Predisposed:Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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48 Responses

  1. Mike E. says:

    Interesting that it is basically a pretty simple concept. The professor simply ignored the evidence because she wanted to believe the opposite. It’s actually kinda scary. As you say, we all do it. Another thought provoker.

  2. Jean says:


    Good analogy. What is the status today of Dr. King’s reputation? Did she pay a price for ignoring the evidence?

  3. Duane Arnold says:


    She paid a price in terms of reputation, but retained her position. While she admits that the papyrus is “likely a forgery”, she has refused to retract her published work on the subject. Self-deception can go to extraordinary lengths.

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    Mike E.

    Yes, it is a pretty simple concept. I also think it becomes harmful when we universalize our own personal predispositions. It’s almost along the lines of “I like this, so everyone should like it as well. If they don’t there is something lacking or wrong…”

  5. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Jim West strongly recommended the book, and has a history of commenting about allegedly new “discoveries” that aren’t adequately vetted, of which the case study in this book is merely one. The book is on my to-get-to reading list and I’m looking forward to reading the book.

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    I highly recommend it. By way of full disclosure, I am acquainted with a few of the academics on the fringes of what took place. Perhaps it is enough to say that for many of us this was not a surprise.

  7. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    I saw West mention not being the least bit surprised by it at his site.

    I’ve been reading more on exorcism, diabology, and the potential influence of the Watcher tradition literature on NT writings this year so Veritas has had to wait and I’ve also only just recently finished Ephraim Radner’s A Profound Ignorance, which was a formidable read. His proposal that modern Western theologies have had a kind of battle between utopian pneumatologies and constraining christologies that remind us we live in flesh and blood and that Christ took this weakness is a fascinating, provocative thesis, and one that reminds me of a bunch of reasons why I stopped being Pentecostal.

    But Radner’s not the fastest read, which is one of many reasons I haven’t gotten to Veritas just yet!

  8. Linn says:
    There was a similar scandal with the Museum of the Bible-fake manuscripts that were too good to be true. I personally don’t see it any differently from looking for a saints’ toenail to prove that your faith is genuine. I’ve always believed the Bible speaks for itself in terms of “believablility.”

  9. Babylon's Dread says:

    Sobering and timely

  10. josh hamrick says:

    Great article, Duane. This field seems to be rife with forgeries, and “experts” with an axe to grind. SBC had one so-called expert. She spent $6million seminary dollars on what appears to be all fakes.

  11. richard says:

    although predisposition certainly played a big part in the deception, one may also lay blame at the feet of manipulation, which you alluded too. I believe the serpent is at times called the deceiver.

    We need to be at times like Thomas, the skeptic of the resurrection, but at other times have faith in what our friends are saying.

    The truth may be that most evangelicals are not as politicized as we are told, we may be manipulated by a media that has a viewpoint that is extremely anti-christian.

    Jesus is king.

  12. Babylon's Dread says:


    Who among the Baptists did such a thing?

  13. Duane Arnold says:


    There is actually a link between the two situations. The Greens were spending boat loads of money and seem to have attracted con men left and right…

  14. Duane Arnold says:


    At one time, I thought of taking my papyrological studies further. After reading the book, I’m glad that I stuck with historical theology and Church history!😁

  15. josh hamrick says:

    BD – The wife of a SB pope. Does that narrow it down?

  16. Babylon's Dread says:

    Josh — I am 20 years out so I am not certain but could guess. Watching Al Mohler be outflanked on the right and take public beatings over his equivocations over Critical Theory has me interested again.

    How in the world did Mohler, assistant to Roy Honeycutt as a student, go from the hunter to the hunted. Being an insider at a time when Louisville is engulfed in the race controversies has Mohler struggling to find his footing IMO. He is also the test case of the impossibility of ever gaining redemption once you begin to apologize for crimes you inherited but did not commit.

    I hear he is already running for president of the convention next year. When I was there it was Spring before those things broke.

    Toss me a vine and let me know what I am missing.

    Wants to Know Dread

  17. Em says:

    I just learned that Teddy Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln statues in Portland were torn down – there is afoot an attempt to destroy recent historical truths also
    My question is, how does one separate knowledge and experience from prejudice?

  18. Duane Arnold says:


    As I said, prejudice is about “preconceived opinions or a certain bias, not grounded in evidence or facts.” Apart from making a political statement, I’m not sure what it has to do with the incidents you are reporting…

  19. Em says:

    In my mind, though not noted here, is a similar atempt to tear down the Faith by academics today…
    Way too many young people come out of the education system brainwashed today – prejudiced by trust in the academics’ view that Christianity is what is holding us back from progress
    My mind does tend to leapfrog – sorry

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    As in all aspects of life, there are good academics and bad academics. Many in the academy are believers. As for others, I’ve not found them to be actively hostile to faith as much as considering many aspects of Christian faith to be irrelevant. They do not approach us with a persecutor’s sword but with a yawn of boredom. Some of that is our fault…

  21. Owen says:

    “Merely because I want to believe, I cannot ignore the contrary evidence of conduct and belief merely on the basis of my personal predisposition. ”

    This argument has been hurled at me a few times regarding simple belief in God, or the Christian narrative. The “contrary evidence ” cited at the time has been mostly the apparent contradictions in the Bible, or the whole “how could a supposed loving God do this, or not do that, etc…”.

