Category Archives: History
… doesn’t mean they aren’t after you Regular readers will have noticed something of a political slant to the last three posts. What immediately triggered it was the realisation of a sudden shift in the position of the UK Baptist Union – representing probably the largest of the mainly Evangelical denominations in Britain. Only three years ago it issued a statement reaffirming the biblical view of marriage, and urging those dissenting ministers who were inclined to perform SSM to desist “for the peace of the body.” Now one of the two candidates for President is a gender-queer pansexual activist, pushing a theological position that gender itself is unchristian.
I’ve just read another very interesting book. In the Footsteps of King David describes the excavation of Khirbet Qeiyafa in Israel, just up the valley from the ancient Philistine city of Gath.
The abominable crime perpetrated in New Zealand by, we are told, a lone white-supremacist extremist, led to immediate calls in the mainstream press for a clampdown on rampant Islamophobia everywhere in society. When a thing (“Islamophobia”) is named as if it were a psychiatric disorder, but treated as a deadly sin, it is a little difficult to understand exactly what the neologism means. But the word appears at least, to include any negative opinion of any aspect of Islam, Arab nationalism, or Islamist terrorism shaken together, such negativity being interpreted as the inevitable precursor of crimes such as we saw last week.
In my last post I drew on George Berkeley in the context of probability theory, to show how western thought’s tendency to make abstractions from reality actually leads to a misleading view of the world. The generalisations of science are particularly prone to the reification of abstract notions.
Francis Bacon produced what I suppose one would call a “Utopian Novelette,” unfinished at about 22 pages, just three years before he died. It seems to have been intended as a kind of manifesto for the new scientific project he had, to a great extent, initiated, and so it is worth looking at retrospectively in the light of that project’s enormous success. The Kindle edition is also free, which is another incentive.
I think one of the main reasons why the existence of an historical Adam and Eve is considered unimportant (or unlikely), at least by Christians who generally take the Bible seriously, is that references to Adam are apparently so sparse throughout Scripture.
Somebody’s leading a discussion on Christian gratitude and generosity. He cites Deuteronomy 6, where Moses reminds people, once they arrive in the promised land and have cities they didn’t build, houses they didn’t provision, cisterns they didn’t dig, and crops they didn’t plant, not to forget the Lord who brought them there from slavery in Egypt. But one man, an older Christian, says he has a problem with that, because these things were taken from the Canaanites, sometimes by violence.
I’m not usually much of a political animal, but my last post has set me off on a track. I first encountered radical politics first hand when I saw this daubed over a shop front in my home town of Guildford, Surrey, probably in 1967: “Long Live The Great Victory Of The People’s Glorious Proletarian Cultural Revolution!”
A distraction on the recent BioLogos thread about Kathryn Applegate’s views on Adam was the old chestnut about theology needing to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept new discoveries in science, a case made mainly by a moderator there, who is a physicist, rather than either a theologian or historian.
When I was doing a home Bible study on the Genesis creation narrative a few weeks ago, one guy asked me, “Who was there to write it down?” I’d not yet explained how to approach the text, so it was a good introduction to that, as well as a good question, and you’ll guess the answer wasn’t “God saw the whole thing,” although he certainly did.