Daily Archives: 10 May 2012

Remember The Outcry Against the ‘Left Behind’ Christian Game Because It Was So Violent?

Christians aren’t the only ones who produce murderous games.  There’s a series of games for Jewish players (in Hebrew) which lets players kill folk

Israeli settlers on the West Bank have discovered a new way of getting their message across: Violent shoot ’em ups based on the Six Day War and Biblical history.


An advocacy group for religious settlers called the Residents’ Councils of Samaria and Binyamin recently commissioned a series of religious- and nationalistic-themed video games. The target audience for the games is Israeli youth–all four of the Residents’ Councils’ games are Hebrew-language only. … In the first game, Judah Maccabee, players are cast in the role of a Maccabee who sneaks into a Greek camp to obtain the “sword of Apollonius.” Another game, Ahab in Samaria, lets players slay invading soldiers attacking the biblical Kingdom of Israel. The third game currently available, Ammunition Hill, casts the player as an Israeli soldier invading East Jerusalem in one of the bloodiest battles of the Six-Day War. A fourth game that is still being developed allows players to play a scout on a hang glider who guides the ancient Israelites to the Promised Land. Whether hang gliders actually existed in the early Biblical era is, of course, open to debate.


It Has Almost Been Two Years Since I Wrote It, But I Still Stand By Every Single Word

My mind hasn’t changed at all concerning the issue of the ‘accreditation industry‘.  (I’m reminded of the issue thanks to Bryan Lewis’s interesting podcast on the subject of ‘accreditation v. non-accreditation’).

Some truths are eternal.

The Bible and Modernity: Erhard Gerstenberger’s New Essay

This one’s so very worth a read!  Enjoy.

An Exceedingly Cynical and Incredibly Accurate Assessment of Obama’s Support for Gay Marriage

Yael Sternhall has driven the tent-peg through the political head with this piece in Ha’aretz which commences

President Barack Obama’s decision to stop avoiding the subject and express unequivocal support for equal rights for the LGBT community stems first and foremost from clear political considerations rather than out of moral reasoning.

Half a year before the elections, the Obama campaign is struggling to create any excitement among the members of the left-wing branch of the Democratic Party, who were disappointed by Obama’s compromising and soft positions on many key issues.

The campaign is also struggling to raise the exorbitant amount of money it takes to run for president, after the White House lifted the limit on campaign contributions from corporations, which the Republican Party relies on. Obama’s public support for same-sex marriage is intended to bring in new blood to the American left, and convince it that even after more than three years of disappointments and disagreements, Obama is still their man in Washington, and that he is willing to say brave things regarding a controversial topic.

Slam dunk. Game, set, and match. And any other metaphor you choose to use to denote the accurate summation of Obama’s reasoning.

Bad News For the Crazy ‘Mayan End of the World in 2012’-ers

Mayan prophecy: The world won’t end, as a newfound calendar goes on and on and on.

The story continues

In a striking find, archaeologists in Guatemala report the discovery of a small building whose walls display not only a stunningly preserved mural of a brightly adorned Mayan king, but also calendars that destroy any notion that the Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012.

These deep-time calendars can be used to count thousands of years into the past and future, countering pop-culture and New Age ideas that Mayan calendars ended on Dec. 21, 2012, (or Dec. 23, depending on who’s counting), thereby predicting the end of the world.

The newly found calendars, which track the motion of the moon, Venus and Mars, provide an unprecedented glimpse into how these storied sky-gazers — who dominated Central America for nearly 1,000 years — kept such accurate track of months, seasons and years.

That’s bad news for the crazy ‘Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world’ nutters.

Wishy Washy Bachmann

One day she’s thrilled with her dual citizenship and the next she’s not.  She’s wishy washy and a tad spineless, isn’t she.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has decided to withdraw her dual Swiss citizenship.

The conservative congresswoman addressed the matter in a statement on Thursday on the heels of news that she had been granted citizenship of the European country.

