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Showing posts from 2011

Bill Maher's Twitter and the Fear of God

Bill Maher, the irreverant (and increasingly irrelevant) host of some poorly watched show on HBO called "Real Time with Bill Maher", is, according to Sue Naegel of HBO, "a fearless, funny and totally original observer of the modern world." In fact, his show is so interesting that for the latest rating period I could find (October 24, 2011), his show was beaten in the 10:00 pm time slot by such notable television programs as "Sanctuary" on SyFy, "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" on the Food Channel, and the memorable "Hairy Bikers" on the History Channel. (Actually, it appears that Maher's program was beaten by every cable competitor in the 10:00 pm slot. I guess people just aren't that invested in Mr. Maher's original observations of the modern world.)

Anyway, Mr. Maher is no friend to Christianity. As I noted in a blog entry in 2006 entitled "Dr." Bill Maher's Unenlightened Diagnosis, Maher (in his original way) …

Defeating the “Problem of Evil”

The problem – intellectual and emotional – of why what we call 'evil' exists is age-old, and an issue that every human being, whether atheist or Christian, ultimately is confronted with. Philosophically and intellectually, it seems to be fairly easily overcome (as I will hopefully try to explain below) in a Christian worldview, but pastorally and emotionally, it is terrible and devastating upon us all, from atheist to devout Christian. My argument would then be that the Christian worldview, in fact, provides both a much more hopeful answer and decent solution  to the pastoral issue, as well as coping intellectually with the problem. 

We can start with the intellectual response, where we can split the 'problem' into three forms: logical, evidential and emotional/pastoral. See more >>

Is Jesus Never Called "The" God...? Addendum on Heb 1:8

Remember how long the articles in this miniseries were? (Starting here?) Did you ever wish I could have just trimmed some discussion out and moved along?

Well... I did. Specifically on Hebrews 1:8, which I ranked at the top of the list of examples where Jesus is called {ho theos} in the New Testament. There's a mind-scrummingly dull textual transmission issue there which I tried to spare my readers from since (1) it would have been a digression of exceedingly minor importance, and (2) it would take me a lonnnng slogging way to demonstrate why and how it's an exceedingly minor digression. At the end of an already-lengthy entry, in the middle of other lengthy entries?? What would be the point?!


So of course, since it was the top of the list, someone quickly brought up the textual transmission issue.

{facepalm}


Dr. BW, offsite, asks:

"Isn't there a textual variant with most translations providing the alternate, '...of the son, God is your throne... as the sceptor of His k…

Is Jesus Never Called "The God" In The New Testament? (Part 7 of 7)

Ho, weary readers! The end of this series is here!

This will be a handy summary page for my results. But I'll link to prior articles when speaking of each example, so that the argument can be seen in detail.


Is Jesus Never Called "The God" In The New Testament? (Part 6 of 7)

We're running out of groups of New Testament texts where Jesus isn't on rare occasion called {ho theos}! (Or {ton theon} or {tou theo} or some grammatic equivalent that still would translate to "the God" in English.)

Several times in the Johannine texts; at least once (maybe twice) in the Petrines; at least once (maybe two times) in Hebrews; at least once in the Pauline Pastorals (Titus); most likely once in Acts.

It's starting to look like the popular understanding on the topic may be reversed--Jesus might be called {ho theos} more often in the New Testament than He is called merely {theos}! (Although neither is particularly common of course.)


But these texts seem so late in composition. Maybe that makes a difference? (Actually, the supposed lateness of their composition hinges routinely on scholars recognizing high Christological characteristics in them and using that as evidence for late composition! Acts is the exception; its theories of late composition don'…

Is Jesus Never Called "The God" In The New Testament? (Part 5 of 7)

Yes, Jesus is called {ho theos} on occasion across the Johannine texts. And at least once (maybe twice) in the Petrine texts. And at least once (maybe two times) in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

At this point, someone denying Jesus is ever called the God in the New Testament is in serious trouble.

But fortunately for such a person, Paul of Tarsus, the one NT author no one can get around (as C. S. Lewis used to call him) can be called on to save the day! For surely (unless Paul wrote EpistHeb) someone identified as Paul never calls Jesus {ho theos}!


(The reader expecting this had better be familiar with disappointment by now.)


Is Jesus Never Called "The God" In The New Testament? (Part 4 of 7)

Soooo, okay, maybe Jesus is (occasionally) called "the God" ({ho theos} and grammatic variants thereof) in the Johannine texts (Part 1 and Part 2), and in the Petrine texts (Part 3).

But what about the Pauline texts, huh?! None of them ever call Jesus "the God"!--right?!!

Your week, my reader, is about to get longer...


Is Jesus Never Called "The God" In The New Testament? (Part 3 of 7)

In summary so far: yes, Jesus is called "the God", {ho theos} or {tou theou} or {ton theon}, in the New Testament. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

(Part 1 introduces the topic and discusses John 1:1. Part 2 continues through other Johannine text examples.)

