Well, here we go again. Ed Babinski never knows when to keep his mouth shut, and now he has some "comments" on "my" "theologgy". The impetus was an email discussion I am having with Steve Locks; I'll skip introductory comments giving Edski's personal feelings on that, and move to that of relevance:

I am of course aware that my satiricial style and lengthy response time began to grate on Holding's nerves, since he loves chucking out his own stew quickly and thickly (though he apparently can't take it when I satirize one of his own articles like his defense of his discovery of modern herpetological obeservations in Genesis. Edski seems now to be in the throes of delusion, this timeas an atheist fundy and not a fundy fundy. "Satirical style"? Edski would not know satire if it bit him on the butt. He hasn't got any joke worth telling or any satire worth smelling. "Lengthy response time"? If by this Edski means he takes weeks to respond to a simple message, I find that greater rather than grating. One can only stand so much of Edski's ranting before profound ennui sets in. As for Genesis see here -- "satire" would be a better (not correct word for that; it sure isn't scholarship. It also apparently upset Holding that I was not impressed by his mimicking of scholarly discourse Upset me? No, it was obvious from Day 1 that Edski was too uneducated to recognize scholarship when he saw it. His means is to pick out one or two scholars he likes, then pretend the rest don't exist. Thus:, and by his refusal to acknowledge any questions that even moderate Christian scholars such as Dunn recognize. "Refusal to acknowledge"? Put it this way: I answered them questions with scholarship and it went over Edski's head. Period. Perhaps Holding will someday read a modern day college textbook on the issues like Bart Ehrman's latest NEW TESTAMENT textbook published in 2004 that reflects statements from a majority of scholars. "A majority"? Sorry, a majority do not accept Ehrman's paranoid declarations, much less did the majority accept his work on textual criticism. As for textbooks, I don't read them before I read much more in depth scholarly works, which Edski wouldn't know if they hit him on the head, thus: Instead, Holding still thinks that Strobel's interviews with hard-line evangelicals in THE CASE FOR CHRIST is a fine example of scholarship. No, I don't. I think it is an excellent gateway to get people INTO scholarship, which is works written by (among numerous others) some of the people Strobel interviewed, and which Edski has never touched if he even knows they exist. Put it this way: Edski's "best" response when I used material like Witherington's was, "Yeah, but so and so is a good Christian too and he disagrees." Never mind critical examination. I'd like to see Strobel interview moderate and liberal Christian scholars too, as well as Jews and first-class non-Christian scholars and historians as well, but that would be asking Strobel to engage in a bit too much truth-seeking. Uh huh. I'd like to see Ehrman interview moderate and conservative Christian scholars too, as well as Jews and first-class non-Christian scholars and historians as well, but that would be asking Ehrman to engage in a bit too much truth-seeking. See how easy it is to sound like a pompous jackass and not actually present and agrument?

Holding has continued in his emails to you to assume that the Bible was so easy to understand and so straightforward that at least 70% of the societies on earth could easily discover exactly what Christ taught, what God's plan was, truly was, simply by reading the Bible. The usual simple-minded summary by Edski, who doesn't have a clue what I am talking about. I am referring specifically to matters of honor and shame, and collectivism, which would indeed be perfectly understood by 70% of the world today which still has that orientation. See for example here -- it is we bigoted, self-centered Americans who continue to have problems relating to other cultures like those in Japan and the Middle East, because we idiotically think they do or should think just like us. I'd like to tell Holding that a lot of people have indeed read the Bible, but they have dared to try and understand it in terms of something called, "historical millieu and developmental order." "A lot of people." There's a specific for you. The "milieu" they used was Americanism. For instance, the earliest Gospels have Jesus teaching that forgiveness is direct, as in the "Lord's prayer," and those same folks note that in the parable of the final judgment in which the "sheep" and "goats" are separated, they are separated on the basis of their works, not based on their faith in Christ. And, what the heck is the point? Edski wouldn't know what Semitic Totality was if it bit him on the tukhus. That's the clue to Matthew 25 he'll never answer other than by noting that Jimmy Swaggart, a fine Christian, disagrees with me. And that the earliest Gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke) also state that "doing unto others" is "the law and the prophets." No kidding. Also covered by STC. This is what you get from reading the text with a Western mind. The earliest Gospels also tell us that when Jesus was asked "How to Inherit Eternal Life" he answered first and foremost simply to love God and your neighbor as yourself (as the rabbi Hillel also replied before Jesus' day). Ditto. Just close your eyes and say, "Semitic Totality" five times fast, Edski. On the other hand, don't forget that works is indeed a means to salvation -- one men can only achieve in theory, which is the whole point. Another time, Jesus answered first and foremost, "Obey the commandments." Also, Jesus said in Matthew's "Sermon on the Mount" that calling him, "Lord Lord" availed nothing. No kidding again. The word there means "Sir" and is a term of respectful address, not a kerygmatic confession. You might have performed miracles in Jesus' name, still nothing. Ditto. Edski rants on and on and on for lines and lines trying to figure out "faith/believing vs works" and it's all answered by understanding how the Jews interrelated mind and body, as well as a proper contextual definition of faith as loyalty. We'll skip the diatribe and get to where something finally new comes up; the bottom line is that Edski's deluded claim of a "change in emphasis" from "doing to believing" is premised upon his ignorance of the Jewish non-separation between the two.

