Beliefnet: Home of Theological Insipidity, Stupidity, and Vapidity

The folk who put together a little quiz which my facebook pal David McNelley took prove it.  Here are his ‘results’:

Absurd.  I’m no fan of Wright, but the implication that the moronic and heretical Rob Bell has anything in common with him shows an ignorance of Wright’s theology that would make Satan feel embarrassed, so steeped is it in ignorance.  And it’s hard to embarrass Satan!

Beliefnet: use it if you hate yourself, hate theology, and are willing to utilize a resource that is even less reliable than Wikipedia.  In other words, use it if you embrace dilettantism.

European Association of Biblical Studies: Call for Papers

From the Secretary of the EABS

Dear Colleagues,

this is a reminder that this year’s meeting of the European Association of Biblical Studies will be held July 22-26, 2012 in Amsterdam together with the Society of Biblical Literature, the Oudtestamentish Werkgezelschap in Nederland en België, and the Society for Old Testament Study.

Call for papers for the meeting will close *February 1, 2012*. The proposals should be sent via the SBL website at http://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/Internationalmeeting.aspx.

The EABS seminars are listed among SBL program units and marked (EABS). As paying EABS members, you may submit paper proposals to both EABS and SBL program units. You do not have to obtain SBL membership. Likewise, members of the SBL may propose papers to EABS seminars without becoming EABS members.

If you do not know whether you have paid your membership for 2012 or you have problems accessing the EABS members’ zone, please contact the treasurer Rüdiger Schmitt (rschmit@uni-muenster.de)  or the information officer Ana Valdez (ana.valdez@netcabo.pt).

I would also like to draw your attention to the EABS graduate symposium which will be held in Hamburg from 30th March – 1st April, 2012. The event will bring together PhD candidates and post doctoral researchers and will offer an opportunity for extended discussion, networking, and in-depth feedback. Senior scholars attending the event include EABS president Jorunn Økland (University of Oslo) and Dr Diana Edelman (University of Sheffield). There will also be a joint session with graduate students from the University of Alberta, organized with Professor Ehud Ben Zvi. For further information, please visit http://www.eabs.net/szone.aspx.

Please note that the student prize competition will be run again this year. The Association grants two awards for the best student papers, one for Hebrew Bible/Old Testament or Ancient Israel and another for New Testament or Early Christianity/Early Judaism. Those working on material that cannot be easily associated with these rubrics (such as Pseudepigrapha) can choose to which area to submit. Each award is €250. For more details and the full rules of the competition, see the EABS student zone http://www.eabs.net/szone.aspx. Please let your students know about this opportunity!

All the best for 2012 – hoping to see you in Amsterdam!

On behalf of the EABS Committee,

Outi Lehtipuu
Secretary

University of Helsinki

The Lord Speaks and Nature Shudders…

Lebanon Cedar foliage

It’s just mankind that’s deaf as a post.

Ps 29:1 You, divine beings! Give to the LORD —
give to the LORD glory and power!
2 Give to the LORD the glory due his name!
Bow down to the LORD
in holy splendor!
3 The LORD ’s voice is over the waters;
the glorious God thunders;
the LORD is over the mighty waters.
4 The LORD ’s voice is strong;
the LORD ’s voice is majestic.
5 The LORD ’s voice breaks cedar trees—
yes, the LORD shatters
the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon jump around
like a young bull,
makes Sirion jump around
like a young wild ox.
7 The LORD ’s voice unleashes fiery flames;
8 the LORD ’s voice shakes the wilderness—
yes, the LORD shakes
the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The LORD ’s voice convulses the oaks,
strips the forests bare,
but in his temple everyone shouts, “ Glory! ”
10 The LORD sits enthroned
over the floodwaters;
the LORD sits enthroned—king forever!
11 Let the LORD give strength to his people!
Let the LORD bless his people
with peace! (CEB)

Strange isn’t it. Passing strange, that God speaks and all creation gasps and struggles for breath- except the apex of his creative activity- people. They just plunge forward blithely, blindly, willfully, ignorantly, and moronically- listening instead to white noise and the sound of their own idol-carving voices.

People aren’t simply totally depraved- they’re totally stupid.  And if they remain unredeemed, eternally so.

Call for Papers: The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the Scriptures

From Eibert Tigchelaar-

Call for Short Papers (deadline for proposals March 30)
Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense 61 — July 26-28, 2012
Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the Scriptures

Program:
http://theo.kuleuven.be/en/research/centres/centr_collbibl/centr_collbibl_2012/.  For more info, see http://theo.kuleuven.be/en/research/centres/centr_collbibl/centr_collbibl_2012/prospectus.  Contact Eibert Tigchelaar if there are other questions or interest.

Obama’s War on Religion (?)

Americans’ religious liberties are under attack — or at least that’s what some conservatives say.  …  Religious conservatives see an escalating war with the Obama White House. One Catholic bishop called it “the most secularist administration in history.” Another bishop says it is an “a-theocracy.” Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ new Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, believes the First Amendment is clear: The government cannot make people choose between obeying the law and following their faith.

