Saturday, April 13, 2013
the baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall.
The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp. . . . He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he had just used.
One overwhelming impression of these engagements is the way in which the intellectual defense of Christian faith attracts men. Both at Texas A&M and again at Miami every single student who got up to ask a question was a guy! I wondered if the girls are just shy. But then I remembered a lengthy clip Jan and I watched of cast members of Downton Abbey doing a Q&A with an audience in New York. Almost every person who came to the microphone at that event was a woman! It wasn’t until late into the evening that a man finally asked a question, which was remarked by all the cast members. Why the difference between that session and the ones I experienced?—simply because the Downton Abbey program is highly relational, which is more appealing to women, whereas my talks were principally intellectually oriented, which is more appealing to men.
Churches have difficulty attracting men, and the church is becoming increasingly feminized. I believe that apologetics is a key to attracting large numbers of men (as well as women) to church and to Christ.
Friday, April 12, 2013
I left a comment -- my comment is #6, linked here.
I said this:
My hope is that he will have the courage to relate research about the papacy’s murky origins. At a very recent ecumenical discussion, the Roman Catholic New Testament Scholar John Meier said “A papacy that cannot give a credible historical account of its own origins can hardly hope to be a catalyst for unity among divided Christians.” Catholic Archbishop Roland Minnerath said “At the heart of the estrangement that progressively arose between East and West, there may be a historical misunderstanding. The East never shared the Petrine theology as elaborated in the West.” And the Lutheran scholar John Reumann said “historically a gap occurs at the point where it has been claimed “the apostles were careful to appoint successors.” All of this is related in “How Can the Petrine Ministry Be a Service to the Unity of the Universal Church?” James F. Puglisi, Editor, Grand Rapids, MI and Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, ©2010. It’s time for the Catholic Church to own up to this publicly.
This should be the conviction of Republicans including Rubio.
However, Republicans are so eager to create 11 million Democrats overnight with their immigration bill, the bill that Democrats are laughing about behind closed doors.
Enter the permanent Democratic majority:
P.S. There is the myth that these illegal immigrants want citizenship. The vast majority do not. They want the benefits of citizenship, but not the citizenship itself.
This post is a bit ironic since I'm calling attention to Ed Dingess rather than ignoring him! Also, I've failed at ignoring him many times in the past, against my better judgment, and to my considerable detriment.
So I hope this post serves as a word of warning to others. Don't make the same mistake I did! Please be aware of Ed Dingess. Or at the very least take great caution when attempting to engage him in dialogue or debate.
Of course, if you're not aware of Dingess, that's fortunate!
However, if you'd like to be aware of Dingess, you could start by checking out this comment from RWH.
I'll turn off comments for this post for hopefully pretty obvious reasons.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
It should be noted that many ancient non-Christian sources corroborated the traditional authorship attributions of the gospels (Marcion, Celsus, Porphyry, Julian the Apostate, etc.). Those today who reject the authorship attributions aren’t just disagreeing with the ancient Christians, but also with the ancient Jewish and pagan opponents of the religion. We find ancient non-Christian sources disputing the authorship of Old Testament books, such as the Pentateuch and Daniel, as well as some of the New Testament in a minority of cases, and the ancient Christians sometimes disputed the authorship claims among themselves (whether Peter wrote 2 Peter, whether John wrote Revelation, etc.). Thus, it can't be argued that they were just uncritically accepting whatever authorship claims were made or never thought of the possibility that the attributions were wrong. They knew that the attributions could be wrong, and they sometimes disputed them, yet we see widespread acceptance of the traditional authorship attributions of the gospels among both ancient Christians and non-Christians.
For some examples of the evidence from these non-Christian sources, see my series linked within the post here and John Cook's The Interpretation Of The New Testament In Greco-Roman Paganism (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2002), e.g., 140, 184, 198, 203, 235, 263, 289, 297, 301, 303-304.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
A friendly debate on Intelligent Design.
Prof. Martin Poenie, Department of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, Univ. of Texas at Austin
Prof. Jed Macosko, Department of Physics, Wake Forest University
Can Darwin-Doubting Scientists Experience Academic Freedom?
Casey Luskin, Discovery Institute (California Bar, active member)
Annual Meeting Format
The Annual Meeting is open and free of charge to all associate and full members of the society; there is no additional registration charge. Registration must be done in advance to ensure space. To register, send email to email@example.com.
