Daily Archives: 29 Jan 2013

America’s Culture of Promiscuity is Inexorably Connected to its Culture of Death

In a quite intelligent essay titled ‘Why my support for abortion was based on love… and lies’, Jennifer Fulwiler writes-

I came to see that our culture’s widespread use and acceptance of contraception had led to this mentality toward sex being the default position. As a society, we’d come to take it for granted that we’re entitled to the pleasurable and bonding aspects of sex — even when we’re in a state of being vehemently opposed to any new life it might produce. The option of abstaining from the act that creates babies when we feel like we’d be unable to care for a baby had been removed from the cultural lexicon. Even if it would be a huge crisis to get pregnant, you have a right to have sex anyway, the cultural wisdom whispered.

Indeed.  The fact is, America’s culture of promiscuity is inexorably connected to its culture of death; for when one has no respect for the consequences of one’s actions, one feels free to remove any encumbrance to that imagined freedom- even if that encumbrance is a nascent human being.

Thanks to James Spinti for pointing the essay out on FB.

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Posted by on 29 Jan 2013 in Modern Culture


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Golb is Guilty and His Conviction Stands

As decided today.

imagesolbWe have considered and rejected defendant’s remaining arguments concerning the court’s charge. We similarly reject his claims that the statutes under which he was convicted were unconstitutionally vague or overbroad. None of these statutes was vague or overbroad on its face or as applied (see People v Shack, 86 NY2d 529, 538 [1995]; Broadrick v Oklahoma, 413 US 601, 611-616 [1973]). The People were required to prove that defendant had the specific fraudulent intent to deceive email recipients about his identity, and to obtain benefits or cause injuries as a result of the recipients’ reliance on that deception. The statutes criminalized the act of impersonation and its unlawful intent, not the content of speech falsely imputed to the victims.

The verdict was based on legally sufficient evidence and was not against the weight of the evidence, with the exception of the identity theft conviction under the first count. The theory of that count was that in the commission of identity theft in the second degree (Penal Law § 190.79[3]), defendant attempted to commit the felony of scheme to defraud in the first degree [*3](Penal Law § 190.65[1][b]). However, there was no evidence that defendant intended to defraud one or more persons of property in excess of $1,000 or that he attempted to do so (see id.). The People’s assertions in this regard rest on speculation.

Read the whole decision.  Golb is guilty.  Period.  With thanks to Doug Iverson for telling me about it.

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Posted by on 29 Jan 2013 in pseudo-archaeology, pseudo-scholarship


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The Huffington Post Doesn’t Care About Teens Who Die- Unless They’re Gay

Have you ever noticed how the Huffington Post never mentions the tragic death of a teen unless that teen is gay?  Have you ever noticed how the editors of the HuffPo are interested only in capitalizing on the tragedies which befall gay kids?  Have you ever seen a HuffPost piece on the suicide of a young boy or girl who wasn’t gay?


This is indicative of the fact that the Huffington Post is purely driven by ideology.  Lambast Fox News all you like- it’s perfectly appropriate.  But unless ideology drives you more than concern for the young, you’ll also lambast the Huffington Post for its absolute disregard for all lives but gay lives.

Personally I am of the opinion that the death of ANY child is a horrific tragedy- especially when it’s by their own hand.  Gay or straight, all are lamentable.  The HuffPo clearly doesn’t have the same ethic of life.

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Posted by on 29 Jan 2013 in media, Total Depravity


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The Pseudo-Singer’s Pseudo-Popularity

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Trumped up stats.  Figures.

Lady Gaga has had 156m views struck off her official YouTube account today just one month after the online video provider reduced the play counts of many major label acts by 2 billion views….  The move came after the site conducted an audit of its viewing figures and suspected view count building techniques from hackers, who were allegedly artificially boosting views on certain videos.

So all those ‘millions’ of hits folk get on Youtube are probably just bunk.  Fake stats for fake singers.  It’s the curve of the world’s depravity: falsehood.

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Posted by on 29 Jan 2013 in Total Depravity



Aren is Dissatisfied (or Disgruntled)

Aren’s reaction to Burleigh’s aforementioned essay is soundly negative.  It seems to me on the basis of her using the term ‘archaeologist’ of Jacobovici and Zias.

He’s entitled to his reaction and I do understand it.  Truly.  But it raises questions for me which I’ve posed to Aren and which I reiterate here in hopes that actual dirt archaeologists will answer them:

So, to Aren and all:

Don’t you think that to the extent that Jacobovici portrays himself as an archaeologist (albeit naked), in the view of the larger public he is perceived as such?  And, consequently, worth refuting on the basis of his claims to such knowledge?

I’m not trying to start a feud, just interested in how arcaheologists think Simcha and other non experts ought to be dealt with- or do they think they should just be ignored?  And if so, then isn’t the public just left with a false impression and misinformation?   And isn’t it the job of actual archaeologists to say something to disabuse the public of falsehood?

What i’m really interested- genuinely interested in knowing is – what is their view concerning archaeology’s obligations to the public which funds it?

Eric Meyers has already offered his reasoned viewpoint in Nina’s piece.  Anyone else?


