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September 1, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

What about potential copyist errors in New Testament Bible Translations?

Quote that Frank Turek reads

What do Metzger and Ehrman conclude together in that revised work?  Melinda Penner of Stand to Reasonwrites,

Ehrman and Metzger state in that book that we can have a high degree of confidence that we can reconstruct the original text of the New Testament, the text that is in the Bibles we use, because of the abundance of textual evidence we have to compare.  The variations are largely minor and don’t obscure our ability to construct an accurate text.  The 4th edition of this work was published in 2005 – the same year Ehrman published Misquoting Jesus, which relies on the same body of information and offers no new or different evidence to state the opposite conclusion.

Here’s what Ehrman says in an interview found in the appendix of Misquoting Jesus (p. 252):

Bruce Metzger is one of the great scholars of modern times, and I dedicated the book to him because he was both my inspiration for going into textual criticism and the person who trained me in the field. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him. And even though we may disagree on important religious questions – he is a firmly committed Christian and I am not – we are in complete agreement on a number of very important historical and textual questions. If he and I were put in a room and asked to hammer out a consensus statement on what we think the original text of the New Testament probably looked like, there would be very few points of disagreement – maybe one or two dozen places out of many thousands.  The position I argue for in ‘Misquoting Jesus’ does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.

September 1, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

John Wooden Leadership and Success Principles

Pyramid of Success by John Wooden (this is just the values):


Faith, Competitive Greatness, Patience

Poise, Confidence

Condition, Skill, Team Spirit

Self-control, Alertness, Initiative, Intentness

Industriousness, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation, Enthusiasm

Team Values from Coach Wooden:
1. Attitude
2. Hustle
3. Cooperativeness
4. Unselfishness
5. Team Player
6. Quickness (* For instance: Pro-activeness & Responsiveness)
7. Aggressiveness (* Probably better framed additionally as: Passion)
8. Timeliness (being on time when time is involved)
9. Personal habits (wonder how he unpacked this?)
10. Getting along with teammates

My Normal Expectations of Team Members (John Wooden):

1. Always be a gentleman.
2. Always be a team player.
3. Always be on time whenever time is involved.
4. Always be learning.
5. Always be enthusiastic, dependable and cooperative.
6. Always be earning the right to be proud and confident.
7. Always keep your emotions under control without losing fight or aggressiveness.
8. Be spirited, not temperamental.
9. Always work to improve, knowing you can never improve enough.

In the context of debate (or other sports):

Lifelong lessons about practice & persistence.

Dealing with challenges, setbacks, and failures (Losing well is a mindset &  process)

Ideals of respect:

  1. Respect for people (coaches, competitors, teammates, judges)
  2. Respect for ideas
  3. Respect for property

Three sets of values–the mindset of a leader & winner:  Honesty, Respect, and Fairness

Team & character values:

  • Enthusiasm (Energy/Passion)
  • Teamwork (Responsibility/Proactive)  (Unity/Cooperation/Shared Goals and Values)
  • Dedication and Commitment

See also Team sports & values (I have a list of team vakyes that was used by a volleyball team thats quite good that reflects the values of respect, fairness, and team).  I would also mention the Wooden video here on Compassion in Politics.

September 1, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Answering Bart Ehrman–The Copist Errors Are Generally Not Relevant to Truth and Principle of the Bible

If Comparative trivialities such as changes of order, the insertion or omission of the the article with proper names, and the like are set aside, the words in our opinion still subject to doubt can hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the New Testament.”

B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Sort, The New Testament in the Original Greek, Vol. 1, p.2

September 1, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

What are other ways of knowing beside science?

What are the alternatives to reductive materialist science?  

Science typically focuses on quantitative data, causal relationship, and in the context of experiments that are repeatable.  And the scientific method has been very effective particularly in health, medicine, and technology.

However, the use of the knowledge of science can be good or evil depending on how people use it for good or evil.  So, its critical that science enlist other fields of knowledge in order to be used for the common good and to further humanity rather than dehumanize human beings.