An implied {ho theos} is the best explanation for the textual transmission oddities, and the best fit of stably transmitted oddities nearby in the text, at John 1:18; it happens as a direct (although extended) grammatic effect in 1 John 5:20; it happens directly (if not especially obviously, thanks to the evidence being spread out a bit) in the final chapter of RevJohn; it is the best fit of the grammatic implications at John 1:1 (where the direct article wouldn't be printed for obscure grammatic reasons, but would be understood to be there for those same reasons); and it happens unambiguously, by all direct grammatic evidence and by established usage of the phrase elsewhere, at Thomas' confession in…

Is Jesus Never Called "The God" In The New Testament? (Part 2 of 7)

In Part 1, I went over in detail the example of "the Word was (very emphatically) the God" from John 1:1, arguing that the grammar actually points toward Jesus (as "the Word") being called "the" God there, with a direct article intended by the writer, even though due to another grammatic rule the author had to omit the article--ironically, for the purpose of even more strongly emphasizing that the Word was the God!

Is Jesus called {ho theos}, "the" God, any other times in the NT? Maybe a bit more grammatically obviously?--other than with Thomas' confession late in GosJohn? (Which I am saving for last in this entry.)

Yes, there are some times (other than Thomas' confession) when this happens grammatically obviously. But there are times when it isn't so obvious either; and on the broccoli principle I'll discuss those first.


A few texts with ancient attestation (although mostly variants of ancient Patristic commentaries) including a pa…

Is Jesus Never Called "The God" In The New Testament? (Part 1 of 7)

I have been working up a new series for a while, where I will be following sets of canonical texts through their claims about God Most High and His relation to Jesus Christ (the Son) and/or the Holy Spirit. It's a followup to the huge (800+ pages!) metaphysical argument I spent a few years posting here on the Cadre a while back. (Anyone who wants to discover what it feels like for their eyes to start bleeding, is welcome to start on that here. {g})

The new series will most likely be just as long, or maybe longer. (Sorry--lots of data to cover.) But although I'm not quite ready, I'm getting itchy to start, so I thought I would compile together a few things as a teaser article.

(Although with me being 'me', the "teaser" article is seven lengthy parts, of course... {wry g})


When discussing the New Testament texts with some (although not all) types of 'unitarian' Christian, as well as with some (although not all) types of non-Christian, the claim will oc…

Saying Grace (2011)

No updates this year to my Cadre Thanksgiving Sermon, so I'll just link back to last year's version.

For any readers hoping for yet another massive series between now and Easter: there's one on the way, God willing!


But not until Monday, probably. For which other Cadre readers may gladly give thanks. {g}

Atheist IQ Scam: the New Turn

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Since atheist have low self esteem they are constraint trying to reassure themselves by maintaining the myth that they are more intelligent than religious people. The stduies linking atheists to low self esteem I have posted on this blog before. They are mainly by Leslie Francis but there are others that link negative God image with negative self esteem. I have contacted a theory that atheists are so snide and rude on message boards and often reveal such vehiment hatred toward religion and religious people becuase their method of ganiing self esteem is to put down religious people. They put themselves up by putting us down.

I had previous done several pages on Doxa on atheist IQ claims. I went through every study to date (in the 90s) and demonstrated how 16 t0 6, the preponderance of the evidence favored a view that either religious people are smarter or that there is no correlation. Since that time some more studies have been done by atheists and they are being used extensively for p…

More Scientists Believe In God Than Atheists Want to Think

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pie charts from Pew study

In the late 90s, atheists began making the argument that less than a majority of scientists believe in God. In addition to this they argued that the National Academy of Sciences had only about 5% members who believed in God. All of this was due to the publication of a 1998 article entitled "Leading Scientists Still reject God." In that article, the author got hold of a survey done in 1914 by a guy named James Henry Luba and Nature Magazine noticed that the stats had not changed. So the conclusion that scientists are such great priests of knowledge, if they don't believe in God there must not be one.

Research on this topic began with the eminent US psychologist James H. Leuba and his landmark survey of 1914. He found that 58% of 1,000 randomly selected US scientists expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of God, and that this figure rose to near 70% among the 400 "greater" scientists within his sample [1]. Leuba repeated his …

Revolutionary Jesus

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Mural by Jose Clemente Orozco "Christ Destroying
his Cross," 1943

This post comes under the heading of "what I want to tell atheists positively about Jesus." I started it back when I posted that one about Jesus and Dylan. It's based upon my outrage or dismay (I should say) over learning that so many atheists don't admire or respect Jesus as a historical figure. I re-posting it because after reading it again it seems pretty good.It's also in response to the statements by Weekend Fisher.

I have been deeply moved by Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco's (1883-1949) painting of Jesus chopping down his own cross. The Christ of this mural prostrate is drawn in a very primitive style. Christ is not the Pascal lamb but refuses his destiny and will not go to the cross. The painting is disturbing because the first impression is that of blasphemy. Is the artist mocking Christ? Is he rejecting faith at its most sacred level? Orozco is not trying to blaspheme Jes…