# 401-600

Reasons 401 and higher

(401) Intersex infants prove God is not involved in the birthing process

Christians often point to scripture to prove various points related to their conservative social agenda, such as Mark 10:6:

“But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female.”

This and related scriptures are often used to degrade homosexuals or criticize gay marriage.  But one thing that is certain: if God was actually controlling the birth process, then every infant that was born would be unambiguously either male or female.  This is not the case.  Many infants are born with a variation of sexual identities. The term “intersex” is used for this condition.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex

Approximately 1% of live births exhibit some degree of sexual ambiguity.  This is the expected result of reproduction that is being governed by natural processes.  It does not reflect any sense of supernatural control and is a good indicator that the Christian God is not real.

(402) Modern archaeology conflicts with the Bible

The following are quotes by credentialed archaeologists:

William G. Dever:

Archaeology certainly doesn’t prove literal readings of the Bible…It calls them into question, and that’s what bothers some people. Most people really think that archaeology is out there to prove the Bible. No archaeologist thinks so. From the beginnings of what we call biblical archaeology, perhaps 150 years ago, scholars, mostly western scholars, have attempted to use archaeological data to prove the Bible. And for a long time it was thought to work. William Albright, the great father of our discipline, often spoke of the “archaeological revolution.” Well, the revolution has come but not in the way that Albright thought. The truth of the matter today is that archaeology raises more questions about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible and even the New Testament than it provides answers, and that’s very disturbing to some people.

He also wrote:

Archaeology as it is practiced today must be able to challenge, as well as confirm, the Bible stories. Some things described there really did happen, but others did not. The biblical narratives about Abraham, Moses, Joshua and Solomon  probably reflect some historical memories of people and places, but the ‘larger than life’ portraits of the Bible are unrealistic and contradicted by the archaeological evidence.

Ze’ev Herzog:

This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai.

Professor Israel Finkelstein, who is known as “the father of biblical archaeology”, told the Jerusalem Post that Jewish archaeologists have found no historical or archaeological evidence to back the biblical narrative on the Exodus, the Jews’ wandering in Sinai or Joshua’s conquest of Canaan. On the alleged Temple of Solomon, Finkelstein said that there is no archaeological evidence to prove it really existed.

Professor Yoni Mizrahi, an independent archaeologist who has worked with the International Atomic Energy Agency, agreed with Israel Finkelstein.

Regarding the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt, Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass said:

“Really, it’s a myth,”… “This is my career as an archaeologist. I should tell them the truth. If the people are upset, that is not my problem.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_Bible

Christianity relies on the Bible being a factual account of history. Archaeology has revealed that many of the basic, foundational stories in the Bible are fictional.  This implies that Christianity sits on an unstable understructure of made-up tales, fables, legends, and myths that severely undermines it authenticity.

(403) Paul’s rapturous statement about the second coming is commendably mocked by the philosopher Porphyry

In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, Paul writes:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Here is how Porphyry (232-305 CE), reacted to this scripture in his book Kata Christianon (Against the Christians):

Another of his astonishingly silly comments needs to be examined: I mean that wise saying of his, to the effect that, We who are alive and persevere shall not precede those who are asleep when the lord comes—for the lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout… and the trumpet of god shall sound, and those who have died in Christ shall rise first- then we who are alive shall be caught up together with them in a cloud to meet the lord in the air… Indeed—there is something here that reaches up to heaven: the magnitude of this lie. When told to dumb bears, to silly frogs and geese—they bellow or croak or quack with delight to hear of the bodies of men flying through the air like birds or being carried about on the clouds. This belief is quackery of the first rate.

This elicits one of the major problems with Christianity- it embraces a magical component that simply doesn’t exist in the real world.   Hanging to a literal belief in Paul’s implausible dream is to surrender a measure of respect for reality.

(404) The argument of unnecessary complexity

Christians often use the flawed argument of irreducible complexity, such as the human eye, as evidence for their creator god.  But there is a more compelling case to be made about the world’s complexity that provides evidence in the opposite direction- that a creator god does not exist.  And that is the concept of unnecessary complexity.

http://infidels.org/kiosk/article/the-complexity-of-the-universe-is-evidence-against-the-existence-of-a-creator-deity-the-argument-from-unnecessary-complexity-895.html

As discussed in the linked article, there are around 1,000 species of bats.  This is an expected product of naturally-occurring evolution, but not something that a creator god would likely have done.  One species of bat would have been enough. Likewise, scientists estimate that there are more than four million species of beetles.

Additionally, a universe as vast and complex as we have so far discovered seems wasteful and inefficient.  Why would the Christian deity have produced such intricacy if human animals living on one obscure planet was all he was interested in?  On the other hand, a non-purposed universe can readily possess this complexity without invoking a similar inconsistency.

