Twitter Rage Antidote, by Sagan

I recently perused a relative’s Twitter feed, surveying the particular brand of rage that seems to fuel his worldview. And more recently still, I saw an interview with a professor who does research on the addictive nature of outrage, and how the anger products being offered online come to create a junkie-itch in their audiences. Rage becomes a need and a want. There are so many for whom this engine of corrosion is a financial boon. People have their anger because it is profitable to a particular industry. I wish there was more that bystanders could do to help their family and friends. Because the outrage and malice out there points ever more strongly toward growing division, decay, violence, and conflagration.

As a possible antidote, I offer the poignant observations by Carl Sagan as relayed in the video below, penned long before there was such a thing as Twitter. The context for his words is described on Wikipedia:

Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles)…

In the photograph, Earth’s apparent size is less than a pixel; the planet appears as a tiny dot against the vastness of space, among bands of sunlight reflected by the camera…

Voyager 1, which had completed its primary mission and was leaving the Solar System, was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and take one last photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space, at the request of astronomer and author Carl Sagan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot

Original Image:

Taking Easter Seriously, an Infographic

It is that time of year again, and so I am reposting the popular “Taking Easter Seriously” infographic.

Many Christians read the Easter stories year upon year, as I did for several decades, yet we never compare them in detail. As a consequence, we often do not realize that they are not telling the same story. There are indeed contradictions in the texts, but it is very important to move beyond “mere contradiction” — the issues with the gospels are far more extensive than that. Comparison against the historical record and assessing the gospels for trends of legend development are probably far more crucial. As with many non-believers, I left Christianity specifically because of the Bible, and because I considered and examined its content very seriously indeed.

Perhaps it is time for more Christians to take the Bible and our Easter stories seriously.

[Click Image for Full Size Version (PNG), Use Ctrl+ and Ctrl- to adjust zoom.] or [PDF Version ]  or [Greek Version]

I am indebted to scholars like Bart Ehrman, Marcus Borg, Richard Carrier, and many others, without whom I would no doubt continue in my own past failures to take Easter seriously. And as always, I look to improve the accuracy of my work wherever possible. Please reply with any factual errors found, and I will correct appropriately. Thanks.

Also See: Infographic for New Testament Timeline

(C) Copyright 2015, JerichoBrisance.com

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

[In other words, feel free to pass along, distribute, etc., just don’t repackage it and sell it. Thanks!]

 

~

References: [Read more…]

Infographic – Book of Acts – Comprehensive Relationship & Timeline Diagram

*Updated 09-07-2016*

As part of my ongoing historical research efforts, I found it necessary to develop a comprehensive outline of the book of Acts. This has taken several forms, one of which is the following relationship diagram and timeline for Acts. The notion was simple, but the doing turned out to take a good deal longer than I had anticipated. I’ve decided to pause my research long enough to publish this as an infographic, in the hopes that it may prove useful to others. Feel free to print and repost; all I ask is that attribution to JerichoBrisance be included. Further details and notes are below.

Click on image for high resolution PDF.

Acts RD Preview Whole

Additional Notes:  [Read more…]

Yale Lecture Series on Hebrew Bible

My friend Archaeopteryx was good enough to share the YouTube lecture series by Yale Professor Christine Hayes, “Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible)”.  After watching the first video in the series, I believe this will make a good resource for serious seekers who want to understand the historical events, cultural forces and literary composition of the Old Testament. I read many volumes written by various historians during my own investigations, and I suspect this video series would shorten the learning arc for others.

I’m linking the first video here, which I have cued to mid-lecture as Prof. Hayes discusses 5 common myths about the Hebrew Bible that most Americans do not understand. If you have another 15 minutes, feel free to back it up for full context. I’ll also be adding a link in the sidebar under Rapid Resources, though these lectures are admittedly a bit long to be considered truly rapid. Cheers!

Infographic – Family Tree of Christianity (Reblog)

Evan T. at On the Way to Ithaca has gone to an incredible amount of work to develop an infographic showing the family tree of Christianity. Click the image below to get web and print versions of the graphic at his site. The comprehensive scope of this graphic has made some points of info verification challenging for Evan, to say the least, and he hopes that the community can potentially provide feedback, error-finds, or corrections that will lead to even better accuracy in the details. Kudos for the excellent work.

online-en-small

Easter Infographic Now Available in Greek

Through the generous volunteer collaboration of blogger Evan T. at On the Way to Ithaca, the Taking Easter Seriously infographic has now been translated into Greek. Much thanks to Evan for his hard work, which can be found here and on the main Easter infographic page. And for those unaware, this Sunday will be the Easter holiday for the Eastern Church.

