Saturday, June 28, 2008

Which Side Are You On?

Jesus said,
You are either for Me, or you are against Me.
Which side are you on?

(This concept plagiarized from Greg Laurie's "Encountering the Jesus Freaks".)

Are You Wicked?

Psalm 28:3 defines the wicked and the evildoers as those people ...
who speak in friendly ways with their neighbors, while malice is in their hearts." (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Are you a wicked evildoer?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Whence the value of Christianity in a Modern Scientific culture?

This short blog article highlights the difference in outcome of a Christian-based culture vs an atheist-based one, in regards to medical progress. Rather interesting, and is a good response to those claims by atheists that "modern science" is responsible for medical progress rather than "prayer".

The Bible as a Mirror

I don't remember where I was exposed to this idea (I've probably blogged about it previously), but it has recently really come home to roost in my mind.

The Bible, complex as it is, winds up mirroring whatever beliefs you bring to it.
  • If you believe women should be silent in church, you'll find that in there. If you believe women should be given equal rights/status/abilities as men, you'll find that in there.
  • If you believe salvation is absolutely dependent on being immersed, you'll find that in there. If you believe we can do nothing to gain our own salvation, you'll find that in there.
  • If you believe the Jews are a favored race for all time, you'll find that in there. If you believe the Jews have been rejected since they've rejected Jesus, you'll find that in there.
Just thought I'd point this out.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gravity is so 20th Century

Salvador Cordova has found a documentary on YouTube that is fascinating. Basically, in the past few decades, Plasma Cosmology has started making inroads into supplanting the standard cosmological theory that is based on gravity (which is the basis for modern science's understanding of the universe, including the Big Bang, etc).

Ever since Newton, it has been believed that the earth revolves around the sun because of gravity, and that gravity explains all the other movements in the heavens.

Plasma Cosmology suggests that gravity is not the dominant force, but rather electricity, and electricity's attendant magnetic fields.

Once the concept was presented to me, it clicked. It makes sense. (On a related note, this highlights how that an entire culture can be blind to something very obvious until someone happens to notice that obvious something and points it out.)

Plasma Cosmology explains many things that gravity-based cosmologies fail to explain. The four less-than-10-minute videos on Cordova's blog discuss comets and black holes and filament-structures and historical references to Venus as being a comet, etc. Well worth viewing if you have any interest in this sort of thing.

I'm sure there are weaknesses in the theory, and that this documentary has some things wrong, but still, it's an education that well-informed people need.

Go watch it at

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Prophet, Priest, and King

Olive oil was used to anoint:
  • the prophet, who delivers God's word
  • the priest, who is the People's representative to God
  • the king, who enforces God's word
The Spirit of the Lord anointed Jesus - Luke 4:18

  • while on Earth, functioned as prophet, delivering God's word
  • now at the right hand of God, functions as priest, interceding for the people
  • when he returns, will return as triumphant king, enforcing the righteousness of God

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Whatever Happened to Literacy?

The past few days I've spent some time over at Yahoo! Answers, and I have been appalled at the inability of most people on that site to communicate in simple English. Several of them are simply unintelligible. Here are a few examples:

What do you mean by username and passward? actually i downloaded a software and it is asking my username and passward . i dont know what it is . so how can i know what is my username and passward ?????????????????????????????
Here's another:
My computer is shutdown so long how tosolve that problem?

And this beaut:

How to setting my firewall? i just change to window xp from vista.but after change hv the conection problem,alway be disconnect,and my msn alway sig in sig my friend say is the firewall setting problem , need to seting it,but i dont knoe.abyone here can help me or teach me?
The thing is that these are not the exceptions; these are the rule.

Sad. So very, very sad.

In a comment below, Chris points out that many of the people on the Internet don't speak English natively. Yes, that's true, but that doesn't explain this:

I only mention this entire issue because I believe, "Your English matter!"

(I guess the language center of your brain might be somewhat impaired by having what appears to be a large bullet hole in the center of your forehead.)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Who to Vote For?

When Ron Paul first began to appear in the American conscious, I was often looked at askew for favoring him. I just read a post by Ed Hurst that sort of explains my thinking.

Ed said that he was often asked who he favors or endorses. He then said:
...the difference between the two major parties is an illusion. What's the difference between a party which promotes a woman's right to murder her child, and another party which can't be bothered to prevent it? What's the difference between a party which wants to remove the 2nd Amendment and another which gears up mightily to close down every gun dealer in the US on petty technicalities? What's the difference between nanny-state socialism and corporate welfare which confiscates private property? What's the difference between bigger government and bigger government?

Ron Paul offered something different. I have no illusions that Ron Paul was the "savior" of the country. I'm sure he's just as likely to screw things up worse than he is to help. But I had hope that he could have begun the process of dismantling our current behemoth that is the Republicrat-Democrican system, which I dearly would love to see dismantled.

Government has begun to get in the way of citizens living their lives. Ron Paul offered me hope of turning that around.

"What's the difference between bigger government and bigger government?"


