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I’ll warn you now… A certain and extremely popular movie’s story-line will be spoiled if you continue to read this post. However, along the same line-of-thinking you’ll likely need to watch the film to make sense out of this post, altogether. Oh… And, maybe have some awareness around the Bible, Dante (Inferno) and God, in general.
There is the movie Toy Story brought to you by those hearty and ferocious cinemeisters (I made that up!) Pixar. But, there are also two sequels (that did very little for Tim Allen’s acting career). But, as well-received, and, and lofty, I’ll add, as the original effort was, and remains, the third film in the Toy Story series is the most dogmatic to date. In fact, it’s the story of mankind’s relationship with God, and our collective position relative to the way beings, human, and otherwise, relate to the almighty couldn’t be more clear (to me any way). It could be argued, and I will, that the script may as well have been written by John Calvin himself.
God, cast as God (or, Andy):
God, or the God, in this movie is referred to as “Andy” to throw off the less focused. The film begins as God (heretofore: “Andy”) is preparing to move on to a new universe (rather like Babylon 5 and the “Old Ones”), leaving behind the realm he has long ruled. Andy’s current universe is populated with toys that he has loved and cherished throughout a period of his existence (consider my prior post: How Long Is Seven Days?), and before he can leave he apparently has to decide what to do with them. Although why God has to do anything, other than be satisfied with what he’s both wrought, and set into motion, is not made clear. To wit… He has four choices: he can take them with him to his new domain; he can hand them over to a different god [small caps because there is, in my current view, only the one almighty] (so okay, maybe the script isn’t as Calvinist as I laid-claim to above); he can consign them to a purgatory also known ominously as “the attic”; or he can send them to …Hell. He chooses the third option for all the toys except his favorite, Woody, with whom he is well-pleased. So, we also have Paradise Lost, in play (well past the Adam and Eve part, mind you).
Woody, the Arbiter (in form, if not name):
Woody is a sanctimonious prick who spends his entire life reminding all his colleagues of Andy’s greatness and infallibility – and, generally bossing people around like a fifth grade hall-monitor. When Andy decides to send the rest of the toys to purgatory (heretofore: “the Attic”), Woody supports Him totally – and, we can reasonably assume that had Andy decided, instead, to send them straight to Hell, Woody would be quoting Romans 3:10 /1 as justification, and telling them to suck it up because the ‘potter can do whatever he wants with his clay’ […].
All that said, and thusly, nonetheless, when, by mistake, the mother of Andy (work with me, here, because this obviously deviates from any context of the Bible) sets the toys on a path towards Hell, Woody sets-out to save them.
Is it because he’s concerned for his people (all Moses-like), or because the (or, a) law as established by his Lord has been interfered with? I think it’s probably the latter, because Woody is a dick (just like almost every power-hungry fifth grade hall monitor you ever met).
The Other Toys, cast as “the Fallen”:
When the toys realise that they’re destined for Hell they (understandably) become rebellious and elect to reject Andy and go off to find other gods (just a reminder, this would be children) to, in effect, serve. Woody remonstrates with them, telling them they should remain faithful, and that it was all a mistake; but under the leadership of the female temptress Jesse (naturally a Barbie Doll with Eve-like qualities, and who shall realize redemption), the others won’t listen to him. As far as they’re concerned whether their deity has abandoned them to Hell or Purgatory makes little difference; the issue is that they’ve been abandoned, while Woody has not. So, the rage is thusly, tinged with jealousy, as well.
The plot gets really interesting when they arrive en masse at a kind of Paradise for toys; a place where they will be played with all day long (which after all, is what they were designed for), Woody is still in the throes of righteous indignation, and insisting that they return to Andy’s house, and get themselves up into Attic-that-is-Purgatory, where they belong, while he waltzes off to whatever earned and exciting new place Andy is making for. However, the other Toys choose to ignore him, looking forward to a new life of hedonism… So, there is the Pinnochio element here, as well.
And this, of course, proves to be their downfall. The loss of grace, or the perception thereof, as it were, is so devastating, eh.
The paradise they think they have discovered, and will ultimately lose, is in fact ruled by an atheist! This dark angel is an evil, strawberry-smelling bear who has rejected all gods and has set himself up as a mortal god on earth. He’s a pink furry Joseph Stalin (I’ll need to revisit the film, but I coulda sworn he was referred to as “Uncle” at one point. How apropos.).
