Bart Ehrman debates Richard Bauckham about the Gospels

 

Attention, fellow Bible nerds. The audio above features two big-hitters debating the authorship of the Gospels. Bart Ehrman, a well-known skeptic, squares-off against Richard Bauckham. I think Bauckham powerfully and decisively refutes Ehrman in this one. Here’s a description of the show from the “Unbelievable” website:

Bart Ehrman’s new book “Jesus Before the Gospels” makes the case that the stories about Jesus would have changed and evolved before they were written down as the Gospels.

Richard Bauckham, author of “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, defends the view that the Gospels were written by those with access to eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ first followers. They debate who wrote Mark, whether the Gospels came from anonymous traditions and how they received their titles.

You can listen to the audio above or download it here.

Speaking the truth about the “Dragon Lady” and sex-reassignment surgery

This strange story has to be seen to be believed. Here is the report from The Daily Mail:

A transgender former banker claims to be the first and only person to have both ears cosmetically removed as part of her ongoing quest to become a ‘dragon’.

Born Richard Hernandez in Maricopa County, Arizona, the 55-year-old has undergone a number of painful procedures over the past few years including nose modification, tooth extraction and eye colouring.

She also has a forked tongue and a full-face tattoo as part of her transformation into a ‘mythical beast’.

Most people reading this would probably agree that something has gone deeply awry with any person who would do this to themselves. Many people would probably also agree that something is deeply wrong with a medical profession that would allow surgeons to take part in this. Continue Reading →

An unseemly troll but a fine review

Several weeks (months?) ago I received a package in my faculty mailbox at work. I was so taken aback by it that I snapped a photo of it (at right). It was obviously a book mailer, but the label on the outside said this:

“Are Conservative Evangelical Men More Likely To Abuse Their Wives?”

I didn’t even know what was inside the package, but I already knew that this was a transparent troll—a marketing ploy. They send out a book to a bunch of conservative evangelical men, and then they put a label on the outside of the package with an ugly insinuation about conservative evangelical men. The publisher wasn’t merely trying to get me to read the book. They were trying to provoke me. Continue Reading →

The Darkness of Porn and the Hope of the Gospel

TIME magazine has published one of the saddest, most horrifying cover stories I have ever read. It is not horrifying like the carnage of war. It’s horrifying like the carnage of a culture that is committing slow-motion suicide. The essay documents a civilization-wide calamity on a scale that we have not seen before.

The title of the article is “Porn and the Threat to Virility” by Belinda Luscombe. I am not linking to the article here simply because the cover art for the magazine and at least one of the images within the article are too explicit to share. Indeed, the article is itself fairly explicit and definitely NSFW. Having said that, the article reads as a coolly rational look at modern porn use among males, even though it seems unaware that it is narrating a civilizational crisis.

At the heart of the article is the contention that there is a backlash against internet pornography among young men who have been heavy users throughout adolescence and adulthood. Luscombe writes: Continue Reading →

Juan Williams says Pres. Obama’s SCOTUS nominee is not a centrist

Juan Williams writes in The Wall Street Journal that President Obabma’s nominee to the Supreme Court is not a centrist in his judicial philosophy. Here’s an excerpt:

As Republicans and Democrats wrangle over Judge Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination to replace the late Antonin Scalia and whether or not to hold confirmation hearings, attention has been distracted from a fight of far more historical consequence.

Over the past half century, regardless of whether a liberal or a conservative resides in the White House, the critical issue facing any Supreme Court nominee is where he or she stands on the political contest of wills over how to read the Constitution.
In general the conservatives in this fight favor an “originalist” or “plain text” reading of the Constitution to limit the role of the courts to interpreting what the document and the Framers meant. Liberals regard the Constitution as a “living document” that lends itself to modern interpretations by judges, who may extend rights to groups not mentioned or considered in the Constitution or its amendments…
In today’s debate regarding Merrick Garland’s nomination to the court, much of the discussion concerns whether or not he is a “centrist.” But the real question, for both sides, is how he regards the Constitution. On that point it is clear from his record that Judge Garland is firmly in the “living document” camp. The push-pull over the Constitution and the Supreme Court is a battle without end, and in the current phase with the eight-person bench likely to divide 4-4 on important cases, the contrast between the court with Scalia on it and the court with Judge Garland or any other Democratic nominee couldn’t be greater.

Read the rest here.

Donald Trump is not pro-life

This shouldn’t be a surprise at this point, but it is now established beyond all reasonable doubt that Donald Trump is not pro-life. How do we know that? He gives no evidence that he even knows what the pro-life position is. You can’t defend the sanctity of human life if you don’t even know what it is.

Even worse is that when Trump tries to express his beliefs on abortion, he articulates a pro-abortion rights position. And he usually doesn’t even realize that’s what he’s done! His foot is in his mouth, but he is none the wiser.

In an interview with CBS News today, he did it again (watch above). Asked how he’d change the law to restrict access to abortion, this is how he responded:

The laws are set now on abortion and that’s the way they’re going to remain until they’re changed… I would’ve preferred states’ rights… I think it would’ve been better if it were up to the states. But right now, the laws are set… At this moment, the laws are set. And I think we have to leave it that way.

Did you catch that? Trump just said that status quo on abortion law in the United States needs to remain unchanged. Just to be clear about the status quo. Right now it is legal under United States “law” to kill an unborn child at any stage of pregnancy (from 0-9 months gestation) for any or no reason at all. As a result of this status quo, over 57 million children have been killed legally in our country since 1973. It is the greatest human rights crisis of our time, and Donald Trump says we need to “leave it that way.”

Donald Trump can say he’s pro-life until he’s blue in the face. But until he actually understands what pro-life means and unless he stops defending a pro-abortion position, we know that he is not telling the truth. Donald Trump is not pro-life. Anyone who is has no business supporting his candidacy.

Why “punish” abortionists but not those who receive abortions?

Yesterday, Donald Trump said in an interview that the law should “punish” women for getting abortions (see above). Trump quickly reversed himself in a subsequent press release. Still, in his initial remarks, Trump was able to accomplish a trifecta of political travesties.

First, he projected a caricature regularly perpetrated by pro-abortion people against pro-lifers—that we care only for babies and not for their mothers. Second, while arguing for the pro-life position, he misrepresented what pro-lifers actually believe and alienated viewers from our cause. Third, Trump has put pro-lifers in a defensive position rather than strengthening the cause. All this while he was supposedly trying to help the cause! With “friends” like this, who needs enemies? Continue Reading →

Would a President Trump be better than a President Clinton?

It’s no secret to readers of this blog that I am a #NeverTrump guy. I have explained what I mean by that here. The consistent objection that I hear to this position is that it amounts to a vote for Secretary Clinton. And nothing could be worse than electing Secretary Clinton.

I disagree with that argument for a number of reasons. But no one has put a finer point on answering this objection than David French has today. He argues that the apparently self-evident conclusion that Trump is better than Clinton is by no means self-evident. He writes:

Those of us who’ve pledged that we will never, ever vote for Donald Trump always get the same response: “You’d put Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office instead?” Clinton’s name is spoken like an epithet, as if it’s unthinkable that any conservative would take any single action that could facilitate her election. I will not, under any circumstances, vote for Clinton, but I also do not believe that Trump would make a better president. Not because Clinton isn’t as bad as you think, but because Trump is worse than you imagine…

Hillary Clinton is the most beatable likely Democratic nominee since John Kerry, and the GOP is poised to nominate the one man least likely to beat her, and the one man who would be just as bad in the White House. I don’t vote for despicable people. I don’t vote for leftists. And I will never, ever, vote for Donald Trump. He’s no better than she is.

I recommend that you read this entire piece. French makes a forceful case on issue after issue that Trump is in fact worse than Clinton on many points.

I know that many Trump supporters aren’t really interested in policy details. They like Trump’s defiant “tell it like it is” attitude. The primary problem with that posture is that Trump is not telling it like it is. He’s a pathological liar. Also, that preference for attitude over policy makes some of his supporters impervious to reason and common sense. That preference causes them to defend their candidate even when news breaks that his campaign manager has been arrested for assaulting a female reporter. And it’s why they are unlikely to respond to an argument like French has provided.

Still, there are many conservative Americans who are reasonable and will listen, and they would do well to read French’s entire argument. They can do so here.

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