It takes a long time for Edski to get off this dead horse; when he does, we get to: Jesus tried to point people toward God, but they didn't look up past his finger, they started worshipping the finger itself. Little wonder, given the series of clear claims he made. The bold bearer of God's words who wanted the simple direct reformation of Judaism, would later be made into "THE WORD INCARNATE." Note that there is not a shred of evidence that this was done "later". This is merely a begged question Edski's favorite scholars invent on no basis other than that gosh, it has to be true. Christians divinized Jesus and made "beliefs about Jesus" and "beliefs in Jesus" a new form of institutionalized cultus, a new legalistic definition by which to measure admission into the cult. Many theologians, including the authors of textbooks and books on Christology, have acknolwedged that the evidence does point to a conclusion similar to what I have stated above. They have "acknowledged" nothing worth a cent. There is NO "evidence" that this happened; the writers named merely assume what they need to prove, and explain the texts away without a scent of proof of later invention. See for instance, FROM JESUS TO CHRIST, and, FROM JEWISH PROPHET TO GENTILE GOD, and even the moderate Christian theologian, James D. G. Dunn's latest book, since he has also examined the question of Christian origins in a developmental perspective and acknowledged important questions including the questions of the majority of theologians today who doubt that the words of Jesus as preserved in the last written Gospel (John) are anywhere near as historical as the words prayers and and parables that are preserved in the earlier three Gospels. I have read two of the three books in question. In not one case is any actual "proof" offered of NT writers backwriting the claims of Jesus. It is merely assumed from the get-go, and then merely argued as though proven true. By such arbitrary means could one also turn Lincoln into a Kennedy clone.

Edski goes back to ranting about faith vs works a while longer; then we get to: Knowing that such a divergency exists, based on the Bible and Biblical scholarship, how can Holding continue to say that "Christianity" and the "Bible" are easily understood? Simple: Because the scholarship *I* work with is deeper, thicker, and more profound than Edski could imagine in his wildest dreams. Only his type of Christianity and his Biblical focus is "easy" and "unquestionable," "My type" meaning, that informed by serious depth contextual scholarship? You bet. and that remains true of course, only for him and those who agree with him and his focus. "Only those educated," in other word. Hint: Not Edski. For me the focus of the original historical Jesus appears to have been "The Lord's Prayer" rather than the Evangelical's later "Sinner's Prayer" or later creeds and doctrines "about" Jesus. "For me" = "what I can actually deal with that isn't too hard." And the "Lord's Prayer" states, "Pray in this way... Our Father... Forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who tresspass against us." Can't get much easier to understand than that. Especially if you read as a former-still-fundy. The fact is that forgiveness wasn't just "ask and go" for these people, as Edski was wont to believe as a fundy, and still is. Jesus depicts the relationship with Yahweh in terms of a client-patron relationship that demands loyalty and service to the patron Yahweh. That's what you'll miss by being "simple" and reading it in English.

Holding downplays the "developmental" aspect not only in the area of "historical Jesus questions," but he also downplays the "developmental" questions of many features in the Bible, including as I pointed out, verses that contain not simply one view, but multiple views of the afterlife. "Downplays" my hiney. I destroy claims of development, arbitrary as they are; there are no "multiple views" of the afterlife. Likewise, he downplays all evidence of Hebraic "borrowings" from the cultures around them in terms of language, phrases, names of God, and views of the structure of the cosmos -- including the view shared by many such cultures that animal blood had to be spilled and the animals burnt on altars so their gods could "smell the soothing aroma." Downplays my hiney again. Like Edski thinks Yahweh will say, "Sorry, you can't call me that great name; Horus has it already." Think competition: Yahweh will CLAIM all names other gods were called. As for "structure of the cosmos" Edski presumably refers to my public tanning of Paul Seely. To Holding the ancient Hebrews and Christianity itself was always the "first" to come up with such ideas I said no such thing anywhere. Who was "first" is in fact immaterial to me., or the Hebrews and Christians "borrowed" exactly what God wanted them to, i.e., from the cultures around them, and that the Hebrews were in fact pre-planned to do such borrowing. I say no such thing anywhere either. Edski is arguing with his deluded version of Holding. Edski repeats this two more ways, then quotes that Biblical scholar H. G. Wells whinings; and also that Biblical scholar Haldane. He ends with "CHILDREN’S LETTERS TO GOD" which shows that Edski thinks the best scholarship apparently comes from children who ask dumb questions like these, never mind consukting serious scholarship on the matter:

“Dear God, Why is Sunday School on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day of rest.”

- Tom L.


You thought wrong, little Tommy, though it isn't your fault. Sunday is not a Sabbath. See here.

“Dear God, What does it mean you are a jealous God. I thought you had everything.”

- Jane


Dear Janey,

Please smack your parents with a wet noodle for me. They would hardly know to tell you that the Hebrew word for "jealousy" doesn't mean that you want what you don't have, but that, as the Jewish commentator Sarna notes (Exodus commentary, 110), the root of the word means "to become intensely red" and that it can refer to ardor, zeal, rage, or jealousy. Be sure and go here, too, it is also above Edski's head.

“Dear God, How come you did all those miracles in the old days and don’t do any now?”

- Seymour


Dear Seymour,

Why are you such a spoiled rotten whiny child? Miracles were done for less than .00000001% of people who ever lived, and over only a period of history that amounts to .01% of all of it. What makes you think you're any better than the people who lived then?