The film could have ended here, but audiences may have been left with a view of God as cold and unconcerned with his universe, so the story carries on with rescue and redemption promised and gamely [sic] afoot. All the while, Woody continues his righteous quest to be reunited with his Master, but then he gets distracted by feelings of compassion for his friends. Foolishly, it would seem, he tries to help them, not realising that by attempting to interfere with destiny he’s only going to make things worse.
Woody’s fateful efforts lead the toys to the very precipice of Hell (oh, the inferno!), which they only escape by means of a ludicrous plot device (that also serves to remind us that this is a children’s first movie). The atheist Lotso, of course, who has by now been exposed and proved his evil atheist character beyond a doubt, is not so fortunate, and is consigned to an eternal punishment direct from the mind of Dante.
And as it should be, once the atheist villain has been disposed of, the film can end nicely with the redemption of not only foolish Woody and the ungrateful toys but also Andy, who is finally shown indulging his merciful side.
And you, that collective you, can make your way from the cinema, or possibly the comfort of your home state-of-the-art theaters, comforted in the understanding that God is great after all, possibly fair – and, made relevant today by his easy interpretation on the silver screen.
…at least to Pixar, anyway. According to Wikipedia.org, The film is currently the highest-grossing film of 2010 in the United States and Canada. /2
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork
1/ As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one“.
2/ The film is also the highest-grossing film of 2010 worldwide. In July, it surpassed Finding Nemo to become Pixar‘s highest ever grossing film at the North American box office. In early August 2010, the film became Pixar‘s highest-grossing film worldwide, and surpassed Shrek 2 as the highest-grossing animated film of all-time worldwide. In late August 2010, Toy Story 3 became the first ever Pixar film and animated film in history to make $1 billion worldwide. It is currently the 5th highest-grossing film worldwide of all time.
A story, and an epic one at that, within a story, to be sure.
There’s a sort of long-winded insanity occurring in Florida (again) as we speak. You can find news about it anywhere you like. I’m not going to provide some definitive link. This topic is hardly news and an obvious target for criticism.
Nonetheless. I’ll submit that opinions can vary, and will certainly do so in relentless fashion, but I’m intrigued by the recent image of a certain pistol packing Pastor.
Reverend Terry Jones, the Pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida will apparently kill you if yours might not align with his own.
Pastor Jones, is the leader of the small Florida church (denomination of a majority-minded fifty stalwarts (albeit a much smaller number than the infamous poison quaffing crew led by the reverend Jim Jones back in 1978) that espouses anti-Islam philosophy. He said, only today, in fact, that he was determined to go through with his plan to burn numerous copies of the Quran on Sept. 11 – despite pressure from the White House, religious leaders, and others to call it off.
Evidently Reverend Jones is of a mind that a good old fashioned book burning is just the thing to demonstrate his enlightened opinions.
It might be noted that Jones gained some local notoriety last year when he posted signs in front of his church declaring “Islam is of the Devil.” Perhaps he’s forgotten that the Quran is formed under similar lines to that of the Old Testament Bible.
OR, maybe he is Old Testament minded.
In any event… Supporters (we aren’t clear if this includes the Klan and their in-bred skin-head relatives) have been mailing copies of the holy text to his church to be incinerated in a bonfire on Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Jones says he has also received more than 100 death threats and has started wearing a .40-caliber pistol strapped to his hip since announcing his plan to burn the book Muslims consider the word of God and insist be treated with the utmost respect. The fifty-eight-year-old minister proclaimed in July that he would stage “International Burn-a-Quran Day.”
“We are still determined to do it, yes,” the Reverend Terry Jones told the CBS Early Show.
“How much do we back down? How many times do we back down?” Jones told the AP. “Instead of us backing down, maybe it’s time to stand up. Maybe it’s time to send a message to radical Islam that we will not tolerate their behavior.”
And, he is apparently prepared to place his Bible under one arm so he can whip out his .45 and kill anyone that does not care for his own radical and hate-inspiring behavior. By Gawd he might be minded to shove a cross right up their terrorist-minded hind-quarters, just to show them righteous fury!
More later. I just wonder if Pastor Jones will be blown to hell, or give someone else, hell – with an amen, brother.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork
I’m following the multiple lines of thought around building a Muslim Mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.
