Daily Archives: 23 Jul 2015

The Republican Party Has Never Been LESS Popular Than Now

And it has only itself to blame.

The Republican Party’s image has grown more negative over the first half of this year. Currently, 32% have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 60% have an unfavorable view. Favorable views of the GOP have fallen nine percentage points since January. The Democratic Party continues to have mixed ratings (48% favorable, 47% unfavorable).

7-23-2015-1-55-09-PM

And much more.  The GOP clearly needs more Trump…

On the Angry Atheists and their Fawning Toadies

In appearance and words you simulate modesty, but you are so swollen with haughtiness, arrogance, pride, malice, villainy, rashness, superciliousness, ignorance, and stupidity that there is nothing to surpass you.

You have set out to rub your scabby, scurvy head against honor.

You curse, blaspheme, skriek, struggle, bellow, and spit, so that, if people really heard you utter words, they would gather with chains and bars, just as if you were possessed by a legion of devils and had to be seized and bound.

 It makes me tingle with pleasure from head to toe when I see that through me, poor wretched man that I am, God the Lord maddens and exasperates you hellish and worldly people, so that in your spite you will burst and tear yourselves to pieces – while I sit under the shade of faith and the Lord’s Prayer, laughing at you devils and your crew and you blubber and struggler in your great fury. – Luther

‘Bad Jesus’? There’s No Way To Tell

DrHouseFacepalmA friend, or should I say former friend, sent along a copy of Hector Avalos’ latest anti-Christian screed and asked me what I thought of it.  So, I plunged right in and after a few pages knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I wished to proceed further I would have to abandon sense and sensibility and assume a posture of ahistorical agenda driven silliness.

Avalos is, nonetheless, here at his very best.  His very best.  Because what readers find (at least in the first 10 pages or so- that was all I could stomach) is the same sort of ‘I hate Christianity so much that I’m willing to say and write anything I can to make it look ridiculous and all of its practitioners stupid fundamentalists who – unlike myself and my sycophant toadies – are enlightened and learned’ that he spewed in his extraordinarily hypocritical ‘The End of Biblical Studies’.  If he had been honest at the conclusion of that particular foray into hate-speech disguised as academic discourse he would have resigned his post and taken up basket weaving or returned to faith healing or something besides academic pursuits in the field of biblical studies.  But instead, he deemed it proper that he would continue to earn his living from a field he both despises and wishes to see destroyed.  How’s that for intellectual honesty.

Which brings us to the point of his present book.  ‘The Bad Jesus’ is – at least as far as I could stomach it – nothing more than bad method wrapped in badly enacted atheistic propaganda.  Fair enough.  Avalos is an atheist.  Who cares.  He’s got an agenda. Who cares.  He’s not very competent as an exegete.  Who cares.  Avalos can write whatever he wants and say whatever he wants and his sycophantic fans will lap it up and spew it out like a dog regurgitates its own lunch.  Who cares.

My purpose here isn’t to dissuade him from writing (as if he would simply because I wished it) or you from reading him (because, honestly, if you have such little regard for the facts and are willing to part with a good bit of money to do it, that’s your business).  My purpose is simply to point out

  • That Avalos doesn’t prove Jesus was bad- he only proves himself a bad expositor.
  • That Avalos operates not as a scholar, but as an agenda driven activist whose aim is the end of biblical scholarship and the denunciation of Christianity.
  • That Avalos’ book is not, in my view, worth reading (unless you’re already an angry atheist- in which case you will find him a happy ally).
  • That there are much better, much wiser, much more circumspect, much more academically informed, much more insightful volumes on the subject of New Testament ethics than Avalos can provide given his blinkered and angry hate filled clouded vision.  Even Richard Hays’ book on the subject is superior.

When I finished off Avalos’ book, that is, again, what I could stomach of it, I threw it in the garbage.  I’ve only done that with one other book before (the rest I’ve sold or given away).  That, in sum, in my view, is where it belongs.  At least in that locale it can serve a useful purpose.

‘Bad Jesus’?  There’s no way to tell from Avalos’ book.  One learns nothing from it except where one left the antacid.

Cause and Effect: How The Judgment of God Results in Disaster- Or, How Jeremiah is Closer to Pat Robertson than Joel Osteen

One of the more interesting aspects of Jeremiah’s preaching is his clear belief that God is the direct cause of disaster.  For instance, in Jeremiah 6:1ff we find

“Flee for safety, O sons of Benjamin, From the midst of Jerusalem! Now blow a trumpet in Tekoa And raise a signal over Beth-haccerem; For evil looks down from the north, And a great destruction. “The comely and dainty one, the daughter of Zion, I will cut off.  “Shepherds and their flocks will come to her, They will pitch their tents around her, They will pasture each in his place. “Prepare war against her; Arise, and let us attack at noon. Woe to us, for the day declines, For the shadows of the evening lengthen!  “Arise, and let us attack by night And destroy her palaces!”

