Jill asked me in a comment to describe my ideal state. I obliged:
You know, I don’t think anyone has asked me that directly.
I don’t know what the ideal state is, but it probably isn’t a state. I can’t really decide for other people under what rulership they should be living–deciding for other people is why the modern state is so terrible. You could probably at least partially agree with that.
But if I could decide for me and my domain (i.e., my household), I’d probably choose to live under a contractual/covenantal feudal religious rule…no, not a theocracy, which nowadays means religious rule combined with a lot of other things I don’t care for. Think of pre-exile Israel, where families were the rule of law, and some things cascaded down from the priestly class. In the modern sense of the “church age,” the priestly class would be whichever church we’d happen to be a member of. Something like that. Churches would have to be a lot different than they are now to accommodate this, so I wouldn’t think something like this could be airdropped in the middle of America or anywhere else to make it work. Someone. somewhere with a lot of guns and resources will have a problem with this, so I wouldn’t expect this kind of “state” to last very long or be peaceful.
I don’t care about answering “what ifs” in depth because they aren’t arguments, nor things to even think about comprehensively. One can give “what ifs” for every stupid idea for organizing a society; if they were seriously entertained, we’d be paralyzed by doubt.
The government other people choose is of no concern to me. The can do whatever they prefer, but most of what people may choose involve a lot of guns and forcing people to do things, so I supposed in a moral sense I’d advise against that. People tend to make every excuse they can for government behavior when the behavior benefits them personally, so this ethical consideration is going to pass right by them.
To stick some further meat on this: there are degrees to what I prefer here, though I try to stick to what I know what God has in mind. I’d be okay, in a practical and moral sense, with some kind of functioning monarchy, since that is closer to what I described above than lots of other systems one could come up with. A tribal-based system seems to work the best because our tribal hindbrains are always running its protocols. Modern systems (democracy) exacerbate the worst parts of those mental subroutines. God didn’t need to institute the tribal structure since it was built in to our hardware. He did, however, take advantage of it for His own purposes, imperfect however it is, and I don’t see any markers that He thinks other systems would be any better.
Happy Easter! Please enjoy my favorite Easter song. If it’s not your first choice in music (understandable), at least read the lyrics, posted below the video.
Crucifixion upon the cross
Dying for sins, fulfilling prophecy
Beaten for His faith
Praying for enemies upon sacrifice
Forsaken in the eyes of God
Sins of man, to Him were taken
Innocent and blameless, death without purity
Place of the skull, Golgotha
Death of the Son
Descend into misery
His death to bring us life
Covered in the Blood
Bridging the gap
between God and man
Flesh torn, humility
Blood flows purely from the Cross of Calvary
Rose from the grave to show it is finished
To show all before the ascension to empyrean
Atoning is the Blood of Jesus Christ
Give in to Him, live in the Blood of Christ
He rose, He rose, He rose, He rose, He rose
There’s a pilot ordered for a Nancy Drew series on CBS:
Described as a contemporary take on the character from the iconic Nancy Drew book series, the CBS project will center around a diverse, 30-something title character. A more mature version than the classic story, Nancy is now detective for the NYPD where she investigates and solves crimes using her uncanny observational skills, all while navigating the complexities of life in a modern world.
So…it’s basically another hour-long crime drama, and dare I call this darkwashing? Nancy Drew—yes, I read some of the books when I was younger—went through a lot of changes and iterations since the books started in the 30s, but three things were constant: she was white, suburban, and a girl. This depiction destroys two and a quarte of these things…the “quarter” part comes in because Drew was depicted as a teenager or a college-to-mid-twenties aged person. I don’t remember her being thirty years old at all, and thank God they didn’t make her a man. It’s sillier than making Thor a woman or Dr. Watson a Chinese woman living in America, but not as silly as using a half-Danish, half-Jewish actress portray Motoko Kusanagi from the upcoming Ghost in the Shell live action film. Don Quixote as an Indian auntie? Wonder Woman as a man? When does the Ship of Theseus become another ship?
