May 26, 2017

The Conundrum of a Warrior God (3)

Joshua Commanding the Sun to Stand Still, John Martin

Note from CM: First of all, I want to commend and thank everyone for one of the best discussions of the Bible and theological issues this week that I’ve ever been part of. This has been most stimulating and encouraging.

Today, as we prepare to look at Greg Boyd’s book, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God, I give you one more quote on the nature of Scripture, especially in the light of some of the ways it portrays God and some of the apparently less-than-edifying materials it contains. Lewis’s focus is not on the violent passages such as the conquest, but on the Psalms. But the Psalms raise, in some ways, similar issues. How does God speak through words of humans about God and addressed to God? Words that convey clearly all of our human limitations and foibles? Words that are imperfect and messy; as Lewis says, “untidy and leaky”?

• • •

This is from C.S. Lewis and his book, Reflections on the Psalms.

The human qualities of the raw materials show through. Naïvety, error, contradiction, even (as in the cursing Psalms) wickedness are not removed. The total result is not ‘the Word of God’ in the sense that every passage, in itself, gives impeccable science or history. It carries the Word of God; and we (under grace, with attention to tradition and to interpreters wiser than ourselves, and with the use of such intelligence and learning as we may have) receive that word from it not by using it as an encyclopedia or an encyclical but by steeping ourselves in its tone or temper and so learning its overall message.

To a human mind this working-up (in a sense imperfectly), this sublimation (incomplete) of human material, seems, no doubt, an untidy and leaky vehicle. We might have expected, we may think we should have preferred, an unrefracted light giving us ultimate truth in systematic form— something we could have tabulated and memorised and relied on like the multiplication table. One can respect, and at moments envy, both the Fundamentalist’s view of the Bible and the Roman Catholic’s view of the Church. But there is one argument which we should beware of using for either position: God must have done what is best, this is best, therefore God has done this. For we are mortals and do not know what is best for us, and it is dangerous to prescribe what God must have done— especially when we cannot, for the life of us, see that He has after all done it.

…Certainly it seems to me that from having had to reach what is really the Voice of God in the cursing Psalms through all the horrible distortions of the human medium, I have gained something I might not have gained from a flawless, ethical exposition. The shadows have indicated (at least to my heart) something more about the light. Nor would I (now) willingly spare from my Bible something in itself so anti-religious as the nihilism of Ecclesiastes. We get there a clear, cold picture of man’s life without God. That statement is itself part of God’s word. We need to have heard it. Even to have assimilated Ecclesiastes and no other book in the Bible would be to have advanced further towards truth than some men do.

• C.S. Lewis

Comments

  1. Susan Dumbrell says:

    I want to thank CM and all bloggers to IM these past two days for their insightful/inciteful comments and their explorations/explanations of the topics offered.
    We all have so much to learn and consider from the comments.
    My brain hurts, however you opened up so many ideas for consideration.
    Keep it coming.

    Thanks be to God.

    yup, Christ is still Risen

    (you cant take that away from me?!!) (Some might try?!!)

    • Robert F says:

      There may be a few who would take that away from you, if they could, but they can’t.

      He is risen indeed.

    • Indeed He is risen

    • Rick Ro. says:

      I can’t hear/read “He is risen” without following up with “He is risen indeed.”

      He is risen indeed.

  2. Robert F says:

    Some of our Lutheran friends say, in reference to the Incarnation, that the finite contains the infinite. We could say, in reference to the Psalms, that in them the divine is expressed through the imperfect, angry, vengeful, frightened, weak, lonely, the all-too human.

    • Robert, in view of yesterday’s discussion, do you think the Psalmists attribute things to God that, upon more mature reflection on the developing theology of the scriptures, are not accurate portrayals of his character or ways?

      • Robert F says:

        Yes. But the Psalms speak to God, not for him; otoh, many other OT texts make God himself the speaker of things that are not accurate portrayals of his character. As far as I’m concerned, since the Psalms show men speaking/praying to God, they are far less morally problematic than the OT texts that have God himself speaking, and ordering, moral abominations. Sinful understandings of and approaches to God are to be expected of human beings, not excluding ourselves or the Psalmist; but when God himself is depicted as uttering, ordering and doing the awful things, we have a foundational problem in our imaging of God at the very beginning of our tradition that continues to affect it and us to this day. I don’t believe that Jesus in his humanity escaped that distorting affect, and probably carried some of it with him to the cross. I believe that it continues to be partially operative in the NT; it is a retrogressive voice calling for judgment and reckoning against the new call of the resurrected Christ and the Holy Spirit to reconciliation and forgiveness. It is hard for us humans, Christian or not, to stay for long out of the mode of psychology that wants blood for blood. God help us.

