Thursday, July 08, 2021

Video Of The Charlton House Haunting Apport

Sometime within the last few years, I read an interview with Melvyn Willin in which he commented:

A BBC Video Diary programme wanted to film Maurice [Grosse] attending an investigation. ASSAP organised one such event at Charlton House and a cup was caught exploding in a darkened room on video in a locked room with a camera man, Maurice and one other investigator witnessing it. BBC Radiophonic Workshop tested the sound patterns and concluded that it was NOT the sound of a cup being broken in the usual way and further experiments failed to replicate the circumstances. It seemed to implode rather than explode.

In my tribute to Maurice Grosse that I posted a couple of years ago, I linked some videos of the opening segments of that Video Dairies program. To my knowledge, the second half of the show, which includes the material Melvyn refers to, wasn't available on YouTube at the time. But the full program was recently put up, which I saw linked on the Twitter account of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). Go here to see the beginning of the relevant segment of the program. The event in question happens at 32:12. After the event, you see some discussion of what happened among the people there at the time and a discussion among some members of the SPR's staff. (Including an argument between Grosse and Mary Rose Barrington, accompanied by a cup-throwing experiment in the SPR's facility!) There's then some intervening material on other subjects, so you can go here to see the remainder of what's relevant to the topic of this post.

For further background about Charlton House and the event under consideration here, read this article at the Occult World web site. I want to quote some comments Guy Playfair made about this incident, then conclude with some comments of my own:

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Creating A God Who Doesn't Exist

This is a much bigger problem than atheism in modern America, despite all the attention atheism gets among Evangelicals:

"We may be responding not to the real God but to what we wish God and life to be like. Indeed, if left to themselves our hearts will tend to create a God who doesn't exist." (Tim Keller, Prayer [New York, New York: Dutton, 2014], 62)

For some ideas about how to address the problem, see here for a brief summary and here for a lengthier discussion (including in the comments section of the thread). The thread here (again, including the comments section) on whether Christianity is a demonic deception makes some relevant points as well.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

How Difficult It Would Have Been To Fake The New Testament's Historical Details

The political condition of Palestine at the time to which the New Testament narrative properly belongs, was one curiously complicated and anomalous; it underwent frequent changes, but retained through all of them certain peculiarities, which made the position of the country unique among the dependencies of Rome. Not having been conquered in the ordinary way, but having passed under the Roman dominion with the consent and by the assistance of a large party among the inhabitants, it was allowed to maintain for a while a species of semi-independence, not unlike that of various native states in India which are really British dependencies. A mixture, and to some extent an alternation, of Roman with native power resulted from this arrangement, and a consequent complication in the political status, which must have made it very difficult to be thoroughly understood by any one who was not a native and a contemporary. The chief representative of the Roman power in the East—the President of Syria, the local governor, whether a Herod or a Roman Procurator, and the High Priest, had each and all certain rights and a certain authority in the country. A double system of taxation, a double administration of justice, and even in some degree a double military command, were the natural consequence; while Jewish and Roman customs, Jewish and Roman words, were simultaneously in use, and a condition of things existed full of harsh contrasts, strange mixtures, and abrupt transitions. Within the space of fifty years Palestine was a single united kingdom under a native ruler, a set of principalities under native ethnarchs and tetrarchs, a country in part containing such principalities, in part reduced to the condition of a Roman province, a kingdom reunited once more under a native sovereign, and a country reduced wholly under Rome and governed by procurators dependent on the president of Syria, but still subject in certain respects to the Jewish monarch of a neighboring territory. These facts we know from Josephus and other writers, who, though less accurate, on the whole confirm his statements; they render the civil history of Judaea during the period one very difficult to master and remember; the frequent changes, supervening upon the original complication, are a fertile source of confusion, and seem to have bewildered even the sagacious and painstaking Tacitus. The New Testament narrative, however, falls into no error in treating of the period; it marks, incidentally and without effort or pretension, the various changes in the civil government—the sole kingdom of Herod the Great,—the partition of his dominions among his sons,—the reduction of Judaea to the condition of a Roman province, while Galilee, Ituraea, and Trachonitis continued under native princes,—the restoration of the old kingdom of Palestine in the person of Agrippa the First, and the final reduction of the whole under Roman rule, and reestablishment of Procurators as the civil heads, while a species of ecclesiastical superintendence was exercised by Agrippa the Second. Again, the New Testament narrative exhibits in the most remarkable way the mixture in the government—the occasional power of the president of Syria, as shown in Cyrenius’s “taxing”; the ordinary division of authority between the High Priest and the Procurator; the existence of two separate taxation—the civil and the ecclesiastical, the “census” and the “didrachm;” of two tribunals, two modes of capital punishment, two military forces, two methods of marking time; at every turn it shows, even in such little measures as verbal expressions, the coexistence of Jewish with Roman ideas and practices in the country—a coexistence which (it must be remembered) came to an end within forty years of our Lord’s crucifixion. (George Rawlinson)