And, a bit further, after mention of the adoption issue vis-a-vis gay couples-

“If the government can force a church’s hand and force it to violate its cherished beliefs,” he asks, “then what’s next?”  Because of that kind of force, Lori notes, Catholic Charities in Illinois shut down its adoption services rather than place children with same-sex couples, as the state required. The church also lost a federal contract to aid victims of human trafficking because the administration favored groups that provide contraceptive and abortion services. Lori admits no one has a right to federal money, but he says the government should accommodate religious beliefs.  “We don’t have a constitutional right to a contract, but we do have a constitutional right not to be discriminated against because we’re following our own convictions,” he says.

Personally I don’t think Obama cares enough about religion to wage war on it.  He’s indifferent to it in the same way that every President aside from Jimmy Carter has been and is.  From the Kennedy administration on, faith has been left at the White House door (except, again, for Carter- the rest of them just paid God lip service).

Conservatives are too concerned with what Obama is doing to pay any attention to what he isn’t doing.  And he’s too busy paying attention to being re-elected.  But in his defense he is a politician and ergo self serving.

I miss Jimmy Carter.  He’s the only President I’ve ever truly respected.

Myconius to Zwingli: An Infestation of Adversaries

On 8 January 1521, just a few short years after he had taken up the pulpit in Zurich, Zwingli received this letter from his friend at Lucerne, Oswald Myconius:

S. Vix respondere ad literas tuas possum, Zingli charissime, adeo totus sum in moerore ob quotidianas adversariorum infestationes, quae non aliter me impellunt, quam procellae marinae navem aliquam. Et tamen, qui illi sint, non nisi ex coniectura novi, atque si nossem, ne mutire quidem auderem, quia primates nostrae civitatis sunt. Non ita longe ante hunc diem vocabar a dominis meis prohibebarque, ne Lutherum discipulis legerem, ne nominarem, imo ne in mentem eum admitterem: qui tamen neque in scholis, neque in ore mihi unquam fuerat, nec etiam in animo eo pacto, ut aliquid ex ipso meis vellem infundere.

Quid enim illo opus habenti euangelium, quid habenti Paulum aliaque novi testamenti quae sunt? Mox deinde talis hic fiebat concio, nominatim in haereses Lutheri, ut nemo non moveretur mirifice. Plerique contra me sermonem institutum putabant, quem tamen ne tantillum quidem adficiebat, utpote nihil ad me pertinens. Nihilominus, cum mecum Xilotectus senatorem quendam praeteriret, statim post invectionem sic impetebamur: vos discipuli Lutheriani, quur non defendistis magistrum vestrum? Nos vero tacendo responderamus. Insuper in proxima concione, de oranda dominica oratione, hic, tametsi nihil erat mihi non maxime consentaneum, tamen, quia is, qui sermocinabatur, invehendi rationem servabat, existimabatur oratio contra aliquem comparata.

Eu, quem suspicarentur, praeter me nemo erat. Hinc novi inter populum contra me tumultus, qui intantum denuo creverunt, ut in senatum pervenerint. Ibi nihil non tractatum adversus Myconium. Huic Lutherianus eram, illi novorum dogmatum seminator, illi seductor puerorum, alii nescio quid aliud. Huc res devenit, ut senatus consulto vocatus sim iterum ad dominos meos ad audiendum ea, quae de me fuerant acta per senatores. Haec scribere epistolam longiorem exposceret, quare nunc supersedeo. Iam rem putaram in vado esse, et ecce novam inveniunt tragoediam. Scripsit aliquis literas famosas posuitque nescio quo, ut commodum dicto concionatori in manus venirent; et hoc quoque mihi adscriptum, sive discipulis meis. Quae res tamen tam a me est aliena, quam a te, ita me deus amet! Interim nemo non in me concitatur.

Quid igitur faciam tantis immersus turbationibus? Quo me vertam? Quid inceptem, ut ex huiusce vexationibus innocens liberer? Nulla diligentia, nullum officium me eripiet, tametsi iurare audebo ad diligentiam, qua usque huc usus sum, me nihil addere posse. Sed audi, quae huius interpretatio: ad ostentationem, inquiunt, me omnia facere. Consilio igitur, si poteris, me adiuva, per deum immortalem oro. Scio nunc, quid cogites, me tepidiorem esse in fide erga Christum, quam putaris. Dico tibi, si Christus non esset, iam olim defecissem; nihilominus consolationem tuam desydero. Praeterea de ludo Rhetorum ne verbum quidem constat, imo nescio, quid dicas. “Caput de ecclesia” mitto.

Epistola mea vel limace tardior; quid enim scriberem sic vexatus, imo sic laboribus scholasticis obrutus? Huc enim conditio mea recidit, ut, qui prius libere ac lubentissime docuerim, nunc coactus faciam omnia. Vale in Christo. Id et mei semper optant. Utingerum salvum opto, qui nuperrime huc scripsit, quam fortis sis in Christo praedicando.

Lucernae sexto Idus Ianuarias anno XXI.
Myconius tuus.
Zinglio suo amicissimo.