“Randi is a liar,” says Sheldrake. “He's a man of very doubtful character indeed – a rude, aggressive, dogmatic Skeptic who knows nothing about science. He's taken seriously by people like Dawkins – they worship him – because they see themselves as engaged in a war against unreason and religion. And if you're in a war, you want to have thugs on your side.”
Read what Prescott goes on to quote regarding Randi's inconsistencies and lies, as well as an exchange Storr had with Randi during an interview. Read the whole thing. There's a lot of valuable material.
The use of birds which could be released for determining the presence and direction of land (Gen 8:6-12) is not a folkloristic invention, but reflects actual navigational practice…A cage full of homing pigeons is not a bad method of direction finding.C. Gordon, Before Columbus (Crown Publishers 1971), 77.James Hornell [“The Role of Birds in Ancient Navigation”] shows that several ancient peoples used birds for the purpose of finding out whether there was land within a navigable distance, and in what direction. Hornell adduces references to the practice of carrying aboard several “shore-sighting birds” among the ancient Hindu merchants when sailing on overseas voyages contained in the Hindu Sutta Pitaka (5C BC), according to which these birds were “used to locate the nearest land when the ship’s position was doubtful.” The same practice is mentioned in the Buddhist Kevaddha Sutta of Digha, written about the same period.R. Patai, The Children of Noah: Jewish Seafaring in Ancient Times (Princeton 1998), 10-11.
6 At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made 7 and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth (Gen 8:6-7).
In traversing their seas, the people of Taprobane [Ceylon] take no observations of the stars, and indeed the Greater Bear is not visible to them; but they carry birds out to sea, which they let go from time to time, and so follow their course as they make for the land.Pliny, Natural History, 6.24.One of the first Norwegian sailors to hazard the voyage to Iceland was a man known as Raven-Floki for his habit of keeping ravens aboard his vessel. When he thought he was nearing land, Raven-Floki released the ravens, which he had deliberately starved. Often as not, they flew "as the crow flies" directly toward land, which Raven-Floki would reach simply by following their lead.
Hundreds of Christians were under siege inside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral [Sunday] night as security forces and local residents, some armed with handguns, launched a prolonged and unprecedented attack on the seat of Egypt’s ancient Church.
At least one person was killed and at least 84 injured as Christians inside the walled St Mark’s cathedral compound came under a frenzied assault from their assailants in the main road outside.
The fighting erupted after a mass funeral for five Copts who were killed during violent clashes in a north Egyptian town on Saturday. A Muslim man also died in the clashes, which happened after an Islamic institute was daubed with offensive graffiti.
Following yesterday’s service thousands of Christians poured out on to the street and began chanting slogans against Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian President and long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Late last night President Morsi issued a statement in which he said he had spoken to Pope Tawadros II, the leader of the Coptic church, and had given orders for the cathedral and citizens to be guarded. He said protecting the lives of Muslims and Christians was a state responsibility and added: “I consider any attack on the cathedral as an attack on me, personally.”
The man killed in the clashes outside the cathedral was named by the state news agency, MENA, as Mahrous Hana Tadros, a Christian name. MENA said 11 of the 84 injured were police officers.
Monday, April 08, 2013
John Calvin, of course, said that reason and natural law themselves both point to the architectonic necessity of civil theology, ...
But more is involved here than reason and revelation. For [Roman Catholic writers], the papalist distinction between nature and supernature, and it is important to understand this lest we simply assume that evangelicals and papalists are really talking about quite the same things in these discussions.
Thus a brief reflection on the end of man is in order, since the end of man is the central affair of politics. Both [Roman Catholic writers he is referring to -- see the original articles at the link above] assert the papalist doctrine of the two ends of man, though neither really deal with the controversy about this doctrine among papalist doctors, let alone between those and the evangelical doctors. But in short the idea is that man has a temporal end – roughly what Aristotle calls happiness – and also a “supernatural” end, which is the beatific vision, in which the original nature will be aufgehoben [repealed].
The beatific vision is St Paul’s “face to face,” the final and perfect communion of man with God. Christians have always wondered what exactly the relation of this world, not simply as fallen, but even in original integrity, is to that final status promised by the Scriptures, and the controversy about that relation long predates the great reformation of religion five hundred years ago. And it continues to this day. Although it has become something of an Arcanum, it is the crucial center of the question of what it is for Christians to live in the world.
Attentive readers will see in [the Roman Catholic’s] reply not only the idea of the two ends of man, but also the idea of the donum superadditum.
Among the realities of this digital world is a whole class of web sites known as discernment blogs or watchblogs...They are the playground bullies of the Internet, shaking their fists and demanding your lunch money.
That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live unto Him.(The Heidelberg Catechism)
I never told my mother I wouldn't become a priest, but she got the idea. Even after starting work in Chicago, I never found the nerve, when we were visiting each other, to not attend Sunday Mass with her. She knew well enough those were the only times I went to church. What I was doing, I suppose, was going through the motions to respect a tradition that was more important to her than to me. She believed in the faith until the hour of her death. In her final days, she lapsed into a comatose state. She didn't respond to questions, and her eyes remained closed. Under her breath, barely audible, she repeated the "Hail, Mary" over and over. She was buried from St. Patrick's Church, and I tipped the altar boys.
I have to give you the sad news that my father passed away last Wednesday. The news of his passing brings a peculiar feeling of sorrow, but I am also filled with a deep feeling of gratitude and joy. He was a dear and eminently worthy father, so faithful, so loving. It is an inexpressible privilege to believe that he is now with the Lord and Savior whom he loved and served for so long. Every indication points in the direction that the work of saving grace was wrought in him at a very early age and with unimpeachable integrity and perseverance he witnessed to the Lord to the ripe age of 90. His interest was lively and his faculties unimpaired, until, just a few weeks ago, his interest in things of this world seemed largely to disappear. In the last letter I had from my sister she told me that for the two days preceding, he was in the 51st psalm and repeated it again and again from the beginning to the end in Gaelic, his mother tongue, of course.Collected Writings of John Murray, 3:82.
Prof. John Frame writes on the topic of Christians and education.
I don't know if I necessarily agree with everything in the paper. Actually, much more likely I'm not competent enough to say one way or the other. At any rate, as is the case with practically everything he writes about, Prof. Frame offers a ton of helpful insight to sharpen one's thinking.
Among other things, the article includes discussion about the role of the state in the education of children. I think this is especially relevant in our political and sociocultural climate, particularly given the debate over same-sex marriage, as it's quite possible a case for homosexual adoption or otherwise gay parents having and raising their own children will come hand-in-hand with or follow from the debate over same-sex marriage.
Sunday, April 07, 2013
While this discussion focused on an area of biblical interpretation in which he concludes that epistemologically, “They are in the same situation” as evidentialist Protestants” [Pope Leo had said one thing, then a “clarification” some 30 years later said another], this very sort of thing is what was at the foundation of the medieval discussions of papal infallibility.
* * *
In a 13th century dispute over a papal decision (Nicholas III) regarding the rule of the Franciscans, Pope John XXII rejected the notion of “infallibility” (i.e, a later pope can’t change the decree of an earlier pope) because he viewed it as “an improper restriction of his rights as a sovereign”. In the bull “Quia Quorundam”, he said (see paragraph 6):
If therefore after an interdict of a general council it was lawful for the supreme Pontiffs to confirm orders [that] had not been confirmed, and for their successors to dissolve completely [those which] had been so confirmed, is it not wonderful, if, what only the supreme Pontiff may declare or ordain concerning the rules of [religious] orders, it is lawful for his successors to declare or to change to other things. Moreover it is clear that neither the confirmation of the aforesaid [Popes], Honorius, Gregory, Alexander, and Nicholas [III], was accomplished in general council, since no general council was celebrated by any of these. Granted that Innocent IV celebrated a general council, nevertheless during that [council] the above said declaration of his was not accomplished with the authority of any council. Nicholas IV, however, neither celebrated a general council, nor declared anything concerning the said rule. The aforesaid Gregory IX, however, neither confirmed nor declared the said rule, but in a general council, where there had been not a few orders of mendicants abolished, he did not abolish the orders of the said Friars Minor and [Friar] Preachers, but asserted them to be approved, saying thus: “To these [orders], which the resulting utility of the universal church, evident from these things, demonstrates as approved, We do not permit the present constitution to be extended”.
Bernhard Hasler wrote “the pope’s objection may strike us today a grotesque, but the point was well taken: Infallibility always constitutes a limit to the power of an individual pope, who is bound by the infallible declarations of his predecessors. For the time being, the bishops of Rome had no interest in this theory. Discussion of the issue faded away for centuries” (August Bernhard Hasler, “How the Pope Became Infallible”, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, © 1981, pgs 36-37).
This is one reason why the “Reformation” of Hildebrand (Pope Gregory VII) looms so large. That was the “Reformation” (following the East-West split of 1054) which created the papacy as a “sovereign” in the first place. All Eastern objections to the imperial papacy were at once brushed aside, and the “Imperial papacy” was enabled for the first time to have all the earthly glory it wanted.