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February 22, 2007

I've been working on that "gift book" for the past couple of weeks, and made a lot of progress; but we're at a stopping point for a bit, so time for some new material here:

February 7, 2007

  • The January 2007 Screwballs feature is up on my toon site here. It includes yearly awards for the "screwiest" of 2006.
  • I still get inquires about Dawkins' God Delusion; here's some stuff on it: A review from Creation Ministries International; another review by a reader, and a short audio clip which I have not had time to check, but which I am assured is hilarious.
  • Reader also recommended some links: N. T. Wright responds to some criticisms of his work; the Christian CADRE on how secular historians treat the NT.
  • Kudos, finally, to Tekton reader/contributor Lita Cosner for getting front page attention from CMI for the article, "Abortion: an indispensable right or violence against women?"

February 2, 2007

I suppose it would be a good idea, since the news is going around about the tornadoes that hit my area, to give an update. None were anywhere near where I lived; I was aware of storms passing through early in the morning (because my little dog, Toby, is scared of thunder and lightning) but there was nothing serious close to me. Meanwhile I'm making progress on the "gift book" manuscript.

January 29, 2007

Quite a bit to say today, so we'll have an anti-blog note. Let's start with accessories to the main issue.

First, I've added to the response to McGuire (see link below) some excellent comments from Tekton guest writer Matt Paulson, who I'd like to say a special thanks to for this and for other contributions over the years.

Second, a reader brought attention to an upcoming book by McGrath that answers Richard Dawkins, titled The Dawkins Delusion. The subtitle I found quite poignant in light of all we've said here about "fundy atheism".

Third, two immediate prayer requests: One for "B." for problems related to severe nerve damage to an arm; and one for "J." for personal issues.

Fourth, a reader alerted us to yet another response to (Ir)rational Responders here.

Now for the main subject of this anti-blog note -- updates on our various publishing projects.

  1. The Impossible Faith is motoring along nicely. You can see a copy of the cover design here (PDF format).
  2. The "graduation gift book" idea is still a go, though to get it out in time for the next graduating class we're changing the plan somewhat and making it mainly on New Testament issues. I'll be finishing the manuscript next month and that will occupy most of my ministry time for February. When done we'll go with the same self-pub option as I did with TIF. If this is something you'd like to contribute to the production of, we'll accept contributions as we did with TIF: Be sure and note somehow that your donation is earmarked for this specific project.
  3. I had in mind to do a response to Letter to a Christian Nation in print, but with Sam Harris now coming out as a believer in reincarnation and psychic phenomena, I'm not sure we need to do more than let him self-destruct as a spokesman for "reason". We'll keep an eye on this.
  4. Last but not least, I'm taking up Bede's call (see Jan. 12 entry) to produce a scholarly response to the Christ myth. This is presently shaping up as a multi-contributor work, but all we're doing now is making a basic outline. I won't do more than that at least until TIF is out of the hopper.

January 25, 2007

  • Got something on a project we haven't seen in a while -- a response to Ch. 2 of a critique of The Mormon Defenders.
  • Guest writer Lita Cosner has an item for us titled Honor and Group Orientation in the New Testament World which I have added to our Nutshell series as an excellent primer for the social world of the NT.

Also would bring attention to two sites -- the first is a blog on the problem of evil by David Wood. The second is called Challenge Blasphemy and it is a response to the dodo birds over at Irrational Responders and their "blasphemy challenge". While I don't endorse all the material there (especially the prophecy links), I think it'd be great for everyone to help them out with their video project.

January 21, 2007

Got an "anti-blog" note here about a fraudulent website being run by an atheist which he has titled "Apologetics for Jesus". This guy is an example of someone who outsmarted himself. Some time ago he wrote me with a website address to a similar-looking site called "Apologizing for Jesus" asking me to link to hm. It was clearly a parody site by an atheist and I told him to hit the road. Today he tried again, but he had apparently forgotten that he had written to me before and I called him down on it. From there we had a series of "the cow jumped over the moon" excuses, none of which washed, but to seal the deal, check out the page at this atheist forum where he plainly says:

Yes, it's a spoof. The site is intended to look Christian at first glance, but then the deeper you get into it, the more obvious it should become that it is actually an Atheist site.

I am really enjoying my role on the site as a (sometimes raving lunatic) fundie. Glory! LOL ....It's supposed to look genuine, but it's really not. My mission with this site is to lure fundies into it with a genuine-looking site, only for them to find out later as they get deeper into it that it is actually an Atheist site. I admit that it is a very subtle spoof, but I have left some clues and some dead giveaways on the site.

