MAGA Fundamentalists And Liberals
I've voted liberal, as my parents did, all my life, and can't really ever see voting conservative. But, you say, does that mean you like Big Government? In a way, yes. In Canada, there are many ways that the government is involved in education, like standardized tests. In the end, we want teachers and principals and superintendents to be accountable to students and parents regarding BEST PRACTICE. A common curriculum is part of this too. Whatever way we can ensure high accountability and standards of practice are important in doing the best we can for students and families. One example of this is how in certain school boards the progressive "Math Makes Sense" program was instituted, only to be challenged later because the students were slipping in their test scores and so a "back to basics" call was initiated. The problematic nature of this math program was immediately evident to teachers because the math textbooks were written above student reading level! Contrast this with the excellent practi ... Read Article
Kirk Cameron On The Evils Of Public School
Home-school advocate, actor Kirk Cameron, says public schools are staffed with “nefarious forces” who want to indoctrinate kids by “killing God,” and replacing him with “progressive, socialist, communist ideas.” It's amazing to me a guy I once thought was the very definition of cool has turned into an ultra right wing Christian clown show who gives the God of Logic an aneurysm every time a new mental abortion drops out of his mouth. I missed the Nefarious Forces committee meeting. Signed up for Before School Breakfast Club instead. ... Read Article
TRANSITIONS: Wrapping Up Scripture Studies Blogging (Part 1, Goicoechea and Paul SECTION 4)
The previous posts in this series are: TRANSITIONS: Wrapping Up Scripture Studies Blogging (Part 1, Goicoechea and Paul 1) TRANSITIONS: Wrapping Up Scripture Studies Blogging (Part 1, Goicoechea and Paul SECTION 2) TRANSITIONS: Wrapping Up Scripture Studies Blogging (Part 1, Goicoechea and Paul SECTION 3) Continuing to follow Goicoechea’s reading of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, Goicoechea’s project is to outline the various competing models in the New Testament and reconcile them through the lens of agape love.  It is of utmost importance that the secular reader understands the differences and tensions in the New Testament when debating Christians who think in terms of systematic theology.  Goicoechea writes: This question of the coming of the Kingdom is a major problem for each of the New Testament writers and just as there will be nine different models of the Kingdom and the Cross, so there will be different models concerning the Parousia or the fullness of time. Once more we ... Read Article
Donald Trump And The Alpha Males
"President Trump COOKED CNN tonight" (Nick Adams evaluating Trump's Town Hall on CNN last night). "Yes, I am more successful and attractive than you. No, I will not be apologizing for it. (Nick Adams)." Nick is mainly responsible for the photoshop Trump propaganda I've been posting here, and he is the self-proclaimed head of a group he calls the Alpha Males. If you'd like to get to know him, here's a short selection he posted today about something that happened to him: I was waiting to pick up my hot black coffee when I noticed a table full of suburban white women having a spirited conversation nearby. I’m not usually one to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help but notice they were talking about President Trump’s CNN town hall. Three of the four women were blown away by the President’s performance and admired the strength and policy prowess he showed during the event. “He looked so presidential last night,” one of the women remarked, “he looks like he hasn’t aged a day since 2016 ... Read Article
TRANSITIONS: Wrapping Up Scripture Studies Blogging (Part 1, Goicoechea and Paul SECTION 3)
Previously in this series: TRANSITIONS: Wrapping Up Scripture Studies Blogging (Part 1, Goicoechea and Paul 1) TRANSITIONS: Wrapping Up Scripture Studies Blogging (Part 1, Goicoechea and Paul SECTION 2) Bernhard Anderson’s Understanding the Old Testament above has been a great resource for generations of Religious Studies’ students, and is also valuable for Secularists to get a clearer idea of what they are arguing against.  Perhaps one of the most important distinctions in the Old Testament for understanding Paul’s Jesus is between (1) Mosaic Covenant theology and (2) Davidic Promise theology.  Jesus is portrayed as fulfilling, not abolishing, the law by making it stricter: eg adultery is not just the act, but is committed when there is lust in your heart.  In terms of this interpretation of the law, Jesus’ life is an existential point: the world violently turned on God’s specially chosen Jesus who had proved who he was through signs and wonders and wisdom, Jesus thus disclosing or ... Read Article
The Trump Card
In what came as a shock to many conservatives, Donald Trump was found guilty in civil court of sexual abuse and was fined. The reaction of the extreme right? Cries that the justice system is broken and corrupt, and produced more Trump photoshop propaganda. The trump phenomenon is an interesting case study in "spin," the idea it doesn't matter what someone says or does if you are predisposed to like, or dislike, them. ... Read Article
TRANSITIONS: Wrapping Up Scripture Studies Blogging (Part 1, Goicoechea and Paul SECTION 2)
Last Post: TRANSITIONS: Wrapping Up Scripture Studies Blogging (Part 1, Goicoechea and Paul 1) As a modern textual critic in the rigorous Jesuit tradition, Goicoechea is going to affirm difference:  For instance, the terrified and panicking pseudonymous Jesus on the cross in Mark is not the calm expectant pseudonymous Jesus on the cross in Luke.  However, in the postmodern philosophical tradition of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Levinas, Derrida, Deleuze and Foucault, he is going to begin to reconcile the differences with the category of selfless loves as agape, in distinction with love as eros, philia, or storge: Storge – empathy bond. Philia – friend bond. Eros – romantic love. Agape – selfless love. Goicoechea comments: Two thousand years ago Jesus introduced his new teaching and practice of agape which commands us to love one another as he loved us in self denial and sacrifice. Each new age has emphasized a special aspect of loving God with our whole heart, mind, and sou ... Read Article
TRANSITIONS: Wrapping Up Scripture Studies Blogging (Part 1, Goicoechea and Paul 1)
I really appreciate everyone who has, or will in future, followed along as I blogged about scripture studies. I am transitioning out of that format and will instead be blogging about general interest and current affairs secular topics. But before that, I'm going to be blogging about the ideas of my former professor the Canadian postmodern philosopher David Goicoechea and some of his ideas on Paul, Mark, and Matthew. If you've been following along we first encountered him with ideas about the Q source and Nietzsche: The Jesus of the Philosophers (Nietzsche’s Jesus Part 1/3) The Jesus of the Philosophers (Nietzsche’s Jesus Part 2/3) The Jesus of the Philosophers (Nietzsche’s Jesus Part 3/3) His project was to rethink the New Testament writings through the lens of agape (selfless love), especially love of one's enemy. So, here is post 1 on Goicoechea and Paul: Goicoechea points out that just as the transformed Roman soldier looks up at the crucified Jesus in Mark and sincerely ... Read Article
(2/2 With Dr. Robert M. Price) Religion For Atheists: What Is Progressive Christianity?
