Karen Armstrong’s view of Jesus Christ

We know very little about the historical Jesus, since all our information comes from the texts of the New Testament, which were not primarily concerned with factual accuracy. (Karen Armstrong on p. 81 of The Case for God.)

Case for GodIn my last post, I summarized Karen Armstrong’s view of God and religion. One item that was of particular interest to me was her view of Jesus Christ. No other religion in her book gets the debunking she gives Christianity. (This also serves as a sort of counter point to the Believing Scholars point of view as discussed here.)

In her view, Jesus, for reasons lost in history, was crucified by the Romans only to have his disciples have “visions” that convinced them he had been raised from the dead. (p. 82) The first Christians were, of course, thoroughly Jewish which she believes had no intentions of founding a new religion, though she admits they took the “highly unusual” step of converting gentiles. (p. 82) This eventually lead to Paul (and probably others) belief that the mixed Jewish and Gentile congregations were the first fruits of a “new Israel.” Using Midrashic techniques, these early Christians reinterpreted the Old Testament to contain prophecies — never originally intended — of a future redeemer who would be crucified and rise from the dead. She uses 1 Cor 1:23 to prove that these reinterpretations were often considered scandalous. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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