Creating Christ: How Roman Emperors Invented Christianity is a book written by James S. Valliant and Warren Fahy. The title will no doubt alarm many. But I want to look at what they have to say before dismissing them. This is because their knowledge may well be worth gleaning from even if one doesn’t agree with their conclusion.
The authors claim to have been working on their hypothesis for three decades. It was toward the end of this time which they discovered evidence which they had predicted should exist if their hypothesis were true. (I’ll explain what this was later.) This was no doubt thrilling and seemed like the “smoking gun” to the pair. Apparently they were so thrilled by this that they start the book off discussing this Continue reading →
The Gospels Behind the Gospels is a fascinating book written by Dr. Robert M. Price. He theorizes that the gospels in the new testament aren’t completely cohesive narratives created by their authors (nor the author of Q if such existed). Rather, he believes that there were many different beliefs and traditions present in the first centuries of the common era, and that the gospel authors stitched these together for their own purposes. In this book, Dr. Price attempts to “peer behind the curtain”, using what we have in the Bible as well as other sources, in order to try a see what might lay behind.
The book is divided into nine chapters, each of which explores a different potential way of seeing Jesus, the gospels, and the other closely Continue reading →
(The following is a letter I wrote to all TN Republican House of Representative members.)
I am writing you today due to my concern about the liberty and democracy of our state of Tennessee. There have been a number of measures taken recently which, in my estimation, represent hardly disguised over reach of our state government. I ask you to focus on making Tennessee one of the best states in the nation. There understandably may be differences in opinion between you, as a representative of our state government, and local governing bodies. But I implore you to not try to micromanage local governments and especially not to overrule them. To do so is to violate the sovereign will of the people and represents an attack on our democracy Continue reading →
Some people respond to shootings similar to how they respond to natural disasters such as a tornado, hurricane, or wild fire. This suggests a perspective of, “It’s tragic but unfortunately nothing can be done to prevent it; the only thing which can be done is to prepare for it.”
Others, including myself, have the impression (whether correct or incorrect) that there are definitely things which can be done to significantly reduce the likelihood of a mass shooting taking place. With such a perspective, not taking these steps is maddening and literally costing people their lives and the lives of loved ones—including children. With such a perspective, it is understandable why we would be so angry.
I just saw the new film Jesus Revolution which is based on the so called “Jesus Movement” of the 1970s U.S. That said, I can’t decide if that’s really what the movie is about. I say this because if was at least as much if not more a love story which felt like the majority of other movie romances. So I am asking myself, “Is this just Hollywood for Christians? Is there just enough Bibles, church, and Jesus to make Christians feel that it’s on their side? Is the fact that the romance has no more than holding hands and a kiss when they get engaged to make the movie feel ‘pure’?”
This is some analysis way after the fact and therefore not timely. Nevertheless, I think it’s still worth exploring.
Trumpism… Donald Trump gained a more ardent following than any Republican since at least Ronald Regan. More than just a politician, Trump became a cultural phenomenon. I frequently heard evangelical Christians blamed for Trump. To be sure, they played their part. As close as presidential elections tend to be, Trump likely would not have won without their support (which is really a support for anti-abortion). However, evangelicals aren’t Trump’s real base and support for Trump was significantly debated in evangelical circles. To make matters more confusing, probably a lot of Trump’s core supporters would identify as Continue reading →
Wayward is a coming of age memoir penned by Alice Greczyn. First of all, I must say this book is very well written. I’ve read many autobiographies which suffer from problems due to their inexperienced authors. None of that is present here. The writing is so good, on one hand it was a joy to read. On the other hand, the content was often difficult due to being heart wrenching.
The majority of the 300+ page book is focused on Alice’s most formative years from around 10 until her early 20s. her family was evangelical but around the time she was 8, they became influenced by and involved in a Pentecostal style of Christianity inspired by the Toronto Blessing movement. This flavor of Christianity taught that everything was a spiritual battle Continue reading →
I don’t believe it will surprise anyone for me to say that abortion is a very controversial subject. What may be more difficult for people to understand is why it is so controversial. For many people, the issue is so clear cut. This is true for people both for and against it. If it’s so clear, why hasn’t everyone come to the same conclusion? How can it be that people have come to see abortion from such different viewpoints if the issue is so straight forward?
When it comes to the abortion debate, I’ve long thought the two sides have been talking past one another. On one side, you have people talking about Continue reading →
I believe in the “supernatural”. I put “supernatural” in quotes because what I believe in in terms of the supernatural is something beyond our current understanding of the universe. There are certain things in science which we haven’t yet figured out, such as how to unify the theories of general and special relativity (roughly gravity with subatomic physics) or the cause of the rate of expansion of the universe (which we believe has to do with dark matter and energy, but we don’t know precisely what these are). When I talk about the “supernatural” being beyond what we know, I’m not talking about these kinds of things. I don’t have in mind the questions which science knows it doesn’t know. When I talk about the “supernatural”, I’m talking Continue reading →
It would be many religious parents’ nightmare. Their sweet innocent child goes off into the world, only to get caught in a confusing tangle of debauchery and abuse. Did they not protect her? No. The problem is that the church was over protective. They thought she would be protected by simple ideals. But this left her unprepared. Terribly unprepared to deal with the world—not of the ideal world of evangelical dreams, but the world as it actually is in all its mess. This is a coming of age story.
On Her Knees is a “Memoir of a Prayerful Jezebel” penned by Brenda Marie Davies. Before I go further, I must acknowledge the incredible vulnerability Davies has taken by sharing her darkest secrets in this book. I don’t want to take this lightly. Continue reading →
Thank you for subscribing to the weekly digest! Please check your inbox in order to confirm your subscription. If you don’t receive the confirmation email, check your spam folder. You may add DLWebster@DL-Webster.com to your address book in order to prevent my emails from being marked as spam.
Did you know that I have over 400 articles already published? You can browse through the archives by title, by tags, or use the search in the sidebar. And if you benefit from these, please share them with your friends. Also, let me know what you find to be worthwhile and what topics you would like me to address. I hope to provide a resource for you.