September 15, 2016

Archaeologists from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte are reporting that they’ve found a gold coin bearing the image of the mid-first century Roman emperor Nero, uncovered during excavations in the Western Hill of Jerusalem (more commonly referred to as Mount Zion). This type of coin is in fact well-attested in the archaeological record. However, one of the lead professors associated with this find, Shimon Gibson, is quoted in the press release as saying “The coin is exceptional,” said Gibson, “because this is the first time that a… Read more

August 29, 2016

The infamous Christian creationist and all-around controversialist Ken Ham has been making the news a lot recently due to the recent opening of his Ark Encounter—his organization’s theme park boasting a “life-size” replica of Noah’s ark, as per the proportions described in the Biblical book of Genesis; all in a feeble attempt to persuade people of the historicity of the flood narrative exactly as it appears in Genesis. Beyond what, to myself and others, is the farcical idea of the Ark Encounter itself, several other things in conjunction with this have become the subject… Read more

August 29, 2016

The infamous Christian creationist and all-around controversialist Ken Ham has been making the news a lot recently, due to the opening of his Ark Encounter—his organization’s theme park boasting a “life-size” replica of Noah’s ark, as per the proportions described in the Biblical book of Genesis; all in a feeble attempt to persuade people of the historicity of the flood narrative, exactly as it appears in Genesis. Beyond what’s (to myself and others) the farcical idea of the Ark Encounter itself, however, several other things in conjunction with this have become the subject… Read more

August 17, 2016

(Part 1 of 2) The second chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Philippians contains one of the most scrutinized and debated sequences of verses in the entire Bible, with significant differing theological implications depending on how exactly they’re understood. This section, as it’s translated in the New Revised Standard Version, reads 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself,… Read more

August 15, 2016

An article from TPM (Talking Points Memo) currently graces the front page of Reddit: “Giuliani Claims There Were No Terror Attacks On US Soil Before Obama.” I’ve just seen this headline—along with untold thousands of others now—and, naturally, was outraged by Giuliani’s astounding amnesia, among other things. I went to the comment section of the Reddit link—skipping the article itself—to see if Giuliani’s comments might be mitigated in any way, by some sort of larger context or something. The top… Read more

August 14, 2016

That the idea of demonic possession is closely associated with religion is no great revelation. Among the earliest historical evidence for the idea of demonic possession that we have comes from ancient Mesopotamian texts, where a variety of illnesses and conditions were seen through the lens of various regional religions and mythologies, and their accompanying demonologies. And, undoubtedly, it’s some of the very same ancient Near Eastern ideas and traditions on demons that exercised a strong influence on Israelite/Jewish religion and… Read more

June 9, 2016

  Over on the Catholic channel at CosmosTheInLost, Artur Rosman has made a provocative post on the translation and interpretation of Jeremiah 20:7. I’ve always been tangentially aware of this verse and its interpretations, so I thought this would be a nice opportunity for some more research on it—not to trash Rosman’s (or his sources’) interpretation, of course, although I do disagree with it; but merely because there are some genuinely interesting translation issues involved. In this verse, the prophet Jeremiah begins some sort of lament to/against God. Rosman quotes a “standard… Read more

May 18, 2016

  There’s a thread on the front page of the /r/Christianity subreddit on Reddit asking for opinions on the compatibility of evolution and religion. This is one of the main topics I’ve been working on for the past couple of years; so I thought I’d use it as an opportunity for a brief sketch of some of the ideas I’ve been toying with. (Since it was the Christianity subreddit, I obviously honed in on Christianity in particular here.) My view here is that an honest, creative consideration of the insights… Read more

May 12, 2016

  A news item relating to some research on scientists’ views of religion, originally released late last year, is making the social media rounds again. The story—which, as it typically appears, is either just a direct copy or a summary of a press release from Rice University—asks Are all scientists atheists? Do they believe religion and science can co-exist? These questions and others were addressed in the first worldwide survey of how scientists view religion, released today by researchers at Rice University. The principal architect… Read more

April 30, 2016

There are two pieces of confusion that I want to address here, about what it means to interpret the Bible “metaphorically.” Both involve the creation narratives of Genesis 1-3. My ultimate aim here may be quite modest—in some places, simply a call for more precise terminology—but I still think it’s important. (It also builds on a previous post of mine. Further, for many of the same arguments—but applied to the New Testament, not the Old Testament—see Gregory Dawes’s article “Why Historicity Still Matters Raymond… Read more


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