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By Michael Runyan
Most Christians fail to comprehend the implications of the belief system they embrace. Much of what they ‘ know’ about their religion is a highly sanitized version that is promoted by their priests and pastors. Few bother to read and understand what is written in the Bible or think critically about what Christian doctrine implies.
Each point listed below presents a claim for questioning the authenticity of Christianity. In total, they lay out a convincing case that Christianity is untrue. This is based on the premise that a true, factual religion guided by a supernatural god would be precise, flawless, authentic, transcendent, unmatched, unique, prescient, prophetic, revelatory, internally consistent, and scientifically accurate. In Christianity, we see none of these elements.
Gary Shadle is a theist who volunteered to construct a rebuttal to each of the listed reasons. His comments are posted under the page “REBUTTAL-GARY SHADLE.”
[This article may be shared, tweeted, linked, bookmarked, copied, emailed, or facebooked]
[The author is available to speak at conferences or other gatherings, to deliver a one-hour Powerpoint presentation discussing the top 60 or so points, for travel expenses only.]
[It is generally assumed herein that Jesus was a unique individual, although the author acknowledges that significant evidence suggests he is purely mythical or a composite of several 1st Century preachers]
There is a great website that complements this one that I recommend, The Church of Truth:
(1) Jesus Seminar
The Jesus Seminar was a collaborative effort of approximately 200 professionally-trained specialists in the field of religion tasked with the goal to cut through the myth and expose the historical Jesus. Membership was limited to scholars with advanced academic degrees (Ph.D. or equivalent) in religious studies or related disciplines from accredited universities worldwide and to published authors who were recognized authorities in the field of religion (by special invitation only). The task force convened on and off from 1985 to 2006.
The principal finding was that the quotes and deeds of Jesus as written in the Gospels are mostly mythical. In fact, only 18% of the sayings and 16% of the deeds attributed to Jesus were thought to be authentic. The scholars used cross-cultural anthropological studies to set the general background, narrowing in on the history and society of first-century Palestine, and used textural analysis along with anthropological, historical, and archaeological evidence.
Other findings of the group included:
Jesus of Nazareth was born during the reign of Herod the Great.
His mother’s name was Mary, and he had a human father whose name may not have been Joseph.
Jesus was born in Nazareth, not in Bethlehem.
Jesus was an itinerant sage who shared meals with social outcasts.
Jesus practiced faith healing without the use of ancient medicine or magic, relieving afflictions we now consider psychosomatic.
He did not walk on water, feed the multitude with loaves and fishes, change water into wine or raise Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus was arrested in Jerusalem and crucified by the Romans.
He was executed as a public nuisance, not for claiming to be the Son of God.
The empty tomb is a fiction – Jesus was not raised bodily from the dead.
Belief in the resurrection is based on the visionary experiences of Paul, Peter and Mary Magdalene.
The significance of this effort is that it is the first time that Jesus’s life has been objectively analyzed by a team of highly qualified reviewers. As such, it remains the best effort to date to ascertain the true historical Jesus, stripped of the myths that have been attached to him over the centuries. Although many religious leaders objected to the findings, it must be acknowledged that the level of effort, the range of resources used, and the qualifications of the reviewers lend much weight to their conclusions.
(2) The Christian world versus the real world
The Bible speaks of a world that you can only experience by reading its books. Look for it not in your neighborhood, your city, your state, your country, or anywhere on planet Earth- it is a world gone with the wind, or much more likely, a world that never really existed.
The following quote is taken from John W. Loftus, at his website “Why I Am Not a Christian”:
The Bible is filled with superstitious beliefs that modern people rightly reject. It describes a world where a snake and a donkey communicated with human beings in a human language, where people could reach upward of 900 years old, where a woman instantaneously transformed into a pillar of salt, where a pillar of fire could lead people by night, and where the sun stopped moving across the sky or could even back up.
In this imaginary world an ax head could float on water, a star could point down to a specific home, people could instantly speak in unlearned foreign languages, and one’s shadow or handkerchief could heal people. It is a world where a flood can cover the whole earth, and a man can walk on water, calm a stormy sea, change water into wine, or be swallowed by a “great fish” and live to tell about it.
This world is populated by demons that can wreak havoc on Earth and make people very sick. It is a world of idol worship, where human and animal sacrifices please God. Visions, inspired dreams, prophetic utterances, miracle workers, magicians, diviners, and sorcerers also populate this world. It is a world where God lived in the sky (Heaven), and the dead “lived” on in the dark recesses of the Earth (Sheol).
This is a strange world when compared to our world, but Christians believe that this world was real in the past. My contention is not that ancient people were stupid, but that they were very superstitious. As Christopher Hitchens puts it: “One must state it plainly. Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge.”
The Christian world is also one that was created in 6 days with Earth at its center, a world where Neanderthals, Homo erectus, and Homo habilis have no place in history, where dead people rose out of their graves, walked about the city and conversed with the living, a place where demons could enter pigs and cause them to run off a cliff and drown themselves, where two bears can maul and kill 42 children, a place where a woman can conceive and deliver while remaining a virgin, where the act of sending dead people to a place of eternal torture can be seen as a just punishment for living an ordinary human life, a place where angels interact with the local citizenry and make important proclamations, where slavery is held up as an honorable ‘enterprise,’ where women are a form of property, and where rebellious children, adulterers, and homosexuals are considered so evil that they deserve to be stoned to death.
And finally it is a world where God feels that he must kill his own son because he can find no other way to forgive people of their sins.
Yes, this seems like a very strange world to anyone alive today. It should take only a few moments of reflection to understand, to grasp, to figure this whole thing out, that the god of Christianity is to adults as Santa Claus is to children- an imaginary friend.
Christianity’s invention of Hell is a gift to anyone seeking truth because it decisively reveals the man-made nature of the faith. Hell is not discussed in the Old Testament, but that didn’t stop Jesus from announcing it many times in the Gospels, mostly in a very threatening tone. He made sure to let us know that most people will be sentenced there to suffer unending physical pain. Here are three of the forty-five Gospel scriptures where Jesus mentions Hell:
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
“The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
“And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”
A belief in Hell is unavoidable if one is to believe in Jesus. If Hell doesn’t exist, then why would God have allowed it to be so prominently addressed in the Bible? This point cannot be overstated. If God is as most Christians claim, all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-powerful, then he would not have allowed a concept so ultimate and absolute as Hell to be documented in the most important scriptures of the faith (the Gospels) if it was not a factual place of post-life punishment.
This elicits an unsettling comparison. Hitler dispatched Jews to the concentration camps and gas chambers for no reason other than their ethnic identity. This was a temporal punishment; it sometimes lasted only a few days. God, on the other hand, is prepared to send good, well-accomplished, and generous people to a place of everlasting punishment and torture for the ‘crime’ of not believing in something for which no credible evidence exists. The god of the Bible is, in effect, worse than Hitler.
This brings up another interesting point. Christians claim that the Bible is the backbone of the United States Constitution. The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution states that “cruel and unusual punishments [shall not be] inflicted”. It should be obvious that placing a person in Hell is both cruel and unusual. Consequently, Christianity violates the United States Constitution.
Any person possessing critical thinking skills can understand that a magnificently powerful god would have no incentive, interest, or even the slightest inclination to inflict pain and suffering on dead people. Hell makes no sense and it represents an ill-fated and entirely avoidable error in the foundation of Christianity.
(4) Hitler/Murdered Jews and Ted Bundy/Andrew Carnegie
Related to the previous point, Christianity can be understood to endorse a spectacularly cruel and senseless outcome of how certain people are judged. All one has to assume is that Hitler, a Catholic by birth, understood the gravity of his sins and confessed them to Jesus before committing suicide. According to Christian doctrine, he was awarded entry into heaven with this simple act. On the other hand, the 6,000,000 Jews that he condemned to death, and who by default failed to accept Christ, were sent to Hell. The image of Anne Frank writhing in pain while Adolf enjoys a latte presents a stark visual that there is something seriously wrong with Christian doctrine.
Similarly, Ted Bundy, a convicted murderer of over 30 young women, confessed his sins before his execution and, according to Christian doctrine, was sent directly to heaven. On the other hand, Andrew Carnegie, an atheist and philanthropist who donated $350 million ($76 billion in current dollars) to charities, foundations, and universities, was sent to Hell. It is hard to imagine anything more unjust or immoral, but this absurdity is precisely in accord with conventional Christianity.
(5) The Evil Nature of God
Christians have consistently ignored the Old Testament portrayal of God’s murderous behavior. Often they claim that the New Testament overrides and replaces the Old Testament, based on the idea that Jesus supplied mankind with a new covenant. But what cannot be denied is that Jesus himself was a student of the Old Testament, firmly believed in it, and warned that it was not to be ignored or discarded.
Therefore, Christians must concede that God performed the evil deeds that are documented in the Bible. Otherwise Jesus would have corrected the scriptures and explained that God the Father (or he himself?) did not commit those atrocities. To repeat, according to Christians, Jesus was God, and he was physically on the earth teaching from the Old Testament. If the scriptures were wrong in their portrayal of God, Jesus would have emphatically proclaimed this fact to his followers and whoever else would listen.
The following is taken from http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2010/04/drunk-with-blood-gods-killings-in-bible.html, listing 158 killing events for which God was either directly or indirectly responsible. The complete list is shown below for effect, but one in particular deserves a focused look, I Samuel 15:3:
“Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”
There is no evidence that Jesus denounced this scripture, and apparently it was in keeping with his concept of God the Father. Any person who worships a god who gave this order is an accomplice after the fact.
According to the Bible, God killed or authorized the killings of up to 25 million people. This is the God of which Jesus was an integral part. That is to say: Jesus himself was an accessory to these murders and massacres. Therefore, Christianity must own them and admit that their god is in fact a serial, genocidal, infanticidal, filicidal, and pestilential murderer.
(6) Failure to Return
Biblical historians are quite clear on this matter- Early Christians, notably Jesus, Paul, the disciples, and other followers were all convinced that the end of times was near and that an earthly kingdom presided over by Jesus would be established within the lifetime of some people who were then currently alive. The Bible claims that Jesus made the following comment:
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Jesus also advised against going to court against someone who steals from you and also told people not to store up stocks or reserves for the future. Clearly, he thought the end was very near.
Likewise, Paul advised followers not to marry and that the end time was near. In this scripture he obviously believes that some of the people he is talking to will still be alive at the second coming.
I Thessalonians 4: 16-18
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
The obvious fact is that the second coming was not forthcoming at that time, or even close to being near. The nearly 2000-year delay is a strong piece of evidence that Christianity is a failed religion.
The following quote from Stephen L. Harris, Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University- Sacramento, completes this point with a devastating argument. Remember that Jesus was a Jew who had no intention to deviate from the Hebrew scriptures:
Jesus did not accomplish what Israel’s prophets said the Messiah was commissioned to do: He did not deliver the covenant people from their Gentile enemies, reassemble those scattered in the Diaspora, restore the Davidic kingdom, or establish universal peace (cf.Isa. 9:6–7; 11:7–12:16, etc.). Instead of freeing Jews from oppressors and thereby fulfilling God’s ancient promises—for land, nationhood, kingship, and blessing—Jesus died a “shameful” death, defeated by the very political powers the Messiah was prophesied to overcome. Indeed, the Hebrew prophets did not foresee that Israel’s savior would be executed as a common criminal by Gentiles, making Jesus’ crucifixion a “stumbling block” to scripturally literate Jews. (1 Cor.1:23)
(7) Early Christians were uneducated and superstitious
No matter what Christianity has evolved into after 2000 years, it is instructive and illuminating to consider the types of people who became its first followers. This gives a clue as to the degree of credibility it possessed at a time when the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the chronological contemporaries of Jesus were still alive- that is, while the original history of the church was still fresh in peoples’ minds. It would be similar as looking today at the history of World War II through the lens of what people had heard from their deceased ancestors.
Unfortunately for Christianity, the early followers of the faith were almost exclusively from the lower classes, mostly uneducated, unskilled, and illiterate. The follow excerpt is taken from:
The character of the early Christians would probably be most surprising to modern lay Christians. The bulk of the early converts were from the lower classes in the cities. As the great historian Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) summarized in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1788):
“the new sect of the Christians was almost entirely composed of the dregs of the populace, of peasants and mechanists, of boys and women, of beggars and slaves, the last of whom might sometimes introduce the missionaries into the rich and noble families to whom they belonged. These obscure teachers … are as mute in public as they are loquacious and dogmatical in private. Whilst they cautiously avoid the dangerous encounter of philosophers, they mingle with the rude and illiterate crowd, and insinuate themselves into these minds whom their age, their sex, or their best education had the best disposed to receive the impression of superstitious errors.”
…. for now it is enough to note that by and large the early Christians were mainly illiterate, uncultured and incapable of critical thinking. Hence Christianity competed for these people, not with the Roman thinkers, but with the mystery religions. Both Christianity and the mystery religions have irrational elements which were of much appeal to such a group of people. The skeptic J.M. Robertson (1856-1933) summarizes their character such:
“Taken individually … an average Christians of the second century was likely to be unlettered townsman of the “lower middle” or poorer classes; either bitterly averse to “idols”, theaters, the circus, and the public baths, or persuaded that he ought to be; utterly credulous as to demons and miracles; incapable of criticism as to sacred books; readily emotional towards the crucified God and the sacred mystery in which were given the “body and blood”; devoid alike of aesthetic and of philosophic faculty; much given to his ritual; capable of fanatical hatred.”
It is also important to note that the great thinkers of the time rejected Christianity out of hand. From the same website:
It is therefore not surprising that the greatest thinkers of that age: philosophers such as Seneca (c5BC-AD65), Epictetus (c1st cent) and Marcus Aurelius (c121-180); statesmen such as Pliny the Elder (AD23-79), his adopted son Pliny the Younger (c62-114) ; historians such as Plutarch (c46-120) and Tacitus (c55-c117) and prominent physicians such as Galen (c2nd cent); who through their work and contemplation had “purified their mind from the prejudices of popular superstition”, either rejected outright or did not consider the nascent religion of Christianity.
The fallacies and deceptions surrounding Christianity were plainly evident in the first hundred years of its existence, allowing the learned class to summarily dismiss it as a fraudulent enterprise. It was only after a few centuries passed, followed by the adoption of Christianity as the Roman state religion, that it began to attract members of the landed and ruling class. However, even then it was often more for political purposes than an expression of genuine faith.
The recent history of Christianity, exhibited by the decline in the mainstream liberal churches and the rise of the conservative fundamentalist Pentecostal ones is, in effect, a return to early Christianity. Currently, most of the truly exuberant followers of the faith are poorly educated, scientifically illiterate people with poor critical thinking skills. Thus, if this trend continues, Christianity may well end up in a few centuries being perceived in a similar way as it was 2000 years ago.
(8) Borrowed Miraculous Elements
Most of the miracles discussed in the Gospels were common elements of pre-Christian pagan religions including:
- miraculous foretelling of a deity
- virgin birth
- a guiding star
- a nativity visit by royalty
- the baby god threatened by a jealous ruler
- manifesting extraordinary wisdom in childhood
- turning water into wine
- walking on water
- enabling the lame to walk
- healing the sick
- raising up dead persons
- restoring sight to the blind
- allaying storms on the sea
- casting out devils
- communion with a holy meal representing the god’s body
- being put to death
- the sun becoming dark after the death
- rising from the dead
- talking to disciples after resurrecting
- ascension into heaven
- providing salvation for mankind.
The truth is that very few of the miracles discussed in the Bible are unique to Christianity. This is a strong piece of evidence that Christianity is a man-made, cobbled, and fundamentally plagiarized faith.
(9) Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments have been presented as the ultimate guide to human morality. But a close inspection reveals that only five have a meaningful impact- do not steal, do not perjure, do not kill, honor your parents, and don’t commit adultery. Just as revealing is what is not included:
- No proscription of slavery
- No proscription of child endangerment
- No proscription of bigotry
- No proscription of racism
- No proscription of sexism
- No proscription of classism
- No proscription of blackmail or bribery
- No proscription of discrimination against LGBTQ persons
- No proscription of incest
- No proscription of torture or terrorism
- No proscription of rape
- No proscription against the mistreatment, exploitation, and relocation of native populations
- No command to treat animals humanely
- No command to take care of the earth’s environment
- No command to help others in need
- No command to settle disputes peacefully
- No command to distribute the earth’s resources fairly
It should be obvious that an all-knowing , all-wise, all- discerning, supernatural god would have devised a much better set of rules for mankind, a set that would have placed humanity on a more peaceful, loving, and kind trajectory that the one we have experienced.
Additionally, most Christians do not realize that there are two versions of the 10 Commandments, one in Exodus 20 and the other in Exodus 34. The second version bears little resemblance to the first, but they were the only ones referred to as the 10 Commandments. Christians use the first version, though it appears by reading Exodus that they were superseded by the second version after Moses allegedly smashed the original tablets.
(10) Jesus baptized by John the Baptist
In the gospel of Matthew (3:11), Jesus presents himself to John the Baptist and is baptized. This presents several problems for Christianity. First, baptism is a ritual that claims to remove the stain of original sin, but according to Christian dogma, Jesus was sinless and therefore should not have required this rite.
Second, to present oneself for baptism is a subservient action, implying that the person performing the baptism is of a higher station, though, according to Christian theology, Jesus was certainly superior to John the Baptist.
Third, the scripture states that John the Baptist recognized Jesus as the promised savior, and yet, inexplicably, he does not become a follower of Jesus, but remains the leader of his own group of followers.
This is an embarrassment to the faith because if this event has any historical validity, it is apparent that Jesus considered himself a sinful mortal man needing baptism and was probably a disciple of John the Baptist. He likely followed him for awhile, and only became an independent religious leader after John’s arrest and execution. And this assumes the unproven assumption that Jesus was a real person.
(11) Delayed Documentation
The accounts of Jesus’s life in the gospels were written well after the events allegedly occurred. The crucifixion of Jesus is believed to have occurred around 29 AD. The best estimates date the gospels as follows:
Mark: AD 68-73
Matthew: AD 70-100
Luke: AD 80-100
John: AD 90-110
The time lag between the events and the documentation was long enough for exaggeration and myths to contaminate the historical accounts. Almost every person who had direct contact with Jesus was dead by the time that the Gospels were written. It would be similar if a person today wrote a biography of Martin Luther King just by talking to people who heard something about him from their now-deceased ancestors.
(12) Jesus purposely confuses outsiders so they won’t be saved
The following scripture is from Mark 4:11-12:
And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
This is one of the surviving scriptures that reveal the real, historical Jesus. The reason that it is considered a genuine quote, or at least the general idea of what Jesus preached, is that it is contrary to the finished product of Christian theology- that all people can be saved. Some of what Jesus allegedly said after resurrecting (in scriptures that are likely forgeries), to go to all nations and preach the word, directly contradicts what is being said here.
What is revealed by this scripture is that Jesus’s ministry was targeted only to the Jews. That is why he preached only to the Jews and used language, idioms, and parables to confuse the non-Jews who might be overhearing his message. He had no intention to bring his message of salvation to the Gentiles, who, as revealed in other scriptures, he clearly disdained. Therefore, Christianity is a forgery of Jesus’s true mission.
(13) Evil spirits
In Biblical times, it was widely understood that many of the maladies that people were suffering were caused by evil spirits. This included many forms of mental illness and other organic diseases. Over time, scientific discoveries revealed the actual causes of these problems, and the concept of evil spirits was discarded. Unfortunately for Christianity, the ancient misguided beliefs remain ensconced in their scriptures.
One day Jesus cast out a demon from a man who couldn’t speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed,
Matthew 8: 18-34
When He arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met Him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they pleaded with Him to leave their region.
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
These are only a few examples of the references to demons and evil spirits in the Gospels. It should be noted that if Jesus was God, he would have known that the diseases he was ‘curing’ were not caused by evil spirits and would have informed his followers of the same. The fact that the Gospels align with the unscientific ideas of the times indicates that they were written by men without inspiration from a god.
(14) Polytheism and the Trinity
Christianity was born from a strictly monotheistic religion, Judaism, a faith that itself evolved from a polytheistic model, considering their god to be one of many [one of the 10 Commandments is to have no other gods before Yahweh, implying the existence of others], to a doctrine claiming their god to be the only one in existence. The belief in a single god is considered by religious historians to be an important maturation in sectarian theology.
A few decades after Jesus died, Christianity ran into a problem. The Apostle Paul as well as the Gospel of John made Jesus into a god himself and left congregants with the impression that there were two gods, the Father and the Son. Thus, Christianity was beginning to lose the mantle of being monotheistic and thereby risking the denigration of being compared to the polytheistic pagan religions.
The solution to a problem often creates an even bigger problem and that, it can be argued, is just what happened. Straining to find (or create) scripture to support a synthesis of the gods into a single entity, the idea of the trinity was born. Because the scriptures clearly defined Jesus and the Father as being separate beings, both in the image of human males, a ‘glue’ was needed to fuse them into a single consciousness. Thus the Holy Spirit was invented.
If you ask 100 Christians to define the Holy Spirit, you will get 100 answers because the scriptures provide no description. All Christians could do was to point to one scripture that hinted at this third divine being, Matthew 28:19, with Jesus saying:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
It is likely that this scripture was a later edit and was not part of the original text. There is a further mention of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 13:14:
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
However, this provides little evidence that Jesus ever preached this theology. How could one-third of God be left out of the Old Testament and be so thinly mentioned in the New Testament?
So Christianity in struggling to regain the respect of being monotheistic actually became more polytheistic, going from two to three gods, and then mystifyingly trying to say that they were all the same being. This didn’t have to happen as there was no need for Christianity to make Jesus into a god. It was a fatal mistake to do so, and Christianity is paying for it today with the baffling and confounding idea that three gods are one.
(15) The Shroud of Turin scam and the implications of confirmation bias
There are many historians and pseudo scientists who have assumed that the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus, and are consistently searching for (or creating) evidence to support that conclusion. This is despite a definitive dating process that placed the age of the cloth between 1260 and 1390 CE, precisely during the time that it first appeared in history and concurrent with a time that thousands of fake holy relics, including over 40 other ‘authentic’ shrouds of Jesus, were being made and sold.
Some shroud apologists claim that the analyzed segment was a patch that was made during the 14th century, while entertaining the utterly unbelievable idea that the esteemed team of scientists who selected the portion of the cloth for examination could not identify the presence of a patch, either from the weave pattern or the stitches that would have been present on the back side. The Vatican gave the final approval for the selection, and, clearly hoping that the science would support the authenticity of the shroud, they would have been very concerned about picking a patched area that would have returned a date inconsistent with Jesus’s death.
Most of the patchwork was done after a fire damaged the shroud in 1532. If one of these patches was selected by mistake, the dating process would have identified the date in the 16th Century instead of the 14th Century.
To counter this evidence, shroud apologists are now claiming that the patch was invisible on both sides of the cloth, but they fail to explain why this highly-skilled patching technique was not used two centuries later after the fire.
The apologists also dismiss or are ignorant of the fact that the shroud does not comply with the Gospel scriptures in certain ways, but most notably in its overall shape and construction:
‘Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.’ [John 19:40]
‘So Peter… reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter… went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.’ [John 20:3-7]
‘Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves…’ [Luke 24:12]
The Shroud of Turin is a single rectangular piece of cloth, not made of strips of linen. The Gospel reference to linen strips for the body and a separate cloth for the head is consistent with Jewish burial rites of the First Century. Thus, to believe that the shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus is also to concede that the Gospel accounts are wrong.
The image on the cloth has the appearance of a photograph, but if the shroud was actually wrapped around Jesus at the time he resurrected, the image would have been distorted by the way it would have been curved around his body. For example his two ears would have been widely distorted in the horizontal direction. For the image to have been made as seen, the shroud would have had to have been stretched out flat above his body and then curved around to the back side. Obviously, the shroud would not have been in this orientation.
Additionally, no examples of the shroud linen’s complex herringbone twill weave date from the first century. However the weave was used in Europe in the Middle Ages, coincidentally when the shroud first appeared.
Other problems exist with the figure on the shroud. His front is two inches taller than his back and he exhibits elongated limbs indicating that he would have been afflicted with gigantism if he had been an actual person. Also, pigments and paints widely used in Italy during the Middle Ages have been found on the shroud, used to mimic dried blood.
Also, the figure on the shroud is 6 feet tall, while the average Jewish man of the 1st Century was only 5 feet tall. It is highly unlikely that Jesus was a foot taller than the average man of his time.
An objective and more complete analysis of the Shroud of Turin is available at this website:
And additionally, at this website:
The following was taken from:
In fact, the shroud has no history prior to the mid-fourteenth century, at which time (according to a later bishop’s report) the forger who made it was discovered and he confessed to having “cunningly painted” the image. Obvious problems with the image include hair that hangs as for a standing rather than recumbent figure, “blood” flows that are unrealistically “picture-like” and suspiciously still red (unlike real blood that blackens over time), and the unnatural elongation of the figure (resembling those in gothic art). “Blind” microscopic analyses show significant traces of paint pigment on image areas, thus proving the pigment red ocher was a component of the image. The “blood” was actually tempera paint. In 1988 samples of the cloth were independently carbon-dated at three laboratories around the world. Using accelerator mass spectrometry, the labs obtained dates in close agreement: The cloth dated from about 1260-1390, and that time span was given enhanced credibility by correct dates obtained from samples of ancient cloths of known date.
As to the “impossible” image on the shroud likened to a photographic negative because its darks and lights are reversed skeptics have countered that the reversal is only partial and that similar quasi-negative images are automatically produced by an artistic rubbing technique. (Somewhat analogous to a gravestone rubbing, the cloth is first wet-molded to a bas-relief and, when it is dry, pigment is rubbed on with a dauber so as to darken the prominences and leave the recesses white. I proposed this solution in 1978.)
What is occurring with the Shroud of Turin is also happening with other relics, supposed miracles, and other matters that Christianity has promoted as fact, by consistently using confirmation bias (the act of placing the conclusion before the research) as the means of determining truth. This is why critical thinking skills are not promoted by religious leaders, because the exercise of them inevitably leads to the evaporation of their claims.
(16) God has an important message for mankind, but fails to clearly deliver it
So, after waiting 200,000 years after modern humans evolved, God decides to deliver an important message to mankind. You would think it is essential that all of the people on earth receive this vital message and that it is clear and unambiguous. Let’s see how that worked out:
Jesus is sent to the earth, but he only interacts with a small tribe of Jews in the Middle East, leaving Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, North America, and South America in the dark.
The message of Jesus doesn’t even reach all of these continents until 1500 years later.
Jesus did not write anything down so we can’t be sure of his real message.
Neither Jesus’s disciples nor anyone who directly witnessed Jesus’s mission wrote down anything (all of the apparent references to them are forgeries).
When someone finally started to document Jesus’s life, it is at least 40 years after he died and is based solely on hearsay, or what people seem to remember.
Even given that, we don’t have the originals of what these authors wrote, but only copies of copies of copies.
We have direct evidence that many errors were made in the copying process.
We have direct evidence that some stories were added to the originals, i.e. deliberate forgeries.
We have direct evidence that some of the translations from Hebrew to Greek to English were in error (this is how the Hebrew term for ‘young woman’ became a term in Greek implying a virgin)
We have multiple translations in English and other languages that over time modernized the terminology but also inserted subtle changes in meaning.
We have direct evidence that some of the most obviously fictional elements of the Bible were edited out in later editions, for example the reference to various monsters.
We have thousands of interpretations of scripture authored by holy men, religious experts, or lay persons, each with a different idea of the truth.
We have 40,000 denominations of Christianity, each with a different interpretation of the truth.
We have no external evidence of anything in the gospels, least of which the very existence of an actual preacher named Jesus.
We have no contemporaneous miracles to provide any evidence of the truth of Christianity.
We have an avalanche of scientific discoveries that refute many assertions and stories in the Bible.