A word to the wise....you don't fool JPH with this kind of crap, guys. And if you try to pull it on others after trying to pull it on me, I'll expose it here in post and in haste. Exposing pathological liars is a specialty of mine.

January 19, 2007

I'm reading Bauckham's book now and it's got some good stuff in it. In the meantime we have an update to The John W. Loftus Hall of High Level Discussion showing some of the latest self-contradictory hijinks. Also, a reader has produced a video rebuttal to The God Who Wasn't There which may be of interest here.

January 16, 2007

Guest writer "Nick P." has an item for us on chronological snobbery (one of my favorite pet peeves).

January 12, 2007

Our first book review of the year is by request: Restoration: Returning the Torah of God to the Disciples of Jesus by D. Thomas Lancaster. Coming soon will be reviews of Bauckham's latest work on the eyewitness testimony of the Gospels, as well as McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy and the latest thick conspiracy theory by Robert Eisenman.

I'd also like to bring attention to a recent blog entry by our comrade in nonsense debunking, Venerable Bede. It speaks for itself in a time when we have unqualified nutcases continuing to promote the Jesus myth thesis.

Who wrote the Works of Shakespeare?

All right, I won't keep you in suspense. The answer is William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon with the occasional help of some collaborators. Some readers might be surprised to hear that for the last 150 years shelves of books have appeared arguing that Francis Bacon or the Earl of Oxford or Christopher Marlowe actually wrote the plays. Of course, this is all so much pseudo-scholarly garbage. If you want chapter and verse then look up Brian Vicker's destruction of the "anti-Stratford" position in August 2005 in TLS or Jonathan Bate's excellent The Genius of Shakespeare.

The question of the authorship of Shakespeare's works is interesting to this blog, not because of any real doubt about the answer, but what it teaches us about another pseudo-scholarly conspiracy theory - whether Jesus existed. Both theses are pushed by amateurs or people expert in other fields. Anti-Stratfordians are often novelists because they imagine writing a play is the same sort of process as writing a book. Shakespeare was an actor who drifted into writing and his plays were obviously written by a man intimately involved in the production of theatre. Jesus Mythers usually have some literary training too, but they are never professional historians. They misunderstand the way historical evidence is analysed and replace it with literary constructs not supported by the facts.

Also, anti-Stratfordianism and Jesus Mythology are both based on a silence. In the case of Shakespeare, the whole edifice is constructed on the lack of any original manuscripts by Shakespeare. The reason they don't exist today is that they never did. All there ever were were the working copies used by Shakespeare's theatre company. The printed editions of the plays were put together from performances and eventually gathered together by Shakespeare's colleagues after he died. With Jesus Mythers, the missing evidence is Paul talking about the historical Jesus. Again this is based on the misconception that Paul ought to have discussed such matters at length in letters that set out to answer specific problems and provide encouragement to converts.

The bad news from the anti-Stratfordians is that they never go away. After a century of scorn from the academy, long, bad and sad books claiming so and so wrote Shakespeare continue to appear. From this, we can be sure that the Jesus Myth will not die either. We are stuck with it so may as well get used to it. A full-length scholarly refutation is now long overdue.

January 10, 2007

We've added several entries (and will add more as the day goes on) to the Classics Library including a number that link to a site called the Bible Centre. This is a subscription site (though see their rules) with a mission much like our own in terms of preservation. Check it out if this is your sort of thing.

There was also a flub at the printer with Impossible Faith; apparently all my material went to the land of emails from Nigerian dictators. So we're starting on that again from scratch.

Also, a prayer request for B.L., for illness.

January 4, 2007

  • Added a few "PS" notes to the response to Sam Harris, from reading the "prequel" work The End of Faith. Will the reader who first asked me to do this project please drop me a line?
  • The December 2006 Screwballs feature is up on the toon site here.

Reader prayer request also for "Vanessa" and her father, who fell and is paralyzed. Reader says: "I'm asking for prayer at this time that God would heal him and give him a complete recovery and that Vanessa and her family would be comforted at this time by God's grace. Thanks."

January 3, 2007

We'll start the year by adding a new template to the Classics Library for works responding to Robert Ingersoll from his own time. Other than that I'd like to spend some time this week and next putting together some chapters for the "graduation gift" book I mentioned last month. These will NOT be posted but I want to have them ready in case I need them.

New stuff for 2006.

New stuff for 2005.

New stuff for 2004.

New stuff for 2003.

Go home!