The Church and the Conversion Experience

Some time ago someone made a comment on one of our threads characterizing the LDS notion of revelation as a “hot sensation brought on by emotionally charged media.” In regard to the role of revelation in the conversion experience, the writer also felt “challenged” by the need to explain the revelatory experience to an investigator because he or she had “expected divine communication to be more clear.” I share the writer’s distaste for the maudlin and sentimental in media, from … [Read more...]

Anxiety and the Fall

Some years back for a course I was taking in psychiatry we were assigned to regularly visit a local mental hospital. The first and second floors were "day programs" and the third floor was the locked unit, for those not safe enough to be let out. I will never forget the intensity of the cigarette smoke: I've since learned that many schizophrenics self-medicate with nicotine. Also unforgettable was the look in the eyes of the many people wandering the bare rooms of the third floor. But for this … [Read more...]

How Old Was Jesus?

Doesn't everyone know that Jesus was 30 when he started his ministry, and 33 when he was killed? This seems to be common knowledge, right? Well, sort of. But not everyone agrees.Let's begin with the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke). The only clear statement concerning Jesus's age comes from Luke 3:23, which says that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" when he began his ministry, following his baptism by John. This obviously lacks some precision. How old Jesus was when he died is … [Read more...]

The Shift Toward Modernity

Today's important news is that I ate my first ripe tomato of the 2008 season last night. Now we can get back to the Catholics. When last we left off in this little exercise, Pius X had dealt rather, er...firmly..., with Modernism. In addition to excommunicating many of the Modernists, he condemned much of their thought. He also required the clergy to take an anti-Modernist oath. These folks seem to have complied, but not so enthusiastically, and once Pius X passed away things began to … [Read more...]

The End of Modernism?

When last we met to discuss the world of Catholic Biblical scholarship, Pius X had just excommunicated Alfred Loisy in an effort to suppress Modernism... What else did Pius X do about Modernism? In addition to excommunicating Loisy, et. al., he called the Catholic faithful to reject Modernism root and branch. The first encyclical published was Lamentabili sane exitu, dated July 3, 1907. It listed 65 propositions, taken mostly from Loisy’s work but also including ideas from Tyrrell and a … [Read more...]

A Modicum of Modernism

This post arises from one of the issues raised in Nitsav’s Apologia. (Since it’s now, like, 130 comments long, I am sure we’ll never need any other identifier for that post.) At some point in the middle of all those comments, we got on to a discussion of how others handle the problematic issues raised by close study of the Bible, and from there to the modern Catholic approach to scripture. Since I come out of the Catholic intellectual tradition with respect to scripture, I decided I’d … [Read more...]

Eve Deceived

There has been a fair amount of discussion on the question of whether Eve was deceived or not, as Paul says in 1 Tim 2:14. Books have been written, vociferous posts have gone back and forth, and apostles have been quoted. I've heard well-meaning Mormons dismiss the 1 Tim 2:14 verse as the only verse that supported the idea that Eve was misled, suggesting that in this case Paul was mistaken. Instead, the perspective is put forward that we should interpret Eve's actions as courageous and done with … [Read more...]

Uzzah Killed For Blind Obedience

Let me start out by saying I’m a big, big fan of obedience. And I also see many instances where the scriptures teach we should not criticize our leaders. I’ve got no problem with that – IMHO our leaders deserve all the support we can give them. However, I think that we have been badly misinterpreting a story that is commonly used to support these concepts. The traditional Mormon interpretation of the story of Uzzah and the ark in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chr 13 is familiar to most of us: Uzzah … [Read more...]


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