Saturday, June 28, 2014

Why We Should All Be 9/11 Truthers.

Who benefited?  The military/industrial complex.  Who had the means?  The military/industrial complex.  Who had the opportunity?  The military/industrial complex.  Who did President Eisenhower warn us to be wary of? The Military/Industrial Complex.

Our President told us that the only way for our democracy to survive was for the citizens of our country to vigorously guard against the military/industrial complex. We should suspect them. We should investigate them.  We should keep them on a very short leash.  The best way to do that is to demand a new, independent investigation of 9/11.  Failing to demand it is negligence that our fragile democracy cannot survive.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

For Gregory: Design Arguments or "Christian Antievolutionary Apologetics"?

Gregory and I had a wonderful mud-slinging argument going at BioLogos, and it all got deleted.  So for his benefit I've set up a post here in case he wants to continue on.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why We Don't Get - And Don't Want to Hear - The Truth

Short but interesting article on why the media are unlikely to report on high crimes in government.  The conclusion:

We in Washington are accustomed to the petty scandals of Washington politics. However, there is another category of offenses, described by the French poet Andre Chenier as “les crimes puissants qui font trembler les lois,” crimes so great that they make the laws themselves tremble.
We know what to do with someone caught misappropriating funds. But, when we are confronted with evidence of a systematic attempt to undermine the very political system itself, we recoil in a general failure of imagination and nerve.
We know that certain individuals and certain groups covet such immense power for either personal or ideological reasons. But we somehow suppose that those ambitions will be pursued within the confines of our laws and within the confines of the values of our society and our democratic political system. . . .
[I]f those who operate politically beyond the law are deft enough and determined enough, they can learn to benefit from our often false sense of confidence in this regard. For there is a natural presumption on the part of those of us who deem ourselves to be politically sophisticated that “no one would actually dare to do such a thing.”
Most mere observers are, therefore, very much disposed toward misbelief and are, therefore, willing to disregard evidence that is directly presented to them—and even to construct alternative explanations for events that seem just too distasteful to want to believe. This all-too-human propensity provides just the margin of safety that is needed by those who would dare to under­ take what would otherwise be regarded as just too immensely a risky undertaking to attempt.
For example, when the Iran-Contra scandal exploded in 1986, both the Congress and the national mainstream media pulled up short. . . . The laws trembled at the prospect of a political trial that threatened to shatter the compact of trust between the rulers and the ruled, a compact that was the foundation upon which the very law itself rested.
The lesson was clear: accountability declines as the magnitude of the crime and the power of those charged increase.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Ehrman on Jesus: Amendments by Larry Hurtado

After an email exchange with Bart Ehrman, Larry Hurtado offered a couple of amendments to his review of Ehrman's book, How Jesus became God. I take the first one to be the most interesting:

First, on the question about the origin and meaning of the expression “the son of man,” I’d taken from Ehrman’s discussion the inference that he affirmed the now-outdated view (formerly held widely) that the expression was well established as a fixed title for an eschatological figure in ancient Jewish apocalyptic thought.  He insists, however, that he accepts that the expression wasn’t a fixed title or well-known.  He allows that Jesus may have coined it, or may have appropriated it from somewhere (he’s “agnostic” on the question, to use his own term).  But, he also insists, Jesus used it to refer, not to himself, but to a future eschatological figure.
It’s this latter bit that remains, in my view, a problem, however.  If “the son of man” wasn’t a relatively well-known title for a relatively well-known figure, i.e., if it was something of a novel, or at least very unusual, designation, then how were Jesus’ disciples supposed to get what “the son of man” designated?
My own view (and not mine alone) is that Jesus took an expression frequently used in Hebrew & Aramaic, “a son of man,” and adapted it to express a particularizing force:  “the son of man.”  And, further, I hold that he used the expression as his own distinctive self-designation, comprising what we can call a feature of Jesus’ “idiolect” (to use a linguistics category).  This fits with the fact that the Gospels clearly all understand all uses of it as self-designations.  So, either these writers all were confused, or deliberately shifted from Jesus’ meaning (thereby over-riding Jesus on the matter), or else the Gospels preserve Jesus’ use of the expression as his distinctive self-designation.  Certainly, it’s noteworthy that there is no evidence in the NT that “the son of man” ever functioned as a confessional title, unlike, e.g., “Messiah/Christ,” “Lord,” “Son of God.”  I’ve laid out my thinking further in my concluding essay in Who is This Son of Man?, eds. Paul Owen & Larry Hurtado.