The Eastern Horizon – The Magico-Mythical worldview of the Bible

Often Christians like to assume that the Bible conforms to our modern day understanding of the cosmos. They like to think that the Biblical authors anticipated the findings of modern science, and they derive their views by taking verses such as Isaiah 40:22 and Job 26:7 out of their ancient near eastern context.

The truth is that the Biblical authors assumed the same magico-mythical cosmology as their neighbours. The universe was conceived of as a vast temple (Isaiah 66:1), with the heavens a solid flat expanse holding back a heavenly river (Genesis 1:6-8), with floodgates to let forth the rain (Genesis 7:11). The sun had rising and setting points in the earth below (Psalm 113:3), where the sun rose (at the eastern horizon) was conceived of as being the meeting point between heaven, earth and the underworld, as the place where the sun left the underworld, passed the earth and entered the heavens. As such it was seen as a place where the presence of god and spiritual beings could greatly be felt. Immortality was contained at the horizon, as well as a garden of plenty, and magical hybrid creatures. If all this sounds familiar, this is because it is very likely that the garden of Eden was located at the eastern horizon, further supported by Genesis 2:8, which places the garden ‘in the east’.

The notion of the flat earth having a magical eastern horizon is ubiquitous throughout scripture. It is explains why so many spiritual encounters with God take place in the wilderness. Because they were perceived to be close to the eastern horizon. As such they were believed to be dangerous places, filled with supernatural threats. This is why it was a punishment for Israel to walk for 40 years in the wilderness. The wilderness had to be pacified in order to become safe, which is possibly why Genesis 1:28 calls man to subdue the earth.

Putting Genesis 1:28 into it’s historical context, it’s violent connotations lose meaning in the modern world. We know that the earth is not flat, that the horizon is subjective, that the sun does not rise and set on earth, and that the wilderness is not home to malicious supernatural entities. Thus Christians concerned about ecology should not worry about these violent verses, and instead can focus on the positive aspects of the wilderness.

rkb ‘rpt, out!

Bibliography:

El’s Abode: Mythological Traditions Related to Mount Hermon and to the Mountains of Armenia, by E. Lipinski, from Orientalia Lovaniensa Periodica Volume II (Louvain, 1971)

Christopher Woods, “At the Edge of the World: Cosmological Conceptions of the Eastern Horizon in Mesopotamia,” JANER 9/2 (2009)

VAN DYK, Peet J.. In search of Eden: A cosmological interpretation of Genesis 2-3. Old testam. essays [online]. 2014, vol.27, n.2 

VAN DYK, Peet. Eco-theology: In and out of the Wilderness. Old testam. essays [online]. 2017, vol.30, n.3

Make fantasy Christian again

Long gone are the days of Tolkien and Lewis, where fantasy was about meaningful story-lines, characters, world-building and literary quality. In the modern world, “good” fantasy has merely devolved into ‘grimdark’, where goodness is defined by how violent or gritty a book is. Such has been the downward trend ever since George RR Martin, who, whilst a great author, has in my opinion caused massive damage to the fantasy genre. Joe Abercrombie on the other hand is not a great author, whilst his First Law is not without good points, it has further cemented the downward spiral of Fantasy, turning it into a genre which ‘requires’ nihilism, shock value, and sexual violence, in order to be “successful”. Meanwhile, actual literary quality has been sacrificed.

Why has this sad decline in quality happened?

Well in my opinion, western fantasy, much like western civilisation has a Judaeo-Christian foundation stone, the first great fantasy authors being devout Christians. As the west loses it’s Christian heritage, humans start to demand more shock and sin from their entertainment, such has always been our natural urge, but has long been repressed under Christian morality. Thus rather than actual literary quality, we want shock value, sex and violence.

How can we change this?

Fantasy needs to return to it’s Christian roots, and I’m hoping my upcoming novel can be part of this revival. But I musn’t speak too soon.

rkb ‘rpt, out!

