This Week’s Book Review – The Eastern Orthodox Church: A New History

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.... [Read More]


Josephus on James the Just

Josephus was a Jew who became a leader in the Jewish rebellion of AD 69. He was captured and ended up working for the Romans as a slave translator during the siege of Jerusalem. After being defeated and humiliated by initial Jewish victories, the Romans had called old General Vespasian out of retirement to lead the army that crushed Judea. While the siege of Jerusalem was going on, word came from Rome that the Praetorian Guard had arranged a new vacancy in Rome (Emperor Vitellius had been murdered after 8 months of rule), and they wanted Vespasian to come to Rome and become Emperor. Vespasian left his son Titus in charge. Titus befriended Josephus.

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A huge trove of papyri were excavated in the Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus in the period from 1898 through 1914. From time to time new batches of these precious artifacts are presented by the team that is inspecting, cleaning, photographing, transcribing and translating this hoard. There is much work remaining to do, and unknown discoveries lie ahead.

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For your amusement, here is a New-Age philosopher imputing consciousness to subatomic particles in order to dream up a “scientific” basis for Jedi religion.

There is a profound difficulty at the heart of the science of consciousness: consciousness is unobservable. You can’t look inside an electron to see whether or not it is conscious. But nor can you look inside someone’s head and see their feelings and experiences. We know that consciousness exists not from observation and experiment but by being conscious. The only way we can find out about the consciousness of others is by asking them: I can’t directly perceive your experience, but I can ask you what you’re feeling. And if I’m a neuroscientist, I can do this while I’m scanning your brain to see which bits light up as you tell me what you’re feeling and experiencing. In this way, scientists are able correlate certain kinds of brain activity with certain kinds of experience. We now know which kinds of brain activity are associated with feelings of hunger, with visual experiences, with pleasure, pain, anxiety, et cetera.... [Read More]


The Bible and the Final Frontier

My husband and son went to DC this past weekend for a guys’ sports trip – encompassing  a college basketball game and wrestling match at son’s alma mater, American U, and hiking around his undergrad haunts in the beautiful spring-like weather.

They went to the National Cathedral for Mass Sunday morning and were surprised and pleased when an unexpected little ceremony took place. The priest introduced to the congregants the Episcopal Bishop of the Armed Forces and the Chief of Chaplains, who came to dedicate a Bible for the newly formed United States Space Force.... [Read More]


First Thessalonians

I am writing to oppose an anti-Christian tall tale that says the New Testament is full of Pagan ideas. There are several logical arguments against this popular anti-Christian slander. I want to concentrate here on just one source of good information. This post is to consider some of the evidence provided by St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians.

Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians is my choice for this exercise because it has been overlooked but it sheds a lot of light that should be helpful in considering anti-Christian allegations. Thessalonians I is commonly acknowledged among historians, even anti-Christian historians, to be a genuine writing of Paul, and, crucial to my argument, the consensus among both Christian and anti-Christian scholars is that it may be dated from 51 or 52 AD. This provides a fatal flaw in theories about the “evolution” of Christian thinking over time.

Matters such as the divinity of Jesus and the Trinity are commonly alleged by anti-Christians to have developed over three or four generations, incorporating ideas from Pagan culture in the process. Nope.

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Edward Dutton: “Why Islam makes you stupid but also means you’ll dominate the world”

Edward Dutton is one of the most fearless, iconoclastic, and “just the facts” social scientists working today.  I’ve started calling him “Charles Murray on acid”.  I’ve reviewed two of his books here: At Our Wits’ End and How to Judge People by What they Look Like.  Today, he posted a video on his “Jolly Heretic” YouTube channel titled “Why Iran, and other Islamic Countries, Will Dominate the World”, but described on his @jollyheretic Twitter feed with the title I have used for this post.

... [Read More]


Christianity Today — and Yesterday

The magazine “Christianity Today,” like the old abolitionists, claims religion’s sway over Christians’ voting preferences and instructs the faithful how to vote. Conservative Christians, like defensive conservatives generally, beg to differ and respond by telling “Christianity Today” to stay out of politics. “We are not voting for Preacher-in-Chief,” the conservatives say. “Stay in your lane.”