Here are eight different forms of knowledge besides science and there are overlapping versions of perhaps a number of these as well:

  1. History
  2. Experiential knowledge
  3. Philosophy and Reason
  4. Ethics
  5. Intuition
  6. Wisdom
  7. Instinct
  8. Literature, Story, and Parable

This is affirmed by how we live in our daily lives.  We can’t always get scientific knowledge for making decisions.  Decisions of career, relationships, family, and love don’t fit into neat boxes which science (particularly in relationship to biology, chemistry, and physics) typically answers much less answers well.  Certainly other disciplines can provide key insights where the limits of the scientific method stop.  They in turn can inform each other.

Moreover, the nature of the university affirms the need to draw on various disciplines in their strengths so that we can come to a fuller understanding of the truth.

At 1:15, Dr. William Craig provides a number of key beliefs and areas of life which require us to use other forms of knowledge.

I’ve written about the assumptions of naturalistic science a couple of times on here and those are probably worth checking out as well.

August 31, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Historical Persection of Christians in First and Second Centuries by Romans and others

The Persecution of 1st and 2nd Century Christians Was Described by Ancient Non-Christians
Early non-Christian sources confirm the persecution accounts of the early Church.

Tacitus described the persecution of Christians in Rome (c. 64-68AD) within 30 years of Jesus’ crucifixion. “Nero falsely accused and executed with the most exquisite punishments those people called Christians.”  According to Tacitus, some Christians “were seized who admitted their faith, and then, using the information they provided, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much for the crime of burning the city, but for hatred of the human race.” These early Christians were brutally executed, “and perishing they were additionally made into sports: they were killed by dogs by having the hides of beasts attached to them, or they were nailed to crosses or set aflame, and, when the daylight passed away, they were used as nighttime lamps.” (Annals)

Suetonius (69-122AD) also described the persecution of the early Christians. He said Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD)expelled them from Rome,” (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars;Claudius 25)and reported that, under Nero, “punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition” (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars;Nero 16)

Pliny the Younger (Governor of Pontus / Bithynia) confirmed the persecution of Christians in his letter to Emperor Trajan (c. 112AD).  He asked the Emperor “whether pardon is to be granted for repentance, or, if a man has once been a Christian, it does him no good to have ceased to be one; whether the name itself, even without offenses, or only the offenses associated with the name are to be punished.” Pliny told Trajan, “I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed.” Pliny excused those who rejected Christ and proved their allegiance to the Roman gods: “Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ–none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do–these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.” Trajan, in his response to Pliny, confirms the means by which early Christians could avoid persecution: “If they are denounced and proved guilty, they are to be punished, with this reservation, that whoever denies that he is a Christian and really proves it, that is, by worshiping our gods, even though he was under suspicion in the past, shall obtain pardon through repentance.”

The Persecution of 1st and 2nd Century Christians Was Described by Ancient Christians
Early Christian leaders wrote about the ongoing persecution of believers

Justin Martyr (100-164AD) described the continuous persecution of the Christian community in a letter to Emperor Augustus Caesar. He wrote, “You can kill us, but cannot do us any real harm” (The First Apology of Justin Martyr)

Tertullian (160-225 AD) described the suffering of the early Christians as he wrote to Roman governors in an attempt to stem the persecution of Christians in his era (Apologeticus)

Even the most skeptical critics of Christian history typically accept the 3rd and 4th Century records of large scale persecution of Christians under Emperor Decius (c. 250’s AD), Valerian (c. 260’s AD), Diocletian (c. 280’s AD) and Galerius (early 300’s AD). These four emperors persecuted Christians vigorously. Under Valerian alone, many well-known known Christian leaders were martyred, including Cyprian (Bishop of Carthage), Sixtus II (Bishop of Rome) and Saint Lawrence.

Source: Cold Case Christianity

August 31, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

David Foster Wallace on Christianity and Atheism

If you consider the usual meaning of “atheism,” which, as I understand it, is a kind of anti-religious religion, which worships reason, skepticism, intellect, empirical proof, human autonomy, and self-determination, my parents’ open tolerance of my religious interests and my regular attendance of services with the family next door (by this time my father had tenure, and we had our own home in a middle-class neighborhood with a highly rated school system) was exceptional—the sort of nonjudgmental, respectful attitude that religion itself (as I see it) tries to promulgate in its followers.

Wallace continues:

The fact that the most powerful and significant connections in our lives are (at the time) invisible to us seems to me a compelling argument for religious reverence rather than skeptical empiricism as a response to life’s meaning.