But after all of this, God will judge us if we don’t believe his message, whatever the hell it is, and send us to a place of eternal torture. This is Christianity in a nutshell, and it is the nail in the coffin for its believability to any sane, objective, critically-thinking person.
(17) Animal rights
Christianity has an abysmal, pathetic, unsympathetic, and barbaric attitude regarding the rights of animals to be treated ethically and with compassion. Perhaps it all begins with a statement in Genesis 1:26:
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Unlike the concept engendered by evolution, that the animals are our cousins and that we share the same ancestors, Christianity has presented the idea that God created animals strictly for the benefit and use of mankind, that they have no other purpose for their existence, and nor do they possess any rights in any sense.
Over the past 2000 years, Christian history is littered with case after case of callous and merciless cruelty to animals of all stripes. This has often taken the form of hunting animals into extinction, as occurred with the beaver in Britain, or using animals for sport, as in bear bating, bull bating, and badger baiting.
Bear baiting, where the bears were chained up and then attacked by vicious dogs, was so popular that it was enshrined in frescoes on churches and cathedrals. The Christians of this time saw nothing wrong with this spectacle. Indeed, it was a central tenant of the faith that only humans had souls or could have emotions, feelings, or sense pain.
Laws protecting animals began to appear in the 19th Century, but they were uniformly opposed by Christian leaders as an affront to the faith, claiming that God had given man total authority over animals and had no obligations as to their welfare.
The following is from the website noted above:
The Church deduced that because animals did not possess souls, they were akin to automatons. Like machines, they could feel neither emotion nor pain. They were disposable toys provided for mankind’s amusement. Activities in which animals were tortured for sport were recorded without any hint that there might be anything wrong with them. Christopher Columbus and his crew, on their transatlantic mission from God, were typical. They delighted in wounding and partially dismembering a newly discovered animal, then seeing if it would still fight. As animals were mere toys, one can imagine the glee of the Christian sailors who discovered that on Mauritius God had provided them with birds so trusting that they would walk up to their Christian visitors to be killed. Their meat was found to be unpalatable so the birds were clubbed to death by Christians just for fun. Within two hundred years dodos were extinct.
The following quote from a blogger on romanchristendom.blogspot.com sums up a typical Christian’s attitude to animal rights:
There is simply no teaching of the Church that confers rights upon animals and plenty that say the opposite. Animal rights is an entirely invented and modern concept that has no basis in Christian doctrine – or truth – whatsoever. Thus, to pretend that animals have rights is to be in disagreement with God, the Creator of all creation, including animals. If an animal had a “right” then it would have to have at least the potential ability to enforce that right – but it can never do so because animals are not rational creatures.
Remnants of Christianity’s callous sensibility to animals remain today and can be seen, for example, as the sneering attitude to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) or to vegetarianism, as being somehow unbiblical, or else the spawn of godless atheism.
But, by and large, times have changed and laws protecting animal rights are being strengthened throughout the world. However, the impetus for this movement has been largely fueled from the secular community, not from ecclesiastical sources. In fact, it has happened largely because religion has become a less pervasive influence on social ethics and morality, while science has expanded its importance in the public square. The concept of evolution tying humans to all animals and the research that has confirmed animal sensitivities to fear, pain, and suffering have played a large role in the expansion of animal rights legislation.
So the question must be asked- Are humans more compassionate, more ethical, more moral, more principled, more conscientious, and more humane than God? Wouldn’t God have known that animals felt pain and emotions similar to humans and have commanded his people to treat them with care and compassion? Wouldn’t God have known that eventually there would be laws in place to protect animals from unfair and unethical treatment? The fact that the Bible perpetuated the currently existing belief that animals existed only for human use is compelling evidence that it was written by men and not inspired by the creator of the universe.
(18) The irony of the ages
Jesus was raised to believe that the Jews were special, God’s chosen people, who would be exalted in this world and the world to come. His ministry was directed solely to the Jews, and to the deliberate exclusion of the Gentiles, to the extent that he purposely avoided them, disparaged them, and talked in an obfuscating manner to confuse them so they would not understand. Although he was not a stickler for the Jewish laws, he never talked about them being abolished, but actually commanded that they be observed to the end of time.
And then, something astonishing happened. A new religion, Christianity, was born, using him as the central figure, a religion that completely shed the Jewish laws. A religion that was ultimately rejected by the Jews, the very persons he was ministering and preaching to. A religion that Jesus himself would not have joined. So we have the irony of a Jewish preacher being posthumously hijacked to form a new religion that his own people rejected while being embraced by the people he disdained.
(19) Belief Versus Actions
Christianity credits what you believe far above what you do. This idea has caused much misery and suffering over the course of the past two millennia. The notion that what you believe can erase your bad deeds is a very attractive idea to someone who wants to take liberties with the lives and property of other people. If you believe that the threat of the death penalty is enough to dissuade people from breaking the law then you must acknowledge that the promise of unconditional forgiveness is enough to entice people to break the law. And this is exactly what happened during the scourges of the Inquisition and other atrocities committed by Christians.
The following is taken from:
As I explored this, I realised why there is so much hypocrisy amongst the so-called body of Christ. Christians have little to no motivation to try to be good because they already believe they are good in spite of what they may do simply because of what they believe. This explains why Christians (including the many that barge on into this site) are so pompous, insensitive and full of themselves. Their beliefs give them a false sense of entitlement and superiority where they believe they have a right to say what they want to whomever they want as long as the gospel is being preached. Some will even go as far as to actually tell lies to get their point across. With regard to the issue of faith over works, it is patently obvious why so many Christians fall on the side of faith; it offers the path of least resistance and allows them to indulge their worst traits, safe in the knowledge that unlike the rest of us “sinners”, they are not perfect, but forgiven.
Common sense alone should tell anyone that if the Christian god did exist, there is no way he could possibly favour faith over acts of love and still be considered loving or just. Now with more enlightened eyes, I can see that faith is stressed to the non-believer to make Christianity seem accessible (“All I have to do is believe a story, ask Jesus into my heart, and all my sins are wiped away – woo!”), and once they have taken the bait, then prohibitions are used to keep them under control with scare tactics employed to stop them from turning away. Christianity then, is a very well devised system of psychological domination designed to manipulate the wills of those under its thrall and keep them in their place, all masquerading as something worthy and good, which is perhaps the biggest “sin” of all.
How different would the world be if Christianity instead declared that your ultimate reward is based on your actions, what you do, how you conduct your life, how much you help others, etc. instead of offering this exceptionally generous “get out of jail free” card? What if it said all of the good you do is balanced against the bad, and based on that comparison, you will be judged?
(20) Infant Death
Most Christians believe that people who die at a young age are given a free pass to heaven. This is a comforting thought, but it makes for some peculiar considerations. It would seem to suggest that dying at a young age, before encountering the age of accountability, would be the best and safest way to leave the earth. This would guarantee a place in heaven without having to take a risk of living a potentially failed life in the sight of God. Some demented parents have exploited this idea as an excuse to murder their children.
(21) Beginning of Life
Many Christians believe that life begins at conception and an entire anti-abortion industry has been built around this concept. But it presents a quandary. Does a fertilized egg that fails to implant in the uterus go to heaven? This seems a bit absurd, but it is important to consider in the context of Christian dogma. If one assumes this is not the case, then it becomes very difficult to identify when a developing fetus becomes eternal in the eyes of God. Is it at the moment of birth, such that a baby that dies just before delivery is denied heaven? There is no non-arbitrary way to solve this dilemma.
Another point to consider is that well over half of conceptions end in spontaneous abortions. It might be trite to claim that God is the most prolific abortionist, but it’s illogical to think that God would go to the trouble of inserting a soul into a fertilized egg but then fail to protect the fetus to ensure a successful birth. But then if God delays the soul insertion until the moment of a live birth, it makes no sense that he would not protect the child’s life until adulthood. No matter how you look at it, a logical solution does not exist.
(22) Roman Bias
As mentioned, almost all of the eyewitnesses of Jesus’s ministry were dead by the time of the gospel writings, either of natural causes or as a result of the Jewish-Roman war that began in AD 66. The band of Jewish followers of Jesus, led by his brother James, no longer existed. The only Christians remaining were the Romans and other gentiles who were followers of Paul’s concept of Christianity. Consequently, the gospels are told in a manner consistent with Paul’s theology and also with an anti-Jewish, pro-Roman bias. One of the best examples of this bias is the exoneration of Pontius Pilate and the condemnation of the Jews for Jesus’s death (Matthew 27:24), a fabrication of the first order (and one that has had tragic consequences for Jewish people for the past two millennia). Another is the story of the Roman centurion who was allegedly commended by Jesus for having more faith than anybody else in Israel (Matthew 8:5-13).
(23) ‘Growing Fish’
The stories told in the gospels tended to become more impressive as each new gospel was written. In Mark, there is no account of a virgin birth or of a resurrected Jesus interacting with the disciples (other than the ending verses that were added much later), with Luke, the virgin birth is added, and with John, the raising of Lazarus is first presented, and Jesus is for the first time equated with God the Father. Another example is that the temptation of Jesus by the devil grows in significance and details from Mark to Luke to Matthew. These examples reflect a classic illustration of mythmaking, such that over time events are embellished to make for a more dramatic story.
Another example of the evolution of Christian writings is as follows:
Matthew 27:46, 50:
“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?” that is to say, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” …Jesus, when he cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.”
“And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, “Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:” and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished:” and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
In Matthew, Jesus is expressing displeasure with God for allowing the crucifixion, but in the later gospels, Luke and John, there are no longer any hints of dissatisfaction. It suggests that the writers of the gospels made revisions to boost the image of Jesus and to make it appear that he viewed his crucifixion as an expected and necessary part of his earthy mission.
(24) The God equation of the Gospel of John
An extension to the previous point conclusively illustrates the myth of Christianity. In the gospels of Mark, and to a lesser extent, the later gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus talks very little about himself and is more focused on his Father and preparing the way for the coming Kingdom of God. He makes no inferences as to having a divine status. But in John, literally everything changes in Jesus’s doctrinal approach. He is principally focused on himself, who he is, and where he came from. He touts his status as being divine and equal to God himself. This is a dramatic departure from the earlier gospels as well as from the traditions of the Jewish faith.
Bible scholar Bart Ehrman discusses this point at the following website:
It is inconceivable that if Jesus referred to himself as being divine that this fact would not have been thoroughly documented in the earlier gospels, as this would have been by far the most important message of Jesus’s mission. Modern Christianity has fully incorporated the implications of the Gospel of John, precisely defining its doctrine thereby, but in so doing it has placed itself upon an extremely flimsy foundation.
(25) Bible Contradictions
If the scriptures were inspired by God and then accurately copied by scribes, we would expect to see a fairly rigorous consistency among the books. The best way to test this hypothesis is to examine the four gospels, as they all claim to describe the same events. What we see are numerous contradictions, including:
- The genealogies of Joseph in Matthew and Luke disagree significantly
- Luke has Mary and Joseph travelling from their home in Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea for the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:4). Matthew, in contradiction to Luke, says that it was only after the birth of Jesus that Mary and Joseph resided in Nazareth, and then only because they were afraid to return to Judea (Matthew 2:21-23).
- All of the gospels disagree on who found the empty tomb. In Matthew, it is Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. In Luke, it is the women who had come with him out of Galilee, including Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, plus two others. In Mark, it is Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. In John, Mary Magdalene found the stone removed and ran back to get Peter and another disciple.
- There are also major contradictions about what they saw at the tomb. In Mark, a man in a white robe was sitting in the tomb. In Luke, it was two men in dazzling apparel. In Matthew, an angel was standing on the stone that had been removed. In John, Mary and Peter and the other disciple initially find just an empty tomb. Peter and the other disciple enter the tomb and find only the wrappings. Then Peter and the other disciple leave and Mary looks in the tomb to find two angels in white. After a short conversation with the angels, Mary turns around to find Jesus.
The following table taken from this website lists 77 direct contradictions in the Bible:
|1. Did fowl (birds) come out of the water?||Ge 1:20||(Out of the ground) Ge 2:19|
|2. Did two of each kind of fowl enter Noah’s ark?||Ge 6:19-20||(It was seven of each.) Ge 7:3|
|3. Does Satan ever tell the truth?||Ge 3:4-7,22||John 8:44|
|4. Did everyone speak the same language?||Ge 11:1||Ge 10:5,20,31|
|5. Was Salah the son of Arphaxad?||Ge 11:12||(His grandson) Lu 3:35-36|
|6. Will the earth last forever?||Ps 37:29, 104:5; Dt 4:40; Ec 1:4||Mt 24:35; 2Pe 3:10-11; Lu 21:33; Heb 1:10-11; 1Jo 2:17; Re 1:1|
|7. Did Abraham have just one son (Isaac)?||Heb 11:17||(Two) Ge 16:15; 1Ch 1:28; Ga 4:22. (Many) Ge 25:2; 1Ch 1:32|
|8. Was Keturah Abraham’s wife?||Ge 25:1||(His concubine) 1Ch 1:32|
|9. Were the Israelites in bondage for 400 years?||Ge 15:13;||(It was 430 years.) Ex 12:40|
|10. Did Potiphar buy Joseph from Midianites?||Ge 37:36||(From Ishmaelites) Ge 39:1|
|11. Did the Israelites go from Kadesh to Mt. Hor, where Aaron died, & then to Zalmonah?||Nu 33:37-42||(They went from Beeroth to Mosera, where Aaron died, & then to Gudgodah.) Dt 10:6-7|
|12. Were Levites to begin to serve at age 30?||Nu 4:30||(Age 25) Nu 8:24|
|13. Was David Jesse’s seventh son?||1Ch 2:15||(His eighth) 1Sa 16:10-11|
|14. Did David kill Goliath with a sling + a stone?||1Sa 17:50||(With a sword) 1Sa 17:51|
|15. Was Ahimelech the priest who gave David the bread?||1Sa 21:1,6, 22:20||(His son, Abiathar) Mk 2:25-26|
|16. Was it Saul who killed the Amalekites?||1Sa 15:7-8||(It was David.) 1Sa 27:8-9, 30:13-18|
|18. Did Saul enquire of God?||1Sa 28:6||1Ch 10:13-14|
|19. Did Saul die by his own hand?||1Sa 31:4-5||(By an Amalekite) 2Sa 1:4-10; (By Philistines) 2Sa 21:12; (By the Lord) 1Ch 10:14|
|20. Was it God who provoked David to number Israel?||2Sa 24:1||(It was Satan.) 1Ch 21:1|
|21. Did David take 700 horsemen from Hadadezer?||2Sa 8:4||(It was 7000.) 1Ch 18:4|
|22. Did David kill 700 Syrian charioteers?||2Sa 10:18||(It was 7000.) 1Ch 19:18|
|23. Were the 40,000 other victims horsemen?||2Sa 10:18||(They were footmen.) 1Ch 19:18|
|24. To build his altar, did David pay 50 shekels of silver to Araunah for his threshing floor and oxen?||2Sa 24:18,24-25||(He paid 600 shekels of gold to Ornan for the floor alone.) 1Ch 21:22,25-26|
|25. Did Israel have 640,000 more swordsmen than Judah?||1Ch 21:5||(Only 300,000 more) 2Sa 24:9|
|26. Were the pillars named Jachin & Boaz 18 cubits high?||1Ki 7:15,21||(35 cubits high) 2Ch 3:15,17|
|27. Did Solomon have 3300 foremen and 550 chief officials?||1Ki 5:16, 9:23||(3600 foremen and 250 chief officials) 2Ch 2:2,18, 8:10|
|28. Did he have 40,000 stalls for his horses?||1Ki 4:26||(Only 4000) 2Ch 9:25|
|29. Was the vol. of Hiram’s cauldron 2000 baths?||1Ki 7:26||(It was 3000 baths.) 2Ch 4:5|
|30. Did Jehoram begin to reign in the 2nd year?||2Ki 1:17||(It was the 5th year.) 2Ki 8:16|
|31. Did King Josiah die at Megiddo?||2Ki 23:29-30||(At Jerusalem) 2Ch 35:23-24|
|32. Was Jehoiachin age 8 when he began to reign?||2Ch 36:9||(He was 18.) 2Ki 24:8|
|33. Did Ahaziah become king in the 12th year of Joram?||2Ki 8:25||(It was the 11th year.) 2Ki 9:29|
|34. Was he then age 22?||2Ki 8:26||(Age 42) 2Ch 22:2 (in Hebrew sources)|
|35. Was Ahaz defeated by the kings of Israel and Syria?||2Ch 28:5||2Ki 16:5|
|36. Was it the seventh day that Nebuzaradan came?||2Ki 25:8||(The tenth day) Jer 52:12|
|37. Did 775 descendants of Arah return from exile?||Ezra 2:5||(It was 652.) Ne 7:10|
|[Note: there are dozens of other discrepancies between the lists in Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7. Yet it seems to be the very same census, since their totals agree (Ezra 2:64-65, Ne 7:66-67).]|
|38. Did Jesus descend from David through David’s son Solomon and grandson Roboam?||Mt 1:1-7||(Through David’s son Nathan and grandson Mattatha) Lu 3:23,31|
|39. Was Joseph’s father Jacob?||Mt 1:16||(It was Heli.) Lu 3:23|
|[There are many other discrepancies between the lists in Matthew 1 and Luke 3. Some say that the list in Luke shows Mary’s genealogy, but the key expression in Lu 3:23 is clearly “son of Heli”, not “son-in-law of Heli”. The same word translated there as “son” was used throughout the entire list.]|
|40. Were Joseph and Mary natives of Nazareth?||Lu 1:26, 2:4,39||(They only went there later.) Mt 2:23|
|41. Did they go to Egypt?||Mt 2:14-15||(Directly to Nazareth) Lu 2:39|
|42. At Jesus’s baptism, did the voice address Jesus?||Mk 1:11||(It addressed the crowd.) Mt 3:17|
|43. Did Jesus go to Cana soon after his baptism?||John 1:29-36, 2:1-2||(To the wilderness for 40 days) Mt 3:13-17, 4:1-2; Mk 1:9-13|
|44. Was John the Baptist arrested after Jesus began his ministry?||John 3:23-24||(It was before .) Mk 1:14|
|45. While in prison, did John know who Jesus was?||John 1:25-36, 3:23-24||Mt 11:2-3|
|49. Did Simon & Andrew join Jesus after certain events took place?||Mt 4:12-20; Mk 1:14-18; Lu. 3:19-20, 4:14-31, 5:1-10||(It was before they took place.) John 1:35-42, 4:1-54|
|50. Could the disciples have shoes and staves?||Mk 6:8-9||Mt 10:10|
|51. Was it six days after his “there be some here” prophecy that Jesus took 3 disciples up a mountain?||Mt 17:1; Mk 9:2||(It was about eightdays after, which is presumably 7, 8, or 9.) Lu 9:28|
|52. Did the centurion himself come to Jesus?||Mt 8:5-6||(He sent others.) Lu 7:3,6|
|53. Did James and John ask a favor of Jesus?||Mk 10:35-37||(It was their mother who asked it.) Mt 20:20-21|
|54. Did Jesus give signs other than that of Jonas?||John 3:2, 20:30; Ac 2:22||Mt 12:39; Mk 8:12|
|55. Did Jesus encounter just one possessed man?||Mk 5:1-20; Lu 8:26-39||(It was two.) Mt 8:28-34|
|56. Just one blind man?||Mk 10:46-52; Lu 18:35-43||(Two) Mt 20:30-34|
|57. Did Jesus heal the leper before going to Peter’s house?||Mt 8:1-3,14-15||(It was after.) Mk 1:29-31,40-42|
|58. Was it near the end of his ministry that Jesus cleansed the temple?||Mt 21:10-12||(It was near thebeginning.) John 2:11-15|
|59. Did Jesus curse the fig tree after going to the temple?||Mt 21:12||(It was before.) Mk 11:13-15|
|60. Did Judas reveal Jesus by by a kiss, and did the crowd then take Jesus?||Mt 26:48-50; Mk 14:43-46||(Jesus revealed himself, and the crowd then fell back.) John 18:3-6|
|61. Was Jesus silent before Pontius Pilate?||Mt 27:13-14||(He said much.) John 18:33-37, 19:11|
|62. Did the soldiers clothe Jesus in scarlet (the color of royalty)?||Mt 27:28||(It was purple, the symbol of infamy.) Mk 15:17|
|63. Did Simon the Cyrenian bear Jesus’s cross?||Mt 27:32; Mk 15:21; Lu. 23:26||John 19:16-17|
|64. Was Jesus offered wine mixed with myrrh to drink?||Mk 15:23||(It was vinegar mixed with gall.) Mt 27:34|
|65. Was Jesus reviled by both thieves on the cross?||Mt 27:44||(Only by one) Lu 23:39-43|
|66. Was the cross inscription a complete sentence?||Mt 27:37; Lu 23:38||(Just 5 or 8 words) Mk 15:26; John 19:19|
|67. Did it mention Jesus?||Mt 27:37; John 19:19||Mk 15:26; Lu 23:38|
|68. Was Jesus crucified at the third hour?||Mk 15:25||(The sixth or ninthhour) John 19:14-16; Mk 15:34|
|69. Were his last words, “It is finished”?||John 19:30||(They were “into your hands I commit my spirit.”) Lu 23:46|
|70. Will all 12 sit on thrones?||Mt 19:28||(Not Judas.) Mk 14:18-21|
|71. Did Judas keep the money and buy the field?||Ac 1:18||(He returned it and the priests bought the field.) Mt 27:3-7|
|72. Did Judas hang himself?||Mt 27:5||(He fell & burst open.) Ac 1:18|
|73. Did Joseph of Arimathea alone bury Jesus’s body?||Mk 15:45-46; Lu 23:50-53||(Nicodemus was with him.) John 19:38-42|
|74. Did Jesus want his apostles to baptize people?||Mt 28:19||1Co 1:17|
|75. Will doers of the law be justified?||Ro 2:13||Ro 3:20|
|76. Are people justified by faith alone?||Ro 3:23-28; Eph. 2:8-9||James 2:24|
|77. Are there any righteous people?||Ge 7:1; Job 1:1; Lu 1:6; Jas 5:16||Ro 3:10,23|
The existence of these and other contradictions can be explained as either (1) the original authors were not divinely inspired and therefore didn’t write stories that aligned with each other, (2) scribes made errors in copying the scriptures, or (3) the writings were deliberately revised by scribes to meet their personal biases or beliefs. In any event, it is clear that God was not overseeing the Bible-building effort to ensure a perfect product. As such, the Bible cannot be viewed as a reliable portrayal of history.
(26) Correlation between intelligence and religious disbelief
A highly controversial topic is whether atheists tend to be more intelligent than theists. If so, what does this mean? A study conducted in 2013 used a meta-analysis of 63 scientific studies and found that 53 showed a reliable correlation between intelligence and a disbelief in supernatural beings. Only 10 showed a neutral or negative correlation.
A different way to look at this issue is to examine the beliefs of one of the most intelligent groups of people, The National Academy of Sciences. Approximately 93% of these scientists are either atheist or agnostic.
A third way to examine this topic is to compare education levels with the degree of belief in the inerrancy of the Bible, as documented at:
A poll taken in May, 2011 revealed the following:
30% believe that “The Bible is the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word.”
49% believe that “The Bible is the inspired word of God, but not everything in it should be taken literally.”
17% believe that “The Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man.”
4% were uncertain or didn’t answer.
Formal education had a significant effect on a person’s belief in Biblical inerrancy. 46% of persons with high school education or less believe that the Bible should be interpreted literally. This dropped to 22% for persons with some college education, and to 15% among college graduates.
The following graph shows a negative correlation between religiosity and the average intelligence of each country:
This represents important evidence against Christianity (and other religions as well) because, in the history of mankind, any sea change in conventional wisdom is first promoted by the smartest and most educated members of society. This was true of the rejection of the earth-centered model of the solar system. It was also true of the change from a flat earth to a spherical earth, as well as the ongoing transition from a creationist explanation of life to an evolutionary one. Given those examples, it can be predicted that the intellectuals who have embraced atheism have once again identified the correct sense of reality.
(27) Raising of Lazarus and Woman Caught in Adultery
The stories of the raising of Lazarus from the dead and the woman caught in adultery are extremely important in the effort to define who Jesus was. One tells of his immense power, and the other tells of his divine wisdom. Both would have been told and retold throughout the region, spread virally, and held up as convincing evidence for having faith in Jesus.
However, curiously, neither of these events is documented in the first three gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke). Not until the gospel of John, written at least 70 years after the death of Jesus, is the raising of Lazarus documented in scripture. And the story of the woman caught in adultery is not found in the oldest manuscripts of the gospel of John, and only appears in manuscripts beginning in the fifth century. This casts considerable doubt on the historical truth of these events.
(28) Palm Sunday- Good Friday Conflict:
Jesus is adored and worshipped as a King as he enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He then proceeds to work miracles, heal the sick, and demonstrate his supreme wisdom, making him even more a figure for adulation. But five days later, without explanation, he is abruptly hated so much by his own people that, given a chance to have him released, they chose to free a common criminal instead. There is something seriously wrong with this story.
What most likely happened is that the account of these events was altered to absolve the Romans and place the blame for Jesus’s death on the Jews. This is because by the time the scriptures were written, the focus of Christian evangelism was on the gentiles throughout the Roman Empire, while the Jews, freshly defeated in their war with Rome, were viewed as detestable villains.
The story of Judas, the traitor, is fraught with inconsistency. First and foremost, it should be obvious that what he allegedly did actually hastened the salvation of mankind, as defined by Christianity. Without Jesus’s capture and execution, everybody would still be subject to the condemnation of original sin as well as their personal sins. Second, Jesus was not in hiding during his time in Jerusalem. He was out and about, performing miracles, and routinely in plain view of the Roman authorities, making it unnecessary for anyone to rat him out for arrest. Third, if we are to believe Christian doctrine, Jesus knew that he was to be executed and that this was the principal point of his mission, so why would he call out Judas as a traitor both at the last supper and in the garden at the time of his arrest? Judas actually had performed a beneficial contribution to Jesus’s mission.
To make some sense of this story, one has to assume that it was changed to fit a new narrative that placed blame on the Jews for the crucifixion, and painting Judas as a traitor was a part of that effort. What probably happened, assuming that the story was not completely made up, was that Judas was sent by Jesus to entice the Roman soldiers to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus then expected that God would miraculously intervene to defeat the Romans and begin the reign of Jesus as the king of the restored Kingdom of Israel.
(30) Roman Census
The Gospel of Luke states that a Roman census was conducted during the time of Jesus’ birth (BC 4). There is no record of this in Roman history. According to the Roman’s meticulous records, the only census that took place during this time frame was in AD 6-7 and it did not include the areas of Nazareth and Bethlehem. According to Luke, the residents were required to travel to their cities of birth to be counted. This absurd requirement was never applied to any census that the Romans conducted throughout their empire. This would have involved cases where families would have been split apart going to different cities, and it would have devastated the region’s economy. Obviously, the Romans would want to know how many people were living currently in each area rather than how many were born in a certain city.
The reason for this artifice from the writer of this gospel is evident. Jesus was known by many to have been born and raised in Nazareth, but the scriptures said that the savior was to be born in Bethlehem. Therefore, some device was needed to convince followers that Jesus was not born in Nazareth as everyone had assumed, but rather that he had the appropriate credentials of the savior. Further, that device had to entail something of a compulsory nature to explain why a full-term pregnant woman was transported 90 miles on a donkey away from her home and her doulas and midwives.
As a side note, this deception by the author of Luke provides some evidence that Jesus was a true historical figure, given that a mythical person could just as easily have been invented who was born and raised in Bethlehem.
(31) Passover Prisoner Release
The four gospels state that the Roman governor over Judea, Pontius Pilate, was obligated during the Passover to commute one prisoner’s death sentence and to have him released based on the acclamation of those attending the ceremony. There are no Roman records suggesting that such a custom existed. Further, the implication of such a practice would be absurd. It would mean that the Jews could plan for someone to perform a heinous crime just before the Passover and then have that perpetrator released.