    • Burro [Mule] says:

      Mike –

      Another saying of Lewis’ is germaine here; Aslan is not a tame lion. He is good, but that doesn’t mean he’s safe.

      God doesn’t change. “I am Jehovah. I change not.”

      A man crossing a bay in a small craft to avoid driving three hours around a promontory may find a sudden storm “wrathful” in that it thwarts his purposes. If he is crossing the bay to sleep with his brother’s wife or to sell weapons to a cartel, I would hope that the storm would cause a reflection on the vagaries of Providence.

      But the storm is not “wrathful”. Neither is falling into the hands of merciless men. If merciless men pray to God for victory over their equally implacable enemies, and things turn out that way, well, sometimes it appears God takes sides, and it behooves one to find out what side God is on.

      Maybe when we stop having sides we’ll be able to live up to the Gospel commands. There are monks who have said “I have no enemies” in the face of much greater enmity than I have ever encountered.

      But I’ll be honest. If I were to echo the prevailing sentiment here, I would be talking about seven steps higher than I have hitherto progressed. That is dangerous. Not only would you have to die, you’d have to be willing to allow your loved ones to be killed or brutalized in front of you.

      I ain’t there yet. I still need a God who smites, even if by proxy.

      • Maybe there is room for some imagination in the vast territory that exists between genocidal smiting of everything that breathes or letting my loved ones be killed or brutalized in front of me. The choice isn’t between “leave nothing alive” and outright passivity.

  3. One of the biggest paradigm shifts for me in reading scripture was coming to realise that the Bible is multivocal, not univocal. That might sound obvious at the superficial level (different books written by different people), but if we’re prepared to really think about what the various categories of voices in scripture are, what they’re saying, and why they’re saying it, it’s quite revelatory.

  4. dennisb says:

    I think the Psalms convey the innate desire for God to act in His mercy & justice to right the evils in the world. Including the personal failures experienced in one,s soul. I think they more accurately portray a reliance on God rather than revelling In a cultural bravado of being God,s chosen people. He did say He could get the rocks to worship Him…

    Cheers
    Dennis

  5. Wussypillow says:

    Yeah, no. If the Bible were a perfect exposition, believers would be shouting and crowing it from the rooftops. But it’s not and people hve started to notice and so they’ve fallen back to this sort of makeshift, “Well, you see it’s a record of ancient human thoughts…”

    Give it up. The jig is pretty much up once a religion foreswears simply doing away with the doubters. You’ll notice the Mohammedans are *not* really having conversations like this. Not anywhere they’re a majority, anyway.

    • All or nothing, eh? No nuance? No room for *anything* in between?

      Sounds all too familiar…

      • Rick Ro. says:

        It’s literalism vs. symbolism. Literalists often go black-and-white because of their difficulty moving off the written word.

        I have a couple of friends who have difficulty with my sarcasm because of their literalism. It’s hard for them to “see the joke” when they take my sarcasm as what I really mean.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          “When you point at something with your finger, the dog sniffs your finger. To a dog, a finger is a finger and that is that.”
          — C.S.Lewis

          • Rick Ro. says:

            Oh, indeed! It’s hilarious when I’m trying to point my dog to go down the hall for his ball when I’m standing ten feet from the hall. He runs around wildly, wondering what exactly I’m trying to get him to do!!

          • Except my dog is smarter than that. 😉

        • StuartB says:

          All doesn’t always mean all, but it sure does to literalists, and they’ll move heaven and earth to find the exception to prove you wrong.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Troll’s got a point.

      Can a religion survive when it cannot force itself on its surrounding culture?
      Can a religion survive when it cannot force belief and devotion using raw POWER and Domination?

      Modern Christianity and today’s Islam come down on opposite sides of that question.
      Which will prevail?
      (Survival of the Fittest, in the common meaning of the term – not Darwin’s.)

      • StuartB says:

        And I have a hard time accepting the argument that a meek and mild form of Christianity is the most powerfully spread. Maybe back when people were busy outdoing each others being martyrs, but nowadays? Idk. And even most of Christianity’s vigorous spread came about from the sword.