Posted by on 29 Jan 2013 in Archaeology


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The Battle In the Courts: Zias v. Jacobovici

Nina Burleigh, on the suit of Joe Zias by Simcha Jacobovici writes (in Time), among many other insightful things

The contentiousness between Zias and Jacobovici came to a head in 2011. That year, National Geographic pulled out of a Jacobovici project on another early Christian relic that Zias and others were criticizing — comments that the filmmaker cites as part of the reason for his lawsuit. Reached by e-mail, Jacobovici said he is suing Zias — and not his academically affiliated critics — because Zias “crossed the line from fair comment to outright libel. Specifically, he has accused me repeatedly — verbally and in writing — of ‘forging archaeology’ … a criminal activity, and no free society allows you to accuse people of such activities, unless you can prove that what you are saying is correct. Furthermore, he has accused me of ‘planting archaeology.’ Again, free discourse does not include libelous statements such as this one.”

My hope remains that Zias and Jacobovici will settle this  (preferably by the suit being dropped and the two of them having a nice diet Coke- on me if they wish it).

The last paragraph of the report echoes my own sentiments:

What kind of evidence will be presented in court? Jesus and his disciples are unlikely to be coming forward to explain whether they had anything at all to do with all those nails, tombs, ossuaries and other bits of ancient history underneath Jerusalem. American biblical scholar James West, who also blogs on biblical archaeology, said of the lawsuit: “Disagreements are fine, but vendettas (which is what this seems to one outside the proceedings) are improper. Perhaps Zias and Jacobovici should settle their differences the old-fashioned way — in a public debate. Scholars disagree all the time, and they can get quite nasty at it. But I have never once heard of a scholar suing another scholar because their work was eviscerated.”

Oh wait, that’s not an echo at all, it’s a reporting.  Anyway, read the whole piece.  Nina has captured the essence of the dispute.  And Eric Meyers’ comments are quite on point.


Posted by on 29 Jan 2013 in Archaeology


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Frank Crüsemann on the Heidelberg Catechism

crusemannIn der Zeitschrift Evangelische Theologie, Heft 6/2012, ist ein Beitrag von Frank Crüsemann abgedruckt, der den Bibelgebrauch des Heidelberger Katechismus untersucht von den “zentralen Erkenntnissen biblischer Theologie her, wie sie mit der theologischen Neubewertung des Alten Testaments und des Verhältnisses zum Judentum seit dem Holocaust gewonnen wurden”.

Mit freundlicher Genehmigung des Autors und des Verlags ist der Beitrag online veröffentlicht auf auf  Theologische Engführung und biblische Weite – Ein Beitrag zum Bibelgebrauch des Heidelberger Katechismus von Frank Crüsemann (pdf 111 KB).


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Posted by on 29 Jan 2013 in Church History, Heidelberg Catechism, Theology


More Taliban-esque Behavior From the Far Right of Judaism

Ophir Ben-Shetreet, a 17-year-old with a voice as outstanding as Sonenclar’s, is a leading competitor on Israel’s “The Voice.” One would think that she would be rewarded for her confidence, effort and talent. Sadly, that is not the case.

Ben-Shetreet is essentially being punished for having an exceptionally beautiful voice and wanting to share it with the world. The 12th grader has been suspended (with the agreement of her parents) for two weeks from her religious girls’ high school in the seaside city of Ashdod. Her offense? Singing in public.

The complaints against Ben-Shetreet’s singing on the popular TV show came from the parents of other students at her school. Ben-Shetreet’s suspension and required attendance at special Jewish law classes is supposedly meant to serve as a deterrent to her classmates – should they, heaven forbid, want to exercise their God-given vocal talent or just plain have some musical fun while within hearing earshot of a man.

That’s just WTTWD- what the Taliban would do- prohibit girls from exercising their talents in front of members of the opposite sex.  Because nothing says ‘faith’ like telling girls they’re supposed to stay hidden (either off the stage in front of men or behind the veil).

I feel sorry for these extremists.  They must lack all self control, poor things, because they can’t look at women without being driven into a frenzy of lust and so every measure must be taken to protect these gentle male flowers from the damaging glare of the feminine…  Poor, poor Taliban of the Jewish and Muslim persuasion: slaves of their own desires and willing to oppress any woman to keep those desires in check.


Posted by on 29 Jan 2013 in disdain, loathing, mockery, scorn


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Isn’t the Church Obliged to Give Money to Anyone Who Asks?

richbeggarSometimes folk have the notion that the Church is a dispenser of welfare to the wider society and that the sole function of the Church is to collect material goods from its members and give them to whomsoever wishes them. But this notion is exceedingly peculiar and is in fact not according to the New Testament where, believe it or not, actual rules are laid out concerning the distribution of charity.

