(2401) Christianity is invalid

Christianity hangs on the assertion that Jesus is the promised messiah of the Jews. But a simple examination of scripture contradicts that claim in multiple ways. Apologists have tried to sweep these problems into a dark corner, but anyone with motivation and curiosity can see for themselves that Jesus is a fraud and that Christianity is therefore invalid. The following was taken from:


According to Jesus’ admissions, as well as the Bible’s prophecies, Jesus of Nazareth could not have been the Messiah. This of course, would invalidate Christianity as we know it.  The compilation presented here shall be split in three sections.  The first shall be the biblical prophecies that were made in order to identify the messiah, which Jesus does not fulfill.  The second shall be the prophecies that Christians use to say that Jesus was the Messiah, yet they clearly fail.  The third set shall be the prophecies and statements Jesus made yet they are false and have never came true.

Prophecies to Identify the Messiah, Which Jesus Does Not Fulfill:

1) Matthew 1:23 says that Jesus (the messiah) would be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.”  Yet no one, not even his parents, call him Immanuel at any point in the bible.

2) The Messiah must be a physical descendant of David (Romans 1:3 & Acts 2:30).  Yet, how could Jesus meet this requirement since his genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 show he descended from David through Joseph, who was not his natural father because of the Virgin Birth. Hence, this prophecy could not have been fulfilled.

3) Isaiah 7:16 seems to say that before Jesus had reached the age of maturity, both of the Jewish countries would be destroyed.  Yet there is no mention of this prophecy being fulfilled in the New Testament with the coming of Jesus, hence this is another Messiah prophecy not fulfilled.

Prophecies Christians Use to Verify Jesus as the Messiah, Yet Clearly Fail:

4) The gospels (especially Matthew 21:4 and John 12:14-15) claim that Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9.  But the next few verses (Zechariah 9:10-13) show that the person referred to in this verse is a military king that would rule “from sea to sea”.  Since Jesus had neither an army nor a kingdom, he could not have fulfilled this prophecy.

5) Matthew (Matthew 2:17-18) quotes Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:15), claiming that it was a prophecy of King Herod’s alleged slaughter of the children in and around Bethlehem after the birth of Jesus.  But this passage refers to the Babylonian captivity, as is clear by reading the next two verses (Jeremiah 31:16-17), and, thus, has nothing to do with Herod’s massacre.

6) John 19:33 says that during Jesus’ crucifixion, the soldiers didn’t break his legs because he was already dead.  Verse John 19:36 claims that this fulfilled a prophecy: “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” But there is no such prophecy.  It is sometimes said that the prophecy appears in Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12 & Psalm 34:20.  This is not correct.  Exodus 12:46 & Numbers 9:12 are not prophecies, they are commandments.  The Israelites are told not to break the bones of the Passover lamb, and this is all it is about.  And Psalm 34:20 seems to refer to righteous people in general (see verse Psalm 34:19, where a plural is used), not to make a prophecy about a specific person.

7) “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” Hosea 11:1.  Matthew (Matthew 2:15) claims that the flight of Jesus’ family to Egypt is a fulfillment of this verse.  But Hosea 11:1 is not a prophecy at all.  It is a reference to the Hebrew exodus from Egypt and has nothing to do with Jesus.  Matthew tries to hide this fact by quoting only the last part of the verse (“Out of Egypt I have called my son”).

8a) “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2 The gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:5-6) claims that Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfils this prophecy.  But this is unlikely for two reasons.

8b) “Bethlehem Ephratah” in Micah 5:2 refers not to a town, but to a clan: the clan of Bethlehem, who was the son of Caleb’s second wife, Ephrathah (1 Chronicles 2:18, 2:50-52 & 4:4).

8c) The prophecy (if that is what it is) does not refer to the Messiah, but rather to a military leader, as can be seen from Micah 5:6.  This leader is supposed to defeat the Assyrians, which, of course, Jesus never did.  It should also be noted that Matthew altered the text of Micah 5:2 by saying: “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah” rather than “Bethlehem Ephratah” as is said in Micah 5:2. He did this, intentionally no doubt, to make this verse appear to refer to the town of Bethlehem rather than the family clan.

Statements Jesus Made Which Are False:

9) Jesus in John 14:12 & Mark 16:17-18 said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth in me, the works that I do shall he also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” This implies that Jesus’ true followers should be able to routinely perform the following tricks: 1) cast out devils, 2) speak in tongues, 3) take up serpents, 4) drink poisons without harm, and 5) cure the sick by touching them and MANY other of Jesus’ “works”.  Curiously I have yet to see a Christian that can do any of the above on demand.

10) In John 14:13-14 Jesus stated: “And whatsoever ye ask in my name I do, that the Father may be glorified in the son.  If ye ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” In reality, millions of people have made millions of requests in Jesus’ name and failed to receive satisfaction.  This promise or prophecy has failed completely.

11) Paul says Christianity lives or dies on the Resurrection (1 Corinthian 15:14-17). Yet Jesus said in Matthew 12:40 that he would be buried three days and three nights as Jonah was in the whale three days and three nights.  Friday afternoon to early Sunday morning is only one and a half days, so he could not have been the messiah by his own and Paul’s admission.

12) Jesus’ prophecy in John 13:38 (“The cock shall not crow, till thou [Peter] hast denied me three times”) is false.  Mark 14:66-68 shows the cock crowed after the first denial, not the third.

13) In Mark 10:19 Jesus said: “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.” Jesus needs to re-read the Ten Commandments.  There is no Old Testament commandment against defrauding.  The only relevant statement about defrauding is in Leviticus 19:13 , which says : “Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor.” This is an OT law, but is not listed with the Ten Commandments.  Surely, if Jesus was god incarnate he would know the commandments.

14) “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:13). If Jesus is in heaven, how can he be down on earth speaking?  Moreover, according to 2 Kings 2:11 (“and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven”) Jesus was not the only person to ascend into heaven, nor was he the first.  Elijah preceded him and apparently Enoch did also (“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him”–Genesis 5:24).

15) In Luke 23:43 Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” This obviously has to be false, for Jesus was supposed to lay dead in the tomb for three days following his crucifixion.

16) Jesus says : “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy” (Matthew 5:43).  This statement does not exist in the OT either.  In fact, Proverbs 24:17 says, “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth…”

17) Jesus is reported to say: “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16).  Certainly every man is not pressing to enter the kingdom of God.  The very fact that I am an atheist (one third of the world’s population does not believe in a god) proves this verse to be false.

18) “Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?” (Matthew 12:5) Nowhere does the OT state that the priests in the temple profaned the Sabbath and were considered blameless.

19) “Yea; have ye never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise’” (Matthew 21:16).  Jesus is quoting Psalm 8:2, which says, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies…”.  “Perfect praise” has little to do with “ordaining strength because of thine enemies.” Another misquotation!

20) “But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him” (Mark 9:13).  There are no prophecies in the OT of things that were to happen to Elijah.

It is inconceivable that God would permit a book to be written in such a way as to demonstrate that his intended representation of Jesus is false. This instead is a consequence of human activity producing a chaotic skein of contradictory theological theories. Christianity’s own scripture proves that it is false.

(2402) John and Peter were illiterate

Many Christians believe (or want to believe) that the New Testament contains first-hand eyewitness accounts of Jesus penned by the Apostles John and Peter. This would include the Gospel of John, The Book of Revelation (John), the epistles 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, 1 Peter, and 2 Peter. Biblical scholars have shown this assertion to be almost certainly false because the dates of these books and letters exceeded the expected lifetimes of 1st Century people. But aside from that point, it is ironic that Christianity’s own scripture refutes the claim:

Acts 4:13

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

The following was taken from:


Ehrman also says that two of Jesus’ original disciples, John and Peter, could not have written the books attributed to them in the New Testament because they were illiterate.

“According to Acts 4:13, both Peter and his companion John, also a fisherman, were agrammatoi, a Greek word that literally means ‘unlettered,’ that is, ‘illiterate,’ ’’ he writes.

This is Christianity’s Achilles heel- that none of Jesus’s apostles, not Jesus himself, not anyone who followed him, and not anyone who heard of him (in a contemporary sense) wrote an account. This is where credulity is stretched to the limit- why would Jesus, intending not to write anything himself, pick illiterate people to be his apostles, thereby ensuring that any documents available to future followers would be secondhand hearsay? This is not a plan worthy of a supreme deity.

(2403) Rabbis misinterpreting miracles

In the Gospel of John, a scene is documented where Jesus is performing miracles under the watchful eyes of Jewish rabbis. It appears that the rabbis are flummoxed to explain how Jesus could be doing this if he wasn’t tied in with God. However, any rabbi, and even any scripturally literate Jew, would know that their holy books are full of just that- sinners or worshipers of other gods also performing miracles. Hence, this episode displays the ignorance of the author. The following was taken from:


In the New Testament, we are told that Jesus performed miracles, such as healing the sick. When the rabbis question his holiness and his claims that he is from God, they are asked how is it possible for someone to perform miracles if they are not from God. The New Testament account ends with the rabbis offering no response. “But others were saying, ‘How can a man who is sinner perform such miracles?’ And there was a division among them.” [John 9:16]

Even for people with just a basic familiarity with the Jewish bible, this story is unbelievable and instantly raises a red flag. Any child, no less the rabbis of that time period, knows that an answer to this question appears in Deuteronomy 13. The Jewish bible clearly teaches that a false prophet may perform miracles – not as an act of holiness but rather, as a demonstration that serves to test our loyalty to God.

“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying ‘Let us go after other gods whom you have not known and let us serve them’, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul… But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death.” [Deut. 13:1‑5]

The rabbis could have responded with yet another Old Testament example of unholy people performing miracles. “…the magicians of Egypt did (miracles) in a like manner with their secret arts.” [Exodus 7:11]

The gospel authors appeared to be unaware of the fact that to Jews miracles by themselves were not indisputable signs of the performer’s pedigree, and, as a result, they peppered their accounts with them to try to prove that Jesus was the son of God. The passage in John Chapter 9 is therefore an improbable or even impossible event given the particulars of the situation.

(2404) Christianity began in Galilee

There is evidence that early Christians did not believe that Jesus rose from his grave and made appearances in his earthly body. The ending to the Gospel of Mark (absent the later forgery that was added) is the clue that unlocks this theory. This is how Mark, the first gospel, ended as it was originally authored:

Mark 16:4-8

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“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 following was taken from:


Since Mark is our earliest Gospel, written according to most scholars around the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE, or perhaps in the decade before, we have strong textual evidence that the first generation of Jesus followers were perfectly fine with a Gospel account that recounted no appearances of Jesus. We have to assume that the author of Mark’s Gospel did not consider his account deficient in the least and he was either passing on, or faithfully promoting, what he considered to be the authentic Gospel. What most Christians do when they think about Easter is ignore Mark. Since Mark knows nothing of any appearances of Jesus as a resuscitated corpse in Jerusalem, walking about, eating and showing his wounds, as recounted by Matthew, Luke and John, those stories are simply allowed to “fill in” for his assumed deficiency. In other words, no one allows Mark to have a voice. What he lacks, ironically, serves to marginalize and mute him!

Alternatively, if we decide to listen to Mark, who is our first gospel witness, what we learn is rather amazing. In Mark, on the last night of Jesus’ life, he told his intimate followers following their meal, “But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee” (Mark 14:28). What Mark believes is that Jesus has been “lifted up” or “raised up” to the right hand of God and that the disciples would “see” him in Galilee. Mark knows of no accounts of people encountering the revived corpse of Jesus, wounds and all, walking around Jerusalem. His tradition is that the disciples experienced their epiphanies of Jesus once they returned to Galilee after the eight-day Passover festival and had returned to their fishing in despair.

If we include the epistles of Paul (written in the CE 50’s) along with the Gospel of Mark (written around CE 70), there was nothing written about Jesus appearing as a resurrected human body until the Gospel of Matthew was written around CE 80. This demands an explanation.

It seems likely that if Jesus was a rabbi who was crucified in Jerusalem, then his apostles were likely devastated by this event and sheepishly returned to their homes in Galilee, with no intent to continue the movement. In other words, they returned to their original lives and livelihoods (fishing). But it was there, in Galilee, that some of them had dreams and visions of the risen Jesus. Shared among them all, they came to believe that Jesus was alive in heaven and was communicating that fact to them. This caused them to reinterpret Jesus’ mission and to believe that he would return, likely within their lifetimes. Thus, the Christian religion began in Galilee, not in Jerusalem.

The author of Mark knew this fact and therefore had the young man in the tomb instruct the disciples to return to Galilee where they would ‘see’ Jesus. This explains why there is no hint of any mention of Jesus in Jerusalem by any historians present at the time. If Jesus was just another itinerant preacher who was crucified, it would not rise to the level of historical importance.

So, in Galilee, the apostles began to preach the The Way, or the cult of Jesus, and it spread from there. A few years later, Paul becomes involved with reigning in this movement, but later has a vision of his own, and becomes the first person to write about it. Like Mark, he knows nothing of a bodily resurrection, but seems to see the risen Jesus as a spiritual being. Later, Matthew comes along and plants a bodily resurrected Jesus into scripture.

(2405) Peter did not go to Rome

It is a bedrock belief in the Catholic Church, as well as other mainline Protestant Churches, that Peter founded the original church in Rome. This is consistent with the gospel passages where Jesus anointed Peter as his chief apostle, the ‘rock’ upon which he would build the church.  However, it seems that these events happened in reverse- a myth developed that Peter traveled to Rome and became the first pope, then subsequent gospel authors created the scenes where Jesus established him as his primary emissary. The following was taken from:


Interestingly, the Bible says nothing about Peter ever traveling to Rome. When the gospels end, Peter is in Jerusalem. It’s the same in the Book of Acts. The apostle Paul, in his letters, also talks about meeting Peter in the eastern Mediterranean. After Jesus’ death, Paul says that Jesus’ brother, James, and Peter are the co-leaders of the “church,” or assembly, of Jesus-followers in Jerusalem. In short, there is no early textual evidence for Peter in Rome, so for some people, it’s very hard to believe that he ever traveled there. Not only is it a very long way, according to the New Testament, Peter was a fisherman who was not very educated and who spoke only Aramaic; he was not the type of person that might travel widely across the Roman Empire to a large city where Latin and Greek were the dominant languages. The absence of connection between Peter and Rome in the New Testament, the lack of references to him in our earliest Roman Christian literature, and what we know of Peter’s background and character all combine to make it unlikely, to my mind, that he ever went to Rome.

There is no solid evidence—textual or even archaeological—that Peter died in Rome. Starting around the end of the second century, Christian pilgrims went to see Peter’s tropaion. But a tropaion is not a tomb. The word itself is very unusual; sometimes translated as “trophy,” it means something like a war memorial or a cenotaph (i.e., an empty grave). It’s not the word used in the Roman Empire for a burial place. Yet this spot—which was originally in the middle of an ancient cemetery—was quickly understood as the place where Peter was buried. When it was excavated in the 1950s, archaeologists were shocked to find that there was no grave and no bones under the tropaion. Only later were some bones produced from that excavation, and it’s a fascinating story we talk about in Finding Jesus. Are these Peter’s bones? That appears to be a matter of faith. The official Vatican position, first stated in 1968, is that they might be.

Whether Peter established himself in Rome is important because it touches on one of the main pieces of evidence used by apologists to support the veracity of Jesus’ resurrection- that the apostles made heroic ventures and risked their lives in a way that wouldn’t happen if Jesus had not risen from the dead. If Peter never traveled to Rome it raises the possibility that other tales of the apostles’ post-resurrection exploits were also mythologized, including reports of their martyrdom.

(2406) Matthew interpolated to support Trinity

The concept of the Trinity, that God consists of three persons, was not part of early Christian theology. Even when the Gospel of Matthew was written, around 80CE, the Trinity was not yet invented.  However if someone today reads this gospel, they will notice the following:

Matthew 28:18-19

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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,

However, there exists much evidence that this baptismal instruction was not in the original manuscript but was a later interpolation added no doubt to provide scriptural support for the emerging theology of the Trinity. The following was taken from:


As to Matthew 28:19, it says: It is the central piece of evidence for the traditional (Trinitarian) view.  If it were undisputed, this would, of course, be decisive, but its trustworthiness is impugned on grounds of textual criticism, literary criticism and historical criticism. The same Encyclopedia further states that: “The obvious explanation of the silence of the New Testament on the triune name, and the use of another (JESUS NAME) formula in Acts and Paul, is that this other formula was the earlier, and the triune formula is a later addition.”

Edmund Schlink, The Doctrine of Baptism, page 28:

“The baptismal command in its Matthew 28:19 form cannot be the historical origin of Christian baptism. At the very least, it must be assumed that the text has been transmitted in a form expanded by the [Catholic] church.”

The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, I, 275:

“It is often affirmed that the words in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost are not the ipsissima verba [exact words] of Jesus, but…a later liturgical addition.”

Wilhelm Bousset, Kyrios Christianity, page 295:

“The testimony for the wide distribution of the simple baptismal formula [in the Name of Jesus] down into the second century is so overwhelming that even in Matthew 28:19, the Trinitarian formula was later inserted.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia, II, page 263:

“The baptismal formula was changed from the name of Jesus Christ to the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by the Catholic Church in the second century.”

This is another evidence of the evolution of Christianity. Once the idea of the Trinity was hatched it created a problem because there was no canonical support for it, so something had to be done. If the Trinity is true and if the Holy Spirit inspired the gospel authors, then the trinitarian clause would have appeared in the initial manuscript of Matthew and this theology would have been expressed immediately and consistently in Acts and in Paul’s epistles, along with contemporary commentaries. Absent this and for other reasons, we can be confident that the Trinity is a human mythological invention.

(2407) The Sinai inconsistency

The Torah recounts an event at Mt. Sinai, where God allegedly spoke out of a fire on the mountain to several million people, delivering the Covenant and the Ten Commandments.  Nothing of this scale is documented in the New Testament despite Christian theory that God delivered a ‘New Covenant,’ superseding Sinai.  Although both situations are obviously mythical, the contradiction in Yahweh’s mode of operation is disturbing. The following, notably immersed in a Jewish perspective, was taken from:


A further, false proof of Christianity’s claim of the supreme religion is the following: We might ask why God did not perform such an undeniably true event as Sinai, on behalf of Christianity. If God wishes something to have recognition as truth, Sinai teaches that He has the ability to create an undeniably true event, witnessed by millions. Why are all religions – including Christianity – bereft of such events? It is clear that God does not endorse Christianity or any religion. God endorsed Judaism alone, and He promised in the Torah that such an event will never be reproduced:

Deuteronomy, 5:19: “These matters (the Ten Commandments) God spoke to your entire assembly from amidst flames, cloud, and thick darkness, a great voice not to be repeated, and He wrote them on two tables of stone and gave them to me.”

