Thursday, July 06, 2023

The Flattery Machine

We're in another presidential election season. That means we'll be getting a lot of flattery from a lot of politicians trying to get our vote. We'll hear about how we're such hard workers who deserve better leaders, how the nation's problems are so much the fault of some small minority of people rather than the average person, etc. Businesses and advertisers flatter us in an attempt to get our money, and politicians flatter us in an attempt to get our vote. And all of that is accompanied by a lot of talk about self-esteem, not letting anybody judge you, not letting anybody put you down, following your heart, etc. The fact that people are aware that they live in that sort of atmosphere of flattery and realize how misleading it is doesn't mean that it doesn't adversely affect them. You don't have to buy all of it in order to buy some of it. "Flattery is like perfume. Sniff it. Don't swallow it." A few facts to keep in mind as you take in all of the flattery of the presidential election season:

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

Christ Leaving For Other Lands

An early view of America:

"I am credibly informed, that multitudes of England, and especially worthy preachers, and silenced preachers of London, are gone to New England; and I know one learned holy preacher, who hath written against the Arminians, who is gone thither. Our Blessed Lord Jesus, who cannot get leave to sleep with His spouse in this land, is going to seek an inn where He will be better entertained….Christ is putting on His clothes, and making Him, like an ill-handled stranger, to go to other lands….There is a cloud gathering and a storm coming. This land shall be turned upside down; and if ever the Lord spake to me (think on it), Christ's bride will be glad of a hole to hide her head in, and the dragon may so prevail as to chase the woman and her man-child over sea." (Samuel Rutherford, Letters Of Samuel Rutherford [Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2012], 56, 121-22)

Sunday, July 02, 2023

What We Should Make Of Passages Like Luke 4:16-30

Lydia McGrew recently posted a good video about an unjustified bias against "the possibility that events have happened on multiple occasions that are broadly similar to each other" (e.g., Jesus' cleansing the temple twice). Two later videos, here and here, discuss the example of Luke 4:16-30 and how it relates to some similar material in Matthew and Mark. People often overestimate such similarities and underestimate other factors involved.

Here's a post I wrote last year that provides some extrabiblical examples. And a post I wrote about Jesus' relatives discusses the plausibility of Luke's use of James the brother of Jesus as a source for the Luke 4 passage.

Jimmy Akin's Paranormal Material

Cameron Bertuzzi recently had a discussion with Jimmy Akin about some paranormal issues. They address some of the problems with being too quick to appeal to the demonic hypothesis to explain something that's thought to be paranormal, how well human paranormal capacities fit within a Christian worldview, and some other issues that tend to be neglected in Christian discussions. Jimmy has a YouTube channel that addresses paranormal issues, and there's a lot of good material there.