Spiritual Deception in the Highest Part 4

What problems are in the modern versions? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So let’s dive back into the train wreck here.

Bible Question #6: How did Jesus’ going to the cross bring our redemption?

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A ‘modern’ version will NOT tell you how! (in Colossians 1:14). It says (of Jesus):

“in whom we have redemption …”

The full Christian doctrine is only included in the King James reading of the same verse. Properly stated, it says (of Jesus):

In whom we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD …”

Without the shedding of blood there is NO remission of sins. Leaving out “the blood” misses a key point of doctrine (and leaves us in our sins).

There’s a simple reason for this. In the manuscripts that were used, the phrase “Through his blood” is not there. It is easy to understand how a scribe could have added such a phrase or it could have been in the margins and then became part of the text. It’s easier for KJV-onlyists to say conspiracy, but let’s look at other places in the NIV….

Romans 3:25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—

Romans 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

Colossians 1:20. and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Note that last one is in the very same chapter! If you’re involved in a conspiracy to remove the blood, you try to do that everywhere and not just one spot. KJV-onlyists are not expecting people to check up on their claims.

Bible Question #7: Who does Jesus “call” and what does he “call” them to do?

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The questions are getting harder! Open a ‘modern’ version to Matthew 9:13b. It says something like:

“For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”.

Notice how the end of this verse begs the question: “… call the righteous, but sinners TO WHAT?” Turn to the same verse in the King James Bible:

“… for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners TO REPENTANCE“.

Those last 2 words are crucial! Hell (and then the lake of fire) will get all the sinners who don’t repent. Jesus will get all the sinners who do repent. There is a big difference in those two eternal outcomes. And, there is a big difference in these two translations.

We are all sinners, and we must all repent, to be saved.

Which this quote is found exactly in Luke 5:32. Go to a Gospel search and look up the word repent and you will find several mentions. Why does it not show up in the text above? Because it isn’t in the manuscripts that were used for translation. That’s not a conspiracy. The way to argue against it is to have a non-question begging argument that it is the correct one.

KJV-Onlyists have not given us one yet.

Bible Question #8: What happens to those who do not receive the testimony of Jesus Christ, i.e. what happens the those who do not receive the gift of everlasting life?

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In many ‘modern’ versions you won’t find out! This is because part of the verse is missing (in Mark 6:11). Let’s turn there now. A ‘modern’ version reads something like:

“… shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.”

However, the King James gives the full teaching:

“… shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, IT SHALL BE MORE TOLERABLE FOR SODOM AND GOMORRHA IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT, THAN FOR THAT CITY.

I think the reader will agree that this verse contains important information we need to know!

Matthew 10:15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Matthew 11:23-24 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.

Luke 10:12 — I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Again, what does it say about KJV-Onlyists that you can see their arguments are faulty when you do a Bible Search online for just a couple of minutes if that long?

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

 

Response to Spiritual Deception in the Highest Part 3

Do we have more evidence of bad translation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So as we continue our look at this work, we find more and more of bad argumentation from KJV-Onlyists. The first question is about Noah.

Bible Question #4: Noah was a great man used by God to build the Ark. To be called for such a task required Noah to be approved by the Lord God. So, how was Noah ‘justified’ before God? Was Noah’s justification by his own works?

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For the answer, turn in your Bible to Genesis 6:8. In a ‘modern version’ it says something like:

“Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”

Now think what the word favor implies. Favor implies that Noah was ‘better’ than others. Favor implies Noah was approved by God because of his own ‘good works’.

Now compare that to the KJV. It says:

Noah found GRACE in the eyes of the Lord“.

Even though Noah was used of God, he was also in need of grace (just like all of us). Noah was NOT justified by his good works, but by God’s grace.

Look at verse 9: It says Noah walked with God. Notice that Noah’s walk with God occurs, in verse 9, AFTER Noah received grace from God, in verse 8. Grace precedes our walk with God. We are NOT justified (NOR saved) by our own works.

Remember, Noah got drunk on occasion (Gen 9:21). He was in need of God’s amazing grace. We are, too.

The consistent theme of the Bible is that we are saved by God’s grace and NOT by our own works. Grace and favor have two totally, different, meanings.

The Authorized King James Bible is consistent with the Bible’s teachings. These ‘modern versions’ are not.

