April DeConick proposed having a “blog co-op” on the theme “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Before proceeding to the source of this quotation, good old Tertullian, I do want to share an anecdote. I distinctly remember (although I cannot remember precisely when) suddenly realizing that “Joppa” (which I remembered from the movie Clash of the Titans) was “Jaffa” in the coastal region of modern Israel. Although it is not clear that this site was associated with Andromeda before… Read more

Yesterday’s episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, was arguably the most powerful yet, at least as far as the series’ exploration of religion and artificial intelligence is concerned. If anything, the episode could be criticized for overplaying this aspect – often times a subtle approach is best – but in in the end it seems to work.The episode explores, among other things, the question whether the apocalypse in the Bible and that predicted by Sarah Connor could be the… Read more

Everyone (well not quite but lots of bloggers) are talking about the recent Pew Forums study on religion. The study itself can be found on the Pew Forums web site.The Quixotic Infidel has a nice chart (and post) about the development of the New Testament canon.The Bad Idea Blog focuses attention on the hypocrisy in churches that condemn homosexuality and tolerate divorce.Sun and Shield has an interesting post on the moral status of embryos.Pharyngula shares statistics on the extent to… Read more

A student in my class on Paul’s letters had a very thought-provoking reaction to the summary of Israel’s experiences wandering in the wilderness in 1 Corinthians 10:6-12. There a series of actions in violation of the Law are listed, and the punishments that resulted. For this student, the text was a description of how each time the Israelites did something displeasing to God, God got violent with them. Israel in these stories, the student suggested, seems like “God’s battered wife”,… Read more

Doesn’t exclusivism inevitably place the focus for salvation more on assent to doctrine than on either one’s attitude to God or one’s behavior?Thus far I’ve approached the subject from the standpoint of passages in the Bible that seem to me to be relevant. Let me in this post try a different approach. I suspect that Quixie, who has now joined the conversation, may find this approach easier to dive into than the “in-house” one we’ve been having so far, which… Read more

Sen. Mitch McConnell referred to the Democratic race as being between “a New York senator who was born in Illinois, and an Illinois senator who was apparently born in a manger” (Reported in the Washington Post via Commonweal; HT Obamianity and Melissa Rogers). Read more

I’d like to thank Ian for awarding me (or should that be “infecting me with”?) the “Rated E for Excellent” award – which is also a meme, since you then pass it on to ten other blogs, and so on until the word “excellent” in reference to blogs eventually loses all meaning, or the meme runs out of steam. The latter seems more likely in view of the number of blogs that exist and their growth rate.I’d like to make… Read more

Michael has responded and suggested that I am ‘blurring the lines’. I would like to counter and argue that I see the lines as already being blurry, and feel that Michael is trying to make them clear and obvious where they aren’t.In discussing my earlier invocation of the evidence of Acts 17, Michael takes what I feel is a typical conservative ‘either/or’ approach. Paul was evangelizing the philosophers in Athens, and so James’ view must be that Paul was saying… Read more

Thanks, Ken, for your insightful reply. I certainly would agree to a large extent with you (and Michael) that Paul saw himself as inviting people to experience redemption from the powers of the present evil age in and through Christ. To deny that this is central to his worldview, and his writings, would scarcely be plausible. What I’m trying to focus on is, in a sense, twofold:(1) I am trying to ascertain whether there is any indication how Paul might… Read more

This is my reply to Michael Halcomb’s most recent contribution to our ongoing bloggersation.First let me address an apparent misunderstanding. You suggest that I think Paul is addressing legalism, when in fact I asserted (or meant to assert) the opposite. Perhaps I was unclear – indeed, I may have assumed that you would take for granted the classic Protestant understanding of Paul. At any rate, I too am persuaded by the new perspective on Paul. At least we seem to… Read more

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