Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Fun & Games

Some fun for the weekend.

For this weeks Friday Fun & Games I present...

"If Dilbert(tm) were one of Jehovah's Witnesses"

Thanks to Jim Seward for permission to use one of his comics. Check out more of his modified Dilbert comics by going to his website.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday Babylon Blog Watch

A weekly round-up of what religious blogs are talking about.

The Velveteen Rabbi announces that the Jewish Theological Seminary is going to begin ordaining gay and lesbian rabbis.

Open Book reports on the Pope's analysis of Europe on the 50th anniversary of the formation of what would become the European Union. Pope Benedict XVI comments that Europe is falling into a "remarkable form of apostasy".

Austrolabe discusses the Australian National Imams Council's decision to allow the Mufti of Australia, Sheikh Taj, to continue in his position, after he has been the focal point of Muslim controvery in the country, receiving much criticism after comparing Australian women to "uncovered meat."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Baptists yearn for church discipline

One of the things that Jehovah's Witnesses face much criticism over is their practice of "disfellowshipping". Much of the criticism comes from born-again and evangelical "Christians". Yet there is a movement arising in the Southern Baptist Convention that is seeking to re-claim the practice of church discipline that was historically a prominent part of the Baptist movement.

The Baptist Press reports:

"Prior to the last century, Baptists "practiced church discipline on a large scale" and regarded the practice as a normal part of church life, according to church history professor Greg Wills."
and also this:

"The return to church disciple has been gaining momentum for several years."The decline of church discipline is perhaps the most visible failure of the contemporary church," R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., wrote..."
Yes, Jehovah's Witnesses have been vindicated once again for using only God's word for direction, and following its scriptural advice on discipline, rather than the theologies of men. I wonder what the next thing Baptists will realise they have abandoned that their Anabaptist forefathers promoted - unitarianism, mortalism? I doubt it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My new apologetics site

I have just created a new website over on (which by the way is a great free site host/builder for those with little time on their hands - it has a similar interface as Blogger, but with more functionality, i.e. you can do more than just blog on it.)

It is also entitled 'Vigilo et spero' and will be sort of a sister-site to this one, dealing with JW apologetics and such. I intend to collect alot of the bits and pieces from around the Web that I have found helpful and re-present them in my own way and have them accessible from one site.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Jehovah's Witnesses United and Scriptural Discussions for my first article, which is called "Are Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophets?" Please email me with feedback on the article and site in general (although there isn't much there at the moment.)

Tuesday Top Seven

Seven Reasons not to believe in Young-earth creationism

1. The original Hebrew translated "day" means more than a solar day The Hebrew word translated day is "yohm" and this word not only is restricted to a solar day, it can also refer to a period of time, a year, the daylight hours, or twenty-four hours.

2. All six days are referred to as one day
Gen 2:4 says "in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven."
How strict can we be about the literalness of the days considering this?

3. The seventh day has evidently not ended
The preceeding six days concluded with the phrase "an evening and a morning, the first day", etc. but the seventh day did not. Gen 2:2 states "he proceeded to rest on the seventh day from all his work that he had made". Here "rest" is in the imperfect state which means incomplete or continuous action. Also in Heb. 4:3-11, Paul states that the seventh day was still continuing in his day.

4. "Evening" and "Morning" also have figurative uses.

Thou causest man to return unto dust, And hast said—Return, ye sons of Adam! For, a thousand years, in thine eyes, are , As yesterday, in that it passed away, Or as a watch in the night. Thou hast snatched them away, A sleep, do they become, In the morning, they are like grass that shooteth up, In the morning, it sprouteth and shooteth up, By the evening, it is cut down and
- Psalms 90:3-6 (REB)

Now, the revelation of the evening and the morning which hath been told, faithful, indeed it is,—but, thou, close up the vision, because it is for many days. - Daniel 8:26 (REB)

5. The Sun
If you take the Genesis account literally, for every spot on the earth to have a "morning and a night" would take 48 hours, not 24 hours.Also, a Jewish day begun at evening. The evening that marks the new day is sundown, but the Sun was not visible until the fourth creative day.

