Satan: Lifting the Veil

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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby Sobornost » Wed May 07, 2014 12:32 pm

Geoff :) I cannot for the life of me remember which of Girard’s’ books the anthropological detail of the African mask comes from - but it’s probably from ‘Things Hidden from the foundation of the world’.

I think your series is excellent Geoff and there was no need for you to hold it back. I haven’t seen the later articles yet – I think regarding Girard, he’s very interesting about how the Satan is the cause of ‘scandals’ and in defining the mechanism of scandals. You could take a look at ‘Satan fall like Lightning ‘regarding this sometime is you haven’t already seen it discussed elsewhere (Satan Fall like Lightning’ is easily Girard’s most accessible book and along with James G, Williams 'A Girard Reader’ provides the best overview).

Steve and Geoff :) :) (both) regarding Girard and solutions to human violence – well he'd class himself as a pacifist but also a pragmatist (which probably means that he isn’t actually a pacifist when push comes to shove).

I think Girard is realistic that we cannot get rid of mimetic rivalry then – and that we shouldn’t fool ourselves about this. So he’s not going to argue against the need for ‘restraining force’ and for abolishing the police, the judiciary and the army I think (he’s not a utopian).

Also he understands the benefits of social customs in which rivalrous desire can be expressed in harmless and cathartic ways. For instance games of Football with cheering ecstatic crowds are in many ways equivalent to gladiatorial combats – and there is intense mimetic rivalry between teams and their supporters. However slaughter on the pitch is figurative not actual and with proper crowd management violence between supporters can be minimised, even when the ’gods’ of patriotism or inter-state rivalries have been invoked by the playing of anthems. (I know that in rugby the New Zealand All Blacks actually do a Maori war dance as preliminaries for soft combat).

Likewise Girard is – surprisingly (perhaps) – broadly in favour of capitalism as an economic system because it minimises rivalry by distributing the objects of desire widely – although he is a strong promoter of Catholic moral theology regarding the need to have a social market and guard against the excesses of economic individualism.

Girard actually doesn’t set out a political/social project. He’s not that kind of thinker and he's certainly not a guru offering a universal tin opener. Although his range is breathtaking he’s a humble man. He provides certain key anthropological insights into human culture on the nature of desire, the scapegoating mechanism, and the unmasking of the scapegoating myth and opens up discussion with theologians (and others) from these first principles – and there is much latitude for friendly disagreement among Girardians. Indeed he has set up the Colloquium on Violence and Religion for this ongoing discussion to take place.

All the best


Dick
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby alecforbes » Wed May 07, 2014 1:55 pm

That's very helpful, Dick. :D
Thanks!

I ordered A Girard Reader the other day and it should be here soon. Looking forward to learning more of his thought.

Geoff, my acquaintance with Girard is pretty recent but as you said, "you can see how it plays out everywhere!" Once I was able to see the "humanness" (ala Peter Enns) in scripture, Hardin, by way of Girard, is showing me how God used that humanness.

I totally agree with what you say about "The Accuser" and I'm loving this series. :D
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Thu May 08, 2014 2:56 am

Dick, that's some very interesting background on Girard. I will definitely pick up "I See Satan Fall Like Lightning" at some point. Like I said - I had difficulty slogging through the beginning of "The Scapegoat", but once I got to the point where he was dealing with Scripture it became much easier for me, and more interesting. I think it was just because he was dealing with so much material I was unfamiliar with in the beginning that it was difficult for me. Also - thanks for sending me the link to that article. I have not read it yet, but will do so during lunch today.

And by the way, Part 15 is now up, and deals with the concept of the angels of the nations, as well as Paul's attitude regarding "gods".
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Fri May 09, 2014 2:36 am

Part 16 is now up, and explores the story of the Gerasene Demoniac.
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby Sobornost » Fri May 09, 2014 2:55 pm

Good one Geoff :D
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Sat May 10, 2014 6:10 am

Sobornost wrote:Good one Geoff :D


Thanks! I find the story of the Gerasene demoniac very interesting these days! :D

Part 17 is up, and examines a few other passages with demonic exorcisms.
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby Paidion » Sat May 10, 2014 8:22 am

Geoff wrote:I went to a lecture recently by a professor who is one of the foremost Edwardsian experts. Interesting fact I discovered through this: Edwards was a panentheist. I never knew that before, and I was surprised, because I thought "how can someone who believes in eternal conscious torment believe in panentheism? Isn't that kind of like believing God was going to burn one of His own internal organs for all of eternity?


