Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Half an Apology

Perhaps I was too harsh on Tom Wright in my last post. He is entitled to interpret the "big picture" of the New Testament in any way he chooses.

However, I am searching for a good explanation of what Wright means when he says that Christians must be at work building the Kingdom of God. What does this look like, exactly. Is it political? Charitable? Because as soon as he tells us what the Kingdom of God looks like, we can fairly judge whether it is an exciting development or a bunch of twaddle. What does it have to show for itself after two thousand years?

As Joel hints at but takes in another direction, talk of Christ's victory over "principalities and powers" is senseless until you tell us what powers and principalities these are. Until then we might just have to conclude that you are obfuscating for fear of being exposed as holding an empty faith.

Too Clever by Half

Gotta love how Tom Wright interprets John's baptism as a "symbolic reenactment of the Exodus" (Jesus and the Kingdom* 29:38) instead of an extension of the well-established Jewish practice of ritual cleansing, a Mikvah, as in "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (Mark 1:4).

You get used to Christians desperately re-interpreting OT writings to justify their belief in Jesus as Messiah but it is a real treat to see it happen with NT texts.

*-InterVarsity Press Conference, January 1999 diownloaed from

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I just listened to the Unbelievable program's podcast featuring a "discussion" between Mike Licona and Bart Ehrman supposedly addressing the topic: Biblical evidence for the Resurrection.

My question is why did the program give Mike Licona over an hour of the 90 minute broadcast? The funny part is that Licona would make sweeping generalizations about, say, the reliability of oral tradition, and then have to back down when Ehrman shot down his claims. One wonders what kind of misinformation Licona is able to spread to audiences when there isn't a genuine scholar present to check up on him.

Than are Dreamt of in Your Metaphysics

My problem with philosophers who sit so secure in the belief that they have a superior source of truth is that their output almost never has to face the test of actual reality.

I chuckled reading this story related by Carl Sagan in Demon Haunted World:
At a dinner many decades ago, the physicist Robert W. Wood was asked to respond to the toast, "To physics and metaphysics." By "metaphysics," people then meant something like philosophy, or truths you could recognize just by thinking about them. They could also have included pseudoscience.

Wood answered along these lines: The physicist has an idea. The more he thinks it through, the more sense it seems to make. He consults the scientific literature. The more he reads, the more promising the idea becomes. Thus prepared, he goes to the laboratory and devises an experiment to test it. The experiment is painstaking. Many
possibilities are checked. The accuracy of measurement is refined, the error bars reduced. He lets the chips fall where they may. He is devoted only to what the experiment teaches. At the end of all this work, through careful experimentation, the idea is found to be worthless. So the physicist discards it, frees his mind from the clutter of error, and moves on to something else.

The difference between physics and metaphysics, Wood concluded as he raised his glass high, is not that the practitioners of one are smarter than the practitioners of the other. The difference is that the metaphysicist has no laboratory.

(Read last night in Demon Haunted World but got text from Textuality)