But staying out of politics was not the conservative Christians’ stance 21 years ago, nor was it the position of conservative Christians during the temperance crusade which, after decades of effort, resulted in Prohibition. ... [Read More]


Zambia and PEPFAR

When I wrote my recent post on Burkina Faso, I happened to see a curious headline at one of the African websites. It told about an incident in which the U.S. Ambassador to Zambia skipped a speaking engagement on account of death threats. The death threats were on account of his remarks about homosexuality. What in sam hill is going on?

The internet is awesome, and my answer was easily found. There was angry reaction to public remarks by U.S. Ambassador Daniel L. Foote. He said things that were critical of a recent court case that convicted two men of sodomy and sentenced them to fifteen years in prison.

Ambassador Foote is a career State Department diplomat who has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Colombia. He is not some inexperienced political appointee who might be expected to shoot off his mouth in some unfamiliar culture. On the other hand, he was appointed in November, 2017, by President Obama. Continue reading “Zambia and PEPFAR”


Jihadi Gold Raiders of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is the country that used to be the French colony of Upper Volta. It is a landlocked country about the size of Colorado. It is in west Africa, where it sits on top of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin. To its north and west is Mali; to its east is Niger. It is a tropical country with a rainy season and a dry season. Nearly all of the rain falls in the south. The middle of the country is savannah, and the northern part is Sahara Desert.

Yes, this is another post about Islamicist terrorism in Africa. I am writing to relay some information about recent violence. Muslim jihadi raiders have been on a killing spree for the past few years. In particular, jihadi attacks started ramping up five years ago and have grown dramatically in the past three years. This has gone largely unnoticed by American media.

One of our Ratburghers has a relative who was serving as a Christian missionary in Burkina Faso. He was pulled out last year, on account of increasing violence.

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The Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape Letters, by CS Lewis

Have you ever read The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis? I’ve read the whole thing a couple times. The audio version, which is brilliantly narrated by John Cleese, is also available on Youtube. I’ve listened to that as well.

In this book, Lewis created a character called Screwtape who is the uncle of a junior tempter named Wormwood. They are both demons, in the traditionally Christian sense. The setting is entirely Christian, but from a demonic point of view. Screwtape has some position of authority within the demon hierarchy, “an under-secretary of a department.” The nephew has been assigned to tempt a young man so that he ends up in hell. Screwtape writes letters to his nephew containing instructions and advice towards that end, and he does this as both an uncle and as an under-secretary.... [Read More]


Won’t you be my neighbor?

Did any of you see the Mr. Rogers movie with Tom Hanks? It wasn’t really even about Mr. Rogers. It was about a man who interviewed him for Esquire magazine in about 1998, and is based on that story. I made sure I had tissues in my purse because I suspected I’d need them, and sure enough I did. Reminded me of me when my life was a lot more simple, before it got really complex and lonely. The main character undergoes some spiritual and emotional growth as a result of spending time with Rogers. It’s a good story, wholesome and true.

Anyway, did you see it? Did you like it?... [Read More]


Pushy Religion

In the [Barna] study of 1,067 US adults, a quarter of respondents said their view of evangelicals was “somewhat negative” or “very negative”, compared to just under a third (30%) who said their perception was “somewhat positive” or “very positive”. 

Of the 268 respondents with a negative perception of evangelicals, two thirds (67%) said this attitude was because they felt evangelicals were “too pushy with their beliefs“.  Sixty-one per cent said that evangelicals were “hypocritical”, while half said they were “homophobic” and a similar proportion (51%) said “their beliefs are outdated”.  …One result that surprised Barna was the large proportion of Millennial Americans (52%) who have a neutral attitude towards evangelicals. ... [Read More]


Boycott Chick-fil-A

A few days ago Ratburgher Robert A. McReynolds posted his frustration that many conservatives were slow to turn on Chick-fil-A after the news broke about how Chick-fil-A was putting a knife in the back of the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I was one of the slow ones; I have seen conservatives, many times led by NeverTrump Quislings, rush to judgement to condemn other conservatives. As a conservative, one of my traits is ‘look before you leap.’

Now additional information is available, and I am fully on board with Robert McR.

Chick-fil-A is not to be boycotted just for the way they have flipped on legions of loyal customers who were fiercely supportive on account of the way Chick-fil-A had stood up to Leftist pressure and had resisted the Social Justice anti-Christian culture.  In addition to that, Chick-fil-A has rolled over; they negotiated with terrorists and paid extortion money to agents of the Enemy.

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