This fictional story was first added to Mark’s gospel and then copied by the writers of the subsequent gospels. The author of Mark used this tale, perhaps inspired by a similar story in Homer’s “The Odyssey,” to shift blame for the crucifixion away from the Romans and toward the Jews. It is likely that Barabbas (translated as “son of the father”), the name of the criminal allegedly chosen by the crowd for release, was actually a nickname used for Jesus. So, in effect, the crowd was actually demanding the release of Jesus, finding that his arrest was unwarranted. When the author of Mark was confronted with the folklore that the Jews were asking for the release of Barabbas, he simply made Barabbas into a separate individual and then concocted the myth of the prisoner release tradition.
(32) Jesus rejected in his hometown
Jesus was generally very popular everywhere he went except in his hometown of Nazareth:
Mark 6: 1-6:
He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.
This is a significant admission. If Jesus was a mythical figure created for some purpose, wouldn’t the authors have made him into being a hometown hero? The fact that this negative reaction was written into the Gospel of Mark and subsequent gospels is telling evidence that Jesus was probably both a real person and that he actually was rejected by the people who knew him best.
It must be acknowledged that if Jesus was indeed the son of God, then the people of Nazareth would have known that he was a person of unusually superior wisdom and power and would have considered him as a celebrity with pride and veneration, just as many people today take pride in their hometown luminaries. But if he was just a mortal human with all of the typical frailties, then being rejected by his neighbors for making lofty claims is exactly what would be expected.
(33) The forged ending to the Gospel of Mark
Mark was the first documented gospel, and it is notoriously silent on many points added to the subsequent gospels. It contains no account of a virgin birth, or any birth for that matter, and no mention of Joseph as Jesus’s father.
But the crux of this point is that the original version of this gospel contains no mention of Jesus appearing and talking to his disciples after the resurrection. A unanimous consensus of Biblical scholars agree that the earliest manuscripts of Mark end at verse 16: 6-8, which is as follows:
Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
The early Christians were not satisfied with this ending, so various versions of alternate endings were devised. One of these was selected for inclusion in the King James Bible and is now documented therein and in other translations as Mark 16:9-19:
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
The history of this matter is discussed further at the following website:
This creates many problems for Christianity. First, it brings into question the authenticity of the scriptures as a whole. This forgery was caught because we have an early manuscript of Mark, but, lacking the original, we do not know how many other forgeries were also added to that document. Second, it exposes the fact that the early Christians were not averse to adding to scripture tales and stories of questionable authenticity. In effect, it means that they had no problem making things up to embellish the accounts. Third, the forged ending portion of the Book of Mark contains demonstrably false statements. Many Christians have died handling serpents in this manner, many have died of poisoning, and many have died after being prayed for.
The fabricated scriptures at the end of Mark are a Rosetta Stone for recognizing the questionable historical accuracy of the scriptures. They are, in effect, telling the reader to be wary of everything written in the Bible.
(34) Resurrection Consequences
The Bible suggests that Jesus rose from the dead and made appearances to hundreds of people before ascending into heaven. It is unlikely that this would have escaped the notice of Herod and Pilate and the vast majority of the Roman occupiers, not to mention the Jews, who would have either directly witnessed this amazing phenomenon or heard about it from credible sources. This would have provided proof that Jesus was a divine being, prompting Herod and Pilate to convert along with the Romans and the Jews, with Christianity then becoming the official religion of Judea.
Obviously, this did not happen, and the fact that it didn’t suggests strongly that Jesus did not rise from the dead. One thing is certain: If Jesus actually rose from the dead, there would be no separation between Judaism and Christianity- they would be one and the same.
(35) Other Gospel Books
The selection of the gospels to be included in the Bible was made by a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325. At this council, four gospels were selected from a total of approximately 60 that were in use at the time. Three of the four gospels selected are called the synoptic gospels, Mark, Luke, and Matthew. These were not independent efforts, but had many elements borrowed and shared among them. The fourth gospel, John, is very different from the other three and presents a somewhat contradictory theology.
The other 56 or so gospels that were discarded do not agree for the most part with the four that were selected. Examples are the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of the Nazarenes, the Gospel of the Ebionites, and the Gospel of the Hebrews.
It is likely that the truth of what happened lies buried amid the numerous tales told by all of these gospels, with various true and fictional elements scattered throughout. But, what should be troubling to a questioning believer is that the council undoubtedly preferentially selected the gospels that were favorable to the Romans (i.e., the ones that made them look good) and excluded whatever did not flatter them. It is certain that this process resulted in a whitewashed portrayal of history.
(36) Too Many Messiahs
Most Christians believe that Jesus was a unique figure in his time, a one-of-kind preacher who mesmerized followers with his wisdom and magical acts. This is not true. There were many messiahs at this time including Hezekiah the bandit, Simon of Peraea, Athronges the shepherd boy, and Judas the Galilean. In addition, there were many other preachers and prophets who were gathering followers and preaching a messianic message about the coming of the Kingdom of God. Some advocated a violent overthrow of the Roman occupiers as a prelude to the coming. Others stressed a less violent approach including repentance, prayers, and beseeching of God for deliverance. Added to this list is the most popular preacher of all, John the Baptist. Jesus was possibly a follower of John until John’s arrest and execution (as exemplified by the subservient act of submitting himself for baptism), and then he may have assumed leadership of John’s movement.
Jesus was just one of many itinerant preachers of his day, and there was nothing particularly unique about him, because all were preaching the same ideas, and almost all of them ended up being crucified for the crime of sedition against the Roman Empire. It is a historical fluke that Christians pray to Jesus instead of John or Simon or Hezekiah.
(37) Two Gospels
Unbeknownst to most Christians, the early Christian church had two distinct divisions or denominations. One was organized by the Jewish followers of Jesus, his disciples, and close associates. The other was headed by Paul and his mostly non-Jewish followers.
The Jewish followers of Jesus were led by Jesus’ brother James. This group did not view Jesus as being divine, which would be unquestionably contrary to the Jewish faith, but rather a prophet setting the stage for the coming of the new kingdom of Israel to be established on earth. As mentioned earlier, they viewed the empty tomb as evidence that God has resurrected Jesus into heaven. But before that, they were certainly disillusioned by the crucifixion because it was not an expected outcome of Jesus’s mission. After all, Jesus had just been defeated by the very forces he intended to overcome. It is also likely that Jesus himself did not expect to be put to death. His complaint to God for being abandoned as recorded in the gospel of Matthew (27:46) is probably one of the few Biblical statements by Jesus that can be assumed true because of its disparity with the main gospel message.
With the belief in a resurrection, Jesus’ closest follows were refocused to continue to follow his gospel, and to expect a quick fulfillment. They were based in Jerusalem and had some success in recruiting new followers for several decades after the crucifixion.
In contrast, Paul viewed Jesus as being both a human and the divine savior of all mankind. Instead of the Jewish concept of a human messiah reigning over a restored kingdom of Israel, Paul envisioned a heavenly kingdom that was open to all peoples with admittance predicated simply on accepting Jesus as a personal savior, and without any obligation to perform good works.
For obvious reasons, a conflict developed between Paul and the original apostles, which shows up the book of Acts and Galatians. When Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were decimated. This eliminated the opposition to the gospel of Paul, which then became the template for the new religion of Christianity. The New Testament books were written by followers of Paul after the destruction of Jerusalem. They were fashioned to support this new gospel, including statements added to make it appear that Jesus saw himself in the role as envisioned by Paul.
In summary, Jesus was a failed prophet, as was ultimately well understood by the Jews. Paul reversed the Jewish theology by viewing Jesus as a god-man and viewing his death as a final sacrifice for the propitiation of sins, making unnecessary any further animal sacrifices that were standard rituals in the Jewish temples.
(38) Jesus divine theory
Christianity proposes that Jesus was both a man and a divine being, constituting 1/3 of a Godhead trinity. Setting aside this bewildering doctrine, most Christians simply claim that Jesus is God.
Where this goes terribly wrong, is as follows: Jesus was a Jew and was following Jewish custom and law without making any effort to depart ways and start a new religion. The Jewish faith would not allow for a man to be a god, for the Jews were unyieldingly monotheistic. The best description of this is a quote from Reza Aslin, author of the book “Zealot:”
“If you’re asking if whether Jesus expected to be seen as God made flesh, as the living embodiment, the incarnation of God, then the answer to that is absolutely no. Such a thing did not exist in Judaism. In the 5,000-year history of Jewish thought, the notion of a God-man is completely anathema to everything Judaism stands for. The idea that Jesus could’ve conceived of himself — or that even his followers could’ve conceived of him — as divine, contradicts everything that has ever been said about Judaism as a religion.”
The unmistakable conclusion is that Christianity concocted a fatal contradiction regarding its central figure of worship, painting him as being something he absolutely could not have been within the context of his life and mission. If Christianity wanted a god-man, they needed to find someone other than a Jewish preacher.
(39) Evolution Demarcation
For those Christians who believe in evolution, there is a noteworthy problem dealing with the starting point when humans first became bound for eternity in the eyes of God. Whenever this happened, there were undoubtedly a lot of people scattered over much of the world. To be clear, there has to be a starting point when God first awarded an eternal life to human beings. Without this demarcation, we would have single-celled animals living for eternity in heaven. Whenever this occurred, it would create a problem. It would mean that many people going to heaven would do so without the company of their parents, who would die and not be raised up, similar to all of the other animals. No matter where the cut was made, this problem was unavoidable.
(40) Tiny Drama/ Huge Stage
At the time the Bible was created, most people viewed the earth as the center of the universe and that the sun, stars, planets, and moon revolved around its flat surface. Christianity is based on this world view, placing an emphasis on humans as the ultimate reason that the universe was created in the first place. Not only is Christianity earth-centered, but it was also limited to a few hundred square miles in its beginning and did not reach all areas of the earth until about 1500 years later. Further, it is limited in its overall time scope to something less than 10,000 years.
What we have since learned about the age and size of the universe has spectacularly dwarfed the Christian world view. Instead of 10,000 years old, the universe is 13,700,000,000 years old. Instead of the earth and a few objects orbiting around it, we have the earth, 4,500,000,000 years old, orbiting the sun, which is just one of over 100,000,000,000 stars in the Milky Way galaxy, which itself is only one of at least 200,000,000,000 galaxies in the observable universe.
The idea that all of this was created so that God could create and test human beings is absurd. If that was so, then:
– Why did God wait 9,200,000,000 years after creating the universe to construct the earth?
– Why did God wait 4,500,000,000 years after creating the earth to create human beings?
– Why did God wait 100,000 years after creating modern human beings before making any contact with them?
– Why did God allow 3,500 years to pass after the initial contact with humans was made before his word had spread world-wide?
These thoughts are best summed up by a quote from Richard Feynman:
“It doesn’t seem to me that this fantastically marvelous universe, this tremendous range of time and space and different kinds of animals, and all the different planets, and all these atoms with all their motions, and so on, all this complicated thing can merely be a stage so that God can watch human beings struggle for good and evil – which is the view that religion has. The stage is too big for the drama.”
(41) Chosen People
Christians are obligated to accept the fact that God first chose to minister and support only the Jews, and to ignore all others, and even to assist the Jews in plundering the neighboring gentile populations. At the time there were large civilizations in Asia, Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Australia. People living in these areas did not learn anything about Jesus until centuries later, some even until around 1500 years later. To consider this fact is sobering. Why would a god do this, ignore humans for tens of thousands of years only to present himself solely to a desert tribe on a tiny spot of land? A more reasonable explanation is that the Jewish people invented a god that favored them, just like every other culture that has existed.
(42) Ignored Scriptures
Some Christians are aware of the absurd laws that are described in the Old Testament, such as being sentenced to death if you work on the Sabbath, or for children to be killed for cursing their parents. They usually say that the Old Testament has been superseded by the New Testament and therefore no longer applies. This is despite the fact Jesus emphatically said the opposite. (Mathew 5:17-19: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”)
But to be generous, let’s look strictly at the New Testament. What we find are many scriptures even there that are completely ignored by Christians, such as the following examples:
“Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back”
“But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
“Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.”
I Corinthians 14:34
“The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak.”
“Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
(43) Jewish Fate
If God chose the Jews as his chosen people (a fact necessary for Christianity to be authentic), why did they suffer so many defeats and tribulations at the hands of their enemies? The outcome of many of these conflicts would make it appear that God had chosen the other side instead. This is best exemplified by the Jewish-Roman war of AD 66-73, where the Romans slaughtered the Jews all of the way from Jerusalem to the final stronghold of Masada. It makes no sense that the people backed by an all-powerful god would fall victim to its non-god-aided enemies, much less in such a brutal and convincing fashion.
(44) The Book of Revelation and the misinterpretation of scripture
Modern Christians consider the Book of Revelation to be about the end of the world. This is not the case. It was written by a Jew who may or may not have been named John, but definitely not one of Jesus’s disciples, while he was stationed on the Greek island of Patmos. It is likely that the author was a preacher.
The book is principally about what the author considered to be the end of his world, specifically the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in AD 70. At that time 60,000 Roman soldiers stormed Jerusalem, burned down the Temple, and killed countless Jews. It was end of the world for those Jews who had expected Jesus to return and restore the holy land to God’s chosen people. What happened was the exact opposite of these expectations.
The author was trying to rally the Jews and present his vision that God would return to destroy the Romans and restore the Kingdom of the Jews. The reference to an anti-Christ is a metaphor for the Roman Emperor, Nero, and the number 666 spells out Nero’s imperial name with the Jewish numerology system. The author did not feel safe at the time to actually spell out Nero’s name.
So, in essence, the Book of Revelation is a lamentation for the disaster at Jerusalem, a call to rally the Jews to a brighter future, and a screed against the ‘demonic’ Romans, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Elaine Pagels, one of the world’s leading biblical scholars did extensive research to untangle the mystical nature of this book.
Modern Christians have used their misinterpretation of this book, which was one of many similar books but the only one that made it into the Bible, to define a whole host of religious dogma, including the appearance of an Antichrist, the Tribulation, and the Battle of Armageddon, all seen as future apocalyptic events. What this shows is that scripture is widely open to being misused and thus it becomes an unreliable guide to defining reality. The Christian failure to understand the Book of Revelation, its inclusion in the Bible, and the false doctrines that it spawned is solid evidence against the authenticity of Christianity.
Objective studies have revealed that prayers are not effective beyond any statistical measure of coincidence. Most notably, they do not work for amputees or paralyzed individuals. Prayers for terminally ill people almost always fail. Prayers for rain, to allay storms, and for fixing damaged property, among others are rarely attempted because the supplicants know they won’t be effective. But what do the scriptures say?
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
An objective person must realize that the promises described in these scriptures are not true. The fact that there is no discernible efficacy for prayers is a valid clue that there is no god listening and responding to them.
One of the most definitive examples of the failure of prayer involves the story of Eva Peron (Evita), Argentina’s adored first lady from 1946 to 1952. Eva became sick with ovarian cancer and asked the Argentinian people to pray for her health to be restored. The ensuing 10+ million people praying for her had no effect on the progression and ultimately fatal consequences of her disease.
The very structure of society speaks to the ineffectiveness of prayer. Otherwise why would we have hospitals, drug companies, health insurance, car insurance, or any kind of insurance if Jesus’s promise of prayer was genuine?
The Gospels tell of many encounters with angels, mostly to announce warnings or instructions, or to offer aid in some manner. The following list of angel encounters is from this site:
- An angel appeared to Joseph regarding Mary’s conception. (Matthew 1:18-25)
- An angel appeared to Joseph a second time to warn him. (Matthew 2:13-15)
- An angel appeared a third time to Joseph to instruct him to leave Egypt. (Matthew 2:19-21)
- Angels came and ministered to Jesus after his temptation. (Matthew 4:11; Mark 1:13)
- An angel rolled away the stone to Jesus’ tomb and announced his resurrection. (Matthew 28:2)
- An angel appeared to Zacharias to prophesy the conception and birth of John the Baptist. (Luke 1:7-20)
- An angel appeared to Mary to prophesy the conception and birth of Jesus. (Luke 1:26-38)
- An angel, along with a vast host of angels, appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. (Luke 2:8-14)
- An angel ministered to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Luke 22:43)
- Two angels appeared to the women at the tomb to announce the resurrection of Jesus. (Luke 24:4-7)
- An angel came at the appointed time every day to stir up the waters of the Pool at Bethesda. (John 5:4)
- Two angels appeared to Mary Magdalene in the empty tomb. (John 20:11-13)
It is clear to most people today that angels are not actual beings in the world that we live in. It then becomes incumbent on a Bible-believing Christian to assert that, for some reason, angels left the world soon after the death of Jesus, never yet to return. To a more skeptical mind, the mention of angels in the Gospels is an indication that superstition and myth were copiously at play.
(47) Heaven as Hell
Most Christians imagine heaven to be a place of eternal bliss, a peaceful and joyful experience that will never end, where we will meet and live with our loved ones and friends. But there is a dark side to this concept. For one, the only thing that gives our lives texture and meaning is the difficulties and setbacks that we experience. Without these, our lives would be quite boring.
Second, it is quite possible that the God that Christians worship is an extremely egotistical figure who demands constant worship. In effect, you might become what could be termed a “worship slave.”
Third, much of the meaning of our lives resides in the progression we make in various aspects of lives, where we learn new skills, or gain new abilities. In an eternal existence, progressions would have to end at some point, as described quite well in the following video:
It seems as though what we imagine to be the best of all possibilities is actually the worst of all destinies. The concept of heaven was probably invented as a way to assuage people’s fear of death and to offer a future promise of wealth to keep the poor from robbing the rich in this life. The Christian embrace of the concept of an eternal reward is good evidence that it was invented by men for reasons other than being a divine reality.
(48) Hell as a man-made versus divine concept
Suppose you were managing an ant farm and after monitoring the ants for a period of time, you decided to elevate certain ants that were more industrious to a better living arrangement. Would your first impulse be to inflict pain and suffering on the lesser industrious ants? Of course not, but this is what Christianity claims is the malicious impulse of the god of the universe.
How much more likely is it that the concept of Hell was invented by men as a means of frightening and controlling people to keep them aligned with the precepts of the faith, while serving the needs of the church with their efforts and money? The latter theory is by far the more likely.
(49) God’s imperfect plan
There can be no question that the theology of Christianity is confusing. The scriptures are unclear and contradictory, leading to many different interpretations of what it means. Wouldn’t a perfect god have given mankind a perfectly defined model of salvation? The following quote is taken from this website:
The Bible is supposedly God’s perfect Word. It contains instructions to humankind for avoiding the eternal fires of hell. How wonderful and kind of this God to provide us with this means of overcoming the problems for which he is ultimately responsible! The all-powerful God could have, by a mere act of will, eliminated all of the problems we humans must endure, but instead, in his infinite wisdom, he has opted to offer this indecipherable amalgam of books which is the Bible as a means for avoiding the hell which he has prepared for us. The perfect God has decided to reveal his wishes in this imperfect work, written in the imperfect language of imperfect man, translated, copied, interpreted, voted on, and related by imperfect man.
No two men will ever agree what this perfect word of God is supposed to mean, since much of it is either self- contradictory, or obscured by enigmatic symbols. And yet the perfect God expects us imperfect humans to understand this paradoxical riddle using the imperfect minds with which he has equipped us. Surely the all-wise and all-powerful God would have known that it would have been better to reveal his perfect will directly to each of us, rather than to allow it to be debased and perverted by the imperfect language and botched interpretations of man.
It should be clear that the Bible and Christianity as a whole is not the work of a perfect creator who is infinitely intelligent, powerful, and perceptive. It is most surely the creation of mortal human beings.
(50) God as a man
Christians claim that God created man in his own image, but a thoughtful reading of the Bible indicates something different- that men created God in their own image, replete with the full spectrum of human qualities and frailties. This point is best expounded by a quote from Mark Twain:
“Our Bible reveals to us the character of our God with minute and remorseless exactness. The portrait is substantially that of a man—if one can imagine a man charged and overcharged with evil impulses far beyond the human limit; a personage whom no one, perhaps, would desire to associate with, now that Nero and Caligula are dead. in the old Testament His acts expose His vindictive, unjust, ungenerous, pitiless and vengeful nature constantly. He is always punishing—punishing trifling misdeeds with thousand-fold severity; punishing innocent children for the misdeeds of their parents; punishing unoffending populations for the misdeeds of their rulers; even descending to wreak bloody vengeance upon harmless calves and lambs and sheep and bullocks, as punishment for inconsequential trespasses committed by their proprietors. it is perhaps the most damnatory biography that exists in print anywhere. It makes Nero an angel of light and leading, by contrast.”
Another quote from: http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/da0_skygod.htm
In summary, the God of the Old Testament behaves much like a human being. He has a human form, suffers human weaknesses and displays human failings. He lives in remote high places and controls the elements. He is astonishingly partisan and brutal by modern standards, with a taste for blood sacrifice. He is capricious, spiteful, bloodthirsty, and he had the same outlook and prejudices as Jews who lived 3,000 to 2,500 years ago. We might also note that he has no objection to capital or corporal punishment, genocide, mutilation, polygamy, concubinage, slavery or racism. Indeed he encourages all of them. By modern standards he veers between the immoral and amoral, and bears no resemblance at all to the merciful, omniscient and omnipotent God favoured by modern theologians. All in all, the God of the Old Testament is a perfect example of an ancient tribal sky god.
It should be clear that a real god would transcend any anthropomorphic tendencies and project an ethereal and other-worldly demeanor. On the other hand, an invented god would be expected to behave just like the god we find in the Bible.
(51) Selective belief in miracles
Christians accept without reservation that the miracles described in the Bible were actual historical events. However, at the same time they discount the miracle stories of other religions, such as:
- Mohammed’s night journey to Jerusalem and then to heaven
- Mohammed splitting of the moon
- Mohammed’s food and water multiplication
- The spider web protecting Mohammed in the cave
- The Hindu milk miracle
- Joseph Smith (Mormonism) healing the lame arm of wife of John Johnson
- Mormon miracle of the gulls
- Gautama Buddha producing flames and water from his body
- Water miracle at Jain temple in Gujarat
- Miracles of the Taoist alchemists
Every religion has claimed a set of miracle traditions to provide evidence of its connection to a supernatural source. Christianity is no different. What should be evident to an objective person is that the evidence for the Christian miracles is no more convincing than the evidence for non-Christian miracles. To selectively believe one religion’s miracles while discounting all of the others is a logical and hypocritical fallacy. It is highly unlikely that all of the world’s proclaimed miracles are true, still unlikely that the miracles of one religion are true and the others false, but otherwise it is very likely that they are all false.
(52) Witch Trials
During 1692-1693, a frenzy of witch hunts occurred in and around the area of Salem in colonial Massachusetts. Witch hunters would accuse a woman of being a witch, after which she would be required to prove her innocence, but anyone testifying in her favor would be assumed to be under her spell and therefore unreliable. The hunters would be paid the assets of the ‘witches’ estates thus providing incentives to accuse indiscriminately. Before this absurdity ended, approximately 20 women were either hanged or burned alive. An additional 50 were in prison awaiting sentencing, and the conditions were so bad that an additional 5 of the incarcerated women died.
This is but one of many atrocities committed by Christians over the past twenty centuries. But it begs the question: If Christianity is the true reality of our existence, why would it cause so many people to make so many fatal errors of judgment? Wouldn’t the practice of a true religion funnel people into a moral and ethical paradigm of justice? On the other hand, a false religion, based on human superstition with no divine guidance, would be expected to engender just the types of atrocities that Christianity has spawned.
The Bible condones slavery. Some Christians today claim that the Bible actually refers to servants, who were presumably working voluntarily for wages. The following scriptures demonstrate otherwise:
“If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.”
“You may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.”
“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eye service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.”
Either the persons who wrote these scriptures were not inspired by God, or God is not good and should not be worshipped. If the former is true, it still must be noted that God did not intervene to remove these verses from the Bible. A real god would have known that slavery is morally wrong and that it would eventually be outlawed through most of the world; for this reason, he would have prohibited slavery to be practiced by his chosen people.
The Bible’s indifference to and tacit support of slavery indicates that it is not the work of a supernatural being, but rather the work of men writing in accord with the customs of their time.
This point is best summed up by a quote from Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy during the American Civil War:
It [slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts…Let the gentleman go to Revelation to learn the decree of God – let him go to the Bible…I said that slavery was sanctioned in the Bible, authorized, regulated, and recognized from Genesis to Revelation…Slavery existed then in the earliest ages, and among the chosen people of God; and in Revelation we are told that it shall exist till the end of time shall come. You find it in the Old and New Testaments – in the prophecies, psalms, and the epistles of Paul; you find it recognized, sanctioned everywhere.”
It is next to certain that if a real god intervened in human affairs, he would immediately prohibit the practice of slavery. The Christian god failed to do this and therefore is extremely likely to be mythical.
Christianity is scripturally locked into the concept that God views homosexuality as an abomination. There are many verses in both the Old and New Testament confirming this point. If the churches accept homosexuality as an authentic alternative lifestyle, it would be an admission that the scriptures are wrong. However, to hold fast on this issue will further alienate the growing tide of people, most notably the young, who view it as a matter of equality. Christianity loses no matter which direction it goes. And the Bible and Judeo-Christianity lose credibility for not having foresight on this issue.
(55) Status of Women
There are numerous scriptures in the Bible that clearly pronounce that a man is superior to a woman, which was consistent with the times it was written. Consider the following scriptures:
I Corinthians 11:3
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”
I Corinthians 11:8-9
“For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
I Corinthians 14:34-35:
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
But times have changed. Societies the world over have bent over backwards to give women equal status and opportunity. Most marriages are now viewed as a 50/50 venture, a 2-person team, as opposed to a master and a helper. The sticking point is that a real god and those he allegedly inspired would have foreseen this ultimate evolution of societal mores.
This point is best summed up by the following quote from Paula Kirby: (http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/615185-woman-know-thy-place)
Religion is one lie after another: the lie of original sin, the lie of eternal life, the lie of hell, the lie of answered prayer, the lie that life can have no meaning without religion, the lie that religion is the source of morality, the lie of creationism, the lie of a spy-in-the-sky who hears your every word and reads your every thought. And to this list we must add the lie that it views men and women as equal. It has got away for so long with the kind of lunatic word-games that allow death-by-torture to be presented as an act of love, and eternal torment in the flames of hell to be seen as a necessary act of justice, that we should perhaps not be surprised that it has also managed to dupe its followers into seeing the systematic suppression and silencing of women as an act of liberation and equality. Nevertheless, it is a lie, like all the others: a cynical and wicked lie. It is time women everywhere woke up to it.
(56) Lack of Scientific Insight
The Bible lacks any insights related to science that were not understood at the time and includes many of the then-current scientific misunderstandings. The two creation myths in Genesis are good examples. What should be troubling to a Christian is why this is so. Wouldn’t the maker of the universe have communicated some basic truths about the world, such as the germ theory of disease to alleviate a lot of needless suffering? The absence of new ideas about science in the Bible is evidence that it was written by men with no inspiration from a supernatural being.
The surest sign of a man-made enterprise is that it splits quickly into many different factions. On the other hand, one initiated by a god would be expected to converge into a tight unity. This is because only those groups that aligned correctly with the divine theological blueprint would receive supernatural support and thereby flourish, attract members, and survive the long term. Any wayward factions would lose favor and couldn’t compete for new members.
(58) Other religions
A corollary to the previous point is made by looking at other religions. The Pew Research Center in 2012 estimated the size of the major world religions as a percentage of the total population, as follows”
Christianity 31.5%, Islam 23.3%, Unaffiliated 16.3%, Hinduism 15.0%, Buddhism 7.1%, Folk Religions 5.9%, Other 0.8%, and Judaism 0.2%.