God clearly states that such a revelation at Sinai, a selection of a people, and specifically a giving of a law, will never be repeated. Again, the giving of a law by God will never be repeated. These are God’s words and Christianity denies them with their fabrication that God endorsed a new system of Christianity. Christianity’s ideology is based on lies told to its followers, duping them into the belief that God has a new plan, even though God stated such a revelation will never be repeated. Christianity lies to its followers.

Even though we are dealing with fiction, the way God introduces a covenant and then a second covenant (that replaces the first) should be similar.  It seems that the New Testament authors missed this point, although Paul half-heartedly tried his hand by stating rather implausibly that Jesus appeared to 500 people after his resurrection. For consistency’s sake, the New Covenant should have been introduced to an audience of millions in a fashion similar to Sinai.

(2408) Jesus’s unjust reasoning

In Mark 14:3-9, we read the following:

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Let’s consider the ways that this is bad theology or just plain poor reasoning:

1) It emphasizes women in a subservient role, under men, who are to be attended to.

2) The statement ‘the poor you will always have with you’ is perhaps the most damaging scripture in the Bible. It has been used by Christians over the ages to overlook the struggles of poor people, and given cover to modern-day evangelists who buy jets with the donations of poor parishioners. “Why not give the money to the poor, well I will be here only for a while and I need this jet for that time, and besides, you will always have the poor with you.”

3) Why would you need to prepare a living body for burial? According to scripture, Jesus was adequately anointed with oil after he was removed from the cross.

4) The self-fulfilled prophecy that she will be remembered… as the author writes it into his book, ensuring the same.

The author of Mark invented this story for a certain reason, though it is not obvious what that was. It was picked up by the authors of Matthew and John, though it is notably missing in Luke, who appeared to have a more compassionate view of the poor. Another indication of that is that Matthew has Jesus saying ‘blessed are the poor in spirit’ in the Sermon on the Mount while Luke shortens the phrase to ‘blessed are the poor.’ The gospel authors had agendas, and not pure history in mind.

(2409) Rapid fire

It is at times enlightening to read a rapid fire takedown of Christianity that synergistically destroys it from all angles. If you can imagine a pincushion representing Christianity and pins jammed into it from every direction, that is similar to what is presented below:


If we all descended from 2 human beings about 6,000 years ago then we would all be the same race with extremely little genetic diversity.

We have proof at least 6 languages existed before the time the tower of babel was supposedly built. The myth has no history to back it up.

God creating Lucifer knowing all the evil that would come is like a mad scientist activating an assassin super robot. Who’s responsible?

Christianity has a dehumanizing effect on believers. They tend to see Humanity through a grim dark filter.

The Gospel authors wrote just like fiction writers. Many archetype and story elements were stolen from earlier myths.

Fear of (eternal) punishment is one of the most twisted way to encourage people to be good.

Christians threatened to torture Galileo for teaching that the earth revolved around the sun.

Christians praise a God who drowns to death pregnant women and innocent children with a flood. Yeah what a lovely story for Sunday school.

There’s an estimated 8,700,000 species. & Noah needed 2 of each. To squeeze into a boat the size of 1 & a half football fields.. Um. ya, ok.

The Bible mentions unicorns and dragons, but fails to mention those gigantic beastly creatures called dinosaurs.

There’s 30,000+ different denominations. If the Bible didn’t have so many contradictions then so many interpretations wouldn’t exist.

Christians say the Bible is the only source of wisdom & morality, but they interpret it with their own minds to fit their personal preferences.

Throughout the bible God’s kill count is 25 million+ and Satan’s is 10. So wait, who’s the good guy in the story again? Hmm Think about it.

If fine-tuning of the universe is evidence for a god, then it damn sure isn’t a god from a book that’s completely out of tune with reality.

Creationists can’t find a single fossil that is not where it’s supposed to be in the geologic column.

Creationists can’t find a single species that fails to display all of the major fingerprints of evolution.

No model has ever been created to well explain where enough water for a global flood came from or where it went afterwards.

Life on Earth shows far too much genetic diversity to be descended from only a pair of Ark-borne ancestors a few thousand years ago.

The Book of Revelation reads like it was written by a schizophrenic hyper-religious nut who was experiencing a really bad acid trip.

“Our religion is a religion of peace and if you don’t believe it is then our god will torture forever in hell” – Christianity

For centuries, Christians had a mindset that disease was caused by sin and efforts to heal the afflicted were subverting the will of God.

Christians fought against women getting the right to vote based on the gender rules in the Bible.

Christianity only works for the cherry picker.

Maybe Christianity would be somewhat credible if Jesus himself wrote it all down and God ensured the original manuscripts were preserved.

According to the bible it never rained before the flood. So I guess water didn’t learn how to evaporate yet.

Some Christians really believe that the Bible is God. Some even believe that the Bible is above God! (See Psalm 138:2)

Most of the Old Testament was written by cold blooded killers.

The god that Christians worship is the personification of an ancient Jewish tribal leader. A god used to help them in war and control.

To be a Christian, in reality, you have to put more faith in writers of the gospel before you can put any faith in the man they wrote about.

The biblical god gives love a bad name.

“You can freely choose to love and worship me, but if you choose not to, I’ll set you on fire” – Yahweh

Give thanks to him who killed the firstborn of Egypt. His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 136:10 (the biblical god is a baby killer)

According to the bible, God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh to let his people go, but Pharaoh won’t let the people go because God hardened his heart not to.

If Christianity is true, some parents will go to heaven and their kids will go to hell, and vice versa. But God will apparently brainwash them not to care.

The church is exempt from paying taxes. An estimated $83.5 billion a year would be funded to the government if they did!

If churches paid taxes it would pay for all the food stamps of people on welfare, with enough left over to house the every homeless person!

The Bible speaks of a world that you can only experience by reading its books.

Christianity says God sent the Jews who died in the holocaust to hell to be tortured, infinitely worse than they were by Hitler.

According to Christianity if you suffer from a brain disorder, it’s only because demons are fucking with you.

Almost all of the eyewitnesses of Jesus’s ministry were dead by the time even the first gospel was written.

The bible is riddled with contradictions. It’s basically one big plot hole

The first gospel dates 40 years after Christ’s death. Urban legends can arise in a few of days. 40 years is plenty of time for myth-making.

A true religion based on a true god would obviously make a lot more sense than what is listed above. Christianity fails in a dramatic and multi-dimensional fashion.

(2410) Paul, Mark, and Jesus were badly misinformed

The three most prominent figures that ignited Christianity, Jesus, presumably the rabbi who gained a following, Mark, the first to mythologize an historical Jesus, and Paul, the first to establish the theology and organization of the Church, were all badly misinformed. Their collective product is a false and immoral religion. The following was taken from:


Christianity embodies the notions of Paul, whose New Testament letters were written between 55 and 60 C.E. before any of the four gospels.

Paul was a Jew, brainwashed with the religion of the Jews, and therefore he believed in the tale of Adam and Eve. He accepted that sin was hereditary and he accepted the immoral and primitive doctrine that guilt for wrongdoing can be off-loaded on to an innocent scapegoat. This usually involved the shedding of blood (often human) as an atonement required to appease the ‘gods’.

Though an innocent person may, and often does, pay the penalty, this immoral doctrine, which claims to absolve the wrongdoer from personal responsibility, results in the ongoing sequence of crime, confession, absolution and its repetition ad infinitum. Responsibility for wrongdoing must remain forever with the person who committed the offence. Anything that seeks to sidestep this basic principle inflicts grievous harm on society.

After being struck by lightning, Paul conceived the idea that one of the hundreds of Jewish rebels crucified by Rome was the son of Yahweh who made the ultimate sacrifice of blood to appease the Jewish elohim (deity).

Christianity was formalized by the murderer Constantine at Nicaea in 325 C.E. This Nicene Creed is now the benchmark used in choosing chaplains for the State schools in South Australia.

The gospel of Mark was the first and the other three in the New Testament are embellishments on Mark’s gospel. There are many other gospels besides these four.

The message of Joshua (Jesus) was for repentance before the imminent coming of the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, which would occur during the lifetime of his listeners. He was as ignorant as most people of that time and believed in a Heaven of bliss and a Hell of eternal torment. He also believed in angels, demons, prayer and the inferiority of women. He believed in a flat earth, a superior race and that the laws of nature were not immutable. He had no knowledge of the nature of disease or of effective cures. He believed that love could be commanded and that those who disagreed with him would be damned. He believed in compulsion to comply with his viewpoint.

Being a Jew, he considered that no Jewish law, however trivial, should be broken, including the law which prohibited the ingesting of blood. Obviously he could not have initiated a ritual of cannibalism which involved the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood, which is the major ritual of the predominant Christian denomination.

Christianity began at a time when belief in gods and demons was almost universal. There was little comprehension of the immutable laws of nature.

Today factual information is readily available so there is no valid excuse for believing in the myths and deceits so common two thousand years ago. There is no empirical evidence for supernatural beings or places. The evidence that the existence of all human life ends when the body dies is overwhelming. This is the only life that humans will ever have and for the purveyors of religion to say otherwise is to engage in blatant deceit for their own benefit.

There is no objective reason to believe that Christianity might be even remotely true with respect to what it proclaims today. We can see defects in the knowledge base and insights that Paul, Mark, and Jesus would have possessed during their lives, and we can confidently state that they had a much weaker grasp on reality than anybody alive today.

(2411) Doubt is the only reasonable position

People tend to migrate to polar positions when it comes to religious matters, often refusing to admit to others or themselves that they might be wrong.  But given the vast universe of knowledge centers, it is disingenuous for any theist or atheist, likely fluent in only a few of them, to proclaim absolute certainty. The following was taken from:


I’m skeptical of people who have all the answers. I am skeptical of apologists who claim to have an impossible grasp of a whole range of disciplines of learning, like quantum mechanics, cosmology, astronomy, evolutionary science, neurology, psychology, cognitive biases, philosophy, theology, philology, Old Testament and New Testament studies, Jesus studies, church history, ethics, politics, and so on, and so on, which they use to argue for their faith. No one has such a wide grasp of it all. But far too many of them act as if they do! So they are inauthentic people, unjustly arrogant people, who are pretending to know that which they cannot know, like the Sophists in the days of Socrates.

This is why doubt is the only reasonable position to take about the objective world, its nature, its workings, and its origins (including which religion is true, if there is one) until such time as there’s sufficient objective evidence leading to a confident conclusion.

The highest degree of confidence in a conclusion about the objective world is the consensus of scientists working in a field. The lowest degree of confidence in a conclusion about the objective world is one’s own subjective feelings. Another conclusion about the objective world that has a very low confidence level is 2nd 3rd 4th-handed down ancient conflicting testimony debated by theologians down through history about extraordinary miraculous claims such as snakes and donkeys that talked, rocks that floated, a bush that didn’t burn up, a sun that stood still (and even backed up!), great fish that swallowed a person, a god born of a virgin (based at best on 2nd handed testimony from the mother alone!), resurrecting people, levitating people, a few of which ascended back into heaven where it’s claimed God’s throne is, along with a 2000 year old prophecy that one of them will come back to a flat earth from which every person on earth will see him.

It is important to assign credibility to evidence in a manner that weighs the probability that the information is accurate. It should not be controversial that the scientific method offers the greatest chance of correctness and that ancient texts authored by unknown people is near the bottom.

(2412) Jesus fame mismatch

There are many scriptures that proclaim that Jesus was famous and familiar to a widespread audience. But his footprint in the annals of contemporary historians and civil documents is missing completely. He is only written about decades later. The following was taken from:


There is no extra-biblical evidence that Jesus existed, not one iota of evidence anywhere at all. Although there were over 40 major contemporary historians that produced a voluminous amount of literature in one of the most well documented periods of history, as well as the Romans who recorded everything, there is no mention whatsoever of the New Testament Jesus other than the New Testament Bible.

The following verses from the New Testament were devised to deceive us into believing that Jesus was a very famous and important person of the time, as he surely would have been had he actually lived and the things attributed to him were true.

Matthew 4:24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.

Matthew 9:26 News of this spread through all that region

Matthew 14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus.

Matthew 28:15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Mark 1:28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

Mark 1:45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

Luke 4:14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

Luke 4:37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

Luke 5:15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.

Luke 7:17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

Jerusalem was a major trade route at that time, so if what the bible says about Jesus was true, his miracles would have certainly come to the attention of foreign travelers and been recorded somewhere. It was also under Roman control and the Romans documented everything of even minute importance that took place within their empire. It was also under the scrutiny of the governor Herod, who was in charge of tax collection for Rome, of which one of the above text claims Herod had received reports about Jesus. Yet no one recorded a single word about him.

It appears that the gospel authors overplayed their hand when they applied so much fame to Jesus. It would have been more consistent had they portrayed his mission as the tightly-wound core of a secret society. Then the lack of contemporary documents would not raise a red flag.

(2413) Oldest copies of New Testament books

If we assume that God or the Holy Spirit inspired authors to document sacred truths, then it would be expected that there should have been some degree of supernatural protection of these writings. If this had happened against all odds, it would be a sign of divine intervention. But it didn’t happen. The originals were lost and we are left with only shards of old copies dated many decades or hundreds of years later. Even these are only small segments of the whole. This is a symptom of a purely human enterprise. The following was taken from:


With that said let us look in terms of primary provenance (the documents themselves) what the oldest copies of Paul, Gospels, and Acts we have are:


Papyrus 38 (ca. 220 CE[115]): Contains Acts 18:27-19:6,12-16.


Rylands Library Papyrus P52 (125 – ca. 225 CE[116][117]): Contains seven lines from John 18:31-33 and parts of seven lines from verses 37-38. The papyrus is a fragment of John that could sit upon a credit card and contains no complete sentences, and only one complete word: kai (“and”). “What I have done is to show that any serious consideration of the window of possible dates for P52 must include dates in the later second and early third centuries. Thus, P52 cannot be used as evidence to silence other debates about the existence (or non-existence) of the Gospel of John in the first half of the second century.”[118]

Egerton Papyrus 2 (150 – 200 CE): A redaction of John (or vice versa), which is a redaction of Mark and Luke[119] – a collection of four stories which have no equivalent in any known Gospel[120]: 1) a controversy similar to John 5:39-47 and 10:31-39; 2) curing a leper similar to Matt 8:1-4, Mark 1:40-45, Luke 5:12-16 and Luke 17:11-14; 3) a controversy about paying tribute to Caesar analogous to Matt 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17, Luke 20:20-26; and 4) an incomplete account of a miracle on the Jordan River bank, perhaps carried out to illustrate the parable about seeds growing miraculously

Papyrus 75 (175 – 225 CE): Luke 3:18-24:53 + John 1-15

Magdalen papyrus aka Gregory-Aland P64 (ca. 200 CE): Matthew 3, 5, 26

Papyrus 66 (ca. 200 CE): John 1:1-6:11, 6:35b-14:26, 29-30; 15:2-26; 16:2-4, 6-7; 16:10-20:20, 22-23; 20:25-21:9, 12, 17. Herbert Hunger founder of the Vienna Institute of Papyrology has claimed a possible 100-150 CE date but as Brent Nongbri noted paleographic dating of papyri is complex and thanks to the continual accumulation of new evidence an ongoing process[121] so these earlier dates must be taken with a grain of salt.

Papyrus 45 (ca. 250 CE): Heavily damaged by time and elements. Of the 200 original pages only 30 (2 of Matthew, 6 of Mark, 7 of Luke, 2 of John, and 13 of Acts) remain. Oldest collection of canonical Gospels.

The Gospel of Thomas: A redaction of Matthew and Luke.[122]

The Gospel of Peter: An imaginative reworking of most likely Matthew.[123][124][125]

Bart Ehrman asserts in his book Did Jesus Exist?, that: The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Peter, and Egerton Papyrus 2 are independent narratives about Jesus.[126] Whereas R. G. Price asserts that they are derivative of Mark.[127][128]


Papyrus 46 (150 – 250 CE with 95% confidence interval[129]): has the last 8 chapters of Romans, all of Hebrews, virtually all of 1–2 Corinthians, all of Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, and two chapters of 1 Thessalonians. It is estimated there were only 5 more leaves at the end of the Papyrus; nowhere enough for 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon to fit as they would required 10 leaves. 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus are also regarded as questionable… most likely NOT from Paul but much later. It should be noted that Paul’s authorship of Colossians is hotly debated.

As you can see the earliest copies of anything we have is Rylands Library Papyrus P52 a minimum of 89 years or at least four (not a “couple” as is often claimed) generations for the events in question.

Codex Sinaiticus (330 – 360 CE): Missing the following verses: Gospel of Matthew 12:47, 16:2b-3, 17:21, 18:11, 23:14, Matthew 24:35; Gospel of Mark 7:16, 9:44, 9:46, 11:26, 15:28, 16:9–20; Gospel of Luke 17:36; and Gospel of John 5:4, 7:53–8:11, 16:15, 20:5b-6, 21:25.

There is no possibility that an omnipotent god intent on providing a message to humankind would allow for such chaotic untidiness to delegitimize his holy book. But if we assume that no god was involved, then there is no perplexity.

(2414) Persistence of belief

A study was conducted to see how persistent peoples’ beliefs were after being exposed to information disconfirming those beliefs. What was discovered is that human belief, once formed, is often rigorously resistant to change. This human frailty is used by religion as a potent fuel to enable its perseverance. The following was taken from:


A study done by psychologists Barry Singer and Victor Benassi at California State University at Long Beach illustrates the will to believe in psychic powers in the face of contrary evidence. They brought in a performing magician, Craig Reynolds, to do some tricks for four introductory psychology classes. Two of the classes were not told that he was a magician who would perform some amateur magic tricks. They were told that he was a graduate student who claimed to have psychic powers. In those classes, the psychology instructor explicitly stated that he didn’t believe that the graduate student or anyone else has psychic abilities. In the other two classes the students were told that the magician was a magician. Singer and Benassi reported that about two-thirds of the students in both groups believed Craig was psychic. The researchers were surprised to find no significant difference between the “magic” and “psychic” classes. They then made the same presentation to two more classes who were explicitly told that Craig had no psychic abilities and that he was going to do some tricks for them whereby he pretends to read minds and demonstrate psychic powers. Nevertheless, more than half the students believed Craig was psychic after seeing his act.