Maybe you are confusing "panentheism" (God in everything) with "pantheism" (Everything is God).

I see no reason why a panentheist couldn't believe in eternal conscious torment. God could be IN the tortured people and not Himself suffer since the eternally tortured people would not be part of Him (as in pantheism).
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Sat May 10, 2014 9:28 am

Paidion wrote:
Geoff wrote:I went to a lecture recently by a professor who is one of the foremost Edwardsian experts. Interesting fact I discovered through this: Edwards was a panentheist. I never knew that before, and I was surprised, because I thought "how can someone who believes in eternal conscious torment believe in panentheism? Isn't that kind of like believing God was going to burn one of His own internal organs for all of eternity?


Maybe you are confusing "panentheism" (God in everything) with "pantheism" (Everything is God).

I see no reason why a panentheist couldn't believe in eternal conscious torment. God could be IN the tortured people and not Himself suffer since the eternally tortured people would not be part of Him (as in pantheism).


I always thought panentheism was God in everything, but at the same time being fully transcendent. Thus, everything is God, but God cannot be summed up in everything.

The way the Edwardsian scholar described it, he talked about how Edwards would talk about how we and the known universe are like the yolk of an egg which is God.
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby Paidion » Sat May 10, 2014 1:00 pm

As I understand it, the traditional view is that God is transcendent—that He and the universe are totally separate.
The pantheistic view is the exact opposite—that God IS the universe, and the universe is God.
The panentheistic view is that God is immanent, actually present IN the universe. "Pan" (all) en(in) "theos" (God). The question is whether the word means "God is in all" or "All is in God". I think it is the former. Many think it is both.

Personally, I believe that God is in every part of the universe, that is He is omnipresent, but I am not sure what it means to say that every part of the universe is in God. Does that make me a one-way panentheist?

You may want to check out the definition of "Panentheism" in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/panentheism/
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Sat May 10, 2014 1:50 pm

Paidion wrote:As I understand it, the traditional view is that God is transcendent—that He and the universe are totally separate.
The pantheistic view is the exact opposite—that God IS the universe, and the universe is God.
The panentheistic view is that God is immanent, actually present IN the universe. "Pan" (all) en(in) "theos" (God). The question is whether the word means "God is in all" or "All is in God". I think it is the former. Many think it is both.

Personally, I believe that God is in every part of the universe, that is He is omnipresent, but I am not sure what it means to say that every part of the universe is in God. Does that make me a one-way panentheist?

You may want to check out the definition of "Panentheism" in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/panentheism/


The way I think of it is "God is in all" and "All is in God" and God is fully transcendent. Which really bends your mind to think about.

But yeah, "we are the yolk of an egg which is God" was an analogy the Edwardsian scholar gave, and I thought it was kind of funny to believe such a thing and try to reconcile eternal conscious torment with it.
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby Sobornost » Sat May 10, 2014 2:10 pm

Crikey Don – that’s a very interesting article. I loved the nuances of the conclusion -

The emphasis of traditional theism on divine will misses that the divine will is directed by divine love. Some responses by traditional theists have claimed that traditional theism is not guilty of separating God from the world and thus panentheism is not needed as a corrective (Carroll 2008, Finger 1997). Wildman acknowledges that traditional theism does hold that God has a meaningful presence in the world but has an inadequate ontological basis for that presence. An adequate basis for the active presence of God in the world requires some role for the world in the constitution of God (Wildman 2011, 186).

