Posted By MSH on March 20, 2011
Just a few personal notes.
1. Sorry I have lagged behind in blogging. I just plowed through almost 30 hours of grading in the last nine days. Both my adjuncting positions had grades due at the same time (never happened before — a perfect storm!)† I have oral surgery Monday morning, so if the meds are working, I’ll be home and coherent in the afternoon. I will try and get to a universalism post Monday.
2. For those who follow the comments, a Mr. Quilter objected to my Bart Ehrman post of a short while back (couple of weeks I think). He somehow connects Bart’s ideas about the corruption of the New Testament to the existence of God (which he doubts or denies). I know, it’s a non-sequitur all its own. He followed that by an assertion that scientists don’t believe in God. That isn’t bad logic; it’s just nonsense. In the process of responding to him I posted a link to this article from the science journal NATURE. It’s a study done in the 1990s about scientists who believe in a personal God. I mis-read a section of it and had the wrong percentage of believing physicists / astronomers in my reply to Mr. Quilter (I took the 70+ percentage in the middle column as believers when it was unbelievers. The actual figure in the article is just over 40%).† I naturally wanted to try to show him that lots of scientists do indeed believe in God. And they do. In the church I went to while in grad school we had the head of the Botany Dept., the head of Environmental Studies, a professor of electrical engineering, two university research physicists, and doctoral students in geology and biology. When it comes to whether real scientists believe in God, I know firsthand that the answer is yes. Mr. Quilter brought my mistake to my attention and, in the process of trying to hurry through the comments, I wound up deleting his response instead of editing it (the buttons are next to each other and I don’t get a chance to “approve” deletions). I just haven’t gotten back to the blog since. But rather than suing me (!), Mr. Quilter dutifully sent me an email accusing me of dishonesty. Understandable, but a bit over the top. Hence this post and the re-post of the NATURE article.† (And now it gets more exposure, rather than being buried in comments). I’d suggest that we could all find Jews, Muslim, Unitarians, New Agers, and an assortment of others who believe in a personal God and don’t consider the NT any sort of authoritative source.† It’s that easy.
I also (just now) deleted comments made by Mr. Quilter that are rendered superfluous by this post. He can feel free to append the contents of those to this post so everything is all in one place for all to reference.
What I now want from Mr. Quilter – and I’m letting you all know – is for him to demonstrate how Bart Ehrman’s take on the NT is essential to (a) people believing in God and (b) the existence of God. I will of course clear comments on this (to this post for those of you who follow). Mr Quilter will get one, and only one, chance to respond coherently. If I get a stream of incoherence (defined here as comments that don’t answer my specific question, stated above) or other accusatory remarks, I won’t hesitate to filter him out, since that will sort of tell me it’s not going anywhere good. But the first response will get through so you can all read it and judge its coherence and willingness to be avoid being overly nasty.
3. In regard to my time constraints, of which the past nine days have made me even more aware, I am thinking about an idea proposed to me long ago by a reader that might produce a PT “grad assistant” for me. Most of you know I do all I do on the side – no secretary, no assistants, no nothing (you can tell I’ve been reading too many undergrad papers with that piece of awkward prose). If I pull the trigger on it, I’ll announce it here (after I finally post something on the universalism subject – promise).