Wallace concludes with this story:

The specific instance traceable as the origin of my religious impulse after my interest in the cement mixer passed (to my parents’ great relief) involved a nineteen-fifties war movie that my father and I watched together on television one Sunday afternoon with the curtains drawn to prevent the sunlight from making it hard to see the screen of our black-and-white television. Watching television together was one of my father’s and my favorite and most frequent activities (my mother disliked television), and usually took place on the couch, with my father, who read during the commercials, sitting at one end and me lying down, with my head on a pillow on my father’s knees. (One of my strongest sensory memories of childhood is the feel of my father’s knees against my head and the joking way he sometimes rested his book on my head when the commercial interruption occurred.) The movie in question’s subject was the First World War and it starred an actor who was much lauded for his roles in war movies. At this point my memory diverges sharply from my father’s, as evidenced by a disturbing conversation we had during my second year at seminary. My father apparently remembers that the film’s hero, a beloved lieutenant, dies when he throws himself on an enemy grenade that has been lobbed into his platoon’s trench (“platoon” meaning a small military grouping of infantrymen with close ties from being constant comrades in arms).

[you’ll have to scan to the bottom of the article to read the rest]

(Source: link)

August 31, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

David Bently Hart Quotes from Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

Christianity gave rise to science:

“For, despite all our vague talk of ancient or medieval “science,” pagan, Muslim, or Christian, what we mean today by science—its methods, its controls and guiding principles, its desire to unite theory to empirical discovery, its trust in a unified set of physical laws, and so on—came into existence, for whatever reasons, and for better or worse, only within Christendom, and under the hands of believing Christians.”

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

Faith is intrinsic to rationality:

“One can believe that faith is mere credulous assent to unfounded premises, while reason consists in a pure obedience to empirical fact, only if one is largely ignorant of both. It should be enough, perhaps, to point to the long Christian philosophical tradition, with all its variety, creativity, and sophistication, and to the long and honorable tradition of Christianity’s critical examination and reexamination of its own historical, spiritual, and metaphysical claims. But more important in some ways, it seems to me, is to stress how great an element of faith is present in the operations of even the most disinterested rationality.”

David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

Lots of ideologies have been used to rationalize violence.  Christianity isn’t unique:

“Men will always seek gods in whose name they may perform great deeds or commit unspeakable atrocities, even when those gods are not gods but “tribal honor” or “genetic imperatives” or “social ideals” or “human destiny” or “liberal democracy.” Then again, men also kill on account of money, land, love, pride, hatred, envy, or ambition. They kill out of conviction or out of lack of conviction.”

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

Transcendent values are the only check on human violence:

“But there is something delusional nonetheless in his optimistic certainty that human beings will wish to choose altruistic values without invoking transcendent principles. They may do so; but they may also wish to build death camps, and may very well choose to do that instead.”

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

Naturalism is ethically suspect.  Atheistic values have historically led to eugentics.  (Too much emphasis on consequences without intrinsic value is a prescription for ethical disaster.)

“the only ideological or political factions that have made any attempt at an ethics consistent with Darwinian science, to this point at least, have been the socialist eugenics movement of the early twentieth century and the Nazi movement that sprang from it.

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

You have to distinguish the uniqueness Christianity from the larger diverse category of religion:

“Christians, for instance, are not, properly speaking, believers in religion; rather, they believe that Jesus of Nazareth, crucified under Pontius Pilate, rose from the dead and is now, by the power of the Holy Spirit, present to his church as its Lord.”

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

Christianity uniquely and historically spurred a revolution of human good:

“Among all the many great transitions that have marked the evolution of Western civilization … there has been only one—the triumph of Christianity —that can be called in the fullest sense a “revolution”: a truly massive and epochal revision of humanity’s prevailing vision of reality, so pervasive in its influence and so vast in its consequences as to actually have created a new conception of the world, of history, of human nature, of time, and of the moral good.”

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

New atheist philosophers lack substance and connection to history and reality:

But atheism that consists entirely in vacuous arguments afloat on oceans of historical ignorance, made turbulent by storms of strident self-righteousness, is as contemptible as any other form of dreary fundamentalism. And it is sometimes difficult, frankly, to be perfectly generous in one’s response to the sort of invective currently fashionable among the devoutly undevout, or to the sort of historical misrepresentations it typically involves.”

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies