizers cling to the possibility of Christian copying of Mithraism is good evidence of their willingness to sacrifice reason and dispassionate inquiry. As a mini-case study I will look at the way a Jesus Myth website (jesusneverexisted.com) advances the Mithra-Christianity Copycat Theory (in an article titled, "Dress Rehearsal for Christianity"). This is Part 1. The article itself is not well organized, so please have patience as I work through it section by section.

The Sources

The site leads off with a list of 14 impressive sounding books identified as “Sources.” Although a few choice quotes are extracted from some of these books, most of the site's assertions are unsupported by any reference (to the listed sources or otherwise). For those tidbits that have citations, they generally are unrelated to the task of proving that Christianity copied Mithraism. Indeed, one of the books they cite so completely contradicts the sit…

Why Did God Make Us With the Capacity to Sin? (Part I)

Occasionally, I have a question from a skeptic that really makes me think. It doesn't make me think, "Gee, maybe Christianity is wrong after all." I have responded to enough skeptical ideas over the last 10 years that I believe it is highly doubtful that any atheist will ever actually shake my confidence in Christianity (but they are welcome to keep trying). Rather, the question (which is usually designed to shake my confidence) usually makes me look prayerfully and more deeply into my own understandings of Christian philosophy. One such question came up earlier this week.

Since I don't have permission from the skeptic to repost his question word for word, I will paraphrase the challenge. The anonymous skeptic was discussing the question of why there was evil in the world. Certainly, I have heard that question many times, and I have my approach for answering the question and it involves the Free Will Defense. For those unfamiliar with the Free Will Defense, here is a…

Bumper Sticker Theology: God Bless the Whole World

I enjoy reading bumper stickers. Some seem to manage to capture a real truth in a very few words. Others, however, substitute a pithy saying for real thought or analysis. One of the latter is the bumper sticker that is rather prevalent in my area of the country that reads: "God bless the whole word, no exceptions."

Obviously, this is a response to the bumper stickers that say, "God bless America." The person with the "God bless the whole world" bumper sticker apparently thinks that the person with the "God bless America" sticker is being too provincial and wants to be more inclusive. But is there really anything wrong with saying "God bless America"?

Certainly, when a person says "God bless America" they are not saying "God bless America and no other country." When the people at an American baseball game stand in the seventh inning and sing the song by that title, they are not trying to gain God's exclusive favor …

Jesus Myth Theory: the final nails

Image
There are two basic reasons we can put this nonsense behind us:

(1) There is no reason why we have to theorize that the original evangelists strooped to copying pagan lore when all the elements of the dying rising messiah were present in Judaism.

(2) We can prove Jesus existed as a man in history.


The Whole thesis that the story of Jesus is shaped out of bits and pieces of the mono myth, archetypes from all cultures that make up the basis of all mythology, is extraneous to the facts. All the elements of the Jesus story come from Judaism, including that of the suffering Messiah whose death has atoning implications for his people. This is nothing new. This fact has been known for more than two decades. It comes from several fragments found at Qumran, suggesting that Messiah would atone for the sins of Israel. In fact, the atonement implications were discussed in his book The Dead Sea Scrolls by John Allegro as ealry as 1962. But fragments from Qumran were discovered in the 80s.


Dead Sea Scr…

Glenn Miller on the Jesus Myth, Middle Platonism, and Other Items

Glenn Miller of the Christian Thinktank has a detailed new article that covers a series of subjects related to the Jesus Myth. He covers:

* The meaning of Paul's reference to "the brother of the Lord."
* Paul's knowledge of the historical Jesus.
* The meaning of Paul's references to "the Lord."
* The meaning of Paul's reference to Jesus being "born of a woman."
* The growth of the Jesus Myth.
* Paul's references to the Incarnation.
* The plausibility of construing Paul's references to Jesus as examples of Middle Platonism.
* Isis/Osiris in Middle Platonic thought.
* Paul's relationship with Middle Platonism.

It is very good and for those still unclear about the meaning of Middle Platonism Miller does an excellent job of laying it out.

The New Atheists - Based on Antipathy to Those Different?

First Post, the online daily magazine, has an short article on the new atheists entitled The horror of a New Atheist world by Andrew Brown. He makes some interesting observations about the New Atheist movement that I think is worth reading. He notes:

Are we seeing a resurgence of reason in a world suddenly threatened as never before by superstition?

Well, all of the books hammer home a simple world view. In this, religions are distinguished from all other belief systems by 'faith' which they define as the quality of believing things that are untrue just because you have been told them.

This is an extraordinarily popular argument, despite its self-evident absurdity - obviously, if you define faith as irrational, unwarranted belief, then it is not difficult also to conclude that faith is irrational, unwarranted and evil. But these word games are the only intellectual novelty in Hitchens (left) and Dawkins, and they are carried to quite absurd lengths. Hitchens denies that Martin…

Paul was Neither a Gnostic Nor a Mystery Cultist.

Image
Atheists and Jesus mythers have shaped Paul in the image they would like to see him. They have developed such a vast palimpsest over this material that it's almost impossible for them not to regard their twisted speculations as facts. It's time we did some straight talking about the factual knowledge of Paul.

The Fact that proto versions of the Gospels circulated in writing, with the story of the empty tomb as early as perhaps AD 50 is well proved by Helmutt Koester. See my Doxa pages Gospel Behind the Gospels. Many sources indicate multiple streams of gospel material flowing at the time Paul converted.

I.The Pauline Connection

A.Formation of the Gospel


The notion that there was "a Gospel" per se, that the message about Jesus was distinctive from the one about the Messiah, that Jesus gave it a kind of life of its own, was also slow in coming. The first real formation of it was the Apostle's Church council which we find in Acts . Before this time emphasis was upon Jes…