An Introduction to and defence of Christian Virtue Ethics

Virtue Ethics is probably the most sound normative ethical theory. In this blog post we will explore the basics of virtue ethics, how it is perfectly compatible with Christianity, why it is superior to other normative ethical theories, and why a Christian Virtue Ethic is better than a secular one.

Virtue Ethics was developed by Greek Philosopher Aristotle in his book The Nichomachean Ethics. Aristotle believed in a Teleological worldview, where all beings had a purpose, or Telos, which is derived from out characteristics. By working towards our Telos, with Arete, or perfection we will achieve Eudaimonia, the state of satisfaction achieved when all is accomplished. Aristotle believed that this was the main aim of a moral life. The Telos of mankind, Aristotle reasoned, was to exercise reason, for humans were the only beings with the capability to reason. For Aristotle, reasoning well meant exercising virtues of Character, and thus becoming a Virtuous Individual, rather than merely a person who performed virtuous acts. For Aristotle it did not do simply to perform good acts, rather one should always try to seek a balance between the excess and deficiency of moral virtues. For example, courage is a virtue, with too little courage we become cowardly, yet too much courage is also bad, as it leads to rashness. For Aristotle, therefore, our overall character matters much more than our actions, and such is what ultimately leads to Eudaimonia.

If we read scripture, we see that it is perfectly compatible with virtue ethics. Scripture speaks of the importance of having a virtuous character, one which resembles God, or Christ. Consider 1 John 2:6 and Isaiah 2:3:

and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths (be like God).” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)

whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:6)

Clearly then, Christian morality is about more than simply performing good deeds, it is about having a Godlike character, one which resembles God.

For the Christian, the cardinal virtue to consider is ‘godliness’, behaving in a way which is like God. St Paul speaks of this in a way which implies it leads to a Eudaimonic state, both in this life and the next:

7 Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness, 8 for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

Additionally, Paul speaks of the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love, with love being the greatest of these virtues (1 Corinthians 13;13). I am classing these as secondary virtues, which come under the primary virtue of godliness.

Why virtue ethics is the greatest normative ethical theory:

Problems with Natural Law:

St Thomas Aquinas, the great Catholic philosopher developed the ethical theory of Natural law, which like Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics aims to fulfil the Telos of man, and achieve a Eudaimonic state. For Aquinas the Telos of man was to perfect the image of God in Genesis 1:26. The Problem with Aquinas’ theory is that it commits GE Moore’s naturalistic fallacy, the fallacy of saying that something is good, because it is natural. Aquinas believes we should perfect the Imago Dei because it is part of our nature, which is a bit like saying a paedophile or drug addict should act on their urges if it was part of their nature. But wait I hear you ask, doesn’t Aristotle claim this too? Yes he does, but this does not mean that all virtue ethics necessarily commits the naturalistic fallacy. for virtue ethics, and eudaimonia can be separated from natural teleology. When we try to live a fulfilled life, it can be due to a purpose which we give ourselves, not necessarily an innate purpose.

Problems with Situation Ethics and Utilitarianism:

Situation Ethics and Utilitarianism are similar ethical theories which focus on showing love to others and making others happy (respectfully) as their foundation. In other words, they are based on empathy. The problem with this, is that though empathy is important for living a good life (especially if one desires to live like Christ), on it’s own it is a terrible foundation for an ethical life. You may be being empathetic to someone, but you are not necessarily helping them. If a person is too reliant on someone else, when this help goes away, they are in big trouble. Even with small children, doing all their work is empathetic, but what good do they get from it? Empathy is vital for those who cannot care for themselves; the disabled, the elderly etc, but it cannot be used as one’s sole moral principle.

Problems with Divine Command Theory:

Divine Command Theory persists that an action is good if God commands it, and that God should be our sole source of moral guidance. The problem with this theory is the famous Euthyphro dilemma posed by Aristotle’s mentor Plato. Is an action good because God wills it, or does God will it because it is good? If the former is true then morality is completely arbitrary, God could will murder and it would be good. If the latter is true, then DCT cannot be true, as morality cannot be merely reducible to a command by God, it must be reducible to something else.