Three points can be made. First, it is obvious that at least 68.5% of the world’s population is not following the true religion, and most of these people are following a false religion. Therefore, it is correct to assume that there are billions of people who are sure that their religion is the correct one, even though they are completely mistaken. So, we know for a fact that a completely false religion can flourish and command the adherence of a major swath of the world’s population over several millenniums of time. What this implies is that faith in the Christian religion is similarly vulnerable to the same degree of delusion and that its large number of followers is no evidence of its authenticity.
Second, if Christianity is the only true religion, then in 2000 years’ time it should have swallowed up the false religions and be the only major religion remaining in the world.
Third, when one examines the geographic distribution of the major world religions, it is seen that a person’s place of birth is by far the major deciding factor in their choice of religion. This implies that religious belief is mostly a consequence of childhood and cultural indoctrination, and not the result of objective analysis.
(59) Secular societies fare better
Religious conservatives often sound warnings that if we turn away from God that he will bring down destruction and mayhem. They point to hurricanes, earthquakes, and mass shootings as examples of misfortunes that God is visiting upon us because, for example, we are legitimizing same-sex marriages and allowing abortions.
This is an intriguing hypothesis, but it is totally wrong. In fact, the reverse is true. The more secular states in the United States, such as Vermont and New Hampshire, rate better in almost all categories of well-being than the most religious states, such as Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. Also, the least religious countries in the world, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, and Australia fare better in almost all measurable characteristics than the most religious countries, including the United States.
The question must be asked: Why should this be? If God is monitoring the way states and countries conduct their business, why wouldn’t he preferentially administer his grace and protection to those which most effectively worship him and follow his dictates?
(60) “Way Things Happen”
The events in the world proceed with no evidence of manipulation by gods, devils, demons, angels, or anything else of the like. We see natural disasters, plagues, wars, mass shootings, and all sorts of mayhem without any evidence that these tragedies are being controlled or planned for any purpose whatsoever.
An existence overseen by supernatural forces would look very different. There would be a detectable sense of an outside influence and violations of scientific principles such as gravity, entropy, or the conservation of mass and energy. Instead we see none of these effects, just a world fully consistent with the absence of a god.
(61) Fictional Stories
Many people believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, but, for that to be true, it must stand up to critical analysis as a factual history. Any deviation from this ideal would mean that any other portions of the Bible, even the otherwise believable stories, would be suspect for their veracity. Most Biblical stories cannot be proven true or false, but, as an example, the following ten can be considered false beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Garden of Eden- current science has long surpassed this amateurish explanation of our origins
- Noah Flood- there is no evidence of a worldwide flood or that the vessel described could have completed this mission
- Census in the gospels- the Romans took great care in documenting their censuses- there was no census at the time of Jesus’ birth, and there never was a requirement for people to travel to their birth cities to be counted
- Passover prisoner release- the Romans never released a prisoner at the Passover
- He who is without sin- the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery was added to the scriptures almost 400 years after the fact, and was copied from a previous religious tradition
- Hebrew enslavement in Egypt- absolutely no evidence from any source including Egyptian historical records
- Camel archaeology- camels were discussed in the Old Testament before any camels existed there
- Zombies after Jesus death- Matthew’s account of people rising from their graves, walking around the city, and conversing with people is false based on its intrinsic absurdity
- Elisha calling down a curse of boys who were mocking him resulting in two bears emerging from the woods and mauling 42 children- false by reason of absurdity
- The Tower of Babel- linguistic studies reveal this explanation for different languages to be farcical
- Jonah and the whale – a fantastical story borrowed from ancient traditions and with no basis in reality.
- Joshua 10:13 – the sun stood still for over a day- consistent with the then-assumed earth-centered universe, but now understood that this would have caused an epic catastrophe over the whole earth.
- Cain acquiring a wife out of thin air in Genesis 4:17 when only Adam, Eve, and Cain were supposedly alive at the time
These are just some of many examples, but they are sufficient to show that the Bible contains a lot of fiction and the extent to which it pervades the book is unknown. It calls into question every story presented in the Bible as being potentially fictional or otherwise exaggerated.
(62) Text remains, practice changes
Because of societal pressure and scientific advancements, Christian practices and dogma have changed over the centuries. However, the text of the Bible has remained static, resulting in a disconnect that becomes more glaring as time goes on. The best way to explain this point further is to quote Mark Twain:
The Christian’s Bible is a drug store. Its contents remain the same; but the medical practice changes…The world has corrected the Bible. The church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession- and take the credit of the correction. During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. the Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after eight hundred years, gathered up its halters, thumb-screws, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood.
Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry…..There are no witches. The witch text remains; only the practice has changed. Hell fire is gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them remain.
The conclusion that should be drawn from this point is that a religion and holy book inspired or authored by a supernatural deity should not have multiple issues that have to be abandoned because of future advancement of society. Rather, it should be predictive of such changes.
(63) Lack of sacrifice
The central concept of Christianity is that Jesus died on the cross as a final sacrifice to allow his followers to receive it vicariously and thus be washed of sin for entry into heaven.
But whereas a sacrifice means losing something permanently, Jesus lost nothing. He came back three days later good as new. So, in effect, there was no sacrifice.
However, the larger point to be made is why would a god require a blood sacrifice to forgive people of their sins? It smells suspiciously like something a Medieval mind would concoct, not something from the supreme creator of the universe.
(64) Allowing the Holocaust
What person who had the means to end the slaughter of innocent Jewish men, women, and children during World War II would have decided not to do so? Nobody who can call themselves civil human beings. But Christians must accept the fact that God knew what was happening and had to power to end it, but decided to just let it happen. To make matters worse, he let this happen to his ‘chosen’ people.
This is but one example of thousands of similar atrocities that have occurred over the course of human history. If God is who Christians profess him to be, it must be accepted that this god has no problem with intense and unbearable human suffering. The god of Christianity is less compassionate than the average human.
(65) Parent in heaven, child in hell
Using orthodox Christian doctrine, it must be assumed that some people will go to Heaven and some people will go to Hell. Since judgment is an individual matter, it must also be assumed that some members of the same family can end up in both places. This presents a terrible problem for Christian parents who find themselves in heaven, but discover that their son or daughter is in Hell. It would seem unlikely that they could enjoy this situation or muster the fortitude to worship a god who is simultaneously torturing their children.
(66) Herod kills infant children
In Matthew 2:13-23, the author claims that Herod authorized the murder of all infant children up to the age of two in Bethlehem and the surrounding districts as a means of ensuring the the Christ child would die.
And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
There are many reasons to conclude that this is a fictional story. First, it is only documented in the Gospel of Matthew and left out of the other three gospels. An event as heinous and memorable as this most certainly would not have escaped the attention of the writers of the other gospels.
Second, Josephus, who was tireless in his criticisms of Herod the Great would almost certainly have documented what would have been this tyrant’s most barbaric crime; though he made no mention of it.
Third, it’s apparent the Matthew was fabricating a story to add fulfillment to passages in the Old Testament Books of Hosea and Jeremiah, and to mirror a similar apocryphal event in Exodus where Pharaoh kills the Hebrew first born at the birth of Moses.
(67) God as an infant baby
Christians assert that Jesus was God, and they normally visualize Jesus as a fully grown man. But, obviously, Jesus was for a few years a helpless infant child with no concept of his surroundings. This presents a logical problem. Why would God/Jesus place himself in a situation where he no longer had the mental faculties to administer his godly control and surveillance of the universe? The idea of God pooping into a diaper and crying is not one that seems logical or consistent with the Christian concept of God.
Some might argue that Jesus is a multi-conscious being who remained in heaven or elsewhere and continued to oversee the universe during his infant years on earth. This is a rationalization that only makes sense if you suspend the idea that a unique identity is a property of consciousness. It will be left to the reader to square this concept with his sensibilities.
(68) Observation of miracles by the Romans
Many Christians accept at face value that Jesus’s miracles as described in the Bible were true historical events. However, these alleged miracles occurred in Roman-occupied lands, and the Romans had spies who attended large gatherings of Jews to detect any whispers of insurrection. News of these miraculous events, especially feeding thousands with only five loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:13-21), would have spread rapidly around the empire and eventually to the Roman emperor. It is hard to imagine that the Romans would not have investigated these extraordinary phenomena, documented it in their written accounts, and perhaps have tried to determine if Jesus or his methods could be used to solve some of the problems of the empire. The lack of Roman documentation of the miracles makes their historicity highly suspect.
(69) The changing God
Christians believe that there is only one god and that God is unchanging. This presents a problem when one compares the god described in the Old Testament with how he is defined in the New Testament. Here is how Richard Dawkins described the God of the Old Testament:
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
But the god of the New Testament is nothing like this- instead of a brutal bully, he is for the most part compassionate, forgiving, and kind. How can these two testaments be describing the same god? Clearly, they don’t. And if the God of the Old Testament is fictional, then Christianity fails for a variety of reasons.
Every year, millions of baby boys must endure, without any voice in the matter, a painful operation to remove the foreskin of their penis. This surgically unnecessary procedure is widely performed only because it became an edict of the Jewish God, later adopted by Christianity. The following verses in Genesis 17:9-14 are used to defend the practice:
Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
Although many Christians believe this ritual is no longer a commandment from God, most still perform the practice. What must be questioned is why would God create men in an imperfect state requiring a barbaric operation to remove the imperfection? It should be obvious that a god would not have entangled himself in such foolishness, and that this god, created by the Jews and adopted by the Christians, does not actually exist.
(71) Scribes fail to write about Jesus
It is difficult to conceive that a spectacularly remarkable set of events surrounding the three-year mission of Jesus (God himself) walking on the earth would not have been extensively documented throughout the Middle East. But outside of the gospels, only one person, Josephus, bothered to say anything, and what he wrote was more or less just a casual mention of Jesus, though it is now acknowledged that at least one of his mentions of Jesus was a fourth-century forgery. Here is what Kenneth Harding had to say on this subject:
There are two alleged mentions of Jesus in his histories. The first of them, the more extensive and more famous one, is no longer quoted by Christian scholars. That is because they know it is a blatant Christian forgery. The second passage is still in use.
“Josephus, the renowned Jewish historian, was a native of Judea. He was born in 37 A. D., and was a contemporary of the Apostles. He was, for a time, Governor of Galilee, the province in which Christ lived and taught. He traversed every part of this province and visited the places where but a generation before Christ had performed his prodigies. He resided in Cana, the very city in which Christ is said to have wrought his first miracle. He mentions every noted personage of Palestine and describes every important event which occurred there during the first seventy years of the Christian era. But Christ was of too little consequence and his deeds too trivial to merit a line from this historian’s pen.” (Remsberg, Ibid.)
But first things first. Josephus was not a contemporary historian. He was born in the year 37 C.E., several years after Jesus’ alleged death. There is no way he could have known about Jesus from his own personal experience. At best, he could have recorded the activities of the new cult of Christianity, and what they said about their crucified leader. So, even if Josephus wrote about Jesus, it is not a credible source. The first “Jesus Passage” is discussed below. The paragraph on Jesus was added to Josephus’s work at the beginning of the 4th century, during Constantine’s reign, probably by or under the order of Bishop Eusebius, who was known for saying that it was permissible for Christians to lie in order to further the Kingdom of God. This behavior is justified directly in the New Testament, where Paul writes in the 3rd Chapter of Romans: “For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory, why yet am I also judged as a sinner?”
Further, he had this to say on the inner workings of the church:
Ask yourself this question. Could historic passages have been forged? Could the volumes of the historians have been tampered with? The answer is: yes they could have. Where were these historic volumes stored? In the local public library? In individuals’ private homes? No. They were in the posession of the Church, who studied from them and made copies of them. In what form did these writings take? On a typeset page, bound like a modern book? No. The printing press was not invented for a further 1300 years. The fact that the Church could write means that the forgeries could have been made. The Church had the opportunity, the means, and the motive to forge historical documents.
(72) Jesus and Noah
In Matthew 24:38-39, Jesus is alleged to have made this statement:
“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
There are several possibilities:
1) Jesus believed the Noah story to be historically correct, and therefore was not a god.
2) Jesus never made this statement, it was added by a scribe, meaning that there are likely many other fictional statements of the same sort.
3) Jesus made the statement, knew the Noah story to be a myth, but used it anyway to make a point.
The third possibility is the only one that protects the authenticity of Christianity, but it is also the least likely of the three. Most likely, a god-man would avoid references to myths when doing so was not a necessary vehicle to convey the intended message.
(73) Jesus, the racist
The scriptures paint Jesus as a Jew typical of the times, that is, he believed the Jews were God’s chosen people and therefore superior to other peoples. He believed that this favored status applied to both this life and life to come.
One scripture that is very telling in this regard is Matthew 15:21-28:
Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
The reference of the woman and her child as being “dogs” is very revealing and implies that she, by birth only and not of her volition or because of any of her deeds, was inferior to the Jews. This is a pure definition of racism.
Why would Jesus, as God, who must have realized that a world religion would soon develop enveloping all of the world’s races on an equal basis, behave in such a pedestrian and parochial manner, debasing this woman’s integrity? Obviously, this entire encounter might have been made up, but once again the question must be asked how it got into Matthew’s and Mark’s gospel if it didn’t in some way reflect the conventional wisdom of Jesus’s attitude to non-Jews. As such, it needs to be viewed as a remarkable contradiction to the overriding message of Christianity, lending some Biblical scholars to conclude that it is probably an authentic account.
The depiction of Jesus as a racist and the probability that he held a Jewish superiority viewpoint makes it seem likely that he was a typical Jew of his time, just a man, and not the ultimate creator of time and space.
(74) The irrational Jesus
The philosophy that Jesus espoused was in many ways irrational and suggested that he thought the world order was about to end. Here is a list of what Jesus is alleged to have communicated to his disciples and followers:
- If you do something wrong with your eye or hand, cut/pluck it off (Matthew 5:29-30, in a sexual context).
- Marrying a divorced woman is adultery. (Matthew 5:32)
- Don’t plan for the future. (Matthew 6:34)
- Don’t save money. (Matthew 6:19-20)
- Don’t become wealthy. (Mark 10:21-25)
- Sell everything and give it to the poor. (Luke 12:33)
- Don’t work to obtain food. (John 6:27)
- Don’t have sexual urges. (Matthew 5:28)
- Make people want to persecute you. (Matthew 5:11)
- If someone steals from you, don’t try to get it back. (Luke 6:30)
- If someone hits you, invite them to do it again. (Matthew 5:39)
- If you lose a lawsuit, give more than the judgment. (Matthew 5:40)
- If someone forces you to walk a mile, walk two miles. (Matthew 5:41)
- If anyone asks you for anything, give it to them without question. (Matthew 5:42)
Very few Christians, even fundamentalists, follow even one of these precepts, and yet they will tell you that Jesus is their role model (What would Jesus do?). Most of what Jesus is saying here is complete nonsense, and if someone today was saying these things on a street corner one would consider him to be a kook.
What it suggests is a person who is convinced that the world is ending very soon and that planning for the future or defending your possessions was a waste of time. Of course, if Jesus was really God, he would have known that the world would continue on for at least another 2000 years.
(75) Jesus’s inconsistency regarding Old Testament law
The gospels allege that Jesus made statements implying that the laws of the Old Testament must be retained and applied verbatim. One example is Matthew 5:17-19:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
However, on multiple occasions, he modified or nullified the law.
– he nullified the Law prohibiting work on the Sabbath (Luke 13:14-15)
-he nullified the death penalty for women caught in adultery (John 8:1-11)
– he nullified the Exodus law concerning “an eye for an eye” (Matthew 5:38-39)
– he nullified the Old Testament allowance to hate your enemy (Matthew 5:43-44)
– he modified and greatly intensified the Old Testament command to not commit murder (Matthew 5:21-22)
Obviously, it is possible that Jesus never said these things, but it is certain that there is a critical flaw in the scriptures with Jesus saying one thing so definitively, yet completely abrogating it on many occasions. This disconnect illuminates why Biblical historians have little confidence in scriptural fidelity.
(76) God stops inspiring writers 1900 years ago
The Christian position is that the books of the Bible were written by men while receiving direct verbatim dictation from God. So, in effect, the Bible was written by God and is completely free of any man-made ideas. There are several problems with this concept. First, the selection of which books to place in the Bible was made by a committee in the year AD 325. So it must be assumed that the votes of the committee were controlled by God to ensure that only the books he inspired were selected for inclusion.
Second, it must be assumed that God decided to stop inspiring writers after about AD 120 and that anything written after this, despite all of the knowledge and experience gained over the subsequent centuries, is just a human effort lacking supernatural certification. So any writings today about the evils of slavery will not carry the same weight as the Bible verses that support slavery, because, after all, they are just the opinion of a mortal human.
Third, it must be remembered that the books God wanted in the Bible contain all of the atrocities as discussed in problem (5) above. This implies that God actually performed these killings and massacres and is not ashamed of them.
A much more rational approach is to acknowledge that the writers of the Bible books were simply ordinary people, disadvantaged by the relatively extreme lack of knowledge of their times. Most of what is written today far exceeds the morality, ethics, insights, and scientific accuracy of the Bible books, and should, to any critically thinking person, carry much more weight.
(77) Disparate writing styles in Biblical books
Christians claim that God is the actual author of the Bible and that humans merely transferred the inspired words to papyri. If that was true, it would be expected that the style of writing would be consistent throughout, similar, for example, to the similar writing style seen in each of Charles Dickens books.
This is not the case. Many of the 66 Bible books have very different styles, indicating that they were written by different people. The various writing styles indicate that God did not inspire the writers, but rather that they used their own minds to create their stories.
(78) Flaws in the scriptural account of Jesus’s trial
There are many historical inaccuracies contained in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s trial. The Sanhedrin is said in the three synoptic gospels to have met during the Passover, but this was not permitted under Judaic law. It is said to have met at night, but again this was not permitted. It was said to have met in a private house, yet it was forbidden to meet outside the precincts of the Temple.
Also, it is claimed that the Jews were not permitted to pass the death sentence (John 18:31), but this cannot be true. Earlier, the chief priests had considered putting Lazarus to death (John 12:10) and Jews were responsible for other killings — both formally and informally. The Jews appear to have regarded blasphemy as a capital offence, but only if it involved worshipping idols or using a name of God (and Jesus had not been accused of either). Again, the custom of allowing the people to have a prisoner of their choice released for the Passover festival appears to be a fiction. No such custom existed.
These critical errors in the scriptures indicate that the Gospels were written by people who did not witness the events and who were not knowledgeable of Jewish customs. It is likely that they were written by Gentile followers of Paul’s gospel who viewed Jews as the scum of the earth.
(79) Blood sacrifice
For centuries before and concurrent with Judeo-Christianity, the superstitious practice of sacrificing an animal or a human to appease an angry god was common to many civilizations. In the Old Testament there are many references to the blood sacrifice of an animal as a way to pay homage to the Hebrew God Yahweh. In the Jewish temples, pigeons were sold to congregants who then offered them for sacrifice to cleanse their souls. In the New Testament, the blood sacrifice of Jesus was used to cleanse the sinful hearts ultimately of the entire human population.
The following is a quote from Sam Harris in his afterward to his book “Letter to a Christian Nation.”
In many societies, whenever a new building was constructed, it was thought only prudent to pacify the local deities by burying children alive beneath its foundations (this is how faith sometimes operates in a world without structural engineers). Many societies regularly sacrificed virgins to ward off floods. Others killed their first-born children, and even ate them, as a way of ensuring a mother’s ongoing fertility. In India, living infants were ritually fed to sharks at the mouth of the Ganges for the same purpose. Indians also burned widows alive so that they could follow their husbands into the next world. Leaving nothing to chance, Indians also sowed their fields with the flesh of a certain caste of men, raised especially for this purpose and dismembered while alive, to ensure that every crop of turmeric would be appropriately crimson. The British were actually hard pressed to put an end to these pious atrocities.
Of course, we now know that sacrificing animals and people does nothing to ameliorate a given outcome. But one must think- why would a god continue such a barbaric practice with his chosen people even up to the execution of his own son? Wouldn’t a real god have discouraged such savagery and funneled his elect down a more enlightened path? The fact that Judeo-Christianity continued down this same path of so many superstitious peoples is strong evidence that it is the creation of men, not of a god.
(80) Evidence against a soul
Christianity proposes that we continue to live after we die in more or less the same mental state and with the same memories we had when we died. This implies that there is something immaterial about our state of consciousness or something about our identity that is independent of the brain or other portions of the anatomy.
Unfortunately for Christianity, this hypothesis has been tested many times over the course of human history with dismal results. For it implies that no brain injury should result in a loss of memory or a change to a person’s personality. After all, if these capabilities are to function after death, they should also operate during life. To accept the concept of an immortal soul, one must concede that the soul does not function during life and that God must somehow construct it for each person afterwards. This might make sense to some, but to others it seems doubtful that somebody who suffers a brain injury and loses most of his language capabilities and then proceeds to die, with the brain now completely destroyed, comes out speaking perfect English.
(81) The Black Plague
From 1347 to 1350, a devastating pandemic hit Europe causing the death of approximately 25 million people, one third of the population. Entire families were wiped out and some villages were made into ghost towns. Houses became empty because all of the inhabitants had died. Fields and animals went untended causing crops to fail and the animals to die. Most people thought that a vengeful God caused this catastrophe and the remedies of choice were prayer, fasting, and mystical rituals. All of these were ineffective, of course, and when there seemed to be end in sight, most people thought the world was coming to an end.
The Black Plague offers a multi-faceted demonstration of the non-reality of the Christian faith. First, it convincingly showed the ineffectiveness of prayer, as God ignored millions and millions of prayers of the suffering Europeans. Second, it showed the callousness of God to human suffering, as the plague caused pustules and tumors to grow almost visibly, fever, vomiting of blood, and pneumonia as victims suffered immense pain for up to a week before their deaths. Third, it highlighted the failure of God to enlighten people of the causes and prevention of disease either through scripture or divine revelation. Had this been done, the range and scope of the outbreak would have been much less severe. Fourth, it revealed God’s flawed design of the human body to be so vulnerable to this pathogen.
In short, the Black Plague is exactly what would be expected from evolution, a godless process that has no preference or partiality for humans. For an objective observer, it provides a compelling clue that Christianity is false.
(82) Gospel writers failure to retroactively fulfill prophecy
It is clear that the writers of the gospels tried to tie their narrative of Jesus to some of the prophecies of the Old Testament. Most believing Christians accept that the prophecies were genuinely historically fulfilled, but there is compelling evidence that this is not so. This is best summed up by Trevor Burris: (http://trevorburrus.newsvine.com/_news/2008/03/05/1345329-10-reasons-why-christianity-is-wrong).
The evangelists poured through the Old Testament and found “prophecies” that predicted Jesus’ life. After all, there had to be grander reasons why their great teacher had been executed like a common criminal. In the pages of Jewish scripture they found those reasons. They then consciously wrote their gospels in order to retroactively fulfill prophecy.That this happens at all is beyond dispute. Sometimes, while stumbling over themselves to “fulfill” prophecy, they get it horribly wrong: Mark (1:1-3), using shoddy sources, begins his gospel with “prophecy” that mistakenly conflates two Old Testament versus; Isaiah 40:3and Malachi 3:1. Matthew (1:20-23) uses a mistranslated Old Testament, in which the Hebrew almah, (meaning “young woman”) was changed to the Greek parthenos (meaning a physical virgin), as a justification for the immaculate conception. Matthew (21:1-7) so wants to fulfill a “prophecy” from another shoddy source that has combined Isaiah 62:11 andZachariah 9:9, that he misinterprets the passage–which only speaks of one animal (with subsequent qualifiers)–and has Jesus ride into Jerusalem, in some bizarre act of balance, on two animals. (The other gospel writers are quick to correct this grievous error.) Thus, we begin to see that not only is it a manifest absurdity to believe the Gospels are history, it becomes tenuous to believe they are even accurate.
Biblical scholars have established that the writers of the gospels felt compelled to connect the story of Jesus to the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament in an effort to convince potential followers that Jesus was the promised messiah. We now have enough evidence to conclude that the prophecies were “fulfilled” only on papyri.
(83) Bible copying errors
In the 17th Century, the English theologian John Mill underwent a detailed study of approximately 100 surviving New Testament manuscripts in an effort to determine the accuracy of the copying process. He found that there were 30,000 discrepancies among the texts, indicating that scribes had frequently made mistakes in copying scriptures. Today, there are many times that number of known discrepancies, one in particular that led to the doctrine of the virgin birth.
If Jesus had come today, the books written by the original authors could have been thoroughly validated for accuracy forever into the future, but because of the time in question, we cannot be confident that what is written in the Bible is a consistent facsimile of what was originally intended. This casts a shadow on the truth claims of Christianity.
(84) Deliberate editing and fabrication of scripture
In addition the the copying errors made by scribes, there is overwhelming evidence that the church and those associated with the church undertook a concerted campaign to “improve” scripture for the edification and ensnaring of its growing audience of followers. This deception was justified as an effective means to draw people into the faith by making it easier for them to accept the ‘truth’ of its claims.
A good description of this deception comes from Father Jean Meslier (1664-1729), a French Catholic priest who was also an atheist, discussing this point around the year 1700, translated to English:
It is no use saying that the Gospel stories have always been regarded as holy and sacred, and that they have been faithfully preserved without any tampering. It was common practice among the writers who copied these stories to add, delete or alter the text as seemed good to them. The Christians themselves cannot deny this; for St. Jerome said explicitly in many places in his Prologues that the text had been corrupted and falsified, having already been through the hands of many people who added and cut out what they pleased; with the result, as he said, that there were as many different readings as there were different texts.
There are many known examples of forgeries in the scriptures and likely even many more that remain unknown. This renders an objective historian in a position of great disadvantage in trying to reconstruct what really happened.
(85) Jesus makes false statements
Consider the following passage from Matthew 12:39-41:
But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the the belly of a sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.…
There are two problems with this statement. First, it seems to imply that Jesus believed literally in the story of Jonah, recognized by sane people today to be a fable. Either Jesus actually believed the Jonah story and made this statement or it was the fabrication of the author, neither of which bodes well for Christianity. Second, by all Gospel accounts, Jesus was dead for only two nights and one day. He was crucified late on Friday and rose on Sunday morning.
(86) Jesus condemns to death children who curse their parents
Consider the following scripture from Mark 7:8-13:
For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Jesus is stating that the Pharisees have failed to impart the law of Moses to kill children who fail to honor their parents, instead allowing and probably encouraging the children to give their gifts and talents to god (the Temple hierarchy) that otherwise could have gone to their parents, thereby enriching themselves.
The fact that Jesus endorses the concept of killing disobedient children implies a truth that many Christians try to sidestep- that the harsh laws of the Torah were not eliminated by Jesus. Either Jesus concurred with this barbaric law or else the statement was invalidly permitted by God to be placed into scripture. Either scenario depletes the authenticity of Christianity.
(87) Jesus admits he is not God
Christianity evolved for several decades after Jesus’s death to the point where Jesus became God himself, or at least 1/3 of God. But this doctrine belies the scripture in Luke 18:18-19, where Jesus emphatically states that he is not God:
A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
(88) Fact Checking
It is widely understood that the persons who wrote the gospels were not eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry and were not historians as we define the term today. Rather, they were educated storytellers who used material from both mostly oral and some written sources while at the same time adding in some embellishments and myths at their own discretion. There was no fact checking available (i.e., no contradicting information sources) and no one alive who could testify that any given story was untrue.
(89) Christianity rejects the central thrust of Jesus’s message
There can be no doubt the person of Jesus as described in the Gospels is diametrically opposed to the accumulation of earthly wealth and pronounces that being poor is the only viable pathway to salvation. Consider Luke 18:20-27, where Jesus responds to a wealthy ruler’s question as to how he can attain eternal life:
You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack;sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to [g]go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”
From the Pope to ministers to priests and to congregants, the brand of Christianity barely touches on the theme of the virtues of poverty, of relinquishing possessions to help the poor, or the potential evils of wealth. It has discarded the central theme of Jesus’s message and instead has substituted a “prosperity gospel,” saying that God will reward you financially if you follow him. This is an important and often overlooked disconnect between the Biblical Jesus and the direction that Christianity has evolved. It is near certain that Jesus would not join any of the present-day Christian Churches.
