Showing posts from August, 2010

denying the deity of Jesus before A.D. 200

I am thoroughly enjoying this work written in the early 300's, Eusebius Pamphilius: Church History, because human nature is so conserved over time. The church enjoys public favor then falls into disfavor resulting in persecution and death. The church enjoys unity then is divided by schismatics who think up all sorts of crazy theologies that tend to result in their own physical well-being and personal wealth.
Recently, at the lunch time Bible study I belong to at work, our free flowing conversation, based on John 13, gravitated toward the deity of Jesus. Is he or isn't he God and if he is, how can there also be a God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit, but God can still be one? This mystery is solved as early as Tertullian, writing in North Africa, in the early 200's, maybe only 140 years after John wrote his gospel. It was later hammered out at the Nicene council, which I wrote about before. Basically, one substance, God, but three persons, or, "three who's and o…

cinema review: Inception (2010)

The major theme of this movie might seem to be the power of an idea, which is compared to a virulent virus which overtakes minds and can overtake societies. We can receive ideas, or conceive them ourselves, but to deceive someone to think they conceived the idea is the act of inception. In this sci-fi world, people have learned how to invade other's dreams to steal secrets, which leads to the real theme of the movie, haunted minds. Regret, unforgiveness, guilt are all emotions that can cripple and destroy us and those around us. Inception is about a dream burglar, the best in the world, whose ghosts put his team and his mission in danger.
If you don't like spoilers, don't read any further, but go enjoy the movie then come back here. Image via Wikipedia
Dom Cobb is the best dream burglar in the world because he has gone where no others have. Time slows in dream world, and minutes in our world can be hours in a dream and weeks in a dream within a dream. Only Cobb and his deceas…

book report: Christians are Hate-filled Hypocrites 2010 by Bradley Wright

I have only known UConn Sociology professor Bradley R. E. Wright through the internet but he still was kind enough to send me a copy of his new book to review. I loved it. It's got a long title, but it tells you everything you need to know, Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media. I started reading Wright's blog soon after he started it, when he was investigating the assertion that Christian divorce rates are no different from non-Christian divorce rates in America. As he pointed out, things are more complicated than that. But you can read the series yourself, or the book, to get the rest of the story. One lesson I learned from all the data he presents from large national surveys is that, in general, the more often you go to church, the more likely you will behave in a Christian way, with the exception of minority tolerance. I could focus on that bit of negativity, but, as Wr…

a couple things Aug 11, 2010

I listen to Pandora in the lab at work regularly as I'm running my experiments. I have quite a variety of artists in my playlists, but I made a new one based on Dave Brubeck, and I love it so much that I haven't listened to anything else. I like Pandora, but I love what they offer in the Dave Brubeck genre. They play plenty of Brubeck, but also other great stuff. Music I can leave on in the office and the lab all day that no one gets sick of, yet.
After I finished last night's book report, I dove into the next one by Bradley Wright, a sociologist at my alma mater, UConn. His book is Christians are Hate-filled Hypocrites...and other lies you've been told. I hated statistics when I took at UConn, but I use them at work now, and I love a book full of statistics, like this one. In pharmaceutical trials, my company has to recruit thousands of volunteers in the 3rd phase of drug development, to prove to the FDA and other regulatory bodies around the world that the effects see…

book report: Beyond Opinion (2007) by Ravi Zacharias

As a Booksneeze book reviewer, I was so excited to receive a Ravi Zacharias book, Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith we Defend, for review. He is on our local Christian radio station, WCSE, and those 15 minute shows are usually so compelling, we’ll sit in the car to hear the end of the show. The recorded presentations are very palatable because the apologetics are weaved into compelling narratives. The book does not go down so easy, which is not a bad thing, especially if you like more meat than potato. Mr. Zacharias serves as the general editor and contributor toCover via Amazon the book. Other chapters are written by current and former staff from his apologetics ministry. Of the 14 essays, three were most enjoyable to me: Challenges from Science by John Lennox, The Trinity as a Paradigm for Spiritual Transformation by L. T. Jeyachandran, and Idolatry, Denial, and Self-Deception: Hearts on Pilgrimage by Danielle DuRant. I enjoyed the first because I am a biologist by day and I appreci…

consistency of Christian discrimination

I'm finishing up Ravi Zacharias's book on apologetics, Beyond Opinion, and the last chapter, The church's role in apologetics and the development of the mind, is written by himself. He is the editor of the book, but also contributes a couple chapters, this one and one on evil. I will set up his position on discrimination by quoting his take on truth. You see, truth by definition is exclusive. If truth were all-inclusive, nothing would be false. And if nothing were false, what would be the meaning of true? Furthermore, if nothing were false, would it be true to say that everything is false? It quickly becomes evident that nonsense would follow. p. 314 If I tell you something is true, then I am also telling you something is not true. If I tell you that the apple is red, then I am also telling you it is not blue. This plays out in a conversation he had with a reporter. I had just finished lecturing at a university. She [the reporter - jpu] had very graciously stayed through …

idolatry and cognitive dissonance in the Christian life

I'm almost done with a new anthology from RZIM, Beyond Opinion, Living the Faith we defend,
Cover via Amazon 2007, edited by Ravi Zacharias. In the chapter by Danielle DuRant titled, Idolatry, Denial, and Self-deception, I was intrigued enough but her thoughts that I wanted to put them here for the viewing public's consideration.

What is idolatry? It is "treating what is not ultimate as though it were ultimate, making absolute what is only relative," says Emory professor Luke Timothy Johnson. Whenever we deem a particular relationship or goal an absolute necessity - I must have this - we are in danger of idolatry. According to Martin Luther, whatever your heart clings to and relies upon, that is your God. "An idol is something within creation that is inflated to function as a substitute for God,: suggests Dick Keyes. Since an idol is a counterfeit, it is a lie. Deception is its very identity...Tather than look to the Creator and have to deal with His lordship, we…

another blogger's thoughts: Did God Command Genocide in the Old Testament?

I very much appreciate the thinking that has gone into this article and the response to the atrocities of Joshua. Here is the introduction, but I hope you will go read it all.
Contra Mundum: Did God Command Genocide in the Old Testament?: "Perhaps the most perplexing issue facing Christan believers is a series of jarring texts in the Old Testament. After liberating Israel from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites arrived on the edge of the promised land. The book of Deuteronomy records that God then commanded Israel to “destroy totally” the people occupying these regions (the Canaanites); the Israelites were to “leave alive nothing that breathes.” The book of Joshua records the carrying out of this command. In the sixth chapter it states “they devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.” In the tenth and eleventh chapters the text states that Joshua “left no survivors. He totally destroyed …

a sermon on mercy with emphasis on Haiti

I gave this sermon this morning at my church.

Two Wednesday nights ago, four 50 somethings from this area, could not fall asleep again. The previous nights were due to the heat and humidity, but this was humidity on a new level of misery. These Yankees had never experienced a thunderstorm so loud and violent and rain so hard as this one. But then, none of them had ever been in Haiti before, in July. Although this house in Jacmel, on the southeastern coast of Haiti had remained standing after the massive earthquake of January 12th, 2010, it apparently had lost some strength in its roof. With this much water coming down, so hard and so fast, all the cracks in the flat concrete roof let the rain in on the team, who were alone for their first night. So they got up in the night and started to mop out the wet rooms. At least they were on bunk beds off the floor. Compared to tens of thousands of Haitians throughout SE Haiti, they were living in luxury: electricity, flush toilets, showers, s…