Saturday, March 19, 2011

Opposing the Rapture: Preterist-Amillennialism vs. Dispensationalism

Eschatology is a fundamental theological concept that separates denominations and unbelievers alike; it asks the question, what happens when the world ends? For the sake of being concise, I am only going to mention a few eschatological views held by various Christians. 
Personally, I am a Preterist-Amillennialist – In short, I the events of the book of Revelation are interpreted as events of historical, not future, importance. Also, this negates a literal thousand year reign, it does not support a tribulation event, or a rapture theory. 
Moreover, The book of Revelation addresses Christians under persecution and asks its audience, who is lord, Christ or Cesar? In the Preterist position, one must accept that John of Patmos expected the Parousia (the second coming of Christ) to happen within or near his lifetime and that he believed the Parousia would be the result of an actual battle with the Roman Empire.

In juxtaposition, the Dispensational Futurist approach to eschatology is a matter of great contention. One could argue that Dispensationalism ignores the original context and symbolism of the book of Revelation. Additionally, it provides a similar trap that John of Patmos experienced; one might anticipate that the Parousia will take place within their lifetime or, worse, start to predict when the Parousia will take place in the future. The Futurist approach depicts a holy war that has yet to occur. Whereas, the Amillennial approach (the second piece of my eschatological position) depicts a spiritual battle for the devotion of people – a battle that Christ already won with the cross.
Arguably,  Dispensational, Futurist, Eschatology is careless, dangerous, and ignorant to the themes of good Biblical interpretation. Elements of genre and occasion are crucial to understanding the historical purpose and function of the books of the Bible. Without genre and occasion, one can interpret the symbolism within Revelation to mean anything – this practice should be avoided when interpreting scripture. 
Finally, combining the Preterist and Amillennial, approaches to eschatology are favorable to this author. Biblical Studies provides plenty of sound evidence against tribulation, thousand year reign, and rapture theories of interpretation. Dispensationalism is popular, but that doesn't make it a sound theological position on eschatology. Honestly, the Dispensational view is, likely responsible for striking fear into people over the end times and the book of Revelation. Do not be afraid, there are other views out there that work, make sense, and don't have to scare people into knowing the day or the hour of Christ's second coming. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Up Against Technology

Telephone interviews are a double-edged sword. Today, I helped conduct a mock interview for someone and had a small epiphany in the process – phone interviews are a subjective nightmare. Facing an interview is a challenging task, with a fair degree of self-analysis. Conducting an interview may be more difficult than being interviewed. Consequently, asking interview questions isn’t too bad if you know what you’re looking for, but I found that phone interviews place more weight on the candidate to ensure concise answers that always refer back to the question. Now, I have even more respect for the people who interview me.

On another note, I was reading an article on the Life Hacker website (which has proven useful) and came to the conclusion that people can be quite dumb on the internet. Yes, I find it ironic that I’m blogging about stupid people on the internet. I witnessed people get into quite an intense war of words over a comment suggesting that people ought to proofread their work. Last I checked, proofreading is a standard practice emphasized throughout one’s education; yet, this spawned a rather harsh battle with insults and name-calling. Frankly, I find this stupid with a capitol R. Seriously, is there anything that isn’t sensitive or offensive anymore? I’m all about respecting others, but when did people get so sensitive about such trivial matters as proofreading? If that’s not ridiculous, I don’t know what is.

In yet another technology issue, why is it that when I decide to give up Facebook for the Lent season, my email inbox started to fill up with Facebook emails? I guess we'll see how long it takes for me to want to crack. Key words, want to crack because I won't crack. For those who keep contacting me via Facebook, you can reach me here, instead (throughout the Lent season).

Friday, March 11, 2011

"You Sholdn't Say Sucks:" The Chaperone Review

I’m starting to feel like a bit of a movie critic, but I assure you it’s just coincidence that I talked about a movie in my last post and am about to in this post. The Chaperone stars “Triple H” (of WWE fame) and will probably be overlooked by most people. Admittedly, I would have passed this film up if I weren’t a “Triple H” fan.

The family comedy, filled with heartwarming sentiment and nose-breaking action, illustrates why it’s important not to judge a book by its cover. Personally, I’m not surprised that “Triple H” can act, I saw Blade Trinity and if you’ve ever seen his DX bits on WWE television, you know the man has a knack for humor. I was expecting another WWE Films, flop, but got enjoyable entertainment instead.

Truthfully, The Chaperone is worth watching. One does not have to be a WWE fan to enjoy this movie (in fact, it would probably help if you’re not into WWE). Unlike, John Cena, who was all muscle and no character in The Marine or Steve Austin (who seems a bit stoic on the big screen) “Triple H” portrayed a decently realistic father trying to rebuild a broken relationship with his adolescent daughter. The Chaperone is a mix of Con-Air, meets, Senior Trip, fused with self-help, and second chances. I’m not saying that “The Game” is going to win an Oscar for his performance as “Ray Bradstone” in The Chaperone, but the movie is enjoyable, entertaining, and worth the watch (an added bonus is that you can find it on Netflix streaming).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Legend of Virtue

Virtue is part of what keeps people human. Understanding the depths of virtue may be a different story. In pondering virtue, one might ask, is it better to possess virtue or to believe in virtue? Tonight, I watched the film, The Next Three Days and the idea of believing in virtue was a driving force within the film. If you don’t want any film spoilers, skip the next paragraph.

In the film, a woman is accused of murder and sent to prison for life. Her husband never gives up believing in her innocence. His belief in her virtue is so pronounced that he plots to break her out of prison. Once plans are in motion, laws are broken and people die at the hands of the husband. Did the husband forfeit his own virtue because he believed, so strongly, in the virtue of his wife? The film The Next Three Days delivers entertainment, while prompting a philosophical question.

Using film as a framework for discussion, one asks, is it better to possess virtue or to believe in virtue? First, let’s define the idea of virtue: it is one who possesses outstanding character and moral conduct. This definition is a paraphrased interpretation of what one would find in a dictionary and it presents a vexing question; does any human being truly possess virtue as defined herein or in the dictionary? This author doubts such fortitude is either natural or possible for people to exhibit. The idea of outstanding character seems lost in Western culture amidst the Millennial generation – we are a fast-food-nation with an appetite for individualism. Furthermore, moral conduct has no common standard anymore because beliefs have been whittled down to what feels good or right.

Considering the constraints on valor, believing in virtue may be all that is left of the attribute. Nonetheless, confidence in the fortitude of others is, likely, more natural to the human condition than a personal possession of excelling character and morals. How often do people want to acknowledge that their friends or their family are capable of unimaginable horrors? The movie that prompted these questions makes it clear that most of us probably want to see the good in people. Without inspecting one’s own morality first, there is little credibility to believe in the ideal of valor. In order to provide substance or meaning for morals and character, one has to acknowledge their own selfishness and be slightly more concerned with the needs of others than they probably are (if they are honest with themselves). Fortunately, there is the grace of God – who knows the human propensity for selfish desire – and that grace is always sufficient. Virtue exists through God. Therefore, it is better to believe in virtue if it attributed to the divine and not to humans.