(90) Forgetting the feeding of the multitude
Jesus allegedly fed a group of 5000 people with only a few loaves of bread and some fishes as describe in Matthew 14:14-21:
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
After this exceptionally miraculous event, Jesus and his disciples departed to the Sea of Galilee, and it is clear from the scriptures that the following event occurred just a day or two later. Matthew 15:32-38:
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?” “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.” He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children.
There is a glaring problem with this set of scriptures. If only a day or two earlier Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the multitude, why would the disciples again ask Jesus how they could feed another group that was even a bit smaller, 4000 versus 5000? Either a mistake was made in the writing of the scriptures or else, more plausibly, the events are fictional and the author cobbled together the oral traditions of two mythical stories.
(91) The Temptation of Jesus
The story of the temptation of Jesus is full of problems, as follows:
- It is only mentioned in Mark, Matthew, and Luke, but not in John.
- It supposedly happened after Jesus went into the desert and fasted for 40 days- a very unlikely occurrence and likely not survivable.
- It involves the physical appearance of Satan and a highly unlikely conversation between the two.
- It speaks of being on a tall mountain such that Jesus could see all of the kingdoms of the world, something that might make sense on a flat earth.
- It clearly lacked any witnesses other than Jesus and Satan.
- Jesus is tempted to worship Satan, but since Jesus was divine, such would not be a valid temptation, because Jesus could have attained everything Satan offered (turning stones into bread, jumping off the mountain safely, and taking over the kingdoms of the world) without needing to worship him.
It is unfortunate for Christianity that this mythical episode was documented in the gospels. It strains credulity, and it is not necessary to the overall message of the gospels. It does nothing to enhance the image of Jesus. Furthermore, it telegraphs the fact that other stories in the gospels are likely mythical- even those that otherwise sound plausible.
(92) Christian morality
Many Christians claim that religion and specifically their brand of religion is necessary for people to have a respectable set of morals, and that without religious faith, people have no moral guide and therefore behave in immoral ways.
This would be good evidence for Christianity if it were true, but It is not. One way to see this is to compare the United States, one of the most religious countries in the world, with Denmark, one of the least religious countries. When asked the question “Is religion important in your daily life?” 65% in the United States say “yes” while only 18% in Denmark say “yes.”
One way to see if Denmark’s lack of religion results in less moral behavior is to look at the crime rate. The rate of rape (per 1000 persons) is 4 times lower in Denmark than in the United States. The rate of violent crime is 7 times lower in Denmark. The murder rate is 5 times lower in Denmark. Another way to look at the crime rate is to see to what extent the citizens arm themselves. In the United States there are 89 guns per 100 residents versus 12 per 100 residents in Denmark.
The following is a quote from Sam Harris:
If religion were the only durable foundation for morality you would suspect atheists to be really badly behaved. You would go to a group like the National Academy of Sciences. These are the most elite scientists, 93 percent of whom reject the idea of God. You would expect these guys to be raping and killing and stealing with abandon.
It should be obvious that belief in Christianity does not make people more moral than those who do not believe in gods. In fact, a case can be made for the opposite. The failure of Christianity to impart morality is evidence that it is not a product of a supernatural deity.
(93) The hypocrisy of the typical Christian
There is evidence that the typical Christian has a compartment in the brain where religious beliefs are stored and which does not communicate with other areas of the brain associated with patterns, logic, and critical thinking. The failure of this neural passageway results in unrecognized hypocritical ideas. The following is taken from:
entitled “Top 10 Signs You Are a Fundamentalist Christian:”
10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!
6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”
3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.
2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.
It is difficult to step outside of ourselves and see us as others do, but this is a necessary step to achieve a knowledge of objective reality. Otherwise, we are burdened with thoughts and ideas that have been hardwired in our brains by our parents, friends, teachers, and pastors, as well as the limited range of our personal experiences. It is evident that many Christians are in this situation- belief based on the imprint of others as opposed to the free exercise of critical thought.
(94) The illogic of punishing the innocent to absolve the guilty
The concept that Jesus had to be crucified in order for God to forgive our sins is absurd. God could just as easily have forgiven sins based on prayers or simply having earnest regret.
Jesus is alleged to have told a parable about the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), in which one son goes off and wastes his money on wine and loose women, while the good son remains in the good graces of the family. When the prodigal son returns, the father forgives him and kills the fattened calf as a celebration. The good son is rightfully dismayed that the father never celebrated him in that manner. If we were to retell this parable to make it match the crucifixion story, the father would have flogged the good son, with the prodigal son accepting his brother’s punishment as the means to his forgiveness. This points out the ridiculousness of Christian theology.
(95) God, the struggling author
Christian theology claims that the Bible was written under the inspiration of God, that the scriptures are holy, that they and only they are the direct product of divine authorship, and that everything else ever written lacks the same celestial pedigree. This concept is surely false. The following quote by Sam Harris sums this up nicely:
Let’s just grant the possibility that there is a Creator God, who’s omniscient, who occasionally authors books. And he’s gonna give us a book – the most useful book. He’s a loving God, he’s a compassionate God, and he’s gonna give us a guide to life. He’s got a scribe, the scribe’s gonna write it down. What’s gonna be in that book? I mean just think of how good a book would be if it were authored by an omniscient deity. I mean, there is not a single line in the Bible or the Koran that could not have been authored by a first century person. There is not one reference to anything – there are pages and pages about how to sacrifice animals, and keep slaves, and who to kill and why. There’s nothing about electricity, there’s nothing about DNA, there’s nothing about infectious disease, the principles of infectious disease. There’s nothing particularly useful, and there’s a lot of iron age barbarism in there, and superstition. This is not a candidate book.
(96) God supports sex slavery, arranged marriages, and polygamy
Christians often claim that if we just return to the morality of the Bible, all will be well. This is ludicrous. Just one example is needed to show the folly of such a claim. Consider Exodus 21:7-11:
If a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, then he shall let her be bought back again; but he has no power to sell her to foreigners, since he has wronged her by no longer wanting her after marrying her. And if he arranges an engagement between a Hebrew slave girl and his son, then he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but must treat her as a daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing, or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three things, then she may leave freely without any payment.
Here in the holy book allegedly inspired by God, we see that God supports the idea that women are the property of men, that a man can sell his daughter into slavery, that the buyer can arrange a marriage for her, and that the man can take on additional wives.
What do Christians say about this? Usually that the Old Testament doesn’t count. If that’s the case, then they should remove the Old Testament from their Bibles. But even given that, Christians should not be allowed to get away with this charade- the God of the Old Testament is the same god that they worship.
Christians are fond of saying that morality and what is right or wrong doesn’t change because God doesn’t change. They broadcast the idea that morality does not change over time and therefore claim, for example, that homosexuality cannot ever be accepted because it is clearly considered an abomination in the Bible. Given that, then we should still be able to sell our daughters into slavery because God doesn’t change, and it is STILL IN THE BIBLE.
(97) Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac
The Bible alleges that God commanded Abraham to kill his son, Isaac, as a test of his faith, Genesis 22:1-18:
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.
And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
There are many issues with this story:
- If it is true, then God is at fault for playing a barbaric and foolish prank.
- If it is false, it shows the tendency of Biblical writers to insert fiction into the scriptures.
- Why would God test Abraham since he would already know the outcome in advance?
- Why would God traumatize an innocent boy?
- This story has caused many Jewish and Christian boys a certain measure of trauma, thinking God might similarly instruct their father to kill them.
- Some children have been murdered because a parent has believed that God was telling them to do it as a test of their faith, and this scripture has been one of the major instigators of these tragedies.
Some Christians will claim that this morbid story is not a discredit to their religion because it falls in the Old Testament, but one thing cannot be denied- it is still in the Bible that they carry to church. In actuality, this story is about the fall of God for becoming entangled in such foolishness.
(98) The unlevel playing field
The basic formula of Christianity is that every person is born with the original sin of Adam and is therefore preemptively sentenced to Hell at birth. So even if this person leads a sinless life, the original sin remains and is sufficient to merit eternal punishment. It should be acknowledged that some Protestant denominations renounce the idea of original sin, but, in effect, it makes little difference because everybody commits sins in their lives and thus becomes deserving of Hell.
Christianity provides a means to overcome the problem that it has created by allowing believers to transfer their punishment over to Jesus, accepting him as their savior. Although ridiculous, this seems to be a fair game. However, the devil is in the details.
Consider the person who grows up in India, for example, and follows the Hindu religion his entire life. What is his eternal fate? Some fundamentalist Christians will say that he will go to Hell. Other more moderate Christians will say he will be granted a chance to accept Jesus after death. Both of these options are unfair.
How can a person be faulted for following the religion that they were raised to believe and the one that ties them to their culture and family and friends? On the other hand, how can it be fair that they receive a chance after death, when it becomes obvious that Jesus is the real savior? If the latter is true, then being born into a Christian home is a liability, greatly increasing one’s chance to go to Hell. It would be much better to be a Hindu and get the easy after-death opportunity to accept salvation.
This problem is completely unnecessary. God could have convincingly communicated his existence and the plan of salvation to all of mankind, expunging all false religions. This would have placed everybody on an equal basis, with an equal chance for salvation. The fact that he did not do this is good evidence for his non-existence.
(99) Pagan cannibalism
Jesus allegedly made the following statements from John 6:53-55:
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
The bizarre myth of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a deity figure to gain power or health is a pagan superstitious belief that predates Christianity. Its inclusion in the Gospels adds evidence that Christianity is a plagiarized faith.
(100) Failure of modern Christians to conform to the religion of Jesus
Oftentimes Christians exhibit Christ-like tendencies, but it is evident that in some areas, non-Christians are more like Jesus than Christians. The following are examples:
Christians are more likely to protest against restrictions of gun ownership.
Christians are more likely to deny government policies that assist the poor.
Christians are more likely to support war and the use of torturous interrogation techniques.
Christians are more likely to support economic policies that disproportionately benefit the wealthy.
(101) Christianity versus Buddhism
A comparison of Christianity to Buddhism reveals some important insights. The following it taken from Ray Harris’s website:
No-one disputes the biographical details of the Buddha’s life [editors note: As opposed to Jesus] (though the skeptic will question the supernatural aspects) and he left a clear doctrine and a clear line of succession. He also left a set of injunctions that have proved effective, resulting in a 2,500 year history of generation after generation of enlightened masters. The result has been a remarkably homogenous history. Yes, Buddhism has had sectarian difference and conflict, but even so it remains true to the original teaching and remarkably unified. Instead of tens of thousands of sects there are only dozens of sects. Instead of a history of violent sectarianism, Buddhists have had a relatively calm and polite history. Buddhism has been able to maintain its doctrinal integrity because it is both an authentic and coherent philosophy.
The Buddhist teaching on non-violence has been made absolutely clear and with a few exceptions it has been obeyed (one notable exception is the Japanese Buddhist’s endorsement of both Japan’s war of aggression and the Shinto concept of emperor as god). In contrast both Christianity and Islam, despite claiming to be religions of peace, have engaged in extremely bloody sectarian wars. I do not know of a war fought in the name of Buddhism, but there have been many wars fought in the name of God or Allah. This is because Christianity and Islam are ambiguous and incoherent, and therefore wide open to a belligerent interpretation. This is the fault of the doctrine because it has been constructed in a such a way as to allow and even invite widely divergent readings.
A religion created by an all-powerful god would look more like Buddhism than Christianity, though it would be even more extraordinary. However, Buddhism offers a glimpse of what an authentic religion, if such existed, would look like. The unfavorable comparison of Christianity to Buddhism is evidence that Christianity is not a product of divine origin.
(102) Christianity spawns the Dark Ages and the current Twilight Age
Between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance, a period of anti-intellectualism spread across much of Europe, suppressing science, individualism, and non-religious art. This was caused by the Christian belief that pursuit of knowledge or freedom of expression was a tool of Satan to deceive mankind and foment apostasy.
The following is a quote from : http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/ea0_trad.htm
Christianity brought the Dark Ages to Europe, a period when scientific endeavour was abandoned and learning of all kinds was rooted out and destroyed. With the exception of military technology, the Church was to oppose advances in virtually every scientific discipline for many hundreds of years. Philosophers were persecuted and their books burned. Such was the persecution that men of learning were driven to destroy their own libraries rather than risk a volume being seen by a Christian informer. Efforts were made to destroy evidence of Greek successes. We can never know how much was lost forever. Some Greek learning was preserved because Christian heretics, notably Nestorians, took it east with them when they fled the wrath of the orthodox Church. These refugees flourished under Zoroastrian and Muslim rulers in centres like Damascus, Cairo, Baghdad and Gondeshapur in Persia. There they translated surviving works into Syriac, Hebrew and Arabic.
Although science and expression have been freed from religious restraints in most of the world, there still remains a fragment of the Christian drive to suppress knowledge or else shape it to a desirable form. We see this in the effort by Christians to teach creationism and attack evolution, argue that the universe is 10,000 years old, that stem cells are people, that homosexuals chose their lifestyle, that climate change is a scientific hoax, and that abortion and certain forms of contraception are equivalent to murder.
Thus, we are now in the Twilight Ages, where the last remnants of superstition and fear struggle to prevent social and intellectual progress. In the centuries to come, it will be widely accepted that Christianity, as well as other religions, was a failed experiment in the human era, and that once shed, led to a period of peace, prosperity, fairness, unity, reconciliation, harmony, tolerance, and civility.
(103) Biblical marriage
Christians often use the term “the Biblical definition of marriage” as a way to promote marriage exclusively as the union between one man and one woman and to argue and campaign against same-sex marriage. But how does the Bible define marriage? It defines it as follows:
- One man and one woman
- One man and his brother’s widow, if the widow has not borne a son, she is required to marry her brother-in- law
- A man, his wives, and his concubines, such as Abraham, Solomon, and Jacob
- A rapist and his victim, a virgin who is raped is required to marry her rapist after a payment of 30 shekels to her father for his loss of ‘property’
- A man, a woman, and her slaves, as he inherits all of her ‘property’
- a male soldier and his prisoner of war, virgin girls taken prisoner must submit to their captors
- A man, and multiple wives, i.e. polygamy, such as David, Esau, Gideon, Ashur, and many others
- A male slave and a female slave, a slave owner has the right to ‘marry’ two of his slaves at his bidding
Three things should be obvious- the Bible should not used as a reason to forbid same-sex marriage, the Bible is not a moral document, and the God described in the Bible is a colloquial product of the human minds who made him up.
(104) A crucial contradiction
Conventional Christianity has adopted the concept that a person is saved by faith in Jesus and that deeds and actions don’t have much or any impact on your eternal destination. This is why people on death row can go to Heaven while virtuous humanitarians can go to Hell. One of the scriptures that confirms this doctrine is Ephesians 2:8-9:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.…
Another is John 3:16:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
But the opposite message is presented in James 2:14-17:
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
This contradiction hits at the core of Christian theology. And what is written in James’s epistle is far more likely to be in alignment with the philosophy of Jesus because it was written by one of the Jewish followers of Jesus as opposed to Paul or one of his followers. The epistles of James were likely written to refute the doctrine that was taught by Paul, though that doctrine eventually come to dominate Christianity.
(105) Christianity discourages adult reason
The scriptures allege that Jesus was enamored of children and taught that one must become like a child to enter into heaven. To be like a child is to lack critical thinking skills and to accept what people (parents, teacher, etc.) tell you.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
This is subliminal message delivered by Jesus (or by the author) to suspend one’s rational thinking skills and simply accept the miracles and doctrines that are being proclaimed. This was an effective ploy to win over those who had serious doubts about the claims of Jesus and his followers. It is saying, in effect, surrender your doubts or you will not go to heaven.
(106) The strange love of an almighty deity
The ‘love’ ascribed by Christians to their god is a very strange matter. It bears little similarity to the type of love that ordinary humans share among friends, spouses, parents, and children. It is a love overshadowed by a complex blend of fear, control, oversight, and punishment.
The following excerpt from a letter written by Mike Douglass rounds out this point:
Christianity would have us believe in an angry, jealous, judgmental, all powerful, loving god that: demands worship, keeps a running tally on everything you do, contradicts itself, and will punish you to the end of time simply for exercising your right to question its nonsense! But although this god-man in the sky will damn you to torment for all of eternity, simply for questioning, or not believing or worshipping a certain way, he loves you! What an asshole this Christian god is eh?
There are so many reasons why I reject the Christian faith, and all religions, but simply, I reject Christianity because it is completely illogical, nonsensical, hypocritical, superstitious myth, and has no place for an enlightened humanity. Merely studying the history of the Christian church, with its grotesque torture, its vast intolerance and hypocrisy, and even today, with the rampant Catholic sexual abuse of young children, It’s amazing to me that so many still blindly accept this crap, and give their lives away to it. Christianity, and religion in general, is a retirement home for the mind. It is a morass of nonsense, promulgated through fear. It is a spiritual prison.
My religious philosophy is simple: live to do the most good, and the least evil. I need no bibles, priests, prophets, saints, cardinals, and especially no non-existent crucified saviors to rescue me by demanding conformity. If humanity is to evolve than it is time to let the source of our greatest fears and superstitions fall into the dust where it belongs…Religion.
A real, loving God would make his presence known to all, lay out a clear doctrine without a need for priests, pastors, or televangelists to interpret it, provide gentle and loving guidance to those who struggle, and avoid inflicting pain on anyone. This has not happened yet in the history of our world, so if a god actually exists, it is nearly certain that he has not yet contacted us.
(107) Christian God meets criteria for a religion
The following quote is attributed to an anonymous source:
When inventing a god, the most important thing is to claim that it is invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people will become skeptical when it appears to no one, is silent, and does nothing.
(108) Faith Healing and Death
The Christian religion has been responsible for many needless deaths because some followers have taken its scriptures at its word. Consider the following:
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up;”
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
It is hard to blame the literalists because much of Christianity is based on the concept that the Bible is the inspired work of God, and that all scripture is true. So following these unambiguous scriptures that promise God’s healing power is a natural response.
Unfortunately, these Biblical promises are not true and healing by faith has a dismal record, replete with failure and death. What is most appalling is the number of children who die as a consequence. The following site chronicles 6 children who died as a result of receiving prayers in lieu of medical treatment:
(109) Atheists know more about religion than religious people
The Pew Forum on Religious Religion and Public Life conducted a survey to determine the level of religious knowledge among various groups and denominations. The survey revealed that atheists and agnostics knew more about the history and doctrines of major religions than any group of religious people.
This is a significant finding because it suggests that the better educated a person becomes about religious texts and dogma, the less they are inclined to believe them. It also suggests that if more people made an effort to study the basis for their beliefs, there would be a lot more atheists.
(110) Donations to help the poor and needy
Christians can point to their tax returns and claim that they give more to charity than non-Christians. Based on a study of charitable deductions on 1040 tax returns, this is correct. However, when you look under the hood, a different story emerges.
The vast majority of the money that Christians donate to their churches never reaches the poor and needy. On the low end of spectrum, out of every $100 that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) receives, only 70 cents reaches the poor and needy. On the other end of the spectrum, $29 of every $100 that the United Methodist Church receives is so directed. Other churches fall somewhere in between, but tend toward the lower end. Most of the money goes to building costs (capital, operational, maintenance), salaries, staff health care, and proselytizing.
On the other hand, $92.10 out of every $100 dollars that the Red Cross receives directly goes to the poor and needy.
What this means is that although atheists and non-church-goers donate less money as defined by tax laws, on average they actually give more to help disadvantaged people. This is because they don’t give money to churches, but rather to charities that translate their donations much more efficiently to those in need. This does not apply to all Christians, some of whom donate to direct charities as well, but on average the church-going Christians primarily donate to their church.
Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerburg are atheists and donate several billion dollars every year from their own pockets and they organize a charity of billionaire charity donations.
The irony of this situation should not be overlooked. The churches that base their entire existence on a man who had a laser focus on helping the poor actually reduce the amount of assistance that otherwise would be available if they didn’t exist.
(111) Catholic child abuse scandal
Like a slowly developing train wreck, the child abuse scandal of the Catholic Church has been unfolding over the past several decades. Hundreds if not thousands of children have been subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of pedophiliac priests. It is likely that the recent revelations are simply a product of a more open society and that similar abuses have been ongoing to some degree for the entire 2000-year history of the church. It is undeniable that the Popes, Cardinals, and other church authorities undertook a concerted effort to cover up the scandal, taking far too few punitive actions, while simply moving troublesome priests to other churches where they could find new targets for their addiction.
Why would God have allowed this to happen? If he has the perceptive and potency capabilities as assumed by most Christians, it would seem that he would have intervened to stop the damaging abuse to the children as well as the embarrassing devastation to the church’s reputation. Wouldn’t he have communicated somehow with the church authorities in whatever manner possible to prod them into taking the correct and humane actions necessary to bring this abomination to an end? The fact that this didn’t happen suggests that the type of god assumed by most Christians is not real, and that most likely the church is run by men…period.
(112) Persecution by Christians
The history of Christianity from around 300 to 1800 AD is replete with scourges of persecution of almost any persons who disagreed with the conventional dogma of the Church. It included 7 major Crusades between 1096 and 1291 AD with many additional minor ones, bringing a reign of terror and death to followers of Islam, Jews, and other religious faiths.
But the Crusades were just the formal acts of ‘declared war.” There were many other barbaric atrocities perpetrated under the auspices of Christianity. The following is taken from:
In its heyday the Christian Churches practiced routine persecution. They tortured, mutilated, branded, dismembered and killed as a matter of course. They condemned to death any who questioned their dogmas. They burned Jews, heretics, apostates and pagans in large numbers. They imagined enemies everywhere and had them exterminated. Among their countless victims were women whose chief crimes seem to have been living alone, looking old, keeping pets, and knowing something about herbs and midwifery. Christians even persecuted their fellow believers. It is sobering to reflect that over almost 2000 years Christians have never been persecuted by any of their supposed enemies as viciously as they have been persecuted by fellow Christians.
The question for a believer is this: Why would a faith originated by a supreme god, the maker of the universe, cause so much death, suffering, and misery for so many people? Why would it cause so many people to act in such inhumane ways? It simply does not make sense, even if you give license to man’s inherent sinful ways. The religion of an infinite god should have had the opposite effect- causing a reign of love, peace, acceptance, tolerance, and benevolence- in short, a turn of history AWAY from the violence and barbarism that preceded it. The fact that this didn’t happen is good evidence that Christianity is simply a man-made religion.
(113) Christianity’s 2000-year record
The measure of a true religion is its cumulative effect on the world. A true religion being administered by a divine being should shine forth great fruits and enlightenment on a dark world and be a beacon of holiness, justice, and righteousness. But what we see in Christianity’s two millenial history is something different. The following is taken from:
For the first three centuries the Church was relatively powerless and did little harm. It taught brotherhood, tolerance, peace, love, justice, mercy, and so on, to the extent of encouraging Christian soldiers to desert the Imperial armies. For the next 1,500 years it was extremely powerful and harmful throughout Europe. It caused division, persecution, war, hatred, and injustice, and practised the most spectacular viciousness and brutality.
The Church, in its numerous guises, has a less than enviable record on a wide range of social issues. It has befriended and supported totalitarian, authoritarian, and extreme right-wing regimes. It has abused its power and opposed legal, political and educational reform. It has also opposed liberties and human rights. It has opposed science and rational medicine and taught a wide range of nonsense, insisting that illness was caused by evil spirits, witchcraft and sin. For many centuries the Church maintained its position by a combination of fraud and terror, opposing advances in learning and suppressing the truth. Where Christian dogma has been strongest, so has poverty, misery and ignorance. Christian Churches were wholly responsible for the deaths of millions whose only crime was to dissent from their current version of orthodoxy.
(114) Jesus, the hypocrite
Consider the following two Gospel scriptures:
Luke 6: 27-29
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.…”
“So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Jesus is telling us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us and even to let them strike us and take our possessions. But when it comes to his enemies, the wicked people who reject his doctrine, he casts them into an everlasting torture chamber. He is telling us one thing and doing the exact opposite. This blatant hypocrisy flies completely over the head of most Christians.
(115) Transferring guilt to all Jews for Jesus’s death
Christianity has a terrible tendency to transfer guilt to the descendants of the sinner, such as Adam’s sin being cast onto all human beings, or the sins of the father being visited on the sons, or the people being punished for the deeds of their miscreant ruler, while at the same time bestowing blessings because of what someone else did (Jesus dying on the cross). What is missing in this equation is emphasis on the actual deeds of the individual being judged.
This psychotic belief has had murderous consequences for Jews, who have been blamed for the death of Jesus. Right off the bat this can be seen to make no sense- Christians claim that the death of Jesus was essential for mankind’s salvation, but somehow the people who made this happen are considered villains?
Over two thousand years of Christian persecution of the Jews has stemmed from this one scripture: Matthew 27:23-26
“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!“ Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Over the centuries, the blame for Jesus’s death grew from the people who were present at the sentencing and their children, to all of the Jews alive on earth at that time, to all Jews who have ever lived. It paved the way for antisemitism, discrimination, ostracism, and ultimately to the Holocaust. And all of this, or at least a very large share of it, because the author of Matthew saw fit to add this obviously fictional statement (bolded above).
(116) Thomas and the tyranny of faith
One of Jesus’s disciples, Thomas, was told that Jesus had risen from the dead but he said he could not believe it until he had material proof- seeing the nail marks in the hands (John 20:24-29). This story is undoubtedly fictional because it appears in none of the previous three gospels which were all written earlier. But its inclusion in the final gospel tells an incriminating story about Christianity.
The final verse (John 20:29) is as follows:
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
This marked the beginning of Christianity marketing faith as the ultimate spiritual attribute. Not surprisingly, it occurred at a time that many people were questioning whether Jesus was a real messiah and whether he had risen from the dead. This is a period approximately 80 years after Jesus’s death and during a time that Christianity was struggling to gain a solid footing, still competing with many pagan religions.
By saying that the more faith you have the greater you will be exalted sends a message that the lack of evidence for Jesus is the best of all situations because it means that, consequently, your faith will be stronger. If provided evidence, the measure of faith would be lessened. So it solved two problems for Christianity- it made followers happy to be without evidence for Jesus and also discouraged them from trying to find any evidence.
Faith is only seen as a laudable attribute in matters of religion. In all other aspects of life, we are enjoined to gain facts and evidence before making a decision, such as getting a house inspected before buying it. The fact that Christianity pushes faith, belief without evidence, so strongly is a blatant admission that it has no firm foundation on which to stand. And in so doing, it is knowingly trapping followers inside a black hole of subservience to the church.
The following is a quote from James L. Sutter:
Religion doesn’t just cloud our minds. It asks us to deliberately deceive ourselves– to replace reason with its opposite, faith. And when men operate on faith, they can no longer be reasoned with, which makes them more dangerous than any sane man, good or evil.
(117) Contradictory genealogies
There are two genealogies of Jesus presented in the Gospels, one in Matthew and one in Luke. They are severely contradictory with very few of the names matching. Right away, they disagree on who was the father of Joseph, Jesus’s father.
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.
Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public ministry. Jesus was known as the son of Joseph. Joseph was the son of Heli.
Matthew’s genealogy traces Jesus’s ancestry back to King David, while Luke’s goes all the way back to Adam, the alleged first human. This has been explained because the two gospels had different audiences. Matthew was focused on the Jewish Christians who were most concerned that the savior must be in the blood line of David, as in accord with the scriptures. Luke was focused on the gentile Christians, as this gospel was written by a student of Paul’s. So tracing the lineage back to Adam was a way to show that salvation was afforded to all of mankind.