But there’s degrees to this, and the live action version of Ghost in the Shell compared to its more canon material is a good specimen. Casting Scarlett Johansson as Kusanagi is wrong for fundamental plot/expository reasons: Kusanagi is an ethnic Japanese, a Japanese national, heavily involved with Tokyo politics and white-collar, technological crime. All of her prosthetic bodies are female and Japanese (there’s even an episode where a colleague asks why she chooses the same body type every consciousness transfer). Contrast this with the casting of as her co-protag, Batou. Batou is a French national that got involved with Shell’s Section 9 during a world war. Pilou Asbæk is portraying him in the 2017 film, yet he is half-French and Half-Danish, and a Danish citizen. Not completely off the mark, especially physiognomically, even if Asbæk were a 100% Dane. Batou’s Frenchness could be rewritten since it’s not essential to his character; that he’s not Japanese is, and Asbæk would still fit that bill.
If you didn’t hear, scientists discovered some unusual gravitational waves emanating from two black holes. It’s a big deal since it strongly bolsters Einstein’s space-time theories.
Mike Duran quoted astrophysicist Hugh Ross on Facebook:
“The existence of gravity waves is an important prediction of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Einstein’s theory of general relativity is a critical component of the spacetime theorems which, if general relativity is a true theory, implies that a Causal Agent beyond space and time must have created our universe of matter, energy, space, and time. The Gods of the non-biblical faiths create within space and time. The God of the Bible creates independent of space and time. Thus, increasing evidence for general relativity yields increasing evidence for the biblical account of cosmic creation.”
I don’t know what it is about Christian scientists and their careless language with respect to divine attribution. Yes, yes, I know: God did it all—somehow, but Christian scientists need to make any scientific discovery, that may kinda sorta weakly imply “God did it,” into a “God said ‘poof!’ and it totally ‘poofed.'” They reach out and wiggle God’s nose, Bewitched-style, for Him. Don’t do that; He’s perfectly capable of doing it Himself.
Additionally, these gravitational waves don’t even imply this Most Holy Wiggle, since the direct cause, or chain of causes, could still be material. If there are multiverses, the waves could have come from them. Or any manner of unknown, pre-our-universe, mechanism. Again: yes, God sure as sugar did it, but that’s not an excuse for cutting out the sciencey stuff that could’ve happened in between, especially if it’s your job to assume those causes exist.
Lots of the contextual “What would Jesus do in x situation? Let’s find out,” hypotheticals end up being an ad absurdum argument, because the image of be-robed and be-sandaled Anglo Jesus doesn’t square away with the firearm violence. It’s too incongruous and image to be truthful, so of course we conclude, very nearly on reflex, and most often before we really think about, that He wouldn’t kill (shoot, stab, bomb, etc.) anyone. You can substitute “kill” with any other unsavory or even silly things the modern mind can come up with, and with some careful planning, carve out your very own Jesus idol that strangely resembles a late 20th century centrist American voter. There just no way Jesus could’ve thought or acted differently than me, my friends, or anyone I admire. God isn’t in the business of dashing out expectations, is He?
To give this imagery some…more imagery, it’s like putting our Viking, sandy-coiffed Jesus in a clown suit and presenting it as our argument. Ecce stultus! But sons of gods don’t wear clown suits. I, for one, prefer not to reduce Jesus to situational ethics, which is why I’m wary of the moderate rigor of translating Jesus’ actions into modern contexts.
While it’s probably true He literally didn’t kill anyone, that doesn’t necessarily rule out, if we know anything about God has acted in the world in the past, that He could have killed someone. The Bible is filled with people doing lots of strange things under God’s command, like cooking with poop and marrying prostitutes, wearing camelhair robes and eating bugs, and killing—lots and lots of killing. Is it really so untoward, given the history presented in the Old Testament, that Jesus could have killed someone? This “not killing” thing may be a clue: just as some (most?) things don’t fall to us, as our mission, killing wasn’t part of His particular mission.
Perhaps you’ve read this article regarding the recent San Bernardino shooting, or at least seen an image of the cover with the bold quote.
America—as the pinnacle of Western civ, with all its attendant belief systems—as a nation, has nothing to do with God, so I don’t see a reason why God should bother helping her wholesale. As I say here often, God can do whatever He damn well pleases; he’s not America’s genie, nor her vending machine, nor her personal bodyguard.
There is nothing contractually to bind Him towards action in America’s favor, and that some people here would presume that He has such an obligation tells me they don’t understand God at all. Perhaps He actually doesn’t want to help America, if any of her citizens deign to take His place with vain philosophies and useless “solutions” schemed up by her rulers.