My initial reaction was to bristle. I feel this is natural. But, soon I had to at least try and think the matter through like a Jeffersonian. Mind you, Thomas Jefferson studied the Qur’ran in earnest. In fact, loyal readers of this blog know that I’ve chronicled that Jefferson bequeathed his own copy of the Qur’an to the Library of Congress upon his death. That was a great bargain. And, he understood the importance of making a public spectacle of executing wrong-doing Extremist Muslims with pigs blood-drenched ordinance. However, this raises some thoughts, and possible misconceptions driving misinterpretations of all manner of scripture around Lex Talionis, or the principles pertaining to: “an-eye-for-an-eye” /1.
Meanwhile, President Obama is being both public and clear that his position is: every American has the right to practice their religion freely anywhere on American soil. In many ways we all observe one another’s traditions. We are smack in the middle of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Yesterday he told an intently listening crowd gathered at the White House:
“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country”. He added: “That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”
And, I’ll stand in agreement with that.
I don’t know, yet, if it’s a good idea.
There are sure to be some logistical concerns. And, the Muslims intent on establishing the Mosque might be a bit insensitive, I think. There is a lot of opposition that appears to think this is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah. Or, maybe these are plucky Muslims hoping to set an example of some sort that might inspire positive feelings going forward.
I’m thinking we need to be open-minded, here. Once the Mosque is built and operational, tolerating activities in-and-amongst it will be a terrific example of “turning the other cheek”. Just to be clear, according to Luke 6:29 (English Standard Version from 2001):
“To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.”
Time and again, the American people have demonstrated a rich history of rallying back, working through issues, and staying true to our core values and emerge stronger for it.
And, this is where we turn the tide on the Extremist Muslim terrorists.
When we bogged down our own airports with hyper-security measures and fear we gave the terrorists a form of victory with our inconvenience. And, we are creating enormous debt waging a global war against them on multiple theaters of battle. But, Rep. Ellison’s afore-referenced platform was one of tolerance and the requisite open-mind.
“Terrorist”, “Muslim terrorist”, “fanatical Muslim”, “fundamentalist”, and “devout Muslim” are not synonymous (we hope, any way). This is an opportunity to walk amongst and with Muslims and understand them better – and, they us. Also, if your friend is also your enemy, and is in your front yard, we have an opportunity to embrace him (and, pat him down). If he breaks faith, rank or rules, we can then offer him a round-house kick al-la Chuck Norris, or thump him soundly with an olive branch until he understands what Teddy Roosevelt meant when he advised everyone to: “speak softly and carry a big stick”.
Meanwhile, in the sprit of all this and that, both good and uncertain, I’m listening to Jaron and the Long Road to Love’s Pray for You.
Check out more of their work on iTunes. Tell’m Cork said: “hey”.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork
/1 – In Islam the Qur’an permits exact and equivalent retribution. The Qur’an, however, softens the law of an eye-for-an-eye by urging mankind to accept less compensation than that inflicted upon him or her by a Muslim, or to forgive altogether. In other words, Islam does not deny Muslims the ability to seek retaliation in the equal measure. But it does, however, promote forgiveness and the acceptance of blood money not as a mandatory requisite, but rather as a good deed that will be eventually rewarded (Qur’an 5:45).
On occasions, however, the “eye-for-an-eye” rule is applied quite literally.
The phrase, “an-eye-for-an-eye” is, in truth, a quotation from several passages of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 24:19–21, Exodus 21:22–25, and Deuteronomy 19:21), and not the Qur’an, in which a person who has injured the eye of another is instructed to give the value of his or her own eye in compensation. At the root of this principle is that one of the purposes of the law is to provide equitable retribution for an offended party. It defined and restricted the extent of retribution in the laws of the Torah.
In modern times, the phrase still loosely applies. Should a person commit a tort that results in personal injury of the plaintiff, they must pay for the repairing of the injury (e.g. an eye transplant). This is called compensatory damages.
The English word talion means a punishment identical to the offense, from the Latin talio. The principle of “an-eye-for-an-eye” is often referred to using the Latin phrase lex talionis, the law of talion.
I’m certain we, that collective we, liked (and, still enjoy) the movie Pulp Fiction (1994) for a broad-range of reasons – all cause celebre.