I argue that this does not automatically discount all theistic normative ethical theories. Christian Virtue Ethics does not rely on mere commands from God, it rather relies on God as being the greatest possible being, and thus the greatest source of Eudaimonia. This is why I see Christian Virtue Ethics as the greatest normative ethical theory, in terms of the fruits of Eudaimonia which it brings.

rkb ‘rpt, out!

Beth Grove destroys Ed Husain on the Dark Ages

Liberal Muslim Ed Husain recently debated Christian Evangelist Beth Grove on whether or not Islam can overcome violence and misogyny. Her grasp of history was far from perfect, still, she surprised me by emerging as the clear victor as far as history was concerned, with Ed Husain quoting the highly outdated work of Edward Gibbon to give evidence that Christianity destroyed the classical civilisations. He later claims that Chrisstianity was the cause of the Dark Ages. When Beth correctly pointed out that all Christian monasteries had libraries, which preserved classical knowledge, Husain claims this was only after Aquinas (who was influenced by Muslim philosopher Ibn Rushd), then Grove utterly destroyed Husain by pointing out that Greek and Syriac Christians were responsible for the transmission of texts to Muslim scholars. His response? Nothing. Later on, Husain toys with Jesus mythicism, and is promptly destroyed. He later toys with the idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, an idea with no evidence whatsoever.

You can see the debate here:

https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-Can-Islam-overcome-sexism-and-violence-Ed-Husain-vs-Beth-Grove

See Tim O’Neill’s excellent blog for more information on how Christianity did not destroy Ancient Civilisation, and how Jesus absolutely existed.

https://historyforatheists.com/2017/10/lost-books-photios-bibliotheca/

https://historyforatheists.com/2017/05/did-jesus-exist-the-jesus-myth-theory-again/

https://historyforatheists.com/2017/07/the-destruction-of-the-great-library-of-alexandria/

Women can be promiscuous, but they aren’t visual

I have posted before on how I believe that women are more promiscuous than we think, possibly more promiscuous than men, and I cited evidence from both primate behaviour, and historical views, to support my case.

However, I do not, I repeat do not subscribe to the view promoted by many on the left, which suggests that women are just as visual as men. That’s not to say that women don’t care at all about looks, the success of Magic Mike and 50 Shades has shown that they do, as does the Biblical story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, but make no mistake, humans. are. not. peacocks.

Many feminists accuse the ‘patriarchy’ of repressing female sexuality, and women’s rights to visual pleasure. The nonsense that women are just as visual as men has led to Man Bras, becoming a thing (yes really), it has led to prominent feminist Germaine Greer writing a book filled with erotic images of teenage boys, some as young as 15 (yes really).

But the truth is that studies do indeed show that men are more visually stimulated than women. Don’t blame this on a patriarchal conspiracy, because it’s also a fact that almost every female equivalent to playboy has failed. The feminist porn mag ‘Playgirl‘ hilariously ended up becoming a magazine for gay men, because images of naked men appeal much more to gay men than straight women. That’s a fact.

Now I believe this feminist silliness is caused by the decline of a Judeo-Christian worldview in the west, whilst the Bible teaches very clear differences in God’s plan for men and women (Gen 3:16-19, Eph 5:22-23), third wave feminists want men and women to be exactly alike, including when it comes to sex. I propose the cure to postmodern silliness is adopting an ideology which will not allow it.

Now to be clear, women do like sex, they are quickly becoming more and more promiscuous as we speak (another negative consequence of apostasy), but don’t be a fool, what turns them on is not the same as what turns men on, and that’s not due to a patriarchal conspiracy.

rkb ‘rpt, out!