Sic et Non, Souls and Pre-existence – I’m in the middle of reading Plato’s Phaedo, and the soul’s pre-existence was forefront. Instead of bumbling through a post about it, JT’s writing is much better.
A classic formula for pi has been discovered hidden in hydrogen atoms – Patterns. Someday I’d like to read a popular science article that doesn’t use the word “quantum.”
One Allegiance, Indivisible – “We cannot sustain a parceling up of our persons into the domain of Caesar and the domain of God – a house divided cannot stand. Either Caesar is Lord or Jesus is.”
Don’t Ask An Astrophysicist About Economics – “[Neil deGrasse Tyson] fell into the common trap of assuming just because he can’t imagine a return on investment one must not exist. Successful entrepreneurs are successful because they realized a return on an investment others did not.”
The Pilgrims’ Experiment with Communism Before the Second Thanksgiving – tl;dr version: people died when they didn’t have to.
You Are What You Read: 14 Thought Leaders Share Their Bookshelves – Guy is some kind of marketing guru, aka: a huckster (I mean, look at his domain name), and the bookshelves belong to others of his ilk. This article was labeled as the “smartest” people’s bookshelves, not “thought leaders” as the title suggests. I’m not sure which one is worse.
In the last part of John 1, Jesus recruits Philip, who then goes to tell Nathanael about Him. Nathanael is skeptical but does an about-face when he asks Jesus how He knew him. It’s implied that there is some divine foreknowledge on Jesus’ part when He said “I saw you” under the fig tree; presumably, Jesus wasn’t physically there when Philip approached Nathanael and saw him, in the perceptual/visual sense, as described in verse 47. I doubt much that John (or any Biblical writer) set the scene up as he did with wasted words. The narrative is such a way for a reason.
While I’m on the concept of wasted words, the mention of the “fig tree” comes to mind. Those of us not acculturated with 1st century Judaism wouldn’t make much of it, but there is significance. Fig trees were utilized as places of prayer, and prayer, at that time of political unrest, almost always concerned itself with the coming Messiah. At the risk of reading context into the words, it seems Jesus found Nathanael’s impetuous change of mind a little silly, since Jesus could easily be lying about his foreknowledge. It was a simple parlor trick compared to what would come later. Nathanel’s interest is stoked, and that seemed to be enough for the time being.
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you,[k] you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
1. Inference (2): “If (i) morally good acts are willed by God because they are morally good, then they are morally good independent of God’s will.” – Possibly true, but irrelevant, since there’s other things besides God’s will that morality could rest upon: i.e., God’s power or omniscience.
2. Inference (5): “If (ii) morally good acts are morally good because they are willed by God, then there is no reason either to care about God’s moral goodness or to worship him.” – Again, if all we’re talking about is morals, then this is possibly true, but again irrelevant. There could be plenty of other reasons to worship God that don’t involve Him as the source of goodness or morality.
3. C.S. Lewis’ quote referenced on the Wikipedia page is odd (i.e., wrong): “[I]f good is to be defined as what God commands, then the goodness of God Himself is emptied of meaning and the commands of an omnipotent fiend would have the same claim on us as those of the ‘righteous Lord.'” – Why is the focus on “emptying” the goodness of God’s meaning, when the greater offense would be to place God under the command of an object, like morality? If anything, Lewis should be considering God as axiomatic, not something to be concluded by his material logic or his personal preferences. That Lewis may find a divine command distasteful is irrelevant.
4. The dilemma, interestingly, is a false one, since it considers only a narrow scope of who God is and not His entire being. Josef Pieper, I think, comes close to the explaining it correctly with few words, also from the Wikipedia page: “Only the will [i.e., God’s] can be the right standard of its own willing and must will what is right necessarily, from within itself, and always. A deviation from the norm would not even be thinkable. And obviously only the absolute divine will is the right standard of its own act.”
5. Even better is Katherin A. Rogers’ quote: “Anselm, like Augustine before him and Aquinas later, rejects both horns of the Euthyphro dilemma. God neither conforms to nor invents the moral order. Rather His very nature is the standard for value.”
6. God can do whatever He damn well pleases, as I’ve mentioned this many times before on this blog.