People just don’t write that cleverly or bluntly of their adversaries anymore. It’s a shame. Especially since so many depraved reprobates deserve to be described as infestations.

Yehuda Bauer: Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Nationalists and Genocide

Bauer remarks

There is a danger of a violent Jewish radical, genocidal nationalism with a minority of Israeli Jews. There is such a minority, it’s very dangerous, I think we have to exert great pressure on these people to limit that, and finally to conquer it. This group of radical Jewish nationalists, genocidal radical Jewish nationalists, are a mirror image of radical Islam that wants to annihilate all the Jews in the world. But on both sides there is a danger. Here it is a minority, but that could change ….”

And he has a great many other interesting insights as well.  A video well worth watching.

I’ve Not Bothered Watching any of the Republican Debates. I’m Glad

Because according to someone who did

The debate did not “pivot to jobs” until its last third, and it ended with a CNN-type goofball question, essentially, “What would you rather be doing tonight?”

Answers were varied. Newt would be watching the basketball game. Someone corrected him and said there was football on tonight. (There is, but there’s also college basketball happening.) Romney said he’d be “watching the championship game.” (There is no championship game on tonight.) Ron Paul said he’d rather be reading an economic textbook. I would rather be liveblogging the experience of watching Ron Paul read that textbook. (Maybe I’d catch him publishing a newsletter!)

Sounds like it was just another debate for the candidates… boring and pointless.  Which is why I skipped all of them and don’t have any reason or motivation to do otherwise.  I imagine if you do watch them you lose IQ points for every minute.

“We are so grateful for the debate tonight,” Diane Sawyer said. Who is the “we”?

Not me.  I couldn’t care less about what lying politicians lie to each other about.

Ed Young is no Pastor- He’s a Circus Clown

Ed and Lisa Young, founders of Texas-based Fellowship Church, will spend 24 hours in bed on the church roof next week and stream themselves live on the Internet to encourage married couples to see firsthand the power of a healthy sex life as prescribed in their new book, Sexperiment.

The marriage bed is supposed to be undefiled (read Hebrews 13). That means unique (in the sense of maintaining purity and intimacy) and putting a bed on a church roof (who are the people who put up with this to keep this guy employed? Are they that silly??) is anything but valuing the uniqueness of the marital relationship in its most intimate expression.

Two days after their book, Sexperiment: 7 Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse, is released Tuesday, the Youngs will take part in a 24-hour “bed-in,” which will be streamed on the book’s website as they engage the audience on issues related to intimacy in marriage. The book encourages married couples to have sex for seven straight days – a challenge that made headlines in 2008 when Pastor Young first introduced it to his church – with the promise that the “amazing results” will last far beyond the week.

It’s nothing more than a publicity stunt by a circus clown craving attention. It has nothing in the world to do with Christianity, worship, marriage, or anything of the sort.  Christian people don’t need to watch pastors and their wives in bed to be encouraged to treat marriage with respect and dignity.  In fact, such ‘pastors’ only teach their people, and the world, that what they really desire isn’t intimacy with their spouse, they want to be on tv.

And the Church isn’t a sex clinic anyway (though evidently out in Texas that’s what they like their churches to be).

Ed and his wife ought to go on Celebrity Wife Swap.  Oh wait, Ted Haggard beat them to it.  And everyone knows Ted is all about marital fidelity and the intimacy of the marital relationship.

[HT Michael Acidri on FB].

Gigantic Hypocrisy

The amusing thing about atheists and their ‘readings’ of the Bible is that they wish to ‘have their cake and eat it too’ thereby giving evidence of the fact that they neither understand what’s going on in Scripture nor have the tools to grapple with it accordingly.

So, for example, they love to tell us that

1- There is no god and if you believe there is, you’re foolish.  But then they go on to insist that the God in which they don’t believe

2- Ordered the extermination of the Canaanites (for example.  They enjoy listing this or other supposed atrocities enacted by God).

So how is it possible for them to insist on both?  Quite easily: they simply are ignorant of the intention and method of Scripture.  They don’t grasp the fact that the Bible is a collection of theological texts and that it has neither interest nor desire to describe ‘history’ in the sense of the word used in modern academic discourse.  The Bible ‘contains’ historical things but what it does with them is expound them theologically.

So when the book of Joshua (for example) describes God ordering the extermination of the Canaanites, it’s lesson is quite clear- those things, those people, those objects or items which lead you away from fidelity to God ought to be gotten rid of in your life.

Atheists, in their theological ignorance, don’t ‘get it’.  But this shouldn’t surprise us.  ‘Spiritual things are understood by the spiritual’.  Atheists lack the one essential ingredient for comprehending the Bible- the Holy Spirit.

They do possess, however, or are rather possessed by, gigantic hypocrisy when they pretend that the God they don’t believe in does things they don’t think they like very much and so the very God they deny exists becomes for them a monster.  That’s not just hypocritical, it’s idiotic.

Can atheists understand the Bible?  Sure- they can (hopefully anyway) understand words and sentences.  But that’s as far as they can get.  They can’t comprehend.  And trying to help them ‘get it’ is like trying to explain to a man born without a tongue what a lemon tastes like.