SPOILER ALERT: I didn’t need Christopher Nolan and his latest sapio-sexy film in order to believe that there are no parallel universes or, what is the same, that we’re all living in one big tapestry of existence. I didn’t need him to highlight that entropy is conceptually unbound from time. No. I already believed it and have proved it. How else could I have spent my COVID money before it was even deposited, huh? How else?!
As the old proverb goes, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
Confession: I’ve been entraipsing through time my entire life. And it’s fantastic.
(To be sure, I needed the money because I thought I had all the books I would ever need—I was wrong. Now I have all the books I will ever need.)
One more note. When we look at the issue as I do, then the entire question changes. Instead of, “Did ‘brothers’ mean ‘brothers and sisters’ in certain passages?” we now ask, “What should we do if the majority of believers want to make that change?”
See how that question reveals a totally different issue than what the Lockman Foundation is defending? (My dad came up with that one when following my argument through.)
I’ll leave it here with: and this is why I love the Bible.
The NASB is the latest Bible translation to succumb to nonsense about gender confusion. Specifically, they have joined the translations who use the more “thought for thought” philosophy. For today, I just want to record my thoughts on the specific change of adding “and daughters”, “and women”, and “and sisters” etc. to verses which previously had only “sons” and “men” and “brothers”.
This post isn’t about the content of the defense of the change. This post is about how the issue at hand is not the one being defended by the Lockman Foundation on its website. See here.
I know of no one who cannot understand that in “the old days” we used one word to convey broader concepts than today. “Men” often meant “humans”. Again, whether “men”, means “only men” or “all humans” is not the issue. The issue is whether informed humans today are really so stupid as to give in to the ignorant humans. Context clues are how humans read and communicate. Period. There are no stand alone words, names being the only possible exception. (Jesus, being the name above all names.)
Are we going to describe the cross as “the cross that was used by the Romans who crucified Jesus of Nazareth near Jerusalem at the time of passover around what we call the year 29 CE (previously AD)” in,
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18 NASB1995
Should it say, because the non-believer of today doesn’t even know what a cross is, and in fact only says that word when discussing actions to take on travel-ways (don’t cross the street…, “For the word of the cross that was used by the Romans who crucified Jesus of Nazareth near Jerusalem at the time of passover around what we call the year 29 CE (previously AD) is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”??
Because that’s the issue. Context drives meaning. Period. If you’re too stupid to know that Paul meant, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters…to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God,” when he wrote “Therefore I urge you, brothers…(no additional word),” then that’s on you. The hard truth of Christianity is that you have to want it to be true for it to work for you.
You have to want it to be true. If you don’t want it to be true, that’s on you. I’d be happy to share the gospel with you, but it seems like an ignoramus like you would only trample the pearl that it is. So until life unfolds in such a way that you need help, as in actual supernatural assistance, leave me alone.
Lockman Foundation translators: bad decision. And worse defense. It’s not about Greek or grammar. You should know better. People react viscerally and emotionally when you change their Bibles. It’s not without reason though. And this is why I do. In this particular change, you’ve communicated that you don’t think people need to want Christianity to be true for it to be true. You’ve communicated, then, that you’re more powerful than you are. That’s a problem. We don’t have time for Hebrew and Greek. But we surely can spot vanity a mile away.
I’ve been following my own advice and spending quite a bit of time watching fantasy movies and reading fantasy books. I should clarify here that I mean romance more than fantasy. All the normal bounds of the time space universe apply. Most recently, I watched the new Costner entry, “Let Him Go.”
These films and books fulfill their purpose just fine. However, as I fancy myself a serious blogger/writer type who could compete with those who perform on the world stage—if only I had the ambition—I often challenge myself to come up with my own take on the genre. What is my fantasy? I don’t mean, “What do I think would sell?” Or, “What do I perceive other people dream about?” No, I mean that I challenge myself to add my own fuel to the warm “good guys win” feeling that I enjoy as I see evil mother-effers reap it and good men be rewarded with beautiful, virtuous women.
Here’s the gospel truth. My fantasy centers on the children I’ve been charged by god with raising to become good men and good women.
The fiction begins with an argument. My character espouses wisdom, in a much too passionate volume. There may even be a hint of what psychologists call “contempt”. My children consistently reply with overly self-righteous bull honkey. Soon after, I kick them out of my house for crossing the line. (I haven’t resolved in which manner they cross it, whether they mindlessly repeat the slander of George Washington, Jesus, me, or one of my military buddies. But I imagine that they say something absolutely retarded and untrue and so they’ve got to go.)
