RIP Daniel Dennett
We lost philosopher and major secular activist Daniel Dennett today. RIP ... Read Article
Lamb of the Free (9)
As I've been reading along the author's study of sacrifice in the old testament, both of purification and atonement, what is clear with atoning sacrifices the issue isn't the salvation of the individual who sinned, but rather sin was a aerial miasma thought to contaminate the holy place and the land which could prevent God from dwelling among his people and so the offering was meant to sanctify the holy place and objects. Other sacrifices were meant to attract God to the holy place. The supreme day of atonement was thus to do a full reset on the defilement of the temple, restoring it to factory specs, and render it holy again. The scope of atonement is that it is limited to sins that defile the sanctuary. The sanctuary can be purged, and particularly nasty sins can be reduced in effect through repentance. But some sins are particularly bad and actually defile the land, and no sin offering can clean the land. We read: [ Leviticus ] provides no countervailing measures for the polluted land . The la ... Read Article
The Apocalypse is Imminent, as usual
As long as there have been Jesus followers the apocalypse warning alarm has been sounding. Jesus thought the end of the age was coming in the lifetime of his disciples, and Paul thought the end had already started. Skip forward a few thousand years, and the actions of Iran against Israel yesterday have prompted megachurch pastor and card carrying religiocrazy John Hagee this morning to announce that we are on the cusp of the Gog Magog war, or in other words the End Times have arrived. See here 30:45 - 34:41 Biblical prophecy is not being fulfilled, unless the leaders have the deluded idea in their heads that God wants them to fulfill end time prophecy, in which case it is self-fulfilling prophecy. The should be no doubt why the fundamentalist Christians are backing Israel no matter what, since the bible says Jerusalem is the apple of God's eye and he will bless those who bless Israel. In a way John Hagee and his fellow delusionals are a feather in t ... Read Article
Lamb of the Free (8)
Rillaro points our that Jesus is most basically seen in one sense as the passover lamb. In the chapter currently under consideration, we see in detail passover is not an atonement ritual. He summarizes: the Passover does not have an atoning function , but the first Passover is depicted as having a protective ( pesaḥ ) apotropaic function , anchored as it is in the standard non - sacrificial ritual ingredients and procedures for warding off a threat , applying blood on a house with hyssop branches . All subsequent Passovers function as sacrificial commemorations of this event , celebrated by feasting on a unique type of ( non - atoning ) thanksgiving well - being offering . (64) This chapter is good because it looks at the difference between atoning and non atoning rituals and what function they served in the Jewish cultic life. Earlier regarding sacrifice Rillaro gives the following image that: At its most basic level , then , Israelite sacrifice is about preparing sacred “ food " for God t ... Read Article
Lamb of the Free (7)
In this section, we finnish up Rillera's thoughts on what the Levitical sacrifices are not. There is no connection between the suffering of the animal and the sacrifice, because an animal is killed quickly and humanely, because if an animal is blemished it is no longer fit for sacrifice. The focal point is on the ritual performed transforming the death of the animal to non-killing, not the animal as an object of wrath. Death of the animal is never seen as substituting, neither is it taking on the suffering others deserve. Rillera notes: This is significant because we can now see that when it comes to sacrificial understandings of Jesus's death in the NT , these never occur in the context of Jesus's sufferings and passion . Put another way : when Jesus's sufferings and / or death qua death are the topic , then sacrificial metaphors are avoided (40, see also note 69 on pg 46 on Hebrews) One thing I'll be interested to see is if Rillera brings into focus the brutal death of the scapegoat and ... Read Article
The Joy of Philosophy (Postscript and Poetry)