Singer and Benassi then asked the students whether they thought magicians could do exactly what Craig did. Most of the students agreed that magicians could. Then they asked the students if they would like to change their estimate of Craig’s psychic abilities in light of the negative data they themselves had provided. A few did, reducing the percentage of students believing in Craig’s psychic powers to 55 percent. Then the students were asked to estimate how many so-called psychics were really fakes using magician’s tricks. The consensus was that most “psychics” are frauds. The students were again asked if they wished to change their estimate of Craig’s psychic powers. Again, a few did, but the percentage believing in Craig’s psychic powers was still a hefty 52 percent. [Benassi and Singer; Hofstadter]

For many people, the will to believe at times overrides the ability to think critically about the evidence for and against a belief. The concept of the true-believer syndrome, however, does not help us understand why people believe in the psychic or supernatural abilities of admitted frauds. Since by definition those suffering from true-believer syndrome are irrationally committed to their beliefs, there is no point in arguing with them. Evidence and logical argument mean nothing to them. Such people are incapable of being persuaded by evidence and argument that their notions are in error.

The findings of this study and others like it reveals the critical importance for religions to indoctrinate young people into their belief system, knowing that by doing so the recidivism rate into adulthood will be low. It also explains why religions exist in the first place as they can persist even within a sea of facts that don’t align with their doctrines- because religious belief is a vaccine against logic and reason.

(2415) Divine confusion

Christians typically read one gospel at a time, if they read them at all, and rarely take time to compare them.  Otherwise they would note some problems. Sometimes it is good to step back and take a 10,000 meter overview of the scriptural landscape, as is presented below:


Most Christians today believe that the gospels of the New Testament present an essentially accurate account of the life of Jesus Christ, the ‘only-begotten Son of God’, who was born of a virgin, wandered Galilee as a preacher and miracle-worker at the start of the 1st century, died on a cross to redeem the sins of mankind, and then rose from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven. However, the four gospels contain such glaring inconsistencies and contradictions that they are clearly not reliable historical reports. So if they are the ‘word of God’, then God must be terribly confused.

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke go to great lengths to show that Jesus is descended from the line of David, as the promised messiah must be according to Jewish beliefs. But apart from agreeing that Jesus was fathered by Joseph, the two genealogies bear no resemblance to each other at all; Matthew lists 28 generations and Luke 43. Furthermore, their relevance is unclear since the authors of the two gospels also say that Jesus was born of a virgin who was impregnated by the Holy Spirit.* The Gospels of Mark and John, by contrast, make no mention of Jesus’ family descent or the virgin birth.

*The Holy Spirit was traditionally regarded as feminine. Hence the wry comment made in the apocryphal Gospel of Philip (25): ‘some said “Mary conceived by the holy spirit.” They are in error. … When did a woman ever conceive by a woman?’

Matthew tells us that Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod, who died in 4 BCE (before common era). But Luke states that Jesus was about 30 in the 15th year of Tiberius’ reign, implying that he was born in 2 BCE, i.e. after Herod’s death. He then contradicts himself by stating that John the Baptist and Jesus were miraculously conceived six months apart in the reign of Herod, but that Jesus was born at the time of the census of Quirinius, which took place in 6 CE (common era), thereby creating the miracle of a 10-year pregnancy!

The Gospels of Mark and John do not contain any nativity story, while the nativity stories given by Matthew and Luke have nothing in common except the names of Jesus’ parents and the location of his birth in Bethlehem. John however says that Jesus is from Galilee and that the Jews rejected him because he was not from Bethlehem. Only Matthew mentions the guiding star, the three wise men and Herod’s murder of all the infant boys in Bethlehem, while only Luke mentions the Roman census, the appearance of angels to the shepherds tending their flocks (in the winter?!) and the shepherds’ visit to Jesus.

Matthew says that Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem, while Luke says that they lived in Nazareth. Matthew says that they fled to Egypt immediately after Jesus’ birth and then went to Nazareth when Herod died, while Luke says they remained in Bethlehem following Jesus’ birth so that he could be presented in the temple of Jerusalem eight days later. Only Luke mentions Jesus’ amazing exhibition of learning in the temple at the age of 12.

The scene where Jesus drives the traders and moneychangers out of the temple is placed at the beginning of John’s narrative but at the end of Matthew’s. Mark has Jesus teaching only in the area of Galilee and not in Judea, and only travelling the 70 miles to Jerusalem once, at the end of his life. Luke, however, portrays Jesus as teaching equally in Galilee and Judea, while John’s Jesus preaches mainly in Jerusalem and makes only occasional visits to Galilee. There are major discrepancies regarding the names of the disciples. According to Mark, Matthew and Luke (the synoptic gospels), Peter, James and John are Jesus’ closest followers. In John’s gospel, however, Peter plays only a minor role and James and John are not even mentioned, but there is mention of Nathaniel and Nicodemus, who make no appearance in the other three gospels.

Even the events surrounding the all-important crucifixion are not uniformly recorded by the gospels. Matthew and Mark say that Jesus was both tried and sentenced by the Jewish priests of the Sanhedrin, Luke says that Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin but not sentenced by them, while according to John, Jesus did not appear before the Sanhedrin at all. Jesus then goes to his death by crucifixion – yet Paul and Peter say he was ‘hanged on a tree’ (Galatians 3:13, Acts 5:30, 10:39). John places Jesus’ death on the eve of the Passover, whereas the other gospels place it on the following day. The story of a centurion piercing Jesus’ side with a spear is found only in John’s Gospel. The gospels give three versions of Jesus’ last words: ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’* (Matthew and Mark); ‘Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!’ (Luke); and ‘I thirst. … It is finished’ (John).

*This is a mistranslation of the Hebrew. It should read: ‘My God, my God, how thou dost glorify me!’

In John’s Gospel there is only one woman visitor to Jesus’ tomb, in Matthew there are two, and in Mark three, while Luke writes of numerous women who had followed Jesus from Galilee. According to Mark, when the three women disciples found the empty tomb they saw a young man in a white robe inside, while Luke relates that ‘two men in dazzling apparel’ suddenly appeared. Matthew, however, paints a far more dramatic picture:

And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, his raiment white as snow. (28:2)

In Matthew the resurrected Jesus appears to his disciples in Galilee, where they have been sent by divine decree. According to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, on the other hand, the risen Jesus appeared in and around Jerusalem, and according to Acts the disciples were expressly forbidden to leave Jerusalem. The earliest versions of Mark’s Gospel end with the fear of the women at their discovery of the empty tomb (16:8). The ‘long ending’ in which the risen Jesus appears to his disciples, was added later but is now included in nearly all editions of the New Testament. The last chapter of John’s Gospel, containing Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, is also a later addition. Luke’s Gospel is the only one to include an appearance in Jerusalem in which Jesus convinces his disciples that he is not a mere phantom by inviting them to handle his flesh and bones and by eating a piece of broiled fish.

Matthew and John ignore the ascension of Jesus. Luke mentions it only in one brief verse, a sort of postscript not found in some manuscripts, and it receives an equally cursory mention in the verses later added to Mark’s Gospel. Luke places the ascension on the day of the resurrection, and Acts 40 days after (1:3). During his ministry, Jesus repeatedly predicts that the apocalyptic Last Judgement will occur within the lifetime of some of his contemporaries, but nearly 2000 years later the Second Coming has still not occurred, though some fundamentalists continue to proclaim – rather optimistically – that ‘the end is nigh’!

The church hierarchy made a mistake placing all four of these gospels into the Bible. By doing so, they set up the inevitable day when objective historians would expose the contradictions, most of which are glaring low-hanging fruit. As can be gleaned from the above, the church would have done better to choose just one gospel account and go with that.

(2416) Luke’s folly

In Luke 13:31-35, a passage exists that has no parallel to the other three gospels. It is a standalone piece of nonsense that begs the question of what the author was thinking. Let’s break down each of these five verses:

Luke 13:31: At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”

At this point, Jesus is in Galilee and has not yet been to Jerusalem. So why would Jesus need to leave this place and if he did where would he go- to some other place in Galilee?

Luke 13:32: He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 

The fox metaphor is unique and confusing in this context. But the line that follows makes no sense- why would driving out demons and healing people lead Herod to want to kill Jesus? And what does Jesus mean about reaching his goal on the third day- this seems to be an out-of-place reference to his resurrection.

Luke 13:33: In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

The idea that no prophet can die outside of Jerusalem makes no sense as none of the previous Jewish prophets died there. It is very unlikely that Jesus would make this statement/prophecy.

Luke 13:34: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. “

Once again, this makes no sense. In Luke’s gospel up to this point, Jesus has not ever been to Jerusalem so criticizing that city for being ‘unwilling’ to gather together does not follow.  Also, there is no history backing up the claim that Jerusalem as a city has stoned prophets.

Luke 13:35: Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Saying the house is left desolate appears to be an anachronistic reference to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in CE 70 as well as the loss of the temple. To say that they will not see him again when they have not yet seen him the first time makes no sense. In fact, this verse would  make sense only if Jesus returned to the city after Jerusalem was destroyed [in other words, around the time (~80 CE) that Luke was writing this verse] and then commenting on the same while prophesying his return- an allusion to the Second Coming.

There is always a cast of suspicion on any passage that appears in one gospel only and is missing in the other three. Did the author invent this on his own or did he somehow have access to information not privy to the other three? In this case, we can assume that Luke invented these verses without any external source. He made the mistake of putting words in Jesus’ mouth that would have been uttered only if Jesus was making a speech post CE 70, i.e., after Jerusalem had fallen.

(2417) From Jesus to Constantine

Some people look at a tree and see how beautiful it is and wonder to themselves how it could have come about without the existence of a creator. But when looked at from another perspective, science provides a step-by-step explanation how over billions of years genetic mutations produced competitive survival benefits that eventually led to the tree…sans creator. In an analogous manner, many Christian apologists cite the worldwide success of Christianity as proof of its truth, saying that it couldn’t have become a worldwide faith if it had been false. This is intuitively true….until you look under the hood…of early church history. The following is a good summary that removes the luster off the apologists’ arguments:


The triumph of Christianity is actually a very remarkable historical phenomenon. … We begin with a small group from the backwaters of the Roman Empire and after two, three centuries go by, lo and behold that same group and its descendants have somehow taken over the Roman Empire and have become the official religion, in fact the only tolerated religion, of the Roman Empire by the end of the 4th century. That is a truly remarkable development, and a monumental historical problem, trying to understand how this happened. Of course, pious Christians have no doubt about how or why it happened: “This is the hand of God working in history.” And the Christians of antiquity already made this very point; the fact that Christianity triumphed is proof of its truth.

For historians, that answer, while maybe correct on one level, on another level it is not entirely satisfactory. We historians would like to find other explanations for the triumph of Christianity and indeed, ever since Gibbon wrote his famous history, historians have been trying to understand what it was exactly that pushed Christianity to the top. I can’t fully answer that question myself, but we can clearly identify various stages on the path of Christianity to its ultimate victory. …

In its first stage, Christianity begins not as a religion, it begins rather as the movement of people around a single charismatic teacher or preacher, it’s hard to know what noun to use exactly. I would call him a holy man who attracted a crowd of disciples who followed him and his various wanderings as he did his healings, as he did his teachings. But this holy man winds up in Jerusalem and winds up executed by the authorities, probably as a trouble maker, somebody who’s best off dead, rather than alive because alive who knows what may happen? He’s a threat to the social order. He’s best off executed.

This is how Christianity begins. It very rapidly turns into something different. What began as a kind of ratter-tag assembly of followers of a holy man turns into what we might call a Jewish sect, a group of Jews which now has interpreted the life, teachings and death of its holy man somehow as having cosmic significance, as having meaning for all time, not just for the specific moment, but somehow affecting God’s relationship with the Jews and ultimately with the whole world. … This then is a Jewish sect or a Jewish school, which you might say is the next stage in the development.

After that, the next stage may be represented by Paul, who then takes this Jewish school, this Jewish philosophy, this Jewish sect, and now says that the teachings of this sect are such that the entire map of the world needs to be redrawn, so that we now no longer have the simple dichotomy of Jews and gentiles and we no longer simply have a Jewish school arguing with other Jews about interpretations of law and theology. We now have, Paul says, a new map of the world. Our teachings have within them the secret to understanding the new cosmic order. So that the old distinctions between Jews and gentiles are now obliterated. They have been supplanted by a new and truer and more wonderful and more beautiful map in which we have a new Israel that will embrace both Jews and gentiles, all those who now accept the new covenant and the new faith. This is Paul, who in his teachings has the beginnings of what we might call the breaking out of Christianity [from] Jewish social setting.

This of course takes place gradually over the next several decades well into the 2nd century…. It doesn’t happen everywhere all at once, in the same way. It’s a complex, protracted process. And we must allow for variety; the place of Christianity, let’s say in the year 100 CE, may not be the same in Egypt as it is in Judah. It may not be the same in Rome as it is in Asia Minor. We have to ask ourselves constantly – How did the Christians see themselves? How did the Jews see the Christians? How did the gentiles see the Christians? How did each of these groups understand the other and how they fit into the larger society? And the answers may not be the same. There’s no guarantee that the Christians and the Jews necessarily looked at each other in the same way at any given moment. We have to allow for a wide variety of opinions. But the tendency, nonetheless, I think is very clear: Christianity is becoming less “Jewish” and is turning into something new and different. …

For some Christians, this never happens. They can’t bring themselves to say that God has thoroughly redrawn the map of the cosmos and has taken them out of the Jewish world and pushed them out into the stage of history. … Other Christians, of course, disagree with Paul on exactly how to read this new map and exactly what it means, and most importantly, where do the Jews fit in now, those Jews who are “being left behind.”… But, in any case, the Christian church itself was now emerging as a new, independent group by the middle of the 2nd century. …

The second century of our era was the age of definition before Christianity. Now that it realized it no longer was Judaism, or no longer was a form of Judaism, it had to figure out, well then, what is it exactly? What is Christianity? What makes it not Judaism, what makes it not Jewish? How is it able to somehow at one and the same time hold on to the Jewish Scriptures, what we call the Old Testament, and still not be Judaism, and still not be Jewish? This was one of the major questions confronting Christian thinkers, writers, church leaders in the second century. This was the great age of Christian diversity, sects, schools, heresies of all kinds, confronting Christian thinkers, and it was only in the second century that we begin to see the emergence of what we might call an orthodoxy, or something that might simply be called “Christianity” in a kind of uniform body of doctrines and text, that is to say, the New Testament. The New Testament as a collection of texts is a product of the second century, as the church figured out which books are sacred, which books are authoritative and which ones are not. …

By the third century of our era, we have something called Christianity with its own sacred books, its own rituals, its own ideas, but this is the great age of confrontation with the Roman Empire. The third century, of course, the great age of persecutions, where the Roman Empire now wakes up and realizes that there is something new, and from their perspective, sinister, afoot in new groups that are threatening the social order and ultimately the political order of the Empire. And the Roman Empire was correct. The Romans correctly intuited that the victory of Christianity would mean the end of the Roman Empire, the end of the classical world. … We often think of persecution, of course, in a Christian perspective. We see it as heroic martyrs confronting the might of Rome, which is true. And the martyrs are indeed a wonderful spectacle and do present a wonderful demonstration of Christian faith. That is certainly true. By the same token, we must realize that the Roman Empire was doing what all bureaucracies do. It was trying to protect itself, trying to perpetuate itself….

The Romans tried to beat down Christianity but failed. By the fourth century Christianity becomes the state religion and by the end of the fourth century it is illegal to do any form of public worship other than Christianity in the entire Roman Empire. There is a great mystery in how this happened — how such an extraordinary reversal, that begins with Jesus who is executed by the Romans as a public criminal, as a threat to the social order, and somehow we wind up three centuries later with Jesus being hailed as a God, as part of the one, true God who is the God of the new Christian Roman Empire. There is a remarkable progress, a remarkable development in the course of three centuries. … It’s hard to understand exactly how it happened or why it happened, but it is important to realize that we have a progression and a set of developments, and that Christianity by the fourth century is not the same as the Christianity that we see in the first or even the second.

One of the most surprising Christian heroes in the entire tradition, I think, is Constantine. He is, first of all, a successful general. He is also the son of a successful general and at the head of the army at the West. And he’s fighting another successful general, struggling for who is going to be at the top of the heap of the very higher echelons of Roman government. What happens is that Constantine has a vision. Luckily for the Church, there’s a bishop nearby to interpret what the vision means. Constantine ends not converting, technically, to Christianity, but becoming a patron of one particular branch of the church. It happens to be the branch of the church that has the Old Testament as well as the New Testament as part of its canon. Which means that since this branch of Christianity includes the story about historical Israel as part of its own redemptive history, it has an entire language for articulating the relationship of government and piety. It has the model of King David. It has the model of the kings of Israel. And it’s with this governmental model that the bishop explains the vision to Constantine.

In a sense Constantine becomes the embodiment of the righteous king. And once he consolidates his power by conquering, eventually, not only the West, but also the Greek East where there are many more Christians [who are] concentrated in the cities, which are the social power packets of this culture, [he] is in this amazing position of having a theology of government that he can use to consolidate his own secular power. And it works both ways. The bishops now have basically federal funding to have sponsored committee meetings so they can try to iron out creeds and get everybody to sign up.

One of the first things Constantine does, as emperor, is start persecuting other Christians. The Gnostic Christians are targeted…and other dualist Christians. Christians who don’t have the Old Testament as part of their canon are targeted. The list of enemies goes on and on. There’s a kind of internal purge of the church as one emperor ruling one empire tries to have this single church as part of the religious musculature of his vision of a renewed Rome. And it’s with this theological vision in mind that Constantine not only helps the bishops to iron out a unitary policy of what a true Christian believes, but he also, interestingly, turns his attention to Jerusalem, and rebuilds Jerusalem just as a righteous king should do. But what Constantine does is take the city, which was something of a backwater, and he begins to build beautiful basilicas and architecturally ambitious projects in the city itself. The sacred space of the Temple Mount he abandons. It’s not reclaimable. And what he does is [to] religiously relocate the center of gravity of the city around the places where Christ had suffered, where he had been buried, or where he [had] been raised. So that in the great basilicas that he built, Constantine has a new Jerusalem, that’s splendid and beautiful and… his reputation as an imperial architect resonates with great figures in biblical history like David and Solomon. In a sense, Constantine is a non-apocalyptic Messiah for the church. …

The bishops are terribly grateful for this kind of imperial attention. It’s not the western Middle Ages. The lines of power are unambiguous. Constantine is absolutely the source of authority. And there’s no question about that. But the bishops are able to take advantage of Constantine’s mood and his curious intellectual interest in things like Christology and the Trinity and Church organization. They’re able to have bibles copied at public expense. They are finally able to have public Christian architecture and big basilicas. So there’s a comfortable symbiotic relationship between the empire and the church, one that, in a sense, is what defines the cultural powerhouse of Europe and the West.