“I sent a letter to the Swiss Consulate requesting withdrawal of my dual Swiss citizenship, which was conferred upon me by operation of Swiss law when I married my husband in 1978,” she said. “I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen. I am, and always have been, 100 percent committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America. As the daughter of an Air Force veteran, stepdaughter of an Army veteran and sister of a Navy veteran, I am proud of my allegiance to the greatest nation the world has ever known.”

As if holding dual citizenship calls one’s patriotism into question.  It’s a good thing she won’t be President.  Wishy washy-ness makes for a bad leader.  Furthermore, she owes the Swiss an apology.

Surely You Must Believe There is a Hell, And That it is the Perfect Place People Like These Deserve to Go

A Nebraska mother accused of pimping out her 14-year-old daughter also charged men to have sex with her 7-year-old daughter, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.  The 35-year-old mother allowed at least seven men to have sex with her 14-year-old at least 20 times, the patrol said. Investigators also said at least three men had sex with the 7-year-old.

Can even the most socially liberally oriented ‘everyone is ok and people should just do their own thing’  people believe such a person is ‘basically good’ and ‘redeemed’ or redeemable?  No, there is such a thing as pure evil and it too often wears a human face.

The report continues

“This is a very disturbing case,” said patrol Superintendent David Sankey. “Our investigators working this case have nearly 30 years of experience and cannot recall a time where children so young were being sold into prostitution.”  The woman was arrested April 26 at a Kearney motel after offering her daughter for $200 to an undercover officer, the patrol said.

And finally

“We’ve seen people make horrible decisions and commit horrible crimes for a variety of reasons,” said Buffalo County’s chief prosecutor, County Attorney Shawn Eatherton. “Trying to figure out why people do the things they do is a tough task.”

Shawn I can tell you why they do it- they are totally depraved, evil, wicked, perverse, and most exceedingly deserving of hell.

How Do We Move Beyond the Present Impasse in Biblical Studies?

The impasse, that is, of ‘biblical history’.  Everyone who works in the field of biblical studies knows what this impasse is and how – to this point- insurmountable it has been.

Niels Peter Lemche has written a brief attempt to point us in the right direction which folk, I think, will want to examine and ponder.  He certainly has some useful observations and I thank him for sending them along.

Ultra Orthodox Jews Shun Their Own When They Report Child Molestation

That’s not very pious of them, or righteous.

The first shock came when Mordechai Jungreis learned that his mentally disabled teenage son was being molested in a Jewish ritual bathhouse in Brooklyn. The second came after Mr. Jungreis complained, and the man accused of the abuse was arrested.

Old friends started walking stonily past him and his family on the streets of Williamsburg. Their landlord kicked them out of their apartment. Anonymous messages filled their answering machine, cursing Mr. Jungreis for turning in a fellow Jew. And, he said, the mother of a child in a wheelchair confronted Mr. Jungreis’s mother-in-law, saying the same man had molested her son, and she “did not report this crime, so why did your son-in-law have to?”

By cooperating with the police, and speaking out about his son’s abuse, Mr. Jungreis, 38, found himself at the painful forefront of an issue roiling his insular Hasidic community. There have been glimmers of change as a small number of ultra-Orthodox Jews, taking on longstanding religious and cultural norms, have begun to report child sexual abuse accusations against members of their own communities. But those who come forward often encounter intense intimidation from their neighbors and from rabbinical authorities, aimed at pressuring them to drop their cases.

Those who abuse children are wicked perverts. Those who refuse to report molesters are equally perverted and wicked. And those who disavow those who report evildoers are enablers of evil themselves and morally guilty of crimes against humanity.

What’s Wrong With a Cone of Shame?

Who knew that tearing up the sprinkler system ...

A Florida high school science teacher faces dismissal amid allegations that she used a “cone of shame” dog collar to discipline students.  Pasco County schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino has recommended firing 47-year-old Laurie Bailey-Cutkomp for putting a dog collar on at least eight of her ninth graders on two days in April.  The collar was reportedly the type used to prevent animals from licking themselves after surgery. “Cone of shame” is a reference to the animated film “Up,” which Bailey-Cutkomp had previously shown to students.