    So that makes me wonder – are some people predisposped to faith in God, others not so much? Do cultural differences factor in?

    Probably one of the mysteries we’re not meant to try and understand…..

  22. Duane Arnold says:


    How we come to faith is a mystery! For myself, I’ve never really been evidentiary based when it comes to my faith in Christ. Most apologetical schemes leave me cold! I do, however, separate my faith from much that surrounds my faith – Scripture, History, Tradition, Church polities, etc. It allows me to engage reason in these areas and look at the evidence in a different manner. It may not work for everyone, but it has worked for me through the years…

  23. Babylon's Dread says:

    This post is reminiscent of Peter Boghossian and his leadership of the Grievance Studies hoax revealing the weakness of the peer review system. Academic scholarship has never been more ideologically based as we have been warned by Johnathan Haidt who warns that universities have been take over by a telos of social justice abandoning the pure search for truth.

    This was a good and salient post. We are all prone to confirmation bias which is why we need processes that challenge our work.

  24. Duane Arnold says:


    I don’t buy into theories… I just trust in good and honest scholarship…

  25. filbertz says:

    Damn, you got me on “There is, however, a serpent in the garden.” I usually track with your writing in such a manner that I sense where you’re going early on and play a game with myself to see if you end up where I imagine you will. Fatty curve ball today. Whiff. I suppose it was due to the content having so much intrigue and hubris. Well done on all counts.

  26. Babylon's Dread says:


    The point of the Grievance Studies failure is that the peer review process is not as devoted to honest scholarship as yourself. This is a “peer reviewed study” seems to be about as careful as the FISA court threshold of FBI spy applications. General trust means that our processes are neither sturdy nor faithful.

  27. Babylon's Dread says:

    Further, I suggested no theory… only evidence that the scholarship of academia may be as compromised as your Dr King and for the same reasons.

  28. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks… We all need a curve ball every once in a while 😁.

  29. Duane Arnold says:


    “General trust means that our processes are neither sturdy nor faithful.”

    I would agree with you to an extent. The submission of papers, especially to fringe journals and publications, does not always result in what was once the standard of being “peer reviewed”. Part of this is owing to the proliferation of such fringe publications. Another part is the need/desire for publication by young academics. It used to be “publish or perish”. Today it is “publish AND perish”. One might have thought better of Harvard Divinity School, but sadly, they obviously let their standards slip. Sabar outlines how this happened in the book. It is not a pretty story…

  30. Em says:

    Just got an Email (with facts/documentation) that pretty much proves the point that the U.S. is being gaslighted today … too long to copy and paste here…. Bit i think we, who know to whom to pray, need to pray. 🙏

  31. Em says:

    Should have posted my 10:59 on Open Blog’ .. My apology

  32. Muff Potter says:

    And did those feet in ancient times walk upon England’s mountains green?…(Blake)

    Or if Jesus had a woman as lover and confidant, why should I be horrified?
    Putting aside the issue of a forged papyrus, and even if it were true, why should I be horrified?
    It would not detract one electron from my belief that he is fully God and fully human at the same time.

  33. Em says:

    Jesus, son of God, became a man with a mission – to carry God’s integrity through as a human without self indulgence or comprise… So?
    I suspect, as a man, his nature did appreciate what a woman was – a helpmate etc. – but it doesn’t wash that he courted or indulged his human nature as a normal-so-called man would have done…. think about it… conceived of the Holy Spirit?

  34. Jean says:

    “Jesus, son of God, became a man with a mission – to carry God’s integrity through as a human without self indulgence or comprise…”

    Do you have a verse in support of this?

  35. Em says:

    John 6:38,39. Matt 8:34. John 4:34. 1Peter 4:1,2
    Hints perhaps, but there’s much said in Scripture that causes most to conclude that Jesus was focused on His mission

  36. Muff Potter says:

    I’m wondering what happened to my previous comment?
    Did it get thrown into the waste bin?
    Too controversial?… Maybe too offensive to the regular clientele here?
    Mayhap I should take my own advice:
    — don’t go where ya’ don’t belong Muff… —

  37. Babylon's Dread says:

    Looks like its there to me Muff — so mulligan to the waste bin — too offensive for this shark tank? We’ll just eat you.