First, from 1 Timothy 5-

Χήρας τίμα τὰς ὄντως χήρας. 4 εἰ δέ τις χήρα τέκνα ἢ ἔκγονα ἔχει, μανθανέτωσαν πρῶτον τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον εὐσεβεῖν καὶ ἀμοιβὰς ἀποδιδόναι τοῖς προγόνοις· τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν ἀπόδεκτον ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ. 5 ἡ δὲ ὄντως χήρα καὶ μεμονωμένη ἤλπικεν ἐπὶ θεὸν καὶ προσμένει ταῖς δεήσεσιν καὶ ταῖς προσευχαῖς νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας, 6 ἡ δὲ σπαταλῶσα ζῶσα τέθνηκεν. 7 καὶ ταῦτα παράγγελλε, ἵνα ἀνεπίλημπτοι ὦσιν. 8 εἰ δέ τις τῶν ἰδίων καὶ μάλιστα οἰκείων οὐ προνοεῖ, τὴν πίστιν ἤρνηται καὶ ἔστιν ἀπίστου χείρων. 9 Χήρα καταλεγέσθω μὴ ἔλαττον ἐτῶν ἑξήκοντα γεγονυῖα, ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή, 10 ἐν ἔργοις καλοῖς μαρτυρουμένη, εἰ ἐτεκνοτρόφησεν, εἰ ἐξενοδόχησεν, εἰ ἁγίων πόδας ἔνιψεν, εἰ θλιβομένοις ἐπήρκεσεν, εἰ παντὶ ἔργῳ ἀγαθῷ ἐπηκολούθησεν. 11 νεωτέρας δὲ χήρας παραιτοῦ· ὅταν γὰρ καταστρηνιάσωσιν τοῦ Χριστοῦ, γαμεῖν θέλουσιν 12 ἔχουσαι κρίμα ὅτι τὴν πρώτην πίστιν ἠθέτησαν· 13 ἅμα δὲ καὶ ἀργαὶ μανθάνουσιν περιερχόμεναι τὰς οἰκίας, οὐ μόνον δὲ ἀργαὶ ἀλλὰ καὶ φλύαροι καὶ περίεργοι, λαλοῦσαι τὰ μὴ δέοντα. 14 βούλομαι οὖν νεωτέρας γαμεῖν, τεκνογονεῖν, οἰκοδεσποτεῖν, μηδεμίαν ἀφορμὴν διδόναι τῷ ἀντικειμένῳ λοιδορίας χάριν· 15 ἤδη γάρ τινες ἐξετράπησαν ὀπίσω τοῦ Σατανᾶ. 16 εἴ τις πιστὴ ἔχει χήρας, ἐπαρκείτω αὐταῖς καὶ μὴ βαρείσθω ἡ ἐκκλησία, ἵνα ταῖς ὄντως χήραις ἐπαρκέσῃ. (1 Timothy 5:3-16).

Here the guidelines are quite clear- widows are deserving of help and support from the Church if:

1- they are Christians
2- they are elderly
3- they have no family
4- they are – in essence – alone except for the Church

That’s pretty specific, isn’t it. but doesn’t the Church owe it to just anyone who asks to give them money any time it’s asked for? Again, the New Testament is pretty clear about this:

καὶ γὰρ ὅτε ἦμεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, τοῦτο παρηγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν, ὅτι εἴ τις οὐ θέλει ἐργάζεσθαι μηδὲ ἐσθιέτω. 11 ἀκούομεν γάρ τινας περιπατοῦντας ἐν ὑμῖν ἀτάκτως μηδὲν ἐργαζομένους ἀλλὰ περιεργαζομένους· 12 τοῖς δὲ τοιούτοις παραγγέλλομεν καὶ παρακαλοῦμεν ἐν κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ, ἵνα μετὰ ἡσυχίας ἐργαζόμενοι τὸν ἑαυτῶν ἄρτον ἐσθίωσιν. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12).

That’s pretty clear too. If people aren’t willing to work, Paul says, let them starve. Nothing motivates work like hunger and the belief that the Church owes it to the world to feed the lazy and indolent is simply unscriptural.

But does all this mean the Church should turn its back on the needy? Certainly not. But it does mean that the Church should set boundaries and limits to the distribution of its resources so that those AUTHENTICALLY in need are those who are helped and those who can, and should, provide for themselves and their families are made to do so.

The rub, of course, is to determine who TRULY is in need. And, further, what NEED itself is. For instance, needs include food and clothing and shelter. Needs do not include air conditioning or cell phones or Nike tennis shoes. Yet many act as though if they spend their money on cigarettes and beer the Church should buy food for their children. This is, to be blunt, both shortsighted and selfish of them and if the Church does in fact provide the gap created by such acts of selfishness it finds itself enabling the very kind of behavior it should abhor.

Help the needy. That’s the Christian ethic. What Christians, and Churches have to do is to define ‘help’ and ‘needy’ in terms of Scripture and not in terms of culture.

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Posted by on 29 Jan 2013 in Theology


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The Truth About Beer

lutherFrom ‘Weird History’-

In 1256: Aldobrandino wrote  “Beer promotes urine, gives bad breath, hurts the teeth, fills the brain with bad fumes and turns the flesh white.”

Take note.  Luther’s love of beer explains his kidney problems (which ended up killing him) and his generally unpleasant odor along with his poor reasoning concerning the Lord’s Supper and paleness.

See how swollen and pallid he looks!?!?  Beer did it.  Look at him, that’s your future if you imbibe.


Posted by on 29 Jan 2013 in Luther, mockery


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