Category: pseudo-scholarship

Oh No Not Again…. Still Another End Time Date Setter

Why, Lord, why?  It’s another ‘End of the World‘ predictor.  This time it’s Oct 7 2105.  What it is about October that these nutters love so much?  I only know of this because they’re following me on the twitter (till they see this anyway).

Without further ado- end of the worlders- here’s your dilly-


‘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.

Shark Week, Pseudo-Science, And the Willingness of Some Biblical Scholars to Jump the Shark for the Sake of TV Face Time

Read this report from NPR and substitute biblical scholars for shark biologists and you’ll understand how infuriating it is to watch people who profess to love biblical studies appear on Discovery, which cares NOTHING for the truth and only for ratings.  After describing a guy who researches sharks and his excitement about being a part of the series, Shark Week, NPR continues-

You can guess what happened next. To his horror, Davis found himself featured on a “documentary” that had little to do with his research. Voodoo Shark strongly suggested that Davis believed in the Rooken.

“There’s no way I could’ve known they were going to portray it like that,” he says.

Voodoo Shark shows Davis and his team doing real research, pulling sharks out of the water and tagging them on the deck. Davis says he did not see any unusual sharks. What was unusual was a producer’s reaction when they hooked a big one.

“One of the guys was like, “Oh, maybe you should just let it bite you, that would be so exciting.’ And I was just thinking to myself, ‘Are you kidding me? You really think I wanna let the shark bite me just for ratings? Are you serious?’ ”

Ellen Prager, a marine scientist who has taught at the University of Miami and writes books for children about sharks, says she and her colleagues have a list of things that drive them crazy about Shark Week, such as the emphasis on sharks attacking people and feeding frenzies.

And yet biblical scholars will continue to jump the shark and appear on whatever garbage Discovery airs.  When they do, they deserve, richly, to be associated for the rest of their careers with the dissemination of absolute stupidity.

Scientists know that Discovery twists the truth.  Why don’t biblical scholars?  And if they do (and they have to), then what is it about them that makes them willing to turn their backs on the facts and become part of something insidious and dishonest?

This is What Happens When Rupert Murdoch Buys an Erstwhile Christian Publisher


Tis a stupid question.  Humanity is fallen.  It’s not a matter of whether or not the Church is ‘complicit’ (what the *&() does that mean anyway?) in the fact of mankind’s fallenness.  The destruction of the imago dei through rebellion and sin is simply the way things are.  Period.  No question.  No debate.

[NB- I know, I know, someone is going to say that the essay isn’t about that at all, etc. etc. blah blah blah.  The tweet itself is the absurdity].

That Chart Won’t Really Work

James McGrath has posted this:


The chart is wrong for one simple reason- not all fundamentalists are dependent on english translations of the bible.  Indeed, a number of fundamentalists are very engaged in reading the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and many of them are engaged in the complexities of textual criticism.  It is, accordingly, an oversimplification of a complex phenomenon. Fundamentalism has less to do with what text one reads and more to do with a mindset.

The irony here is that McGrath is playing the ‘scholar card’ but not being totally honest with the facts.

[NB- I suppose if I were akin to various other bloggers I could have just left all this unattributed and said ‘I saw this on facebook by someone but I’m not forthright enough to mention who…’  Except such dishonesty is unbefitting academics].


There is no ‘yes’ in the Bible to same sex marriage.  It simply isn’t there.  Mr Achtemeier can change his mind all he wants and embrace any ideology he pleases and so can everyone else.  But he CANNOT, he MAY NOT claim biblical support for that view.  It simply doesn’t exist.  Special pleading, eisegesis, and scorn of Christian theology notwithstanding.