Monday, 24 February 2014

Of Rumors and Apologetics

Apart from running a worldwide religious organization, the Pope is responsible for doing some of most notable things in history, such as: 
But today, I found out something about the Pope that puts all previous records to shame. The Pope has hired notable author J.K. Rowling of the Harry Potter fame to rewrite the Bible!

Note: From here on, this article becomes a little serious...

The origin of this rumor is the satire website WaterFordWhisperNews. How did I find this out? Simple. I went to Google.com, clicked on 'images', dragged the image from the linked Facebook page, and dropped it.

But just to make sure that the admin of the page didn't get the joke, here is a screenshot of the comments along the image:

Click to enlarge


This only goes to show that the more and more people simply cant comprehend humor. Reminds me of a blog on a local news site, where they had to put up a disclaimer specifying that the article (with outlandish and made-up material) was a work of satire!

In a previous post, I have outlined that this is the kind of apologetic that goes around on the internet. The sad thing is that there is a large audience to consume this kind of rumor and outright deceptive propagation, and they are willing to 'share' it. 

At least on my blog, I aim for accuracy while conveying religious information...

Monday, 10 February 2014

My Christian Faith #3 The Unity of the Bible

What started as a weekly blog series has become a victim of the reality of life and the writer's personal frailties. Now things seem to be on track, so here is the 3rd installment of Bible series!

The topic of contention is the reliability of the Bible, the Scriptures on which we base our beliefs. Earlier we discussed how the Bible uniformly informs us of its own supernatural origins, but that is more of a "necessary but not sufficient" argument.

Here I present a more accurate argument as far as giving evidence for the supernatural origins, or at least the uniqueness of the Bible, is concerned. It is nothing but the unity of the Bible itself. What does this mean?

You will probably be thinking that all books in the world are coherent in that there is one or more central themes in them. But remember we are talking not about a single book,  but a collection of almost 6 dozen books written by different authors at different times in different locations and in different languages.

But before proceeding to some specific examples of this unity, it is important to understand that Bible is not uniform in the sense of a textbook, or even several volumes by an author. In fact one of the most amazing things about the Bible is the variety of literature present in it. Where else to you find natural history, law, poetry, letter, biography, and allegory rolled into one document? 

It is this literary diversity that makes the unity of the Bible such a strong argument for its divine origin. So let's get down to some real examples, one from the book of Genesis , and 2 from the rest of the corpus.

Have you read the flood story in Genesis? All Christians, even children, know it from top to bottom. But the overwhelming majority of readers will have overlooked one amazing thing about the flood story that goes on from chapters 6 to 9: reading the story forward from chapters 6-8 and then backwards from 9 to 8 shows the exact same pattern:



The technical term used for this literary structure is "chiasm", which can be described as an hour-glass where "X" is the middle.
There are several examples of chiasms in the Bible and it's contemporary literature, yet this one is the most prominent. Isn't it cool? But let's move on more detailed examples:

The Blood of the Lamb:
  • The first covenant sealed with blood (Exodus 24:8)
  • Forgiveness of sins lies in the blood (Leviticus 17:11)
  • A new covenant will be given (Jeremiah 31:34)


Compare with:
  • Jesus is the lamb (John 1:35-36)
  • He shed his blood for our forgiveness
  • This is the new covenant (Matthew 26:26-28)


The Blessing of the Nations

  • Genesis 1:1 God creates the heavens and the earth
  • Genesis 3:17 The earth is cursed
  • Genesis 11:8-9 Humanity divided into nations


Compare with:

  • Revelation 21:1 A new heaven and earth
  • Revelation 22:3 The curse is lifted
  • Revelation 7:9 All nations in heaven


Conclusion
So as you can clearly see, as vast and diverse as the books of the Bible are, we still find several themes that unite all of Scripture. The first example illustrates an amazing literary theme in one book, the second showed how the Law and the Prophets were fulfilled with a single statement of Jesus, and the last example showed how the first and the last book of Bible are related.

Not only does this make reading and understanding the Bible easier, but also points out to the fact that such a book can only come from Above.

(Next in this series: My Christian Faith #4)

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