The varieties of panentheism participate in internal criticism. Clayton (2008, 127) and Crain (2006) emphasize the dependence of the world upon God rather than the dependence of God upon the world although they maintain that God is influenced, and changed, by the world. They criticize understandings of God that limit God by making God subject to metaphysical principles. Griffin emphasizes the regularity provided by metaphysical principles. This regularity recognizes the order in reality that the reliability of God's love provides. Panentheists also caution that the emphasis upon the ontological nature of the relation between God and the world can lead to a loss of the integrity of the world. Richardson warns against losing the discrete identity of finite beings in God (2010, 345). Case-Winters calls for maintaining a balance between the distinction between God and the world and God's involvement with the world. Over–emphasis upon either side of the balance leads to positions that are philosophically and theologically inadequate (Case–Winters 2007, 125).
Actually I think it would be possible to be a panentheist and believe in ECT – and this is certain if Jonathan Edwards can be seen as a panentheist. The good thing about panentheism is that it allows us to think of God as intimately involved in creation. However the danger is that God as transcendent Love becomes obscured and God as immanent– as in some forms of pantheism – is simply seen as an affirmation of everything that is – including tyranny and blood and soil/ nature red in tooth and claw. Perhaps Jonathan Edward’s panentheism – is he was a panentheist – participated in this muddle. Hmmmmmm[/quote]

Geoff have you ever seen the last series of the UK supernatural detective series ‘Ashes to Ashes’ 9the follow up to ‘Life on Mars’). The character Detective Constable Keats in this is a very compelling and nuanced realisation of the Satan as delineated by Walter Wink. I remember being absolutely gobsmacked at how well this is done.
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Sat May 10, 2014 3:15 pm

Sobornost wrote:Geoff have you ever seen the last series of the UK supernatural detective series ‘Ashes to Ashes’ 9the follow up to ‘Life on Mars’). The character Detective Constable Keats in this is a very compelling and nuanced realisation of the Satan as delineated by Walter Wink. I remember being absolutely gobsmacked at how well this is done.

I have not - that sounds very interesting! Will have to see if it's available to me through some medium or other.

On the topic of Panentheism - I think the most definitive Biblical statement can be found in Ephesians 4:6, where Paul says that there is "one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." There you have it - transcendence in the first section, and "through all and in all" gives you immanence. And if that's not enough, Paul also says in Acts 17:28 that "in Him we live and move and have our being."
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby Melchizedek » Sun May 11, 2014 1:33 pm

Sobornost wrote:Crikey Don – that’s a very interesting article. I loved the nuances of the conclusion -

The emphasis of traditional theism on divine will misses that the divine will is directed by divine love. Some responses by traditional theists have claimed that traditional theism is not guilty of separating God from the world and thus panentheism is not needed as a corrective (Carroll 2008, Finger 1997). Wildman acknowledges that traditional theism does hold that God has a meaningful presence in the world but has an inadequate ontological basis for that presence. An adequate basis for the active presence of God in the world requires some role for the world in the constitution of God (Wildman 2011, 186).

The varieties of panentheism participate in internal criticism. Clayton (2008, 127) and Crain (2006) emphasize the dependence of the world upon God rather than the dependence of God upon the world although they maintain that God is influenced, and changed, by the world. They criticize understandings of God that limit God by making God subject to metaphysical principles. Griffin emphasizes the regularity provided by metaphysical principles. This regularity recognizes the order in reality that the reliability of God's love provides. Panentheists also caution that the emphasis upon the ontological nature of the relation between God and the world can lead to a loss of the integrity of the world. Richardson warns against losing the discrete identity of finite beings in God (2010, 345). Case-Winters calls for maintaining a balance between the distinction between God and the world and God's involvement with the world. Over–emphasis upon either side of the balance leads to positions that are philosophically and theologically inadequate (Case–Winters 2007, 125).
Actually I think it would be possible to be a panentheist and believe in ECT – and this is certain if Jonathan Edwards can be seen as a panentheist. The good thing about panentheism is that it allows us to think of God as intimately involved in creation. However the danger is that God as transcendent Love becomes obscured and God as immanent– as in some forms of pantheism – is simply seen as an affirmation of everything that is – including tyranny and blood and soil/ nature red in tooth and claw. Perhaps Jonathan Edward’s panentheism – is he was a panentheist – participated in this muddle. Hmmmmmm


Geoff have you ever seen the last series of the UK supernatural detective series ‘Ashes to Ashes’ 9the follow up to ‘Life on Mars’). The character Detective Constable Keats in this is a very compelling and nuanced realisation of the Satan as delineated by Walter Wink. I remember being absolutely gobsmacked at how well this is done.[/quote]

I will also have to check that out. Loved "Life on Mars".
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Mon May 12, 2014 2:33 am

Part 18 is now up - this was a fun one for me to write, and I could have gone on and on for quite a while if I didn't stop myself.
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Tue May 13, 2014 1:55 am

Part 19 has been published, and examines Satan's connections to the book of Revelation.
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby Sobornost » Tue May 13, 2014 4:27 am

Good one Geoff - and would you interpret the angels poring out their vials of wrath as nations that make war against each other? I remember that this was Raymond Schwager's interesting interpretation.

