Online baptism

The Church of Scotland wants to increase membership by letting worshippers attend online.   The Presbyterian state church is also considering allowing “access to the sacraments” for people are not “physically present in the congregation.”

It isn’t clear what this would look like.  I believe this has been done for communion in other “virtual churches” by streaming the words of institution to consecrate elements in front of your computer.  I would think baptism would be harder.  Baptism wouldn’t have to be part of a church service anyway, so people could be baptized at home by a pastor or even a layperson, but my impression is that members of a virtual congregation would not like even that much human contact.  So can you baptize yourself?

You pastors, if someone were to transfer into your congregation from the Church of Scotland who had an online baptism, would you consider that a valid sacrament?

Even if you draw away from virtual sacraments, do you see any possibilities for online worship, as described here?  For shut-ins?  For other members?  For visitors?  Or does online church fall short of the Biblical exhortation to “meet together” (Hebrews 10:25 )? [Read more…]

The brain is NOT a computer

Brain researcher Robert Epstein explains that, contrary to what we keep hearing, the brain is NOT a computer.  We don’t process information, we don’t retrieve memories, and we won’t be able someday to download our minds into the internet. [Read more…]

Now that we are so connected, government surveillance is easy

Whether you think whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor or a hero, he makes some good points about just how EASY government surveillance is now in the age of the smartphone. [Read more…]

Sex & child-bearing to be obsolete in 20 years?

[NOT AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE!]   A Stanford professor of law and genetics is maintaining that within as few as twenty years, the connection between sex and procreation will come to an end.  No longer will sex have anything to do with reproduction.  According to Henry T. Greely, reproductive engineering will be such that men will donate sperm and women a patch of skin, whereupon babies will be produced to order in artificial wombs. Government health plans will no longer be able to afford caring for sick babies, so “designer babies” will become the norm.

Recreational sex will continue, he says, but why?  Won’t virtual-reality pornography finish that off too?

Prof. Greely has a book about all of this coming out from Harvard University Press entitled The End of Sex and the Future of Reproduction.  

Prof. Greely seems to assume that there will be no more Catholics in 20 years, or other Christians who agree with them about nature and natural law. [Read more…]

Government to Apple: Never mind

The federal government dropped its lawsuit to force Apple to break into its iPhone security system, so as to investigate the San Bernadino terrorists.  The FBI was able to hack into the phone without Apple’s help.  Which was arguably the way it should be! [Read more…]

How ancient churches sounded

Church buildings are acoustic spaces, in which music is performed.  Researchers are studying the acoustics of ancient and medieval churches.  They are finding that certain design elements were intended to adjust sounds, “trying to tune the space.”

Moreover, the acoustic data they are uncovering enables the researchers to reproduce the effects electronically.  Once a digital signature is discovered, it is possible to play recorded music–say, Gregorian chants–and filter it so that we can hear what it sounded like in that particular building.  “It’s like time travel,” says a musicologist.  We can make “a museum of lost sound.”

[Read more…]


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