Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’
Jason Colavito has once again directed the attention of his readers to how people in Christian churches have begun to tout the ancient astronaut paradigm as a tool for understanding the Bible. His post draws on the thoughts of a Lutheran pastor over at the well-known Christian periodical First Things.
As I’ve noted before, this is ill-advised, misguided, and even dangerous. The Bible is not about alien visitation. While certain biblical passages (like Gen 6:1-4) can be read that way (e.g., as abduction narratives, since some of the elements are shared with such “accounts”), just because a reading of the biblical text happens (even if well-intentioned) does not make that reading coherent and does not serve as proof (or even evidence) that ancient astronaut ideas conform to reality. Put another way, using the Bible to prop up ancient astronaut myth does not result in the myth becoming respectable just because the Bible is respectable. That assertion is not a denial of the content or character of the Bible, since the biblical material, taken in its own ancient context, is not an obtuse mystery. There is no need for projecting modern myths on the Bible to make it understandable. It’s coherent on its own (ancient) terms. That people (even or especially Christians) are ignorant of the original languages of the Bible or the mountain of scholarly research from archaeology, linguistics, literary study, and ancient Near Eastern background material for the Bible is no excuse to opt for interpretive nonsense.
Why do Christians opt for this nonsense? A couple reasons come to mind right away. I’ve seen or heard the cycle of Bible boredom hundreds of times. It’s just that the victims don’t all end up resorting to ancient alien bunk to get excited about the Bible. Many others just quit church altogether. But the cycle is the same.
What am I talking about?
Watching Ancient Aliens is easier than doing serious research and engaging in careful thinking. Pastors have spent decades, through shallow (“relevant”) preaching that basically every passage is about Jesus, or tithing, or getting along with others, or healthy marriages, or raising kids, etc. When you’re trained to think that basically every passage you read in the Bible conveys the same messages, there’s no reason to read it closely or seriously analyze it. The Bible loses its mystery and fascination. Preachers do this because they are either lazy, are inadequately taught, think poorly, or go with the flow of their content-intolerant audience. People who want more than self-help therapy sessions facilitated by the Holy Spirit on Sunday morning go elsewhere — physically or out into cyberspace. They come across the fascinating worldview put forth by Ancient Aliens and get excited about the Bible, since some “researcher” (= nimrod) on the Fantasy Channel tells them that’s what their Bible is really describing. If they ever bother to ask the pastor about all of it, they’ll suspect they’re onto something as soon as they get derision or a chuckle as a rebuttal. They just need to love Jesus and forget about all that silly stuff. As if that answers their questions. Then they encounter Christian researchers — people who share their Christian theology — saying the same thing as Giorgio, but in ways that aren’t theologically offensive. Now they’re convinced they’ve found the truth.
This is all painfully predictable. It’s easy to pity the laity. Granted, they share responsibility for thinking so poorly, but I lay most of the blame at the feet of pastors whose sermons range from drivel to self-help pablum on any given Sunday. They underestimate what their people can absorb and their interest level. But the coffee and the worship band are good.
We reap what we sow.
I just wanted to let everyone know in the wake of my interview on Art Bell’s show Monday night, that the special edition of The Facade is now in print. It’s also available in several ebook formats: Vyrso, Kindle, Nook, iBook, Google Play).
I should also mention that the special edition of The Façade is part of Amazon’s new Kindle Matchbook program - everyone who buys The Facade in print book on Amazon can get the Kindle ebook for just $3. Amazon Prime users get free two-day shipping.
The special edition contains bonus content:
- the story behind The Facade and Mike’s first Coast to Coast AM appearance
- up-to-date annotated bibliographies for the plot elements
- the first 5 chapters of the sequel, The Portent
I mention all this specifically because of progress on The Portent. I’ll be finishing the draft of the sequel this weekend (for real). In a nutshell, if you haven’t read The Facade, you’ll get lost in The Portent. It truly is a sequel, not just a second book on similar subject matter. If you haven’t read The Facade yet, now would be a good time to do that so it’s fresh in your mind when The Portent becomes available.
A few hand-picked operatives out there will be reading the draft of The Portent for feedback this month. I’ll be making a last pass, too. Then it’s time to turn in the manuscript to the publisher. That should happen by November 1.
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!