Next, I imagine I resign completely from life. I become a veritable hermit.
Then the world burns.
As for me, I nimbly and deftly survive and do so in style. Eventually, others hear of an older man (they say he was a pilot, back before the Green Skies law) always staying one step ahead of the new troubles brought about by stupid young people. The Captain is suddenly whispered as if the title itself means hope.
Did you hear the latest about The Captain?
I heard The Captain has been planning something big for some time now. He’s got to be getting close.
All the while, in the hands of my children, the world burns.
But then the careful reader and viewer begin to notice new expressions on the faces of The Captain’s, by now, adult children—themselves leaders of the supposed revolution. The faces betray, finally, a wise hesitation. One might almost say the progeny appear, for the first time in their life, uncertain.
Skip to the end, and readers all rejoice as I, The Captain, am unable to outpace my children who are on their way to warn me—themselves being only one-step ahead of their pals who are coming to kill me. The reunion, made all the more compelling by the contrast between painfully slow scenes of family reconciliation and scenes of unabated, furious chase by the enemies, is only long enough for one phrase to pass.
“Father, you were right.”
Having uttered these noble words, they turn to find our mutual enemies have caught up to us. Despite our unified slaying of a significant number of them, they kill us all, saying, “Remember, orders are to kill The Captain and all of his diseased blood!”
Yup. It’s not family happiness that I dream about—that seems utterly hopeless in our current world. Instead, I long for vindication from the mouths of my children before I die.
This one’s going to put me on the map! Time to finally go viral! It’s been a long enough wait, I can assure you.
As a time capsule, then, I want to finally make written record of my interpretation of the book of Revelation’s most infamous passage. I’ll be bypassing, for the reader’s sake, all discussion of the nature of prophecy and all survey of historical interpretations. In the place of these things I will attempt to simply and eloquently write my own thoughts. Let the reader be my judge.
The passage in question:
“Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”
Revelation 13:18 NASB1995
My interpretation hinges on the fact that there is no indication whatsoever, anywhere, that the inspired authors of Scripture, while inspired, could do math. Accordingly, the use of the word “number” in the passage calls to mind the wrong idea. Instead, the word should be “total”. With this change, the passage reads:
“Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the total of the beast, for the total is that of a man; and his total is six hundred and sixty-six.”
What’s the difference between “number” and “total”? Ready? Here it is. Number is six. (Period.) Total is six cows. Or again, number is 70 million. (Full stop.) Total is 70 million people. With me? Okay, one more then I’m moving on. Number is nine. (That’s all she wrote.) Total is nine ball players.
In my experience, some humans cannot see the distinction. For my own mind, I have not concluded yet whether I find this ability to see the distinction to be the result of nature or nurture. All I know is some people can’t see it. If this is you, if you can’t see the distinction between number and total, then this post, no matter how appealing, is not for you. Bye bye.
If, on the other hand, you see the distinction, then here’s the theological point. Contextually, the passage is clearly a warning. Lucky for us (lucky for Christians, that is), Jesus wins. So accurate interpretation of the warning is not consequential. (But we knew this already because John wrote that only some folks have understanding. I just want to record my own interpretation, because I’ve never read it anywhere and because I think the other interpretations of this passage are so moronic and childlike that they ought be cast into the lake of fire with all the other hell-born.)
The passage is a warning. And it warns of a method. How does it warn of a method? The only way possible—giving the result. This is a sticky assertion, I know. Hold on tight. And remember, it’s for fun. The interpretation does not matter.
Theologians and scholars agree that early written math in all cultures began by associating numbers to the letters of the alphabet, which otherwise recorded sounds. Roman Numerals are a slightly evolved remnant of this. To be clear, in English we might designate that the letter “A” equals a value of one, “B” , a value of two, and so on. This made for very difficult written calculations. But they were still much more efficient than having to laboriously write, “one plus one equals two.” (Easier version: A + A = B)
Our four-eyed ancestors saw something more though. They saw that a code could be developed, here, too.
Words could contain a meaning hidden to all but the intended, the “read in”, recipient. Love letters, and other private communiques could be communicated in broad daylight.
One such phrase, in Koine Greek (though not in the Bible) is, “the great beast”. Guess what its letters add up to? A value of six hundred sixty-six. But don’t miss the point. Plenty of words and phrases do, too. Quite literally, innumerable words and phrase add up to six hundred sixty-six.
But that phrase does, too. “The great beast.”
