May 162014
 

New RuleIn the past, on this blog, I have defended the right of the public to weigh in on topics related to the history of early Christianity. It’s a topic with wide interest, and it would be a shame to limit input to those who have pursued a credential in history or in theology. Besides the fact that people with different academic specialties have real value to bring to the table, there is something unbalancing about allowing only the voices of those who have gone through a long and expensive credentialing process, usually with the hope of gaining employment either as faculty or in ministry.

That being said, I am proposing a new rule: If you haven’t got a degree in history or religion, make everything that you want other people to respond to you about available for free online. Otherwise, don’t expect anything but obscurity. You have only yourself to blame for the level of interaction with your published work.

Continue reading »

May 162014
 

People who grow up with no religion have a low “retention rate,” but, apparently, it’s getting better.

In what can be described as a turnabout-is-fair-play move, given the general decline in religious belief in America, several have noted recent studies showing that those who report being brought up without a religion in America usually don’t end up with no religion. There’s a graphic from the Pew Forum showing that only 46% of those saying that they were brought up with no particular religious affiliation still claim no religious affiliation.

unaffiliated

It is, for reasons not really clear, even less predictive of atheism for one to say they were “raised atheist.” The 2008 Pew Forum survey had 162 survey responses (weighted at 430 statistically) in the continental U.S. saying that they were “raised atheist.” These survey responses have spawned several articles mentioning the statistics (albeit with little real discussion): most notably from Mark Gray in 2012, most recently from Jesus Creed and Exploring Our Matrix.

Let’s explore that a little.

Continue reading »

May 092014
 

Discussion-GroupIn 1999, not a single biblioblog existed. Even Paleojudaica and NT Blog, two of the first, were yet to emerge. A lot of discussion still happened on Usenet, an ancient internet protocol that most reasonable people have abandoned. Yahoo! would soon acquire a popular service for managing e-mail lists, with lists such as Crosstalk being hot stuff at the time. Web-based forums were also gaining ground at this time.

By 2004, the Bible blogs had started gaining serious steam. These steadily peeled off the most active participants from the mailing lists as they established their own blogs and worked on building them up. Companies such as WordPress and Blogger facilitated this revolution. The bandwidth on e-mail lists was still brisk, but it was soon to be on the decline. Facebook was born.

In 2014, nearly all of the e-mail lists have died off or slowed to a crawl. The “Web 2.0” revolution is now the old guard, and people are most comfortable with using the web protocol for everything. Yahoo! Groups has gone the way of Pluto: still there but not what it used to be. If Facebook is now the size of Jupiter, the blogosphere is Saturn with its rings, and Reddit is the red planet Mars. Several large web forums exist, but the Bible is only a sideshow for the big ones. A plucky little operation called the Biblical Criticism & History Forum has split off one of them, hoping to survive on its own.

Here are the top 50 discussion groups where you can talk about the Bible online… Continue reading »

May 012014
 

2cents During the month of May, there is a little event going on at the Early Writings forum.

For each and every post to the forum in the month of May, 2 cents will go to charity.

So, if you’d like to make your two cents count, head on over to the forum and get posting! :)

And if you’d like to influence which charities receive the donations, there’s a poll underway for that.

In other news, I turned 33 years old today. Birthday cake and time with family are in my near future. :)