Disaster in the form of an enemy from the north is coming.  Why?  Not simply because the people of the north are expanding southward and wish to grab land and resources.  No, there is no ‘human’ cause- it is a result of divine anger against his people.  The passage continues

For thus says the LORD of hosts, “Cut down her trees And cast up a siege against Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished, In whose midst there is only oppression. “As a well keeps its waters fresh, So she keeps fresh her wickedness. Violence and destruction are heard in her; Sickness and wounds are ever before Me.  “Be warned, O Jerusalem, Or I shall be alienated from you, And make you a desolation, A land not inhabited.” 

Thus says the LORD of hosts, “They will thoroughly glean as the vine the remnant of Israel; Pass your hand again like a grape gatherer Over the branches.”  To whom shall I speak and give warning That they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed And they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the LORD has become a reproach to them; They have no delight in it. 

But I am full of the wrath of the LORD; I am weary with holding it in. “Pour it out on the children in the street And on the gathering of young men together; For both husband and wife shall be taken, The aged and the very old. “Their houses shall be turned over to others, Their fields and their wives together; For I will stretch out My hand Against the inhabitants of the land,” declares the LORD. “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.

God will bring disaster and when disaster comes it is God who does it.  Whether we like to think of it in these terms or not, this means that Jeremiah would feel more at home with the views of Pat Robertson than he would with the views of Joel Osteen (whom he would have lumped in – rightly – with the false prophets he disdained).

It’s an amazing fact that many who claim they believe the Bible and wish to live their lives by it would at the same time feel more at home with the views of Joel Osteen than those of Jeremiah.  And to prove it, all I need do is point out how most of us react when Pat Robertson says this or that event is a result of God’s judgment.  Jeremiah, and the rest of the Prophets, would agree with Pat.  I don’t think anyone can seriously doubt that.

The World’s Top Universities- The Rankings Have Just Been Announced

Congrats to Cambridge and Oxford who rank at #4 and #5.  Emory is #84, and Geneva is at #92 whilst KCL is at #94 and the beloved University of Zurich at #96.  All the large Swiss Universities made the list.

The University of Sheffield is at #173, Durham is at #261, and Exeter is at #333.  All the Brit schools making the list can be found here.  The American here.  And the Danish here (with special congrats to Copenhagen, which is in the top 100).

Visit the list to see where your institution stands.  Congrats to those listed.

A Question For Zionists

I understand that you like very much Genesis 12:13 and the promise to Abram that God will bless him and those who bless him too.

But why don’t I ever hear you cite Jeremiah 6:6ff?

For thus says the LORD of hosts, “Cut down her trees And cast up a siege against Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished, In whose midst there is only oppression. “As a well keeps its waters fresh, So she keeps fresh her wickedness. Violence and destruction are heard in her; Sickness and wounds are ever before Me.  “Be warned, O Jerusalem, Or I shall be alienated from you, And make you a desolation, A land not inhabited.” 

Thus says the LORD of hosts, “They will thoroughly glean as the vine the remnant of Israel; Pass your hand again like a grape gatherer Over the branches.”  To whom shall I speak and give warning That they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed And they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the LORD has become a reproach to them; They have no delight in it. 

But I am full of the wrath of the LORD; I am weary with holding it in. “Pour it out on the children in the street And on the gathering of young men together; For both husband and wife shall be taken, The aged and the very old. “Their houses shall be turned over to others, Their fields and their wives together; For I will stretch out My hand Against the inhabitants of the land,” declares the LORD. “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.

How come you ignore that and so many other similar passages and pin all your focus on one verse, and it spoken to and of Abram?

Liars and the Lies they Tell: The Christian Zionist Deception

The Jerusalem Post has an essay which demonstrates the lies which Christian Zionists are willing to believe, and perpetrate:

“Cooperation between the Jewish and Christian worlds is crucial to save Israel from all its threats,” Liberman said. “We are on the front lines of a clash of civilizations. Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians are an integral part of society.”

That’s false.  Christians are scattered about the near East and in particular there are MANY in the Palestinian territories.  It’s convenient for Lieberman to act as if they don’t exist, though, because it allows them to be ignored and he take part in their marginalization and elimination.

Kulanu MK Michael Oren, a former ambassador to the US, said that former American presidents John Adams and Abraham Lincoln thought it was their duty as good Americans and good Christians to help Jews return to the land of Israel. He recalled how a Christian Congressmen from West Texas opened a Bible and asked him how much funding Israel required for the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Adams and Lincoln did nothing to help Jews return to Palestine.  Attempting to link them to a modern political movement is the worst sort of historical misrepresentation.

“US-Israel relations go back to spiritual ties,” Oren said. “God speaks only one language and it’s the language in which we are yelling at each other in the next hall. Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist would today be considered Jewish settlers in Bethlehem. We are on a holy mission to ensure the Jewish state remains strong and beloved.”

God speaks only one language?  Well that’s downright stupid.  Any Christian, zionist or not, who believes that is as theologically ignorant as Mr Oren.

But here’s the worst part- the lie which purports to suggest that Jesus would be a ‘settler’.  Oren is doing nothing but playing games and fleecing the Christian flock with this little tidbit of dilettantism and – if not that – evil and cynical deception.  If anything, Jesus would take the side of the oppressed and denounce the religious leaders who are using people for their own purposes.  Like Mr Oren and the others propagating his Zionist line.

So, because Mr Oren is both deceptive and a dilettante, here’s your dilly, Mr Oren

dilly-the-dilettante