Citing Christianity’s historical success as evidence for its truth is a fallacy of probability theory. If you start with five false religions and then over time one of them emerges while the others wither away, it is not a sign that the surviving faith is true. It is simply the result of the inevitability that one of the false religions would become dominant. As can be seen in the capsule summary above, not just Christianity, but the particular brand of it that predominates today is a fluke of history. It likely would have played out differently if we were to run the scenario a second time.

(2418) Biblical morality is relativistic

Atheists, according to Christians, have no objective standard of morality, while Christians claim that the Bible affords them just that. But there is a problem that destroys this argument- the idea that whatever God commands is moral. As exemplified by the story of Abraham and his son Isaac, where God first commands Abraham to kill Isaac and then prohibits it, we can see that biblical morality is subject to the whims of Yahweh’s fancy. The following was taken from:


Christians often accuse atheists of having no basis for moral reasoning. But the story of God telling Abraham to kill his son illustrates that, if “whatever God says is good is good,” then nothing can consistently be called “bad,” not even child sacrifice.

Another point that’s not typically dealt with by most expositors of this passage is that God has given opposing commands. He’s instructed Abraham to kill Isaac and then later commands him not to harm the boy. We can therefore conclude that any command of God might be countermanded. This presents a problem for any moral argument that makes God out to be the “objective standard” of what is right. Under this view, it was morally right for Abraham to desire to kill Isaac in obedience to the command of God and then three days later it was morally wrong. Not because the situation had changed, but simply because God said so.

How is having this kind of capricious, arbitrary, unsubstantiated and unverifiable nonsense as a basis for morality any better than some “subjective” or “relativistic” secular moral philosophy? Under morality that’s based on divine command, literally any act could be justified simply by believing that God commanded it; even acts that would appear to run counter to prior commands that God has given.

Another example is God’s command to not kill juxtaposed with his frequent instructions to…well, kill. Or telling his people to honor their father and mother, while later encouraging them to hate their father and mother and come follow him. The Christian claim of objective morality is hogwash. What they actually have is a variable morality depending on what Yahweh wants at the moment.

(2419) Lot’s story sums up the Bible

The story of Lot and Yahweh’s wrathful destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis Chapters 18 and 19) tells us all we need to know about the Bible, and why it should be relegated to the category of appalling mythology. The following was taken from:


Two men who we are told are angels enter the city of Sodom to be greeted by Lot, who is himself a transplant from somewhere else but has apparently risen to the ranks of an elder of the city. They ask to be lodged in the middle of the town, but Lot insists that they stay with him at his house since the town in which he lives is evidently overrun by violently predatory homosexuals. You know how gay people are, prone to violence and what not.

Sure enough, the whole town turned up at Lot’s door asking to molest these complete strangers. But Lot wouldn’t have it. “Don’t do this wicked thing!” he said. “Here, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you and you can do what you like with them.” I kid you not, that is a direct quote.

The angels engineered an escape and eventually removed Lot’s family from the town by force, telling them to flee the coming destruction and never look back. The town was destroyed by fire and brimstone raining down on them from the sky. As the story famously goes, at one point Lot’s wife did look back, and as punishment for doing that she was instantly turned into a pillar of salt.

Huh, that’s random.

At first, Lot tried relocating to a neighboring city but for some reason he decided to leave there as well, taking his two daughters with him to live in a cave. While there, the Bible says, his oldest daughter concocted a plan to inseminate herself by liquoring up her old man so that he would have sex with her. Evidently it worked on the first try. The next day the younger daughter decided to do the same, and she successfully conceived on her first try as well. What are the odds? I guess they do say women’s cycles start to synchronize after a while, right?

Not only did each of the two daughters conceive on their first try, but both of them gave birth to sons (always the goal in the ancient world) who became fathers of whole nations—the Moabites and the Ammonites. How very neat and tidy.

Despite the later prophets’ earnest attempts to make it about inhospitality, this story leaves the impression that the God of the Old Testament detests homosexuality so much that he would destroy an entire city because of it. He never destroys Lot or his daughters for the sick and twisted things that they did, but he was certainly willing to immediately kill their mother for the sin of turning her head.

What a terrifying deity this is! It appears from this story that sometimes you will be given apparently arbitrary instructions followed by dire warnings of impending doom even if you just look at the wrong things. ♫ So be careful little eyes what you see… ♫”

At this point in human history, disgust is the only appropriate response to a story like this:

Caricaturing an entire group of people, making them out to be violent predators.

Offering virgin daughters as usable property (because that’s better than letting men hook up with each other).

Swallowing this bogus story about a woman suddenly turning to salt (come on now, is that the best you can do?).

Adding another implausible story about Lot fathering children by his own daughters without his consent—twice.

And somehow in all of this, Lot remains above reproach.

This story is an indictment of the entire book. It is a microcosm of all the things wrong with the Bible: The lack of concern for historical accuracy, the inverted moral structure whereby horrific things are better than other things which are really just a culturally conditioned prejudice, and a fabricated tale of judgment and destruction meant to make us afraid for our own lives lest we disobey the dictates of an invisible deity whose mind can only be known through the communications of ancient people long since dead.

Honestly you shouldn’t have to read any further. This tells you everything you need to know about the Bible.

Anyone who has taken the challenge to read the entire Bible to see if it might be the key to life on this planet would, if being honest with themselves, stop at the end of Genesis 19 and realize that there is no need to carry on. This grotesque and ludicrous mythological legend contaminates the entire book and leaves nothing else inside its covers undamaged.

(2420) A relationship with Jesus

Christianity sells its product by saying you can have a personal relationship with Jesus, or God himself. The nature of this relationship is strange because you can’t really see or meet Jesus or hold a two-way conversation, so it is not exactly defined- is it like being a marriage partner, or a family member, or a friend, or a co-worker, or an employee, or as a slave?  Perhaps it is all of these in different amounts. The following analogy follows the marriage angle:


Imagine for a moment that you’ve been approached by an exceptionally attractive billionaire. Well, not by him personally, but by one of his employees. And he tells you that his wealthy employer wants to ask for your hand in marriage!

It’s a lot to take in, right? I know. But it’s totally legit. It’s a really big commitment…a binding, lifelong contract, in fact…and the prenup contains no small amount of fine print. He is a billionaire, after all.

There are a few caveats.

There is a very high likelihood that you may go your entire life without ever actually meeting the man. I mean it’s possible you’ll get to meet him at some point, I suppose. But it’s far more likely that you won’t…for the duration of your natural life. He is a very busy man, you know, and he is incredibly shy.

But that shouldn’t prevent you from organizing your entire life around this relationship. It will be the most important, the most significant relationship in your life. He will be your husband, and all other relationships should bend to accommodate this one, because that’s how he wants this marriage to work.

Yes, it’s an odd proposition, I know. But an unusual man like this requires an unusual arrangement. This is how it has to be: He might show up at some point, but it’s also quite possible the two of you won’t meet face-to-face for as long as you live. But he will still be your husband and you will be his wife.

Also, there are a few other things you should know.

Getting to Know Each Other

It is entirely possible that your new husband will never actually communicate with you directly.

Now, I’m not saying he won’t communicate with you at all. It’s just that he prefers to communicate through mediators. More precisely, through letters…and stories.

And he won’t write them about you, per se. Nor will he address you specifically in any of his correspondence. He prefers to communicate with you indirectly…by writing to other people, people you don’t even know…and he won’t mention your name in anything he writes. That’s just how he prefers to do it.

Actually, to be more precise, he won’t even write these letters and stories himself. He will commission others to pen these writings—people you wouldn’t even know and will never actually meet—and they won’t write them to you so much as to other people whom you will likewise never meet.

In fact, most of the authors and recipients of this correspondence will have never met him, either, nor will they have heard from him directly. But it is essential that you understand that they speak on his behalf anyway, and that even though your name will never come up, it will all be intended for you…at least indirectly.

And this is how it will go for the duration of your life. You will likely never meet him face-to-face, nor receive any direct communication from him…only indirect communications through third parties that will never speak to you directly, either. They won’t even know who you are.

If it’s any consolation, a great many coincidences in your life will be arranged by him for your benefit, although he will always take great pains to do it in such a way that his involvement will be entirely undetectable. You just have to trust that he’s behind it all.

But this relationship will be so intimate, so rich, so all-consuming that all your deepest emotional needs will be met through this single relationship. All other relationships must take a backseat to this one. That’s how fulfilling this relationship will be.

So what do you say? Are you in?

In the interest of full disclosure, I should warn you that rejecting an offer like this could have some undesirable consequences. See, most people would kill for an invitation like this, and turning this particular man down will demonstrate to the rest of the world that you are a foolish, immature, and even immoral person who isn’t capable of making a good decision on your own.

This is why you need him in the first place. You are helpless in life without him, and any happiness you obtain without his help is a sign of moral inferiority on your part. I can’t even promise that dreadful things won’t happen to you if you reject his generous offer.

Mind you, it’s not that he himself will personally retaliate for your refusal to accept his proposal. But surely you understand that under such circumstances he could no longer protect you from whatever happens next. He will wash his hands clean of you and let the chips fall where they may. It could get very bad.

So you see there is really no good reason to turn down this extravagant offer.

Now About the Money…

Oh, and to address one more thing that you’re probably wondering: Will marrying a billionaire mean that you’ll become wealthy yourself? Well…yes, and no.

Monetarily speaking, you won’t actually experience any increase in material resources (what are you, a gold digger?). But your generous new husband will graciously grant that every penny you earn will be rightfully paid out to you through your regular salary.

You still have to go to work, of course. And he cannot guarantee that you won’t have to look for a new job from time to time. You never know when an egotistical madman may take over the government and freeze your paycheck. But your husband will guarantee that in due time you will reap the benefits of the work you put into your job, with only one condition…

You must be sure to give him credit for everything you earn. Before you log in to your bank account at the start of each month, you should be sure to express appreciation to him for the salary for which you’ve labored. He is very jealous about things like this, and he wants you to attribute all your accomplishments to him. Surely he deserves that as your husband, and such a generous one at that!

In fact, in order to truly to show your appreciation to him for your paycheck, you should immediately turn around and offer back to him a cut of what he has graciously given you. That seems only fair, especially considering how much he is doing for you. And it’s not that he needs the money…it’s more about showing gratitude for what he has done.

In time you will learn to derive deep satisfaction from this relationship even if he never appears or speaks a single word to you for your entire life. In time you will learn to credit him for everything good that happens to you, whether done through circumstances, through other people, or through your own hard work and diligence.

Whether or not you can see his hand in all of it, you will learn to thank him for every good thing that happens to you. You can just say it out loud or else to yourself, inside your own head. You can be sure the message will get to him even though you will likely never hear back from him. Not directly, anyway. But he hears it.

You will go to bed and wake up each morning with the satisfaction of knowing that you are wedded to the most generous man in the world.

Christianity oversells the relationship aspect to the limits of credibility and beyond. There is no rational basis to separate this experience from a child who has an imaginary friend. In both cases it is a one-way conversation with someone you can’t see, hear, or touch, and any return chatter is obviously of your own making. In effect, Christianity turns intelligent adults into small children while laughing all the way to the bank.

(2421) Holy Spirit indwelling

If Christianity is true, that means that there is a third ‘person’ of the Trinity that dwells within the hearts of Christians. The supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit should have a discernible effect on those who possess it; that is, they should stand out in ways that mirror the personality of the scriptural Jesus. They don’t. The following was taken from:


There should be a notable difference in character among people who believe they have the Holy Spirit, and they should care about the same things Jesus cared about.

But there’s not a great deal of evidence for either. And I’m not trying to argue that I am better than they are; on the contrary I can tell you that generally speaking they’re in the same boat as I am. But that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. If Christianity were true, the indwelling Holy Spirit would yield in Christians a noticeably better crop of behavioral “fruit,” and yet I honestly cannot say that such is the case.

Among those fruit, we are told, are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…but how do we judge what those should look like in action? I could take each of those terms and unpack them to show that there is little discernible difference between the traits of Christians and those of the rest of the world, but I’d rather streamline this discussion by simply asking what key trait mattered most to Jesus? That should be fair game, right?

What did Jesus care about most, and is it the same thing that Christians seem to care about most? That should tell us whether or not the same spirit that animated this man animates the people who represent him to the world today.

I’ve read through the gospels more times than I can count and it seems to me that Jesus cared most about showing mercy to others, especially to the poor and the foreigner and to those most rejected by everyone else, and he cared least about adhering to the purity codes of the surrounding religious establishment. In fact, at times he was downright ostentatious about contradicting their obsession with purity, breaking their rules on purpose just to make a point:

“Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’”

Jesus was far more at home with prostitutes than he was with religious leaders. Why? Because evidently in his mind, sexual deviance wasn’t actually the most dangerous vice a person could have. That dishonor belonged to self-righteousness and sanctimoniousness, two traits I would argue fit Christian culture in my country better than almost any I can name.

Christians in my country are downright obsessed with sex—with controlling who does it and with whom, and when, and how they do it. No personal detail seems off limits for this preoccupation of theirs, and virtually every censorious rule they champion somehow traces back to the regulation of this one single activity, including their highly restrictive language codes.

One would think that being indwelled by the Spirit of Jesus would make people more like him, and yet the church’s value system seems to have inverted what mattered most to him. That is relevant information for the question I’m exploring today.

And once again I know what some of you are thinking: You’re thinking this only points to the failure of Jesus’s followers, not to a failure of the Holy Spirit who is supposed to empower people to be better about these things than they naturally would be. But this is a convenient deflection, a shifting of the blame from the beliefs themselves to the believers who adhere to them.

Whose power is supposed to accomplish this moral quickening? Ours, or God’s? And when this fails to happen, on whom do you place the blame? Is your answer to the second question consistent with your answer to the first?

To put it bluntly, if Jesus were truly raised from the dead and living inside of people today, it would make a more noticeable difference. They would care about the same things he cared about, worrying more about how you treat the less fortunate than about what you do with your genitalia.

An analogy would be to claim that you have created an automobile that is turbo-charged to outrace any existing vehicle on the road, but when this car competes in road races, it usually finishes in the middle of the pack. The result fails to validate the claim. In like manner, the benefit of having the Holy Spirit dwelling inside a human being appears to be non-existent.

(2422) Jesus used hell as a metaphor

There is a theory that Jesus (for this purpose assumed to have been a real (mortal) man and that the gospels at least semi-accurately portray the essence of his philosophy) did not preach about hell as a literal place of post-life torture, but used it as a metaphor to get the attention of those individuals who he saw as being too insensitive to the struggles of poor, weak, marginalized people. Consider the following scriptures:

Matthew 19:24

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 25:41-43

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

The following was taken from:


People before Jesus would use Hell to reinforce the established hierarchies of his day. Religious people cared most of all about their personal purity: they followed all the scripts they were given, they observed all the rituals, and they accrued the prescribed blessings of health and wealth that their worldview had told them they would receive in return. Or at least they did if you squinted enough. Confirmation bias is a powerful thing.

Poor people, on the other hand, along with the sick and the weak were receiving in their lives the penalty for doing something wrong. Or maybe even their parents or their grandparents did something wrong. Whatever it was, the point is that these rewards and punishments followed a prescribed set of expectations with which everyone around Jesus would have been quite familiar. In their living days, people received a punishment or a reward for their relative spirituality, and by extension they could look forward to an afterlife which extended this state into perpetuity.

But that’s not how Jesus used the idea of Hell. In his hands, Hell became a warning for the rich, for the powerful, and for the religious leaders of his day. Jesus’s use of Hell was subversive in the extreme, making it sound as if anyone who died still rich would go there because they failed to use their wealth to benefit the neediest and poorest of their fellow men (see Luke 16:19-31).

For Jesus, Hell was a useful rhetorical device to invert the social values of his surrounding culture, situating him thoroughly within the ancient prophetic tradition in Judaism which called the people of God back to its moral center. “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” Jesus was fond of quoting. As best as I can tell, that was the heart of his message, and Hell was appropriated in order to add teeth to his point.

“So you guys are worried about Hell? Fine, let me tell you what kind of person deserves to go there. The answer may surprise you…”

In other words, Hell was like Jesus’s clickbait to get people’s attention so they would reconsider what it was that they were supposed to be about. He was trying to get people to care about the poor and the marginalized.

It is unlikely that Jesus would have believed in a literal hell since it would almost certainly not have been a part of his religious instruction. Whatever threatening words he might have used to frighten the rich, insensitive people in power might well have been modified by the gospel authors to make it register more graphic and scary. Therefore, it is very possible that the crippling liability that modern Christianity bears by promoting a painful eternity for dead people is actually just a result of poetic license used by the gospel authors.

(2423) Paul was unaware of who crucified Jesus

If we look carefully at the opening lines of Romans, Chapter 13, it immediately presents a problem. It appears that Paul did not know that Jesus was crucified by the imperial government in Jerusalem. Note particularly the bolded text:

Romans 13:1-5

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.  For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.  Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

There were no gospels at the time Paul was writing this obsequious ‘surrender’ to the occupying Roman authorities. But had they existed at that time, one must wonder if Paul would have couched his words in the same manner. That is, if Paul had been aware of the circumstances surrounding the crucifixion.

Paul stated that the authorities are there because God placed them there. He also says that if you do wrong, you should be afraid and expect to be punished. But if Jesus was allegedly sinless, how is it that he would have been crucified? The implication is that Jesus must have done something wrong and consequently was justly punished by God’s duly-appointed servants.

This scripture offers a clue (in addition to many others) that Paul was ignorant of the life, ministry, deeds, sayings, miracles, and, in this case, death of Jesus (or at least as these things would later be documented in the gospels). This is a critical problem for Christianity- its chief architect was missing the blueprints.

(2424) Death of inerrancy

As Christianity evolved over the centuries amid continual disagreements as to what constituted orthodoxy, and given the chaotic mix of personal revelations, a tendency developed amid many sects to proclaim that the Bible was without error. Although this did not solve every controversy, as the same text can be interpreted in many ways, it did tend to tamp down some of the argumentation-‘although you think God told you this and I think he told me that, at least we have the exact words of God in the book so we can hopefully find a unified solution.’ It is true that inerrancy could solve a lot of problems, but there are six good reasons, among many others, to conclude that the Bible isn’t perfect, as discussed below:


 1) Even your own theology should tell you that imperfect people can’t produce a perfect text.