Attempts to reconcile the two genealogies have failed to make any sense, and it is obvious that both authors made up the names, borrowing from the Old Testament and other sources. Also, because it is alleged that Jesus was born of a virgin, Joseph could not have been his biological father, so Jesus could not have been in the blood line of King David, making him ineligible to be the Jewish savior.
(118) Extant New Testament manuscripts are not even close to being originals
The oldest existing New Testament manuscripts are all copies of copies and certainly contain many errors, omissions, and deliberate edits. The following is from:
The original Greek manuscripts of the books of the New Testament have not survived. What are extant are hand written copies of copies of copies – over 5,600 fragments or complete copies in the original Greek, with 94 per cent dating from the 9th century. The earliest is a tiny fragment from the Gospel of John dated to the first half of the 2nd century. The earliest complete copy of the Gospel of Mark (which was written about the year 70) dates from the 4th century. Our earliest copies of Paul’s writings come about 150 years after he wrote them. Mistakes and intentional alterations in the copying process resulted in thousands of variations in these texts until the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. The differences were mostly spelling and grammatical errors, but also there were some deliberate omissions, insertions and mistranslations in the New Testament. There are some significant differences and contradictions in the biblical texts that have a bearing on historical accuracy and Christian theology.
The earliest surviving version of the New Testament, the Codex Sinaiticus (circa 300 CE), contains the book the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas that had been read in churches for years. They were eventually expunged from the canonical New Testament for not reflecting orthodox thinking. There are other books that are actually referenced by New Testament writers that are missing from the canon. For example, Paul urges believers to read his letter to the Laodiceans (see Colossians 4:16). It is disputed as to whether the surviving Latin copy, originally in some Bibles, is genuine. Also, the writer of Jude references the Jewish apocryphal book of Enoch as though it was authoritative (Jude 14-15). It is ironic that Jude is accepted into the Biblical Canon, but the book he quotes from is not. The early New Testament was a fluid entity for many decades and determining what was really the Word of God was controversial. Ultimately, men who did not personally know the authors of the scriptures made the decisions.
Very few Christians realize how much time separates the existing manuscripts from the originals. For a god to be establishing a new religion, this is an abysmal way to have done it. Even if the original writers wrote precisely what God wanted them to, we don’t have a reliable access to those divinely inspired words.
(119) Book burning
The book is a universal symbol of learning, critical thought, open-mindedness, and the celebration of new and enlightening ideas. So naturally, a religion built on flimsy evidence would view books as an enemy to its success. The story of Christians burning books is a long and sorry tale.
In fact, book burning is discussed in the Bible, Acts 19:18-20:
Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.
The early history of book burning is described at this website:
The moment Christianity came into power in the fourth century, books that do not conform to its teaching were ferociously destroyed. Around 363-364, the Christian emperor Jovian, ordered the pagan library in Antioch to be burnt, leaving the helpless citizens watching the books go up in flames. 
Continuing this trend, around the year 372, the Christian emperor Valens (d.378), as part of his persecution of pagans, ordered the burning of non-Christian books in Antioch. (The main target were pagan books on divination and magic but most of the books burned were mainly on liberal arts and law). Fearful of the emperor, many provinces of the eastern empire burned their own libraries to avoid his wrath.
Perhaps the greatest single intellectual loss of the classical world was the destruction of the library of Alexandria. At one time, it was reputed to house about 700,000 books on subjects ranging from literature and history to science and philosophy. In the year 391, the bishop of Alexandria, Theophilus (d.412), in his quest to destroy paganism, lead a group of crazed monks and laymen, destroyed all the books in the great library.
No other great libraries were spared by the Christians. Up to the fifth century many Greco Roman cities had libraries which housed more than 100,000 books. These were all destroyed by the Christians. Pope Gregory The Great (c.540-604) was the person responsible for destroying the last collection of older Roman works in the city.
Book burning by Christians has continued into the modern era, though normally via a different, more euphemistic approach such as book removal from libraries or school curricula. It also takes the form of removing ‘controversial’ information from school textbooks while adding fictional information.
Any belief system that fears competing ideas to the extent that it feels it must destroy or obscure the documentation of those ideas is a weak enterprise that should be avoided by any clear-thinking person.
(120) Failed prophecies in the Bible
If the Bible is truly the inspired word of an omniscient god, then any prophecies therein should come true. In some cases, it is obvious that the New Testament authors realized this and fashioned their stories around prophecies in the Old Testament, often making mistakes in so doing. However, there are some prophecies that were clearly false that no amount of liberal editing by later authors could correct. The following is taken from:
Isaiah 17:1 “An oracle concerning Damascus: See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.”
FAIL: Damascus is still inhabited today with well over a million people and there was never a time where it ceased to be a city. It is widely known as being the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.
Isaiah 19:4-5 “I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them, declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty. The waters of the river will dry up, and the riverbed will be parched and dry.”
FAIL: The river mentioned here is the Nile which never dried up and is still one of Egypt’s greatest natural resource.
Isaiah 52:1 “Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again.”
FAIL: There are still uncircumcised people living in Jerusalem even today.
Ezekiel 30:10-11 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will put an end to the hordes of Egypt by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He and his army – the most ruthless of nations – will be brought in to destroy the land. They will draw their swords against Egypt and fill the land with the slain.”
FAIL: Ezekiel predicts that Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon will conquer Egypt utterly destroying it, slaying and scattering its people. In 568 BCE Nebuchadnezzar tried to conquer Egypt and Egypt survived with no apparent damage. Aahmes ruled for another generation over a prosperous Egypt and lived to see Nebuchadnezzar die. The Egyptians were not scattered or dispersed.
Ezekiel 29:10-11 “therefore I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdol to Aswan, as far as the border of Cush. The foot of neither man nor beast will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years.”
FAIL: Never in its long history has Egypt been uninhabited for forty years.
Matthew 16:28 “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” 23:36 “I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.” 24:34 “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”
FAIL: Jesus states in Matthew that all the signs marking the end of the world would be fulfilled before his generation ended, before the people that were standing in front of him “taste death.” Those people have been dead for nearly 2000 years and the world did not come to an end, neither have all those signs been fulfilled.
(121) The lies of Christianity
Christians have been telling lies for centuries, lying to themselves and to others in a desperate attempt to maintain a tenuous hold on their faith. Here are some examples:
- The Bible has no contradictions.
- The Bible treats women as equals.
- Atheists have no morals, feelings, or emotions
- Evolution is false.
- The United States is a country founded on Christianity.
- The Bible is the ultimate source of morality.
- Prayer works.
- Life has no meaning without religion.
- Homosexuality is a choice
- The Bible treats marriage solely as one man and one woman.
- The Bible does not support slavery.
- A fertilized egg is a person.
- Christianity is a peaceful, loving religion
- Christians give more to the poor than atheists.
- Christianity did not steal any holidays from the pagans.
- Jesus would oppose universal health care, gun control, and social programs for the poor.
- The Earth is 10,000 years old.
- Christianity is under attack in the U.S.
What should be noted here is that a true, factual religion would have no need to tell any lies, because truth and reality would always be supportive of its doctrine. On the other hand, a man-made false religion would need to tell a litany of untruths to keep its followers from doubting their faith. And so it is.
(122) The chronological and geographical distribution of religions
If you were born long ago, before Christianity, you probably would believe in a God by the name of Thor, or Zeus, or Olympus, or some such deity. If you were born in recent times in India, you would believe in a multiplicity of gods. If you were born in Pakistan, you would believe in Allah. If you were born in Utah, you would most likely be a Mormon, and so on.
It is obvious that belief in gods and religions is highly influenced by the timing and placement of one’s birth. It should also be obvious that if a god truly existed, that is one that intervenes aggressively in human affairs, there would be a discernible symmetry of belief over time and location. Such a god would transcend cultural and geographical barriers, touching the souls of every human tribe and civilization in an equitable fashion. In such a world, belief in this true god would be for the most part uniformly distributed over the entire earth. However, if such a god did not exist, then the existing partitioned pockets of belief is precisely what would be expected.
(123) The existence of intelligent doubters
If Christianity was true, then there would exist a god who aggressively intervenes in the affairs of life, answering prayers, performing miracles, directing worldly events, and meting out rewards and punishments. In this world, there may be some controversy over his doctrine, but there would be no doubt of his existence. This world would not contain learned, intelligent, sane doubters, like…as follows:
1. Creationists make it sound like a ‘theory’ is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night — Isaac Asimov
2. I don’t believe in God. My god is patriotism. Teach a man to be a good citizen and you have solved the problem of life. — Andrew Carnegie
3. All thinking men are atheists. — Ernest Hemingway
4. Lighthouses are more helpful than churches. — Benjamin Franklin
5. Faith means not wanting to know what is true. — Friedrich Nietzsche
6. The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. — George Bernard Shaw
7. Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile. — Kurt Vonnegut
8. I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. — Frank Lloyd Wright
9. Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. — Denis Diderot
10. A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows. — Samuel Clemens
11. The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life. — Sigmund Freud
12. Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. — Edward Gibbon
13. The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church. — Ferdinand Magellan
14. Not only is there no god, but try getting a plumber on weekends. — Woody Allen
15. It’s an incredible con job when you think about it, to believe something now in exchange for something after death. Even corporations with their reward systems don’t try to make it posthumous. — Gloria Steinem
(124) The Transfer of Punishment
Christians believe that Jesus died for their sins and received the punishment that they would otherwise deserve. At its root, this is unethical. It would be as if in a court of law, a murderer sentenced to death finds another person who is willing to die in his place, and the murderer is then set free. Why would we accept God’s plan of salvation while categorically not using a similar rationale in our judicial system?
(125) Christian morality versus Mahavira
The founder of Jainism, Mahavira, who lived six centuries before Jesus, produced a moral code in one sentence that outshines anything written in the Bible. The following is a quote from Sam Harris’ book “Letter to a Christian Nation,” p. 23:
Mahavira, the Jain patriarch, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.” Imagine how different our world might be if the Bible contained this as its central precept.
It should be obvious that morality did not originate with the Judeo-Christianity, but rather that it deteriorated with the spread of that religion. Under the supposed authority of their faith, Christians violated every one of Mahavira’s precepts and justified it all by reference to their ‘holy’ scriptures.
(126) God’s overuse of the death penalty
Today most first-world countries have abolished the death penalty including Canada, Mexico, all of western Europe, Russia, Australia, South Africa, and Argentina to name a few. It is used only sparingly in the United States (40-50 per year). However, the God of the Bible had no qualms about capital punishment and demanded it for the following ‘crimes.”
- blasphemy (i.e. profaning the divine name) Leviticus 24:16
- bestiality (both parties) Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 20:15
- homosexuality Leviticus 20:13
- pre-marital sex (women only) Deuteronomy 22:20-21
- adultery Deuteronomy 22:22 and Leviticus 20:10
- wizardry Leviticus 20:27
- witchcraft Exodus 22:18
(or poisoning or making potions, depending on the translation)
- spiritualism Leviticus 20:27
- making sacrifices to other gods Exodus 22:20
- worshipping other gods, or heavenly objects Deuteronomy 17:2-5
- cursing one’s parents Exodus 21:17, Leviticus 20:9
- being a stubborn and rebellious son Deuteronomy 21:18-21
- desecrating the Sabbath Exodus 31:14
Moses hesitated when a man was brought to him for gathering sticks on the Sabbath, but God had no doubt about what should happen to him. He instructed Moses to have the man stoned to death (Numbers 15:32-36):
And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.
This is the exact same god that Christians worship every Sunday. Most simply overlook how he is portrayed in the scriptures and focus on the soft, feel good passages of their choosing. For them, it is like eating at a buffet, take what you want, ignore the rest.
(127) Jesus, the extortionist
If a person sticks a gun in your face and says “give me your wallet, or I will kill you,” you will probably give him your wallet because you want to save your life. But Jesus is an even worse character than the street robber because he says, in effect, “give me your life, worship me, love me more than your own family, give me your time, your money, and your soul, or else I will torture you in great pain and anguish forever.”
(128) Christianity supports and relishes torture
Starting with its formulaic depiction of hell to its historic campaigns to burn heretics, witches, and non-believers, Christianity has had a love affair with torture. After all, it was the torture of Jesus that saved mankind.
In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, it was Christians who most vocally supported the use of torturous interrogation techniques on captured militants.
But even more impressive are the writings of some of the greatest Christian theologians of the early centuries, stating how satisfying it will be for those in Heaven to view the suffering of those in Hell:
Tertullian (160 – 220 AD)
How vast a spectacle then bursts upon the eye! What there excites my admiration? what my derision? Which sight gives me joy? which rouses me to exultation?-as I see so many illustrious monarchs, whose reception into the heavens was publicly announced, groaning now in the lowest darkness with great Jove himself, and those, too, who bore witness of their exultation; governors of provinces, too, who persecuted the Christian name, in fires more fierce than those with which in the days of their pride they raged against the followers of Christ.
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD)
But in what way shall the good go out to see the punishment of the wicked? Are they to leave their happy abodes by a bodily movement, and proceed to the places of punishment, so as to witness the torments of the wicked in their bodily presence? Certainly not; but they shall go out by knowledge…For those who shall be in torment shall not know what is going on within the joy of the Lord; but they who shall enter into that joy shall know what is going on outside in the outer darkness.Therefore it is said, “They shall go out,” because they shall know what is done by those who are without. For if the prophets were able to know things that had not yet happened, by means of that indwelling of God in their minds, limited though it was, shall not the immortal saints know things that have already happened, when God shall be all in all?
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274 AD)
Nothing should be denied the blessed that belongs to the perfection of their beatitude…Wherefore in order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned.
That the saints may enjoy their beatitude more thoroughly, and give more abundant thanks for it to God, a perfect sight of the punishment of the damned is granted them.
It is illuminating that Christendom’s greatest theologian, Thomas Aquinas, believed the greatest joy the resurrected believer can experience is the sight of the damned being tortured. This is not an indictment of Mr. Aquinas as much as a condemnation of Christianity for creating a god who routinely ordered the massacre of infants, children, women, men, and animals, and who considers eternal torture to be a just punishment for leading an imperfect life.
(129) Many Christ-like figures pre-date Jesus
It is instructive to study the history of Gods and heroes that pre-date Christianity to understand where the mythology of Christianity originated. This list includes Buddha, Krishna, Odysseus, Romulus, Dionysus, Heracles, Glycon, Zoroaster, Attis, Horus, and Mithra.
Many parallels are seen with the story of Jesus, including being born of a virgin, having 12 disciples, and being slain for the salvation of mankind. This shows several things, (1) that there have been many gods created by many civilizations with the absolute certainty that most if not all are false, (2) that each group that created a new god had a tendency to copy the elements of previous gods, and (3) that the failure of any of these gods to show a measure of uniqueness tends to indict them all to the category of fiction.
It is well understood that the primary creator of modern Christian theology, Paul, was well versed in the Hellenistic pagan religions, and that he infused his knowledge of these belief systems into his epistles as well as the gospels of Luke and John, both written by his proteges.
(130) Jesus was not the Jewish messiah
Christians claim that Jesus was the promised Jewish messiah, or savior, and the Gospel authors went out of their way to portray him as such, often referring to the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. But there is a huge problem with this- scripturally literate Jews have rejected this concept for 2000 years and for many good reasons. All of the following would have to happen before someone can be acknowledged as the messiah:
The messiah must be of the tribe of Judah and a descendant of King David and King Solomon. The New Testament scriptures confirm that Jesus did not have a birth father, and thus could not fulfill this requirement.
The temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt. The temple was destroyed 38 years after Jesus’s death and has not been rebuilt.
There will be worldwide peace and a complete end to war. Wars have increased since the birth of Christianity.
The messiah will reign as a king, with all Jews observing the Jewish commandments. Jesus never reigned as a king and all Jews do not observe the commandments.
The messiah is to rule when all the people of the world acknowledge and worship the one true god. This has not happened.
There will be an in-gathering of Jews to Israel. This has begun to happen, but has not been completed.
Christians claim that Jesus will fulfill all of these requirements when he returns. But Jewish people consider this claim to be an admission that Jesus failed to fulfill the Messianic criteria.
The fact that Jesus is a failed messiah destroys the credibility of Christianity. It creates a disconnect between the Old Testament god and the god of Christianity, but Jesus himself worshiped the Old Testament god. Therefore, Christianity can only be true if Jesus was the Jewish messiah and was universally accepted as such.
(131) The Gospel of Matthew and the Rosetta Stone of the resurrection
If we make two assumptions that all Christians will agree to, that Jesus was a real and unique person, and that his resurrection was based on some sort of physical evidence- not just the consequence of dreams or visionary experiences, or an author’s forgery, then the Gospel of Matthew provides good evidence for what really happened.
First consider Matthew 27:62-66:
Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ “Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.”
This story is almost assuredly fictional because it would have required the chief priests and the Pharisees to meet with Pilate on the Sabbath. It is historically implausible that Pilate would have agreed to guard a tomb of a crucified man based on the religious sensibilities of the Jews. Also, it is nearly certain that guarding of the tomb could have been accomplished by the concerned Jews themselves, which is likely how Pilate would have responded to this request. After all, the Jews would have wanted to know for themselves if a resurrection actually occurred. Also, this story is not in the Gospel of Mark, a book written about a decade earlier, an omission that would be unlikely given that it provides evidence for the truth of the resurrection and would have been a story that would have circulated virally among all of the Christians. It also does not appear in Luke or John.
Now consider Matthew 28:11-15:
Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’“And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.
Here, the story gets weirder. Before the above, Matthew asserts that a large earthquake occurred (not mentioned in any other gospel) an angel rolled back the stone, and Jesus appeared (like lightning), leaving the Roman guards frightened (and they became like ‘dead men’). So, starting with the scriptures above, we have the frightened guards returning to the city, having just experienced a remarkable supernatural event. But somehow they were able to be bribed with money to concoct a story that the disciples stole the body while they slept. Admitting that they slept while on guard duty would have been a dereliction of duty punishable under Roman Law by severe flogging or even possibly death. And despite what they saw, which would have confirmed Jesus’s supernatural status, they evidently continued to follow the Roman deities.
It is clear that the author of Matthew went to great pains to concoct a story to rebut a rumor or else perhaps the conventional wisdom of the Jews that Jesus did not rise from the dead, but that the empty tomb was a consequence of his body being moved by someone- perhaps a disciple or perhaps someone else who wanted to create a tableau to make some sense of Jesus’s crucifixion and give hope to his aggrieved followers. It is ironic that this clearly made-up story gives a major clue as to what most likely actually happened.
(132) What happened to people who lived and died before Jesus arrived?
Christianity has a major boundary condition problem when it comes to people who lived before Jesus arrived on earth, and, by extension, those who lived afterwards, but never heard of Jesus. There seems to be no fair way to deal with these people, as is the case today with infants or fetuses that die. In fact, the theory of Christian judgment only works when dealing with people who have reached the age of reason AND have heard and understood the message of Christianity.
So what happened to a native American who lived 10,000 years ago and worshiped a sky god? There are three possibilities: (1) he died permanently, (2) he was sent to Hell because he wasn’t sinless, or (3) he was given a chance to accept God/Jesus in the afterlife. All 3 of these options are seriously flawed. To deprive him of eternal life just because he was born too early is unjust. To send him to Hell is heinous. To give him a chance to accept Jesus as a matter of fact, not faith, is unfair to people today who must accept by faith only. This is a fair test of any hypothesis- if it doesn’t work at the boundaries, it is probably a failed theory. Christian doctrine, as measured by scientific principles, is a failure.
(133) Christian hate groups
Christianity has spawned a multitude of hate groups that variously spew vitriol at gays, women, blacks, immigrants, and Jews. The flagship of this wickedness is the Westboro Baptist Church, formerly led by Fred Phelps in Topeka, Kansas. This group famously proclaims that God hates homosexuals and that he delivers punishment in the form of battlefield deaths, natural disasters, and mass shootings. The members routinely picket the funerals of the victims of these tragedies.
Other examples are the ministry of James Wickstrom (anti-Jewish), the Christian-Identity Church (anti-black), Kingdom Identity Ministries (white supremacy), America’s Promise Ministry (white supremacy), Radical Traditional Catholicism (anti-Jewish), American Family Association (anti-homosexual), Ku Klux Klan (anti-black), and Promise Keepers (although not a hate group, it systematically degrades the executor status of women in a heterosexual marriage).
It is well understood that most Christians do not subscribe to these forms of hatred and intolerance, but it is also true that Christianity is largely responsible for their existence. Bible scriptures are used to support anti-gay (many scriptures in the Old and New Testament), anti-black (scriptures supporting slavery), anti-woman (New Testament scriptures supporting the supremacy of men), and anti-Jewish (many New Testament scriptures) activism.
It is highly unlikely that a religion guided by a supreme being would promulgate literature that would cause this kind of hatred to exist. Rather, this has the markings of a human-produced enterprise that fully incorporates the biases and prejudices of unenlightened men.
(134) Christian apologetics
Christian apologetics is the over-burdened application of ecclesiastical resources tasked with defending the faith against objections. Apologetics are needed to defend the contradictions and irrationalities in the Bible, the atrocities of Christian history, the implausibility of miracles, the many failed prophecies, the missing power of prayer, and the infringement of science on closely held beliefs, among others.
Apologetics are not needed to defend evolution science, the age or structure of the universe, or the germ theory of disease, for example, because these are adequately defended by verifiable evidence. To be brutally honest, apologetics are only needed to defend fallacious belief systems, such as UFO abductions, ghost sightings, and pyramid power. The fact that Christianity employs such a large industry of apologetics is a strong indicator that it is based on myth and fallacy.
(135) Anne Rice and the transmutation of Christianity
In 2010, Anne Rice, the world-famous American author (best known for the The Vampire Chronicles) announced that she was quitting Christianity, the faith in which she had been raised and to which she had returned 10 years previous. She made the following two posts on Facebook:
For those who care, today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.
In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
The point to be made here is not so much an indictment of Christianity as a system of thought or philosophy as it is a denunciation of the direction in which it has evolved. Note that Rice did not renounce a belief in Jesus, but rather concluded, rather astutely, that modern-day Christianity no longer reflects the Jesus that is described in scripture. This begs the question: Why would God, supposedly all powerful and able to influence any and all persons, allow Christianity to become something so distant from the peace-loving, ascetic, wealth-hating, and tolerant Jesus? But if Christianity is just a human-created enterprise, then watching it distort into a shameful vehicle to enrich or empower a certain segment of society is very understandable.
(136) Changing inconvenient teachings
Over time, Christians have changed what is being taught to their congregants, principally because of the evolution of a more equitable sense of morals and ethics. This is an effort to cover up the fact that civil morality has decisively exceeded that in the Bible.
The following is from:
Inconvenient teachings can be adjusted in a similar way, by changing a word’s definition. For many centuries the Church taught that “There is no salvation outside the Church”. This was universally accepted as meaning that only those who belonged to the sole denomination favoured by God had a chance of going to Heaven. Protestants held that only Protestants could go to Heaven. Baptists held that only Baptists could go to Heaven. Roman Catholics held that only members of the Roman Church could go to Heaven, and so on. This idea of there being no salvation outside the Church is increasingly unacceptable to modern theologians, who find it difficult to accept that members of other denominations, and indeed most of humankind, can be damned without a chance. As one professor of theology has written of this doctrine:
Is not such an idea excessively parochial, presenting God in effect as the tribal deity of the predominantly Christian West? And so theologians have recently been developing a mass of small print to the old theology, providing that devout men of other faiths may be Christians without knowing it, or may be anonymous Christians, or may belong to the invisible church, or may have implicit faith and receive baptism by desire, and so on. These rather artificial theories are all attempts to square an inadequate theology with the facts of God’s world. They are thoroughly well intentioned and are to be welcomed as such. But in the end they are an anachronistic clinging to the husk of the old doctrine after its substance has crumbled.
A true religion guided by a perfect deity would not have to retreat from its doctrines because society is improving its morality and becoming more sensitive to concepts of fairness and justice. Rather, it should lead these beneficial changes. The fact that Christianity has had to be dragged along behind a secular wave of societal maturation is evidence of its man-made origins.
In the early 19th Century, Joseph Smith claimed to have been visited by God the Father and the Son and was told by them that all of the existing Christian churches were false and that he would be tasked to restore the true gospel. Smith wrote a book, The Book of Mormon, that claimed that a tribe of Israelites traveled to the Americas by boat several centuries before Jesus was born. The book discussed wars between two factions of these settlers, the (good and light-skinned ) Nephites and the (bad and dark-skinned) Lamanites. Ultimately, the Lamanites massacred the Nephites and became the ancestors of the American natives (Indians).
Subsequent research has convincingly shown that the history of the Book of Mormon is fictional. The American natives originated in Eastern Asia, and no archaeological evidence has been found to validate the battles that were discussed in the book. Additionally, the book contains a large number of anachronisms regarding animals and industries that did not locally exist at the time.
Smith also surreptitiously practiced polygamy and polyamory, marrying teenagers as young as 14 (when he was around 37) as well as the wives of living husbands who he had conveniently sent away on proselytizing missions.
So what does this have to do with Christianity? Mormonism has grown to be a successful church with about 10 million active members despite the obvious problems surrounding its origins, the lack of authenticity of its scriptures, the implausibility of a god that would abandon all of the other Christian churches, and the foolishness of choosing a conman and sex addict (Smith) as the agent for restoring his church to the earth. That a false religion could succeed in 19th Century America means that a false faith could much more easily have flourished in the First Century and beyond. The experience of Mormonism suggests that any argument claiming evidence for Christianity based on the number of adherents is null and void.
(138) The flip side of Pascal’s Wager
Pascal’s Wager is based on the following assumptions:
- If you believe in God and God does exist, you will be rewarded with eternal life in heaven: thus an infinite gain.
- If you do not believe in God and God does exist, you will be condemned to remain in hell forever: thus an infinite loss.
- If you believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded: thus a finite loss.
- If you do not believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded, but you have lived your own life: thus a finite gain.
Putting this together, it suggests that if you believe in god, you will have either an infinite gain or a finite loss, but if you don’t believe in God, you will have either an infinite loss or a finite gain. Therefore it makes sense to believe in God, in the sense of making the better wager.
Where this begins to break down is that you have to make sure you are worshiping the correct god, as worshiping the wrong god, or the wrong interpretation of the right god, might deliver a fate worse than not believing in any god. Second, you have to assume that God is not smart enough to realize that you are worshiping him not from your heart but rather based on a cold and self-centered calculation, which once again might be worse than not believing in him at all. Third, it discounts the possibility, and perhaps probability, that the real god of the universe has yet to contact humans but is merely watching, and has decided to grant eternal life only to those persons who have correctly determined that all of the world’s religions are false.
(139) The unforgivable sin
In Matthew 12:31-32, Jesus is alleged to have stated:
Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
And in Mark 3:28-29:
I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven. That sin will be held against you forever.
So, if you murder hundreds of people, you can be forgiven. If you rape little children, you can be forgiven. If you rob people of their possessions, you can be forgiven. But if you say bad things against the Holy Ghost (Spirit), you are eternally condemned to Hell. How can this make any sense to any logically-thinking sane person? How could such an absurd rule come from a infinitely-intelligent supernatural god? It couldn’t.
(140) The misuse of personal preference to shape scripture
Paul, in I Corinthians 11:3-15, makes the following point:
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
What should be obvious here is that a true god would have no concern about length of hair or whether it was covered in church. This scripture remains an embarrassment to Christianity because it portrays the lesser status of women, denigrates long hair for men (although throughout history in every depiction of Jesus he has long hair), and it commands a ridiculous requirement for women to cover their heads (something the Catholic Church used to require, but no longer does).
Clearly, these injunctions are simply a reflection of Paul’s preferences, conditioned by his cultural milieu. It is tragic that so many people have taken it literally, to the detriment of people over two millennia.
(141) Boy Jesus in the temple
In the gospel of Luke, a story is told about a 12 year old Jesus traveling to Jerusalem with his parents for the Passover Feast. When Mary and Joseph left to go home, Jesus remained behind. After missing him they returned to find him in the temple preaching.
Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand the statement which He had made to them.
There is a major problem with this scripture, and it is this: how could Mary and Joseph have not understood what was going on? After all, an angel allegedly appeared to Mary and told her that she would bear a son conceived by the Holy Spirit, she became pregnant without ever having sex, a brilliant star appeared in the sky, when her son was born, they were visited by kings and magi bearing gifts, and they were warned by an angel to flee the area to avoid Herod’s wrath. So, after all of that spectacularly dramatic history, they did not understand Jesus saying he must be in his father’s house?
If this story has any validity, and it might very well be true as relayed to the author of Luke from a handed-down verbal tradition, then all of the miraculous elements of Jesus’s conception and birth must be false. Otherwise, it makes no sense. What probably happened is that Jesus was conceived in the normal fashion and his parents had no idea at the time that he was anything other than a normal 12 year old boy.
(142) Lourdes and wishful thinking
In 1858, at a grotto by the river Gave near Lourdes, France, a 14-year-old peasant named Bernadette Soubirous claimed that the Virgin Mary, identifying herself as “the Immaculate Conception,” appeared to her some 18 times. Later, the waters in a grotto nearby were claimed to have healing powers resulting in a cavalcade of afflicted religious pilgrims arriving and expecting cures.
For all of the millions who have visited, only 67 miracle cures have been ‘validated,’ though none of these involved manifest miracles, such as regrown limbs or paralysis cures. All of these cases are spurious and can easily be explained as spontaneous remissions, placebo cures, or outright fraud. The rate of confirmed cures has decreased dramatically as the requirements for their validation have been strengthened. Even if true, more Christians have been killed traveling to Lourdes than have been cured there. With 270 hotels and 5 million visitor a year, Lourdes is now just a money-grubbing industry preying on the superstitious hopes of gullible Christians.
This modern day hype involving magical cures is a template for what happened surrounding the work of Jesus over eighteen centuries earlier, when the lack of scientific knowledge and limited access to information allowed rumors and myths to grow and spread much more rapidly.
(143) Pope Gregory IX, cats, and the Bubonic plague
In 1232, Pope Gregory IX issued the “Vox in Rama,” a papal bull that in part stated that black cats were the incarnation of Satan and therefore should be exterminated. This led to a significant decrease in the cat population in Europe that concurrently led to an increase in the rat population. Scientists believe that rats were the major vector for the spread of the Bubonic plague, the major outbreak of which began in 1347 and wiped out 1/3 of the European population.
Many Christians believe that the Pope has a direct line of communication with God, but it seems unlikely that God would want to spread a myth that cats had any association with Satan. This is a special case where a human-generated religious myth led to a tragedy of epic proportions. It should be obvious that a true religion guided by a supreme being would not be used in such a way to spread false information leading to widespread and unbearable pain, suffering, and death. Rather, it would be expected to refine truth to shape a healthier and more enlightened world.
(144) Lack of Gradation
Christianity proposes that only one of two fates awaits humans after they die- an extremely attractive invitation into heaven or a miserable, dreadful sentence to hell. Given the complexities and varieties of human experience, offering only two judgments is absurd.
People are born into many different circumstances, some with Bible-believing Christian parents, others with Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or atheistic parents. Some were born during the Middle Ages when sectarian belief was ubiquitous versus the societies today that are much more secular. Some lived before the era of Christianity. Some were born with damaged mental capabilities. To shoehorn all of these people into a two-tiered judgment system is irrational.
Some Catholics believe in “purgatory” where souls can be purified before they are allowed to enter heaven. This would seem to alleviate the problem somewhat if it weren’t for the fact that it is completely made up without any basis in the Bible. However, it would also make the choices you make in this life much less meaningful if you could compensate for any shortcoming s with a visit to purgatory. No matter how long the layover there, it would be infinitesimally short compared to the eternity that awaits in heaven.
(145) Relative Time
It makes no sense that the relatively short life we experience on this planet, at most 100 years and perhaps as brief as a few minutes, would be used by a god to determine our ultimate destiny, one that will last trillions and trillions of years and beyond. This would be like compensating a baseball player for his entire career based on how he performs in his first major league at bat. If he hits a home run, he would receive a high salary, but if he strikes out, he will get only minimum wage throughout his career no matter how well he plays thereafter. The time difference between the trial period and the punishment/reward period is drastically out of sync.
Some Christians say that God will give people another chance after they die to accept his grace, but if that is true, then why be so concerned about the unsaved in this life? And if you get a second chance after you die, you will obviously know that Christianity is true, making the decision to believe not a matter of faith, but of fact. This makes no sense, and it would render the core theology of Christianity meaningless.
(146) Miracles of Jesus were too mundane
The miracles that Jesus allegedly performed weren’t remotely impressive compared to modern technology. This is a valid clue that they were fictitious because they were limited to what an early 1st Century person could imagine. Further, they were the same miracles that were performed by the gods that preceded Christianity.
A true god-man would most likely have done something more impressive to show that he was unlike the other gods that people worshipped, such as moving a mountain, eradicating smallpox, creating a telescope, or making a PA system so he could preach to people over long distances.
(147) Sanitizing the Bible of Mythical Creatures
References to mythical monsters are common in the King James version of the Bible but are missing in the more modern versions, replaced with common animals. This process of sanitizing the Bible reinforces the claim that it is fundamentally built on myth and superstition. Examples:
Numbers 21:6 (King James)
And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
Revised in the New international Version
Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.
Isaah 13:21 (King James)
But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.
Revised in the New International Version
But desert creatures will lie there, jackals will fill her houses; there the owls will dwell, and there the wild goats will leap about.
Isaiah 34:7 (King James)
And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.
Revised in the New International Version
And the wild oxen will fall with them, the bull calves and the great bulls. Their land will be drenched with blood, and the dust will be soaked with fat.
In addition there are over 15 references to dragons in the Old Testament. The newer translations have attempted to remove the mythical figures to appeal to a more educated group of Christians, but the underlying myth and superstition remains firmly nestled in the foundational documents of Christianity.
(148) Judgment based on the arbitrary timing of death
Most Christians will claim that the judgment determining whether you enter Heaven or Hell is based on the condition you are in at the time of death. If an unsaved person dies suddenly, he will go to Hell, but if he dies slowly and accepts Jesus before death, he will go to Heaven. Thus, the manner of death can have an enormous impact on where one spends eternity.
Similarly, if someone goes through life in stages of belief and disbelief, the timing of that person’s death also has a major impact. If a person is a full Christian but later becomes a non-believer, his judgement at death is Hell, but if by chance he had died back when he still believed, he would have gone to Heaven. It should seem obvious that this is an arbitrary way to determine a fate that will last for eternity.
Some Christians believe in the slogan, “once saved, always saved.” This creates a much bigger problem than it solves, as well as one that threatens society, because it implies that if you get saved at any time you can then do all manner of evil for the rest of your life and still receive a heavenly reward.
This point illuminates a fatal flaw with Christianity. Instead of a black and white judgment based on whether or not you are saved, it would be make much more sense and be fairer to look at your entire life, at what you have done, how you treated people, the circumstances of your upbringing, and your trials and tribulations. It makes no sense to set all of that aside and base everything on whether or not you believe in Jesus.
(149) God fails to prevent the spread of deceptive information
If God is who Christians profess him to be, then It must be acknowledged that not only did he present himself to the world in a very confusing manner that has spawned so many conflicting ideas as to his nature and message, but he has also failed to prevent false information from being disseminated that directly attacks his very existence. This is a two-pronged roadblock for people to overcome if they are to ascertain the truth- an inconsistent and unreliable scripture that’s further eroded by a cavalcade of contravening information.
Some Christians will claim that God purposely allowed this situation to test peoples’ faith, but the more likely truth is that it is the result of a man-made religion combined with the non-existence of any god to filter the flow of information.
(150) God and the Holy Spirit fails to competently manage Christian followers
There is good reason to believe that if Christianity is true, then God and the Holy Spirit would have illuminated the minds of its followers to act in a compassionate and authentic manner, guiding them to do good deeds and avoid reprehensible ones. In a sense, God would be the boss and the Christian followers his employees, and given his immense, if not unlimited, power, he would have been certain to guide his followers in a fashion that would bring honor and glory to the faith. Of course, this has not happened.
The following is a quote from John W. Loftus:
The revelation of a perfectly good God would have clearly prohibited engaging in religiously motivated wars to spread the faith, stealing land, killing witches and heretics, and buying, beating, or owning slaves, preventing an opportunity for the Church to justify all of this horrible violence.
Even if we grant that human beings are “wicked,” God would know this about us, so why wouldn’t God be crystal clear about what he wants believers to do? If the Christian God exists, surely he bears some degree of responsibility for the misery and suffering brought about by Christians who failed to understand his directives. And the Holy Spirit, which is supposed to guide Christians by “illumination,” seems to have failed to do so in the history of the Church. This is one of the reasons why I reject Christianity.
(151) Gospel authors put words in Jesus’ mouth to sell fear to the masses
The natural fear of death was not sufficient to sell Christianity to the masses so something even worse had to be devised- the idea of a post-life punishment. And not just a place where you are flogged for awhile, but where it goes on forever.
It is quite unlikely that Jesus ever talked about Hell. He was a student of the Old Testament, which lacks any vision of Hell as described in the Gospels. If he really said all of those things about Hell he would have been shunned and quartered as an apostate.
So, what happened? It is likely that the during first few decades after Jesus died, recruitment of new Christians was a difficult proposition. After all, Jesus had died and the world was completely unchanged. Jesus had not fulfilled what he had promised- an earthly kingdom of the Jews with him as the King.
So something was needed to corral people into the new belief system. The authors of the Gospels hit on the fact that the fear of being punished in the afterlife was an even stronger motivator than a promise of Heaven. So, 45 times in the Gospels, they ‘made’ Jesus threaten non-believers with the horrors of this new place, called Hell.
(152) Christianity follows, not leads, social change
150 years ago, slavery was abolished. 100 years ago, women were given the vote. 50 years ago, inter-racial marriage and abortion was made legal, and today same-sex marriages are being made legal. In each case, Christianity has had to be coerced to accept a social change to bring about a more tolerant, compassionate, and charitable society.
It is ironic that Christianity claims to have a monopoly on these virtues. It is also a good question why God through his inspired Biblical authors did not lead on these issues, but instead endorsed the unenlightened thinking of the time.
(153) Saint Augustine consigns unbaptized babies to Hell
Saint Augustine (354-430 AD) was a Christian theologian whose writings influenced the early development of Christian theology. He taught that babies who die before being baptized are sentenced to Hell.
This brings up so many insanities that it’s hard to know where to start. But first, it illuminates the inane bronze age mythological idea of original sin- that the sin of Adam and Eve was impressed on every human, such that every newborn baby is sullied with this sin and deserving of hellfire. Any thinking person must realize that this is complete and total nonsense. It further assumes the accuracy of the Genesis creation story, now thoroughly debunked by science.
It makes God to be so capricious and arbitrary that a baby’s eternal destiny in either a glorious heaven or a gruesome hell is balanced around whether or not it dies before or after it is sprinkled with water amid a string of holy words.
The concept of original sin is arguably the worst invention of Christianity. It creates an unnecessarily pessimistic view of the human condition that has led to the idea that the body and its normal functions are sinful in their own right and that only the soul can be in a pure state.
Saint Augustine has been overruled by subsequent theologians, and most Christians today believe that unbaptized babies go to Heaven. Of course this view presents some problems of its own. It makes baptism an unnecessary rite or sacrament. It also makes abortion, one the greatest taboos of Christians, to be something of an assist to helping a soul get into Heaven.
(154) God allows thousands of religions to develop before making contact with humans
There is evidence that the first religious activities ever practiced by hominids began 300,000 to 500,000 years ago, even before modern humans evolved 200,000 years ago. Organized religion has been traced back to at least 11,000 years ago.
Christians must concede that God was watching this happen, and he simply let it happen without any interference until approximately 4,000 years ago when he allegedly elected a Jewish tribe to be his ‘chosen’ people. So God had no problem with people making up false gods, false religions, and false superstitious beliefs for over 300,000 years and for them to make up false organized religions for 7,000 years. To any objective, critical-thinking person, this makes no sense. Why would God allow so many people to become so deceived, to suffer, and to die over false beliefs when he had the ability at the drop of a hat to make his divine presence known? The answer is: he wouldn’t… if he actually existed.
(155) Early Christians grew the religion by overtaking pagan shrines
Much of the rapid growth of early Christianity was not achieved through a competition of ideas or by an evidence-based proselytizing effort, but rather by the shameless overtaking of pagan shrines and places of worship. Christians would take over a pagan shrine, usually on a hilltop, and convert it into a church. The congregation would then return to the same hilltop and find that they were now worshiping Jesus instead of the pagan gods with which they were familiar. This was a totally mindless conversion.
Therefore, many Christian churches have underneath it a pagan shrine. It is apparent that the Christians had no sense that the pagan worship sites were irredeemably polluted by paganism, but rather that they were primarily motivated to grow their religion and stamp out all of the competing religions. In addition to hijacking pagan worship sites, the Christian also usurped pagan holidays.
So the question must be asked- if Christianity is the true religion, why couldn’t Christians have won over the populace by building their own separate worship sites and developing their own independent holy days instead of stealing them from other religions? Obviously, the faith sanctioned by the divine creator would easily overtake those developed by man. But if Christianity was just another religion created by men, then the fact that it had to grow in this manner is not surprising.
(156) The competition of gods
During the developing concept of the Christian god, followers were aware that many people were worshipping other gods. So there was an incentive to make your god all-powerful and all-seeing, lest someone might claim that their god was more magnificent than yours. Thus, in this milieu, it was common for all claimants to ascribe unlimited powers to their gods.
However, making gods to be all-knowing and all-powerful leads to some unfortunately side effects. If God is all-knowing, then he would be able to see the future, meaning that he would be powerless to change it. It also would make him responsible for allowing so much misery and death to humans and throughout the animal kingdom. And it would make him seem callous to hear a prayer and refuse to address the concern, or to fail to warn people of impending earthquakes or storms.
(157) The restricted horizon of the Christian follower
Christianity is a philosophy that funnels the experience of life into a narrow chute, constricting what a person can fully appreciate about the world. The following is a list of things that some or all Christians find intolerable, sacrilegious, immoral, sinful, in poor taste, or uncouth, that most non-theists find acceptable:
- Sex outside of marriage
- R and NC-17-rated movies
- Birth control (pill, IUD, etc.)
- Short skirts, short shorts, bikinis
- Public nudity
- Rock and roll music
- Sleeping in on Sunday mornings
- Religions other than Christianity
- Harry Potter
- Violent video games
- Dirty jokes
- Biological evolution
Many of these are not problems with some Christians, though in the back of their minds there is a twinge of doubt about their appropriateness. For the non-theist, that twinge does not exist, and the great variety of life can be accepted freely and unconditionally. A belief system that represses the enjoyment and experience of all that life has to offer is neither attractive nor indicative of what a supernatural deity would create.
(158) Naked absurdity
The following ‘tongue in cheek’ definitions of Christianity are windows into the ridiculousness of the faith that followers inside the bubble fail to see:
The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. Yeah, Christianity makes perfect sense.
A really cool religion, because if you follow it then you can go around raping, beating, and killing people, and as long as you confess your sins at the end of the day and repent you’ll go to heaven!!!!!
A pyramid scheme based on a philosophy that was fairly progressive 2000 years ago. It has been rendered obsolete by modern scientific understanding largely due to its inability to resolve its inconsistencies through intelligently-applied critical thinking. It now serves as a means of deterring social and political advancement and as a tax on the gullible.
A support group for people who believe God manifested on earth as a Jewish hippy some twenty centuries ago, then killed himself on a cross in order to spare his own creation from his own wrath.
The religion founded during the first century of Jesus of Nazareth (aka Jesus the Christ, Jesus Christ). A religion manipulated by conservatives to get more votes by thumping bibles on moral issues but ignoring the command to take care of the poor and vulnerable. Most of these right wing people have their own brand of Christianity, better known as Republican Christianity.
A fairy tale, contradictory in and of itself, written in four contradictory plagiarized versions, of a peasant born to a “virgin” woman who cheated on her fiancée with a deity, was raised by her and a carpenter, grew up to be a magic teacher who did magic acts, died on a cross as a scapegoat for nothing he had done wrong, and rose from the dead as if nothing ever happened.
The belief that you won’t go to an imaginary place unless you believe in an imaginary guy that performed imaginary miracles in an imaginary town.
(159) God punishes people for how he made them
In the following video DeityFree Dee makes a very interesting point about God and his alleged deeds and judicial system.
In her reason #9, she points to the fact that in the Christian worldview, god deliberately made people to be flawed, not perfect, and then turns around and punishes them for acting in accordance with their flaws. “Would you punish a boat that had a hole in it so that it cannot float, or would you punish the inept boatsmith who made it that way?” So, in effect, God made flawed humans and then punishes them for being flawed.
(160) Absence of earthly advantage
Christians should enjoy an advantage in most of life’s situations, having a supernatural deity at their beck and call. That is, they should react in a measurably different way than atheists. However, this difference does not happen:
When a Christian gets sick, he goes to a doctor, the same as an atheist.
When a Christian has a car accident, he takes the car to a body shop for repair, the same as an atheist.
To protect his family, a Christian buys life insurance, the same as an atheist.
When a Christian is cheated, he uses a lawyer, the same as an atheist.
This might seem obvious to some, but it should be noted that other than saying prayers and attending church, a third party bystander could not discern any difference in the way a Christian lives his life versus an atheist. They both use worldly remedies for every one of life’s problems and challenges. Although they profess a belief in an all-powerful god who hears and answers prayers, Christians actually live their lives as if there is no god.
(161) Historical inaccuracies in the books of Luke and Acts
One of the pillars supporting the authenticity of Christianity is the account in the Book of Acts chronicling the history of the new religion in the first few decades after Jesus’ death. It is often used by Christian apologists to claim that Jesus must have been the divine figure as claimed because so many of his disciples and followers were willing to accept great danger and martyrdom in the defense of the faith. The author of Acts was also the author of Luke.
Unfortunately, for Christianity, there are several known errors in both of these books that doubt on the historical accuracy of the accounts:
- According to Luke 1:5, Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great. Yet the reason given for Joseph and Mary’s presence in Bethlehem was the “worldwide census” ordered by Quirinius (Luke 2:1). The problem is well known to historians. Herod the Great died in 4 BCE, while the census order by Quirinius has been accurately dated to 6 CE, a full ten years after the death of Herod! Attempts by fundamentalists to harmonize these account have met with failure.
- According to Luke 3:2 and Acts 4:6, Annas was the high priest during the ministry of Jesus. Yet we know from Josephus’ Antiquities 18:2:1-2 that Annas (or Ananus) was appointed high priest after the census (6 CE) and was deposed soon after Tiberius became Caesar (c 15 CE). After describing the appointment of three successive high priests in slightly more than two years, Josephus mentioned that Joseph Caiaphas was made high priest (c 18 CE). Caiphas was finally deposed by the proconsul Vitellius (Antiquities 18:4:3) around CE 36. Thus during the entire ministry of Jesus, it was Caiaphas not Annas who was the high priest. This is further corroborated by John 18:13 which states that Caiphas, who was the son-in-law of Annas, was the high priest.
- In Acts 21:38, Luke had the Roman tribune make the remark connecting Paul with an Egyptian who led 4,000 men of the sicarii into the desert. These three elements are historically unrelated as the accounts in Josephus (Antiquities 20:8:5-6,10) and Jewish War 2:13:3-5) make clear.
- In Acts 5:36-37, Luke put into the mouth of Gamaliel a gross anachronism. He had the revolt of Judas the Galilean (datable to 6 CE) after, the revolt by Theudas (which happened around 44-46 CE). Furthermore the speech by Gamaliel is set in the early thirties (between 30-33 CE, since Paul has not yet converted-Acts 8:1). This means that Luke had Gamaliel making a remark about a revolt (by Theudas) that, at that time had yet to occur! There are detailed reasons why it is Luke and not Josephus that made these the errors.
- Acts 11:28 mentioned a severe “worldwide famine” during the reign of Claudius. While there was a famine in Judea around 46-48 CE during the reign of Claudius, there was no worldwide famine as such. Furthermore, Acts 11:29-30 mentioned that the congregation in Antioch was able to send aid to help. This would be impossible, for if the famine was “worldwide”, the congregation in Antioch would have been affected as well! Thus in generalizing a local phenomena, Luke had contradicted historical facts.
Luke also concocted an obviously fictional census that required Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem while she was 9 months pregnant with Jesus. It was not recorded in the Roman records and if true would have been the only census ever conducted by the Romans that required a physical displacement of citizens, a certain way to cause economic chaos. He made this up so that Jesus could be born in Bethlehem instead of Nazareth to comply with an Old Testament prophecy foretelling the messiah’s birth.
These are most likely not the only errors that were made in the Books of Luke and Acts because many others may be undetectable based on the unavailability of pertinent information. But what can be gleaned from this situation is that the author was not a factual historian and was apt to make either deliberate of inadvertent mistakes in his accounts. What this means is the stories presented in the Book of Acts cannot be seen as being reliable historical events.
(162) Religious belief leads to obesity
A study conducted by Northwestern University found that young adults who frequently attend religious activities are 50 percent more likely to become obese by middle age as young adults with no religious involvement.
Most of the persons in the study were followers of the Christian faith. This makes little sense if one assumes that God actually exists, fills lives with true meaning, guides one’s personal habits to avoid gluttony (one of the seven deadly sins), and provides answers to prayers. However, it makes much more sense if God does not exist, and that religious people are focused more on a life to come than the present existence. It also makes sense if a Christian takes to heart this scripture:
1 Timothy 4:8
(163) God fails to protect ‘his own.’
Churches burn to the ground or are hit by tornadoes just as often as secular buildings. Christian missionaries die just as often as tourists. Church vans crash just as often as any others. If God is as Christians claim, why is this so? If God is overseeing everything and has control over all events, why wouldn’t he make some effort to offer his most precious followers some extra protection from accidents and natural disasters?
Any human imagining himself to be God would almost certainly raise a hand to protect a dedicated and faithful missionary by, for example, stopping a murderous attacker from preying on him. But this doesn’t happen, and there is no evidence that Christians or their edifices are being protected in any statistical manner. So this means that either God is watching this unfold and allowing chaos and circumstance to prevail, or, much more likely, that he simply doesn’t exist.
(164) A letter to Dr. Laura
The following infamous open letter was written to Dr. Laura Schlessinger after she had made remarks about homosexuals based on her reading of the Old Testament. The letter destroys the idea that the Bible can be taken literally, or that it is a bastion of morality and ethics.
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.
25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can”t I own Canadians?
I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don”t agree. Can you settle this?
21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?
I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev. 24:10-16)? Couldn”t we just stone them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Lev. 20:14)?
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted disciple and adoring fan, Franc Mosbaugh
This should be required reading for any Christian who proposes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and that God’s laws do not change. A Christian must concede that the laws that we apply today are not the old Jewish laws, that a radical change has occurred, meaning that changes even from the time of Jesus and Paul might be in order.
(165) Ending the flow of life
If Christians are correct and the world ends with some people being sent to Heaven and some to Hell, then it is inevitable that many people will miss the opportunity to experience a full life with all of the joys, challenges, and opportunities that entails. A 16 year-old girl misses the chance to have her own children and she spends forever in Heaven as just a child to her parents. She never gets to marry or have a career. A golfer leading the Masters on Sunday with two holes to play when the bugle sounds and he is deprived of the chance to hoist the trophy and don the green jacket. Astronauts on their way to Mars are redirected to Heaven and deprived of the chance to walk on the red planet. An artist never finishes a masterpiece. A symphony orchestra cannot perform the concert they had rehearsed. And so it goes.
This is why the Christian concept of the ‘world coming to an end’ makes little sense. Life is a progression and it should not be halted by a deity in an arbitrary manner, but rather as a consequence of the natural forces of the universe.
(166) Near-death experiences
A popular form of faith-enhancing pseudo-science is the recent emphasis on near-death experiences (NDE), where a person close to death experiences a (usually) exhilarating flight through a tunnel, sees a bright light, and perhaps sees deceased loved ones or God or Jesus or something of that sort.
There are many reasons to doubt the the validity of these experiences as evidence for an afterlife. First, NDE descriptions tend to be dependent on a person’s religious belief and are not uniform as would be expected of a valid and universal phenomenon. For example, people in North India have very different experiences from those in South India.
Second, the persons reporting the NDEs never actually died, their brains continued to function to some extent. Never has an NDE been validated for any patient during a time that they had no brain activity.
Third, electrical stimulation of the brain has been used to create NDE-like experiences in laboratory volunteers.
Fourth, in the same vein as UFO abductions, ghosts, sightings of Bigfoot, and so on, it is widely known that people make up stories for various reasons. It would not be surprising if a woman undergoing heart seizure would later report an NDE to firm up the faith of her children.
Here is a story of a 6-year old boy who was in a coma for two months, claimed he went to heaven, and was the subject of a popular book. After many years he has admitted that it was all made up.
Here is a good article on the subject by Sam Harris:
Despite these counter-arguments, Christians will often cite NDEs as physical evidence supporting their faith. But in reality, the opposite is true- NDEs actually provide evidence that religions are false. Undoubtedly, NDEs have affected humans for all of their 2 million-year history, and when they occurred, the resuscitated persons would have told their tribe-mates of the experience. This would have helped to generate the birth of religions, belief in an afterlife, and belief in gods, and all of this based on the misinterpretation of brain function under extreme duress.
(167) Bible is used to justify injurious acts
The Bible has been used over the ages to justify many acts that cause injury to the actor or to others. A list, not complete, includes:
– Gay bashing and reparative therapy
– Chopping off body parts
– Plucking out eyes
– Drinking poisons
– Killing apostates, Sabbath workers, unruly children, etc.
– Withholding medical treatment
– Handling snakes
– Beating children
– Failing to plan for the future
– Giving up the pleasures of life
– Renouncing physical exercise
– Harassing and killing Jews
– Practicing slavery
– Subjugating women
– Slow response to HIV epidemic
– Killing children so they can go to heaven
– Use of torture
– Shunning and cutting inheritance for children who renounce faith
– Punishing scientists and curtailing science education
– Withholding birth control/use of condoms, IUD, pill, etc.
It is highly unlikely that a book authored by a supernatural deity could be used to rationalize these types of behaviors and actions. It is much more likely the consequence of a book written by ordinary men who lived in a superstitious and unenlightened age.
(168) God violates or causes others to violate 10 Commandments
The 10 Commandments are held up by most Christians as the absolute code of morality, virtue, and righteousness. They are thought to be directly from the mind of God and beyond human capacity to have created. However, God himself does not seem to give them as much dignity. The following examples show where God violated the commandments after they were given to mankind or else where he encouraged others to do the same.
#1 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
This commandment was broken in a sense with the deification of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, taking some of the Christian worship away from the Father and giving it to the other ingredients of the alleged triune god. Also, many Christians routinely worshiped and prayed to Mary and other persons that they elevated to sainthood.
#2 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
God did not directly cause men to violate this commandment, but those he directly inspired, including popes, routinely violated this commandment by commissioning various pieces of art depicting God and Jesus.
#4 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.
Jesus directly encouraged this commandment to be broken, in Mark 2:27-28:
He entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?” Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. ”So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
#5 Honor thy father and thy mother.
In Luke 14:26, Jesus made the following statement:
“If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
This does not imply a true hatred in the conventional sense of the word, but it does suggest that Jesus is saying that it is alright to disobey, shun, or dismiss a parent if he or she is getting in the way of worshipping him. This is a form of dishonor.
