Contradiction: Was There a Sojourn in Egypt or Not?

Peter, one of the regular readers here, pointed my attention to a post that shows a discrepancy in what the Bible claims about Jacob’s descendants spending 400+ years in Egypt. I won’t try to summarize it here — I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Just check it out for yourself:
https://isthatinthebible.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/the-story-of-ezer-and-elead-and-what-it-means-for-the-exodus/

Which Nativity Story?

Well, it’s that time of year again. Regular church attendees are going to have to share their pews with people who have finally decided to make it out for their second service of the year. Their belief that Jesus bled and died so they can gain eternal salvation might be unshakable, but it apparently isn’t all that motivating, considering how little these believers seem to do in response. Nevertheless, they can at least be counted on to show up for a retelling of Jesus’s miraculous birth.

But what version will they hear? More than likely, they’ll hear a “Hollywood” version of the tale that incorporates the most exciting elements of the two versions that we read about in Matthew and Luke. A quick Google search turned up this one, which illustrates my point perfectly. But what if someone tried to tell the full version? A version that included every detail that both Matthew and Luke provide?
Continue reading “Which Nativity Story?”

10 Year Anniversary!

Today marks 10 years since I started this blog! I had planned to do a big post in commemoration — maybe talk about some of the first posts I wrote and call attention to all the commenters who have helped make this blog so interesting over the years. Sadly, I didn’t have time to pull all that together, but I hated to let the day go by without saying something.

So to those of you who have been following along, thank you! Blogging has been far more important to me than I ever could have imagined when I first started. I’ve learned many things, I’ve grown as a person, and I’ve made several very real friendships through this blog. I’m proud of the 10 years that we’ve shared to this point, and I hope that we have many more. Thanks, guys. 🙂

God and Football, or: Facts Should Matter

For the past few months, my wife and I have been meeting periodically with some family members to discuss our religious differences. The conversations have been interesting.

When we tried this during our deconversion six years ago, it didn’t go well. Emotions were simply way too high. This time around, we’ve all come to accept the status quo, so there’s less pressure on both sides. The conversations have gotten heated at times, but nothing like they used to. Overall, I feel like they’ve been going pretty well, though I don’t think any positions have been changed, and I don’t expect them to.

Most of you know that my wife and I once believed the Bible was completely inerrant, and this was pretty much the consensus of everyone at our congregation. The Bible’s flaws had a lot to do with our leaving Christianity, and I tend to refer to them any time I’m discussing religion with someone. But these family members have reacted to this in a way that I don’t really understand, and that’s what I want to talk through in this post.
Continue reading “God and Football, or: Facts Should Matter”

Saying Goodbye

If you’re a regular here, then I’m very sorry to say that we’ve lost a friend. A couple of nights ago, I found out that Arch (archaeopteryx1) has died. I’ve never met him in person — didn’t even know his real name — but it really affected me to hear about his passing. I’ve considered him a real friend for a few years now. I did a quick search, and it looks like he left over 4,500 comments on this blog! His points were always insightful (and sometimes inciteful), and he had a great wit. I can’t express how greatly he’s going to be missed.

I want to thank Carmen for reaching out to me via email and letting me know. And I also want to say how much all of you mean to me. This WordPress community has been a part of my life for many years now, and I sincerely consider all of the regulars here to be real friends. Some of you, I’ve gotten to know beyond the blog through emails and phone calls. And I fully intend to meet some of you in person one day as well. I wish I had gotten that opportunity with Arch.

Some other bloggers have written about this as well. If you haven’t run across those posts yet, the three I’ve seen so far are:

September’s Rose — For Arch
Beyond the Final Fear
For Arch

Objective Rock Music

electric ladylandMy son is 7 years old right now, and he’s inherited my love of music. Over the last year or two he’s gotten to where he enjoys going to sleep while listening to something. Currently, it’s Jimi Hendrix’s “Gypsy Eyes” on repeat. But he’s also gone through periods where he only wanted “We Will Rock You” or Black Sabbath’s Paranoid album. He loves AC/DC, too. I love all of that music as well, but since I’m an adult, my tastes in music are much more varied. If we’re riding in my truck and an Eagles or Allman Brothers song comes on, my son asks for me to put on some rock music. “This is rock music,” I tell him.

“No, real rock music,” he’ll reply.

It’s cute. But it also brings up an interesting question: what is rock music? Is there an objective standard we can point to?
Continue reading “Objective Rock Music”

Is It Fair to Expect Inerrancy from the Bible When We Don’t Expect It from Other Sources?

In the comment thread of my last post, some of us mentioned that it’s hard for us to understand the point of view of Christians who believe the Bible can be inspired by God, without holding to the doctrine of inerrancy. unkleE left the following comment:

How is it that in everything else in life – whether it be ethics, or politics, relationships, science, history, law, even disbelief – we are willing to make decisions based on non-inerrant evidence and reasoning, but when it is belief in God we require inerrant evidence? I reckon your first thought might be that the stakes are so much higher. But that logic applies to disbelief as well. If we applied that logic, no-one would be an atheist because they didn’t have inerrant knowledge for that conclusion. You would not have any belief either way until you gained inerrant knowledge.

Continue reading “Is It Fair to Expect Inerrancy from the Bible When We Don’t Expect It from Other Sources?”

Letter to a Friend

Several months ago, I received a letter from a childhood friend whom I haven’t heard from in a very long time. She and I were both raised in the same fundamentalist branch of Christianity (Church of Christ), and our parents are still very close. Her preacher recently did a series of sermons on evidences for Christianity, and they impressed her enough that she felt the need to mail me copies of the CDs (14 of them!) as well as an apologetics book, Surveying the Evidence, by Kyle Butt, Wayne Jackson, and Eric Lyons. I immediately wrote her back and thanked her for sending the material. After all, it shows a deep concern for my eternal well-being, and that of my family, so I know it comes from the best possible motives. It’s a caring gesture. In my response to her I promised to read the book and listen to all the CDs.
Continue reading “Letter to a Friend”

On Hillary

I almost never post political stuff here, so I apologize in advance to those of you who don’t care for this kind of thing. Also, while there was some big news today about the FBI recommending no indictment for Clinton over the email scandal, this post isn’t about that.

Instead, I read two articles today by Michael Arnovitz, whom I’d never heard of before today. The first defends Hillary against the almost universal view that she’s untrustworthy. The second elaborates on the topic even more and also delves into the polarization of our politics. I thought both were great. While very lengthy, I think they’re worth the read.

One of the quotes that really stood out to me was this one from the second article:

In our own country, faced with serious issues and similar populist anger, both the extreme right and left have done much the same as the UK. And of course, they have both aimed their ideological guns at the usual suspects: the right have essentially blamed everything on immigrants and brown people, and the left have blamed everything on bankers and rich people. Both of these positions are ridiculous and juvenile. And unfortunately, they are also dangerous. But they have the advantage of being simple. And for a depressingly large slice of the electorate, that’s what works.

If you’re interested, you can read the full articles here:
Thinking About Hillary — A Plea for Reason
Thinking About Hillary — A Follow-up