During the developmental days of Judeo-Christianity, the world did appear to exhibit a simple, efficient, and elegant design that enshrined humans as the ultimate purpose of existence. But since then, science has exploded this cozy view and has revealed a universe of vast size and complexity that belies the existence of a purpose-driven deity.

(405) The lie that Jesus was famous

In Luke 4:14, we read the following:

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.

The Bible claims that Jesus performed many miracles that were highly public, such as feeding thousands from a few loaves and fishes, turning water into wine, and ultimately appearing before 5,000 men plus women and children after he was publicly crucified. This would seem to indicate that Jesus was incredibly famous throughout the region.

There is a good reason to believe that these events did not occur.  It is important to realize that Jerusalem in the 1st Century was not an area isolated from the rest of the world.  Specifically it was an important stopping point on the commerce route between Egypt and various locations in Europe.  So there were lots of travelers that passed through the city.  Yet, after all of the incredibly miraculous events that should have electrified the city, there is a complete absence of any documentation that travelers or historians that passed through the city heard anything about them.  Nowhere in letters of correspondence, or books, or any other written documents is there an indication that anyone living in the vicinity of Jerusalem or those passing through heard anything about these astounding happenings.  This despite the fact that the residents of Jerusalem who were direct witnesses should have been telling these stories with great excitement for decades after they occurred.

Instead, all we have to document these alleged events are letters and gospels written by men who were not eyewitnesses, writing in foreign countries, and in a language which Jesus could not have understood.  This is a profound piece of evidence that Jesus was not famous and that much of what is told in the gospels is fiction.

(406) God fails to protect the original gospel manuscripts

Christians claim that God directly inspired the authors of the gospel books, even to the point of dictating each word, so as to make the text inerrant.  But if God was so concerned about getting the historical record of Jesus’s ministry correct, why would he have allowed those original, and supposedly inerrant manuscripts to be lost for the generations of Christians to come?  Why would he not have protected these documents to ensure there would be no ambiguity as to the ultimate truths he was trying to convey.  The loss of the original manuscripts is entirely consistent with a human-inspired product, not one overseen by an unlimited deity.

(407) Christianity fraudulently usurped a scripture in Isaiah to refer to Jesus

In Isaiah 9:6-7, we read this:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

Biblical scholars are aware that the Christian bibles have mis-translated the Hebrew text.  It should read as follows:

For a child has been born to us, a son has been given us. And authority has settled on his shoulders. He has been named “The Mighty God is planning grace; The Eternal Father, a peaceable ruler” – In token of abundant authority and of peace without limit upon David’s throne and kingdom, that it may be firmly established in justice and in equity now and evermore. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall bring this to pass.

It is also clear that this passage does not refer to Jesus, but rather to King Hezekiah.  Note that in the proper translation, it is referring to a child that has already been born.  For a complete account of why this refers to Hezekiah, not Jesus, refer to this website:

http://shemaantimissionary.tripod.com/id5.html

This is another indication of the duplicity employed by Christians to artificially show that Jesus was prophecized in the Old Testament. That such an effort was needed to convince people that Jesus was the Messiah is a strong indication that he was not.

(408) Jesus is a failed prophet called out by the Bible itself

In Deuteronomy 18:21-22 we read:

You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken.”

Jesus made several prophecies that failed to come true, but one in particular is indisputable- his prediction of his imminent return in glory within the lifespan of some of those people he was directly talking to, as seen in the following scriptures:

“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. (Matthew 16: 27, 28)

Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (Matthew 24: 25-34)

“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven. Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place… (Mark 13:26-30)

Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Then He told them a parable: Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.(Luke 21:27-32)

Attempts by Christian apologists to explain away this problem have been forcefully debunked, as described at the following website:

https://blacknonbelievers.wordpress.com/jesus-failed-prophecy-about-his-return/

It wasn’t long after the birth of Christianity that followers began to question why Jesus had not returned. This became especially true after all of his original apostles had died.  Someone, not Peter, wrote the following (possibly as late as 160 AD) to try to make some sense of the failure of Jesus to return as promised:

2 Peter 3:3-8

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water,through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.

This presents a rationalization, still used today, that fails to address the scriptural references to “this generation” or “those who are standing here” as well as many other scriptures both in the gospels and the epistles that point to an very quick return of Jesus to administer the final judgment.

So, in short, Jesus was just another in a long line of preachers extending to the present day proclaiming that the end of the world is near.  As it states in Deuteronomy, this means that he was not delivering a message from God, but rather from his human mind. This fact alone is sufficient to prove that Christianity is false.  The only rational way to escape this problem is to state that Jesus never made these claims and they were forgeries inserted by the gospel writers, but this creates a problem that is just as severe- that the words of Jesus in the gospels are not authentic.