Previously, Heidegger’s Hegelian Phenomenological Method (Part 1/2) Heidegger’s Hegelian Phenomenological Method (Part 2/2) Dr. Carlo Alvaro and Dr. Richard Carrier Debate the Kalam Cosmological Argument The Joy of Philosophy (4/4) So, in these few posts, I talked a bit about what philosophy is and the problem it is addressing. To fully appreciate what I mean you would have had to have been a teenager in North America in the 90s, a time of profound angst and boredom, before the technological band-aid came, before social media. It was a time of eternal recurrence, as poetized in "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes: I was tired of my ladyWe'd been together too longLike a worn out recordingOf a favorite song With Rupert above we sang and danced to the idea that beings lose their lustre merely as a function of our spending time with them. With Alanis Morissette in "All I Really Want," we listened to how our lives were ... Read Article
The Joy of Philosophy (4/4)
My previous 3 posts in this mini-series were: Heidegger’s Hegelian Phenomenological Method (Part 1/2) Heidegger’s Hegelian Phenomenological Method (Part 2/2) Dr. Carlo Alvaro and Dr. Richard Carrier Debate the Kalam Cosmological Argument Philosophy has to do not only with the "what" of ideas, but also "how" philosophy is being done. Moreover, we have to ask why philosophy is being done, because it is unique as a discipline of inquiry in that it must accomplish something for and in the practitioner. Anthropology, by contrast, is indifferent to transforming the human condition of the anthropologist, as is geography for the geographer. Prof John Bagby notes: By Socrates’ analogy, the philosopher must do more than engage in arguments and explanations: there is an attunement of the psyche, the development and influence of which makes or breaks the philosophical viability of all thinking and discourse. Along with thinking, we need a philosophical temperament, tenor and expertise; a spiri ... Read Article
Lamb of the Free (6)
Human blood in the OT defiled rather than purified, and God viewed human sacrifice as false worship. Laying on of hands doesn't imply substitution, as some non atoning sacrifices require laying on hands, while other atoning ones do not. Rillera cites Shauff that it is not the death in the OT that is key to the ritual but what is done by the priest to the slaughtered animal parts afterwards that constitutes the atonement. This is not addressed by Hillera yet but may begin to make sense that Paul, the great advocate of the cross seemed to hold contradictory stances of  "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor 2:2)." VS "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins. (1 Cor 15:17)." Vegetable and grain burnt offerings can also be considered sacrifices in the OT. ... Read Article
Lamb of the Free (5)
So, as I said, there may in fact be a problem of applying Old Testament animal substitutionary logic to Jesus. In fact, our author Andrew Remington Rillera points out there is no such animal substitution sacrifice logic in the Old Testament, such as an animal sacrificed to substitute for someone charged with capital offence. The result, we may need to rethink the sacrificial imagery in the NT. ... Read Article
Lamb of the Free (4)
Rillera is going to argue 4 theses regarding OT sacrifice as not being substitutionary. He outlines these as follows: ( 1 ) There is no such thing as a “ substitutionary death " sacrifice in the Torah . ( 2 ) The hand - laying ritual is not saying " this is me ; this is my substitute , " but rather , " this is mine ; I own this and I'm giving it to God [ for various distinct purposes ] . " ( 3 ) Sacrificial slaughter is itself not focused on the biological death of the animal . Sacrificial slaughter is separated from any notion of simply being a “ death ” and it is explicitly reconceptualized via specific ritual actions as something other than a killing of a blood - bearing creature . ( 4 ) Sacrificial slaughter is not at all about making the animal " suffer ” ( let alone suffer as a substitute ) . (30-31) So, as we go along we'll see the arguments put forth to defend these theses. ... Read Article
(3) Lamb of the Free
Rillera provides some helpful foreshadowing of what we will see in the book: But Tyndale then used the noun “ atonement , ” and the verb form " to atone , " to translate the Hebrew root word k - p - r in the Torah ( Genesis - Deuteronomy ) . But this already makes theological assumptions about the function of Israel's sacrificial system that Hebrew Bible scholars almost unanimously have demonstrated to be misunderstandings , as will be developed in the next chapter . For a quick teaser : In the piel form , kipper means " remove " most broadly , but when used in the sacrificial system it more specifically conveys the idea of “ decontaminate ” or “ purify " or “ purge ” ( i.e. , removing a contamination clinging to something ) . Hence , kipper does not mean “ reconcile , ” nor “ save , ” nor " forgive . " Equally importantly , only holy objects within the sacred dwelling place , or later the temple , receive the ritual action of kipper . In other words , when kipper happens , what is ... Read Article
