Who Does God Love The Most? (via Scotteriology)

I got this from Scott Bailey, who makes me laugh once a day.

Who Does God Love Most?

You can tell it’s not a Church of Christ book, because 1) it would be 12-year old, and 2) it would be full immersion, not sprinkling, and 3) it would say ‘save,’ not love. ;-)

2010 debate on the reliability of scripture between bart ehrman and craig evans

If you have an hour, you really ought to listen to the 2010 debate between Dr. Bart Ehrman and Dr. Craig Evans on the reliability of scripture. Below are the YouTube videos in 9 parts.

Dr. Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Craig A. Evans is the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College of Acadia University, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The audience is the First Family Church in Kansas City and Dr. Ehrman acknowledges at the beginning that most people there will not agree with him. However, throughout the debate you will notice a growing trend: Dr. Ehrman demonstrates the discrepancies and inconsistencies and errors of the biblical text, and dismantles any possibility of an “inerrant” or “infallible” text. In response, Dr. Evans does not dispute Dr. Ehrman’s arguments, but instead dismisses these errors as “insignificant” or attempts to argue that the text is still reliable despite the textual problems.

I’ll let you decide whose argument is more compelling. However, I agree with the moderator, Pastor Jerry Johnston, who states after one of Dr. Evans’ responses (Pt. 3, @ 3:37), “Sounds like an evangelist.”

The key questions are as follows:

  1. Are the gospels reliable? (Pt. 1 @ 3:50)
  2. Do the gospels accurately preserve the teachings of Jesus Christ? (Pt. 2 @ 3:42)
  3. Do the gospels accurately preserve the activities of Jesus Christ? (Pt. 3 @ 3:42)
  4. Do the gospels contain eyewitness tradition? (Pt. 4 @ 4:25)
  5. Do archaeologists and historians use the gospels as sources? (Pt. 5 @ 4:05)
  6. Have the gospels been accurately preserved down through the centuries? (Pt. 6 @ 6:22)
  7. Do scribal errors and textual variants significantly impact any teaching of Jesus or any important Christian teaching? (Pt. 7 @ 7:33)
  8. Final Remarks (Pt. 8 @ 7:01)

Here are the videos. Enjoy!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

Part 8:

Part 9:

a message for tea party folks

for all you tea party folks out there, i thought this was funny:

james mcgrath on our shifting view of literalism and reality in the bible

Dr. James McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University

Dr. James McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University

Dr. James McGrath had an interesting post on his Exploring Our Matrix blog recently. In it, he argues that no one (if they’re honest) really believes that the God of the Bible exists anymore.

I’ll repost the argument at length here:

The title of this post is not a complaint; it is merely an observation. No one confronts the representatives of another tradition with a contest to see which one’s deity will send fire from heaven as Elijah did. No Christian blogger claims that those who comment negatively will be struck with blindness for doing so, as apostles did. God is depicted in many parts of the Bible as knocking down city walls, parting seas and so on. Yet no Christian dominionists are likely to march around Washington D.C. and see it fall into their hands.

Those who claim they “believe the whole Bible” and “take it literally” are being dishonest. Their pastor may have preached recently on the story of the fall of Jericho, but it was applied to God “making the strongholds of sin in your come life crumbling down”, not to a battle plan to take a city.

To be fair, not all Biblical authors view God in the same way. And so there is no single “Biblical view of God”. But certainly God as depicted in some parts of the Bible is not the concept of the deity served by Christians today.

The question a Christian needs to ask is whether they have the courage to admit that their view of God is not the same as that of many depictions in the Bible. Do you have the courage to take the Bible’s actual words completely seriously, even when the result is that you are forced to acknowledge that you do not accept their literal truthfulness?

Let me end with a couple of thought-provoking quotes from Don Cupitt’s book, which I just finished reading:

“The Virgin Mary may cure many people in Portugal but she is much less active in Libya, whereas vaccination and inoculation are observably beneficial – and equally beneficial – in both cultures, the local religion in the end making no difference at all” (Don Cupitt, Taking Leave of God, p.123).

“To put it bluntly, classical Christianity is itself now our Old Testament…We have to use traditional Christianity in the same way as Christianity itself has always used the Old Testament. In both cases there is a great gulf but there is also continuity of spirit and religious values…When a Christian sings a psalm he knows there is a religion-gap and a culture-gap, but it does not worry him because he believes his faith to be the legitimate successor of the faith of the psalmist. Similarly, since the Enlightenment there has developed a religion-gap and a culture-gap between us and traditional Christianity, but we may still be justified in using the old words if we can plausibly argue that our present faith and spiritual values are the legitimate heirs of the old” (Don Cupitt, Taking Leave of God, p.135).

I agree. The truth is that any Christians who claim to interpret the Bible literally would be no different from the very sharia law fundamentalists they so vehemently criticize in Islam. Likewise, few actually believe that God actually works in those same ‘mysterious’ (read: literal, vindictive, destructive, directly miraculous, genocidal) ways anymore. Yet, if you ask Christians today how many of them believe in a ‘literal, inerrant, infallible’ Bible, that percentage would be quite high, especially among Evangelicals.

All of this is to say that anyone being halfway honest must admit that 1) we can’t read the Bible literally, and 2) our views of God are significantly different today than in the first Christian century, in spite of any myth among particular religious denominations that we believe and practice exactly what and how the early church believed and practiced.

REPORT: 2.5 Million British Men Too Fat To See Their Penis

Dickey-DoNews from the UK is probably not what they want to hear: 2.5 Million British Men Too Fat To See Their Penis.

New research issued by weight-management specialists LighterLife reveals that one in ten British men are unable to see their penis because of their protruding bellies.

The research into the health of the nation’s men revealed that of those people, 43% hadn’t seen their penis in the last two years, without looking in a mirror or bending over, whilst 16% were unable to remember the last time they saw it.

Seriously, this reads more like an Onion article than an actual research study. Yet, here it is.

BTW – in Fresno, we call it a “dickey-do,” because a man’s gut sticks out farther than he dickey do.

UPDATE: Samuel L. Jackson reads ‘Go the F**k to Sleep’

Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach (Author) and Ricardo Cortes (Illustrator)

"Go the F**k to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach (Author) and Ricardo Cortes (Illustrator)

I reported on this last month, but it wasn’t perfect enough.

Samuel L. Jackson has been hired to read the audio version of the new comedic children’s book, ‘Go the F**k to Sleep.

Obligatory caution: language.

From my earlier post:

Go the F**k to Sleep is a children’s bedtime book for adults by Adam Mansbach (Author) and Ricardo Cortes (Illustrator).

I guarantee that I’ll get a copy because I love biting humor, and because every honest parent will admit that he or she has thought this expression in his/her mind (if not muttered it under their breath) at some point during child rearing.

I’m sorry, but this is funny. So criticize it in public if you want, and deny you’ve ever read/listened to it at church, but if you’re a parent, at least admit to yourself that you’ve been there (or at least neat to there) at least once, and that this is actually captures some of the frustration in a rather funny way.


UPDATE: Werner Herzog reads the book at the NY Public Library.

conan o’brien’s excellent 2011 dartmouth commencement speech

Conan O’Brien really is an excellent speaker. He has proven this much with his most recent Dartmouth Commencement address. Beyond all the laughter, when Conan speaks seriously, it is sincere and incredibly meaningful.

I loved the line: “It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention.”

HT: Roger Nam

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