Away with the Atheists

Polycarp: 2nd Century Atheist, Bishop, Martyr

Contrary to the opinion of some, this post’s title was not the rallying cry of the alleged Bush theocracy that infringed on the rights of people who steadfastly believe in spontaneous generation.

Rather, the post’s title was a derisive chant shouted by 2nd Century pagans in reference to Christians. That “atheist” now refers to a subset of modern-day pagans is an irony lost on many.

Usage of the phrase, ‘away with the atheists!’, is documented in the account of Polycarp’s martyrdom (you can read it here).

“Away with the atheists!” was an appeal to the Roman government to murder people whose only “crime” was total and utter trust in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.

The Roman proconsul plead with Polycarp to condemn his fold by yelling “Away with the atheists!”. The proconsul uttered these words to the 86-year-old bishop,

Have respect to your age! Swear by the fortune of Caesar; change your mind; say, ‘Away with the atheists!’

After this he plead with Polycarp to curse our Lord, to which the aged bishop replied:

Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?

The proconsul then came back with threats. First it was wild beasts, which would have brought delight to the bloodthirsty ‘theists’ in the crowd.

Next came the threat of being burned alive. Then Polycarp, 2nd Century atheist, replied,

The fire you threaten burns but an hour and is quenched after a little; for you do not know the fire of the coming judgment and everlasting punishment that is laid up for the impious. But why do you delay? Come, do what you will.

I guess the faithful bishop didn’t buy annihilationism

World Oldest Tree Clocks in at almost 10K

Caught the following story and it piqued my interest:
“Swedish researchers find world’s oldest living tree”

Prior to reading the story I felt sorry for the (forgive the phrasing) poor sap that had to count all the rings. But little did I know that carbon dating was used to date the 9.550 year-old spruce (I wonder if it’s related to Treebeard?)

I’m not a dendrologist nor do I play one on this blog, but does a tree that old have thousands of rings in its trunk?

If 10,000 years could be accurately counted using a tree’s growth rings, what would Bishop Ussher, the man who calculated the day of Creation sometime in October of 4004 B.C., have to say about that?

Well we know what another erudite and wizened (though fictional) creature might say, “When 9,000 years old you reach, look as good you will not!”