Bible Archaeology

Religion May Have Sparked Civilization

We used to think agriculture gave rise to cities and later to writing, art, and religion. Now the world’s oldest temple suggests the urge to worship sparked civilization.

National Geographic:

Archaeologists… are excavating Göbekli Tepe and debating its meaning. What they do know is that the site is the most significant in a volley of unexpected findings that have overturned earlier ideas about our species’ deep past. Just 20 years ago most researchers believed they knew the time, place, and rough sequence of the Neolithic Revolution—the critical transition that resulted in the birth of agriculture, taking Homo sapiens from scattered groups of hunter-gatherers to farming villages and from there to technologically sophisticated societies with great temples and towers and kings and priests who directed the labor of their subjects and recorded their feats in written form. But in recent years multiple new discoveries, Göbekli Tepe preeminent among them, have begun forcing archaeologists to reconsider.

At first the Neolithic Revolution was viewed as a single event—a sudden flash of genius—that occurred in a single location, Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what is now southern Iraq, then spread to India, Europe, and beyond. Most archaeologists believed this sudden blossoming of civilization was driven largely by environmental changes: a gradual warming as the Ice Age ended that allowed some people to begin cultivating plants and herding animals in abundance. The new research suggests that the “revolution” was actually carried out by many hands across a huge area and over thousands of years. And it may have been driven not by the environment but by something else entirely…

… the human sense of the sacred—and the human love of a good spectacle—may have given rise to civilization itself…

You can read on here.


‘Priest Prohibited’ Signs Enflame Austrian Passions

Austria — The signs depict a priest wearing a long cassock chasing a boy and a girl, framed by a bright red warning circle.

They’re dotted along a southern Austrian wilderness path that cuts through a swath of forest owned by Sepp Rothwangl, and warn priests against entering his land in the company of kids. It’s the wilderness camp owner’s way of dealing with what he says was his own abuse by a clergyman as a child.

The signs might be expected to be nothing more than a one-man protest in a backwoods region far from Austria’s centers of power. Yet they are attracting nationwide attention and threaten to reignite passions over pedophile clergy that Austria’s Catholic establishment had hoped to have put in the past.

The grizzled 60-year says his actions are meant to “express my protest as a simple citizen” — alleging the Roman Catholic church seems incapable of removing abusive priests from office a year after Austria was swept up in the worldwide sex abuse scandal.

He speaks of “anger boiling over” at what he says is the refusal of predator priests to personally apologize to victims.

“Child Protection Area,” declares a message in bold black writing beneath the sign. “Violations will be prosecuted. We are forced to take this action in the interests of unprotected children.”

The message says clergy are prohibited from entering the forest in the company of children unless they are accompanied by parents, guardians or other authorized adults.

Rothwangl’s signs in his 160 hectare (nearly 400 acre) forest in the hills of Styria province are causing friction in part because they are placed along one of the main trails leading to an ornate 16th century basilica that’s a place of pilgrimage for thousands of devout Catholics each year.

But they are generating a wider impact on a church struggling to revive its reputation…

Spokesman Georg Plank of the Archiocese of Graz, Styria’s provincial capital, describes the signs as “a bizarre act which is supposed to generate attention.” He says that while the majority of Austrians see church attempts to make amends positively, “there will always be a small group that is not satisfied.”

Still, he says the church plans to turn the other cheek, with no legal or other challenges planned…

The whole piece is here.



Doctor Reprimanded for Talking to a Patient about God

The Telegraph has a video interview with Dr Richard Scott, a Family Doctor, who now fears losing his job after being reprimanded for harassment by the General Medical Council in the UK for talking to a patient about God!

GP rapped for talking about God with patient.

Check it out here.

The committed Christian, was accused of “harassment” and told by the medical regulator that he risked bringing the profession into disrepute by discussing his religious beliefs.

The Cambridge-educated doctor has refused to accept a formal warning on his record, and is instead taking legal action to fight the censure.

His case follows a series of high-profile disputes between Christians and their employers over their freedom to express their beliefs, including an electrician who displayed a cross in his van and a nurse who prayed for a patient.

Dr Scott, 50, a married father of three, saw the patient who is at centre of the complaint in 2010.

Following the consultation, the patient’s mother complained that the doctor had abused his position by “pushing religion” on her son…


What a godless, faithless world we now live in…


Parents Raising Child to be Genderless

These poor kid(s)!

“So it’s a boy, right?” a neighbour calls out as Kathy Witterick walks by, her four month old baby, Storm, strapped to her chest in a carrier.

Each week the woman asks the same question about the baby with the squishy cheeks and feathery blond hair.

Witterick smiles, opens her arms wide, comments on the sunny spring day, and keeps walking.

She’s used to it. The neighbours know Witterick and her husband, David Stocker, are raising a genderless baby. But they don’t pretend to understand it.

While there’s nothing ambiguous about Storm’s genitalia, they aren’t telling anyone whether their third child is a boy or a girl…

When Storm was born, the couple sent an email to friends and family: “We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place? …).”

Their announcement was met with stony silence. Then the deluge of criticisms began. Not just about Storm, but about how they were parenting their other two children

… Witterick and Stocker believe they are giving their children the freedom to choose who they want to be, unconstrained by social norms about males and females.


These parents are being reckless and plain stupid. What kind psychological damage will they not bestowing upon their children in abdicating on their God given responsibilities as parents? 

Their sick experiment is bound to fail for sure…


NT Wright – Lost and Found in Translation: From 1611 to 2011

… People sometimes mock the idea of a committee producing a document, but with the King James Version it wasn’t like that. It was an exercise in collaborative scholarship. Many eyes, minds, hearts and voices all contributed, anticipating in a measure the way in which, today, international journals, seminars and conferences enable a rich conversation to take place and, sometimes at least, produce fresh insight and clarity.

In the first decade of the seventeenth century, then, many translators contributed to one Bible, intending that it should be the only one. I, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, have done the opposite. I have worked alone over many years to produce a translation of the New Testament, intending that this translation should be one of many.

When people ask me which version of the Bible they should use, I have for many years told them that I don’t much mind as long as they always have at least two open on the desk. It is, of course, better for everyone to learn Greek. The finest translations are still, basically, a matter of trying to play a Beethoven symphony on a mouth-organ…

Do read it all here.