(409) Being a sane person and being a Christian are not mutually compatible 

Stripped of society’s seemingly unconditional respect for religious faith, the things that Christians believe can be seen in the light of a psychological disorder.  The following is taken from:

http://religionisbullshit.me/ending-biblical-brainwash/

Imagine that you’re a psychiatrist. A new patient comes to see you and says that he regularly talks to an invisible being who never responds, that he reads excerpts from one ancient book and that he believes wholeheartedly that its contents must be accepted implicitly, if not taken literally. The patient goes on to say that that the world is only 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs never existed. He brazenly rejects modern science’s observations and conclusions, and subscribes to the notion that after death he will live in eternal bliss in some alternate dimension. And throughout your meeting, he keeps handing you his book and urging you to join him, lest you end up after death in a far less desirable alternate dimension than him. Is this a mentally healthy person?

The answer to the question is “no.”  A belief in the Christian religion is inconsistent with the measure of saneness that we apply to every other of life’s endeavors.  It is given a favored status such that it’s inherent absurdity is dismissed.  Indeed, the emperor is naked, but we all agree to extol his fine garment.

(410) God, the psychopath

Consider the following quote:

God says do what you wish, but make the wrong choice and you will be tortured for eternity in hell. That’s not free will. It’s like a man telling his girlfriend, do what you wish, but if you choose to leave me, I will track you down and blow your brains out. When a man says this we call him a psychopath. When god says the same we call him “loving” and build churches in his honor. – William C. Easttom II

This analogy is both accurate and devastating.  The Christian god is laid bare and seen to be no better than the basest of human thugs.

(411) The corrupted ‘love’ of Christianity

Christians claim that their brand of love is the highest form of this virtue, and sometimes claim that their love for God exceeds their love for any human being.  Also, they often claim that nobody can truly love anyone if they are not connected to God. But what is missing in this argument is any semblance of genuineness.  The following quote poignantly makes this point:

I do understand what love is, and that is one of the reasons I can never again be a Christian. Love is not self denial. Love is not blood and suffering. Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity. Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being. – Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist

The brand of love peddled by Christianity is corrupted by fear, control, and punishment and is a far cry from the perfected form of this emotion that they insist is theirs alone.  It is good evidence that the God they created is not real and does not resemble what would be expected of a supreme intelligence.

(412) God is more callous to pain than humans

Throughout the Bible, we see examples of God inflicting pain on whoever he wills, including Job and the Egyptian Pharaoh, but more universally in his failure to answer the prayers of people wracked with hideously painful afflictions, and ultimately in his promise to send those who fail to worship him to a place of everlasting torment.

On the other hand, mere humans are breaking their backs to prevent the delivery of pain to any human or animal, and even to prevent persons being executed from feeling pain.

This bring up the question: why is God acting on a lower standard of what is right and wrong?  The most sensible answer to this question is that this ‘god’ was created by humans who had not yet achieved modern standards of compassion, morality, and ethics.

(413) The fictitious and illogical story of the thief on the cross

In Luke, Chapter 13, the story is told of two thieves who are being crucified next to Jesus.  One of them mocks Jesus and challenges him to save himself. The other makes the following statement (Luke 23: 41-43):

“And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He [Jesus] said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

There are several problems with this passage. First, it doesn’t appear in any other gospel, most notably in the first two gospels written, Mark and Matthew.  This means that this episode was not documented for at least 50 years after it happened.

Second, it seems trivial that a common criminal could so easily erase his sins and go to heaven with a single affirmative statement.  It is very unlikely that the thief would have understood the Christian doctrine of atonement (which didn’t even exist at this time), so his redemption would have been gained via a much more lenient requirement than what is imposed on contemporary Christians.

Third,  it directly contradicts Jesus being in the tomb for 3 days, or even the later Christian tradition that Jesus visited Hell during the time his body lay in the tomb.

Fourth, it makes Jesus’s sacrifice seem even less admirable if he spent the second half of his execution day in ‘paradise.’

This obviously fictitious tale is another example of why the gospels cannot be considered accurate historical records.

(414) A world unbefitting  a perfect creator

When you consider headaches, backaches, toothaches, strains, scrapes, breaks, cuts, scars, acne, rashes, infections, burns, bites, lice, shingles, psoriasis, bruises, gangrene, fungal disease, PMS, fatigue, hunger, molds, colds, flus, pneumonia, ebola, measles, mumps, chickenpox, whooping cough, asthma, fevers. yeast, appendicitis, tonsillitis, parasites, sepsis, Lyme disease, meningitis, rabies, yellow fever, tetanus, malaria, smallpox, food poisoning, viruses, cancers, AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, hepatitis, genetic defects, stillbirth, autism, epilepsy, blindness, deafness, paralysis, insomnia, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, aneurysms, deep vein thrombosis, diabetes, hemophilia, kidney disease, liver disease, anemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, gout, mental illness, Alzheimer’s, senility, MS, cystic fibrosis, ALS, accidents, fires, floods, blizzards, tsunamis, mudslides, avalanches, droughts, earthquakes, typhoons, tornadoes, hurricanes, meteors, and volcanoes, you have to wonder….is this the work of a perfect creator with humans as the focal point of his creation?  Or is it more likely the consequence of an unguided evolutionary process?

