The last few days have been very busy, so I haven’t posted any guest posts. They will recommence later this afternoon. A belated happy St. Patrick’s day to all of my readers!
The following are some of the things that have caught my eye recently.
Al Mohler’s ‘Is Your Baby Gay?’ post sparks controversy. It has been discussed by a number of people on the blogosphere (here on the Evangelical Outpost, for example). Mohler has since written a clarifying post. Mark and Macht are both critical of Mohler’s claim that certain forms of eugenics would be justified in the case of an unborn child who would most likely have a ‘homosexual orientation’. Apart from this issue, on which I am agreed with Mark and Macht, I am encouraged to see a rather more nuanced and balanced treatment of the issues of homosexuality from a leading evangelical than we have come to expect. As Lauren Winner has commented, if the Church were to speak about such issues better, we could then speak about them less. That would be a blessing indeed.
***Mark Goodacre continues to blog on the subject of the Jesus family tomb: ‘Discovery Website Adjusts Tomb Claims’ and ‘Talpiot Tomb Statistics Update’. Richard Bauckham guest posts on Chris Tilling’s blog: ‘Ossuaries and Prosopography’.
***Stephen over at Hypotyposeis blogs some thoughts on Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, which Chris Tilling continues to review on his blog (it shouldn’t be much long until the review is longer than the book itself).
***Leithart blogs on the Christian roots of Europe.
***Ros Clarke blogs some quotations from JBJ’s ‘Apologia on Reading the Bible’.
***Edward Cook suggests that the genealogy of Luke 3 was most probably originally in Hebrew [HT: Dr Jim Davila].
***David Field posts notes for a talk that he gave, entitled ‘New Perspectives on Romans’.
***Chris Tilling writes a Bultmann poem.
***Tim Gallant links to a video raising questions about the scientific basis of global warming claims. I have no firsthand knowledge about the issues relevant to the global warming debate, but I do know a thing or two about how gifted the media is at draining complex debates of all nuance and presenting the public with grossly simplified and distorted pictures. I also know about the appeal of the unorthodox line of argument and the pull of the conspiracy theory. We all like to believe that we have privileged insight that others do not possess. A little selective knowledge can be a very dangerous thing. There are a lot of people who feel duty-bound to have a strong opinion on everything, even things that they don’t know have a clue about. The media happily fuels such people with prepackaged prejudices.
On the other hand, I am also well aware of the problems that attend the politicization of specialist debates. Most people bluff to some extent to hide their levels of ignorance on certain subjects; the temptation to bluff is greatest for politicians. On top of this, nuance does not go over well in the world of politics, where people are prone to move into polarized camps. Once an issue like global warming becomes politicized, it becomes increasingly difficult to raise critical questions about the scientific claims that are being made.
I also wonder sometimes whether we are inclined to overstate the impact that human beings have on the environment, wanting to flatter ourselves that we have more of an effect on and control over the world than we really do. The idea of a massive problem that we have created is more welcome than the idea of a huge climate shift that results from powers beyond our control. Man does not like to be reminded of his own impotence and the fact that his destiny is in many respects determined by greater forces than his own. All of these things lead me to retain a measure of skepticism towards the various claims being made in the global warming debates.
Jon uses this video as a springboard from which to discuss conspiracy theories and the need for orthodoxy to engage with heresy, if it is to arrive at a fuller knowledge of the truth. Jon observes something that I have commented on in the past: there are telltale signs of conspiracy theories and much of the thought in our circles as conservative Christians manifests all the classic symptoms. Young earth creationism is a perfect example (as is anti-Roman Catholicism). The truth or falsity of the claims of young earth creationists is beside the point here; the issue is that their approach to the issues is all too often the approach of conspiracy theorists. Conspiracy theories have a noxious effect on society and its public discourse. For this reason, if I were to have children I would prefer to have them educated by an atheistic evolutionist who would train them to think critically and engage with the best that science has to offer, than a conservative evangelical who would teach them conspiracy theories about science and discourage them from truly engaging with those with whom they disagree (I hope that I will never be called to make such a choice).
***Jon also has a helpful post on the subject of Richard Gaffin’s interaction with Rich Lusk (see here for further comment).
***Preparing tomorrow’s soldier [HT: Jon Barlow]
***The world’s oldest living man (116) puts his long life down to the fact that he has never been married.
***Ireland sends Pakistan home in the cricket World Cup. Makes up for the heartbreak of the rugby, I guess. Sadly, the joy of Ireland’s victory has since been overshadowed by the tragic death of Bob Woolmer.
***Herschelle Gibbs scores six sixes in a row, a first for one day cricket. The minnows in the World Cup have really suffered this year; four of the five highest margins of victory in the World Cup (by runs) have been recorded in the last week.
***Tony Blair meets Catherine Tate. Catchphrase comedy generally annoys me greatly, but I grinned at a few points in the last minute of this sketch, despite myself.
***Weird Al parodies Dylan (not anywhere near as funny as ‘White and Nerdy’, but funny nonetheless) and (a fairly good imitator of) Dylan sings Seuss [HT: Mark Traphagen].