I appreciated Quentin Tarantino allowing us a vehicle that kick-started the career of Samuel L. Jackson (“Jules Winnfield”) and also re-started the acting careers of John Travolta (“Vincent Vega”) and Bruce Willis (“Butch Coolidge”). I value the ironic humor with it’s numerous pop culture references and extensive use of homage (look for an example below for extra points). But, for me, the best part was the eclectic dialogue. And, supreme amongst all that witty prose was the Samuel L. Jackson character Jules’ liberal use and interpretation of Bible verse as a preamble to his murderous violence. Notably this passage:
“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”
Jules ritually recites what he describes as a biblical passage: Ezekiel 25:17, before he executes someone. We hear the passage three times – in the introductory sequence in which Jules and Vincent reclaim Marsellus’s mysterious light emanating (and never explained) briefcase from the doomed Brett; that same recitation a second time, at the beginning of “The Bonnie Situation”, which overlaps the end of the earlier sequence; and in the epilogue at the diner.
That being true scripture is Urban Myth and Legend. In fact only a select few words and/or phrases used in his speil are generated from the true scripture. For the sake of clarification, the following is the accurate scripture as presented in the bible (this is not me saying the Bible is accurate):
“I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.” – Ezekiel 25:17
So… My point is that I like creative and nimble prose. I also enjoy senseless contrived cinematic violence. And, as luck, or providence, if you will, would have it, the Bible is chock-full of ass kicking – and, is often a great cinematic source.
As a result of this, a sporting handful of ebullient buddies and I rallied our own witts and have come up with the following cocktail (many of those were also involved, as were Fat Tires and Modelo Especial’s) of bon mots that liberally leveraged Bible verse to promote violent contextual imagery….
“One day, after Moses had flowered into Manhood, he went amongst the people, where his own people gathered, and there, watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating down upon a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way, and then that way, and upon seeing no one of merit, Moses killed the Egyptian, thusly raining vengeance upon him, and hid him in the sand”. – Optimistic Gentlemen
Sure, Moses was a great leader, an emancipator of his people – and, a prophet. Most people don’t know that he also was the Biblical equivalent of Splinter Cell‘s Sam Fisher, a well-honed killing machine, able to slay from the shadows bereft of pity or remorse. Martin Luther King may have had a dream, but Moses had a body count.
Picture the movie scene: An Egyptian soldier is wailing on a hapless Hebrew when Moses, clothed head-to-toe in black, drops down from the ceiling. Moving with cat-like grace, he sneaks up behind the soldier and, taking his head in his hands, snaps the man’s neck with one savage twist. As the lifeless body slumps to the ground, Moses lights up a cigar. “Well,” he muses dryly, “looks like someone bit off more than he could Jew”.
…I refuse to even pretend to be apologetic for that. And, I’ll stand firm in my belief that my Jewish brothers Marc Lewyn and David Taylor-Klaus, Prudent and Optimistic Gentlemen, to be sure, would slap their thighs with me.
II Kings 2:23
“…From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road under the yoke of his God, he came upon some youths come from town and jeering him. ‘Go on up, you baldhead’, they said upon him. ‘Go on up, you balhead’, they said unto him again, and repeatedly. He turned around, and upon them in turn, looking upon them with disdain, and in reply called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the nearby woods and mauled forty-two and six of the youths”.
You’ve been there. I did not say I’ve been there. But, we’ll assume you’re walking along, minding your own business, when a gang of cocky, young bastards start hurling abuse at you. Most of us would just keep walking, or maybe, yell some insults back – or, flip them the bird (example of homage: multiple people have died from Chuck Norris giving them the finger). Elisha (commonly regarded as the Luke Skywalker to the Prophet Elijah’s Obi-Wan Kenobi), however, decides to take it one step further. Invoking the name of God, he summons mother#@*&ing bears to come and claw the @#%& out of them.
You can always count on an ill-timed digression in-and-amongst my blog posts. And, we’ll pause here without exception, and offer this for consideration:
Christians are constantly asking for prayer in schools to help get today’s kids in line. However, we beg to differ in terms of potential tactical options. We clearly need bears in our schools. Public schools, private schools, probably even home schools. If every teacher had the power to summon a pair of child-maiming grizzly avengers, you can bet that schoolchildren nowadays would be the most well-behaved, polite children, ever. It’s a simple choice: listen to the biology lesson, or get first-hand knowledge of the digestive system of Ursus horribilis a-la God himself.
