Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’
Just thought I’d let everyone know that I’ll be speaking in Nashville, TN this coming October at the second “Christian Symposium on Aliens” – otherwise known as Ancient of Days 2013. The event is scheduled for October 3-6. I’ve been assigned two lectures that will occur on Friday, Oct 4:
“The Divine Council, Giants, and a Return of the Nephilim?” (please note the question mark)
“Paleobabble! The Role of Pseudo-Science and Bad Theology in Today’s Popularized Alien Mythos”
I’ll also be participating in a lengthy symposium and Q & A sessions on Sunday, Oct 6. I’ll come up with abstracts a little later and post those. Here’s the schedule as it stands now.
I’m not promising anything, but I’ve alerted the organizer, Guy Malone, that at my present writing rate, the first full draft of The Portent, the sequel to my paranormal / theological thriller, The Facade, should be in the can by the end of summer. That means it’ll be in the editorial stage at the time of this event. That in turn would mean (again, this is all guesswork) that the sequel would be ready for Christmas. If things follow this scenario, I’m considering the idea of taking pre-orders at this event for signed copies of The Portent. (I haven’t talked to the publisher about that yet, but it’s on my radar). This is the only event I have scheduled for the fall, so if such a pre-order offering emerges, Ancient of Days 2013 is the only place it’s going to happen.
I just wanted to post a convenient listing of the series Cris Putnam has been posting over on his Logos Apologia blog. The series summarizes a lot of heady material into readable segments:
The Bellingham Herald, the local newspaper in my neck of the woods, ran an article on me today (you have to love the rocket behind me in the picture). The interview with Michelle Nolan was a lot of fun. It was fascinating — she’s a veritable walking encyclopedia on the history of comic books and science fiction. We tried to focus on several of the ideas in The Facade. I actually got several good trajectories for the sequel, The Portent, from the interview.
I hope readers will check it out!
I saw this essay from TIME Magazine pop up on Twitter today: “Dabbling in Exotheology.” The date of the essay was 1978 (unless that’s a typo). The essay opens with this question: “Can the “image of God” survive in extraterrestrial life?” An understandable one, but an ignorant one, nonetheless. Anyone who has followed my work knows I’ve lectured on this many times. The answer is “yes” (if what is meant is the survival of the doctrine). It’s “no” if what is meant that ET also has this image.
Lest I be misunderstood, I’m not saying TIME is guilty of theological ignorance. The question really is to be expected. The ignorance is to be found among the many millions of Christians and Jews who would be spooked about the confirmation of ET life because they have fundamentally misunderstood the image of God as some sort of (heretofore) human attribute, like intelligence, sentience, speech, etc. This is the way the image gets talked about all the time, but that notion is not at all coherent.
I won’t take the time or space to rehearse the content of my lectures here. The best I can do is the twelve-page essay on the image of God that I recently wrote for a study Bible published by my employer, Logos Bible Software (the article was for the Lexham Bible Dictionary, also our product, but accessible through the study Bible). Look for the section on the meaning of the image. I could have devoted twelve more pages as to why the “traditional” (attribute-based) view undermines a pro-life ethic and fails because of research in fields like artificial intelligence and animal cognition (and the theoretical study of intelligent ET life), but this will have to do. People who have a high view of Scripture and its teaching about how humans are God’s imagers (to know why I use the verbal phrasing, read my essay), an intelligent ET ought not to be any theological threat. And yet it would be, due to theological ignorance.
[Thanks to Cris for this link.]
According to the Washington Post, the Pentagon apparently spent $100,000 for a workshop on interstellar space travel, which included a session that asked, ”Did Jesus die for Klingons, too?” Taxpayers aren’t thrilled, to say the least. I’m irritated, too, but for different reasons.
Readers know I’ve put a lot of thought into the question of the relationship between Christianity (of the conservative “Bible believing” perspective) and the question of extraterrestrial life (see here and here). My answer would be that no, there’s no need for Jesus to have to die for ET if ET exists — no exegetical argument can be mounted for such a need. But most theologians who address this question aren’t doing exegesis in the biblical text; they merely theologize (i.e., they share opinions sprinkled with God-talk). People who believe the Bible is inspired and that biblical theology should be rooted in the biblical text (as opposed to canon law, the opinions of a magisterium, the writings of a church father, etc.) could care less about such theologizing. I presume that the Pentagon, if serious about the subject, probably feels some concern over the impact an ET reality would have on conservative evangelical Christians, precisely because that’s where the most negative reaction would manifest. But then why not look for someone who knows that religious spectrum well and cares about the subject? I have no reason to be optimistic that any serious consideration of the biblical text occurred at this symposium. Typically these things gather clerics whose training is in philosophy, philosophical theology, sociology, and astronomy (this is an easy conclusion to draw from a bibliography of peer-reviewed literature on this subject). Little effort is made to include a biblical scholar. That omission is one of the reasons I decided to make the issue a centerpiece of The Facade, my novel.
If I try to be kind to DARPA here, maybe the problem is that they couldn’t find an evangelical scholar who has published under peer review on the topic. I think I’ve read what’s been published in peer-reviewed literature, and I’ve never seen an evangelical publish on it in a journal. Perhaps I should make an effort to do that rather than devote effort to blogging. But it’s a bit hard to imagine that DARPA couldn’t find me (or anyone else they cared to find).