Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Survey Says…

Ligonier Ministries recently teamed up with LifeWay to conduct a survey about the theological views of Americans with a particular focus on evangelicals. I have a few thoughts on both the survey itself and its results.

The partnership between a Reformed para-church publisher and the retail arm of the Southern Baptist Convention probably suggests something about the inroads neo-Calvinists have made within that denomination. This is no surprise, of course. Al Mohler has been in charge of the SBC’s flagship seminary (SBTS) for quite some time. Additionally, Calvinistic Baptists seem to be the only ones within that denomination who are consistently serious about theology. I might be inclined to argue that when Christian fundamentalism intersects with middle class pseudo-intellectualism, Calvinism is the meme most fit to rise to the top. It's difficult not to agree with my friend Neil who observes that it is largely just “gentrified religious extremism.”

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Presuppositional Atheism?

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was a Presuppositionalist. I've discussed this briefly before, but having grown wary and suspect of the weaknesses of apologetic methods like Thomistic arguments and evidentialism, I turned to the seemingly-unassailable circularity offered by this “epistemology.” I just used scare quotes there because Presuppositionalism probably isn’t as much of an epistemology as it is an apologetic method (if it’s even that). The basic claim of Presuppositionalism is that the Christian understanding of reality is the only internally consistent worldview and that the propositions contained in the Protestant Bible, and implicitly the Westminsterian interpretation of those propositions, are to be taken axiomatically. All other worldviews will fail the internal scrutiny of a reductio ad absurdum.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mistakes of Moses Expanded Universe: Genesis 28:10-22

In this installment Jacob uses a magic rock to have an encounter with the deity, he has a curious response to Yahweh's promises while setting up a worship center in the wrong place, and we attempt to peel back the curtain a bit and show what source-critical scholars have been aware of for a while now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Elijah and the Apologist of Baal

I Kings 18:17-40
And Ahab went to meet Elijah. And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?”

And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of Jehovah, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table.” So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. For even though this was a ridiculous request, Elijah was some kind of svengali.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mistakes of Moses Expanded Universe: Genesis 27:1-28:9

In this installment, which we could begin calling "The Old and the Restless", Jacob continues his trickery with the help of his shifty Aramean mother; Isaac makes a careless blunder when casting a spell; Esau gets a really raw deal again because, well, Yahweh just hates him; and then all four main characters act like none of it ever happened. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ignore what I said about myself; you’re going to anyway

I dislike much about what professional apologist William Lane Craig does and says and that dislike extends back to well before my departure from the Christian faith. As a good, thoughtful Calvinist I found his philosophical approach to Libertarian Free Will, known as Molinism, to be highly flawed and clearly at odds with scripture and sound reasoning. I always thought he played fast and loose with the clear meaning of the texts of the Bible in order to make his evidentialist defenses of Christianity and it pissed me off. What can I say? I was an Angry Bearded Calvinist™ without the beard. Well, WLC continues to piss me off because of his disingenuousness and deliberate obfuscation and I’m not the only one.

Bart Ehrman is understandably incensed by this old post from Craig that someone must’ve brought to his attention recently. In it Craig straight up lies about Ehrman’s personal biography, claiming that it was Ehrman’s rejection of biblical inerrancy that led to his deconversion. That’s just…I can’t…no. Anyone remotely familiar with Ehrman’s story should know better, but especially someone who knows him personally and has actually directly engaged Ehrman in a pitched debate. He’s been pretty open about it. How open? Well, he wrote a friggin’ book about it. Now, in fairness to WLC, that book came out after this post. However, as Ehrman points out, the man had access to Ehrman’s email address. He could’ve just asked him. He didn’t. He just went ahead and attributed whatever motives and reasons best fit his own preconceived ideas.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mistakes of Moses Expanded Universe: Genesis 26

Just picking up a Bible and reading chapters like this one might make a reader come away yawning. Isaac goes to the territory of the Philistines to escape a famine, lies about his wife being his sister, gets rich in the process, develops a rivalry with the locals, gets into a dispute over some wells and settles things with a treaty. When taking other passages into account, however, there are a lot of interesting discrepancies.