Taking Easter Seriously Greek Preview

Jericho YouTube Playlists

I have created a YouTube channel stocked with several playlists of helpful videos, sampled from the several hundred hours of content that I have reviewed on religious subjects.  Although I have no plans to create video content of my own, I do hope it will serve as a collection of some of the best YouTube content out there on Jericho subjects. This library will continue to be expanded in the future., so feel free to subscribe to the channel for ongoing access.

Jericho Pinterest Page

There are so many good infographics and visual memes out there that I’ve decided to start populating a Pinterest page for those interested in following. Though it is sparse at the moment, I suspect it will not take long to snowball into a well-stocked repository.

Infographic: Taking Easter Seriously

Many Christians read the Easter stories year upon year, as I did for several decades, yet we never compare them in detail. As a consequence, we often do not realize that they are not telling the same story. There are indeed contradictions in the texts, but it is very important to move beyond “mere contradiction” – the issues with our gospels are far more extensive than that. Comparison against the historical record and assessing the gospels for trends of legend development are probably far more crucial. As with many non-believers, I left Christianity specifically because of the Bible, and because I considered and examined its content very seriously indeed.

Perhaps it is time for more Christians to take the Bible and our Easter stories seriously.

[Click Image for Full Size Version. Use Ctrl+ and Ctrl- to adjust zoom.]

JerichoBrisance Easter Infographic 04202014

As always, I look to improve the accuracy of my work wherever possible. Please reply with any factual errors found, and I will correct appropriately. Thanks.

Also See: Infographic for New Testament Timeline

(C) Copyright 2014, JerichoBrisance.com

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

[In other words, feel free to pass along, distribute, etc., just don’t repackage it and sell it. Thanks!]

 

~

References: [Read more…]

Easter Infographic Teaser

I’ve been working on a new and quite extensive Easter Infographic, which will go live tomorrow. I’m pretty stoked about it, and I wanted to give a little early warning. It will make a good “distributable” for what ends may come. And until then, a snippet teaser of the unfinished draft…

Easter Infographic Teaser

Humor – I’m Sorry, I’m not Taking Evidence Today (YouTube)

Well, on this fine Friday, a bit of humor. This video clip was inspired by a friend that emailed me, explaining (among other things) that he didn’t trouble himself about scientific evidences for evolutionary origins because he’s not an empiricist, and doesn’t want to live in a world defined by empiricism. So, evidence isn’t high on the priority list, because evidence-based knowledge is, well… a sort of take or leave thing.

I really wish that denying the empirical was a valid option; that would sure be convenient. This is entirely untenable, obviously: the Bible itself supports the validity of empirical knowledge in both Testaments, the message was being typed from an electronic device of wonder, logical premises require external validation, etc. But some positions just don’t deserve a deconstruction, not where humor can cut to the chase.

It reminded me so much of Brian Regan’s lampoon of politicians. Consider the video below, but substitute the words: “I’m sorry, I’m not taking evidence today.

Cheers!

(NOTE: video is set to play from 34:20 to 35:39. Timings sometimes do not work correctly in IE. Recommend using Firefox)

Solipsism – an Illustrated Definition (YouTube)

Some readers have been intrigued by my use of the word solipsism. What does it mean? Well, we could go by the Dictionary.com definition, but that’s a little on the boring side:

Solipsism – an extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one’s feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption.

I’m afraid that I would never have called my faith a solipsism. Isn’t Christianity all about dying to self? Yes, in many ways. And no, in so very many others. I submit the following “illustrated definition” for consideration. Caricatures can be instructive, and they can cause us to rethink things to which we are blinded by familiarity:

I’d have to say that I’m guilty of all these things. The retrospective has been a hard swallow.

~

Ref: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheThinkingAtheist

 

Marco’s Daddy and the Beginning of Life on Earth

Two Fingers ManHow can my great-great grandfather, Marco, help clarify how we view the beginning of life and the universe? Well, interesting question. Though it will take us circuitously through a barking-mad courtroom, a mock trial, and some rather startling suggestions regarding my own ancestry, the final picture should be crystal clear.

But first things first: a little background. There are two questions that demand (!) an answer.

Just Two Simple Questions

I have friends who are creationists, as indeed I myself once was. We’ve been dialoguing quite a lot since the Ham-on-Nye debate not long ago. So much so, that I have had to put aside some previously planned blog projects and such, and I’ve been spending my time fielding science sorts of questions instead. Or at the very least, I’ve been trying to. [Read more…]

Ravi Apologist Bingo

I have had friends deeply enamored with Ravi Zacharias, but I have found his writing and lectures to be tepid and maddening, respectively. Those who are not familiar with the works of better minds mistake Ravi for a sort of CS Lewis-like figure, or a great intellectual. He doesn’t rise to Lewis’ wasteline, I am afraid. He regurgitates the work of others, and he possesses an unfortunate dimension that was essentially absent from Lewis’ work: malice. Lewis always maintained an eye toward evangelism – really reaching to people outside the church. Ravi’s drivel is perfect cheering fodder for those who already agree with him, but little more.