  38. When I took cultural anthropology in 1991, a student asked about reverse racism. We wetter told that it didn’t exist, by the definition of racism. That’s arguable either way but I saw the point. We were also told that there was no such thing as cannibalism, and that it was made up by Christian missionaries to demonize native peoples. I guess that’s what was accepted in the anthropological community at the time. That was also the time when The Civil War was about states’ rights and not slavery…

    Those same years was when I read Holy Blood, Holy Grail, by Lincoln, Leigh, and Baigent. So when Dan Brown briefly became the darling of America for exposing Christianity as based upon a hoax, I thought, “waitaminute… I read that book, plagiarism lite! Leigh, Baigent… Leigh Teabing! Kind of obvious.” Two of the authors unsuccessfully sued brown for plaigiarism.

    Also in the 90s, just before the WWW took off, I saw supposed scholarly articles on Usenet that said the Jesus story ripped off the story of Horus. It gave me a brief doubting of faith even though it didn’t jibe with what little Egyptian mythology I knew. I tracked a lot down and concluded that the theory was based upon a single book written by a guy in the 19th Century. Doubters took out as gospel and spread it over the interwebs. No peer review, no questions. Confirmation bias.

    I’m trying to teach my kids to both respect authority, but that it’s also ok to question, but that they should do so logically, not emotionally.

  39. Jean says:

    I don’t think Christ having remained single and chaste had anything whatsoever to do purity or holiness, as if a married person or a father or mother could not be just as pure or just as holy as a virgin, because marriage and sex are not inherently impure or unholy. God created the estate of marriage and created human beings with sexual and procreative organs. God called his creation very good.

    God, indeed does want children, and the kind of children He conceives are “born,
    not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” Children of God are born “of water and the Spirit.” This is water that brings children of God into the world is not amniotic fluid, but baptismal water, which together with the Spirit are the “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”.

    The Sacrament (sacred mystery) of marriage is a sign of Christ and His Church. He did not come into the world to settle for the shadow, but He came to create a bride for Himself out of God’s enemies. He supplies the wedding garment as well: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

    On the other hand, Christ and the apostles never diminished the estates of marriage and parenting at all. Both estates are upheld in the NT for both clergy and laity.

    “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”

  40. UnCCed says:

    Our (and I mean ALL) predisposition should be required teaching, that is to discover ours and others, before ANY other adult classes.
    It would help many who think they’re following Jesus at their unofficial satellite RNC (or DNC) outposts (or biz networking groups, etc), and why they’re missing the spiritual life.
    To put it another way, I’ve found it’s not the person with baggage which concerns me, it’s the person who thinks they have none.

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think it would be cool to meet the physical descendents of Jesus.
    Imagine if he had a couple of kids on the side. I wonder how many would be among us today?

  42. Duane Arnold says:


    “To put it another way, I’ve found it’s not the person with baggage which concerns me, it’s the person who thinks they have none.”

    Well put, and I think part of the process is sorting out the baggage that we all bring to our efforts, especially in the field of scholarly research. Unfortunately, currently it seems that everybody has an axe to grind…

  43. Duane Arnold says:

    The New Victor

    I define ‘Holy Blood, Holy Grail’ and to a lesser extent, ‘The DaVinci Code’, as being in the category of esoterica. I think it is a conspiratorial view of history constructed from disparate facts and theories, some true, others merely myth. Why they gain traction (apart from entertainment) mystifies me, apart from concluding that we all love a good story – whether true or not!

  44. Em says:

    Jean, there is NOTHING wrong or “iimpure” with marriage, nor with sex as God designed it. HOWEVER, there is the fact that Jesus’ conception was a work of the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin. His blood did not carry OUR old sin natures. IF he has children they are born again, the Redeemed, not little sinless humans running around icognito.
    Although, it wouldn’t surprise me to find some demented folk here and there who think they are…. 🙆
    Busy morning, so I’ll just leave this comment and run

  45. Duane Arnold says:

    “Before I talk about the reasons why almost every New Testament scholar believes that Jesus was unmarried, let me say that my faith does not rise or fall on whether Jesus was married. The Christian faith is not based on Jesus’s celibacy, but on the Incarnation and the Resurrection. In short, a married man healing the sick, stilling storms and raising the dead is just as impressive as an unmarried man doing so. More to the point, if a married man himself rises from the dead after being in a tomb for three days, I would be following him. Married or unmarried, Jesus is still the Son of God.”
    James Martin, SJ

    And, just to be clear, no mention of Christ in a marital state is made in the NT, nor in Early Christian writers, excepting some innuendoes in gnostic treatises…

  46. Xenia says:

    James Martin, SJ?

    I am not a fan.

    But your own paragraph is true.

  47. Duane Arnold says:


    I’ve known Jim for years. It was originally as the friend of a good Jesuit friend of mine (now departed this life) who was an editor at ‘America’. I don’t always agree with Jim (although most of the time I do) but he has a fine mind and a real expertise in addressing the public square…

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