      • Dana Ames says:

        HUG,

        Both Fr Tom Hopko of blessed memory and Fr Stephen have seen things that to them demonstrate a lot of interesting connections between Islam and Modern Christianity. I wish Fr Tom would have elucidated that before he passed.

        “Can a religion survive when it cannot force itself on its surrounding culture?
        Can a religion survive when it cannot force belief and devotion using raw POWER and Domination?”

        That’s exactly the case for the first couple of hundred years of Christianity – it not only survived, but it thrived. The first Christians did not force belief and did not use raw power. The raw power was used against them, and like their Lord, they absorbed it.

        (And do please read some history before attributing to Constantine or any of the eastern Roman emperors anything worse than what happened in the west. In practicality, it was not the policy of the eastern emperors to force conversions, and though some people with heretical views – and who also held the wrong politics – were sometimes tortured, they were usually exiled, not put to death. After things settled down politically after the iconoclast controversy, Jews and other non-Christians were pretty much left alone. The eastern Roman empire was as likely to make war against Christian peoples as non-Christian.)

        Dana

  6. Jaybo’s Law.

    • You keep saying that. What is it?

      • Rick Ro. says:

        “I’ve discovered the secret code of truth, but I’m not going to tell you.”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          The very definition of Gnosticism, delivered with the smug smile of an Illuminatus.

          • HUG, I answered one of your arrogances a week or two back with instructions where to make a start and how to find more. Both my reply and your smug smile were wiped clean, never to return. That did not take away your ability to email me. Sometimes you get tiresome.

            • Rick Ro. says:

              Well, in defense of HUG, I just googled “Jaybo’s Law” and the first five links to show were about Vape Stores and a vape pipe designed by Jaybo. I see nothing that indicate what you mean by “Jaybo’s Law.”

        • Stephen says:

          I’ve discovered the secret code of truth, but I’m not going to tell you unless you pay me first. And if you show any buyer’s remorse it’s because you just weren’t ready for it.

      • The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy for sport. Our resident troll went to the Goodwill the day after Halloween and bought up a bunch of costumes at half off, but he keeps forgetting to tuck his tail in out of sight.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          If you refer to HUG as the resident troll – nope. He is the resident jester.

          • I’m beginning to understand why this guy keeps coming back here, altho you would think he would get bored sooner or later fishing in a barrel. What’s interesting to me is that I have seen him on rare occasion speak as a human being you could talk with. Certainly he is highly educated and with a fairly high IQ even when he adopts a dimwit persona, which he isn’t very good at. It is possible that he is paid or ordered to do this but my impression is that it is entirely for his own amusement. No skin off my nose.

            • Klasie Kraalogies says:

              HUG has been here along, long time.

              • Klasie Kraalogies says:

                I did a quick Google check. I could find comments dating back to February 2009, within the first few pages of the search results. To say he is an old-timer is an understatement. 8 Years on the web is practically Proterozoic…

                • Klasie, I would like you to meet Wussypillow. Jay, this is Klasie, you’ll have to forgive him, he’s not a native speaker and probably doesn’t understand that your nom de plume of the day is mildly naughty. You two have much in common in your views toward deity and I hope you get along. Have a round on me!

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                  And before 2009, I was commenting under my real name “Ken”.

                  Switched to the handle because we were getting a couple other Kens on the blog.

                • Hello, hello, is anybody home? I’m not talking about HUG for crying out loud, I’m talking about Jay, our resident troll who shows up in many different personas, including a recent one named Beau, who was banned. Jay-Beau, Jaybo, Jaybo’s Law, which is to cause as much difficulty as possible and to see how far you can go before being banned, which many here cooperate with. The problem with Jay isn’t that he is an atheist, the problem is that he is an evangelical atheist. The real problem is that no one seems to recognize him when he shows up wearing his Groucho glasses and mustache. Like shooting fish in a barrel. Oh well, like I said, no skin off my nose.

                  • Klasie Kraalogies says:

                    Then you should have said so clearly way, way back. As in at your May 10th, 12:56 pm comment.

                    Clarity in communication is always your friend.

          • That is correct — HUG is our jester. And I am the moderator, who appreciates it when we all come back from the side paths, such as talking about other commentators in a personal fashion, and return to the subject of the day.