It should be pointed out, as we meander our way back to Elisha (he is such a bad-ass that he struts around with a girls name along the lines of Johnny Cash’s Don’t Call Me Sue), that even after his death, Elisha continued to kick major butt. II Kings 13:20-21 tells us (loose interpretation, here, mind you) that when a dead body was thrown into his tomb and touched Elisha’s bones, it sprang back to life (we’re not clear how the corpse manages this, but we can’t explain the mysterious briefcase in Pulp Fiction either). It’s unknown whether Elisha had this power in life, as well as death, but we like to think he did, and that he had the habit of killing his victims with bears, resurrecting them, and then promptly re-summoning the bears to kill them, again. He’d just repeat the whole thing over and over until he got bored. That’s what we call sending your enemies to endless hell. Never mind purgatory. Pure bear-chomping, endless, hell. This is a terrific foundation for both a action-oriented gore-movie and video-game spin-off.
“…yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the dyas of her wayward you and away from the eyes of her God, when she was a lowly prostitute of high reputation in Egypt (naturally). There, she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses”.
NOTE: We’re giving Kent most of the credit for that one.
And, I’ll warn you now… I’m departing from my typical gentile self and indulging in some striking rude and graphic language, here. Just run with me around this one. But, you’ll also have to participate and utilize some creative word-smithing for full effect.
Contrary to what you may think, the Bible has never shied away from talking about sex. In fact, the entire Song of Solomon is clearly dedicated to describing a couple enthusiastically honoring God, complete with lines like: “I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers”. This verse, in, or out, of context, is particularly explicit, though, possibly informing us that Egyptians are hung like farmyard animals, and can ejaculate in quantities to rival the annual flooding of the Nile.
All this imagery is crucial from a socio-historical perspective. It’s relevant to intellectualista’s and movie-buff’s alike because there is perspective of the human dynamic. Keep in mind, the Egyptians were the Jews’ former slave masters and are the bad guys in this particular story (okay and most Biblically-oriented stories). So, you know their reputation for supreme endowment was well earned when the worst their enemies could say was, “Go on! Go back to those big-cocked bastards! We hope you’re pleased with their enormous [insert creative college inspired descriptor].”
It should be noted that those swaggering old Egyptians didn’t exactly run from their reputation. Egyptian ruins are littered with statues like Min, the god of huge dong-having (in the spirit of the original intent of this blog post, this just might remind you of a certain 1980’s teen favorite movie). They even invented the phallic obelisk to advertise it (picture the Washington Monument, that just happens to be an obelisk). That was their statement to the world: “Gaze upon our [insert creative college inspired descriptor] tower and despair.”
I’ll reckon that this carefully interpreted passage creates a problem, certainly a challenge, for many new Bible readers. I’m also going to take some serious heat from my Christian brothers. Oh, really? However, once you’ve read this, it is impossible to go back and read the above referenced story-oriented Bible verse depiction of Moses killing the Egyptian guy the same way. This is verily the stuff of Pulp Fiction. When it speaks of the Egyptian beating the Hebrew slave, you have no choice but to imagine Moses turkey slapping the man (look it up). If anything, however, it makes Moses’ deadly intervention all the more justified.
I have a call into Quentin. I’m thinking Tim Roth, or even Samuel L. Jackson, playing the role of Moses. I’m as yet unclear if we go space opera like Star Wars, Post-Modern or Black Comedy. Neo Noir is certainly a possibility.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork
Biblically-Oriented Chuck Norris FUN FACTS:
1. Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn’t stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.
2. A blind man once stepped on Chuck Norris’ shoe. Chuck replied, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m Chuck Norris!” The mere mention of his name cured this mans blindness. Sadly the first, last, and only thing this man ever saw, was a fatal roundhouse delivered by Chuck Norris.
3. When his martial arts prowess fails to resolve a situation, Chuck Norris plays dead. When playing dead doesn’t work, he plays zombie.
I’m so damn shallow.
But, it’s little things, like a Chris Tomlin tune that help me in those less than, otherwise, fulfilling moments.
However, and having stated the above (and, many other things daily), I don’t want to mislead anyone, anywhere, ever… I’m still waiting; searching. Sad, yet hopeful.
It would be easier to call myself a Christian. But, God would know, right?
So… The best I can offer is to live my life like that, as far as I think what it could all mean. Doing it my way is like living with considered abandon, and without a net. No fish on the bumper of my car. It means living by a code but not knowing if there is a reward.
But, I’m also listening to God of Wonders (it’s the Chris Tomlin version, for me) – and, relentlessly, I’ll add, here.