(415) Jesus as the scapegoat

In Leviticus, Chapter 16, there are elaborate instructions for the use of goats as part of a ritual to take away the sins of the tribe.  One goat is sacrificed and the other goat, the scapegoat, is sent out into the desert to die, carrying away all of the sins of the tribe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scapegoat

The act of transferring the deserved punishment of the perpetrator to an innocent victim is spectacularly immoral but it is precisely the core of the Christian religion, with Jesus as the scapegoat.  This illogical and regrettable abomination is clearly not the work of an infinite intelligence, but just an extension of the limited minds of superstitious iron age men.

(416) Christianity’s evolving theological constructions

Instead of starting out with a fully furnished theology, one that would be expected if Jesus had made all of this clear to his followers, Christianity experienced centuries of an evolving theology fashioned by the imaginations of later generations of leaders. The following is from:

http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/nestorian.html

We found that as Christianity developed, the concept of Jesus became more and more absurd and meaningless. The Nicene Creed (325) asserted that Jesus was truly God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. The first council of Constantinople (381) made the contradictory assertion that Jesus was also truly man. Hence Jesus took on two natures in Constantinople. The council in Ephesus (431) asserted that Jesus’ two natures were nevertheless indivisibly one. In Chalcedon (451) it was further elaborated that although the two natures were indivisible they were also distinct. Then, in Constantinople (681) the bishops decided that Jesus had two wills, but that they always coincided and acted harmoniously with each other. These formulations are absurd and devoid of any sense.

But each time an affirmation was made, a new aspect of christology was being added. It is obvious that the Nicene creed would have shocked even Paul, let alone the original apostles! Christianity, like all social institutions evolved. As Robert Wilken, Professor of the History of Christianity of the University of Notre Dame said in his book The Myth of Christian Beginnings:

There is no original Christian faith, no native language, no definitive statement of the meaning of Christ for all time…No matter how deeply we probe, how early we extend our search, we will never find an original faith.

If Christianity was a true religion, it would have been fully established by Jesus while on earth, or at least completely fashioned by God inspiring his followers at the outset.  When a theology evolves over time, it is a sure sign that it is a human endeavor.

This  could have been avoided by Jesus writing it all down and God ensuring that the original manuscript was preserved for posterity. Instead, we are left with a dizzying array of disparate opinions and no central or original faith.

(417) What Jesus could and should have done to send a sign to future generations

Imagine that the following scripture was contained in one of the four gospels:

And Jesus said, “I have worked many miracles to prove to you that I am the Son of Man and that I have found favor from my Father, but what can I offer those who will live their lives after I am gone? It is this.  Remember what I am saying and let it be passed to those brethren. The distance to the sun is 700 thousand thousand stadia. Remember this number and pass it on.”

A stadion is a measure that was used in the Book of Luke (24:13, ISV) and is 697 feet in length.  So 700 thousand thousand stadia is approximately 93 million miles, the distance from the Earth to the Sun.  This would represent an undeniable possession of knowledge that could not be explained by any human effort of the time.  It would be the equivalent of a miracle for today’s Christians and provide a definite sign that Jesus had a connection to a supernatural source.

Actually, anything similar to this would be sufficient to leave a valuable piece of evidence for the modern world.  The lack of anything of this nature is a significant missed opportunity and a piece of counter-evidence that Jesus was anything more than a regular human being.

(418) Jesus failed to instruct disciples and other followers to document his ministry

If Jesus was God, he would have known that after his death and resurrection, there would be a long period of at least 20 centuries of quiet non-intervention where Christians would have only written accounts on which to base their faith.  He would have instructed his followers, those with literary skills, to write down what he was doing and saying. He would have then ensured that these documents were safely secured and accurately copied for future generations.

Instead, it’s obvious that he did not consider documentation to be important, probably because he believed that the end of the current age was at hand and that the coming of the Kingdom would occur within the lifetime of those currently living.  This is a clue that Jesus had no connection to any supernatural source.

(419) Pascal’s Wager for atheists

Marcus Arelius wrote an interesting retort to Pascal’s Wager- the idea that it is safer to believe in God, just in case he is real:

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

It is easy to see that this makes more sense than Pascal’s logic. Given the extreme punishment of an everlasting sentence to a place of undesirable circumstances, it only makes sense that this sanction should be applied only under conditions that are clear and conspicuous.  If God will not reveal himself in a way that is unmistakable, it is absurd to think that anyone deserves eternal torment for not believing.  This is the major disconnect with Christian theology- it delivers a huge penalty for breaking a rule that is exceedingly vague.

