Monday, December 30, 2013

Chipmunks making fun of the Westboro Baptist Church

One of the funniest videos I have seen in some time.

New things on the site for 2014

Most of the following are things that I started to do in 2013.

Economics Notes. As I complete my economics courses, I plan on blogging about what I learned in the process. So be prepared to see things about economic philosophy, the Federal Reserve system, the Great Depression, and free-market economics current application to U.S. politics. Because I discontinued my weekly health care posts in late 2012 (see below), I will occasionally, if not frequently, write about solutions to U.S. health care. Similarly, I will also write about the environmental policy occasionally.

Book reviews are in the works as well (see Theology notes section for style).

Theology Notes. I'm not taking any classes, but I do read theology and Christian apologetics books from time to time. And of course, there's always my weekly bible study. I plan on writing reflections on theology and book reviews of theology books. I plan to emulate book reviewers from various sources including Books and Culture, The New Yorker, and The American Spectator, but primarily the first two.

Miscellaneous Notes.  I need some freedom to cover a large range of topics; so to serve that need I will be creating this section. This may cover poetry (I've been reading lots of poetry books), literature (novels, short stories), nutrition, pop culture, Christian culture, philosophy, and journalism, but I really am not sure.

Discontinued in 2013

Last year, I discontinued my "Weekly Health Review," a weekly wrap-up of important health care related news. However, I made it to Vol. 14 before doing so. Overall, those posts were pretty popular features of this site. Looking at the posts' view counts, they ranged from 18-70+ views each, but they mainly were between the 30-40 view range.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ancient Evidence for Belief in the Rapture (Or something rapture-like)

This hits home.

Francis Gumerlock, author of "The Early Church and the End of the World," has written an article in Bibliotheca Sacra that shows that there were "rapture" beliefs before the 1800s.  As the common misconception goes, the rapture, which I do* believe in myself, was an invention of the 1800s.

A preview of that article is available here on his website. The title of the paper is Rapture in the Apocalypse of Elijah.

I first came along a similar notion when I first began reading Pagan Christianity in 2008.

From what I've read, the book doesn't actually come out and says the rapture was created in the 1800s (However, Gumerlock's paper cites a work that might. See the first footnote.). It doesn't even use the term rapture. However, it does talk about "pretribulational dispensationalism" which is linked to rapture beliefs.

From page 71:

It is also worth noting that Moody was heavily influenced by the Plymouth Brethren teaching on the end times. This was the teaching that Christ may return at any second before the great Tribulation. (This teaching is also called "pretribulational dispensationalism.")
In the footnotes on page 71, there is some unhelpful wording:

142. John Nelson Darby spawned this teaching. The origin of Darby's pretribulational doctrine is fascinating. See Dave MacPherson, The Incredible Cover-Up (Medford, OR: Omega Publications, 1975). 

Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition defines spawned as, among other definitions, "to bring forth or be the source of (esp. something regarded with contempt and produced in great numbers)." So you could see how as a college sophomore (I finished my sophomore year I think and I was in South Carolina for the summer. Did that make me a "rising junior?) I could get a little confused about the origins of the rapture.

While my current church teaches the "rapture," it is one of the many things I disagree with at the church. And on Gumerlock's paper, I must add that he is not saying that belief in the rapture was widespread among early Christians. In fact, from the intro it only seems like a handful (to be generous), held that belief.

Read the intro here.

*Before correction, this post said that I don't believe in the rapture. That is wrong. I do. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bill Provine says evolution means no gods, no purpose, no life after death, etc

‘Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.’ ~William Provine, 1994
While I somehow ran across this quote today from (and I really don't know how I got to, since I visit it only a few times a year, meaning 0-3; maybe I clicked on a link on a Youtube video I watched today), I actually heard Provine say this quote in his debate with Phillip E. Johnson many years ago. That's the only reason I'm quoting it; because it has sentimental value. It is otherwise pretty pedestrian, even if it is revealing. 

I watched that video back as an undergraduate; it is below.

But on the free will thing, agnostic physicist Michio Kaku would disagree.

WCF Chapter One "Of Holy Scripture" Sunday School (Sept.-Oct. 2021)

Our text for Sunday School (also "The Confession of Faith and Catechisms") Biblical Theology Bites What is "Biblical Theology...