Nothing in this text is about justification. It is not about how Noah was forgiven of his sins. The word here is hen and looking at how the KJV translates it, they translate it sometimes as grace and sometimes as favor. The idea here is that by saying favor, the text implies that Noah was better than his fellow people.

Newsflash. Noah was better. The very next verse said he was a righteous man, blameless in his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

This is not about Noah finding grace, which we could say would be something intrinsic to Noah that God discovers, but favor, in that because Noah lived differently, He was allowed a special blessing. Is that really a problem?

Not at all.

Let’s look at 2 verses. Turn to 1st Peter 4:1. In a ‘modern’ version it says: “… Christ suffered …”

In your Authorized King James Bible the full reading is quoted as:

“… Christ suffered FOR US.”

Notice the last two words give the FULL meaning. Leaving out “for us” misses the point entirely!

This is confirmed again in 1 Corinthians 5:7b. In many ‘new’ versions it says:

“For Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed.”

Again, the full reading is found in the King James Bible. It says:

“For even Christ our passover is sacrificed FOR US.”

This seems to imply that a modern reader of a modern translation won’t know this. The problem is when you look at a text like 1 Peter 4, there are differences in Greek such that some have “for us” and some do not. I suspect the same for the other passage as this would be something natural for a scribe to add.

Of course, it’s easier to just slander others and argue for your conspiracy theory.

Now if the KJV-onlyist wants to argue their text is superior in the Greek, they need an argument for that. It can’t just be asserted.

We’ll continue next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Response to Spiritual Deception in the Highest Part 2

Do we have more corrupted verses? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So as we continue our look at KJV-onlyism, we’re responding to this work. I plan to respond to more than one question today. First, let’s start with one that deals with the virgin birth, which I do affirm.

The answer, of course, is that God was Jesus’ father. Let’s look in a ‘modern’ version of the Bible, at Luke 2:33.

Starting in Luke 2:27 Simeon has gone into the temple to see the baby Jesus (who is with Joseph and Mary). Again, depending on the particular ‘modern’ version, in verse 33, it will say something similar to:

” … and his FATHER and mother were amazed at the things which were spoken of him” [i.e. of Jesus].

What do you mean “… and his father …” was amazed at the things which were spoken of him?! Jesus’ father was NOT Joseph! Jesus’ father was God!

Now, let’s look in the Authorized King James Bible. The KJV has the correct reading; in Luke 2:33 it says:

And JOSEPH and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him“.

For a ‘modern’ version ( NIV, NASV, RSV etc.) to say Joseph was Jesus’ father is blasphemy! Think about the doctrinal implications: If Jesus had only an earthly father and mother, then he is just any man. If he is just any man, then we are still in our sins. If we are still in our sins, then we are not saved! If we are not saved, then we have a big problem!

Here! Here! Indeed! How can we indicate in any way that Joseph is the father of Jesus?! Of course, God is His Father! Absolutely! To the flames then with any translation, or should I say transgression, that says that Joseph is the Father of Jesus!

Oh wait…..

Look at Luke 2:48.

And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

And that is in the KJV!

How dare they! Surely Mary who had the virgin birth, which I do affirm, would know who the father of Jesus is! How dare she not say Joseph! That would mean Jesus is just an ordinary man and we are still in our sins! We have a big problem!

How dare the KJV deny the virgin birth! (Which I do affirm)

Now let’s go to a common type of objection.

Turn to Matthew 18:11. You may have a hard time finding this verse. In many new, ‘modern’, versions this verse is missing! The verses are numbered 10 then 12, 13, 14! Or you may find verse 11 is in brackets, casting doubt as to whether it is scriptural.

Let’s see what the Authorized King James says:

For the Son of man is come TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST.”

This one verse, which summarizes Jesus’ entire mission to earth, is either ignored in ‘new’ versions; or it is put in brackets casting doubt on it! This verse contains a KEY piece of Christian doctrine.

People have to know they are lost, i.e. that they have a problem, to know they need a saviour.

This is a common problem with KJV-Onlyists. They look at the KJV as the perfect and then if there is any difference between the KJV and a modern translation, well the problem is the modern translation because they removed that verse. How do we know the verse was in the original? Because it’s in the KJV and that’s the perfect version!

Never mind that this passage is paralleled in Luke 19:10 which does have the Son of Man coming to seek and to save that which was lost. If this was a conspiracy of some sort, you would think that one would also be removed. So why would this not be in a manuscript?