I’m by no means courageous (maybe not since Sarajevo, anyway). Just Authentic.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork
The (deservedly) immortal Dr. Nick Pappas at Radford Univerity called those of us that yearned to be learned “swine!”. This might mean brutish, possibly contemptible, certainly ignorant. But, a badge of honor, as it turns out, because Dr. Pappas knew we had merit based on the desire to change for the better. We sought enlightenment.
There! I’ve set the stage…
But, and just so you know, I started drafting this post on Sunday while it was, potentially, apropos. But, I wanted my thoughts around Bill Pope to run a certain course. And, so they have. Then of course, many of you know I struggle, and mightily so, with the Jesus element. Although the example, as established by those two men, both now otherworldly, continue to abound.
Thusly, I had these words that I intended to post. But, none of them seem sufficient in the face of the enormity of the events of which that day (Easter Sunday) is a commemoration. I probably don’t have to tell you that Jesus was killed, in the worst possible way, for the stupidest possible reasons, by, as Chesterton has pointed out, elsewhere, and paraphrased here, an unholy coalition of all that was more or less the best in both government and religion at the time.
Travesty is an insufficient descriptor. Or, opportunity. Because, yet another stage was, therefore, set.
In the midst of this, a thought: Love is the visible attribute of an invisible God.
So… If you are a Christian then you are of the opinion that the Lord is Risen! So, rejoice, ye swine, for something greater than we had ever hoped is at hand. No grave could hold Him. No earth could keep Him down. Hell itself was merely a brief sojourn; and, He didn’t come back alone. (According to the Bible and Gale Jackson) After forty days of gathering darkness, and the great falling blow of Good Friday, we may finally stand up tall again with our splendid and appalling King. He brings not peace, but a sword; He brings us to a fight, but it is a good fight and, well worth the trouble.
I’m not a Christian, mind. you. But, I WANT to believe this can happen – or, has occurred.
Many of you raised your glass Sunday (but why not each and every day?), wherever you were, in honor of the One who conquered death and gave us life in abundance. Take the Bread and the Wine, if you are able. Be in fellowship. Love your families, your friends, your colleagues, and even your loathsome, miserable enemies. You may fling them to the ground, when the time comes, but on this day of days it is best to hope for better outcomes, and more noble.
This might lead us to take the position that it’s apparently faith, not proof, that makes Christians believe in Jesus Christ’s resurrection, the central tenet of the religion.
Well… Possibly until now.
I offer this because it’s being reported that Oxford University professor Richard Swinburne (I don’t know if he is or was a swine, but close enough!), a leading philosopher of religion, has seemingly done the impossible. He is using logic and mathematics to create a formula that he says shows a ninety seven percent (97%) certainty that Jesus Christ was resurrected by God the Father. This information reported by The Age and Catholic News (However, I pulled it off MSNBC, again). NOTE: Meanwhile, nothing particularly original here, as I’m confident you’ve read about this elsewhere (on this very Blog, to be sure),
Nonetheless, as a reminder, this stunning conclusion was made based on a series of complex calculations grounded in the following logic:
- The probability of God’s existence is one in two. That is, God either exists or doesn’t.
- The probability that God became incarnate, that is embodied in human form, is also one in two.
- The evidence for God’s existence is an argument for the resurrection.
- The chance of Christ’s resurrection not being reported by the gospels has a probability of one in 10.
- Considering all these factors together, there is a one in 1,000 chance that the resurrection is not true.
“New Testament scholars say the only evidences are witnesses in the four gospels. That’s only five percent of the evidence,” Swinburne said in a lecture he gave at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. “We can’t judge the question of the resurrection unless we ask first whether there’s reason to suppose there is a God. Secondly, if we have reason to suppose he would become incarnate, and thirdly, if he did, whether he would live the sort of life Jesus did.” He says that even Jesus’ life is not enough proof. However, the resurrection is “God’s signature,” which shows “his approval of Jesus’ teaching.”
I’ve called the good fellow, to verify his sincerity, but he has yet to return my call.
By way of reference, the calculations that Swinburne says prove the resurrection are detailed in his book, The Resurrection of God Incarnate. Download it to your Kindle, or iPad, I have. Do it!!!
In closing, as I round out my point… We know why God took Jesus (providing you follow the Bible, and Gale Jackson). However, we are still asking ourselves why God felt He needed Bill and Bryce more than we did. Unless the simple answer is the establishment of a compelling example, driven home, if you will, with an awful and dramatic flourish. Our attention is caught. Now we have that scienter in our lives.
This means we need to be ready.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork