Friday, November 19, 2010

Ryan Wegeng’s Critical Assessment of

The internet is full of great resources and information that can be used to help individuals become more knowledgeable of the world around us. These resources can be full of accurate information, but one must be careful and check the accuracy of the site before stating the information as fact. The reason for this being that anyone can post a website claiming to be true and have absolutely no facts to back it up. This issue becomes very apparent in controversial and very emotional topics such as the Book of Revelation. For this reason, I have been asked to do a critical analysis of an online source that has posted an interpretation of the Book of Revelation. My critique will be completed with an open mind and my new found knowledge of this book, which will help me conclude whether or not this site is worth using in the future.

While looking for a good website to critique, I searched the major search engines and I came across This particular website caught my eye because of its abundance of information. On this website, there are numerous links and sections all discussing the Book of Revelation. I chose to analyze this web page because on first glance it looks to be a great site to reference. The only problem I ran into while looking over this site is the sheer amount of information and with that being said, I will not be able to cover every page in this critique. The pages chosen will hopefully give everyone a better understanding of this site and how much truth there is to it.

Before the discussion on the site begins, it is importantly to look into who the author is and what is his religious background. The author of the website is Ross A. Taylor and he was born in England in 1955. He graduated from York University in 1976 with a degree in physics and is currently employed as Software/Process Engineer. Taylor is said to have converted to Christianity while at university in 1973. All of this information can be found on his portion of the web page. One major point of concern that I saw was the fact that he has no religious degrees and is not working in the field of religion. This should not discredit his web page, but can be seen as an area of concern and one must remember this when studying Taylor’s work.

While looking around on the site, I noticed a section on the September 11th attacks on the US. I was curious to see what he had to say about the attacks. Taylor had posted his thoughts on the 9/11 attacks and they were very opinionated. Taylor compares Babylon to New York City because of the wealth and materialistic goods that are found in New York and in the US. He later went on to say that he believes that God was punishing the US for turning its eyes from the Lord to greed and wealth. Even though he has the right to voice his opinion, this should cause one to question; is the rest of his site this opinionated and if so should one use this site for academic purposes?

Now it is time to discuss the web page and the Home Page will be first to be discussed. When one first opens up this site, the home page is calming and full links that lead the reader to different places within the site. It is very easy to navigate through and does not take a long time to find what one is looking for. The website looks to be low budget and homemade which may question the validity of the site, but once one starts to click around it is easy to see how much information is on the site. The homepage contains a link to the reference page of the website which adds credibility to the site.

After learning about the Book of Revelation in class, I understood that there is controversy around who is the author of the book. When I saw a link on the author of the book, it became clear that this link may be a key to determining if this site is factual or not. This portion of the site discussed how many believe that John the Baptist wrote the Book of Revelation, but others point to the differing writing styles of Revelation and the Gospel of John to say that he is not the author. Taylor points out a lot of similarities between Revelation and the Gospel of John, which shows objectivity in this site. Both of these claims have some backing by different religious scholars which helps add merit to the site. Taylor also points out that he believes that the book was written in AD 95, which cannot be proven even though he supports this claim with dates. Since no one can accurately tell when this book was written, I believe this date hurts the validity of the web page.

The next link that I clicked on was the interpretation link. This portion of the page was impressive because it discusses many differing opinions about the Book of Revelation. One topic that stood out the most was 3.3: The Rapture. This section showed a broad knowledge of this subject and what differing Christians believe about the rapture. Taylor lists an in depth analysis of each of these types of rapture theories: pre-tribulation rapture, post-tribulation rapture, and mid-tribulation rapture. I found not only was this section of the website interesting, but it showed that Taylor had researched the topics on this page.

Taylor’s website contains complete analysis of all twenty-two chapters of the Book of Revelation. I am going to go through a critical analysis of two of his commentaries. First I will discuss Taylor’s commentary on Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is known for the discussion of the two witnesses who are protected by God until they give their testimonies. After their testimonies are given the Beast slays them. After three and a half days, God brings them back to life and calls them back up into heaven.

Taylor’s analysis states that these two witnesses should be considered the Church. He believes that the church empowers Elijah and Moses to come and deliver their testimonies on the behalf of the Church. Taylor discusses that when God calls them up to heaven this can been seen as where Christians believe that they will be raptured up to be with God. He seems to state his own interpretation of the chapter and is not as objective as he was in the interpretation section.

After going through this analysis of Chapter 11, the way it was written seemed to make it hard to follow and somewhat confusing. If it was confusing after a semester of studying this book, then it may seem really confusing to one who is trying to understand this book for the first time. A major positive that can be taken from this commentary was the fact that Taylor has many sources and links throughout this commentary. These references and links add credit to what he discussing in this commentary. Overall, this chapter’s commentary may be more suited to one who has studied the book of Revelation before. I would struggle recommending the Chapter 11 commentary to anyone who has never studied this book before. With that being said, this commentary does clearly connect the reader to different links and references which adds validity to Taylor’s work.

The last chapter commentary that I analyzed was Chapter 17. Chapter 17 is the chapter that relates to the prostitute called Babylon who is described as riding on the back of the Beast. Taylor points out that it is believed that the prostitute is meant to represent Rome and the Beast is to represent the Emperor of Rome. The author’s commentary discusses how the prostitute is dressed in very luxurious things such as jewelry and at this time, Rome was prospering and full of luxurious items. The commentary also describes how Rome was considered by almost all Christians as being a very immoral society. This could lead one to believe the symbolism of immorality could be seen as a prostitute, which would make sense if the author really was trying to symbolize Rome in this passage.

After going back over class notes from the Chapter 17 discussion, Taylor’s interpretation of this chapter seems to fit what we discussed in class. Unlike the Chapter 11 commentary this chapter’s commentary was easy to follow. Taylor also added a few helpful comparisons in the commentary which really helps one grasp the message that he was trying to portray. Again Taylor linked sources that back up what he discussed in his commentary. Overall, the Chapter 17 commentary was well written, well cited, and could be useful for individuals who are looking to find a deeper understanding of this chapter.

When I first opened up, I had some doubts on whether this author or this website on the Book of Revelation would be credible. The reasons being are Taylor’s lack of religious background, the low budget layout, and the author’s commentary on certain topics on the home page. After analyzing the information on this webpage, most of the information is not only credible but also backed by cited sources. After reading over the interpretation link and the commentaries on Chapter’s 11 and 17, one can see that this website can be useful and for the most part the information can be trusted. One must remember that I did not have the time to sift through every piece of information and that I am not an expert on the Book of Revelation, but I believe that from what I have looked over is worth checking out.

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