Last time in this 2 part series I raised the issue, following analogies with God lying (1 Kings 22:21-22) and Elisha lying (2 Kings 8:8-10: Elisha says "Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover,’ but the Lord has shown me that he shall certainly die.” And, in fact the man never recovers from the illness because he is soon murdered), if an argument could be made that God lied to Jesus that He would rescue Jesus from the cross by sending Elijah, even though God knew Elijah wouldn't come and God was just trying to lessen Jesus' burden (On God lessening burdens, see Psalm 68:19-20; Psalm 81:6-7; Psalm 55:22; 2 Cor 1:4; Matthew 11:29-30)? Just as Mark portrays John the Baptist as the new and greater Elijah, Jesus would be John's successor and superior, the new and greater Elisha who does not tell the lie but is told it. See: Religion For Atheists: What Is Progressive Christianity? If this is the case, we should see some imagery pointing to Jesus not dying on the cross. And that's ... Read Article
Christianity In Ruins
I think it is safe to say Heidegger studies may be living in the twilight of their existence. As the extent of Heidegger's anti-semitism is now being fully grasped, the monographs are starting to appear that simply declare his later philosophy to be Nazi apologetics and so not worth bothering with. See this article in The Conversation. Heidegger is certainly interesting to read, although with around 100 book length manuscripts and libraries of secondary literature it's a little presumptuous to consider oneself a Heidegger expert. I think the fate of Heidegger will be that of most of the post destru(k)tion philosophers like Deleuze and Derrida whose intentionally cryptic and obscure way of writing really takes away from any serious engagement with them. Heidegger will often introduce and rely on a concept for hundreds of pages without explaining what it means until much later or even in another book entirely. Foucault once said to Searle that French publishers expect works to have a certain level ... Read Article
Religion For Atheists: What Is Progressive Christianity?
The New Testament says Christ died for our sins.  Does this mean Christ died to vicariously atone for our sins?  To make our hidden sin nature conspicuous so we can repent and be forgiven?  Mark says Jesus was a ransom for us.  Who was holding us hostage?  God?  The influence of Satan?  Who is God?  The rigid God of Justice who can’t forgive so Jesus must die in our place?  The forgiving God of the Hebrew scriptures who is embodied in the New Testament by such mandates as “father forgive them” and “love your enemy and bless those who persecute you?”  There are many questions here. Perhaps the biggest difference between Conservative Christians and Progressive Christians is the goal of letting the text speak for itself rather than trying to shoehorn it into preconceived models and categories.  In this way, we see liberals accepting the discoveries of critical scholarship more thoroughly than conservatives.  Prof Ehrman, who is not Chr ... Read Article
The Context Of Pulp Fiction
It's fascinating to think how the context we are in shape us, what Philosophers call the Hermeneutic Circle. For example, if you are born in certain countries, there is a near 99% chance that one of your most fundamental ways of looking at yourself is that you would be muslim. The movie Pulp Fiction was this sort of game changer when I was young. After seeing the movie my friends and I tried to mimic the dialogue and even imitate the actors' mannerisms. This certainly led to some issue because there was a lot of problematic language in the film, like the N-word being used a lot, and so I can think of one time I used it imitating the movie that I regretted later. It's interesting to think of how our context fundamentally determines us. I am proud of my MA degree in Philosophy and worked hard to achieve it, but I know this wouldn't even have been a possibility if I was born into poverty and disease in a third world country. ... Read Article
Review Of The Justin Bass /Bart Ehrman Chat About The Resurrection Of Jesus This is a nice informal chat between Bart Ehrman and Justin Bass about the historical evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. The conversation began with a number of off the cuff topics, like both scholars making fun of the Christ Myth Theory (the idea that Jesus never lived but was a mythical figure like Hercules).  The main discussion begins with Bass outlining why he believes there is good evidence for the resurrection, pointing to our earliest witness of Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians section 15 which says the risen Jesus was believed to have appeared to Peter, James, the 12, a group called the 500, and Paul.  Ehrman responds that history is rich in people of all religions claiming to have had such experiences, and the ones Paul relates are no more evidence for the truth of Christianity than any other such claims would be evidence for other faiths.  The point is then extended in that there are a number of eyewitnesses here in Chri ... Read Article
Advertising Secularism in the Bible Belt
Zack Hunt put up a few billboards today in his hometown of Nashville, right smack down in the buckle of the Bible Belt. Can't see these causing any problems, lol. ... Read Article
Conservative Twitter Has Discovered Photoshop
Here are a few of the beauties that are making the rounds today And my favorite: Only president Trump can catch them all (via Nick Adams) ... Read Article