Sunday, October 18, 2009

Obama for Pope

Fans of Left Behind-Ignore this Quote

"The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
-Luke 17: 20-21

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I've got tomorrow off work in honor of Columbus Day. According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, Columbus read the apocryphal "2 Esdras" (6:42) which states that the Earth is six parts land to one of water, leading Columbus to believe that a voyage across the sea would be shorter and less hazardous than it turned out to be.

Columbus was also influenced by the medieval theologians' racist interpretation of Genesis. Ham, who commits the offense of accidentally seeing his father Noah passed out naked in a drunken stupor, is consigned to serve his brothers, as are Ham's descendents, thought by Western Christian theologians at the time to be Africans. Columbus saw the dark complexion of the natives living in the land he had discovered, Hispaniola, as evidence of their inferiority, making his slaughter and enslavement of them part of the divine natural order. Happy Columbus Day everyone!

No Book Left Behind

A Secret of the Universe, by Stephen Gibson, begins on Sunday, October 11th, 2009, with the destruction of downtown Chicago. It's a skeptic's well reasoned response to the fire and brimstone of popular Christian End of Days fiction. I'm only two thirds through the book, so hopefully I'll still be able to finish it tomorrow. I've been reading A Secret... and the right wing-Christian apocalyptic best seller Left Behind for over 2 years now. I'm sad to give my opinion that Left Behind is better written, but A Secret of the Universe is a better book. Gibson writes non-fiction beautifully and sincerely- just check out his blog at:

When Gibson writes fiction however, he provides far too much explicit information, rather than letting the prose itself give insight into the characters and situations. The worst example of this comes when the main character begins to muse about marriage. Suddenly the narrative diverges for 2 paragraphs with a book summary: "As the controversial Dr. Laura Schlessinger aptly described in her later book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands..." The passage is even footnoted. It's a shame that there was no merciless editor with a blue pencil on this project. Even the evangelist Tim LaHaye had a co-author to whip his Pre-Millenial-Dispensationalist visions into best selling literary form.

So another deadline has come to pass. I now hope to have read both Left Behind and A Secret of the Universe by December 21st, 2012, the day the Mayan (or is it Aztec?) calendar comes to an end.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bible V. 2

Like a dutiful liberal, I was sorting through stacks of old papers looking for items to recycle. I came across some notes I had copied from Francis Schaeffer's Addicted to Mediocrity, p.121 :
Bible as divinely inspired, error free, comprehensive, and unambiguous message from God to man. Bible as final authority in history, geography, biology, physics, zoology...OBEYED
Almost everyone who identifies herself as a Christian seeems to believe the Bible is divinely inspired, and many Christians seen on TV or who write letters to the editor share Francis Schaeffer's view that the Bible is inerrant.
I overheard a couple of my coworkers discussing the Bible a few days ago. They remarked on its wisdom and concluded that everyone had to read it and see the Truth for himself. I wanted to blurt out that Christianity went without a Bible for 300 years, and even for hundreds of years after that most people couldn't read it. Even if a translation was available, most people couldn't read. Some Christians may have the gift of tongues, but the gift of spontaneous literacy in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic is one I've never seen recorded.
Parts of the Bible are certainly out of date and ignored by most Christians, although the occasional Christian Crazy surfaces to demand stoning of homosexuals and death to witches, just like it says in the Bible. Some of the more literal minded Christians seem to be livining in the wrong era.
If a counsel of wise Christian Patriarchs were to convene and update the Bible so it truly were the final authority in history, geography, biology, physics, zoology, what would be included? Would the theory of relativity or evolution be included? Maybe writings about"Creation Science" and "Christian Capitalism." Would modern day miracles like Marian Appartitions be documented? Would televangelist Oral Robert's vision of a 900 foot Jesus be included? Some might include a sermon by Martin Luther King, while others might want to include a Sermon by Jerry Falwell bashing King. Would the new editors favor theological works from Johann Metz and Sallie McFague, or excerpts from Christian bestsellers like Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life or Hal Lindsay's Late Great Planet Earth.
Obviously, it would take a miracle to get a simple majority of the largest Christian organizations to agree on anything. The Bible can be interpreted in many different ways, and that believing it is divinely inspired, error free, comprehensive, and an unambiguous message from God to man is not necessary to being a Christian or a good person. To quote a book I read:
What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.