Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Urban legends preachers tell

Trevin Wax does a good service by pointing out a few urban legends that preachers tell in the pulpit such as: (Full post here)

1. The “eye of the needle” refers to a gate outside Jerusalem where the camel had to crawl through.

2. The high priest tied a rope around his ankle so that others could drag him out of the Holy of Holies in case God struck him dead.

3. Scribes took baths, discarded their pens, washed their hands, etc. every time they wrote the name of God.

4. There was this saying among the sages: “May you be covered in your rabbi’s dust.”

5. Voltaire’s house is now owned by a Bible-printing publisher.

6. Gehenna was a burning trash dump outside Jerusalem.

7. NASA scientists have discovered a “missing day” which corresponds to the Joshua account of the sun standing still.

Here are a few others from the comments:
  • The Secret Service doesn’t train its agents to recognize forged money, it only trains them on what the real thing looks like. The moral of the story is usually something like, “Don’t worry about false teaching; just focus on the truth.” Turns out it’s not true. Roger Olson says he once asked a Secret Service agent in charged of training bank tellers and the guy laughed at the thought (see Olson, The Story of Christian Theology, pp. 20-21).
  • Men have one less rib than women because Eve was made from Adam’s rib. Ask a doctor.
  • “Abba” in Aramaic means “daddy.” Although it was popularized by the late Joachim Jeremias and his following that the word was child-babble, “abba” is simply the Aramaic word for “father” used by children abd adults alike. If the New Testament authors thought it meant “daddy” they would have translated it “pappas” rather than “pater.”
  • The Greek word that we translate as “power” is “dynamis” (pronounced DOO-na-mees) , which is where we get our English “dynamite”. So when Bible refers to the “power of the Holy Spirit” (or anything like that), what we learn is that the Holy Spirit is really the dynamite of God. The problem is obvious: they didn’t have dynamite in the first century. It’s just blatantly anachronistic.