Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Computer Brains

I was reading a post about thoughtcrime as it relates to Christianity over at A Counter Apologist's blog when it dawned on me that one of my favorite Christian rock bands had engaged in some unintentional irony related to this issue back in the day.

First some background.

It seems obvious that CCM is highly derivative, and the Christian rock band Petra was certainly no exception. In 1984 (the year, not the book) the young people were all tuning in to keyboard-driven techno pop, so there was a natural inclination for a Christian rock band like Petra to veer away from their rock roots and produce a techno pop album. 1985's Beat the System was that album. It was the first ever CCM recording I was introduced to outside of Amy Grant, Keith Green and Truth.

Mistakes of Moses Expanded Universe: Genesis 14

In this installment: the armies of the greatest empire history has ever never known are no match for an old man and his slaves, the ultra-hipster Amalekites get conquered before they exist, there's some vital clarification regarding Abram's ethnicity, we find more evidence that Moses had a TARDIS, and the Hebrew patriarch pays off a Canaanite high priest and Yahweh is totally cool with it.

There are nine kings mentioned in this passage. This is the best and only time in the Abraham narratives where we even get an opportunity to try to line up the account with the historical and archeological records of the Ancient Near East. It should be relatively easy since nine kings and a pivotal battle are mentioned in this passage. Indeed for about 200 years archaeologists tried to find matches for these kings. Most have given up. Why? Because the geopolitical situation described in this passage has no correspondence to the records of anything that took place in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE when Abraham was supposed to have lived.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mistakes of Moses Expanded Universe: Genesis 13

In this installment: Abram continues his Promised Land Sacred Shrine Confusion Tour; Moses reminds his audience that Canaanites live in Canaan; Yahweh makes a promise to Abram...again; and the city of agreement fails to live up to its name.

Genesis 13:1-4
Abram goes back to Bethel where the altar was and again calls on Yahweh there, further cementing a practice that will be difficult to overcome later when worship is supposed to become centralized in Jerusalem.

Again we have another odd remark from our supposed author Moses telling us that the Canaanites and Perizzites were in the land at that time. If this is really being written prior to entering the land, why would Moses need to insert this bit of clarification? Wouldn’t the Children of Israel wandering in the wilderness awaiting entry into the Promised Land assume as much? Doesn’t this remark make more sense if it’s from a time when there were no longer Canaanites and Perizzites in the land? Cue the "scribal insertion" excuse again for yet another anachronism.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mistakes of Moses Expanded Universe: Genesis 12

In this installment we find a mistaken martyr, some superfluous Canaanite clarification, a confusing setting for worship, Episode I of the Patriarchal Pimping Trilogy, Sarai putting the "sexy" in "sexagenarian", a bit of justice Yahweh-style, and some time-travelling Egyptian camels.

Genesis 12:1-4
11:26 says Terah had Abram at 70. 11:32 says Terah lived to be 205, making Abram 135 at the time of Terah's death. This verse, however, says Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran, presumably after his father's death. This might not be that big of a problem as the text doesn’t explicitly state that Abram received the call from Yahweh and left Haran until after Terah died. It's possible to read this as though Terah could have still been living when Abram got the call and left, given the way it’s worded. We certainly get the impression that Abram didn't leave Haran until after his dad was dead, though. The bigger problem is that the supposedly inspired writer of Luke claims that Stephen understood this to be exactly the case.

In Acts 7:2-4 Stephen reportedly says, “The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living” [emphasis mine].

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Modern Mythic Messiahs that Out-Christ Jesus: Marty McFly

Christ figures have been around since…well…before Christ. Even as a Christian I acknowledged that there were what theologians often referred to as “types” of Christ in the Old Testament. These included Adam as a son of God, Abraham as an intercessor, Noah as a deliverer, Enoch who walked with God and ascended into heaven, Melchizedek a king and priest, King David the shepherd king, Isaac the willing sacrificial victim, Moses the lawgiver and deliverer with an infant exposure story, Joshua (same name as Jesus) the conqueror who led people into the Promised Land, Joseph the humble servant who became a ruler and deliverer, Jonah the prophet who was in “death” for three days and was “resurrected”, Judah who offers himself in exchange for the life of his brother, Boaz the kinsman-redeemer for Ruth, Daniel who is thrown in a pit of lions and emerges unscathed, Solomon the wise ruler and supposed husband of the female protagonist of the Song of Solomon, Elisha the prophet who miraculously multiplied resources and performed resurrections, Samson the Nazarite deliverer with a miraculous birth who is betrayed and sacrifices himself, and on and on.