The passage’s warning is not of some creature, but of some creation—some total. What total? The total of a man. Which man? Which human? Could be me, could be you.
In other words, I believe that John told us that the beast meritorious of warning is when we mortals leave what is known as “concrete” reality (which does include the spiritual) and move to “abstract” reality (which does include “lies, damned lies, and statistics”, as Twain put it)—assuming we then base our actions on the abstract reality, to the detriment of the concrete reality.
This, of course, has never been done.
There it is. Now you know. Discuss amongst yourselves.
I’ve moved on to, Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver, by Jonathan Swift (known more popularly as, “Gulliver’s Travels”), but before I forget, I wanted to record my concluding thought on the infamous Locke.
It is well known that white people (nothing to do with skin color) generally—and just past playfully—ridicule black preachers (nothing to do with skin color) for their energy. “No need to get so excited. Just say what you’ve got to say and let us go home,” we comment.
I was, accordingly, surprised to hear the following critique by my black mentor after we heard a particularly rousing sermon one day, at our black church. My mentor was a retired former Navy-man who had also worked in prisons. To temper my jubilant, childlike-wonder-filled praise, he replied, “I don’t like when preachers incite. And,” he continued, “now this may just be me, but it felt like he was inciting. I used to see this kind of thing in the prisons. It’s okay to be loud and full of passion—we are talking about the Lord, mind you—but sometimes some folk cross into inciting. Remember, Pete: not everyone that’s preaching is called.”
Returning to political philosophy, my concluding thought is this. I used to think the reason we weren’t assigned John Locke anymore was because he was irrelevant, being old and clearly having rued the day. But now, after reading his essay, in full, I see our predicament differently. The reason we don’t assign each other John Locke anymore is because he is dangerous. His writing and his ideas are so powerful that you will find yourself incited to make war upon our government. Promote an essay suggesting that, anytime government prevents its citizens from bettering their lives, war is the divinely approved method to change the situation? Heavens, no! We can’t have people reading this!
I, for my part, was driving down I-35, halfway to Cabelas’ guns and ammo department (already depleted), before I remembered that I have a family and that things in my climate controlled dwelling aren’t actually that bad—even without TV.
In short, before reading Locke—and subsequently fighting the war that makes America great again—read your Bible. Best to put first things first.
I’m working on this fine Thanksgiving Day. That means that I’m often perusing the depths of my phone as I wait for the bat phone to ring. Like most stories I read of late, the content of today’s entries keep mentioning restrictions and cancellations of typical events. The mention that spurred me to offer my own volley into the bloggy battle was that some the parades have been canceled.
I haven’t watched a parade in years—maybe 20 years. I remember watching them as children. I cared about every part of them. I loved the floats. I wanted my group to perform. And when I was around 18, my family even went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC.
But then I became an adult and went off to the Air Force to be a hero pilot. Something changed in me. I just stopped caring about the parade. Music preferences had changed. Lots of things felt different. Maybe it was my mental attitude, more concerned with war and the inner conflict of wanting to distinguish myself through one but not actually wanting to participate in one, but what I know is that it became difficult to care about what I considered to be small potatoes
I think I might even say that because of the gravity inherent to flying, I found myself wanting more and more to entertain myself precisely as I chose, and not with some other person’s method. A bit dramatic and morbid, but I could admit that my opinion became, “If I could die any day, I don’t want to have lived someone else’s life.”
Skip to the pandemic. I can’t see Metallica. I can’t go to the symphony. I can’t attend church (in a meaningful way). That’s no fun. But now I don’t have to have an excuse to stay home. Now, I can shut myself off from the world without an excuse. I can use my phone. I can use my laptop. Most importantly, I can use my books. I can sit around reading or texting all day long, and never feel guilty for being fairly anti-social. Hear me clearly: through the pandemic, I have not been terribly inconvenienced, but I have been relieved of a terrible feeling (guilt).
“With COVID-19 out there, we could die any day,” we now say. Then we hunker down and pretend to be making sacrifices for the good of each other, for the good of our nation, for the good of our children, hell, for the good of the world.
“We are heroes!” we allow, silently.
But the dark truth is this: we like our new way of life. It’s easy. It’s without guilt. And it’s how we’ve kinda always wanted life to be—alone, undisturbed, and free from responsibility.
And it’s all because we believe that we could die any day.
When thinking Biblically, it is difficult to avoid developing theories for why the pandemic is happening. As in, “What have we done, O LORD, to bring upon ourselves this time of uncertainty? Gambling? Entertainment? Wine? Women? Empty pews? Unrepentant hearts? Not saying your name often and loud enough? What?”