Perhaps the only way to truly bind the devil is to bring “him” into the presence of a radically inclusive love? Perhaps transformation does not come from repressing our dark side, but by naming it, owning up to it, and bringing it to the throne of God?


I'd agree here Geoff. However, the opposite of repression is expression - and that's not what you are suggesting (although some of the human potential mob make this disastrous inference). We need to be aware of our won dark side rather than projecting it on others - but this takes a life time to achieve. And we need to transform our own dark side by bringing it to the throne of God. So yes it is about neither repressing expressing our 'dark side'/shadow but rather about transmuting our 'shadow' through Love. :)
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Tue May 13, 2014 5:13 am

Sobornost wrote:Good one Geoff - and would you interpret the angels poring out their vials of wrath as nations that make war against each other? I remember that this was Raymond Schwager's interesting interpretation.

Well, I guess it depends on what he means by that? I linked to a series by Greg Boyd on Revelation, and in the third section of that series, he talks about how John of Patmos cleverly takes well known Biblical images that seem to sanction violence and turns them around - the idea being that what is being pored out of the bowls of wrath is actually the blood of the saints, spilled by those who make war. And so those who make war are drinking the blood that they have spilled. So this idea has more continuity with the idea that Jesus conquers by allowing himself to be killed, rather than by slaying his enemies.

Sobornost wrote:
Perhaps the only way to truly bind the devil is to bring “him” into the presence of a radically inclusive love? Perhaps transformation does not come from repressing our dark side, but by naming it, owning up to it, and bringing it to the throne of God?


I'd agree here Geoff. However, the opposite of repression is expression - and that's not what you are suggesting (although some of the human potential mob make this disastrous inference). We need to be aware of our won dark side rather than projecting it on others - but this takes a life time to achieve. And we need to transform our own dark side by bringing it to the throne of God. So yes it is about neither repressing expressing our 'dark side'/shadow but rather about transmuting our 'shadow' through Love. :)

Oh yeah. It's so hard to express what I was getting at - no, it's not healthy to repress our hurts, nor is it healthy to pour them out in the form of violence. So the only choice left is to face them with unconditional love in our hearts - and that may involve realizing how the ones who hurt us are also suffering (actually, it probably almost always does) so that we can empathize with their own pain.
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby Sobornost » Tue May 13, 2014 6:08 am

Hi Geoff –
That’s a wonderful series of articles by Greg Boyd that I whole heartedly agree with – and I too found Mark Driscoll’s comments about Jesus absolutely astonishing and very annoying (but what’s new? – I’m no fan of his :-D).

John is proclaiming that the age-long cycle of escalating violence between nations, each deceived into thinking that the power of the sword can bring lasting peace, will finally come to an end.


Raymond Schwager – who was a major Girardian scholar before his unexpected death – pointed out in ‘Must there be Scapegoats’ that Angles in the apocalyptic genre invariably represent nations rather than messengers of God (and also pointed out that the insight was not an original one). So, in this reading, the Angles here pour out the vials of human wrath that the war of the Lamb comes to bring healing to/from. What he says is totally consonant with your view Geoff.

Oh yeah. It's so hard to express what I was getting at - no, it's not healthy to repress our hurts, nor is it healthy to pour them out in the form of violence. So the only choice left is to face them with unconditional love in our hearts - and that may involve realizing how the ones who hurt us are also suffering (actually, it probably almost always does) so that we can empathize with their own pain.