            Just sayin’

  7. Here is a man named Murray Stein giving a synopsis of Job’s travails in facing the violent face of God.

    “Job is completely innocent. He is a scrupulously pious man who follows all the religious conventions, and for most of his life he is blessed with good fortune. This is the expected outcome for a just man in a rationally ordered universe. But then God goes to work on him, tests him with misfortune, reduces him to misery, and finally overwhelms him with questions and images of divine majesty and power. Job is silenced, and he realizes his inferior position vis-a-vis the Almighty. But he also retains his personal integrity, and this so impresses God that He is forced to take stock of Himself. Perhaps He is not so righteous after all! [ As Marc Fonda observes, God’s omniscience precludes self-awareness. Being omniscient, God has no concentrated self to speak of. Being a part of everything, God has no opportunity to distinguish self from non-self. However, as God knows the thoughts of humans, through the thoughts of his creation he can experience what self-awareness is. ] And out of this astonishing self-reflection, induced in God by Job’s stubborn righteousness, He, the Almighty, is pushed into a process of transformation that leads eventually to His incarnation as Jesus. God develops empathy and love through his confrontation with Job, and out of it a new relationship between God and humankind is born.”[1]

    • I assume [1] is a missing reference?

      • Incidental. Whadya think?

        • I do a lot of research as part of my job, and I always like to know where a quote comes from and what the greater context is. 🙂

          • It is pure Jungian thought. I chose not to make that clear as presuppositions and prejudices immediately flood in and muddy the waters. It is a synopsis of Jung’s Answer to Job. Now I think some will take that context and say , “Uhh! Jung!! Whatever!” It is far and away for me the most sound and sober explanation I’ve ever been presented with to make sense of what seems to me to be clear violence on God’s part at one time in our history. There is much much more to it, as you might imagine, but I think Mr. Stein made a very clear synopsis.

            • Nowadays, you’d probably be hard pressed to find anyone who could actually define what “Jungian” actually meant. 😉

              • I know, I know, pick me! Carl Jung was the reverse side of Freud’s obverse and gave us the keys to the Collective Unconscious or our racial memories as human beings. Pointed out that it all ends up as One, which is still denied to the death by most today. Happy dreams!

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                  Drs Freud & Jung could both get pretty weird.

                  Maybe the old saw “you become a psych because you’re crazy to begin with and are trying to self-treat in secret” goes back longer than we think.

                  • Robert F says:

                    They had a father and son thing going, until Jung wasn’t interested in playing the part of the son anymore, or being the filial protector of Freudian orthodoxy anymore.

              • Robert F says:

                Nowadays, you’d probably be hard pressed to find anyone who could actually define what “Jungian” actually meant.

                Or how to pronounce it….

    • Rick Ro. says:

      Hmm…interesting proposition. We believers often praise God because He’s “unchanging,” but frankly I think I’d much prefer a God who decides to do things a bit differently now and then. If the wrestling with Job brought about a change in God that led to Jesus…well, that’s an interesting idea. I don’t buy into it, given Jesus (the Word) was from the beginning, but nevertheless it’s an interesting idea to chew on.

      • See my comment to Charles

      • Robert F says:

        I’m with you, Rick. Jesus, the humanity of God, has been from the beginning. But it is a fault, not a perfection, in humanity for no change to occur. When no change occurs, it’s because a human being has died.

    • The most interesting part for me of this interesting statement is that Murray Stein, whatever his particular religious beliefs, in name must almost certainly be Jewish. His thesis may run into trouble in that the plan for the incarnation of Messiah seems to have been in place as early as Eden and, in my view, probably from the get go. But it’s fun to imagine Job on the Other Side with his friends saying, “See, see, I was right!”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        It’s a different perspective on the Old Story;
        put in narrative form and you have Midrash.

      • Paradoxically, The plan was in place before Eden. Before the foundations of the world, as it is stated in Scripture. That is not a contradiction to the premise oddly enough. The argument goes something like this: God is omniscient but not at all times self-aware. He is compelled to reflect due to Job’s obstinance and in so doing accesses his eternal omniscient plan which was for Him to become human and to suffer the indignities of the creation in order to be made totally one with it. The premise is that omniscience means access to every thought as opposed to simultaneous thinking of every thought.