I was, as such, quite pleased with the cleverness of this wonderful new game: Ravi Apologist Bingo!

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/02/17/this-is-a-powerful-way-to-combat-a-christian-speaker-at-your-university/

YouTube – Excellent/Short Analysis of Ken Ham’s False “Observational vs Historical Science” Dichotomy

Potholer always does a superb job:

Infographic: The Biologos Forum on Earth Age

The Biologos Forum is a Christian website studded with a host of legitimate scientists and theologians who tackle issues of origins. I found them very helpful when I was trying to figure out questions of biological evolution, the age of the earth, etc. Having had such protracted FB discussions yesterday surrounding the Bill Nye vs Ken Ham debate, I think they are a very good resource for other Christians grappling with questions like the Old Earth, etc. Bill Nye checks out in terms of factuality, by the way, and that’s an understatement. Ken Ham, I am sorry to say, had no real answers for the type of information that Bill presented, nor indeed for the information summarized in this infographic.

To my friends who hustle off to Ham’s Answers in Genesis, I’d like to suggest that you take a two-pronged approach to any science related conundrums. Sure check AIG, but also check out Biologos. Both are Christian sites for those who worry about that, but AIG presents viewpoints from minority-position Christian scientists, while Biologos gives you the mainstream-position Christian scientists.

Biologos Infographic on Earth Age

Geographically Embarrassed

Well, when you put it that way, yes. There are a few spots that need to be included, probably with an odd “splat” shape that has fingers here and there. But the point is well taken.

CIRCLE

View original post

YouTube: Dawkins on Cargo Cults

I first read about the Cargo Cults from Hitchens, then found another such discussion from Dawkins. I was glad to see that the Dawkins chapter has been captured on YouTube with some, albeit not terribly extensive, footage of the believers themselves. Here I will venture only three brief observations:

1. Modern, Western people possess no genetic superiority to these villagers. We are running the same mental “hardware”, so to speak. The only difference is that we are educated and indoctrinated differently.

2. Christianity was started among an initial crop of believers with generally low levels of education and literacy, in a poor and oppressed region. And it was rejected as nonsensical by the educated class of the same region.

3. Arguments made by NT Wright and others that fully-orbed religions such as Christianity require long periods of time to develop are simply mistaken. And like the Cargo Cults, Christianity can be demonstrated as having acquired nearly all of its material from prior myths and cults.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Infographic – Evolutionary Tree of Myth and Religion (reblog)

In keeping with my affinity for educational visual aids, I simply couldn’t resist adding this one to the lineup. Excellent work from Simon Davies @ www.Facebook.com/HumanOdyssey. Thanks to Seth Andrews at TTA for the Facebook post.

My own thoughts… I had a conversation with a friend quite recently, and he asked me what I thought “the truth” was. I told him that at bottom, I think religion is simply something that people like to do. We fear death. We fear uncertainty. And we fear insignificance. Religion gives us an incantation against the parts of our own minds that grasp these realities. Further, we Christians are not special, and we do not have corroborating evidences that our competing faiths lack. The mirage of uniqueness grows from the soil of ignorance. We do not understand “the others”, and so we do not understand ourselves. Only deep reading about our faith from outsiders, and about other faiths from insiders, will dispel the fog. And visuals like this are an excellent help.

Mythology Tree of Descent

Pew Research and Thoughts on End Times Expectations

To reprise of my prior observations about Harold Camping’s decease and legacy, Pew Research conducted a poll earlier this year that proves relevant. This was originally brought to my attention by John Zande; thanks John.

PF_13_03_22_JesusReturn-02Today a staggering 41% of US citizens (130,000,000 adults) believe that their Middle Eastern god will commence its mass extinction of all creatures in their lifetime. It’s a ghastly figure but it is a number reflected in the multi-billion dollar Christian apocalypse industry that has in just the last twenty years produced 29 End Times films (with such grand titles as “Tribulation” and “Judgement”), 60 documentaries (like “Racing to the End Times”), and some 1,120+ grotesquely warped End Times books, of which the Left Behind series has alone sold over 40 million copies.

~ JZ

For my own commentary, I will simply observe that I have been in two kinds of Christian groups… [Read more…]

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