Odds are that many a scribe could copy from memory, perhaps from hearing a verse read in the worship service, and when he copies Matthew, he automatically fills in that part. Another possibility is sometimes sidenotes would be written and this could be one and sometimes that would be included in later copies. How do we know what the original most likely said? Because we have enough copies that we can cross-reference them. If you want a good reference book on textual criticism, I recommend this one.

Thus far, two questions answered. Nothing convincing. Just shoddy research on the part of KJV-Onlyists.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Response To Spiritual Deception in the Highest question 1

Is the KJV the only Bible? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I recently was shown some work from a guy named Robert Breaker who is a KJV-onlyist. He recommended a book that can be found on his web site called “Spiritual Deception in the Highest.” After all, the obvious work of spiritual deception is to get people away from the KJV. (We all know eschatologically the biggest disaster to the devil came in 1611 when for the first time there was actually a Bible.) So if you want to see this work, then you can see it here.

I realize there aren’t as many KJV-onlyists today as there used to be most likely, but they are still out there and either way, this is dealing with issues that many people will still struggle with. I do definitely plan to get back to Life Is A Game, but I figured I could use my skills here to deal with this. Thus, time to look at this work and see the charges that are made.

Bible Question #1: Who was it that saved Shadrach, Messach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace?

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Turn to Daniel 3:25. In this verse, Shadrach, Messach and Abednego have been thrown into the fiery furnace. However, they are NOT alone! Another one (a fourth) is there to deliver them !

Let’s start off by looking at this verse in a ‘modern version’. (Notice: the wording in each ‘modern version’ will differ slightly from all the others. But, those small differences, will not materially affect this report).

Suffice it to say that, at the end of Daniel 3:25, a ‘modern’ version has a reading “similar to” the following:

“… and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods …”

“a” son of the ( plural ) gods?! Who is that? What is His name ? Notice how that reading is very vague and “non-descript”.

But, look at this same verse in your King James Bible. The Authorized (KJ) Bible says:

“… and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God“. i.e. Jesus Christ.

It was JESUS CHRIST, THE only begotten Son of God, who delivered Shadrach, Messach and Abednego. Jesus saved them from the fiery furnace; and it’s Jesus who will save you and me from the fiery furnace (i.e. from hell, from the lake of fire ).

The Bible is clear: There is ONLY ONE SAVIOUR: The LORD Jesus Christ, THE Son (capital S) of God (big G). Jesus is the ONLY one who saves from the fiery furnace, NOT “a” son of the (plural) gods (little g). Jesus saved in the past, He does it today, and He will save in the future ! Amen ?

So let’s put this in some context.

The Hebrew word listed here is Ela and is 424 in Strong’s. Now going to BlueLetterBible, let’s see where else this shows up in Daniel.

2:11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.

2:18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

2:19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

2:20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

2:23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.

2:28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

2:45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

3:14

Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

 

3:15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

3:29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

I have only covered chapters 2 and 3 here as these terms also show up in 5 and 6 and then stop, though surely it is not because God is not mentioned. It’s interesting that this term only shows up when it is interacting in a pagan environment. Both the Hebrews like Daniel and his friends and the pagans like Nebuchadnezzar use this term. When the Jews use it, it more refers to their God in the singular and when the pagans use it, it refers to the gods in the plural. Sometimes King Nebuchadnezzar will use it to refer to the God of Israel, but only when directly speaking to a Jewish person.

So what is more likely here?

When Nebuchadnezzar is speaking to his fellow pagans, he is not likely to say the Son of God. He is more likely to say a son of the gods, which is the way a pagan would understand matters. Now does this diminish Jesus? Not at all. Assuming that Jesus is the fourth man in the fire, which I have no problem with, this is still painting Jesus as a divine being and a Jewish reader would think that the divine being was a son of God in some sense.

It might be easy for Johnson, the author of the work in question, to paint to a conspiracy, but it’s far more level-headed to just look at the text. The pattern is consistent and rather than seek to impugn someone else, it’s better to just understand why they translate the text a certain way. It might not be as easy, but it is more fitting in Christian character.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

It’s The End. So What?