(420) The Gandhi paradox

Christianity is based on the premise that God is just and fair. Mahatma Gandhi was a preeminent leader who worked for India’s independence through peaceful civil disobedience.  He is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential persons of the 20th Century.  He was a Hindu, and though he studied Christianity, he rejected Jesus as being the son of God,  and denied that Jesus offered redemptive powers.  There are four possibilities for his current situation:

1) He was sent to Hell for failure to accept Christ. In this case, God is unjust, and therefore Christianity is false.

2) He was sent to Heaven, meaning that Christ is not necessary to enter Heaven, and therefore Christianity is false.

3) He is simply dead and Heaven and Hell don’t exist, so Christianity is false.

4) He was annihilated, not sent to Heaven or Hell, of which both exist, but God did not think he deserved to be sent to either place, in which case, God is unjust by killing an eternal soul for such a petty ‘crime’ and further Christianity is incomplete for not explaining that some souls cease to exist while the remainder are sent to either Heaven or Hell.  Christianity is therefore false.

The problem of what happened to Mahatma Gandhi cannot be explained in a satisfactory way by Christianity.  There is no good solution.  in a logical framework, this means that the premise must be false.  If Christianity is true, then god is not fair or just, but rather a barbaric psychopath.

(421) Jesus’s historicity would be indisputable if he was truly God…but it isn’t

It makes sense to assume that if God sent his son to Earth to deliver an important and eternity-shaping message to mankind, that the reality of his existence would be an assured and provable fact beyond any reasonable doubt.  Unfortunately, for Christianity, this is not the case.

Currently there are at least 7 fully qualified experts in religious studies who consider the existence of Jesus to be in serious doubt. The following is a quote from Richard Carrier, who is one of the 7 scholars:

Ehrman falsely claims in his book that there are no hyper-specialized historians of ancient Christianity who doubt the historicity of Jesus. So I named one: Arthur Droge, a sitting professor of early Christianity at UCSD.

And of those who do not meet Ehrman’s irrationally specific criteria but who are certainly qualified, we can now add Kurt Noll, a sitting professor of religion at Brandon University (as I already noted in my review of Is This Not the Carpenter) and Thomas Brodie, a retired professor of biblical studies (as I noted elsewhere). Combined with myself (Richard Carrier) and Robert Price, as fully qualified independent scholars, and Thomas Thompson, a retired professor of some renown, that is more than a handful of well-qualified scholars, all with doctorates in a relevant field, who are on record doubting the historicity of Jesus.

Most recently, Hector Avalos, a sitting professor of religion at Iowa State University, has also declared his agnosticism about historicity as well.

That makes seven fully qualified experts on the record, three of them sitting professors, plus two retired professors, and two independent scholars with full credentials. And there are no doubt many others who simply haven’t gone on the record. We also have sympathizers among mainstream experts who nevertheless endorse historicity but acknowledge we have a respectable point, like Phillip Davies.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/1794#22

The point to be made here is not so much whether Jesus was a real person as it is that, if he was a real person and the Son of God, or God himself, then his existence shouldn’t ever have become a matter of scholarly debate- it should be a universally recognized historical fact. This is something that a God who supposedly controls everything would have made certain.  Assuming God sends people to Hell for not accepting Jesus, he would have assured that Jesus’s historical existence would be recognized by everyone on the planet, and therefore would have preserved sufficient evidence to establish this truth for all future generations.

The evidence for Jesus  is not sufficient to meet this objective. This is therefore to say that, even if one concedes that Jesus probably existed, then his historical vagueness is pointing to the unlikelihood that he was a supernatural figure with ties to a celestial deity.

(422) The failure of Christians to be ‘better’ people

Oftentimes you will hear Christian apologists discourage people from evaluating Christianity’s claims by reference to the behavior of Christian people.  They will say the faith is perfect, but the Christians are fallible. Although this argument has some merit, as Christianity does not claim that accepting the faith results in perfection, it is still quite troubling that a distinction in behavior and manner does not appear to exist between Christians and non-Christians.  If God, or the Holy Spirit, is actually imbuing a special, supernatural essence to his followers, a very real difference should be apparent.

Take Ephesians 2:21-23:

If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

Given this supernatural source of peace, wisdom, and grace, Christians should exhibit a calmer, kinder, quieter, gentler, happier, and more loving demeanor.  Based on considerable anecdotal and historical evidence, this difference is either vanishingly slight, non-existent, or even bending in the opposite direction.   If the God of Christianity was real, the difference between Christians and non-Christians would be undeniable.

(423) The god that Christians worship is the personification of an ancient Jewish tribal leader

If any Christian thinks they can just discard the Old Testament and become a New Testament Christian, they are deceiving themselves. The two are inextricable, and what cannot be denied is that the God described by the Jews in the Old Testament is the SAME god that Christians worship, whether or not this god CHANGED as it appears in New Testament.  The following is from:

https://wisesloth.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/christianity-is-mythology-or-a-hamburger-is-a-hamburger/

Notice that Yahweh is a “He” just like the ruling class of the Jewish theocracy. Does Yahweh really have a penis or did the people who created Yahweh in their image have penises? Did Yahweh really have swords in the Garden of Eden before the Bronze Age or did the people who invented Yahweh have swords before they invented Yahweh?

