Sorcery, Fess Parker, Why I Am a Christian

1.  In John Van Seters’ A Law Book for the Diaspora, something on page 103 stood out to me:

Laws against [sorcery] occur in both the Hammurapi Code (LH 2) and the Middle Assyrian Laws (MAL A 47), with a similar law against magic in the Neo-Babylonian Laws (NBL 7).

Similarly, the Covenant Code mandates that a witch is to be put to death (Exodus 22:18).  I remember Law of Hammurabi 2 from my Akkadian class at Jewish Theological Seminary.  It prescribes a water ordeal to test if a man is a sorcerer, and he is declared innocent if he survives.  In LH 2 and NBL 7, the concern is that people may use sorcery to hurt the person or property of others.  MAL A 47 doesn’t refer to that, however, but the translation that Martha Roth uses refers to an exorcist, who apparently presides over a ritual in which a man swears that he’s not a witch.

2.  Fess Parker passed away.  He played Davy Crockett in the 1950’s.  We used to watch that during our dinner time, which was when one of the network channels played an hour of a Disney movie every weeknight. We watched Pollyanna, Swamp Fox, and Davy Crockett.  I don’t remember much of the Davy Crockett movies.  I recall the one where Crockett ran for Congress.  And then there was the song—“Davy, DAVY Crockett, king of the wild frontier.”

3.  James McGrath has a good post today, which is actually a repost of something he wrote in 2007: From The Archives: Why I Am A Christian.  Some of the reasons that he is a Christian: he was born into it, he had a life-changing experience through that religion, he sees things of value in Christianity, and he prefers to wrestle with the beliefs of his past rather than discard Christianity for something new, perhaps because the past is part of who he is.

Suffice it to say, that doesn’t satisfy some of his readers, who ask, “Do you believe this, do you believe that?” (my paraphrase).  But those are some of the reasons why I am a Christian.  I can’t really debate against those who have left Christianity, such as John W. Loftus, or Ken Pulliam, or those who comment on their blogs.  Plus, I realize that there are other cultures and traditions that can encourage people to do good.  But, for me, I experience God in the Christian tradition.  I admire the stories about Jesus, who showed compassion to people, stood up against the self-serving powers-that-be, included the marginalized, and gave his life in an act of service.  I choose to embrace the hope that Christianity has to offer—for eternal life and for a renewal of the cosmos.  That’s the tradition I received.  And it’s the one in which I’ve planted myself.

That said, I’m kind of iffy on the issue of leaving my past behind.  On the one hand, I resent fundamentalism and evangelicalism, as well as aspects of my experiences with them.  Part of me would like nothing more than to ditch that aspect of my past.  But then I’d be homeless and without roots, like Barack Obama was before he became a Christian (and I don’t mean literally homeless). 

Plus, I have to be honest.  I do fear not entering the good afterlife, so I believe in Christ as my savior to stay on the safe side!   

 

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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