The Ten…Commandments?

Via Mano Singham comes this story of a pastor who unwittingly had a close encounter with a little-known fact:

A Baptist minister is in hot water after preaching a sermon that called the Ten Commandments sayings or promises rather than mandates.

In his Christmas Eve message, Senior Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church… told congregants that no word for “commandment” exists in Hebrew, the Old Testament’s original language.

For this faux pas, Noble has provoked a backlash among Christians, including the president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, who is threatening to disaffiliate Noble’s congregation for failure to conform to Baptist beliefs. Ironically, however, Noble is closer to the truth than the president of his denomination, which may be why he’s in such hot water. It’s true Hebrew DOES have a word for “commandment.” It’s just that this word never follows the number “ten.”

And that’s just the tip of the “Ten Commandments” iceberg.

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The Slippery Slope

Just by the way, I’ve heard a number of people wondering melodramatically where it will all end, as in “If we let gay people get married, what next?” Is gay rights some kind of slippery slope leading down into who knows what?

Well, it just might be, and if you’re wondering where all this will lead to, I’ll tell you where it will all end. Taken to their logical conclusions, gay rights and marriage equality will ultimately lead us to two realizations. One, there’s nothing inherently corrupt or harmful in sexual pleasure and satisfaction in and of themselves. And two, as long as two people aren’t harming anyone (see Point #1), it’s none of our business. If we start down the slippery slope of not meddling in other people’s business and not harassing them over the harmless ways in which they live their lives, then ultimately we can look forward to landing ourselves at the “bottom of the pit,” in a land of personal liberty, dignity, and fulfillment.

If anyone finds such things horrifying and unbearable, they may now begin to cultivate their angst.

Changing Truth

Via Ed Brayton’s blog comes the link to Dan Fincke’s review of Christianity’s latest “poor me” porno, God Is Not Dead. Thank you, Dan, for watching that movie so that the rest of us don’t have to!

Dan actually wrote a multi-part review that may end up being remembered long after this entirely forgettable movie is forgotten. In the second installment, he points out how the movie tries to make atheists look bad by portraying them as behaving like Christians.

For example, if you were like me, you were troubled by the idea of Professor Radisson’s desire to have his students sign a statement of belief that “God is Dead” with threats of failure if they do not do so. He was forcing them to agree to a conclusion without any debate. He was being closed minded and dogmatic.

In the real world it is Christian universities that alone in America require of students and faculty that they sign faith statements to attend or teach. If Professor Radisson’s actions bothered you, in reality you should be bothered by these Christian universities’ behavior. This is not a point against secular universities. If any atheist philosophy professor (or any atheist professor of any other kind) at a secular school has ever had anyone pledge that says “God is dead”, I’ve never heard of it.

It would be easy to accuse the Christian filmmakers of deliberate hypocrisy for pulling this kind of switcheroo, but let’s be charitable and pretend that they just don’t know how atheists really think and behave, and are just assuming that atheists pull the same kind of manipulative stunts as are common in Christian culture. Still, it raises an interesting question. Why do Christians need to compel faculty and students to swear allegiance to specific doctrines? And even more interestingly, why is it that secular institutions do not?
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Can sin save the Creator?

My last post about AJ Castellitto’s column attacking evolution has drawn the attention of the author himself, in the comments. In my reply, I pointed out the fact that, by denying evolution, creationists are accusing God of failing to come up with any idea as good as Darwin’s. The Genesis design won’t let species improve and makes it impossible for new species to emerge, which means that sooner or later, as environmental conditions change, all of God’s creatures are going to go extinct under conditions where evolution would have allowed life to continue. Rather a shabby bit of work for an “intelligent” Designer!

AJ’s “rebuttal” (as expected) was to try and blame extinction on sin.

Creation is dying – the effects of sin…. Completely consistent with the Biblical rendering of reality…. You needed 3 paragraphs to spew nonsense & propaganda?

Evolution is on trial here not God

But is sin enough to save God from the mediocrity and failure that creationism consigns Him to?

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Story, critical of Fox News, disappears from Christian Post

This is interesting. On Jan. 3rd, the Christian Post published an article by Morgan Lee reporting that a Christian blogger was calling Todd Starnes a liar due to his biased, selective, and misleading reporting about “persecution” against Christians. The original story is still available via Google cache, but no longer appears on the Christian Post site itself. If you search for “Todd Starnes,” a link to the original story comes up, but it leads to a 404 page.

Methinks someone got a little note behind the scenes, perhaps?

Senator seeks to “protect” churches

Oh, hey, there’s a cute story in

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would prevent the Obama administration from pressuring churches into recognizing gay marriage.

Yes, it’s very important to “protect” churches from having the president violate the First Amendment in ways he has no intention of doing. And while we’re passing frivolous, grandstanding laws, why not also pass a law protecting women and babies from Republican cannibalism? Yes, I know that doesn’t exist either, but you do oppose allowing Republicans to commit cannibalism right? If we’re going to protect things that aren’t in any danger, let’s at least be comprehensive.

The “benefits” of faith

You have to have faith, or so I’m told. People who don’t have faith are somehow deficient, missing out on all that life has to offer, and maybe even morally suspect.

Why is that? What’s so great about faith? What do you get from being faithful that you don’t get from being skeptical? There are a lot of answers to those questions, but the most accurate ones aren’t as flattering as the PR might have you believe.

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