(2) Lamb of the Free
From Campbell's preface to Rillera's book we read regarding sacrifice: The set of equations at the heart of the PSA model is , quite simply , untrue . The practice and logic of OT sacrifice has nothing to do with substitution , retribution , or punishment ( i.e. , negative retribution ) . Neither is it supplying a universal account of justice . The mechanism , logic , and concerns of OT sacrifice are completely different . (16) Hopefully this book will go to the heart of what many believe to be the core of the Christian faith, penal substitution atonement (that Christ died to pay the sin debt we owe), refuting them, and also that secular readings of Christian origins based on PSA such as the Christ Myth Theory are demonstrably false. ... Read Article
Lamb of the Free: Recovering the Varied Sacrificial Understandings of Jesus’s Death By Andrew Remington Rillera · 2024 (Intro)
I'll be reviewing Rillera's Lamb of the Free which is trending right now as a critique and alternative to the substitutionary atonement interpretation of Jesus's death (that Jesus suffered the death we deserved). Here is the blurb from the publisher: Lamb of the Free analyzes the different sacrificial imagery applied to Jesus in the NT in light of the facts that (a) there is no such thing as substitutionary death sacrifice in the Torah--neither death nor suffering nor punishment of the animal has any place in the sacrificial system--and (b) there are both atoning and non-atoning sacrifices. Surprisingly, the earliest and most common sacrifices associated with Jesus's death are the non-atoning ones. Nevertheless, when considering the whole NT, Jesus is said to accomplish all the benefits of the entire Levitical system, from both atoning and non-atoning sacrifices and purification. Moreover, all sacrificial interpretations of Jesus's death in the NT operate within the paradigm of participation, which ... Read Article
Careful Analysis of Objections to the Swoon Theory: INDEX
In Chapter 8 of their Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli claim to prove the Christian view that God raised Jesus from the dead and gave Jesus an immortal body. Their case for the resurrection of Jesus can be briefly summarized in a two-premise argument: 1. IF Kreeft and Tacelli refuted the four alternative (skeptical) theories, THEN Kreeft and Tacelli have proved that the Christian Theory of the resurrection of Jesus is true. 2. Kreeft and Tacelli refuted (in Chapter 8 of HCA) the four alternative (skeptical) theories. THEREFORE: 3. Kreeft and Tacelli have proved that the Christian Theory of the resurrection of Jesus is true. Both premises are FALSE, so this argument is UNSOUND, and thus their case for the resurrection of Jesus FAILS. One reason why premise (2) is FALSE, is that Kreeft and Tacelli FAILED to refute the Swoon Theory, which was one of the four skeptical theories that they had attempted to refute. They also FAILED to refute the three othe ... Read Article
Careful Analysis of Objections to the Swoon Theory: Objection #8 (Where Did Jesus Go?)
WHERE WE ARE Careful argument evaluation is the heart and soul of critical thinking. But in order to do a careful evaluation of an argument, one must first have a clear understanding of the argument that is to be evaluated. Careful argument analysis is usually required in order to obtain a clear understanding of an argument, so having the knowledge, skills, and desire to do careful argument analysis is crucial to being a critical thinker. I have carefully evaluated nine objections against the Swoon Theory, objections put forward by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli in Chapter 8 of their Handbook of Christian Apologetics. I arrived at the conclusion that all nine objections FAIL, and thus that their case against the Swoon Theory FAILS, and their case for the resurrection of Jesus FAILS. But in order to be in a position to do this, I had to first do a careful argument analysis of each objection (each objection constitutes an argument against the Swoon Theory). In this post I will walk through my proces ... Read Article
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