A few remarks on a small slice of what I’ve been reading lately…..
A most positive blog-post appeared on James McGrath’s Exploring Our Matrix a little while ago: Temper Your Criticism With Kindness. Perhaps this is a sign of a welcome rapprochement up ahead. 🙂 (But sadly not everyone in the field of biblical studies seems to have taken this advice to heart.)
I found myself welcoming the title of a blog post by Peter Leithart, All Theology is Public Theology, and was hopeful of finding arguments to engage the public more openly with the full gamut of the biblical studies field. Unfortunately, the post limited itself to engaging with the sheep well secured within in the fold.
Craig Keener is a fairly productive apologist scholar who seems to be regularly listed as one of several show-case examples of an atheist becoming a Christian. Yet Craig’s own account tells us his conversion happened when he was all of 12 or 13 years of age. I vowed to become a teetotaler forever and signed a pledge to guarantee it when I think I was around that age. But I suppose he’s a good one to add to the apologist statistics. I am reminded of this because of an interview with Craig now appearing online.
It’s now respectable to publicly say it. The evidence to justify the argument that the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in order to save the lives of American/Allied soldiers has always been wanting (quite apart from the problematic morality of wiping out civilians to reduce military casualties), but forty years ago to say that Russia’s declaration of war on Japan had more to do with both Japan’s surrender and the decision to drop the bombs meant one would be accused of being a Commie, a rabid anti-American, and far removed from the field of decent, respectable discourse. But now it can be said openly and on a national news site — even though it is framed as some sort of “new” discovery: Hiroshima atomic bombing did not lead to Japanese surrender, historians argue nearing 70th anniversary
And the same argument (and more) surfaced in a program by our favourite interviewer, Phillip Adams, in which he speaks with Oliver Stone: Oliver Stone: America’s brutality started the day we dropped the bomb
But lest we sink too far down with such contemplation of our dark side (“our” — Australia has been wholly allied with America in recent decades), Steven Pinker offers some very happy news about the reasons for the decline of violence overall in the last few centuries, and the advance of the “Rights Revolutions” (civil rights, women’s rights, children, gays, animals). In The Better Angels of Our Nature he attributes much of this improved lot to the democratic states of the West and “gentle commerce”. There is much more and it would be wrong to suggest that he attributes the relative peace we are now experiencing to these two factors alone, but I single them out as a shield against any glances accusing me of being morbidly fascinated by reading/listening to anti-American thoughts.
And the current news about Cecil the lion, or rather the news about the world-wide reaction to the one who shot him, surely is a milestone to show how far much of our world has changed with respect to animal rights. Not too long ago such reactions would have been unthinkable and the hunter universally, um, “lionized”.
Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to getting my next post on Plato’s Laws and the Bible up; and I’m well into preparing my next installment of Masalha’s book documenting the Zionist movement’s plans for the Palestinians and diplomatic efforts to carry them out.
And still slogging away at cleaning up broken links on Vridar.
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