Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sceptics Questions

Loren Rosson over at the busybody engages with some known and unknown to me through this quiz. To make the comment more interesting, I have included some pictures from a walk this morning.

I wasn't going to answer but I think there are a few points to touch on as Chris Heard did.

There are 43 questions and I found myself wondering what the compilers were after. It might be more instructive to go through Paul's 55 questions in Romans - but whatever. So I will take my guesses as to why these questions are being asked. Why I am doing this is beyond me - it is not as if there is time for such an exercise. But maybe the discipline will put me in touch with a wider circle - maybe not. Some of us are turtles, some ducks - swim well. As you can see it was a beautiful walk. The Abkhazi garden is in Victoria, BC.

1. on hospitality: perhaps this refers to Lot in Sodom though the relationship is reversed. If so the question is confused. My experience is that the hospitality in the NE today is a special gift. The extreme thoughts in the question perhaps should not be thought.

skip 2

3. Mithra? The mystery cult was always a poor guess at the primitive mind (e.g. as noted in some of Maccoby, The Mythmaker). Such 'proof' of similarity by analogy does not seem desirable or conclusive. So what if death and resurrection is a part of the imagery of creation or fertility or whatever, the core of the message of the NT - nicely framed in Mark's gospel (transfiguration) reflecting the symmetry of Psalm 16 - is of an everlasting glory, not a natural cycle.

4. Hate - your family - hyperbole maybe - but more representative of radical priority of choice.

5. Amalekites - there's no real excuse for failure. And D is failure. The so called 'right' answer is seriously misleading. As Chris Heard points out, the issue of vengeance might be a better answer - but that too misunderstands the nature of God's vengeance which is tuned both to bear the cost and to invite maturity.

6. Canaanites - similarly the us versus them attitude in the 'right' answer is indicative of the flesh - if only I get my answers right, I will escape - Not so.

7. Matthew's use of Hosea - the use of exegetical in the answer is a $10 word where it isn't needed. That's how Matthew used the allusion - it needs to be noted but Matthew doesn't need an excuse for it. What does it say about the Son? Cet enfant - c'est lui (comme l'étât, c'est moi). Or as John would put it, I am the vine.

8. (also 36) Jacob and the striped animals. I always thought this was a good example of genetic manipulation - but I'm no expert here. There's plenty of evidence in the garden for evolution.

skip 9

10. Treasures on earth. For securities - see again psalm 16

skip 11 - the choices are too awful

skip 12 - inerrancy is a doctrine of the flesh, a false security.

13. This is a serious question - sources for the doctrine of the trinity.

skip 14-20 - more inerrancy (and I am getting bored)

skip 21 - I learned something from the Jesus Seminar but I never did believe in the voting mechanics.

22. How saved? Good grief - another serious question. Well, my word these days is engagement - not with a set of beliefs but with the one who loves you. Here is my 'creed'.

skip 23

24. Genesis may well be a response to some earlier stories. Were there real other people living then? Wow.

skip 25 and 26 - walking through this graveyard of questions.

27-28 On Sex - really, are these the best questions you can come up with? I think there should be 66 questions, one from each book of the Bible on sex. See what you find.

skip 29-34

35. I really did get the fire brigade to come for burnt toast once.

skip 36-37 - why are you looking for 'proof' - what is that anyway?

38. Numbers 31 - the appalling chapter. It's appalling - there is no rationale for it nor any excuse to make one. Why should you want to explain it away? Adoption is more difficult than you think.

enough. An unpretentious house with an overgrowth of flowers could be beautiful (it's a few blocks from our place).

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