What difference does it matter if we’re in the end times? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m driving to church yesterday morning and I have the radio on and at the end of one show, one of the speakers comes back to talk about, what else? Biblical prophecy. As an Orthodox Preterist, I groan at this but brace myself for whatever is coming. The speaker goes on to talk about another example of how we’re in the end times. What is it now? Famine. All around the world there’s famine and we’re also seeing food plants being burned down.

I’m not going to dispute that that is happening. However, if you went to any time and wanted to pick out something and say it’s something in prophecy, you could do it. Most every generation have insisted that they were the one and when a new one comes along, well everyone else was wrong, but we’re right this time!

Yet as I thought about it this morning, I wondered why do people even bother? What do they hope to accomplish? Oh! This battle in the Middle East is a fulfillment of prophecy! Okay. So what if you’re right? What can you do about it? What are you going to do about it? You have your marching orders, the Great Commission. We are told Jesus is with us until the end of the age. When that is is none of our business.

So why is it that people today make such a big deal about it?

As an Orthodox Preterist, I just hear what is going on and think “What am I to do about this?” Some things I could do something about. Some things I can’t do anything about. If I can do something, then I should try to do what I can. If I can’t do anything, then I pray and leave it in the hands of God.

If you believe in prophecy in the sense of a more dispensational or futurist position, then something to keep in mind is prophecy is going to happen whatever you do. I find it fascinating to think about all these people who have been trying to breed a red heifer. After all, if God is going to fulfill prophecy, then He needs your help to do it.

Of course, one of the biggest dangers in this is that too often when people act like prophecy experts, they are wrong every time and they embarrass themselves and Christianity as a whole. Would that people who did this would spend as much time studying something like the resurrection as they do end-times prophecy. Note that if you are someone who studies both, I will disagree with you on end-times prophecy still if you are a futurist of any sort, but you are not in mind here.

Ultimately, the main point is that we have the same marching orders regardless. We are to do the Great Commission. We are to love the Lord our God and we are to love our neighbor. Everything else in the hands of God and God will do that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Playing To Win

How do you approach a challenge? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I know someone here at the seminary who was sexually abused as a child and now has a blog helping others to overcome this. You can see her work here. I read a new post she had yesterday and I started thinking about my attitude as I went through my own divorce.

Something I like about her blog is the idea of describing herself as a brave girl and to let the voice of a warrior be heard. That is a definitive choice on how to describe oneself. She had to make a deliberate choice at one point that she would face what she went through, be brave, and be a warrior and fight back.

I wrote about this before in how I had to make a choice. It would be foolish to deny that the impact of the divorce when it hit me hurt me greatly. I would also be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt me still every day, but I had to make a choice and I still have to make the choice. Will I be defeated by it or will I overcome it?

In looking at Life Is A Game, this book has resonated with me because I had that attitude. Some might think it to be frivolous, but the reality is, it works. We are often told that attitude is a big factor in how one overcomes. If two people of relatively equal health get a cancer diagnosis and one is positive about overcoming and one isn’t, all things being equal, the positive one is more likely to overcome it.

If you’re a gamer like me, you know the idea of what it is like to fight a boss. You enter an arena and all of a sudden this huge hulking monster that practically dwarfs you in ever way looms over you. In reality if this happened to us, most of us would probably be in a total panic. If you’re a gamer though, you can get nervous but you also think, “All right. Let’s do this.” That just ups the challenge level. It actually makes it more fun.

Why not live this way in reality more often? When a huge problem comes our way, why not see it as another challenge to overcome and we’ll be the better for it? Add in also that in the real world, we have the promise of a God in our lives that if we love Him, all things will work for our good. I have referred to this in gamer terms as the ultimate cheat code.

My friend had to make a deliberate choice that she would not be a victim all her life of abuse but would not only be an overcomer, but also help others to overcome. I had to make a decision that I would not be the victim of divorce. It’s why I made it a motto of mine to “play to win” and why I am here at seminary working on a Master’s and talking to a therapist here in person to help me with learning social skills. When I have friends here who help me with various things, these aren’t just friends. These are teammates on the journey. These are party members who are coming alongside and helping me fight my battles. Of course, I help them when I can in return, but I can only speak of what it is like from my own perspective.

