For those not boycotting Christmas because it is either too Christian, or not Christian enough, or too commercialized, or not commercialized enough, let me recommend the Star Wars Miniatures Game. It is nowhere near as complex as your typical role playing game, but a lot more flexible and imaginative than the typical constraints of the average board game. One plays the role of individuals from the Star Wars universe, and you can either reenact battles and scenes from the movies,… Read more

FTK (or “For The Kids”) is the name of a blogger who engages in antiscientific tirades using unchristian rhetoric allegedly for the benefit of Christ and her own children.In a top secret memo leaked today, anonymous blogger FTK has acknowledged being none other than atheist author Chris Hitchens.Dear Prof. McGrath,Okay, I admit it. I’m really Christopher Hitchens. To be honest this was a joke that went too far. I didn’t think anyone would actually believe I was a Christian opposing… Read more

I’ve posted a poll in the right hand column to let you decide. I want to coin a new term for something that baffles you so much that you feel you must blog about it. Should we say such things are “mind blogging” or “mind bloggling”? Read more

The questioner who asked “Do you believe every word in this book?” said that that question will tell us “everything we need to know” about the Republican candidates. I think he is right, although I’m not sure if the way I assess the answers is the same as the questioner’s intent.Giuliani was courageous and said that Jonah and the whale is an allegory. I like him – not simply pandering to voters (although I’m not suggesting he never does that… Read more

A colleague shared with me issue 56 of Philosophy Now magazine, which was devoted to the subject of heresy. If you can get access to it, there is a great cartoon by Chris Madden on p.27, a variation on another of his famous cartoons.Since I can’t share the cartoon, I’ll have to settle for sharing a quote: “Religions are kept alive by heresies, which are really sudden explosions of faith. Dead religions do not produce them” (Gerald Brenan, Thoughts In… Read more

Most readers will know that I’m turning part of my research attention to the Mandaeans. While I’ll be working mainly on their ancient texts, the Mandaeans are still around today, and as many of you are aware, their existence is threatened by the recent upheavals in their traditional homeland, Iraq.April DeConick shared a link to a petition on her blog. The petition asks that the Mandaeans be granted refugee status. I’m sharing the link here to increase the number of… Read more

If I really wanted to undermine intelligent design, this is what I would do. I would create a web site (with blog) that talks about the earth being intelligently designed recently, combining ID and young earth creationism so that it is harder than ever to argue that there is any real distinction between them. Then I would fill the blog with irate nonsense and malicious accusations, making much of Darwin beating a puppy (as though young-earth creationists are always kind… Read more

I have no doubt that the days mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis are “literal days”. They each involve morning and evening, and so we can be even more specific: they are days according to traditional Jewish reckoning, beginning at sundown. Personally, I think that these literal days are part of a larger, extended metaphor of a divine “work-week”, but that isn’t the issue I want to focus on here.There is at least one other place in the Bible… Read more

“We might summarize Piper’s theology here as “God so loved himself that He sent His only Son (admiring Himself greatly for so doing), that whoever He has chosen to save will irresistably believe and so have eternal life.” Love has no meaning whatsoever in Piper’s system. It amounts to little more than divine masturbation” (Ken Schenck) Read more

Who was ‘Immanuel’, the child referred to in Isaiah 7-9? I’m not asking who it has been applied to – I know that the answer to that question is Jesus. I’m asking what the most likely reference is in the book’s original context. Clearly it makes no sense to have Isaiah offer as a sign to king Ahaz that the kings he is worried about will be no more by the time a child is born seven centuries from then.Nor… Read more

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