Aside from what Yahweh was, study what Yahweh commanded. Does Yahweh really want us to kill disobedient children, own slaves, buy and sell wives or stone people for having sex outside of the traditional Jewish mating rituals? Does the creator and sustainer of the universe really see premature ejaculation or wet dreams as punishable offenses or does that sound like something people from a primitive culture would say?

Think about it. Who wrote the Old Testament? It was written by people who believed that women were inherently unclean when they were on their period and couldn’t be touched. It was written by people who wanted an excuse to take the best land in the region from the natives who already lived there. It was written by people who believed in magic, demons, curses and even other gods. It wasn’t a typo that the Ten Commandments says, “Though shalt have no other Gods before me.” and “I am a jealous God.” Yahweh didn’t say to worship him because he’s the only God. He said to worship him because he’s jealous. Why does the creator of the universe want his followers to cut off the foreskins he gave them or grow their sideburns? It doesn’t make any sense. It’s almost seems like Yahweh is some kind of ancient tribal leader. It almost seems like that because he was made up by ancient tribal leaders just like all the rest of the Gods our ancestors worshiped.

This is objectively a death blow to Christianity because it is impossible to extricate the faith from this repulsive brute of a deity that got everything started in the Judeo-Christian world.  You can’t build a tall building on a flimsy foundation and you can’t defend a religion that has descended from a hateful, hideous, and nasty god.

(424) Conditions needed for Christianity to make sense

Many people leave Christianity because it’s extremely difficult to arrange the doctrine into a believable and logical structure that is consistent with the way the world actually works.  Here is an attempt to identify the changes that would be needed for Christianity to make sense and be believable:

1) Completely divorce from the Old Testament- this would shed the ties to a bloodthirsty, jealous, and petty deity that the Jews invented, and a god that is obviously fictional.  Therefore, Jesus must renounce the entire set of existing scriptures and announce that they have no basis in reality.  He claims to be the first authentic voice of God on the planet.

2) God makes his presence known beyond doubt to every person on the planet, so there is no confusion about who is running the show. This would dissolve every religion that previously existed. So now, Christianity is the only religion.

3) God clearly states the criteria for how people will be judged- and this will be based on a balance of good versus bad deeds.  In other words, there is no redemption based on faith, but rather on the deeds and actions of every person.  So there is no need for Jesus to be crucified.

4) Every person survives until adulthood, to the age of accountability so that their judgment can be based on a fair set of life scenarios.  Also ensure that every person born has the intellectual capability to lead a normal, sane, and intelligent life. This eliminates the problem of how to judge an infant or a mentally handicapped person who dies.

5) Eliminate Hell.  There is no place for eternal torture or even the temporary delivery of pain to anyone.

6) Eliminate the one size fits all aspect of Heaven, announce that rewards in the afterlife will be proportional to the righteousness and goodness of each life as lived.  State that the most wicked people will cease to exist after death.

7) Apologize for the fact that God has made an arbitrary demarcation in the human population and is imbuing everyone currently alive with eternal souls, but acknowledging that anyone who is currently dead will not be resurrected.  This will mean that many of those currently alive will not see their parents in the afterlife.  God must do this or heaven will be overrun with primates, reptiles, and on down to single-celled animals.

8) Establish prohibitions on slavery, homophobia, misogyny,  child endangerment, torture, mistreatment of animals (i.e. get rid of the inhumane ritualistic blood shedding of animals), racism, etc.  That is, establish an evolved system of ethics and morals rather than waiting for them to evolve slowly over the ensuing centuries.

If all of these were true, then Christianity would be a logical system and, to boot, a positive influence on the world.  Given the absence of these conditions, we are left with a hollow shell of distorted doctrines that are shamefully divorced from fairness and rectitude.

(425) “You must not put God to the test”

Christians often repeat as rote the concept that God should not be tested.  As it states in Luke 4:12:

And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’

This was in response to the Devil who was ‘tempting’ him (with things he already had complete control over). Nevertheless, Christians now take this to mean that you shouldn’t evaluate God by any means such as whether or not he answers a prayer.  This is a sure sign that you are being sold a false product.

It would be similar to buying a car and asking the salesman if you can drive the car before you purchase it.  But he states, “no, you must buy it first and trust me that it is roadworthy.”

The scriptures prohibiting the testing of God appear in Deuteronomy (6:16), Matthew (4:7), and Luke (above), and it is highly likely that they were inserted to deflect the criticism of disillusioned parishioners who were complaining that God was not answering their prayers.