To my friends who have helped me on the journey, thank you. I still have friends back in Tennessee and other parts of the world and I consider them helpers as well, and this includes my folks who I talk to every night on my Echo. To all of you out there also facing your own trial, play to win and while there’s no guarantee with someone like cancer or anything else, you can still fight with all your might. We are meant to be warriors.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Life Is A Game Walkthrough Part 9

What can we discover about the game? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Imagine a large table with a big jigsaw puzzle on it, except the puzzle is broken apart. No two pieces are together. You also don’t have a picture of the box, so there’s no telling at the start what the picture is. However, you are intrigued and sit down and do what most people do, start working on the edge first and the corners, and bit by bit, you piece it together. Slowly it dawns on you as you continue what the picture is and when you put the final piece in eventually, you see how it all fit together.

That is fun.

You also know it’s fun because you keep doing it even though there is no force external to you compelling you. There’s no seeming reward to the puzzle beyond just doing the puzzle. No one is forcing you or even bribing you to do this.

This is akin to the world we are in.

We are thrust in a world that there are some things that we can’t change about the world, such as laws of math, but there are things we can change, such as ourselves, and to an extent, the world around us. Everything we can do you can say is a power that we have. We are here in this world and we are on a quest to discover who we are an why we are here.

That’s also fun.

In looking at the book Life Is A Game, Castronova argues that this way the world is is fun. From a design perspective, this is good game design. Discovery is something we tend to really enjoy. How much of it is in our popular media? We watch a TV series or movie intrigued by the plot wondering what will happen next. When we play games, even after beating a video game, there’s still talk about how exciting it is to discover new things in games. It has been talked about on the web that years after Super Mario World came out, now it is being found you can defeat a Big Boo on a castle by sliding, or how years later in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, you can beat the first boss, an evil plant, by bringing pure forest water.

Discovery is fun.

How do we know this? We do it on our world! What is science but the constant process of discovery? What was philosophy at the start but man thinking about the world and learning about it? How much of religion is seeking to understand the divine and relate to it properly?

There are things that are certain for us, such as the laws of math will hold and the sun will rise in the East tomorrow, but there are many uncertainties. Some of those we don’t like, but some we do. We wake up in the morning and none of us knows exactly what will happen that day. We can have a general idea, but we don’t know. For all I know, I could meet today for the first time a girl I will wind up marrying. I mean, if I do remarry, which I hope, I have to meet her some day. Right? Maybe I already have, but if I haven’t, maybe today is the day.

Maybe today you’ll get a big promotion at your job. On the other hand, maybe you’ll learn you have cancer today. Anything can happen possibly, good or bad. We don’t know. We can live in terror or in curiosity. This game is not simple that we are in. It is full of constant surprises and new challenges thrown at us regularly.

It is also a lot more enjoyable to see life as an adventure, which works well with theism. This life is not an accident. We are here purposefully and for a reason. Our questing does have a purpose. We are automatically in a game much bigger than ourselves.

As we continue on, hopefully, we will learn how to do the adventure well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Life Is A Game Walkthrough Part 8

What is information? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Data. It’s all around us. When we open up the internet, we are bombarded with information. Nowadays, there is constant talk about fake news and no matter what political side one is one, everyone agrees that some news is fake news, whether you think it’s Fox or CNN. We all laughed at the old State Farm commercial that said you couldn’t put anything on the internet if it wasn’t true. We also all laugh at the idea that April 1st is the one day everyone checks everything before they share it on the internet.

Something interesting about information is that though it travels through material means most often, it itself is not material. If you read this blog, you do not take the information out of it in a way that no one else has access to that information. The information is expressed in the material form of a screen, but it is not that form.

This also gets us then into imagination. We can take the information we have and combine it in ways that do not really exist. In the gaming world, Pokemon is one of the best examples I can think of this. One takes multiple creatures and types together and combines them to form new creatures with new abilities.

When a new generation comes out, it is always asked what new creatures will be used this time that have not been used before. For instance, this last generation had a peacock, a flamingo, and a dolphin. With imagination, while we are making things that are new, we are still only taking existing ideas and combining those with other ideas to make new things.

Consider the idea of taking adjectives and combining them with nouns that they normally wouldn’t be used with and lo and behold, you get something that is new. For instance, what if we took the noun “cat” and combined it with the verb “purple”? We are not used to seeing purple cats. I certainly can’t think of any purple cats that exist.

Somehow, we make things that are in some sense real. They are not real in the world outside of our minds, but they still have some kind of reality to them. We can have a discussion about the nature of Superman all the while knowing that Superman doesn’t really exist. He is a figment of the imagination in one sense, but at the same time he is an icon and a “real” figure that we talk about.

