Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Inerrant, Infallible Word of George Lucas

I recently saw a Facebook thread in which Star Wars fans were explaining the odd design of the Millennium Falcon. The question was raised regarding why the cockpit is on the side of the craft rather than in the middle, a design flaw that makes visually navigating something like a ridiculously jam-packed asteroid field even more difficult than the 3,720 to 1 success ratio certain protocol droids might estimate. The consensus was that it was primarily designed to be a cargo vessel and was later modified as a smuggling vessel. That makes some sense until one looks at the similarly flawed design of the B-Wing, which was supposed to be a heavy attack craft in the Star Wars universe. Other explanations had to be offered for that apparent flaw. All the while interlocutors were pointing out the obvious: it looks freakin' cool and was part of the imagination of the filmmakers, so who cares? It's just a movie.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Think of the Children

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 16:6 (KJV)
I've briefly mentioned my children before and the role they played in my apostasy and how my wife and I took very seriously what we understood to be our duty as parents to raise our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. We were intent on diligently teaching his commands to them, speaking of them when we sat in our house or walked by the way. Not only did we feel compelled by scriptural mandates and encouraged by our church's culture, we also had other, stronger motives to completely inundate them with Christian dogma.

For my wife's part, she had never felt her faith was authentically experienced. Any time she heard a sermon about what preachers would call "coattails Christianity" – an expression meant to convey the idea that one's relationship with God is vicarious and that one is attempting to ride the coattails of another, usually parents, into heaven – she would worry that she was one of those people. While she never doubted the existence of God and wholeheartedly believed the gospel message, she constantly doubted her salvation because the whole thing never felt real in the way others seemed to think it should. Things like prayer had to be forced and and did not come naturally. She felt she could never understand the Bible on her own when she read it, much less explain it to someone else.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mistakes of Moses Expanded Universe: Genesis 32

In this installment Jacob meets some heavenly messengers on a camping trip to earth. He comes up with a plan to handle his approaching brother only to later abandon it. Finally, he has a nocturnal romp with a divine being resulting in a limp, a name change, and a whole lot of interpretive difficulty. Did you think the story in the last installment was a little difficult for conservative Bible expositors to wrestle with? Well, LET'S GET READY TO RUM....hold on a sec....I don't want to have to send a fat check to Michael Buffer. Let's just get started.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Sandcastle Faith

Source: Wikipedia
Neil Carter has a post over at the Recovering from Religion blog wherein he shares a snapshot of his personal journey from an old journal entry.* I think I kept a journal for about a minute when I was fourteen or fifteen and gave it up about the time I got my first job. I haven't looked at it in forever, but I'm sure it's filled with mostly angsty adolescent nonsense about girls I liked who didn't seem to like me back. Neil's journal entry reflects the thoughts of a contemplative twenty-nine-year-old father of three reflecting on the very nature of reality. Probably a bit more weighty by comparison.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Afterlife Demographics

In addition to Neil Carter, I count several of the blog moderators over at Godless in Dixie among my friends. Yeah, I'm name-dropping. People know me. Deal with it. Anyway, one of those mods is an ex-Christian who goes by the handle Thought2Much. His name, of course, is a reference to the reason why he deconverted. Now, before you get in a huff, thinking Christian, don't assume that this in any way implies that I'm saying Christians don't or can't think. You are unlikely to ever hear me say that I think all Christians are stupid or incapable of deep thought and reflection. After all, my last stop on the faith train was hardly a brand of anti-intellectual Christianity.

What I am referring to is thinking too much about certain doctrines or propositions found within Christianity that, when brought to conclusion, lend themselves to some silly things that often make one sit up, give pause, and question the validity of the entire scheme. There are plenty of these we could look at, but this time around I'd like to focus on what happens when we combine some standard Christian assumptions about the afterlife and view the end result.