When you are being sold an invisible product and further told that testing the product is prohibited, you should realize immediately that you are being scammed.

(426) Jesus arrived too early 

At the time that Jesus allegedly came to Earth to deliver his holy message and blood sacrifice, there was an insufficient industry for developing and maintaining historical records, at least in the geographical area that he chose to appear.  In order to have a reliable historical record of what is claimed to be the ultimate truth that governs the eternal consequences of every person, it would have been important for Jesus to arrive at a time and place that would yield a high degree of historically reliability.  Waiting a couple of centuries would have made a big difference.

Because God would have known that there would be at least 20 centuries after Jesus’s time before the end of the world, and the consequential importance of the written scriptures, it seems fair to assume that the placement and timing of Jesus’s appearance would be chosen to accommodate the development of an exact and inerrant scriptural record.  Any Biblical scholar realizes that this did not happen and the fact that it didn’t is evidence against Christianity.

(427) The illogical basis of Pauline Christology

Much of Christian doctrine is derived from the letters of Paul, even more so than the ministry of Jesus as described in the gospels.  The most controversial of Paul’s claims was that Jesus, by being sinless and dying for mankind, had superseded the law of the Old Testament, meaning that following the law was no longer necessary and that a person is saved not by anything they do but rather by their faith in Jesus.  To show how illogical this doctrine is, the following is taken from:

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/06/illogical-christianity/

Lagos drivers are terrible.  We drive with scant regard for traffic laws.  We drive on the pavements and on the wrong sides of the road.  We beat red lights, violate one-way traffic signs, and park in no-parking zones.

But one day, a man called Jesus came to Lagos.  He was a perfect driver and he obeyed scrupulously all the traffic laws.  In recognition for his fastidiousness, the Lagos State Government repealed all traffic laws on the grounds that Jesus had fulfilled them.  Any man who believes in Jesus is then deemed to have also obeyed all the laws.  Nevertheless, the government sent Jesus himself to the firing squad for violating traffic laws, even though in actual fact he had obeyed them all.

So, based on this example, you have drivers behaving badly but being exonerated by their belief in the perfect driver.  It’s easy to see that the arrival of the perfect driver didn’t result in any improvement in the traffic situation, in fact, it probably made things worse.- just like what happened in the Christian-dominated centuries of the Middle Ages.

Paul wrote his letters before the Book of Matthew was written, and it precisely contradicted his doctrine, as in Matthew 5:18, where Jesus said:

“For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

The example above reveals the ridiculousness of the idea that Christianity fell for- that what a person thinks or believes is more important than what they do.  It remains one of the principal mistakes made in the foundation of the faith and one that has spawned great misery over the past 20 centuries.

(428) On average, atheist marriages are more stable than Christian marriages

Christians often claim that God is directly involved in blessing marriages among his followers. They believe that marriage is a sacred union ordained by God and that It binds one man and one woman together so that the “two become one flesh” until they are parted by death.  But the statistics show that marriages between atheists are more successful on average.

http://www.salon.com/2013/11/01/atheist_marriages_may_last_longer_than_christian_ones_partner/

From the cited website:

According to research by the Barna Research Group over a decade ago, American divorce rates were highest among Baptists and nondenominational “Bible-believing” Christians and lower among more theologically liberal Christians like Methodists, with atheists at the bottom of the divorce pack. When the findings were made public, George Barna took some heat because Christians expected the difference to be more dramatic and to favor believers. Ellis suggested that maybe Barna had sampled badly. Perhaps some people who called themselves born again had never really devoted their lives to Christ. But Barna held his ground, saying, “We rarely find substantial differences” [in the moral behavior of Christians and non-Christians].

In 2008, Barna again sampled Americans about divorce rates. The numbers fluctuated a bit, but once again atheists came out painfully good from a prays-together-stays-together perspective. Thirty percent reported ever being divorced, in contrast to 32 percent of born-again Christians. Slicing the U.S. by region, the Bible belt has the highest divorce rate, and this has been the case for over a decade, with the institution of marriage faring better in those dens of blue-state iniquity to the north and west.

Even if there was no difference in the marital stability between atheists and Christians it would represent significant counter evidence to the Christian claim.  If God is not involved in ordaining and protecting marriages among his followers, then it might suggest he does not exist.

(429)  God fails to deliver an accurate, error-free book to mankind

God must have realized that it would be centuries after Jesus rose from the dead before he would return, leaving future Christians to rely on the scriptures for instruction and inspiration.  Given this, why wouldn’t God have simply delivered a complete Bible, with multiple copies, in a durable format that would be available today, error-free and non-controversial, to make sure that his message would be accurately portrayed to future generations?

It is hard to believe that an infinitely intelligent god would leave it up to fallible humans to edit and copy the ‘most important’ book that mankind will ever read, leaving earnest Christians in doubt of what in the Bible is accurate and what is erroneous. Given the extreme stakes at play- Heaven or Hell- it should have been a first priority to get a perfectly-crafted Bible into the future ages.