#6 Thou shalt not kill.
This is an easy one. God killed numerous men, women, children, infants, and animals throughout the Old Testament after he gave this commandment. He also ordered his people to kill many of their enemies. A complete list of these killings is documented in Reason #5 above. In addition, using scripture as a basis, Christians routinely killed apostates, witches, adulteresses, etc. throughout the major portion of the past 2000 years.
#7 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Jesus did not encourage this activity, but he definitely consigned every living person to the violation of it just the same. Matthew 5:27-28:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
This would probably apply to women as well, meaning that God assumes all are guilty.
#8 Thou shalt not steal.
For one example, in Numbers 31:17-18, God orders his people to steal the virgins from the Midianites:
“Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately spare for yourselves.”
It is important to remember that women were considered the possessions of men at this time.
#10 Thou shalt not covet.
God may not have encouraged people to covet, but this commandment is obviously just as impossible to keep as one that might say, “Do not breathe.” It is a fool’s errand to suppose that ‘God’ expected that this commandment was doable, but rather saw it as a way to ensnare every person into a state of self-loathing and ultimate subservience.
These are the commandments that fundamentalist Christians revere and try to display on public grounds in violation of the law. If they thought a little more about them, perhaps they would not be so zealous.
(169) Old and New Testaments disagree about life after death
Most Christians believe in life after death as a central and indispensable tenet of their faith. However, this view is inconsistent with that described in the Old Testament.
There is no concept of immortality or life after death in the Old Testament. A destination for the dead is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible; the place is called Sheol. However, Sheol was not a place of punishment, nor does it seem to be a place where individual existence persisted. Certainly, there is nothing remotely similar to to the Heaven and Hell that is mentioned in the New Testament.
This is a crucial problem for Christianity. It makes no sense that Heaven and Hell were invented only after Jesus came to the Earth. It would appear much more likely that were created by the early followers of Christianity to flesh out a new theology that added both a positive incentive and a gripping fear to the faith as a means to gain adherents.
(170) Matthew’s fabricated prophecy
The following verse occurs in Matthew 2:23:
And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
There is no reference in the Old Testament to the Messiah as being a Nazarene. The town of Nazareth is never mentioned in the Jewish Bible; in fact, the town didn’t even exist while it was being written.
This is a clear indication that the author of Matthew was over-reaching to try to qualm the doubt that many people had about the Messiah coming from Nazareth, a town that apparently had a bad reputation, as per this verse in John 1:46:
Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
This fabricated prophecy is just one more reason why the author of Matthew cannot be counted as an authentic historian. He also made up stories about an earthquake at the resurrection, a Roman guard over the tomb, and dead people coming out their graves and walking around Jerusalem.
(171) Making Jesus human
There was a faction of early Christianity that held that Jesus, being divine, did not actually experience any pain or anguish before or during the crucifixion, but only appeared to do so. The term for this belief is doceticism.
The more popular view was that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. To counter those who favored doceticism, two verses were added to the Book of Luke (22:43-44):
Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.
These verses do not appear in the oldest manuscripts of Luke and are clearly a later addition. This presents two problems. First, it is another example of tampering with the scriptures, one that was detected only because it occurred later than the dates of the earliest manuscripts. Keep in mind that there is a sizable time gap between the original manuscripts and the oldest ones that have been recovered, so many other examples of scripture tampering may exist but cannot be identified at this time.
Second, it presents an unlikely scenario, for if Jesus was fully divine, he would have known all that was about to happen, would be prepared for it, and would therefore not be in a mental state of agony requiring assistance from an angel.
(172) The trilemma failure
C. S. Lewis famously described the possible realities of Jesus as being either the Lord, a liar, or a lunatic; and, of course, he concluded that the most likely truth was that he was the Lord, the divine savior. This reasoning is sophomoric. It could just as well be said that Zeus was either a god (as claimed by the Romans), a fraud (someone masquerading as a god), or a clod (a complete dimwit). What is being left out of these trilemmas is a fourth and much more plausible possibility- that the figure in question is mythical.
Indeed, we can add one more “L” to Lewis’ statement- “legend.” And by this, it is meant that Jesus might never have existed as a unique individual; though if he did, his persona as a god and savior were the creation of his zealous, superstitious followers.
(173) Persistence of belief, resistance to reason
The principal reason that Christianity, as well as other religions, has persisted to this day and succeeded to gain a large number of adherents is the vulnerability of young human brains to be inculcated, or hard-wired, to accept unreasonable tenets. Once instilled, the maturing brains will resist any information that conflicts with dearly held beliefs.
It is very hard to reason a Christian out of his faith because he was never reasoned into it in the first place. A belief that was established outside of the realm of analysis, facts, and logic is not one that can be shaken by the exercise of these same ideals.
A Christian can read all of the points in this article and yet not be moved an inch from his faith, while an atheist can read them and understand that you could divide them into 25 separate lists and each list, by itself, would be sufficient to emphatically prove that Christianity is false.
Understanding this phenomenon is key to comprehending the metaphor of religion as a virus, one that is passed from parent to child. And it is key to accepting the fact that Christianity will persist well into the future despite all of the new scientific, archaeological, geological, cosmological, and historical evidence that will further degrade its authenticity.
The human race is dividing into two different worlds- one guided by faith, superstition, feelings, intuition, and visceral emotions; and the other guided by science, reason, logic, deduction, and analysis. 99% of Christianity resides in the former, and its evaporation from the Earth will take a very long time.
(174) The second coming of science and religion
If humans became extinct and then in a few million years another primate species evolved, they would create new religions, but they would certainly be different from the ones that exist today. On the other hand, the science that they develop would be wholly consistent with the science of today, given that the physical properties of the universe remain constant. What is not constant is the superstitious imaginings of intelligent minds.
(175) Relative achievements of science versus Christianity
Science has enabled the blind to see. Christianity has not. Science has enabled the deaf to hear. Christianity has not. Science has enabled the dumb to speak. Christianity has not. Science has fed the multitudes. Christianity has not. Science has cured most of the worst plagues of humankind. Christianity has not. Science has enabled paraplegics to move about independently. Christianity has not. Science has uncovered the secrets of the universe. Christianity has not. Science has taken us to moon, to the planets, and the comets. Christianity has left us stuck on earth.
Lastly, Christianity has promised us an eternal life, but has done nothing to extend our earthly lifespan. Science has doubled our life expectancy in the past 150 years. And if immortality is ever achieved, it will be science, not Christianity, that will deliver it.
(176) Information processing overload
The Christian concept of God is one that includes full and total surveillance over every person’s life, actions, deeds, words, and even thoughts. This now entails the monitoring of 7,200,000,000 people 24/7/365. Every day, about 150,000 people die and about 380,000 are born.
It stretches credulity to believe that a super-intelligent being is actually keeping track of all of this activity in addition to running the balance of the universe. This would include hearing and answering prayers, many directed to the ‘wrong’ god, and the daily evaluation of the 150,000 newly dead people as to their eternal assignment.
Christians dismiss this argument by ascribing magic and other dimensions or a ‘god is everywhere’ argument, but a more objective view is that it is highly unlikely that all of this information is being centrally processed and stored. And if this is not being accomplished then Christianity cannot exist as claimed.
(177) Science fails to detect signs of supernatural influence
Science has advanced to a highly sophisticated level, but to date has found nothing that requires any kind of supernatural intelligence to explain. This did not have to happen. We could have determined the age of the earth to be 10,000 years, in which case evolutionary theory would have been impossible. We could have found the universe to be so precisely designed as to beg the question of how it could have happened on its own.
What this implies is that if there is an all-powerful god as proposed by Christianity, that god must be choosing not to manipulate anything beyond the natural order, or, in other words, to completely conceal his presence. However, this concept does not square with Christianity, with its idea of a personal, hands-on, and prayer-answering god.
It seems almost beyond belief that by now science would not have found some footprint or subtle effect of this god somewhere on earth or in the universe. Instead, all that we have observed indicates that there is no god anywhere, no god doing anything, no god designing anything, just plain no god.
(178) The crux of the matter
Bill Nye, a noted science communicator, debated Ken Ham, a Christian fundamentalist. Both were posed with a question:
This picture is worth a thousand words and speaks to the folly of so many followers of Christianity who mistake feelings for fact, believing for thinking, and faith for reason.
(179) Jesus is unknown
Jesus, the central figure of Christianity is not so much an historical figure as he is a mystery man. Why is there so much uncertainty about a man who was God who visited the Earth and performed miracles, including his own resurrection from the dead? Why do these (and other) questions exist?:
- What did Jesus look like? (no description in the Gospels)
- Did he get married? (evidence both ways)
- Did he have brothers and sisters? (Yes and no)
- Was he born in Bethlehem or Nazareth?
- Was he tempted by the Devil for 40 days?
- Did he travel to Egypt as a youth?
- Did he support Jewish law to the letter? (both sides can be argued)
- Was he killed the day before or after Passover?
- What were his last words on the cross?
- Did he raise Lazarus from the dead? (only John says so)
- Did he even exist as a unique individual? (experts on both sides)
It seems strange that the most spectacular (by far) ‘human’ who ever existed is shrouded in such mystery, uncertainty, and ambiguity. What we observe is more likely what would be expected if either (1) he was not a unique individual, or (2) his deeds, actions, and words were distorted, augmented, embellished, and changed by a multitude of people each motivated by their own beliefs and agendas.
(180) Jesus avoids danger indicating he is not God
Many times in the Gospels Jesus takes evasive measures to avoid perceived dangers. This seems inexplicable if he was God himself as most Christians claim. Here are some examples:
After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him.
But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him. But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all, and warned them not to tell who He was.…
So from that day on they planned together to kill Him. Therefore Jesus no longer continued to walk publicly among the Jews, but went away from there to the country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there He stayed with the disciples.…
This is precisely what would be be expected if Jesus was a regular human preaching a variant version of Judaism in a milieu populated by conservative Jews. This does not seem to fit with the idea that Jesus was God, in which case any threat from mortal humans would be inconsequential.
(181) Paul knew very little about Jesus
In the 40+ year gap between the death of Jesus and the writing of the first gospel of Mark, Paul was the only person documenting anything about Jesus. Paul never met Jesus, but he met people who did or at least people who heard stories about Jesus. Given this, it is remarkable that Paul didn’t seem to know about the virgin birth, the feeding of 5000, turning water into wine, the sermon on the mount, the raising of Lazarus, or the many parables that Jesus spoke. As Herman Mehta summed up, here is all that Paul knew about Jesus:
Jesus died for our sins by crucifixion and was then raised from the dead three days later, according to prophecy. He was seen by many after the resurrection. He was a descendant of David, he was betrayed, he defined a bread and wine ritual for his followers, and the Jews killed him.
This provides substantial evidence that the miracle stories broadly accepted by contemporary Christians had not yet come into existence. Not until the author of Mark wrote his gospel, some 40 years after Jesus’s death, did anything get documented about Jesus’ ministry and his miracles. It can be inferred from this that a gradual process of myth-making occurred during that time, and continued on for the next 3 or 4 decades as can be seen in the more embellished writings of Matthew, Luke, and John.
(182) Jesus’ prophecy fails about followers performing wonders
In John 14:12-13, Jesus is alleged to have said:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.…”
If one believes the Book of Acts, it would appear that the prophecy was initially being fulfilled, especially when Peter supposedly raised Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-42). Or when Phillip cured paralyzed people (Acts 8:6-7).
But then, something happened. The miracles ceased. But Jesus said that anyone who believes in him should be able to perform these works, not just the apostles. The fact that there are no miracles being performed today similar to those allegedly performed by Jesus is an indication of the fallacy of Christianity.
(183) Virgin birth myth created to convert the Romans and Greeks
The initial writings about Jesus did not mention the virgin birth. This included the letters of Paul, who never once mentioned the virgin birth, and the first gospel, Mark. Not until the Gospel of Luke, the second gospel which was written at least 40 years after Jesus’ death, does the story of his virgin birth first appear.
It appears likely that the legend of the virgin birth was created for the purpose of attracting converts among the Romans and Greeks, who were conditioned by their pagan faiths to believe that any godlike figure must be born from something other than a normal sexual union. If Jesus had two biological parents, they couldn’t accept him as a god.
(184) Jesus admits cures are not permanent
Jesus, being a faith healer and exorcist, often cast demons out of diseased people as part of an attempt to validate his credentials. However, as we now know, the diseases had nothing to do with demons, so it was inevitable that whatever healing appeared to take place, likely psychosomatic relief only, lasted but a few hours or days and then the condition returned. So something was needed to account for these failures. The solution was placed in Luke 11:24-26, where Jesus is alleged to have said:
“When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ “And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order.“Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”
Thus Jesus has a way to explain the healing failures in a way that casts no aspersions on his healing powers. The demons were cast out, it is just that they returned after a while. These verses provide an illuminating insight into the cognitive dissonance of those who witnessed the ineffectiveness of Jesus’ exorcisms.
(185) Jesus divides families
One of the 10 Commandments is to honor your father and your mother, but Jesus evidently did not agree with this commandment. He is alleged to have made this comment in Matthew 10:34-37:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”
And in Luke 14:26:
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
A thinking person should ask has how in hell did this get into the Bible? It not only violates a commandment of God as venerated by almost every Christian, but it also is contradictory to Jesus’ central message of love, forgiveness, and tolerance. Plus, it has given scriptural cover to people who divorce or cut off family members because they don’t believe the same dogma.
This scripture is a complete embarrassment to Christianity, and it doesn’t really matter if Jesus actually said this or not. The fact that it is in the Gospel is good evidence that the Gospel is not the work of an almighty god. Rather it is more likely the agenda of the author to encourage people to become Christians even in the face of severe opposition by members of their family. In other words, it was a way of growing the faith at the expense of destroying families.
(186) Jesus gives horrible marital advice
In Matthew 19:9, Jesus is alleged to have said the following:
And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
Here, Jesus had a chance to impart a divinely inspired view of marriage and instead said something that clearly would not stand the test of time. Over the centuries, this and similar scriptures have made battered women afraid to divorce their abusive husbands. It sets a standard that the only legitimate grounds for divorce is sexual infidelity. If a man or a woman is abusive, beats up the other, as long as they don’t cheat, they cannot get a divorce. They must stay together and continue to endure the torture. Then, if they happen to get divorced anyway, it sentences both men and women to a state of perpetual singlehood.
Modern society has completely rejected these words of Jesus, including, notably, Christian fundamentalists. It was a ridiculous statement that had no business being placed into the Bible. It has fostered much misery, pain, suffering, and deaths among those who hold the scriptures to be sacrosanct.
It also forced the Catholic Church to devise a most absurd device, called an annulment, to state, for example, that a wedded couple of 20 years with 3 children were not actually married in the first place. When foolishness of this nature is being practiced, you know you are dealing with a defective product.
(187) Catholic Church practiced castration
The church needed soprano singers to voice their scores and at some point didn’t want to rely strictly on prepubescent boys who quickly outgrew their high pitch skills. Women could not be used because they were to remain silent in church. So the solution was to castrate boys before they reached puberty so that their voices would remain in the soprano range for life. They were called castrati. This butchery continued for hundreds of years, ending only in the 19th Century.
The Catholic Church’s involvement in the castrato phenomenon has long been controversial, and there have recently been calls for it to issue an official apology for its role. As early as 1748, Pope Benedict XIV tried to ban castrati from churches, but such was their popularity at the time that he realized that doing so might result in a drastic decline in church attendance.
This unfortunate practice revealed three flaws in Christian philosophy- a denigration of women, a callous attitude to performing damaging and irreversible surgery on minor children, and a reluctance to issue a necessary apology.
(188) Christian hypocrisy regarding answered prayers
Christians often use the idea that “God answers my prayers” as evidence for his existence. But this thinking is remarkably superficial, as described at:
You believe that God is answering your prayers. Yet today, and every day, 29,000 children will die of simple, easily solved problems like starvation or cholera [ref]. It adds up to about 10 million innocent children dying per year. So why don’t you pray to save the 29,000 children every day instead of praying for solutions to the trivial, tiny problems you have in your life? And why wouldn’t your god answer a prayer like that immediately, meaning that zero innocent children die today and every day? Or why doesn’t God save those children immediately even without your prayers? Being omniscient, he can surely see their suffering. Your ability to hold these two contradictory thoughts simultaneously – “God answers my prayers” and “God will let 29,000 innocent children die today” – is a clear marker for doublethink.
(189) God’s inconsistent support of the Jews
During the alleged Egyptian enslavement, God intervened forcefully to help the Jews to escape their captivity. He rained down locusts, killed Egyptian babies, killed livestock, brought darkness upon the land, and razed the Egyptians with boils among other atrocities. Then in the final act, he parted the Red Sea to allow the Jews to cross while collapsing it in on and drowning the Egyptians.
However, when the Jews became captives in a much more dire situation, as prisoners of war in Nazi concentration camps, God did……….NOTHING. He sat back and watched the slaughter of 6,000,000 of his chosen people.
It must be asked: Why would God be so inconsistent? One explanation is that he no longer considered the Jews as “his people,” so he offered no special protection during WWII. Another is that the story of the Egyptian captivity is a fable- a concept that is generally accepted among historians. The third and most likely possibility is that there is no god in the first place and therefore no supernatural entity to offer special protection to anyone.
(190) God came to the Earth and nothing changed
Christians claim that God came to the Earth and lived among us for 33 years. After this extraordinarily dramatic event, after we were graced by the presence of an infinitely intelligent being who created the universe, who knew everything about the universe, including the theory of gravity, the germ theory of disease, the big bang, quantum physics, and whatever else……what changed? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Life after Jesus was just like it was before, and even worse for the Jews who suffered heavy casualties from the Romans, the very enemy that Jesus was determined to conquer. After Jesus, many more messiahs dotted the landscape, preached deliverance from their oppressors, and were ultimately crucified just like he was. There was no advancement of science, no miracle cures, no prayers answered, no advancement in health care or nutrition, no enhanced understanding of the earth or the cosmos, and no improvement in the morals and ethics of the times. It was just life as it had always been. Just a continuation of the backward, unenlightened Bronze Age civilization. Yes, God came and nothing changed.
(191) The Dead Sea Scrolls illuminate problems with the Old Testament
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 981 different texts discovered between 1946 and 1956 in eleven caves from the immediate vicinity of an ancient settlement in the West Bank. The texts are of great historical, religious, and linguistic significance because they include the second oldest known surviving manuscripts of works later included in the Old Testament.
The discovery of the scrolls was not a positive development for those claiming the inerrancy or even the historical accuracy of the Bible. The following quote from David Rice, discusses this issue:
The writings in “Dead Sea Scrolls” (Qumram Codex) show vastly different “history” than what is found in the Bible. The Genesis Apocryphon (in the DSS) is considerably different than the Bible’s Genesis. This scroll is dated from second century BCE to first century CE (writen on sheep hide), whereas the Bible’s account post-dates this by a few centuries.
1-2 Samuel, Jeremiah, and Exodus are VASTLY different in the DSS than in the Bible. There are over 30 chances in Jeremiah alone. Entire pages worth of text is missing in the Bible and found in the DSS, while entire pages of different text exist in the Bible but are missing in the DSS.
Bible scholars have known THIS FACT for 40 years, ever since the Cave Four discoveries at Qumran.
The Catholic Church tried to keep these issues hidden for several decades before scholarly pressure became too intense and the full contents of the scrolls were made public. The scrolls provide much evidence that that Old Testament, like New Testament, went through many changes engineered by human hands.
(192) Christianity values Jesus’ death more than his life
For modern Christians, the most important fact about Jesus is that he died for your sins, such that if you believe on him, you can spend an eternity in heaven. Greatly de-emphasized are his teachings, many of which are ignored by pastor and congregant alike.
Trevor Burris expertly summed up this point:
The story of Christianity is the story of the beliefs that Jesus professed developing into the religion that professes Jesus. In other words; dogma. It is pure folly to believe that Simon Peter, Thomas, Mary Magdalene et.al followed Jesus because, when he died, they would be able to absolve their sins by believing in him. This later theological construction was created by believers who were searching for a meaning to the seemingly pointless execution of their leader and teacher. Those who originally followed Jesus did so because of his life–because he was an exemplary teacher who radically reinterpreted the Law in favor of inclusion rather than exclusion. Those who now follow Jesus do so because of his death. They turn a man’s poignant teachings–his life’s work–into a secondary and near meaningless preface to the panacea of his death. We primarily have Paul and John the evangelist (two people who did not know Jesus in his life) to thank for this inexcusable dumbing-down of Jesus’ life. With Paul and John’s help, what Christianity would become is embodied in the Nicene Creed. Take a look at it. Dogmatic fiat has expurgated everything the man stood for.
This is a very important point- Christianity may have started with the life and teachings of Jesus, but it has since been contaminated by the self-serving manipulations of princes, emperors, popes, and scribes.
(193) Contemporary historians fail to document the resurrection
There were two accomplished historians who documented detailed accounts of notable figures in and around Jerusalem during the times of Jesus’s ministry and his crucifixion and alleged resurrection. They were Justus of Tiberias and Philo of Alexandria. Neither of these historians mentioned anything about Jesus, let alone what would have been a remarkable story surrounding his resurrection.
There is good evidence that Philo of Alexandria was in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’s entry into that city. Based on the gospel accounts, Jesus was a major newsmaker during his brief visit there, and the events surrounding his actions, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection would have been quite newsworthy. The lack of mention in his accounts of any mention of Jesus is significant evidence that the gospel stories are either untrue or considerably exaggerated.
It might also be the case that Jesus’s experience in Jerusalem was somewhat mundane, and that it was fairly routine for the Romans to crucify itinerant preachers who approached the city with their messages that stimulated the Roman policy to eliminate any threats to their occupation of the territory. In that case, the lack of mention of Jesus and his crucifixion by these historians might be explainable. However, the resurrection would have been a different matter, and considering that the Gospel claims he appeared before 500 people as a resurrected person, it becomes much harder to explain the silence.
(194) Christians cling to THIS life
One of the surest signs that even allegedly devout Christians doubt the existence of a life after death is the way they react when spared death under seemingly miraculous circumstances. For example, a plane crash that kills most of the passengers, but spares a few who then thank God for their survival. Or consider this passage about the missing Air Asia flight from:
Another family said 10 of them were supposed to fly to Singapore for New Year’s Eve, but they all arrived late at the airport and missed the flight. “My mother can’t stop crying,” Anggi Mahesti said in a text message to ABC News. “This is a special Christmas gift from God that we missed the flight.
“We are so thankful to our God,” she added.
Chandra Susanto was also supposed to be on the plane. He posted prayers of gratitude on Facebook, saying he was supposed to fly with his wife and their three kids, but they canceled when his father fell ill.
“Thank you, Jesus,” Susanto posted. “Your plan is so beautiful. Our family avoided … awful danger.”
Of course, the same God who put them out of harm’s way apparently didn’t give a shit about the approximately 162 who were onboard the plane. Not that the survivors will ever admit that.
In effect, they are thanking God for keeping them in this stressful, difficult world of sorrows and tribulations instead of taking them to a place of ultimate happiness and glory. Clearly, there is a disconnect here, and these Christians are clinging to their earthly lives just as firmly as any atheist would.
(195) The invalid prophecy of Jesus’ birth in Matthew
In Matthew 1:21-23 the following statement is made:
“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:“BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”…
The reference is to Isaiah 7:14-15:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. “He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good.…”
The author of Matthew made several errors in trying to tie Jesus’ birth to a Jewish prophecy. The word used by Isaiah, almah, means “young woman” and has no reference to whether the woman is a virgin. If Isaiah had wanted to specify that the impregnated woman would still be a virgin, he would have used the word “butulah,” which he used in other parts of his book.
Also, the verse in Isaiah is referring to a sign that will be given to King Ahaz, who feels threatened by two kings to the north who have made an alliance to fight against him. The sign was to occur in King Ahaz’s lifetime, not hundreds of years after he died, and was supposed to be an assurance from God that the feared invasion would fail.
The reference to a young woman is actually talking about Isaiah’s wife, who in Chapter 8 gives birth to a son. The actual prophecy is that a son will be born to Isaiah and before he matures, the kingdoms that threaten King Ahaz will be defeated.
It is clear that Isaiah is not prophesying the birth of a future messiah, because it would have had no impact on King Ahaz’s situation and, otherwise, he would have specifically referred to the baby as being a messiah.
The fact that the writer of Matthew mistakenly or deliberately twisted scripture to make Jesus seem to be the promised Jewish messiah is an indication that he was aware of the resistance to this idea among the majority of the Jews, particularly the scripturally literate ones who rightfully observed that Jesus was a failed messiah.
(196) Jesus is silent in the Old Testament
Every Christian believes that Jesus is eternal, the same as the Father, and the Holy Spirit. No one believes he was created by the Father during his nativity in around 4 BC.
If this is true, why didn’t Jesus make his presence known to the Jews over the 2000+ year period from Adam and Eve’s time to his birth as a human in Bethlehem? Why did God the Father conceal this very important person of the trinity from the Jews for all of those centuries? It makes no sense….that is, unless one recognizes the plainly evident exercise of myth-making.
(197) Christians and government social programs
Modern-day Christians tend to disfavor government social programs that provide aid to the poor and disadvantaged, such as universal health care, food stamps, unemployment assistance, and welfare. At first blush, this seems to be contrary to the figure of their worship, Jesus, who mingled with and ministered almost exclusively to the poor.
However, there is a good reason for this. Christian charity is almost always associated with proselytizing, or trying to convert people to their church or brand of faith. Whether it be a soup kitchen, prison ministry, or building houses for the poor, the agenda almost always includes a measure of preaching. This attitude is tied to the belief in an afterlife which tends to minimize the problems of poverty, which is temporal, while maximizing the importance of being right with God, which has eternal consequences.
When the government provides assistance, it is done without any reference to religion. So, if the government is successful in mitigating poverty, it will leave fewer opportunities for Christian charity and thus fewer opportunities for growing their faith. This has led to a campaign by Christians to entice governments to provide funds to them to provide “faith-based charity.”
Therefore, Christianity has contaminated the act of altruistic giving, making it in many cases a secondary purpose to the goal of religious conversion. It is ironic that atheists are the ones who give with no strings attached, and that they are the ones who most accurately mimic the philanthropy of Jesus.
(198) Christianity has no effect on marital success
An extensive survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2007 looked at the marital status of people in various faith groups.
The results showed that Christianity as compared to other religions or people of no faith fared poorly with respect to divorce and separation rates. The divorce rates among Christians were higher than Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and atheists. If Christianity was the one true religion, this outcome would be highly unlikely. Unions blessed by God should succeed at a much higher rate than those based on a faulty belief system. The results of this survey argue that Christianity is not a true religion.
(199) Christians out-rate atheists in prison
The United States Federal Bureau of Prisons released statistics on the religious affiliations of inmates:
Atheists comprise only 0.2% of the prison population. Over 70% of inmates identify as Christian, which is close to the percentage of Christians in the population as a whole. This indicates that Christians on average are no more or less lawful than followers of other faiths.
Declared atheists, on the other hand, comprise approximately 6% of the U.S. population, meaning that the incarceration rate of atheists is 30 times lower than the population rate. This statistic destroys the Christian argument that morality can only come from a belief in God. It argues forcefully that because Christianity does not impart greater levels of morality, it is most likely a false religion.
(200) God gives conflicting messages through prayer
Most Christians admit that God does not speak in a voice that can be audibly heard or recorded. Rather, they say, God talks to them by voicing words in their head. The problem with this idea is that the messages being sent by God with this method are completely inconsistent. He tells one person one thing and another person the complete opposite. This incongruity is a large reason why there are so many denominations of Christianity.
Now obviously, to be real, the voices people hear are not from any supernatural source. The fact that every Christian seems to hear from God what they would like to hear, rather than a consistent divine message, is compelling evidence that they are only hearing words of their own making.
Follow this link to #201.