But this is different.
I’m not only defending what the Bible says; I’m defending the idea that the Bible actually says anything at all.
The skeptics aren’t denying that there are words on the page, of course. But they are denying that there is a proper interpretation of those words. They are [apparently] under the impression that the Bible isn’t actually saying anything objective at all, and that all (or most) interpretations are somehow equally valid.
As a side note, I am amused by this. These same skeptics are the ones who point to passages in the Old Testament in an attempt to say that God is behaving immorally. But their arguments rely upon the fact that there is an objectively correct interpretation of Scripture. The skeptic must be consistent; either the Bible does have an objective meaning, or it doesn’t. You can’t have it both ways.
If the Bible is saying something objectively testable, our goal (and the goal of proper hermeneutics) is to understand what the Bible is actually saying. The Bible claims to be making statements about [historical, spiritual, theological, etc] reality, and can therefore be tested.
On one hand, I guess I sort of understand the confusion. After all, our post-modern-esque culture tends to rip verses out of context and apply them where they don’t actually apply.
- Christians do it when they take Jeremiah 29:11 and apply that promise to themselves.
- Westboro Baptist people do it when they… well, they do it all the time. Every single sign held up by someone over at the WBC is an example of bad hermeneutics.
- Atheists do it when they pretend that Matthew 18:19 implies that two priests can go to hospitals and pray for healing
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For a really interesting conversation between Christian Tyler Vela and Thomas, the host of the Atheistically Speaking podcast, click here! (and here for the 2nd episode) (and here’s Tyler’s after-the-show commentary)
What’s up you leather-jerkin, crystal-button, knot-pated, agatering, puke-stocking, caddis-garter, smooth-tongue, Spanish POUCH!
Welcome to another podcast recommendation post!
Matt, Toby, and Joey are not trying to be theologians with all the answers, but that does not mean they cannot be a voice of reason within the broader Christian community. Far too often, the Christian community tends to stay away from things like racism, pornography, divorce, masturbation, and other uncomfortable topics. But these Bad Christians dive into these topics without hesitation. They also discuss other [more stereotypically-Christiany] topics like theology, church and culture, salvation and repentance.
I don’t want you to think that my recommendation of this podcast is a explicit agreement with its entirety of its content. Far from it. I actually think they get a fair amount wrong. For example, the apologetics Q & A with Joey’s brother Jared (about 1 hour in)… oh my. Read the rest of this entry »
I do not hold to the ‘traditional doctrine’ of Hell; the doctrine of eternal conscious torment. I am an advocate of “annihilationism”, otherwise known as “conditional immortality”. My disbelief puts me in a minority amongst Christians, but I don’t exactly know why. I think all evangelicals should hold to annihilationism, and my hope is that this post will be the first step in you embracing annihilationism.
For those of you new to this discussion, the advocates of the ‘eternal conscious torment’ view of hell are known as ‘traditionalists’. The advocates of annihilationism are usually known as annihilationists or conditionalists.
A little while ago, a group of friends and I ordered some pizza, hung out for a while, snagged a movie off of Amazon and sat down to watch it. This movie was “Hellbound”, and it was a fairly decent examination of the doctrine of hell and the various views on it. It seemed to be primarily focused on the debate between ‘eternal conscious torment’ (ECT) and universalism, brought about by Rob Bell’s
statements questions about the existence and/or nature of hell. While annihilationism was given some time in the movie, it was largely unconsidered and left as something worth thinking about… but less interesting than the other two options. It wasn’t off the table, it was just sorta pushed aside.
With my minimal online influence, I’d like to place annihilationism back in the middle of the theological table, to be considered with the other two. I am confident that annihilationism will emerge on top as the most biblically, theologically and philosophically accurate understanding of the doctrine of hell. Read the rest of this entry »