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Monday, October 31, 2011

Theological Trick or Treat

A little palate cleanser for you.  I'll try to post on family Halloween antics and shenanigans and all that stuff later on, but I came across this little video and was compelled to share.

I would guess that the majority of people that bother with our blog are Christian, as we ourselves are.  I'd also guess that most if not every one of you, have at least heard of Lewis's Trilemma.  It was popularized by theologian and writer C. S. Lewis and goes something like this:  Lunatic, Liar, or Lord.  It means simply that Jesus of Nazareth made claims about himself so unheard of, so profound, so magnificent, that he was either (a) completely crazy (b) perpetrating an incredible hoax, or that (c) he is precisely who he says he is.

Now, you can believe that or not.  The trilemma's Wikipedia entry falls all over itself to present reasons why the idea's absurd.

And what about a fourth option added by some modern scholars?  Legend.  How do we know that followers of Jesus didn't simply make everything up?  Did Christians add dubious stories over the centuries since Jesus lived?  How can we know the Gospels are reliable at all?

Majestad and I have been trying to finalize the girly-girl's name.  You dig through books, you look at lists of popular names by decade, by country or language of origin.  The names are usually ranked by popularity.  You even wander through your family trees looking for particularly slick family names.  (I've quit pointing out to H.M. that the new name would by definition become a family name, but whatever.  I just work here.) 

Choosing names is the prerogative of every parent.  Some do it carefully and well.  Some give out painfully boring handles.  Others saddle their kids with ridiculous, acid-trippy ones with superfluous "Y"s or unintentionally hilarious initials.  Similarly, fiction writers get to pick their character names.  And that's where this video comes in.

If you yourself were to cook up characters for a new novel about a certain place and time and culture, would you get the names just right?  I mean, would they be used in correct proportion?  Would your geography be accurate?  The food?  The law of the land and its subtle politics?  Dr. Peter Williams would like to let you in on some powerful new evidence, especially about the proper names in the New Testament.

The clip is just under an hour long.  Okay, DO NOT sissy out because of the length.  It's extremely engaging and understandable, and you've likely never heard anything on the reliability of the Gospels quite like this.  So that's the 'treat' I have for you... and if you're a believer, it's required viewing.  (Yes, I went there.)  Enjoy.

Not convinced, are you?  Most of you won't be.  The overwhelming majority of folks won't bother.  Because most of you have things that you rate as more important, as more urgent.  Places to go.  Appointments.  Kids filling bathrooms 3 inches deep with water.  I completely understand.  And I'm certainly not here to nag, or to be the village scold.  I'm just some fool dad blogger, after all.

But not bothering...  not taking the time to know, truly, for yourself alone, as a layperson (i.e. non-'clergy'), is why we're losing the knowledge war in churches today, and losing it badly.

And that's the 'trick,' isn't it?

(UPDATE:  I've added the Q&A, which comments on another important question or two.)

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