The consequences of abandoning a Judeo-Christian ethic

‘If there’s no God, then everything is permitted’ – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Since the rise of secularism across the west, and the fall in the belief in biblical objective values, moral relativism has grown in strength, we are seeing a rise of relaxed views on subjects such as abortion, homosexuality, gender roles and sex. But as we shall see, holding these views is not always a good thing, and can truly be very harmful to the health of a society.

Abortion:

Principle abandoned: Genesis 9:6: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Now shedding the blood of less developed humans is seen as okay)

I have discussed abortion heavily elsewhere, so no need to reinvent the wheel. To summarise however:

  • Women who receive abortions have a 34.7% suicide rate.
  • Women who recieve abortions have a higher chance of mortality than women who go through with the pregnancy.
  • Women who receive abortions are 65% more likely to suffer from high risk clinical depression.

But I thought abortion helped women?

Homosexuality

Principle abandoned: 1 Corinthians 6:9: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,”

I myself am guilty of defending homosexuality in the past. I consider myself to be bisexual, and I do not believe I am capable of changing. But this does not mean that I should act on my impulses. If I was naturally attracted to children, is it okay for me to act on my impulses then?

Why is homosexuality immoral I hear you ask?

Studies do indeed show that gay men are more promiscuous than straight men (and thus more likely to be prone to violence and STDs), as PsychologyToday says:

The third odd thing about homosexuality is the quantity of homosexual men’s preferences, as compared to those of homosexual women. Homosexual men are famously promiscuous, a fact that became well-known with onset of AIDs, when studies of gay men who were HIV positive revealed average numbers of partners in the hundreds (and even though gay men who were HIV negative had much lower numbers, the average for them was still dramatically higher than the average numbers for heterosexual men).

But wait I hear you ask, isn’t this because homosexuals are oppressed by society, so turn to promiscuity as a relief? Well, in your dreams. If this were so, we would expect the same to be true for lesbians, yet as the article goes onto explain, lesbians are LESS promiscuous on average than heterosexual women are:

Lesbians might have been expected to be more promiscuous than heterosexual women, since they had no pregnancy to fear, and on the classic theories, would have been inclined to play out a “male sex role.” But research by Michael Bailey and David Schmitt found that lesbians are inclined toward even less promiscuous lives than heterosexual women.

So liberals are forced to deal with the inconvenient truth that gay men are indeed much more promiscuous than straight men, and this is not due to oppression, like they wish to claim.

Gender roles

Principle abandoned: Ephesians 5:22-2322 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

The Bible gives clear gender roles to both men and women, yet postmodernists and third waves feminists like to insist that men and women have no differences except on the outside. If men are the ones making scientific contributions, then it is because men are the ones in power, excluding females. But even in the modern day, largely egalitarian world, only 12.8% of the UK stem workforce are female. Clearly then this has nothing to do with oppresion, but is instead due to gender differences between women and men. Men, unlike women are an innovative adventurous personality.

See this video for more information:

So as we abandon traditional christian gender roles, we see feminist fantasies being promoted as science. when they are not. The Bible on the other hand combats these narratives by giving men and women clear and distinct roles.

Islam

And now finally we come to the most bizarre narrative being promoted by postmodernists. Whilst Jesus said that “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6), postmodernism insists that all religions must be equal, and to criticise them is bigotry. This ironically leads to the glorification of Islam, ironically the most sexist, homophobic, bigoted ideology on the planet. Not a single Christian, Atheist, Buddhist or Hindu country country executes homosexuals, apostates or atheists. Rather, all these countries are Muslim. Even in western countries such as the UK, 52% of Muslims think homosexuality should be illegal, and 23% supported the implementation of sharia law. The Muslim community undoubtedly has an issue with adopting western values which we enjoy, and until liberals realise this, and decide to act, the Alt-right will only continue to rise in prominence, and we will see more Trumps, Farages, Wilders and La Pens show up, as they are the only people willing to accept the truth.

Where do we go from here?