As a Smallville fan, when I was at work and wanted a Halloween costume, I would wear a Smallville T-shirt and change my name badge to say “Clark Kent.” No one saw that and thought “What an interesting name.” Everyone who actually noticed it would recognize immediately that Clark Kent is Superman.

What has this to do with our game? All of our game like any other game is still information. When I boot up a console game at my home, there is information being displayed on my screen, often in a visual form, and I am using the information that existed in the imaginations of other people and seeing it given a quasi-reality on my screen. When I play a game like D&D, I have to rely on imagination to see how the story works and my companions do the same. It will be an odd game if I imagine a dragon while my companion imagines a goblin.

All of this will be relevant as we go on, but for now, let’s realize the role information plays in our lives.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

The Use Of Entertainment

Why is it that we enjoy what we enjoy? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night, in the midst of some gaming and watching some shows on YouTube, I returned to thinking about my life here in New Orleans. I have thought about how our country used to be much more Christian than it is now and yet New Orleans is now known as a hotbed of crime, drugs, and well, we all know what really goes on at Mardi Gras, which should sadly be a Christian celebration. What has happened to this great city and how can we change it?

Then I thought about how it has been said before by G.K. Chesterton that fairy tales don’t exist to tell us that dragons exist. Children already know that. Fairy tales exist to tell children that dragons can be beaten.

Let’s start this with a subject I don’t care for that much. Sports. For the most part, the idea of watching sports should be that someone goes and watches these people on the field and then decides that they want to be like that person and is willing to work out and practice the game too. Now for some, this is impossible and they can remember what they used to do or dream about what they might do in eternity someday. I think of those with severe disabilities or those who due to an older age cannot play like they used to.

Completely antithetical is the picture of someone who sits down on a couch to watch a game and goes through a whole box of Oreos at the same time. This is not to say you have to be a fitness king, but if you do care about sports, you should care about your own physical condition. Sports should get you out of yourself.

With fantasy, it is the same, whether we are talking about old Greek plays, novels like the Lord of the Rings, TV shows and movies, or video games. All of these are meant to give us heroes to emulate and people that we are to look and say “I can overcome what’s in my life as well.” With sports movies, we often have the story of the underdog, such as movies like Rocky or Rudy, where we know that the team or player we want to win will be the hero in the end because they never give up.

In the world of gaming, we have the same going on. A player playing a game can see a boss villain they have to fight that is gargantuan compared to them. In reality, most of us if we saw such a villain would not bother to really try even but start realizing that our time has come. In fantasy, it is the opposite. You are even more certain that you can win and you try again and again and again. The size of the enemy doesn’t make it impossible. It just makes the victory all the greater.

So it is also with every challenge that we face today. The Greeks told their plays I suspect in the hopes of spurring other young Greek men on to greatness. Hebrews tells us a list of heroes of the faith in an effort to say “Be like these people.” Today, we tell stories of people, real and fictional, in an effort to inspire greatness in us.

That should be the purpose of what we do today. If we are captivated by the battle of good and evil on the screen or in literature, we had sure better be fighting it in our own lives. If we believe that the villain can be overcome no matter what, we need to live accordingly as well. It could be tempting to say “That’s fiction, not reality”, but as Chesterton again said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, for we have made fiction to suit ourselves.” In fiction, the characters normally aren’t aware of a supreme deity watching over the story entirely. In reality, we should be, and that should change everything.

Enjoy the story, but also use it. If you care about sports, care about your own physical condition. If you care about the battle of good and evil, be ready to fight it yourself.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Life Is A Game Walkthrough Part 7

What kind of freedom do we have? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As an American citizen who was born here and has thus far never left the country, freedom is a big deal over here. It makes sense. The Pilgrims who came over here came in search of freedom. Our country fought a war in order for us to be free. We are called the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Many of us like freedom, but we don’t think about what it is. In Castronova’s book, we’re going to be looking at two different kinds of freedom. The former is freedom-of or freedom-to. In this, you are free to do what you want, within certain parameters of course. You are free to have an affair with your neighbor if both of you agree. You are not free to murder your neighbor, even if for some reason both of you agreed to this. (Perhaps a convoluted plot involving insurance fraud?)

