Conversations around the Blogosphere

Conversations around the Blogosphere July 10, 2012

There are several posts around the blogosphere related to topics of conversation here, some of which interact directly with things I’ve written.

First, Fred Clark offers a helpful response to the “anatomically-correct porpoise fetish” objection to the sufficiency of the Golden Rule as a moral principle. The key is to understand it not in a legalistic fashion – which of course is antithetical to the whole spirit of the principle !- but as inviting us not merely to inflict on others what we enjoy, but to ask what they enjoy just as we hope others would do in our own case.

Over at Only a Game, Chris Batemann addresses marriage, unmarriage, and same-sex relationships. Here is a sample:

Unlike many conservatives, I support gay marriage, because unlike most liberals I support the institution of marriage. When two adults are willing, in the face of the infinite mystery and uncertainty of existence, to make a commitment to one another founded upon their mutual love, we should support them and help them celebrate it publically. It should not matter what flesh those two souls inhabit if their love is genuine. It is a bigger injustice to force such lovers to remain unwillingly in unmarriage than to allow them to marry, whatever their respective genders.

Click through to read the whole thing.

On the subject of mythicism, Thomas L. Thompson and I have managed to get a conversation started in the comments section of his recent Bible and Interpretation article.

Craig Keener wrote a piece for the Huffington Post on the existence of the historical Jesus. Several other bloggers have mentioned it, including John Byron at slightly more length that others.

Joseph Hoffmann responded to Neil Godfrey about Paul’s language about Jesus having been “born of a woman.” The simplest explanation is still that Paul was merely saying about Jesus something that could be said about any human being.

See too the discussion of Paul-mythicism at Otagosh. UPDATE: See what happens, including a well-placed sci-fi metaphor, when Gavin read further into Detering’s book!

Stuff Fundies Like pointed out that fundamentalism can survive without many things, but not without a cause – an enemy to focus its ire on. This led to some comments by Fred Clark. Fred also notes that there is a glaring anachronism in Genesis 4, where Tubal-Cain is said to have originated the technology of working with bronze and iron. Of course, the transition to the iron age only comes about after Israel has emerged in the land of Canaan. And so this story in its present form is not more ancient than that.


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  • steven

    Joseph Hoffman explains about Galatians 4:4, ‘Genos in turn is derived from the verbal ginomai which is a prolongation of the middle voice that means cause to be or to assemble (or make) or generate.’

    So the word in Galatians 4:4, according to Hoffman, means , assemble, make, cause to be , or generate.

    Which as we all know is simply another way of saying ‘born’.

    Just as Paul could have said about any human being that he had been assembled or generated….

  • Kubricks_Rube

    “Unlike many conservatives, I support gay marriage…”


    “…because unlike most liberals I support the institution of marriage.”


    “Click through to read the whole thing.”

    No thanks.

    • His point is that conservatives seem to consider it important that people marry (rather than say just living together) more regularly than liberals – which may or may not be true, but his point relates to an appreciation of marriage, and that jibe at liberals should not be allowed to stand in the way of appreciating the reasoning and the conclusion. Let’s face it, we liberals have cast a jibe or two ourselves! 🙂

      • Kubricks_Rube

        “His point is that conservatives seem to consider it important that people marry (rather than say just living together) more regularly than liberals”

        This is true, but I did click through and read the rest, and he goes way beyond saying conservatives value marriage more than liberals do; he writes:

        the vast majority of liberally minded people don’t care one jot about marriage […] Thus despite being fairly cool on, or even openly opposed to, the institution of marriage, a great many liberals suddenly care deeply about gay marriage…”

        This is nonsense, at least where I live in the NY/NJ area, as is the notion that “liberal voices … have not made the story about the deep love that exists between committed (gay) partners”. I see this case made all the time, partnered with and inextricably tied to arguments about equality.

        • Those are good points. I guess I just got so excited to see a self-proclaimed conservative making a case like this that I made allowances for the various jibes and claims I didn’t agree with or felt were problematic!

  • Michael Wilson

    Dr. Thompson is correct in noting the gospels are not very
    useful for telling us about Jesus the person. He may overstate the case, though;
    as I find that legendary, material often says a lot about the reality that
    inspired them. Thompson should not take too much offense at Ehrman’s comments
    on him. Thompson does seem sympathetic to the notion Jesus did not exist and so
    his assumption is understandable, and he doesn’t so much dispute the idea the
    gospels are derived from earlier material, but simply doubts, as dose Thompson
    apparently, that they relate to the question of whether Jesus was inspired by a
    man named Jesus or if he is a pure invention. I think the rest of Ehrman’s book
    should convince Thompson of the soundness of the hypothesis that Jesus of the
    gospels was based on a preacher named Jesus.

  • Steven Carr

    Hoffman really slaughtered Neil Godfrey over Galatians 4:4

    The earliest Christian literature, that written by Paul, knows the names of none of Jesus’ family members. It is sometimes pointed out that Paul makes reference (Galatians 4.4) to Jesus having “been born of a woman, under the law,” but it is widely believed that these words are an insertion into the text of Galatians:….

    If only mythicists would listen to real scholars like R. Joseph Hoffman and wise up to the fact that Paul never wrote ‘born of a woman’.

    Mythicists actually believe Paul wrote ‘born of a woman’! Idiots! No wonder Hoffman found it so easy to pick apart Neil Godfrey.

  • Steven Carr

    He does know the names of some of Jesus’ followers, and in the same epistle uses the phrase “James the brother of Lord,” which makes it the more remarkable that he would not know of an extended family with a strong female influence operating in Jerusalem. As suggested below, Paul’s use of the term “brother” is not dispositive since he is not using it in reference to a biological relationship.