6. Jehovah's viewpoint
"However, let this one fact not be escaping your notice, beloved ones, that one day is with jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day" (2 peter 3:8, NWT)

7. Time
The events portrayed in the creative week cannot be restricted to solar days. For instance, the growth of vegetation in Day 3 would take alot longer than twelve hours of daylight would allow for. To have literal solar days would also require Adam to be able to get comfortable in his new garden home, name all the animals and get married to Eve in less than 12 hours after coming out of his deep sleep.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Fun & Games

Today I am initiating a new "segment" called 'Friday Fun & Games'. As it's Friday and most people are winding up their working week, I though it would be good to make a fun post. Also, I normally do little updating over the weekend, so it will hopefully direct people to something fun in the meantime.

For this weeks Friday Fun & Games, I thought I would highlight Despair Inc's Parody Motivator Generator which allows you to make your own versions of those infamous "motivational" posters that you see arounnd. I have posted two of the ones that I made below. If you come up with anything particularly chuckle-worthy, then email me with the results. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday Babylon Blog Watch

Thusday Babylon Blog Watch is a weekly wrap-up of blog posts from various segments of Babylon the Great. This week we are having a "versus" theme, which highlights some of the fighting going on between various denominations.

Mormon vs Evangelical
Over at Mormon & Evangelical Conversations, an "ecumenical" blog reconcilling Mormons and Evangelicals, they discuss a DVD that an evangelical mission will aggressively distribute to Mormon homes in an attempt to persuade them that the Evangelical faith is closer to the truth than their own beliefs.

Zionist Evangelicals vs Non-Zionist Evangelicals
Spiritual Pathways Ministries crticises John Hagee (a strong pro-Zionist) for his Christian Zionist, "dual covenant" beliefs which state that natural Jews are saved without professing faith in Jesus.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tuesday Top Seven

Top Seven Reasons why the Coptic John 1:1c should be translated "a god"

This Tuesday Top Seven courtesy of Memra who has a wealth of information on the ancient Coptic translation of the New Testament on his blog. Trinitarian apologists have long been dumbfounded by this Coptic text which as an ancient witness, translates John 1:1c as "a god", in line with the modern New World Translation. Still they try and "muddy the waters" by introducing abstract issues. So we are presenting seven, solid reasons why John 1:1c should definitely be translated "a god."

1. Grammatical
ne.u.noute pe p.Saje , which is is literally:
ne = indicates past tense of what follows;
(o)u = a (indefinite article);
noute = god;
pe = was;
p = the (masculine singular definite article);
Saje = Word;

Which gives us interlinearly - "a god was the Word."

2. Grammatical and syntactical
The Coptic word "noute" (god) is not an abstract noun or noun indicating substance, in which case the indefinite article could go without translation in English. Rather, it is a regular or count noun, in which case the English indefinite article "a" is customarily utilized in translation, as in the English translation of the Coptic New Testament by George Horner, and in numerous English translations of other Coptic works, such as the Gnostic gospels of Thomas, Philip, and Judas.

3. Faithful to underlying Greek text
Greek anarthrous pre-verbal predicate nouns are often translated as indefinite in English, utilizing the English indefinite article "a."

4. Understanding grounded on the underlying Greek text
Apart from theology, and on the basis of grammar alone, the ancient Coptic translators of the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE obviously understood the Greek construction of John 1:1c to be indefinite, and translated accordingly in the Coptic. If they had understood it to be definite ("the Word was God"), they had no indication of such a meaning in the Greek text, which does not have the Greek definite article here. If they understood it to be "qualitative," ("the Word was deity or divine") they could have translated it by means of Coptic adjectival prefixes. They did not, but utilized the Coptic indefinite article instead: ou noute: "a god."

