Stretching credulity: On an exegesis of Matthew 8

February 28, 2008

I like to get information from a number of different sources from time to time, and one source that I like for its general fairness is Ed Brayton’s Dispatches from the Culture Wars (fair warning: Dispatches is heavy on adult language and topics). Brayton is much further left politically than I, but he’s got a good head on his shoulders, and he often denounces irrational criticisms from those on his “side.”

Case in point: Ed posted about some rather poor logic a few days ago, and a commenter going by the name “Priya Lynn” jumped in. Ed (and other commenters) thoroughly criticized many of his/her positions, but I was interested in a site he/she listed called Would Jesus Discriminate?

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On “pagan” church practices

January 4, 2008

We live in an age where revolution is the buzzword; I am always reminded of a lyric from This Love by Stavesacre that sums up the current state of affairs: “Revolution is just a word/That loses more each time it’s heard”. It’s the type of attitude that makes ignorant teenagers and college students wear Che Guevara shirts and promulgates the sort of tripe that appears in icons of pop culture like The Da Vinci Code. As suggested in the latter example, much of these “revolutionary” ideas focus on Christianity.

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Bill Vallicella on patriotism

July 5, 2007

I always dread Memorial Day and the Fourth of July somewhat, mainly because I live in a small rural, agriculture-based Midwestern town (I hope that’s a sufficient description to make my point) and always end up hearing tripe about how America is a Christian nation, with all the arguments that followed. Our pastor was on vacation, so the message given by a lay member was basically the obligatory history lesson – Did you know that John Jay advised early U.S. citizens to “select and prefer Christians for their rulers”? Did you know that Patrick Henry said, “America was not founded by religionist but by Christians. It was not founded upon religions but upon the gospel of Jesus Christ”? And so forth. The other claim that I found rather peculiar was the insinuation, never quite made explicit, that the Great Awakening was one of (if not the primary) the movements that influenced the creation of the U.S., which struck me as rather odd given some of the obvious Enlightenment ideals sprinkled in our early documents (it doesn’t take much to see Thomas Jefferson’s co-option of Locke’s phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of property”).

But enough of my gripes. Bill Vallicella over at Maverick Philosopher has scrounged up an old entry entitled Patriotism and Jingoism that expresses much of my own frustration with this time of year in my little area of the world. Everyone should be familiar with the terms Vallicella explicates in this entry.

Eusebius: Lying liars and the irony that ensues

March 9, 2007

Over the course of several years perusing several anti-Christian sites, I have encountered several different accusations against Christianity, the Bible, and the church fathers. None of them has been more amusing to me, however, than the claim that certain church fathers openly promoted deception to “ensnare” followers into the religion. Read the rest of this entry »