This is a freedom we’re very big on today. A woman will proclaim proudly that she is free to have an abortion if she wants. If someone wants to do something that the world thinks is foolish, well it’s a free country. You want to go and eat donuts for every meal every day? You can do that.

Freedom like this is saying you are free to do what you want. Many of us value that freedom. However, there is a freedom that takes it a step further.

Aquinas spoke of a freedom where you can do something free from guilty, anxiety, and stress. This is not that you are free to do what you want so much as you are free to want what you do. It’s like the saying about a job. If you like what you do, you never have to work a day in your life.

What does this have to do with the book’s thesis? It has a lot to say about how we can try to cheat the system. Some will try to game reality to get as much as they can while everyone else around them loses. They are free to do this.

However, there are still some rules that cannot be broken. You cannot put $2 in your piggy bank and then $2 more and somehow have $5. You are free to jump off of a building if you want to, but gravity might have a word to say to you when you hit the bottom. You are free to commit some crimes, but your society might have something to say and put you in jail.

This also has something to say about suicide. You are free to do this, but once you do this, the game is over. Dead men do not play any games.

In our world, we often want the former freedom, but think somehow we can escape the consequences. If you sleep around continuously, you should be able to avoid pregnancy and STDs. You should be able to eat whatever you want and live a healthy lifestyle. You should be able to avoid studying and still be able to ace all the classes that you have. You should be able to be a deadbeat employee and still be kept on board and get a raise.

Such freedom doesn’t really exist. Every choice has consequences. There are tradeoffs with every decision that we make. Some are minor and inconsequential. Some are huge with major consequences.

This means that we have to choose how we will play the game very carefully. We can play as if we think we are an exception to the rules, but reality is under no requirement to comply to that. If we try to go against reality, and I contend that with transgenderism and the redefinition of marriage our society is very much doing that, reality will eventually come back and hit us hard.

We can say God is loving, and that is true, but even love does not mean freedom from consequences. Most of us have been in a position where being loving to someone seemed to be very unloving at the time, perhaps to both of us. It meant letting them suffer with a bad decision. Parents have to do this regularly.

Not only that, we suffer from the bad decisions of others. None of us is immune to suffering. For we who are Christians, it’s extremely arrogant for us to think the Son of God was not spared the worst suffering when He walked the Earth, but somehow we will get a free pass.

I would that every day I could tell you all that I am not divorced, but every day I have to face that reality and it still stings every day. However, under freedom, I have a choice on how to respond to it and my choice is to do my best to live every day and overcome whatever led to that horrible event and work towards my goal of remarriage. It would be great if I lived in a world where I am understood and I don’t have to learn all these social skills that I don’t get at all and seem pointless, but such is not the world I live in.

If I am to play the game well, I need to understand how it works and so do you. This is where our worldview thinking comes into the picture. If we choose the wrong worldview, then we will suffer for it. If Christianity is true and we live like atheism is true, then there are consequences. If atheism is true and we live like Christianity is, then there are consequences. We all must weigh out those consequences and go beyond more than just a strong feeling or hope that one of those is true.

I still choose the Christian side to this day since I am convinced that is where the evidence of reality points, but I know there are still consequences. I have to live a certain way. There are things I can want to do but I cannot do because of the decisions I make. This is something everyone has to decide. Say what you will about Pascal’s Wager, but every one of us has to make it somehow. We all have to say this is how I’m going to believe reality works and I will live accordingly.

However, we have the added difficulty that we don’t agree how the game is played. A few weeks ago, I had a get together over here that involved playing Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. While we all had varying skill levels, we all knew there were rules to the game and it had to be played a certain way. We could have made some artificial rules, such as my being handicapped somehow, but we would have agreed on those.

Our society can be difficult today because we have many vastly different views on how the world works and how to function in it. There are people today who still live as if the world is in a past era and that if you just say what the Bible says, everyone will agree with it. There are some like myself who agree with Scripture, but knows that not everyone else does and you need to be able to make a case from multiple fronts. There are some who think it’s just a book of fairy tales with perhaps some good bits on living, but nothing to live your life by.

And we all have to live together somehow.

This makes freedom hard, but this is how we are all playing the game. Every day we get up and face reality, we agree that we will play. Our job at the start is to find out how we think the game is to be played and do so to the best of our ability. We are free to do as we please to an extent, but hopefully, we will be free from guilty, worry, and stress, and live our lives enjoying what we do.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

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