New Testament 256

An Umayyad golden dinar

  Matthew 20:1-16Compare Matthew 19:30; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30 1. Many people reject the idea of "deathbed repentance." I don't. The problem with "deathbed repentance," as it's often considered, is that it isn't really repentance at all.  It's the cynical calculation -- not infrequently a miscalculation, I think -- that one can sin right up until the end and then, when death is imminent, apologize rather insincerely … [Read more...]

ISIS and Christians in the Middle East

Christianity in Egypt and the Levant

  "ISIS to execute 180 Christians" And don't miss this, from the former Reagan-Bush administration official Elliot Abrams -- who, as it happens, is Jewish: "Why do we not save Christians?  They need help, and they have no good place to go"   … [Read more...]

“No, scientists have not found the ‘gay gene.’”

A schematized gene   … [Read more...]

Two quotations from the Buddha

A Buddha statue

  "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared." "You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger."   … [Read more...]

Of “Playboy” and moral progress

Hef's place in Chicago

  Playboy has just announced that, effective next March, it will cease publication of images of naked women: I know.  I know.  I had to check my calendar to make sure that it's not April Fool's Day.  For Playboy to give up naked women is as if Campbell's were to stop making soup, or Kleenex to turn from tissues to building tractors. Nevertheless, it … [Read more...]

Scientists demonstrate that future events decide what happens in the past

Hofstadter's "ambigram" I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.  (J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds and Other Papers [1927], 286) (Thanks to John Kolak for bringing the linked article … [Read more...]

ISIS leader killed or wounded?

"The Invisible Shaykh"

  This is potentially big news, if it's confirmed.  Especially so if the self-proclaimed "caliph" of the so-called "Islamic State" has been killed: But such claims have been made before, and this one hasn't yet been confirmed. We shall see.   … [Read more...]

New Testament 255

Judea's plains?

  Matthew 19:23-30Mark 10:23-31Luke 18:24-30Compare Luke 22:28-30 1. There is and was no gate in Jerusalem called "the eye of a needle," for which a camel had to kneel or be stripped of its load, or through which a camel was unable to pass. The idea here is clearly that, without grace, rich people won't be able to enter heaven. This happens, though, to be true for all of us, even if we're not … [Read more...]