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JC’s Pennies

Over the past few days, the above images have come to my attention on Facebook. Since they all relate to Jesus and money, I thought I would share them together and see what conversations emerge from allowing them to converge here.  … [Read More...]

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The Gods We Have Made

Brian Bibb has written an insightful post about bibliolatry. He writes: Judges 17–18...mocks Micah for believing that human-made objects could actually be gods. He is presented as a kind of fool who admits that he has constructed the objects that he calls God, saying “you have taken the gods that I made!” Micah’s anger reminds me of the outrage that certain Christians express when scholars ask difficult questions about the Bible. When scholars point out facts that challenge the view of the Bible as an other-worldly divine production, they are accused of “undermining” the Bible or “destroying” the Bible’s authority. When I hear these accusations, I hear “you have … [Read More...]

Easter difficulties and the most sensible explanation

Ignoring the Most Biblical Explanation

The above chart comes from NonStamp Collector, via Hemant Mehta. In addition to Biblical inerrantists ignoring the most obvious and reasonable explanation of what is in the Bible, they are actually ignoring the most Biblical explanation. The contradictions, discrepancies, and difficulties are there within the Bible, because human beings have put these texts with their differences into the collection we call the Bible. The only way to claim that the collection is inerrant is to allow one's doctrine about the Bible, brought into the picture from outside the Bible, to tell the Bible that it isn't allowed to say two different things, but can only mean one of them, or something complex that … [Read More...]

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Happily Easter After

It is Easter, and I celebrate and proclaim resurrection. I am not referring to a peculiar event which some claim happened in history roughly 2,000 years ago, in which a human (or, according to some, a just barely human divine entity) was raised to life in a body he didn't need, before being exalted to heaven where such a body is out of place, to be seated at the right hand of a God who most would say is everywhere and has no literal left or right. Too many focus on this story, typically ignoring just how truly puzzling (not to mention seemingly unbelievable) its details are, and insist on its literal truthfulness. Indeed, faith is defined by many as lowering one's standards … [Read More...]

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The Burial of Jesus

Most readers of my blog will know that I wrote a book a few years ago, available as an ebook, on the relationship between history and faith in connection with the events that are on the minds of Christians around the world today through Sunday in particular. The book is The Burial of Jesus: What Does History Have to Do with Faith?. It asks what it means to take the tools of historical study - and their limitations - seriously from the perspective of Christian faith. Since it costs a mere $2.99, I hope you won't mind if I direct you there for my thoughts about Good Friday, Easter, and what happened in between the two. … [Read More...]

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Wise and Foolish Questions

Commenter Hydroxonium mentioned the first quotation. In looking for it, I found the second one as well. Both seemed worth sharing. … [Read More...]

The seeker after truth

The Seeker After Truth

IO9 shared this quote from Ibn al-Haytham's book Doubts Concerning Ptolemy: The seeker after truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them, but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration and not the sayings of human beings whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency. Thus the duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and, applying his mind to the core and margins of of its content, attack it from … [Read More...]

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Easter Cake

That's one way of depicting the resurrection. Via Christian Funny Pictures. … [Read More...]

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Easter Approaches

Marcus Borg, Kimberly Winston, and Jim Naughton all raised the question of whether Christians need to believe that Jesus rose bodily from the dead. Their conclusions are different, in interesting ways. What do readers of this blog think?Of related interest, Mark Goodacre shared a video of an interview Karen King recently gave:And Bart Ehrman responded to someone who seemed to have reviewed his latest book without reading it.  … [Read More...]

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Was Jesus Hungarian?

I give the Jesus mythicists a lot of hassle. But theirs is nowhere near to being the most ludicrous claim about Jesus one can find on the web. All Mesopotamia pointed out an article which mentions a view found among Hungarian nationalists: the Hungarians are in fact Sumerians - just like Jesus!I recently learned that there is a whole blog dedicated to debunking geocentrism. Do we need one to tackle the Sumerian Hungarian Jesus hypothesis too?   … [Read More...]

Godard’s Berceuse

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Christology around the Blogosphere

Let me offer a round-up of the latest Bart Ehrman and Christology blogging. Ehrman shared the first and second parts of his interview with Dale Tuggy:Greg Carey writes: Most Christians, however, have no idea that Ehrman’s book represents a genuine conversation among informed scholars. This is unfortunate. Nothing Ehrman is saying would surprise a biblical scholar at even the most conservative theological school. This knowledge gap constitutes a failure of educational ministry in the churches. We Christians should be learning to engage legitimate public conversations about Jesus, about the Bible, and about our faith. And we should attend to spiritual development that equips us to enter … [Read More...]

Easter Ishtar

Easter War on Information Literacy

It is always particularly disappointing when those who classify themselves as freethinkers and skeptics share nonsense. This image is making the rounds again in precisely those circles: Candida Moss has a great article on what is problematic both with such claims about Easter being borrowed/stolen in this way, and with the reverse, namely Christian claims that everything about Easter is unique, unprecedented, and unparalleled. The gullibility that allows one to fall for a meme like the one above without fact checking is characteristic of mythicism. Harry McCall posted (and since it wasn't April 1st, I genuinely think he meant it to be taken seriously) that we have evidence of … [Read More...]

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The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Capitalism

Talking about George Orwell's 1984, and the book within the book, is always interesting. But this semester the discussion took some turns that seem to me worth sharing.The book by Emmanuel Goldstein, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, is an intentional parody of Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto. It represents a plan to bring about something less like what Marx and Engels idealistically envisaged, and more like what Communism ended up looking like in Eastern Europe.Orwell's analysis, albeit fictional, is thus nonetheless very serious. The notion that revolutions have consistently been led by the middle class rather than the lower, making appeals and … [Read More...]