One of the key doctrines of the Christian faith is that all people are “fallen,” messed up, broken, and needing salvation.  The Reformed doctrine in particular states things in the strongest of terms, saying that every aspect of human nature has been warped and marred by sin so that everything we set our hand to is going to be tainted by that fact.  If this belief were held with any logical consistency, it should follow that as long as human beings were involved in producing the Bible (News flash:  They were), it cannot be a flawless book. It is at least at some level a human creation, even if you believe that God inspired it.  That means that mistakes are inevitable, and human biases and cultural prejudices will inescapably be present.

2) Sola Scriptura is a logical impossibility.

The Catholic and Orthodox churches have been preaching this for centuries, but the Protestants have never listened.  It sounds lovely to say that you will base your theology on “nothing but the Bible,” meaning that any and all church tradition must be subject to the scrutiny of the biblical text itself, but how would you even know which books of the Bible should be in that canon if it weren’t for church tradition?  Without large groups of people—about whom we know virtually nothing—telling us which books should be included, we would never have known not to include, say, the Gospel of Peter or the Shepherd of Hermas in the New Testament canon.  Why is the book of James (originally “Jacob,” by the way) considered perfect while those other books aren’t?  How can you tell?  And did you know that the founder of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, tried to get the book of James removed from the canon, along with the books of Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation?  At some level there has to be a selection process in the first place, so what you have in the end is a thing that you yourself have created. Now you’re going to submit yourself to what you have made as an authority over all matters of faith and practice?  The logic of that doesn’t even work.

3) Jesus himself modeled disagreeing with the scriptures.

 Jesus got into a lot of hot water for saying things like “You have heard it was said…but I say to you.”  He made a habit of quoting the Bible and then disagreeing with it.  As a Christian I was taught to see this as a privilege uniquely assigned to Jesus, but that only glosses over the fact that he’s still disagreeing with the Bible.  That’s kind of a big deal. Here’s a guy who is supposed to be a model for us in every way, and he’s sticking his neck out and flatly calling the Bible wrong, or at least outdated in one way or another.  He is suggesting there is a better way of thinking about things than what the scriptures of his day prescribed.  That’s pretty revolutionary, and to me it sounds a lot like what the liberals and progressives of Christianity are doing today.  He critically analyzed the ethical apparatus of his own religion and found it lacking, then he spoke up about it. That took a lot of nerve. When people do it today, they get the same kind of hatred that Jesus got from the guardians of orthodoxy in his day, less the concomitant Roman brutality.

4) Paul disagreed with Jesus.

Paul almost never quoted Jesus at all, which in itself is a fascinating fact.  One could be forgiven for concluding that Paul was either largely unfamiliar with the actual teachings of Jesus, or perhaps that for whatever reason he wasn’t all that interested in rehearsing any of it.  He seemed fixated on other things. He never quoted any parables, or repeated any sayings. He almost never mentions a single action or miracle of Jesus from his entire ministry besides the resurrection itself.  He mentions the Christian repurposing of the Passover meal and quotes Jesus in the process because that was a part of the tradition he inherited.  But other than that, he hardly ever relays anything Jesus actually taught…

Except in two places where Paul actually disagrees with him.  In one place, he argues that in spite of the fact that Jesus said ministers should be able to make a living from their ministry, it is better for them to have non-ministry jobs so that they themselves can supply their own financial needs and not be dependent on their congregations. That was a direct contradiction to the tradition of Jesus.  In another place he ventures well beyond what Jesus said about divorce and offers his own opinion about the matter, offering an additional reason for divorce beyond what Jesus allowed.  That took a lot of nerve, and it suggests that even the writers of the New Testament weren’t thinking the same way about scriptural authority as do people today who swear by the authority of those very people.  Which leads me to the next point…

5) Paul admitted some of what he wrote was just his opinion.

This presents a fascinating problem.  How can you hold as sacrosanct and infallible the words of a man who even admits himself that some of what he is telling you is just his opinion?  For example, Paul recommended that people should choose the single life over marriage because in his mind family life is a distraction from the things of God.  So much for focusing on the family.  Paul didn’t care much for family entanglements (neither did Jesus, evidently), and he wasn’t afraid to let people know it.  He admitted he didn’t “have a word from the Lord” about the matter, but notice the intellectual pretzel you have to put yourself through to treat as infallible the words of a man who is himself admitting that not everything he says is worthy of such absolute devotion.

6) The apostles disagreed with each other.

It always baffled me that we would ascribe inerrancy to the writings of men who vehemently disagreed with each other on multiple occasions.  If you go back and reconstruct the story, James and Paul bitterly argued over how to handle the inclusion of Gentiles into the church. As best as I can tell, despite the attempt by the author of the book of Acts to gloss over the animosity between them, James and Paul never really came to an agreement about the relationship between the Christian message and the Mosaic law. Even decades after they tried to hash out their differences, representatives of the church in Jerusalem continued to circulate among Paul’s church plants in order to try to convince them to get circumcised and eat kosher. We also get a snapshot of his disagreement with James when we read both of them in separate letters teaching opposite things from the very same story (see each of them explain what made Abraham righteous hereand here). Paul even tells a story of having to openly chastise Peter for not thinking correctly about this, causing quite a scene in one of their churches.  The only way you could possibly see the Bible as an infallible book is if you completely gloss over the many ways in which they didn’t even agree with each other.

There are many other problems I could name.  The stories are so full of contradictions that you can’t even take one version as true without automatically invalidating two or three other versions in some way or another.   And that’s just within the New Testament. Whole libraries could be filled with pointing out the disagreements between the Old and New Testaments, but most Christians have a justification for that so they won’t hear any of it even if I were to try to spell out why these can’t just be explained away by “progressive revelation.”

We don’t even really know who wrote most of the books of the Bible. We have traditions ascribing authorship to various people, but that’s super sketchy, to be honest.  The gospels themselves don’t even really tell us who wrote them. The names at the top of the page weren’t in the original text, and some of the names don’t even make sense when you think about it.  Who is “Mark” and why is Matthew’s gospel clearly copying the text of Mark’s gospel word-for-word despite the fact that Matthew was one of “the twelve?”  If church tradition can be trusted, Mark was just a random kid who may or may not have been subtly slipped into the story (something about a kid running off naked after someone grabbed at him to arrest him). Again, super sketchy, but what if we took that at face value?  Why would Matthew’s gospel need to copy Mark’s?  That doesn’t even make sense, but clearly that’s what happened.  I could go on like this all day, but I’ve already said enough.

If a real god intended to produce a book for its followers, whether or not it was produced supernaturally, such a deity would ensure that the book was indeed inerrant. Especially if he intended to remove himself from the affairs of the world as it appears Yahweh has done. The errant Bible is evidence that Yahweh is not real and that Christianity, like all other religions, is untrue.

(2425) First five Bible books are fiction

Unbeknownst to Jesus and practically every Christian who has ever lived, there is overwhelming evidence that the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) are pure fiction. After that, some actual history makes its way in, but often highly exaggerated. This is the foundation of Judeo-Christianity and it is a foundation of sand. The following was taken from:


The Hebrew people did not exist before Canaan. They gradually and peacefully emerged as a subset of Canaanite culture somewhere around the 1200s B.C.E.,which is roughly the time we were told they invaded the land. Before that time they simply. didn’t. exist.

The violent conquest of Canaan never actually happened. We know this for certain. We’ve gone to the places that was supposed to have happened and we dug our way down to the bottom. Didn’t happen.

The wandering in the wilderness for forty years? Also never happened. That story was made up. We canvassed that entire region a hundred times now and not so much as a coin or a piece of pottery or anything at all that would signify they were ever there.

The dramatic exodus of millions of Hebrews from Egyptian captivity? We know for a fact that never happened. It’s not even a debate anymore, not among scholars, historians, or archaeologists. The story was undeniably made up. That means that the Passover never happened. Nothing even remotely like it.

There wasn’t even a group of Hebrews in Egypt in the first place. There never was. That whole bit about 400+ years in captivity, with a dozen tribes growing into a large but enslaved nation? Made up out of thin air. We know this now.

Think about what this means for a second. It means there was no Moses. No Aaron. There was no Abraham, no Isaac, and no Jacob. There was no Sarah, no Rachel, no Leah, no Rebekah, etc. All fascinating stories, yes. And could there have been real life analogues many centuries later that got cobbled together into an origin story for the nation of Israel? That’s certainly possible.

But basically every story and every person which appears prior to Israel’s presence in Canaan around the 13th century B.C.E. is a product of pure fiction. After that, much smaller versions of the stories appear to have happened in real life: for example there probably was a King David, only his “kingdom” was more like a small insular group of technologically challenged herdsmen. But never anything like the geopolitical giant the Bible paints him, or them, to be.

I really feel like everybody around me needs to sit and soak in the gravity of this realization.

Everything that happened in the first five books of the Bible is pure fiction. And the next few books don’t get much better. They are stories made up to teach lessons and to provide some kind of political basis for competing factions of ancient Israel, quarrels which no longer mean anything to us today but leave us with the mistaken impression that this people group existed many centuries before it actually did.

Now, I hang out with atheists a lot, so I’m accustomed to hearing people dismiss the entire Bible at once as nonsense. But the reality is that at least some of what the Bible recounts probably did happen, even if in reality the magical parts didn’t. For example, it has become increasingly canon for atheists to confidently assert that Jesus of Nazareth never existed at all.

But they don’t really know that. They’re simply arguing that we don’t have any credible evidence outside of the Bible itself that such a man existed, and they could be right. But on that matter I still have to point out that most biblical scholars (regardless of their religious orientation) are convinced that somebody named Jesus did exist, even if he didn’t perform party tricks or die and come back from the grave.

So the existence of Jesus is a debatable subject…but the exodus is not. Nor is anything that was supposed to have happened leading up to it nor afterward. That entire phase of Israel’s history is made up—including the sacred Passover itself—and we know this. Even their own rabbis have taken to admitting this, controversial though the admission may be.

If you were to read a historical novel that purported to document a realistic account of an event, but then it was determined that the first few chapters of the book were nothing more than something the author made up, would you have confidence in the remainder of the book? Likely not. And this is the problem with the Bible. Right off the bat, in the very first inning, we see that it is a celebration of myth, fantasy, lore, fiction, and superstition. The authenticity of whatever history exists in the 61 remaining books is tainted by this inauspicious beginning.

(2426) Christianity is intolerant

Christians commonly portray their religion as one of kindness, love, and acceptance. But it would seem that they forgot to read their bibles. In just one gospel (Matthew) we can see multiple examples where this image of Christianity is completely and exhaustively false. The following was taken from:


While insulting the Pharisees and Sadducees, John the Baptist calls an entire generation a “generation of vipers.” 3:7

Those who bear bad fruit will be cut down and burned “with unquenchable fire.” 3:10, 12

Jesus says that most people will go to hell. 7:13-14

Those who fail to bear “good fruit” will be “hewn down, and cast into the fire.” 7:19

“The children of the kingdom [the Jews] shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 8:12

Jesus tells his disciples to keep away from the Gentiles and Samaritans, and go only to the Israelites. 10:5-6

Cities that neither “receive” the disciples nor “hear” their words will be destroyed by God. It will be worse for them than for Sodom and Gomorrah. And you know what God supposedly did to those poor folks (see Gen 19:24). 10:14-15

Families will be torn apart because of Jesus (this is one of the few “prophecies” in the Bible that has actually come true). “Brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” 10:21

“Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” 10:33

Jesus says that he has come to destroy families by making family members hate each other. He has “come not to send peace, but a sword.” 10:34-36

Jesus condemns entire cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn’t care for his preaching. 11:20-24

“He that is not with me is against me.” 12:30

“Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him.” 12:31-32

Jesus often called people names. One of his favorites was to call his adversaries a “generation of vipers.” 12:34

Jesus will send his angels to gather up “all that offend” and they “shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” 13:41-42, 50

“Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” 15:13

Jesus refuses to heal the Canaanite woman’s possessed daughter, saying “it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to the dogs.” 15:22-26

The ever-so-kind Jesus calls the Pharisees “hypocrites, wicked, and adulterous.” Why? For asking for some evidence that Jesus is who he claims to be. 16:3-4

“Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Whoever falls on “this stone” (Jesus) will be broken, and whomever the stone falls on will be ground into powder. 21:44

In the parable of the marriage feast, the king sends his servants to gather everyone they can find, both bad and good, to come to the wedding feast. One guest didn’t have on his wedding garment, so the king tied him up and “cast him into the outer darkness” where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 22:1-14

Jesus condemns the Jews for being “the children of them which killed the prophets.” 23:31

Jesus blames his the Jews (who were then living) for “all the righteous blood” from Abel to Zecharias. 23:35

The servant who kept and returned his master’s talent was cast into the “outer darkness” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 25:30

Jesus judges the nations. 25:31-46

Jesus tells us what he has planned for those that he dislikes. They will be cast into an “everlasting fire.” 25:41

“His blood be on us, and on our children.” This verse blames the Jews for the death of Jesus and has been used to justify their persecution for twenty centuries. 27:25

Christianity lives by the Bible, but it also dies by the Bible. To make a claim while your holy book thoroughly refutes that claim is a shameless exercise in hypocrisy.  Christianity displays the intolerance of those who concocted it and fails to exhibit anything approaching what might be expected of a benevolent deity.

(2427) The Bible, a profound missed opportunity

The Bible could and should be so much more, and it would be if it was the product of a supernatural deity. Suppose you were able to travel back in time, sit next to a scribe, and dictate. Would you fail to give an accurate description of the earth and universe, or an idea of the causes of disease? Would you tell your scribe only those things already known by his contemporary civilization? This is a dilemma that haunts Christianity- why the Bible fails to inform humanity of anything not previously known. The following was taken from:


Imagine that you were the perfect, omnipotent, all-knowing Lord and Creator of the universe. You decided that you were going to give one — just one — book to humanity. It would be their moral compass, an insight into their nature and into yours, and act as a guide for how they could live rightly and walk a path that would lead their souls into an eternity with you.

Obviously, the first thing you’d want to put in there are some totally unscientific, archaic behavioral codes for menstruating women, and for pregnant women after they give birth. You’d want to be sure to help them regulate slavery, and specify how badly they were allowed to beat their slaves. And of course you’d want the book to be chock full of mythology — a creation myth, a flood myth, a fictional exodus, and hagiographical stories about how your loyal armies killed the shit out of everyone who dared to worship the wrong gods.

There’s a point here about the Bible that, in my estimation, really cannot be understated: there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that could not have been simply made up by Bronze-Age human beings. Nothing at all. There are no profound scientific insights that such cultures could never have known. There’s some bogus cosmology, a flat Earth, and instructions for how to slaughter animals among other profound insights.

Now, some Christians are keen to point out that the Jews did apparently get some things right. They had a sanitation system… but so did ancient Egypt, the Hittities, the Elamites, and the Aegean civilization. So, big whoop. They also had some codes for cleansing themselves after handling dead bodies or lepers, but these rituals also included ritual animal sacrifice. Not exactly cutting-edge. Moreover, the rituals themselves were stupid — after handling a corpse, for example, you would be “unclean for seven days” [Numbers 19:11]. This obviously had little to do with hygiene.

Then we have the New Testament. Written by anonymous authors decades after the events purportedly happened and filled with internal factual contradictions, with no trace of the original manuscripts and thousands of copies rife with errors, there is nothing about the New Testament that demands that a rational person should believe it to be divinely inspired. I talked about this in detail in my post The Gospel Challenge, where I challenged Christians to show that the evidence demanded that we believe the supernatural claims of the Bible are anything more than made-up. There’s simply no reason whatsoever for any rational person to make such an assumption.

Is the Bible really the best God could do? Is this book of myths, scientific blunders, and ambiguous or even downright demonstrably bogus historicity really what anyone really thinks the omnipotent Lord of the universe would bestow upon humanity? That this God would ignore humanity for the bulk of its 200,000+ years on the Earth, only deciding to reveal his One True Religion to a small, mostly illiterate Bronze Age tribal culture?

Think of all the things the Bible could be if it were really divinely inspired. Think of all the knowledge and insight such a holy book could contain that simply could never have been made up — profound scientific insights, timeless moral instruction, and revelation clear enough to prevent the innumerable schisms in Christian theology over fundamental issues, like how to attain salvation. Any sane, rational view of the Bible shows it to be little more than the confused scribblings of Bronze Age tribes.

It takes little more than a thought experiment, putting yourself in the role of God and considering how you would have handled the situation, to understand that the Bible is nothing more than the product of human minds that were stuck in a pre-scientific era. If God is real, it represents the greatest missed opportunity of all time.

(2428) Basket cases

There is strong evidence that the story of an infant Moses being placed in a basket, launched in a river, and later found downstream is a borrowed legend from two other legendary figures- Sargon and Karna. The following was taken from:


Many, many religions and nations have founder stories where the founder has some unique beginning so as to tell the listeners, “Look, this guy/gal is special!”.  Below I describe three basket cases (smile): stories of three important religious/political figures which started with a basket: Sargon, Karna & Moses.

In the Jewish Bible (embraced also by Christians), the book of Exodus tells the myth about how the Jews were exiled to Egypt and then later Moses led them out of captivity.   Very few scholars would doubt this story is fictionalized, the question is how fictional is any part of the story.   See my “Jesus, myth or fact” post to see the various percentages of fiction in bible stories — or any story.

Part of Exodus myth is the part about Moses being put in a basket. Moses was born to a Jewish woman (Levite) in Egypt at a time that the Pharaoh supposedly commanded all Jewish male babies be killed. So that Jewish woman, hid her child then three-months old, but when she could no longer hide him, she put him in a basket and sent him down a river.

The daughter of the Pharaoh apparently saw the child Moses in the basket and adopted it as her own. Eventually, after baby Moses grew up in the Pharaoh’s house hold, he had a powerful position in the court and later help his people (Jews) to escape from the Pharaoh. (Exodus 2).

Sargon the Great, was the King of Akkadian around 2,300 BCE and had a similar basket beginning to the Jewish Moses.

Sargon was born as the illegitimate son of a priestess or low-class woman. In shame she secretly hid her child and then placed in a basket of reeds and floated him down a river where baby Sargon was found by a man and raised as his own son — only later to become a great King and leader.  The similarities to the Moses story are uncanny.

But which story came first?  The earliest copy of the Sargon story we have is from the 600s BCE found in the Library of Ashurbanipal.  But the original story is much earlier, of course, passed on in oral tradition. Likewise, the oldest Hebrew Bible we have are the Dead Sea Scrolls with texts dated from 150 BCE to 70 CE but the stories were likely also written in the 600s. Due to all these stories being passed on orally for most likely centuries before their recording, and not knowing when the original recording took place, dating these events is very difficult. So, did they borrow from each other, or just use an obvious literary technique or, and this is unlikely, all just tell the truth about their founders. See my post illustrating models for how Greeks and Jews shared similar stories here.

