Review of “The Man from Earth” – Treatment of Christians Considered

The Man from Earth is the final story written by the famous science fiction author Jerome Bixby. Probably best known for his episodes of the original Star Trek – though that is by no means his best work – he was truly one of the luminaries of the science fiction field. [1]

I have mixed feelings about his final story, which was filmed as a movie and is available on NetFlix as a streaming movie. Be warned, this ‘review’ is an analysis and will contain major spoilers. Stop reading and go watch the movie first if you have interest in seeing it without having the plot ruined.

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The Evening News and The Psychology of Belief / Unbelief

Jesus Walks on Water

In a past post I talked about Joe Geisner’s short review (in a comment) of Heinrich Paulus’ book where he tries to come up with ways to explain way the miracles of Jesus.

All of this reminded me of a news report I once saw on the evening news. I wish I had a clip of it. I can’t even remember for sure if it was Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings. I’m thinking it was Peter Jennings.

At best as I can remember from memory, here is what he said:

Well, we recently did two news reports that might be important for Christians. One was a news report that scholars have found the Gospel of Judas, complete with it’s very different take on the teachings of Jesus, and another was about a scholar that had discovered that sometimes the Sea of Galillee freezes, perhaps explaining how Jesus walked across it.

Given these recent news stories, we wouldn’t blame people if their faith was shaken. Good night.

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Good Tidings of Great Joy: Pictures from Nazareth and Bethlehem

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

In September and October of 2010, I had the opportunity to visit Israel with my wife and children. I am preparing a series of posts detailing our adventures.  Since they are not yet ready, for Christmas I wanted to post a few pictures from our visits to the Nazareth and Bethlehem.

We visited the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth.  The basilica is where the Roman Catholic church believes that Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel.  It was built in 1969 on the site of older Crusader era and even older Byzantine churches, the ruins of which are still visible, where originally a shrine had been erected in the 4th century in the cave where Mary had supposedly lived.  The basilica features depictions of Mary from many different cultures and nations that celebrate the mother of the Son of God. Continue reading

Christ a Savior is Born

I was recently asked to give a talk with Elder Russell M. Nelson’s December 2006 article “Christ a Savior is Born” as the basis. I wanted to reprint Elder Nelson’s full talk here. Merry Christmas everyone.

This Christmas season, through all of our various Christmas traditions, I hope that we are focused first upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Wise men still adore Him.

We commemorate His humble birth at this time of year, even though we know it did not occur in December but in April. Scriptures declare that His mother, Mary, was espoused to Joseph. They had participated in the first of two components of a Jewish marriage ceremony. Their espousal might be likened to an engagement in our culture, which is followed later by the second component of a marriage ceremony.

Luke’s account records the appearance of the angel Gabriel to Mary when she first learned of her favored future.

“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.

“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:30–32).

Note the capitalization—God is the Highest. Jesus was to be the Son of the Highest.

Before Joseph and Mary came together, she was expecting that holy child. Joseph desired to protect her privacy,1 hoping to spare Mary the punishment given to a woman found pregnant without a completed marriage. While he pondered these things, the angel Gabriel appeared to Joseph, saying,

“Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20–21).

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