People are so touchy these days!  I think we should make use of these collars in schools, Churches, and certainly on each and every politician.  Geez people, lighten up!

At Rick Warren’s Church The Men’s Group Doesn’t Study the Bible, it Studies Joyce Meyer…

Two words:  wowwwwwww.  Rick’s off the rails again.  Joyce and her ‘word of faith’ heresy is naturally at home on TBN or CBN or wherever it airs but that Warren has aligned himself with it further demonstrates the theological bankruptcy under which he operates.  And Warren is seen as a leader by Christians and Pastors?  They’re as absurd theologically as he is.

Archaeology Looks Back…

via Tel Aviv U on FB

Who Can Marry Whom? Today With Zwingli and the Zurich Marriage Ordinance of 1525

In one of those historical coincidences that can’t be made up or even imagined (in light of President Obama’s announcement yesterday), today marks the anniversary of the promulgation of the 1525 Zurich Marriage Ordinance.  It was written by Zwingli and adopted by the City Council and put into effect on 10 May, 1525.  It addresses the question of who may marry whom and under what circumstances and conditions marriage is proper as well as who may divorce and under what circumstances divorce is allowable.

The Zurich Ordinance is discussed, by the way, in a grand essay titled Ein Zürcher Ehegerichtsentscheid in der Folge eines bisher unbekannten Briefleins aus Lichtensteig an Zwingli vom 18. Februar 1529 by KURT JAKOB RÜETSCHI.

It goes without saying, I imagine, that in 1525 the very notion of anything called marriage which wasn’t between a man and a woman was unthinkable and inconceivable.  The nearest any of the Reformers come to discussing homosexual relationships directly is Luther, who scathingly calls homosexuals ‘Florentine brides’ (because Florence was well known as a city given to the practice of homosexuality).

The best study of the subject of the 16th century and its attitude towards homsexuality is Helmut Puff’s Sodomy in Reformation Germany and Switzerland.  It is impossible to recommend this book too highly.  Anyone, anywhere, genuinely interested in the topic owes it to themselves to read this volume.

An Ancient Language Newly Discovered: Is It Shubrian? (What is Shubrian?)

Cambridge University archaeologists today (May 10) announced the discovery of a previously unknown 2,500-year-old language in Turkey.

Writing for us last November, in ‘Before the flood: startling finds from the Tigris Basin‘ , project leader Dr John MacGinnis described how a single clay tablet inscribed with cuneiform characters was found at Ziyaret Tepe – thought to be the ancient Assyrian city of Tušhan.

‘It is a list of women, written in Assyrian cuneiform, yet most of the names are not Assyrian,’ he told CWA. ‘One is Hittite, one Hurrian, but most do not belong to any known language. Could these women be either descendants of the indigenous (Shubrian) pre-Assyrian population, or deportees brought in by the Assyrian government? As Shubrian is thought to be a dialect of Hurrian, the latter explanation seems more likely. A current theory is that these women were most likely speakers of a non-Indo-Iranian language, deported from the Zagros in western Iran.’

Now Dr MacGinnis has been set the challenge of identifying the ancient tongue, which was written down around the end of the 8th century BC. He has identified some 144 names on the tablet, of which 59 can still be read.

The new research, published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, reports that all the common languages of the Assyrian Empire – as well as others spoken at the time such as Egyptian, Elamite, Urartian and West Semitic – have been ruled out.

One theory put forward in the paper is the one proposed by Dr MacGinnis in CWA: that the names could be Shubrian – a language which until now was believed never to have been written down. Another option is the language of the Mushki, a people who were migrating to Eastern Anatolia at the time the tablet was made – though this is described as ‘less plausible’.

Sorry I excerpted so much, it’s just such a fascinating story, and there’s a lot more!

A Letter from Pastor Youcef

He’s the Christian house church pastor facing execution in Iran for leaving Islam. From CBN

07 May 2012

Greetings from your servant and younger brother in Christ, Youcef Nadarkhani.