My daughter and I are now reading the Mahabharata where a similar basket story came up.  I copied the page with the picture on it for you.

In this story, a virgin is impregnated by the sun god (sound Christian?). In shame the child is sent down a river and found by a charioteer (low caste) who found him a famous teacher of war. This child was Karna who would become major warrior in the Mahabharata.

Below I point out the source of the three basket heroes: Karna, Sargon and Moses (probably in that chronological order). I also added “Clouds of Oral Traditions” temporarily to my diagram to emphasize that written traditions often are patched together from very long oral traditions — often oral traditions that intermingle.  I know my diagram is busy, but I hope it helps again illustrate that stories can either be the result of sharing and remixing or spontaneous creation of similar concepts in diverse cultures.


The parallels of the Moses birth story with previous legends gives weight to the theory that stories were routinely being swapped among cultures to legitimize in a competitive sense the importance of their revered figures. This same genre was seen centuries later when gospel writers (Matthew and Luke) invented stories of Jesus’ virginal birth.

(2429) Faith of Abraham, Moses and the apostles not impressive

Christians often extol the faith of various biblical heroes as if they represent a paragon to be emulated. What is missing from this thought is that these people, assuming that they were real, never had to question the existence of god- they had ample in-the-face proof of it, usually in multiple and various ways. Their faith was unimpressive. The following was taken from:


If, for the sake of the argument, the Biblical figures are who the Bible says they were, and that the OT and NT accounts accurately portray events, then we know that all the Biblical individuals all saw undeniable proof of God.

Abraham is commonly put forward as a man of great faith, yet what did he have faith in? A God who he had undeniably spoken with directly, who had already directly promised him innumerable descendents, and who had come through in the past for him several times before. Abraham had complete and total proof of God’s existence, power and nature by the time he was tested with sacrificing Isaac. This almost-sacrifice is called an act of great faith, yet it’s not unreasonable to suppose that almost everybody, after having communicated directly with an omnipotent demiurge who they know they cannot resist, would have also obeyed his commandments (in fact, there have been many modern killers who claim to have taken a life because “God told them to.” Whether God actually told them is irrelevant – as long as they genuinely THINK God told them to, then they showed themselves faithful to their [imaginary] God similarly to how Abraham was faithful. They showed their faith by proving that they were prepared to carry out horrible acts for God.)

Moses also communicated with God directly and continuously. He spoke to God in a bush, was himself able perform miracles with snakes, ate food that fell from the sky etc. Moses’ faith in God was not impressive. He directly encountered God, not in dreams or visions, but in the real world, hearing and witnessing God’s direct, supernatural interactions. Again, who wouldn’t have faith in something so undeniable? The remarkable thing isn’t that Moses has faith, but that some Israelites didn’t.

The same can be said about the apostles, who witnessed all of Jesus’ miracles, his transfiguration, heard God the Father himself speak with Christ, performed miracles themselves, saw Christ killed and resurrected etc. It is in no way remarkable that they trusted God upon viewing all of these things. It would have been insane not to.

It’s not remarkable to “believe” the word of a perfect being you have undeniable proof of. No Biblical person ever had to once struggle with any doubt about God’s existence, the trustworthiness of scripture, the nature of miracles, etc. They encountered undeniable evidence repeatedly. To have “faith” in a God who has completely revealed himself to you through amazing signs and even actual conversations is not amazing, remarkable or inspiring. Any modern Christian who trusts the Bible enough to impact their own life has infinitely more faith than any of the so-called “heroes of the faith” presented in the Bible.

Christianity exists as a two-phase manifestation- the first phase was all about demonstration of the reality of Yahweh, Jesus, and the powers that they possessed. The second phase was a withdrawal of all such spectacles and the requirement for individuals to believe these realities based solely on a book.

Although some Christians might say that answered prayers and reported miracles are additional sources of evidence, to any skeptic they aren’t because they have never met objective standards of proof. So in reality the only remaining evidential resource is the Bible, and it comes replete with thousands of contradictions and authentication problems.  So faith was not needed in the first phase, but it is demanded to the extreme in the second.  This takes the luster off of the biblical heroes who acted not on faith but on assured confirmation. And it begs the question of why Yahweh would not provide modern people the same degree of verification he gave to biblical figures and their audiences.

(2430) Resurrection probability based on Lourdes

Calculating the chance that the resurrection of Jesus actually happened is a daunting task, but one way to do it is by processing data related to a shrine endorsed by the Catholic Church in Lourdes, France. Using the population of those who have attended, the number of ‘verified’ miracles, and an estimate of the percentage of pilgrims who ‘sense’ that they have experience a miracle, a mathematical model can be constructed. The following was taken from:


Every year at the shrine at Lourdes, France, more than 80,000 pilgrims visit. The spring waters there are alleged to have healing powers, after a woman claims to have seen the Virgin Mary. Over the course of a century, then, that is more than 8 million visitors.

The official representatives of the Catholic Church have been conservative about the real occurrence of miracles there. They have officially recognized 66. Let’s be generous and grant that 66 real miracles have actually occurred there.

Let’s also be conservative and suppose that of the 8 million visitors, half of them felt that they had observed or felt a real supernatural or spiritual event. This number is conservative because the vast majority of people going there do so with the strong expectation that miracles have occurred there in the past, and that they will be miraculously healed as well.

So for the visitors at Lourdes, what is their reliability for reporting miraculous events? 66/4,000,000 or .0000165. That is, even setting the number of felt miracles low and agreeing with the church about the number of real miracles, the probability that the miracle claim from any given pilgrim is true is .0000165.

Should we think that the general reliability of the early Christians who spread the Jesus story was greater or less than the pilgrims at Lourdes? I should think it would be much lower. The pilgrims are modern, educated, scientific era people. Many of them are doctors, lawyers, and scientists, people who are trained in making good decisions and being skeptical. They have the benefit of 2,000 years of investigations into the natural causes of allegedly supernatural events. The early Christians, by contrast, would have been largely illiterate, poor, uneducated. They would not have the benefit of the huge body of scientific and empirical knowledge that we take for granted.

But let’s be exceedingly charitable and grant that the early Christians were 100 times more reliable about reporting miraculous events than the modern visitors to Lourdes. And let’s suppose that there are only 3 steps of transmission between the events in 35 A.D. across 30 years to when Mark first wrote the story down. And let’s suppose that those three links were much more reliable than the cops in the story above. [The cops in a previous analysis were assigned a reliability of 0.8] What are the odds that the resurrection story is true:

.00165 x .9 x .9 x .9 = .00012 [This is based on a single person claiming to have seen the resurrection, if there were multiple eyewitnesses who relayed the story to others, then the probability would be a little bit higher]

That is, on a vastly charitable estimate, there is a one in ten thousand chance that the story is true.

Should we be that charitable? No. We should not be generous about the 66 miracles at Lourdes. Many of the cases in support would crumble under any serious, objective scrutiny. I would be surprised if 5 of them didn’t have an obvious natural explanation. And I suspect that many more people than 4,000,000 thought they felt or saw something spiritually significant there. If there have been 6 million of them, and 5 real miracles, then the reliability rating of Lourdes pilgrims is 0.00000083333. And the reliability rating for early Christians should be much lower given that they did not have the advantage of 2,000 years of science and a modern education to augment their analysis of miracles. Nor should we grant that all of the transmission links in the story to Mark would have a .9 reliability. There are too many unanswered questions, too many doubts, and the human propensities to embellish, omit, revise, and confabulate are too great.

Still granting only 3 steps, a more reasonable estimate is:

.000000833 x .7 x .7 x .7 = 0.0000002858

or about 1 in 5 million. According to the U.S. National Weather Service, the odds of your being struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 5,000.

When people take the Jesus stories seriously and make comments like, “Why would the early Christians lie?” or “what incentive could that have for making it all up?” or “how could they have perpetrated such a deception?” they are simply ignoring the strength of the tendency in the human mind to see miracles or events of spiritual or supernatural origin at every turn. We don’t need to have a better, alternative explanation to be quite sure that Jesus was not resurrected from the dead. The reliability of the information transmitted in those stories to us is just too low.

There are obvious limitations to this probability model, but it accurately reflects the fact that people become seriously deluded when they are in the presence of a holy shrine- such as Fatima, Portugal where millions of people report seeing the ‘miracle of the sun’ or seeing their rosaries ‘change to gold.’  We don’t have a solid number, but the probability of the resurrection of Jesus is vanishingly low.

(2431) Satan is a complete idiot

One of the ways to know that Christianity is not only false but also nonsensical is to study some of the fictional characters in the Bible. Satan, or Lucifer, is the ultimate half-baked mythical creature. His stupidity is on full display. The following was taken from:


So this guy lives with God since – well, literally forever. He sees God in heaven. He sees him face to face. He knows exactly who God is, he’s witnessed God’s infinite power and is fully aware of the utter futility of going up against such a being. In fact, it’s probably true that no other being in the entire cosmos knows more about God and has had more firsthand experience with him.

In spite of all this knowledge, for some ridiculous reason, Lucifer decides to try and usurp God’s position.

This stupid stunt obviously gets him banished to earth, where he decides to mess with God some more by making humans fall (which he didn’t actually do himself because it was God’s ultimate plan anyway).

Because he didn’t seem to get it after the whole being cast out of Heaven thing, God reiterates in a prophecy about serpents and heels that Satan is definitely going to lose this battle. Later, Satan – somehow still not realizing that God knows and controls everything anyway – challenges God to a bet regarding Job, which he again obviously loses.

Still not getting it, Satan tries to trick God in human flesh when he visits Christ during his temptation in the desert. Of course, because God is God, this doesn’t work, and Satan is again shown to be a complete moron.

Apparently, Satan is supposed to know and understand scripture to the point where he can skillfully misquote it for the purposes of deception. We see this occur during Christ’s temptation. He knows the Word of God inside out and quotes it all the time. In other words, he’s read the book that specifically mentions him by name and spells out the fact that he’s definitely going to fail, yet he continues in his folly anyway.

Satan is supposed to be this crafty, conniving trickster who is presented as the great enemy of humankind. In actual fact, he seems borderline retarded. His inability to grasp the futility of rebelling against the God he hung out with face to face for eternity past makes him dumber than normal humans. In fact, Satan rebelling against God when he was in perfectly good standing to begin with is probably the dumbest decision any conscious being has ever made. He seems incapable of grasping obvious truth that he cannot and will not win against God. What’s the big deal about this guy? In what way is he intimidating? He’s a terrible villain and his motives are not well established. He’s largely a pointless being, even according to the Bible. If the universe will always operate according to God’s plan, then the idea of a bad guy attempting to upset these plans is nonsense.

It is hard to understand how scientifically-literate modern humans can believe in the existence of Satan. Not only is he borrowed from previous myths, is nowhere to be seen, and does nothing, but he also is portrayed as an impossibly inane loser. This is not valid fiction- rather it is an exercise in stunningly boundless nonsense.

(2432) A brainless god cannot exist

There is a wide gulf between what we know about how minds operate and how God’s mind would have to work given the conventional image of him as an immaterial being. There is no mechanism for mental activity to occur, much less that of an omnipotent mind, without a complex material substrate. But a material god will not work for Christianity. The following was taken from:


By every indication we have, immaterial souls, brainless minds, or entities that occupy some ethereal afterlife do not exist. The widespread belief that humans have an immortal soul that survives the death of the body is utterly unfounded. A body of neuroscience research that grows every day has given us an increasingly fine grained understanding of the neural architecture of the brain that is responsible for producing our thoughts, our feelings, our memories, our goals, our plans, and our consciousness. A mountain of evidence indicates that brain damage produces mind damage. And that the destruction of the brain causes the destruction of the mind. That is to say that everything that has been traditionally associated with the immortal soul is dependent upon the brain to exist. So when the brain dies, the soul goes with it.

God is thought to be a person. He has plans, desires, goals, and emotions. He acts, he creates, he loves, and he commands. He reacts to our behaviors. He is alleged to form personal relationships with people through prayer and meditation. He communicates to them through signs and indicators. Sometimes people claim to have heard his voice, felt him exert his will, or even to have encountered him directly.

So by the most common characterizations, God has a consciousness. By my account above, to have a mind is to have a soul. Minds and souls are different terms for the same thing. So God can be said, by common accounts, to have a mind or to have a soul. His soul, they say, filled with love for us, his creation.

God is thought to be immaterial. While God has contact with the material world, he is not in it.

Or alternately, God doesn’t have a brain. But if God is alleged to be a person, and being a person requires having a mind. But having a mind requires a brain, and God doesn’t have a brain.

Therefore, God does not exist.

The most likely responses to this argument will be something like these: First, “Isn’t it possible that God is not a person?” Second, “Isn’t it possible that God does have a brain? Maybe it’s something bigger than we have ever encountered, or it’s someplace we have never seen or been?”

Perhaps. These might be possible. But possibilities do not render a belief reasonable. It is possible there is a million dollars in my bank account. But it would be flagrantly irrational of me to conclude that there is a million dollars there because it is possible. What we need to see is some evidence, any real indicator that such a thing is true. And until that evidence is in hand, we are justified in concluding that that suggestion is as preposterous as it sounds.

In the beginning from early Judaism to the Middle Ages, Jews and Christians assumed that God had a material body. After all, it was assumed that he had created humans in his image and there are many scriptures that imply physicality.  But when science exposed the nature of the universe, a material god was no longer consistent with Christian theology. He became immaterial and occupying another unseen dimension. Pushing God out of the regular world created this problem- he lost his brain, and he’s not a scarecrow.

(2433) Revenge theology

Paul was a big proponent of revenge theology- the concept of the wrathful god who is insulted by imperfect human behavior, who then takes out his angry retribution.  It is doubtful that a truly omnipotent deity, who would certainly understand the inherent limitations of being human, would react in such an anthropomorphic fashion. The following was taken from:


There was no space in Paul’s brain for anything other than “belonging to Jesus”—and for his sinister view of divine nature that I mentioned earlier. Paul remained attached to angry Yahweh, whose default emotion was wrath. These days we have trouble imagining a universal god, with billions of galaxies under management, paying much attention to human affairs.

But Paul was into revenge theology.

• Romans 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth.”

• Romans 2:5: “…your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”

• Romans 2:8: “…for who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.”

Paul rants against the sinners of the world (Romans 1:28-32):

“… since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.”

Paul includes rebellious children and gossips in this list of those who deserve to die; God’s wrath casts a wide net indeed. This revenge theology founds its place decades later in the gospels, in Jesus-script about the Last Judgment.

Paul envisioned God as a typical human father who is upset with the poor behavior of his children. This analogy fails due to the assumption that God is all-knowing and would understand the reasons behind human fallibility. It would be similar to creating a robot that you know has a tendency to fall over when turning around and then flying into a rage when it falls and smashing it to pieces. The emotion does not align with the knowledge of the situation.  Portraying God with wrath and revenge was a mistake of biblical writers- it created a non sequitur.

(2434) The United States Jesus changed

Religions role with the times and the tides. A good example of that is what has happened in the United States over the past 50 years. Back then, Jesus was ambivalent about abortion. Now he is solidly anti-abortion. Back then he cared deeply about poor people, but the modern Jesus opposes almost all forms of poverty assistance from food stamps to Social Security. He was also a great healer who ministered to the sick, but lately he is opposed to universal health care and Medicaid. Five decades ago, Jesus was a pacifist (turn the other cheek), but now he is a stand-your-ground man toting a semi-automatic rifle and 25 bullet clip- yes, he opposes all forms of gun control. He has also gone from not being concerned about gay people to now seeing them as sinful reprobates. He was primarily a socialist in biblical times, but today he is a staunch capitalist despising government interference. He wore long hair during his time on earth (or so the paintings of him imply), but now he sees long hair on men as being effeminate.

This is one isolated example in a sea of them over the ages of humanity’s walk with the gods. In every instance, the gods are a reflection of the times, knowledge, desires, and prejudices of the people who invented them. In the case of the Republican Jesus (U.S.), the god is bent to a new shape that doesn’t even comply with the revered (and now static) holy book. This shows that religion can be so malleable that it doesn’t even need to be constrained by its own scripture- it can simply morph into whatever the holders of the faith desire.

Of course this is not what we would expect if an actual god was imparting his wisdom and instructions to humanity. It would be a consistent directive that continually bends society to itself rather than it being bent to society. Gods that always reflect contemporary culture are gods that don’t exist.

(2435) Education smothers religious belief

There is nothing worse for religious entities than for children to be taught the technique of critical thinking. One good example is how the schools in Great Britain have included this skill in their curriculum along with a more robust grounding in science, resulting in a concerted downward trend in religious belief. The following was taken from:


It’s official: the people of Great Britain have lost faith. New research from the British Social Attitudes survey reveals that 71% of young people are not religious. Overall, 53% of the population in England and Wales are non-religious. It is the first time that following a religion has been a minority position. Only 18% of people are actively practising.

So why is this happening? Are the young just feckless, uninterested, or has society somehow “failed” to persuade them that religion should be part of their lives? Around 20% of British schools are, after all, “faith schools”. Surely a religious school, chosen by parents, should produce young people who are religious?

But perhaps not. It may well be that our improving education system is having an effect on the belief systems at work in such schools.

It seems to me that with better education, the teaching of critical thinking, and improvements in general scientific knowledge and understanding, the faith system that religions operate under is failing to convince young people to adopt their beliefs. It’s happened before.

One of the most famous scientists to have “lost faith” was Charles Darwin, who drifted away from religion as his understanding of science and the world increased. Many believe his loss of faith came after the death from tuberculosis of his beloved ten-year-old daughter Annie in 1851. It was certainly a major blow, but evidence from Darwin’s writing reveals a more complex (and earlier) departure from Christianity.

As a youth, Darwin was religious (although, he said, never devout). As a theology student at Cambridge, having left medical training in Edinburgh, he confessed to not being able “without hesitation” to confirm his belief in God. His discovery of evolution theory didn’t contribute much to his loss of faith – but study of the various people he met on his travels did.

Why, he wondered, if there’s only one God, are so many worshipped? This, along with a realisation that the Old Testament, far from being factual was obviously metaphorical or allegorical, meant that over time he became less religious. One thing he never lost, however, was a belief in a “first cause” for the beginning of everything.

The current British education system values critical thinking. The acceptance of something “just because” is not enough. Children are taught to question things. They are encouraged to engage in problem solving, using logic and logical thinking to make decisions.