        • Of course I realize that “simultaneous” is a word wrapped up in time and space and God is not. We’re all the little blind man touching a part of the elephant and coming up with our suppositions but it’s the best we can do.

        • >> God is omniscient but not at all times self-aware.

          Which if stretched thin enough might just reach round Robin’s barn and meet up with this guy named Greg Boyd.

          • “God’s omniscience precludes self-awareness. Being omniscient, God has no concentrated self to speak of. Being a part of everything, God has no opportunity to distinguish self from non-self.”

            And what is the proof for this assertion, beyond mere philosophical conjecture?

            • Lol. :). What is the proof of love? What is the proof of feeling? What is the proof of God at all or anything we say here? What is the proof of scripture being what it seems to be? That’s sort of a funny question. How does the statement strike you? What is it that makes you ask for a proof rather than simply responding?

              • Wussypillow says:

                I give up: What *is* the proof of god or of scripture being what it seems to be?

              • It says that God the triune being knew from eternity past, whatever that is, what would be required, (the cross) for some reason that is beyond us, to create humans and be joined seamlessly to them in love. Instead He established the law. When confronted with Job He implemented what always had to be. He had no more interest in suffering than we do but there was no other way. Jesus begged to change it in Gethsemani but no avoidance was possible. The utter failure of the law to create the bond had been made clear. It was always going to be this. Now Seeing and Hearing the living Spirit that we are in union with have become the thing. As we grow in conscious light, our spirits combined with His, so God’s light grows and that’s the big lovefest. That’s His joy and ‘growth’ if you will. There is no proof of that.

            • >> And what is the proof for this assertion, beyond mere philosophical conjecture?

              Interesting. Your question implies that you believe that assertions can be proved in this world of relativity beyond philosophical conjecture. Sort of like geometry without the context.

              • OK, then, let me recast my original question – can anyone explain why omniscience precludes self-awareness? Especially since none of us has a frame of reference for fully grasping the former? 😉

                • I don’t have a great answer for that. For me this is ongoing research. Ongoing for the last 30 years and I still don’t have a full grasp on it but it won’t let me go. The only thing I could offer is the book. Answer to Job. Available on nook. It’s pretty complex stuff, at least to me. I will ask Marc Fonda (referenced in the excerpt) to join the conversation.

                  • I would love to get Marc’s input. I may have tweeted him but I’m not sure.

                • >> – can anyone explain why omniscience precludes self-awareness?

                  Not me, that sounds like philosopher speak to me. Adam and Eve became self-conscious when they et the apple, if that helps. I believe that the basic question Greg Boyd has been dealing with all along is how can a God who knows everything not know what we are going to do when we exercise our free will choice, or is that free will choice just an illusion. It’s a good question.

                • Robert F says:

                  Eeyore, If God knows everything directly, or without mediation, that is, without the need for a phenomenal bridge between event and knowledge, then omniscience does not preclude self-awareness. We assume that God knows in the way that we do, which is an unjustified assumption. This is why human and divine consciousness could exist in Jesus Christ without the divine faculty obliterating the human one.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          The argument goes something like this: God is omniscient but not at all times self-aware. He is compelled to reflect due to Job’s obstinance and in so doing accesses his eternal omniscient plan which was for Him to become human and to suffer the indignities of the creation in order to be made totally one with it.

          Reminds me of an English Lit class in either high school or jr college where the subject was Milton’s Paradise Lost. As I remember it after 40 years, Milton has God make a speech along the same lines as that around the time of the Fall, and the thesis was it’s near-impossible to write God as a character because how do you handle that sort of omniscience and foreknowledge and still have a convincing story?

          (Also reminds me of attempts to run Precognition in an FRP game context. Problem is, the GM has to know what WILL happen several turns/scenes/sessions down the line in order to give an accurate precog at the time of the precog. Short of forcing the scenario to run on rails, the usual workaround was that Precog does not show THE Future, but the most probable future at the time of the precog.)

    • Wussypillow says:

      Nice story. What happens to Job’s children?

    • Robert F says:

      So Jesus was an afterthought of God? Far as I can tell, Jesus is the humanity of God, a humanity which has always existed. God doesn’t end with Jesus; God starts with Jesus.

    • Robert F says:

      God’s omniscience precludes self-awareness. Being omniscient, God has no concentrated self to speak of. Being a part of everything, God has no opportunity to distinguish self from non-self. However, as God knows the thoughts of humans, through the thoughts of his creation he can experience what self-awareness is.

