Saturday, February 06, 2021

Demonic deception

jay-dog asks an intriguing question in this post:

I have noticed that when presented with miracle claims from other religions, Christian apologists will suggest the possibility that they could just be attempts by demons to deceive us. However, couldn't people from other religions say the exact same thing about the evidence for the Ressurection? Here are some blog posts where I heard this idea and I wanted to get your response. Thank you.

Sorry I didn't read through the posts you linked to, but I think there's enough material in your question to address. Here are my thoughts on the question:

Friday, February 05, 2021

An interview with Andrew Torba on Gab

Mark Dice interviews Andrew Torba about Gab. Torba is the founder and CEO of Gab. Both Dice and Torba are conservative Christians (e.g. Torba even seems to follow Doug Wilson). Torba regards what's happening today with the left, big tech, social media, and the mainstream media as part of a spiritual war. I applaud and support what Torba is attempting to do with Gab: that is, make Gab the free speech alternative to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, reddit, various web browsers including Google Chrome. I pray for his success and the success of others (especially other Christians) like him. If he succeeds, I think it'll prove good for many people including Christians. Torba will need all the help he can get.


It may not seem like it, but I think the message of our secular popular culture is a message more about death than life.

After all, is it not praiseworthy in our popular culture for a woman to choose to end her baby's life?

Is it not noble to end one's life if one sees fit to do so for almost any reason whatsoever?

What does popular culture think about the elderly? Is their wisdom valued? Why are the elderly more likely to be portrayed as out of touch more if not ready to be put out to pasture than they are to be portrayed as sagacious or at least worth giving a fair hearing to? (By contrast, why does popular culture all but worship youth?)

What does popular culture say about the environment and overpopulation? Isn't the fear that climage change is going to cause coastal cities to be flooded? Isn't the fear that overpopulation will mean scarce resources will be even more scarce (e.g. food)?

What about pets? Why does popular culture seem to care more about pets than children? Why are children often portrayed to be annoying? Why are pets often portrayed as acceptable in lieu of children? Why was there so much more of an outcry for Harambe than for "the boy" whom Harambe was dragging around like a ragdoll? Do most people even know the name of the 3 year old boy without having to search for it?

I could go on. But popular culture's message seems to me to be a message more conducive to death than to life.

By contrast, Christians have a message of life. We are pro-life. We value life. We are for life in all its glorious manifestations. We possess a life-giving and life-changing message. We love life. And we can hold forth life to a dying world.

With all this in mind, see this recent post: "The Other Pandemic Sweeping Across Our Globe" (Akos Balogh).

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Helm reviews Live Not By Lies

Paul Helm reviews Rod Dreher's Live Not By Lies.

The lesson of Trump

William Lane Craig:

The case of Donald Trump is an object lesson how a man’s flawed character can lead to his own undoing. Given his considerable accomplishments—such as the appointment of three Supreme Court justices, brokering a Mideast peace agreement, engineering a revival of the US economy, revitalizing the US military, confronting China’s economic and military threat, stemming the tide of illegal immigration, and much more—he could have been a great US president. But he has been his own worst enemy. Like a figure in a Greek tragedy, his nemesis is his own deeply flawed character, which has contributed to his downfall. This should be a lesson to every Christian, but especially to those in leadership positions, to be mindful of our character development, to try to recognize, as best we can, our own sinful proclivities, and to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in conforming us to the image of Christ, lest we bring disrepute upon His name.

Chad McIntosh:

Craig is right about Trump’s accomplishments, but wrong about the lesson of Trump’s presidency. There have been previous occupants of the Oval Office with worse character. The lesson is that Democrats and their enablers in media, entertainment, education, and even ostensibly non-partisan institutions like the FBI are unquestionably the biggest threat to America as an economically prosperous country of liberty with law and order that puts its own citizens first. There is no backward or unjust law they will not support or moral perversion or mental illness they don’t want to normalize, and they will use any means necessary to get what they want. That is the lesson. Trump was a bigger obstacle to them than previous milquetoast Republicans, so they went harder than ever against him.

But make no mistake: the next Republican candidate for president, no matter how upright or milquetoast, will also be literally Hitler. And so will the one after. And after. It’s not about character at all. It’s about how serious of an obstacle one is to the evils of progressivism.

False Claims About John's Gospel

Lydia McGrew recently posted a good video on the subject. Her book on the fourth gospel is due out soon.

On the theme of similarities between John and the Synoptics, here's a post I wrote that discusses Jesus' use of the phrase "the light of the world" in Matthew 5:14 and in John's gospel, how Matthew and John treat Jesus' fulfillment of Isaiah 9 so similarly, and some other common ground. Here's a post on the soteriological similarities among the gospels, including John. That post addresses some similarities between Jesus' language in the Synoptics and his language in John, but it discusses other kinds of similarities as well. Or see this post on how John agrees with the Synoptics on issues related to Jesus' childhood. Here are fifty agreements among the resurrection accounts, with many of them involving John. And there are a lot of other posts in our archives discussing how John and the Synoptics overlap in other ways.

Keep in mind that the earliest Christians of the patristic era who had a close relationship with John (his disciples, churches who had been in contact with him, etc.) held a high view of the Synoptics, which is best explained by John's having held such a view himself. Papias even quotes a man he refers to as "the elder", probably John, speaking highly of Mark's gospel (cited in Eusebius, Church History, 3:39). My post on Papias just linked documents some examples of Johannine characteristics in Papias' language, which even those who (wrongly) deny that Papias was a disciple of John should acknowledge to be evidence that Papias was highly influenced by the Johannine literature. And Papias thought highly of the Synoptics. See here regarding an account Clement of Alexandria received from some early elders in the church regarding how highly John thought of the Synoptics. And here's a post about how Christians were distributing copies of the gospels in the late first and early second centuries, a practice that makes more sense if John held a more positive view of the Synoptics than many people suggest today. You wouldn't expect Christians to be distributing copies of the gospels in that manner if the gospels came from authors who were antagonistic toward one another, from competing communities, etc. See section 103 of Justin Martyr's Dialogue With Trypho for Justin grouping the four gospels together in a conversation he sets around the year 135. In section 67 of his First Apology, he refers to how the gospels, collectively, are read during church services. Beliefs and practices like these were widespread long before Irenaeus and other later sources wrote, later sources who are often portrayed as having been more influential than they actually were.

Monday, February 01, 2021

Enfield Miscellany (Part 5)

(See part 1 here for an explanation of what this series is about. And here are the other parts in the series: two, three, and four. When I cite Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair's Enfield tapes below, I'll use "MG" to designate a tape from Grosse's collection and "GP" to designate one from Playfair's. So, MG1B refers to tape 1B in Grosse's collection, GP94A refers to 94A in Playfair's, etc.)

The Absurd Logistics Of A Fraud Hypothesis

Part of what makes poltergeists so interesting, and has the potential to make them so evidential, is the variety of phenomena involved. And the Enfield case has a much larger number and variety of events than the average poltergeist. Faking such a large and varied case would be more difficult accordingly. I've written about many of the traditional categories involved: levitations, apparitions, fires, etc. But some of the events don't fit into a traditional category. Or they do, but with one or more characteristics that stand out as highly difficult to fake. Those events add to the variety of the case, and they illustrate the absurdity of a fraud hypothesis that would have one or more of the Hodgson children being skilled enough to so successfully fake such a variety of phenomena. (For documentation of how often critics try to explain the case by attributing the events to trickery on the part of one or more of the Hodgson children, see the first paragraph here.)