The problem for religion is that it can be very illogical. Take, for example, the idea of a talking snake, or people turning into salt, or a 600-year-old man building a boat to house every species of animal. This is what Darwin realised – such stories were just stories. Not fact, not truth.

The Church today would claim, rightly, that they don’t teach such things as fact, but as mythical tales designed to provide moral guidance. If we examine the Bible more closely, however, we will find some of its “morality” questionable. Even devout Christians would not countenance stoning an adulterer, but this was a Biblical stance. Relevance also comes to mind. If the Bible doesn’t provide a factual account of much and promotes morally questionable things, how can it be relevant today?

As an agnostic and researcher into creationism, I encounter many ultra-evangelical Christians who believe the Bible from first word to last, including the talking snake and the story of Noah.

These people show, in extremis, that belief and faith can be irrational and without evidence – that these are its key characteristics. In life, in modern society and in education, we are now far more dependent on evidence.

Critical thinking is the most direct and least misleading way to arrive at the truth. Any religion that fails to stand up to this concept of examination is likely not to be true. As can be seen in the United Kingdom, Christianity has failed this test of authenticity. Increased scientific knowledge and more efficient reasoning processes are leaving it behind in the dustbin of history.

(2436) Finding Jesus

Christians often make the statement that ‘we all have a chance to find Jesus and be saved, even the worst of us.’ They want us to believe that Christianity is an equal opportunity religion. But, as pointed out below, there are three situations showing that this is not an accurate characterization:


1) The existence of people who, due to circumstances, lack the ability to find Jesus. Such circumstances are at least two in number: incapacity to understand the concept of finding Jesus and being saved due to youth (infanthood) and/or mental retardation; and inability to find Jesus due to having never been told about him due to not reading Christian literature or meeting Christian missionaries who tell them about Jesus.

2) This claim contradicts the Bible’s teachings that YHWH forces some people not to believe in Jesus and to therefore be damned (GJohn 12:40, Romans 9:18, 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12) and that Jesus himself did not want to preach his message too openly, lest people be saved by him (Mark 4:10-11). Therefore, the Christian, in claiming that “we all have a chance to find Jesus and be saved, even the worst of us”, is ignoring what the Christian scriptures say about finding Jesus and being saved.

3) This claim contradicts the Bible’s teachings about blaspheming the Holy Ghost. The Bible does not say that “we all have a chance to find Jesus and be saved, even the worst of us”; rather, the Bible teaches that those who have blasphemed the Holy Ghost cannot be saved by anyone, even Jesus. Therefore, the Christian, in claiming that “we all have a chance to find Jesus and be saved, even the worst of us”, is ignoring what the Christian scriptures say about the limits of salvation as promised by YHWH.

The harshness of Christianity’s post-life judgment combined with its strict criterion for salvation (Jesus or hell) accentuates the fact that the unequal opportunity to meet this requirement is cruel. The three cases listed above are sufficient to show that Christianity is a flawed scheme for assigning people to their eternal destination.

(2437) The agricultural roots of Christianity

One of the best ways to assess the legitimacy of a religion is to investigate its early beginnings, the kernel of its creation. Christianity’s roots lie in Judaism, which began as an agricultural enterprise that was heavily invested in the superstition that their god/gods were often angry and that one way to propitiate them was to sacrifice their farm animals. In fact, that became the major activity in their temple rituals. The following was taken from:


We don’t normally associate this idea with agriculture, but at least in their beginnings theist religions were an agricultural enterprise. The theology, mythology and liturgy of religions such as Judaism, Hinduism and Christianity initially centered on the relationship between humans, domesticated plants and farm animals.

Biblical Judaism for instance, catered to peasants and shepherds. Most of its commandments dealt with farming and village life, and its major holidays were harvest festivals. People today imagine the ancient temple in Jerusalem as a kind of synagogue where priests clad in snow-white robes welcomed devout pilgrims, melodious choirs sang psalms and incense perfumed the air. In reality, it looked more like a cross between a slaughterhouse and a barbecue joint. The pilgrims did not come empty-handed. They brought with them a never-ending stream of sheep, goats, chickens and other animals, which were sacrificed at the god’s altar and then cooked and eaten. Priests in bloodstained outfits cut the victims’ throats, collected the gushing blood in jars and spilled it over the altar. The perfume of the incense mixed with the odors of the congealed blood and roasted meat, while swarms of black flies buzzed just about everywhere.

So tracing Christianity back its inception ends up in a smelly slaughterhouse where animal blood is seen as an elixir for keeping the gods at bay. This means that the principal root of the faith is superstition, a misunderstanding of how the universe works. Christianity then upped the ante by celebrating the slaughter of a human being and doubled down on the false belief of bloodletting appeasement.  So, in effect, modern Christians are no more sophisticated that the peasant farmer who brought his goat to the Jewish temple for it to be sacrificed.

(2438) Neurotheology

Science continues to intrude on the mysteries of religions, unmasking them as the natural consequences of physical, chemical, and biological processes.  The feeling of a god’s presence and the sense of being able to communicate with such beings are now understood to be a dance of neural fiber activities in certain portions of the brain. The following was taken from:


In a relatively new field of neurology, coined neurotheology, modern science can now demonstrate how gods manifest in our brains; and here is where we come back to Buddhism, as Buddhist meditation and Christian prayer activate a completely different part of the brain.

This is the resting scan, this is the prayer scan showing increased activity in the frontal lobes and in the language area of the brain. . . .

See the source image

. . . When a person feels deeply focused on their prayer, we see increased activity in the focusing area of the brain. This area of the brain, the frontal lobe, is intensely active when we hold conversations; it allows us to speak and to listen.

Andy believes that in Judeo-Christian prayer the frontal lobe activates, just as it would in normal conversation. To the brain, talking to God is indistinguishable from talking to a person.

When we study Buddhist meditation, where they’re visualizing something, we might expect to see a change or an increase of activity in the visual areas of the brain. In Buddhist practice, the divine is an abstract presence, not a person who is directly spoken to, but rather an essence that can be visualized during deep meditation. And when Andy looks at the brains of people who do not believe in God, he finds that simple quiet meditation produces none of the brain activity of believers.

A multidisciplinary analysis gives us the Big History view that from an evolutionarily advantageous adaptation, divine agency was born and took root in our brains, and we can now see our god neurons activating with magnetic resonance imaging.

What if I were to tell you that God’s mental states, too, were all in your mind? That God, like a tiny speck floating at the edge of your cornea producing the image of a hazy, out-of-reach orb accompanying your every turn, was in fact a psychological illusion, a sort of evolved blemish etched onto the core cognitive substrate of your brain? It may feel as if there is something grander out there . . . watching, knowing, caring. Perhaps even judging. But, in fact, that’s just your overactive theory of mind. In reality, there is only the air you breathe.

As we understand more about the human brain, a product of evolution that resembles more a shopping mall that added new stores and wings each year rather than being the one-time construction of a singular design, the architecture of various neural centers can be traced to produce a theory of human religious beliefs. In other words we now know not only why god beliefs developed but also how. Our brains are uniquely formulated to see design where it doesn’t exist as well as to talk to gods who aren’t there.

(2439) The true Revelation

The Christian Bible contains many writings that have no business being incorporated, including many forgeries claiming to have been written by Paul, or one of the apostles (Peter and John) or a sibling of Jesus (James), but the one book that stands out the most as being misplaced is the Book of Revelation. As can be seen in the following, the contemporary Christian concept of this book is unfounded:


First, Revelation almost did not make it into the New Testament, it is rejected by the Eastern Orthodox churches, and it has a long history of debate:

“We could examine the controversies surrounding the inclusion of Revelation at all in the Bible, as argued by several leading church authorities. The canonical nature of this delirious book has always been contested by the likes of the Church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, and by Saint Jerome, Gregory of Nazianzus, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and oh yeah, the entire Eastern Orthodox Church. Thomas Jefferson removed it completely from his Jefferson Bible. Like a festering sore on the ass of Christianity, Jefferson wrote Revelation off as ‘merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.’”

Manifest Insanity

Second, Revelation, in its entirety, is a veiled political slam at the Romans, and is openly directed to Christian communities being persecuted in modern-day Turkey:

“The seer of Patmos, identified with the apostle, is granted a series of visions meant to reassure the Christians of Asia amid the persecutions and trials of the end of the first century.”

Pope Benedict

What was happening in these communities that Revelation addresses?

“John of Patmos was writing at the time of another crackdown. This time it was under Emperor Domitian around 95 CE, and John was addressing his story to the early churches of Asia Minor. These communities were facing persecution for refusing to worship the emperor, as Domitian was trying to establish a cult dedicated to his royal self, which the Christians would have obviously found sacrilegious. The second and third chapters of Revelation specifically list which churches he was writing to, and he spells out in detail the troubles they are encountering at the hands of the Romans and the local Jewish populations, who saw the Christians as a sect of insane nutjobs who were preaching a corrupted form Judaism.

“John’s message to them was not to be led astray by agents of Satan intent on deceiving them, but to stand firm in their beliefs and they would be rewarded for their faith. The whole first half of the book of Revelation, from chapters one through eleven, is a condemnation against anyone who criticizes them for their weird and cultish ways, casting all their detractors as—you guessed it—Satan.

“In the last half of Revelation, from chapters twelve to twenty-two, is where we start to see the descriptions of the cosmic battle of Armageddon that we are familiar with in Christian lore, in what has come to be believed will be the final battle between the forces of good and evil. Again, this end-times battle scenario is written in the context of the hopes and dreams for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. The story of Revelation is not the bitch slapping for that upstart, trouble-making, Satan, as it has been made out to be.”

It is not an exaggeration to say that Christianity today would be on much firmer ground if it had excluded the Book of Revelation from the Bible. This was a mistake that has enormous repercussions. It would similar to a historical compendium of World War II ending with a book that discussed how flying horses bombarded German strongholds kamikaze-style in Berlin prior to the Allied invasion. Such a ridiculous account would tend to delegitimize everything that came before it.

(2440) Constantine saved and destroyed Christianity

There is historical precedent to theorize that Christianity would likely have died out had it not been for its adoption as the core religion of the Roman Empire. In the 4th Century CE, the emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and provided all of the support it needed to be sustained and to grow exponentially. But in so doing, the theology of 1st Century Christians was distorted beyond recognition. Christianity became a political organization that no longer followed the teachings of the gospel Jesus.


Christianity had a system of organization before Constantine. Bishops, chosen by the Christian community, were in place, as was a network of communication between these bishops. Rituals and practices had been developed and spread before Constantine intervened.

And yet Constantine’s patronage of Christianity certainly was helpful. It decreased or eliminated the persecution of Christians, gave them more structured leadership, and provided places to worship. It also helped in the elimination of competing religions, as Rome turned from the freedom to worship many gods to the worship of one God. Constantine’s emphasis on unity in belief, expressed in creeds, reduced the arguments between churches.

But did it save Christianity? If it did, it saved Christianity at great cost. The life and teaching of Jesus were subsumed in creeds that scarcely mention him. The equality he lived for was lost in a hierarchy of sometimes dictatorial religious leadership. His simplicity yielded to elaborate vestments and rituals. And, yet, we wouldn’t have the Gospels today without him. His patronage provided a professional scribal class, far superior to the lower ranking scribes or copyists of the previous centuries. With Constantine the New Testament was codified and other texts eliminated. Consider this: what persecuted religion in the first millennium C.E. ever survived without imperial support? Manichaeism? No. Mandaeanism? No. Mithras? No. The list goes on. Indeed, if we reflect on the regions that were lost to Roman control – Syria, the Levant, Egypt, Mesopotamia – we see that Christianity is just a small minority.

While such a truth is uncomfortable in terms of peace and conflict, it is something that needs to be grappled with. The attitude of peace Jesus promoted has been lost in wars and hatred supported by imperial “Christians” – and yet without imperial support, history suggests that most Christians today would not be Christian but some other form of imperially backed faith. The question before Christians today is: Can we redeem this past. Can we retroactively make amends of the failures of the Church? Can something be both saved and lost? Barrie Wilson comments that “It is especially ironic that a movement that started off as a radical challenge to the Pax Romana succeeded in becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire.”

Stephen Patterson expresses dismay at Constantine’s role in Christianity. “Since the moment Constantine made the cross his personal talisman, the sign under which his troops would always win, the cross has been the symbol of both martyrdom and murder. Soldiers’ declaration that they are willing to die for the cause always also buys them a license to kill for it.” John Dominic Crossan reports that “Constantine, wanting a unified Christianity as the empire’s new religion, ordered the Christian bishops to meet, under imperial subsidy, in lakeside Nicaea, southeast of Constantinople, and there erase any major theological disagreements between them.” Bodyguards and troops surrounded the entrance of the palace where they met, and the bishops were basically prisoners until they could form a creed they could all sign. And yet, without this creed, what would this faith look like, without the dogma of Christ’s uncreated divinity? What of the co-equal divinity of the Holy Spirit? Could we still call this “Christianity”? Perhaps yes, perhaps no… This indeed is a task for a Church in pursuit of peace amidst a world of conflict.

In addressing Constantine’s banquet at the Council of Nicaea’s conclusion, Crossan said: The meal and the Kingdom still come together, but now the participants are the male bishops, and they recline with the Emperor himself, to be served by others. Maybe, Christianity is an invisible and absolutely necessary “betrayal” of Jesus, else it might have died among the hills of Lower Galilee. But did that “betrayal” have to happen so swiftly, succeed so fully, and be enjoyed so thoroughly? Might not a more even dialectic have been maintained between Jesus and Christ in Jesus Christ? Might we redeem this past? Might we go back and do it over? That is, can we deconstruct our constructions in search of the peasant sage, Jesus of Nazareth? Can Jesus of Nazareth confront the Christ of faith? What would the historical Jesus think when put before the great icons of Christ in the city of Rome or Constantinople?

The form of Christianity that survived would most certainly not have been approved by Jesus. But without the support of Rome, there would likely be no Christianity today. Jesus would be seen as a remote Jewish rabbi who had some radical ideas while the people of the West would be worshiping Mithra or some other god promoted by the Roman emperors.

(2441) Taking verses out of context

Christian apologists often accuse critics of taking biblical verses out of context. What they don’t realize is that the people who wrote the Bible did much the same.  So, indirectly they are criticizing their own scriptures. The following was taken from:


The Christian who condemns other people for taking the Bible’s words and verses out of context is indirectly criticizing the Christian Bible. This is because the Christian scriptures include Christian interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures, in which authors in the Christian scriptures will take single phrases or verses completely out of context in order to claim, falsely, that they support Christian theology. For example, GMatthew 2:14-15 explicitly cites Hosea’s statement about YHWH’s calling his son out of Egypt as evidence that Jesus’s trip to and from Egypt was in fulfilment of a prophecy that was fulfilled by Jesus – completely ignoring that in the context of Hosea’s writings, the son called from Egypt is clearly a personified Israel, with the journey from Egypt’s being already fulfilled in Hosea’s time by the Exodus (Hosea 11:1).

Similarly, GMatthew 2:16-18 presents Herod’s actions against infants as a fulfilment of Jeremiah 31:15. But Jeremiah 31:15 is part of a longer prophecy about the Jews’ return from exile (Jeremiah 31, especially 31:15-17) that the Bible presents as having been fulfilled by Cyrus, not a prophecy about a future massacre of children.

As a final example, consider Paul’s claim in Romans 3:12 that “there is none that doeth good, no, not one” as part of his argument about how we all need YHWH’s salvation through Jesus. Paul says in Romans 3:10, however, that he is quoting what is written, presumably within the Hebrew Scriptures. Psalms 14 and 53 both contain (at 14:3 and 53:3) the phrase “there is none that doeth good, no, not one”. However, since Psalms 14 and 53 both open (at 14:1 and 53:1) with condemnation of all atheists as corrupt and wicked fools, it is easy to understand Psalms 14 and 53 (at 14:3 and 53:3), with their phrase “there is none that doeth good, no, not one”, as condemning atheists rather than all people. Certainly, this narrower view is supported by GJohn 5:29, 2 Corinthians 5:10, and 3 John 11, all of which talk about people doing good.

If context matters, then it matters for those who wrote the Bible. Confronted with this evidence, apologists offer only a feeble counter-argument that perhaps the prophecies had a double meaning- one for the then present time and a second one for the time of Jesus. What is vastly more likely is that New Testament authors mined the Old Testament for anything that could connect Jesus to the fundamentals of Judaism and did not worry about whether or not the context was consistent with that aim.

(2442) The incoherence of theism

Christianity overplays the grandeur of its deity to an extent that it can’t help but shoot itself in the foot. In the following example there is a mismatch between the assumed godly characteristics of omniscience and omnipotence:


There is a curiosity at the end of Acts 11. We read that a prophet named Agabus announced a coming famine. He “…stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine over all the world…” For those who are paying attention, the incoherence of theism can be spotted here. The Spirit knows that the famine is coming—why not, of course, if God is omniscient—but is powerless to prevent it? In Luke 9 we find the story of Jesus miraculously feeding the 5,000, so our author felt that miracle was manageable. Is God all powerful or not? There have been major, calamitous famines in world history—with staggering death tolls. What does it take to get God’s attention? Theists assure us that the Cosmos has been intelligently designed, finely tuned for the benefit of human life. If that is so, how can famine be such a constant in human experience?

It looks like we’re giving too much credit to the Holy Spirit—if it can get people to come to Jesus, but can’t step up its game to make sure humanity is well fed. Yes I know, blaspheming the Holy Spirit is an eternal sin according to Mark 3:28. I’ll take my chances. Feeding 5,000 looks like an amateur trick, not quite the fine turning of the human condition that we might expect from the best Intelligent Designer imaginable.

The assumption of a god who is unlimited in every conceivable way creates inevitable conflicts in the way the universe unfolds. In the instance above, it might well have not dawned on the author that he was driving himself down a dead end road, inadvertently displaying the limitations of his god.