I suspect that as the west continues to secularise, crime will increase, as well as divorce, drug addiction and fornication. This excellent video shows how religion helps to lower the rates of crime, divorce, drug use and fornication:

Religious people also tend to be more charitable, happy and open minded. Clearly then, if the west continues to secularise (which it will), a grim picture will emerge. Christianity formed a bulwark against these perversions, and now the dam is breaking and a tide of moral relativism threatens to flood the west.

BTW I am not suggesting that only Christians can know these things are bad, only that Christianity will help society as a whole.

rkb ‘rpt, out!

The Union may be the final hope for Irish children

The DUP are a party of sectarians, hibernophobes, racists, Young Earth Creationists, Climate Change Denialists and more, here are a few quotes from DUP members:

[it] shows that some loyalist paramilitaries are looking ahead and contemplating what needs to be done to maintain our separate Ulster identity – a “very valuable return to reality” he added. – Sammy Wilson, in the context of loyalist paramilitaries calling for the ethnic cleansing of Catholic citizens.

(On the Big Bang)

You’re telling me that cosmic balls of dust gathered and there was an explosion.

We’ve had lots of explosions in Northern Ireland and I’ve never seen anything come out of that that was good – Edwin Poots, MLA for Lagan Valley

There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality and sodomy, than sexually abusing innocent children.

I cannot think of anything more sickening than a child being abused. It is comparable to the act of homosexuality. I think they are all comparable. I feel totally repulsed by both. – Iris Robinson, former MP for Strangford

Nevertheless, and as a proud (quarter) Irishman it pains me to say this, the DUP may be the last stand against something worse. The murder of Children through abortion.

Life begins at conception, this is the least arbitrary way to define when personhood begins. If we define a less developed foetus as being less than human, whose to say we can’t say that disabled children, or even adults are also less than human? Rather we should consider any being capable of enjoying life to be precious. Let’s not ignore the science either.

My body my choice? Why not let a conjoined twin kill the other twin? It’s their body after all.

Though I am a devout Christian, religion has very little to do with when I believe life begins. Science and philosophy do.

Let’s not forget the effects abortion has on women either. According to one study, increased suicide rates were observed for women after abortions.

The suicide rate associated with birth was significantly lower (5.9) and the rates associated with miscarriage (18.1) and induced abortion (34.7) were significantly higher than in the population.

Another study by the same group concluded that women who receive abortions have a much higher chance chance of mortality than women who go through the process of childbirth:

In total, 281 qualifying deaths were found. Only in 22% of the death certificates was the pregnancy or its end mentioned. The mortality rate was 41 per 100,000 registered ended pregnancies (27 for births, 48 for miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, and 101 for abortions). The maternal mortality rate depended greatly on which of these 281 cases were defined as maternal deaths. The early maternal mortality rate varied between 5.6 and 6.8 per 100,000 live births, and the late maternal mortality rate between 0.6 and 2.5 depending on the definition used. The classification of other than direct maternal deaths was ambiguous, especially in case of late cancers, cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases, and early suicides. The official Finnish figure for early maternal mortality (6.0/100,000 live births) seems to be a good estimate, although only 65% of individual deaths were unambiguously classified.

Another study (by a different group) found that women are 65% more likely to suffer from high risk clinical depression following abortion.

The list goes on and on and on.

If you really want to help women, don’t support abortion.

Yet a country which was once a land of geniuses, be they Oscar Wilde, Seamus Heaney, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and more, has now succumbed to the political correctness and misinformation which has infected most of the western world, leading to the death of millions of children, and many more, once the Oireachtas legislates on the legalisation of abortion (which they almost certainly will).

So as much as it saddens my heart, remaining in the UK, with devolution, may be the most ethical choice both for Ireland’s children and women.

My advise to the DUP would be to purge the party of Anti-Catholics, Young Earth Creationists, and others who hold views which are Un-British and truly embarrassing in the modern era.

Lámh Dhearg Abú! (1)

rkb ‘rpt, out!

  1. I say this in support of Ulster as the most ethical Irish province, not in support of Loyalism, which I despise.