      How can God recognize and distinguish self-awareness in the thoughts of others if he can’t recognize it in himself? Where would he get the knowledge and experience to say, “Ah, here is a self-aware thought in this human being, but that over there was just an autonomic function”? Without self-awareness God would have no ability to distinguish one thing from another; everything, including human thoughts, skin cells and flatulence would be an amorphous, indistinguishable mass.

  8. Rick Ro. says:

    –> “Nor would I (now) willingly spare from my Bible something in itself so anti-religious as the nihilism of Ecclesiastes. We get there a clear, cold picture of man’s life without God.”

    Great insight from C.S. Lewis!

    Ecclesiastes was one of the first books I read when I became a Christian, mainly because some of the lyrics to the Byrds’ song “Turn Turn Turn” came from it and I was curious why a secular band would put so much scripture into a song and then wondered why those fatalistic words in the Bible. After reading Ecclesiastes, I drew the conclusion that the Bible was a trustworthy representation of God because a dishonest religion would’ve sugarcoated it’s theology by leaving it out.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      …because a dishonest religion would’ve sugarcoated it’s theology by leaving it out.

      As the Prosperity Gospel types (and Prosperity Gospel Lite types) do today.

      • StuartB says:

        And that’s a positive for the Bible as a whole. Not so much for certain religions.

    • StuartB says:

      It’s still my favorite book of the Bible. It’s REAL. It’s honest. It’s accurate.

      It gives me the greatest hope and joy.

    • You can probably learn even more about people by what parts of Scripture they ignore, than by what parts they emphasize.

    • Dana Ames says:

      I hope you know that the Byrds’ record was a cover… Pete Seeger wrote the original. He believed in a Supreme Being and denied being an atheist, but he didn’t hold to any more than that, religiously speaking. However, he came from a family with Christian roots, and he was educated in a time when people were familiar with Scripture, even if they didn’t believe in Christianity.

      Dana

    • Stephen says:

      “Nor would I (now) willingly spare from my Bible something in itself so anti-religious as the nihilism of Ecclesiastes. We get there a clear, cold picture of man’s life without God.”

      But this is mistaken. The view of Koheleth is pretty standard Jewish piety. This life is all there is so live humbly and enjoy the fruits of life.

  9. I bet Lewis’s thoughts here – if the implications were acknowledged – would be enough to get him chiseled right out of many people’s theological Mount Rushmore.

    • Not to mention the fact that he drank beer and smoked tobacco. 😉

    • Without question. It’s always been somewhat of a puzzle that evangelicals are so in love with him.

      • Stephen says:

        Ignorance is strength.

      • Burro [Mule] says:

        Evangelicals love Lewis because he had a conventional Conversion Story. That covers a multitude of sins and minor catholicisms.

        • Robert F says:

          He was also a bit of a political reactionary, which has enough theological value to evangelicals for them to overlook the drinking, smoking, minor Catholicisms and marrying a divorced woman (in the old days, the last would’ve been an issue, but not anymore: evangelicals have been sexually liberated on this issue since the 70s). The same kind of thing makes Trump acceptable to them.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Though still, there’s quite a distance between Lewis and Trump.
            Trump stretches it to the point of snapping.

            • Robert F says:

              I didn’t intend to say they were equal; I was just pointing up a political aspect to evangelical mentality that neutralizes traits that would otherwise render someone unacceptable.

        • Yeah, I think the conventional conversion is a main component.

          The Narnia stories are just so timeless, and he’s got an idiosyncratic way of saying things that often makes them seem fresh and quotable.

          Without those, he might very well be labeled the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.

        • He also converted out of academic atheism, which is icing on the cake.

    • Patrick Kyle says:

      Been reading the comments for the last few days. Can’t help but think that I am viewing a group of people wrestling with ever shrinking bits and pieces of what can be reliably understood and trusted from the Scriptures in regards to the nature and character of God. There seems to be an impulse to cling to what the Scriptures say about Jesus, but even here there are doubts about various facets of the Gospels. At some point along this path it will cease to be worth the effort. Salvaging a worthwhile Jesus from the remaining shreds of scripture will become an academic exercise or one of constructing a personal Jesus based of personal preference. Why bother at that point? The end of this exercise is atheism, or Buddhism or Stoicism for the more philosophically minded.