To: All those who are concerned and worried about my current situation.

First, I would like to inform all of my beloved brothers and sisters that I am in perfect health in the flesh and spirit. And I try to have a little different approach from others to these days, and consider it as the day of exam and trial of my faith. And during these days which are hard in order to prove your loyalty and sincerity to God, I am trying to do the best in my power to stay right with what I have learned from God’s commandments.

I need to remind my beloveds, though my trial due has been so long, and as in the flesh I wish these days to end, yet I have surrendered myself to God’s will.

I am neither a political person nor do I know about political complicity, but I know that while there are many things in common between different cultures, there are also differences between these cultures around the world which can result in criticism, which most of the times response to this criticisms will be harsh and as a result will lengthen our problems.

From time to time I am informed about the news which is spreading in the media about my current situation, for instance being supported by various churches and famous politicians who have asked for my release, or campaigns and human rights activities which are going on against the charges which are applied to me. I do believe that these kind of activities can be very helpful in order to reach freedom, and respecting human rights in a right way can bring forth positive results.

I want to appreciate all those are trying to reach this goal. But at the other hand, I’d like to announce my disagreement with the insulting activities which cause stress and trouble, which unfortunately are done with the justification (excuse) of defending human rights and freedom, for the results are so clear and obvious for me.

I try to be humble and obedient to those who are in power, obedience to those in authority which God has granted to the officials of my country, and pray for them to rule the country according to the will of God and be successful in doing this. For I know in this way I have obeyed God’s word. I try to obey along with those whom I see in a common situation with me. They never had any complaint, but just let the power of God be manifested in their lives, and though sometimes we read that they have used this right to defend themselves, for they had this right, I am not an exception as well and have used all possibilities and so forth and am waiting for the final result.

So I ask all the beloved ones to pray for me as the holy word has said. At the end I hope my freedom will be prepared as soon as possible, as the authorities of my country will do with free will according to their law and commandments which are answerable to.

May God’s Grace and Mercy be upon you now and forever. Amen.

Youcef Nadarkhani

Please remember to pray for him, and for the other Christians suffering persecution around the world.

The Baby Tossing Ritual…

Now here’s one for the record books:

In a bizarre ritual, Hindu priests in the south Indian state of Karnataka toss babies from the rooftop of a temple onto a cloth held by waiting men, believing that this will make them grow stronger.

Actually I think that Joel Watts was raised in India and endured this ritual… but they failed to catch him and he landed on the ground, on the head of a cow.  And yes, the cow was ok.  Joel, on the other hand…  Well you know how that turned out…

[Weird stuff there Hindus.  Weird].

Congratulations to Professor Abraham Tal, First “Wilhelm-Gesenius-Gastwissenschaftler”

Stefan Schorch writes

Professor Abraham Tal is the first recipient of the newly established Gesenius-fellowship at the University of Halle-Wittenberg.

Tal is professor emeritus of Tel Aviv University, former Vice President of the Academy of the Hebrew Language in Jerusalem, and Editor-in-Chief of The Historical Dictionary of the Hebrew Language. He has published widely in the field of Hebrew and Aramaic linguistics. Among his numerous publications are the pioneering critical edition of “The Samaritan Targum of the Pentateuch” (1980-83); “A Dictionary of Samaritan Aramaic” (2000). For more details, see his homepage at: http://humanities.tau.ac.il/segel/abraham/

Tal is the first “Wilhelm-Gesenius-Gastwissenschaftler” at the University of Halle-Wittenberg. The Gesenius fellowship and the Gesenius junior-fellowship were established by the Institute of Biblical studies at the University of Halle-Wittenberg in commemoration of Wilhelm Gesenius (1786-1842), the founder of modern Hebrew studies, who was a professor of this institute throughout his entire academic career, 1810-1842.

Go here for the homepage of the “Gesenius fellowship”: http://www.theologie.uni-halle.de/at/gesenius/