What's on my mind?
Since I almost certainly won't get to update tomorrow, we're doing a special duel edition:
- Fun discussion over at ETC on the definition and necessity of "Evangelical Textual Criticism." I usually take a pretty wide berth on these things, basically trying to get out of the Evangelical label as much as possible. But when you have certain parties taking textual criticism away from its basic purpose of recovering the original text, then I have a bit of a problem.
- Christians doing what Christians do best: signing petitions because somebody hurt their feelings.
- Jesuit High School 1, Public School 0.
- Students in Boulder, CO, are protesting! They don't like saying the pledge of allegiance, because they have to say that whole "under God" part, plus it takes away from class time (which we know bothers students). On the one hand, I think it's great the students are acting up over something. On the other hand, I think it's terrible it's over something so stupid.
- Wes Anderson's new movie The Darjeeling Limited is coming out (review and preemptory "Wes Anderson's really not all that great" reaction). For some reason, I'm not amazingly excited about this. I feel like I got burned with The Life Aquatic after being really excited about the trailer. And now I'm not excited about the new trailer, but I'm still excited about the movie. Let's face it, I LOVE Wes Anderson. I should write about why soon.
starting at 4:30 this morning, i wrote for about 12 hours, with a couple breaks for food and, you know, my job. somehow i managed to kick out 17 pages on ruth. hebrew exegeticals will kill you. i'll try and get some notes up before the library closes, and i have to go home, and begin work on another paper. it's ok, this one's just 8 pages, and all i have to do is read through jeremiah and write about all the ways he is characterized. oh, and include a scripture reference index. seminary!
- Jim West writes about the continuing defections from the Protestant Church. This time, it's the Episcopals.
- Speaking of the Episcopals, there's trouble with a capital T and that rhymes P and that stands for...sPlit. But wait! It looks like things might just work out.
- An article in the LA Times today finds out that "Nearly 1 in 3 respondents say Mormonism is not a Christian religion, the report said." This is a bad thing?
- A good summary of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
That's all for now, folks.
Posted a couple new pictures on flickr tonight. If you love beer and spirits, you will love these pictures.
- I'm not particularly interested in church history. But April DeConick is, and she has a few questions up that you might want to take a look at.
- Which God do you believe in?
- Darrell Bock continues his Jesus Puzzle series with a question that seems to coming up more often these days: what is the relationship between Christianity and Pagan or mystery religions?
- The saddest thing I read today.
- Finally, a critical look at Christian fundamentalists. Sample quote?
The traditional saying, which stated that “the way to hell is paved with good intentions” seems to be perfectly applicable to Christian fundamentalists in America. Their determination to seek for the promotion of struggles and wars as a means of solving social problems proves that they are literally making a mockery of Christianity in America, as it has been clearly demonstrated.
First we had professors being fired for not teaching Genesis literally, even though they were teaching at secular schools, where one might a certain level of freedom to teach literature as literature in the manner they see fit. Then we had the growing bias against evangelicals among professors (probably not helped by the fact that they were being fired by them or their sympathizers). Now we get an outspoken conservative being fired (pp. 35-38) for...voicing his views? Complaining too much? Anyway, it seems like a really good time to be a professor. Who doesn't want academic freedom diminishing at astonishing rates?
Special credit goes to Christoper Heard at Higgaion for keeping up with all this.
- “I see progress being made,“ he said, “but it is slow. We need to have a continuing presence here.“ - christians behaving well
- those crazy environmentalist...christians?
- interesting report on the growth of atheism in canada
- Lew A at the Pursuit writes about cursing. I love cursing, so his question is particularly interesting to me.
- The ten commandments of facebook.
Ben Witherington has a post up about the growing prevalence of anti-Evangelical bias at North American universities. This is particularly interesting to me as I would like to be an Evangelical professor at a North American university. So, I guess I have something to look forward to.
it's a common enough refrain. john lennon immortalized it in his classic “imagine”. what would the world be like without christianity? without religion? imagine a world without religion and you can quickly imagine a social utopia, without proselytizers, without religious conflict and the bloodshed that follows it, without embarassing entities such as the inquisition, or the catholic church, or radical fundamentalisms of various flavors. “true or false,” the questions gets put to the theist in the great debate, “the world would be better off if no one had ever bothered to look to the sky and bow their head.”
well, i am here to register an emphatic “FALSE”. those who would associate religion* with evil usually like to set up a cause and effect relationship to the effect of religion, therefore suffering. most may not phrase it just so, or might flesh out the various steps between religion and suffering, but that is the ultimate argument. what they fail to realize is that it is less like a crisp cause and effect and more like a messy venn diagram. human beings, most of whom cause suffering, are also religious. or, most of whom are religious, also cause suffering.
the first illustration of this, the divorce of religion and evil, is to look at its inverse. if the relationship between suffering and religion was unique to religion, than periods of history or regimes within history that rejected religion might likely be expected to exhibit less suffering and evil. one need only look to the atheist, communist regimes of the 20th century to realize the fallacy of that logic. let me be clear now, that atheists or atheist entities cause harm does not mean that religion does not. but it does get to the heart of my supposition here: that religion is no more related to suffering and evil than the lack thereof is. no, indeed the relationship is opposite. suffering and evil exist because human beings do. humans need no other pretenses, though they may use them from time to time.
indeed, neither the golden rule nor its inverse have ever really been instinctive to mankind. we regulate our actions based neither on what we wouldn't like others to do to us nor what we would like them to do for us. for most of human history, our natures have driven us in parallel to the following example. a man is tied to a chair. i decide whether or not to abuse that man based largely on two qualifications: (1) how likely is it that there will be a day he is not tied to that chair, and (2) if he is to become untied, how likely is it that he will be able to harm me? if either of the two conditions are unlikely, we will abuse that man.
human history illustrates nothing better than the fact that when a person, a people, or a class of people can wield power over another person, people, or class of people, he will. religion is, or should be, totally divorced from the equation. if it wasn't god telling you to suppress and subjugate a race, it would be your pocketbook. or your women. or Reason. reason, the clarion call to humanists everywhere, the whore performing her ministrations for the highest bidder. the smoke screen to that one true god of atheists everywhere, Self. that religion has been used as one of these facades is regrettable, but not damning.
* or, and from now on out, we shall just say christianity since it would be disingenuous for me to make claims on religions that are not my own, to say nothing of the fact that i might not actually be the biggest baddest defender or religion, indeed i might find myself on the other end of that debate
I am not an economist. I say this because I would like to be an economist one day, perhaps, but there will be many days before THAT day, so in the mean time I am going to do my own thing, non-economically. I mention economics only because I would like to write about the decisions we make and how we make them. And when I say we, I really mean extrapolating wildly from my own personal experience (which is where economics, or the lack thereof, come in). Economics, as I have read somewhere, is the study of why we make the decisions we make, i.e. the little formulations, equations, and balances we tilt around in our heads before deciding, “yes, I would like whipped cream with my chocolate shake, for I care not about my diet,” or “no, I would not like whipped cream with my chocolate shake, because I care greatly about my diet.” so, i will be posting from time to time on those kinds of decisions, and depending on how motivated i become, their mathematical expressions.
i read this last night on ryan smith's blog smithers. i thought it was a great statement concerning love:
I have a loving wife, who for some strange reason adores and loves me, laughs at my silly jokes, listens to my little rants on economics, politics, religion, sports, and music. She has cried with me during those dark days last year, she rejoices with me in my victories, successes, and excitements, and she helps me find motivation when it does not appear to be present.