The Role of Leaders

Ed Hurst writes:
[T]he primary image of a proper king is that of shepherd, not of predator.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Quick Comment from Genesis

In the first couple of chapters is a word-play:

Adam and Eve were naked (arom) before their sin.
The serpent was crafty (arum).
Adam and Eve realized they were naked (erom) after their sin.

In the shower, without clothes on, you're naked (arom - nude).
In the front lawn, without clothes on, you're naked (erom - exposed, vulnerable).

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Applying the Quick Primer of a Former Post

In a recent post, I explained how thee/thou is second-person singular, and you/ye is second-person plural. Now, applying this rule to the KJV rendering of Luke 22:31-23:
31And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

the passage becomes in "The Message":
Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I've prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start."
The text of the English Standard Version does not reveal the meaning:
31"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."
but the footnote in that version does:
  1. Luke 22:31 The Greek word for you (twice in this verse) is plural; in verse 32, all four instances are singular
What we need is an English language version of the Bible that's not afraid to use the term "y'all".

Monday, June 02, 2008

Manners and Customs of Bible Times

I recently purchased the book Manners and Customs of Bible Times by Ralph Gower and am already, within the first few pages, finding it to be of value in gaining a fuller understanding of the Bible.

In the first chapter we learn about clothing. Typical clothing for an average Bible character consisted of a loincloth, maybe, and then a tunic (or coat) which was basically just a long t-shirt, and for the more wealthy or in cold-weather, a cloak (or mantle) which was basically an oversized robe.

A typical poor person might have nothing more than the clothes on his back, and his cloak was the only protection he had from the weather. The cloak was sometimes given as a guarantee for a loan, but the cloak had to be returned to the owner every night as it was the only bed-cover a person might have. Accordingly, a Jewish law court might award a person's tunic in a lawsuit, but never his cloak. Clothing was so valuable that Jewish law stipulated a list of clothing that could be rescued from a burning structure even on the Sabbath when work was strictly forbidden. For John the Baptist to tell his disciples to give away any spare coats was a revolutionary thought.

A Quick Primer on the Language of the KJV

First, it's not really "old English". Old English is even older than the 17th Century English of the King James period.

English has its roots in the languages of several more-or-less-pagan Germanic peoples who migrated into the British Isles about 550 A.D, just half-a-century or so after the fabled more-or-less-Christian King Arthur had reigned in those lands. The English of this period is the true "Old English", and is the language of Beowulf.

About 500 years later, after the Normans (from France) invaded England around 1066, the language morphed into Middle English. It was this variant of the language that reigned until about the 1450s.

For the next couple of hundred years, from the mid-15th century until about 1650, the Brits spoke Early Modern English. It was during this period that the King James Bible was produced. This version of English, also known as Renaissance or Elizabethan English, is also the language of William Shakespeare.

Today we speak Modern English, which is but an update of the King's English.

So strictly speaking, the language of the King James Bible is not Old English, but is rather Early Modern English.

Still, it seems quite old to many of us in the 21st century.

The main idea I wish to convey in this post, however, concerns a couple of points of grammar, specifically the forms of thee, thou, ye, thy, thine, and the -est and -eth verb endings.

The use of thee, thou, etc, is fairly simple. It has nothing to do with respect or reverence; it has to do with how many people are being addressed. If you were speaking to one person, you would use "thee", "thou", "thy", or "thine". If you were speaking to a group of people, you'd use "you" or "ye".
  • thou - if the person is the subject ("you give it to me"), you'd use "thou" ("thou givest it to me")
  • thee - if the person is not the subject ("I'll give it to you"), you'd use "thee" ("I'll give it to thee")
  • ye - if the group is the subject ("y'all give it to me"), you'd use "ye" ("ye give it to me")
  • you - if the group is not the subject ("I'll give it to y'all"), you'd use "you" ("I'll give it to you")
The rules governing the use of "thy" and "thine" are a bit more complex, and a bit inconsistent in the King James Bible (indicating that even the translators of the King James couldn't keep their own language straight in their own heads - how much less we in the modern day?), but basically, these two words indicate possession in the singular case ("Bobby, take thy toys and go home", "the toys are thine, Bobby, go home with them"), with the distinction determined by whether the thing possessed is the subject or not. When addressing more than one person, you'd use the word "your" and "yours" ("All you kids take your toys and go home", "the toys are yours, kids, go home with them).

I think the take-home lesson from this is that when you see "thee", "thine", "thou", "or "thy", you can know that the case of the person being addressed is singular. When you see "you" or "ye" or "your" or "yours", the case is plural.

Concerning the verb endings -est and -eth, the basic rule is that both are singular forms, with the "-est" indicating second-person-plural, and with the "-eth" indicating third-person plural:
  • I love thee.
  • Thou lovest me.
  • She loveth me.
  • They love me.
The sad thing about people who revere the King James Bible is that most of them don't understand how the language works. Understood properly, the King James Bible offers clues to a better understanding of God's word. The concepts are fairly simple, but it's just not the way our modern-English-thinking minds work. It's almost as much trouble as just learning Greek.

(This is my understanding, and I don't claim it to be a perfect or accurate understanding. Most of my education on the topic is from