As you may have expected, I have one answer. This answer nourishes my soul and it may prove to nourish yours. So I’m sharing it today.
The reason that this is the day for sharing is that last night, H- reported to me that her elementary school fifth grade class’s week of “different form of government each day” had drawn to a close.
At the close of last week, the eternally incapable of critical thought, and therefore stupid, young teacher had sent a warning/announcement email to mothers and fathers (addressed politically correctly as “parents/guardians”), asking us to not spoil the fun. The email mentioned that the immersive experience would include one day within Monarchy/Dictator (hardly a “slash-able” form of government to anyone who knows how to read), one day within Communism, one day within Socialism (does a ten year old ((or 30 year old for that matter)) really possess the faculties to understand the nuances between these two?? Read on to find out…), and one day within Democracy.
The following are my daughter’s reports.
Monday – (To be clear, this day was a surprise to her. She had not been informed that the day was going to be different than any other before arriving at school.) Besides telling me she cried and subsequently putting her video on pause because I laughed when she told me as much, she said, “I didn’t like how mean and strict she [her teacher] was.” (She couldn’t really remember the name of the form of government.)
Tuesday – “Communism was okay. Had to do the same thing as everyone in the class. At least we got to talk with our friends.”
Wednesday – (Socialism, I think. Again, H- couldn’t recall the name.) “The teacher chose seven students. Then those seven ruled over two each. I didn’t like it. But it wasn’t that bad really. But it wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t hate it that much.”
Thursday – “Today, the last day, was Democracy. It was pretty fun, but there were more boys than girls. So it was unfair. Because we had to do what the boys wanted.”
Can you, dear reader, imagine a greater success to a more important undertaking?!
What have Americans done to bring about the uncertainty? Answer: Squandered perhaps the greatest opportunity to educate the whole of our nation’s children that the world (thus, the LORD) has ever given mankind.
Put bluntly, I sleep better and live better with the thought that the deaths of this here pandemic, the uncertainty and fear caused by it, and the Public School’s decision to move to remote learning—with its result that parents can no longer ignore the failure of the falsely lauded public school teachers (“Oh, whatever would we do without these noble education-major-because-I-lack-creative-impulse-at-eighteen pedants?”)—might combine to mean that the facade is over.
The LORD has spoken! Public Schools must be abolished. Since we’re not smart enough to see their harm, the LORD will do it in his own way.
Maybe you can see the wave of abolishment building, too. Know that it is real. And know that it is good. Bring on the ‘rona! Four more years!! Four more years!!
In our Post-Christendom/Pre-Muslim country, one of the grievances that has come to my ears, and at times come from my mouth, incessantly throughout my life has been that of false prophets’ unceasing role in the Faith. Christian belief seems to contain no stopping power when it comes to men and women seeking the available influence that accompanies predicting the future. This election cycle has proved no different.
Earnest Christians have loved talking about how some prominent-over-there (I’m sure) Africa-continent-based Prophet predicted Trump would win in 2016 even before Trump announced his entry into the contest. These believers do this, of course, with the hope of keeping the Bible alive. (“If prophecy still happens, then it surely happened in the past,” being their real claim.)
And only if you have stopped your ears and avoided all churches for the past two years could you have avoided hearing that some similarly stationed Prophet (that was right about something else recently) had pegged Trump as victorious this go-around.
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, writer of the infamous-to-some-in-the-West Essays, wrote of one ancient tribes’ prophets, “…but let him to’t; for if he fail in his divination, and anything happen otherwise than he has foretold, he is cut into a thousand pieces, if he be caught, and condemned for a false prophet: for that reason, if any of them has been mistaken, he is no more heard of.”
Who among us really recoils at that treatment of false prophets?
And yet the punishment, however fitting, does nothing to allay the problem. The problem being: being right everyday is boring.
I’ll sign off today with this lie. For fun.
I feel the same today as I did yesterday.
I’m rushing to push out this short post today because I want to keep up my status as one who has his finger directly on the pulse.
Firstly, I was right. It was all hype.
Secondly, I feel like Biden won.
Thirdly, I can’t find anyone in the mainstream media (or the replacement media even) who has said this yet. And this is weird. I mean, of course we don’t know the final outcome with certainty yet (that’s why I said “feel”). But is there really that much doubt? “O ye of little faith.”
More importantly, however, than sharing with you who I feel won, I wanted to say that, I don’t know about you, but I feel great. Why? Because I was right. It was all hype.