It is indeed hugely hard - I find it so too. But I think this one is worth thinking about Geoff – if you’ll forgive me being a pain in the butt (because you got me thinking). I made the point about repression and expression because that is a confusion that some humanistic psychologists make. As to whether our shadow is just made up of repressed hurts, well I think it does contain genuine repressed hurt at being wronged - but it is also made up of undifferentiated instinctual energies and, of course, the artery clogging resentments of mimetic desire. ( I know there is also the notion of a golden shadow which is all of those unrealised benign and creative potentialities within us that come out to our surprise in new situations). I think to know that we all have this unpromising stuff to work with and always will be working with it while in this state of existence is something that should make us less prone to violent judgemental fantasies about Jesus as the tattooed prize fighter a la Driscoll.

Nice to have a chat old chum :) -


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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Tue May 13, 2014 7:03 am

Sobornost wrote:if you’ll forgive me being a pain in the butt (because you got me thinking).

Ha! No forgiveness needed! It is good to have discussion, because no matter how hard I try to be as thorough as possible in my writing, I have found that I never can perfectly express what I am trying to get at. Discussion seems to be the only way to assure that anyone actually sees where I'm going. And sometimes, discussion is the only way for me to truly understand what direction I was going. ;)
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby Sobornost » Tue May 13, 2014 3:41 pm

I know just how you feel :lol:
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Wed May 14, 2014 2:22 am

Part 20 is up. In this section, I take a hard look at our society today and seek to answer the question: if John of Patmos wrote his Revelation today, what would the Beast look like?
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby Melchizedek » Wed May 14, 2014 6:36 pm

fatherlearningtolove wrote:Part 20 is up. In this section, I take a hard look at our society today and seek to answer the question: if John of Patmos wrote his Revelation today, what would the Beast look like?


Yeah, that was a zorcher! But a much needed one, I think. We definitely need to see the self-destructive path we're on, and the ways in which we've been duped into complicity.
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Thu May 15, 2014 2:17 am

Melchizedek wrote:Yeah, that was a zorcher!

Yeah, sometimes I get nervous about writing posts like that - will it sound too harsh? Will people think I'm condemning them personally? But at some point I have to say: well, I hope they don't misunderstand me, but if they do I hope they will give me a chance to explain myself.

Glad you saw that as necessary too!

After exploring the ways in which the Domination System worked during Jesus' day, and during our own, Part 21 begins to explore the question of how Jesus answered that System.
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Fri May 16, 2014 2:29 am

Jesus knew that the way to fight the violence of the Domination System was not through resorting to the same violent methods - this would only result in a violent kingdom that eventually destroyed itself, just as the Maccabean kingdom had done: Part 22 of Satan: Lifting the Veil
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Sat May 17, 2014 4:19 am

The ultimate form of resistance to the Domination System is to die to it. But to do that, your inner Domination System must die as well.

Part 23 of Satan: Lifting the Veil
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Mon May 19, 2014 2:17 am

Only one more section after this!

Jesus presents us with a God who is the antithesis to the Accuser - the Advocate: Part 24 of Satan: Lifting the Veil
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Mon May 19, 2014 4:48 pm

The last section is up! Whew!

In Part 25 I present some concluding thoughts.
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby Jonny95 » Wed May 21, 2014 3:59 am

Going to put some time aside to go through all of these at some point
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby fatherlearningtolove » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:10 am

I know it's been quite a while - sorry guys. I've been busy. I now have four kids, and as Jim Gaffigan says, having four kids can be compared to being handed a baby while you're drowning. ;)

But I wanted to come back and post a link to a new post I wrote, because it's a great follow up to one of the sections of my series on Satan. Here it is:

The Science of Evil, Privatio Boni, and Hell
- Geoff
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"The tree is known by its fruits. If you want to understand the social and political history of modern man, study hell."
- Thomas Merton, "New Seeds of Contemplation"
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Re: Satan: Lifting the Veil

Postby Melchizedek » Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:43 am

fatherlearningtolove wrote:I know it's been quite a while - sorry guys. I've been busy. I now have four kids, and as Jim Gaffigan says, having four kids can be compared to being handed a baby while you're drowning. ;)

But I wanted to come back and post a link to a new post I wrote, because it's a great follow up to one of the sections of my series on Satan. Here it is:

The Science of Evil, Privatio Boni, and Hell


Great article, Geoff.
Belief doesn't change what is true, it only puts one in line with what is already true.
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