(2443) The OT is evil and the NT rebukes it

Marcion of Sinope considered the god of the Old Testament (Yahweh) to be evil and that Jesus’ god was not Yahweh, but a different and more compassionate god. In effect, he considered Christianity to be a religion wholly separate from the Old Testament, which he saw as being evil. There is scriptural support for this view in both the Old and New Testaments. The following was taken from:


The Old Testament (The Jewish Bible, The Torah, “The Law”) promotes cruelty and racism in its words: it promotes a god of war named Yahweh/Jehovah (Exodus 15:3), who makes darkness his secret place (Psalm 18:11), who has put a lying spirit in some people’s mouths (2 Chronicles 18:22), whose day is as darkness and destruction and not light (Amos 5:18/Joel 1:15), who turns light into darkness (Jeremiah 13:16), who is a jealous god whose anger burns as fire in the depths of hell and who says it shall consume the earth (Deuteronomy 32:22), and who cursed people for keeping their sword back from drawing blood (Jeremiah 48:10), and who told people to go to war and kill men and woman and children and animals (1 Samuel 15:3), it promotes cannibalism (Leviticus 26:29), slavery (Exodus 21), Jewish supremacy above other nations (Deuteronomy 14:2), allows the killing of other races (Numbers 34:2/Psalm 78:55), says that the nations will look up to the Jews and bow down to them (Zechariah 8:22-23/Isaiah 60:14), promotes sexism against women (Genesis 3:16), the killing of gay people (Leviticus 20:13), it says happy is he who dash little ones against the stones (Psalm 137:9), animal sacrifices (Leviticus 23:19), the killing of first-born sons (Exodus 13:15), and the harm of children (Numbers 31:18).

There are verses in The New Testament which rebukes the old testament (The Jewish Bible, “The Torah”, “The Law”) but when Marcion pointed this out, he was called the “firstborn of Satan” by some of the proto-Catholic leaders:

“…why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” – Galatians 2:14

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” – Galatians 3:13

“To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” – Galatians 4:5

“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” – Galatians 5:4

“But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.” – 2 Corinthians 3:14-15

“In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” – Hebrews 8:13

Marcion could not connect his view of Jesus with the god of the Old Testament and so came up with the unconventional theory that Yahweh and the god of Jesus were two separate beings.  Although his ‘fix’ to this problem was innovative, the much easier explanation is that ‘both’ of these gods were products of human invention.

(2444) Faith makes people impervious to reason

Christians have traditionally extolled the virtues of faith, the idea that believing in something in the absence of evidence is an admirable virtue. What they tend to ignore is that their’s is not the only religion that uses the same paradigm. Those of other faiths are seen to be impervious to reason, while they are actually in the very same boat. The following was taken from:


In 1987 a large-scale US antinarcotics campaign by Partnership for a Drug-Free America launched. It featured two televised public service announcements (PSAs) and a related poster campaign. The original thirty-second ad showed a man who held up an egg and said, “This is your brain.” Then he showed a hot frying pan and said, “This is drugs.” Then he cracked the egg and put it in the pan. It immediately began to cook. He brought the pan closer to the camera and said, “This is your brain on drugs.” He ended the PSA by saying, “Any questions?” It was a very powerful commercial.

I want people to consider the drug metaphor for faith, taking our cue from Karl Marx, who described religious faith as the opiate of the people. When you think of the commercial you need to hear the actor say, “This is your brain on faith.” That’s what I think. Here then are five ways faith makes the brain stupid:

      1. Faith causes the believer to denigrate or deny science.
      2. Faith causes the believer to think objective evidence is not needed to believe.
      3. Faith causes the believer to deny the need to think exclusively in terms of the probabilities.
      4. Faith causes the believer to accept private subjective experiences over the objective evidence.
      5. Faith causes the believer to think faith has an equal or better method for arriving at the truth than scientifically based reasoning.

Any questions?

Christian, before you mindlessly quote mine from the Bible or the theology based on it, consider what you think of other brains on faith, like those of Scientologists, Mormons, Muslims, Jews, pantheists, and so on. Clearly you think their brains are on the opiate of faith just as I do. Watch some videos about these other faiths. Study them. Talk to practitioners of them. Try to argue with the best representatives of them and see if you can penetrate their brains with reason and science. Can’t do it? Why? Why do you think their faith makes them impervious to reason and your faith does not make you impervious to reason?

This is a classic situation of being to see the folly in another person’s faith without being aware that the other person sees them in exactly the same light. There is a human tendency to see others in a different way than they see themselves. This leads to a false sense of confidence in the rectitude of their beliefs, whereas a third-person view would reveal that no person’s faith is more justified than anyone else’s.

(2445) DMT induces belief in a higher power

Studies of persons using DMT has revealed that this drug can induce beliefs in a higher power and trigger encounters with imaginary beings.  It is just one of many hallucinatory agents that can distort a person’s perception of reality. This provides evidence that the foundation of many religious traditions is based on these types of psychological aberrations. The following was taken from:


A study has found that most people who regularly use the psychedelic drug DMT develop beliefs in a higher power such as God, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins University.

An online survey of more than 2,500 people undertaken by researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine revealed that after taking DMT—nicknamed the “the spirit molecule” for its ability to create deeply spiritual experiences—58 percent of respondents said tripping on DMT had triggered a belief in divine beings and powerful supernatural entities.

The study, published in the new issue of Journal of Psychopharmacology, aimed to better understand the weird experiences people have on DMT—called “entity encounter experiences”—and how they impacted their outlook. The survey was shared globally on websites such as VICE and is the largest questionnaire looking at DMT entity encounters to date. The results were published by some of the pioneers in modern psychedelic research: Davis, Roland Griffiths, and Matthew Johnson, who run Hopkins’ new Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research.

Respondents to the study, who had taken DMT on average 14 times, described bumping into an array of what they could best describe as aliens, spirits, angels, demons, gnomes and fairies. Most of these creatures, said respondents, were sentient and benevolent, with many described as “sacred.” Less than 15 percent reported “judgmental or malicious” creatures.

Meeting these entities seemed to rattle people enough to make 80 percent of them admit the drug had completely altered their fundamental concept of reality. The study found the DMT experience ranked as “one of the top five or single most personally meaningful, spiritually significant, or psychologically insightful experiences of [respondents’] lives.”

DMT, or N,N-dimethyltryptamine, is often described as one of the most powerful hallucinogens on Earth, burying people in a distorted, dreamlike condition that is ineffable, or too extreme to describe using words. It often resembles a near-death experience, and similar to being pronounced dead on a hospital bed and zapping back to life, many folks walk away from a DMT trip with a newfound spiritual outlook.

In the study, most people reported positive outcomes of getting high on DMT. Around 90 percent reported improved life satisfaction and wellbeing, while around 80 percent reported finding meaning and purpose following their experience.

Almost 70 percent of people said they received some kind of message, task or insight from the entities they rubbed elbows with. Some were given predictions about the future or told the day they would die. Some were shown a way out of addiction. Others were told “love is the answer to everything” or “we are all connected, all one.” Some were even told they are God.

“It’s possible that the metaphysical shock from questioning one’s worldview occasioned by these vivid, unusual experiences may play an important role in the enduring positive life changes in attitudes, moods and behavior they inspire,” wrote Alan K. Davis, the study’s lead author. “We need to do more research in order to understand how these entity encounters exert positive changes in people’s lives.”

Some dispatches were ominous, such as predicting Earth’s destruction due to human greed. Others verged on incoherent rambling, such as, “The lower vibrational humans are going to be phased out and replaced” or “We shall continue to look outwardly and find multiple universes, the multi-multi-trans-dimensional-matrix of a multi-universal multi-verse which is a never-ending fractal of infinite complexity.” Sounds dope, whatever you’re talking about.

Less than five percent reported any negative or undesirable changes. However, for some, trippy encounters made them stop believing in God. One in ten reported that the experience made them atheist and 16 percent agnostic.

Whatever, or whoever, people are meeting in the DMT zone, these life changing appointments, described by psychedelic ethnobotanist Terence McKenna as “machine elves from hyperspace”, are very short in real time. While a smoked DMT experience can feel like many lifetimes, curiously, the effects leave as quickly as they come, peaking in just a few minutes and evaporating in less than half an hour. For comparison, an LSD trip can last 12 hours or more.

Some of the descriptions in the Hopkins research overlap with what others have said about alleged UFO abductions, religious prophecy, and near death experiences.

“A breakthrough DMT trip is highly likely to grant an audience with some rather weird intelligent lifeforms,” said Andrew Gallimore, a neurobiologist who has studied DMT. “However, until now there have been almost no formal analyses of the different types of entities users meet in the DMT space, nor of their frequency.

“Encounters with intelligent entities is one of the defining characteristics of the DMT experience. Reports of ‘gods,’ dwarf or elf-like beings, insectoids, and other strange creatures, can be traced back to the very earliest studies with the drug in the 1950s … It seems that, if you do happen to come across an entity during a DMT trip, it’s more than likely to be a friendly one,” Gallimore said.

Despite being one of the classic psychedelics and one of the main ingredients in the increasingly popular South American indigenous brew ayahuasca, there’s a lot we still don’t know about DMT, especially why it encourages people toward spiritual openness or why many users report encounters with non-human beings.

DMT is chemically similar to the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, as well as LSD or “acid,” but the effects are very different. When crystals of DMT are smoked or vaporized, the user is launched into a kaleidoscopic hallucination where time and space are warped like an Alex Grey painting. This so-called “blasting off” or “breakthrough” often results in encounters with autonomous beings that sometimes impart “messages” telepathically or via thoughts.

“That we have the capacity and are biologically predisposed for these experiences with psychedelics suggests that this may be an evolutionarily conserved process in which we are wired to detect sentient others. Historically, such a predisposition would have a significant survival value in hostile environments,” wrote one of the study’s authors, Roland Griffiths. “Finding out why we have these experiences and how people interpret them may lead us to a better understanding of the human condition and how we perceive reality.”

The fact that a chemical can induce the same types of ‘experiences’ claimed in the Bible lessens the chance that they conform to a rigid expression of realism. It would appear that much of what we read in the Bible that speaks of visions of or conversations with supernatural beings results from an hallucinatory experience often induced by a substance. Irrespectively, what we know about DMT and other similar agents is that it would have been virtually impossible for humans to fail to develop beliefs about gods or magical beings given the human brain’s susceptibility to invent alternate states of reality.

(2446) Evidence precludes unchanging god

Christians like to think that their belief system incorporates an unchanging god who has guided Jews and Christians throughout biblical times and to the present. But history is not on their side- it tells a much different story, one that reflects the changing religious beliefs and ideas of an evolving civilization. The following was taken from:


The history and evolution of Judaism and Christianity are irreconcilable with an unchanging revelation based religion. We can see the proven evolution of these two beliefs over time, starting with the Jewish evolution from Semitic paganism, to henotheism, to monolatry, then finally to monotheism after the exile in Babylon.

The Israelites and their beliefs mirrored the beliefs of the pagan Canaanites before and after adopting the pagan god Yahweh as their national god, and even after the move to monotheism they simply merged Yahweh and the supreme god El, changing El to mean God in a more general sense.

There’s plenty of historical evidence and records that the strict monotheism was brought back from Zoroastrian lands by the richest of the Israelites, which coincides with the historical trends of the elite pushing monotheism to help consolidate their own power.

Then in Christianity we see a very Jewish Jesus while he’s alive, but by the time of Paul we see the creeping influence of Greek and Roman philosophy and ideas, leading to a Gospel that is unrecognizable by the standards of Jesus’s teachings.

In short: this historical aspect of the religions prove impossible to reconcile with the idea of an unchanging God who has guided Israelites and Christians since the dawn of time, when it’s clear that the belief systems evolved within the context of the beliefs and ideas around them to suit the time and context.

Change is not always good, and it’s especially troubling when it occurs in the midst of a maturing sectarian belief system. Any Christian who becomes apprised of the facts surrounding the progression of Judeo-Christian doctrine would undoubtedly suffer an immediate crises of faith. This is why most religious leaders attempt to keep this information from reaching the masses.

(2447) Cheating for the Lord

Because of the belief that a person’s spiritual standing is critically and eternally important, Christians have a tendency to sacrifice truth if doing so enhances faith. In the following case, honestly took a back seat to the attempt to corral the public into adopting their sense of morality:


For more than two decades, one of the most outspoken opponents of abortion rights was Norma McCorvey, a.k.a. the “Roe” in Roe v. Wade. She had been the plaintiff in the lawsuit that legalized abortion throughout the country, but in 1995, she stunningly announced that she was now opposed to those very rights. She went in front of cameras for years and spoke out against abortion. It was an incredible coup for the Christian Right.

But now, in a new documentary filmed before her death in 2017, McCorvey says she didn’t really believe any of that stuff.

Christians just paid her to lie about it.

“I was the big fish. I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they’d put me out in front of the cameras and tell me what to say. That’s what I’d say,” she says in “AKA Jane Roe,” which premieres Friday on FX. “It was all an act. I did it well too. I am a good actress.”

In what she describes as a “deathbed confession,” a visibly ailing McCorvey restates her support for reproductive rights in colorful terms: “If a young woman wants to have an abortion, that’s no skin off my ass. That’s why they call it choice.”

The groups that paid her include Operation Rescue (now Operation Save America), once led by Pastor Rob Schenck, who now also regrets his anti-abortion past.

Schenck confirmed the payments:

[Schenck said] she was paid out of concern “that she would go back to the other side,” he says in the film. “There were times I wondered: Is she playing us? And what I didn’t have the guts to say was, because I know damn well we were playing her.”

It’s unclear how much she was paid, how often she was paid, or how long she was lying to reporters. It’s possible she was briefly anti-abortion, then stopped caring about the issue entirely, but kept the charade going to get cash. Either way, Schenck was well aware she didn’t really feel that way. How many other Christians were in on the con?

For a Christian-led movement that been built on telling lies about abortion — the process, the supposed consequences, what Planned Parenthood does, etc. — this is one of the biggest. And no one should expect the right-wing Christians who paraded McCorvey around for years as their biggest trophy to ever apologize for their role in the deception. They thrive on lying to people in the name of their cause. They’ve brainwashed plenty of people to go along for the ride. They’ve accumulated a lot of political power. Simply put, they’ve gotten too far to give a damn about taking advantage of yet another woman.

This egregious exercise of deception should be seen as an example of what likely happened during the entire span of the Christian era, where similar tactics could have been used to compel testimonies that would aid in recruiting followers. Because of this built-in incentive to use duplicitous promotional techniques, much of what passes as evidence for Christianity should be viewed with a large measure of suspicion.

(2448) The filioque

The question whether the Holy Spirit emanates from the Father only, or from both the Father and the Son created a major rift in Christendom. The issue is still not resolved, and it represents a Rosetta Stone for anyone who seeks the truth of this faith- no religion overseen by a real god would have allowed such a theological argument, leading to strife, torture, and genocide, to fester for twenty centuries.


Among the issues that have divided Eastern and Western Christians throughout the centuries, few have had as long and interesting a history as the question of the filioque. Christians everywhere confess their faith in the ancient words of the Nicene Creed. But rather than serve as a source of unity, the Creed has been one of the chief sources of division, as East and West profess their faith in the Trinitarian God using different language. In the Orthodox East, the faithful profess their belief in “the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father.”

In the West, however, they say they believe in the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father “and the Son”-in Latin “filioque.” For over a millennium Christendom’s greatest minds have addressed and debated the question (sometimes in rather polemical terms) in the belief that the theological issues at stake were central to an orthodox understanding of the trinitarian God. To most modern people, this may seem like a trivial matter, and indeed most ordinary Christians would be hard pressed to explain the doctrine behind this phrase. In the history of Christianity, however, these words have played an immense role, and the story behind them deserves to be told. For to tell the story of the filioque is to tell of the rise and fall of empires, of crusades launched and repelled, of holy men willing to die for the faith, and of worldly men willing to use it for their own political ends. It is, perhaps, one of the most interesting stories in all of Christendom, filled with characters and events that would make even the best dramatists envious.

It is amazing that such a trivial matter consumed the emotional payload of Christians for such a period of time. It seems that an all-powerful god could have instantly resolved the controversy rather than watch people fight and die unnecessarily.

(2449) Shakespeare forgery

As an example of how the Bible could be manipulated for personal reasons, the following discusses how King James I compelled the translators working on the King James Version to insert a birthday tribute to his friend William Shakespeare:


King James in 1610 commanded his men who were translating the bible into English, to insert the name of his good friend, “Shakespeare, “into the 46th Psalms as a 46 birthday gift. William Shakespeare was 46 years old in 1610 the year that the bible was completed being translated into English. Get an older King James Version of the bible & count 46 words starting with the first word in Psalms 46 you will come to Shake, and if you count 46 words up from the last word {refuge} in Psalms 46 you will get to Spear. {Note: The updated version of the bible have replaced the word “shake” with the word “quake” in an attempt to cover up this forgery.}

Here are the relevant verses in KJV and NIV:

Psalm 46:3

King James Version

Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

New International Version

though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Psalm 46:9

King James Version

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.

New International Version

He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.

It would have been difficult to identify this forgery if it had not been ‘leaked’ by the king himself. But it reveals the tendency of people to use their control of the translation process to promote a personal agenda.

(2450) Gilgamesh and Noah

Although few scientifically-literate Christians believe the Noah flood story as literal history, it remains a bulwark of Christian theology. The Epic of Gilgamesh is dated to approximately 2700 BCE and definitely precedes the documentation of Noah’s flood story in the Book of Genesis. The similarities between the two flood myths indicates that the author of Genesis borrowed the Gilgamesh story and in fact changed only a few of the elements. This casts suspicion on the Bible being an independent, deity-inspired work. The following was taken from:


Here are a number of elements that both Gilgamesh and the flood story in Genesis share:

God decided to send a worldwide flood. This would drown men, women, children, babies and infants, as well as eliminate all of the land animals and birds.

God knew of one righteous man, Ut-Napishtim or Noah.

God ordered the hero to build a multi-story wooden ark (called a chest or box in the original Hebrew), and the hero initially complained about the assignment to build the boat.

The ark would have many compartments, a single door, be sealed with pitch and would house two of every animal species.

A great rain covered the land with water.

The ark landed on a mountain in the Middle East.

The first two birds returned to the ark. The third bird apparently found dry land because it did not return.

The hero and his family left the ark, ritually killed an animal, offered it as a sacrifice.

The Babylonian gods seemed genuinely sorry for the genocide that they had created. The God of Noah appears to have regretted his actions as well, because he promised never to do it again.

Keep in mind the level of detail in these similarities. It’s not a matter of just a flood, but specific details: three birds sent out, resisting the call to build the ark, and a single man being chosen by God to build the ark. Then consider that the first story (Gilgamesh) came from Babylon — hundreds of years before the Bible was even written.

Do you honestly think, based on the similarities above, that those who wrote the Genesis story had not heard the Gilgamesh story? And if they had heard it, and they were simply rehashing an old, very popular tale, what does that say about the Bible?

This is but one example of how the Bible is largely a plagiarized tome that reflects influence from many surrounding Middle Eastern civilizations. A book directed and inspired by the creator of the universe would be unique and transcend all that came before it.

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