5. Timeline
While we cannot know with specificity the theological presuppositions of the Coptic translators, or even if those presuppositions guided their translation of John 1:1c, it should be noted that their translation was most likely made before Trinitarianism became the established church dogma. The translators would have had no need to translate John 1:1c according to any Trinitarian formula that equated Jesus Christ with God Almighty.

6. Theology
Several early Church fathers contemporaneous with the Coptic translators distinguished between God and His Son, and were subordinationist in outlook, i.e., the Son was subordinate to the Father, and not equal in either eternity or in ontology with the Father. To understand John 1:1c as saying "the Word was a god [or, a divine being]" would not have been out of harmony with the hermeneutics of the time.

7. New Testament Harmony
Like any other accurate translation of the New Testament, the ancient Sahidic Coptic New Testament preserves all the verses which show that Jesus Christ is a god, a divine being, the divine Son of God, the Image of God, God's firstborn, etc., but not God Himself.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Door-to-door saves lives (in more ways then one)

An interesting story from Lorain, Ohio (United States) of a Jehovah's Witness man who was going door-to-door and discovered an elderly woman injured and immobilised in her home. Reportedly due to his quick thinking the woman's life was saved. Just one of the side benefits that come from going door-to-door.
Read more on the story here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Israel moves towards religious freedom

The Attorney-General of Israel has ruled that the Haifa Convention Center in Haifa, Israel, must not continue to discriminate against Jehovah's Witnesses, who wished to rent out space at the centre, but were turned down due to pressure from religious authorities and the town's mayor. Click here to read the story as reported in the Jerusalem Post. Here is an excerpt:

Atai Tsimhoni, the attorney that represented Jehovah's Witnesses, said that "the court and the attorney-general reached the right conclusion. A minority group of haredim cannot force their will on a business that provides services to the public."

Thursday Babylon Blog Watch (BBW)

A weekly wrap-up of blog posts from various segments of Babylon the Great.

Jack Lewis laments the "takeover" of the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals) in the US by "liberals" who want to focus on political agendas such as poverty and human rights, rather than abortion and anti-gay marriage that "real Evangelicals" focus on.

Father Joe discusses the Pope's recent call that Catholic politicians must push an anti-abotion, anti-divorce agenda.

The Hindu Blog reports on Hindus making an idol to their Lord Ganesh which has eleven heads to symbolise the member's of a cricket team in a temple that is dedicated to cricket. Quoting from the blog:

"The temple demonstrates the freedom and flexibility that Hindu religion provides."

Talk about the broad path!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The latest on the "Jesus Tomb"

In "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" documentary by James Cameron, one of the ossuaries ("bone boxes") found alongside the so-called tomb of Jesus carries the inscription "Mariamene e Mara" and they translate this as "Mary, known as Master." Now compare this too what some scholars have already said. Richard Bauckham, Professor of New Testament at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland says:
"Mara in this context does not mean Master. It is an abbreviated form of Martha. Probably the ossuary contained two women called Mary and Martha (Mariamne and Mara)."
Stephen Pfann, a textual critic and paleographer at University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, also agrees with Bauckham's conclusions, stating:
"There is no longer any reason to be tempted to link this ossuary... to Mary Magdalene or any other person in biblical, non-biblical or church tradition."
Yet more hard proof that the "Jesus tomb" escapade is a publicity stunt and not in any way a significant discovery.

Top five reasons for this blog

In regards to brief summation, here are the top five reasons why I have decided to start a blog at Blogger:

1. Blogger is free
If it wasn't free, I probably wouldn't bother!

2. Blogger is simple
The fact that it is easy and quick to add a post makes it that much more attractive.

3. Blogging is enjoyable
Communicating (to however a small an audience) is enjoyable, and being able to design new posts fills a creative need.

4. Allows me to collect and communicate random thoughts
Like a journal, blogging has therapeutic value.

5. I can collate information from other blogs and websites
The more information I post here, the less likely I am to forget it or lose it.