(430) Jesus’s missing years

In the gospels, there is only one account of Jesus’s life during the 30-year period between his birth and his baptism- a story in Luke that tells of him teaching in the temple.  Given the majestic spectacle of his birth that included a star, a visitation of kings, and an area-wide massacre of infant children, it would seem that Jesus would have been quite famous even as a child growing up.  There should have been myriad accounts of his childhood, not just in the gospels, but in other accounts as well. There have been many cases in history where children have been worshiped or received special attention for similar reasons.

The absence of childhood stories in the gospels points to the probable fact that Jesus was just a regular boy growing up in a small town working as a carpenter.  Not until he began his ministry, probably as a disciple of John the Baptist, did the local populace begin to take notice.  This presents a problem for Christianity.  The spectacular features of his birth would seem to be nothing more than myths.  Then there is the problem of God roaming the earth for 30 years without calling attention to himself.  It all points to the highly likely fact that Jesus was just a normal human being who at around the age of 30 decided he wanted to become a preacher.

(431) Paulinity

Most Christians underestimate the role that Paul played in the formulation of Christianity.  What is often forgotten is that Paul was the first person to write about Jesus in his letters to the various churches. It was about 20 years later before the gospels were written, so they were heavily influenced by Paul’s theology and his interpretation of the meaning of Jesus’s life.  Jesus’s disciples, the people who directly witnessed his actions and words, were marginalized in this process and had virtually no impact on the construction of the new faith.  The following is taken from:

http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/maccoby2.htm

 We should remember that the New Testament, as we have it, is much more dominated by Paul than appears at first sight. As we read it, we come across the Four Gospels, of which Jesus is the hero, and do not encounter Paul as a character until we embark on the post-Jesus narrative of Acts. Then we finally come into contact with Paul himself, in his letters. But this impression is misleading, for the earliest writings in the New Testament are actually Paul’s letters, which were written about AD 50-60, while the Gospels were not written until the period AD 70-110. This means that the theories of Paul were already before the writers of the Gospels and colored their interpretations of Jesus’ activities.

Paul is, in a sense, present from the very first word of the New Testament. This is, of course, not the whole story, for the Gospels are based on traditions and even written sources which go back to a time before the impact of Paul, and these early traditions and sources are not entirely obliterated in the final version and give valuable indications of what the story was like before Paulinist editors pulled it into final shape.

However, the dominant outlook and shaping perspective of the Gospels is that of Paul, for the simple reason that it was the Paulinist view of what Jesus’ sojourn on Earth had been about that was triumphant in the Church as it developed in history. Rival interpretations, which at one time had been orthodox, opposed to Paul’s very individual views, now became heretical and were crowded out of the final version of the writings adopted by the Pauline Church as the inspired canon of the New Testament.

This presents a major problem for Christianity because its principal founder was not Jesus or his disciples, but rather a man who never saw Jesus who appointed himself as the creator of the core doctrine. So modern Christians are not really followers of Christianity, but rather Paulinity.

(432) Ridiculous made-up fable announcing the birth of John the Baptist

In the gospel of Luke, an angel appears to Zacharias and tells him that his wife will bear a son, to be called John.  What follows is in Luke 1:18-20:

Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. “And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.

There are many problems with this passage:

  1. It appears only in Luke and no other gospel, making it highly likely to be a product of the author’s imagination.
  2. It involves an angel talking to a human in a human language, well outside the bounds of the real world that we inhabit.
  3. It involves a complicated dialogue that the author was not present to hear, besides it was written at least 70 years after the event itself (before the author was born),
  4. Although Zacharias asks a reasonable question, the angel destroys his ability to speak for the next nine months.
  5. The angel states that the punishment is because Zacharias did not believe his words, but the dialogue indicates that Zacharias was only asking an appropriate clarifying question.

This obviously made-up story is contained in one of the four most important books in the Christian Bible.  it is a good example demonstrating that the gospel authors were not historians as adjudged by today’s standards, but rather story tellers in the same vein as modern-day fiction writers.

(433) Christianity only works for the cherry picker

Complete knowledge and awareness of everything contained in the Bible makes it next to impossible to be a Christian. What is necessary is a filtering system that blocks out the barbaric, distasteful, outdated, chauvinistic, bigoted, homophobic, and misogynistic parts.  That filtering system is provided by the Christian churches that only read and teach about the feel-good verses. This then goes hand in hand with the acquiescence of most Christians to not study the Bible independently or at least not thoroughly.

The following taken from this link points out that quotes from nefarious sources can be edifying if the reader ignores the context of the source:

http://www.atheistrepublic.com/blog/jason-paul/cherry-picking-bible-perplexing-phenomenon 

“Sporting chivalrous contest helps knit the bonds of peace between nations. Therefore may the Olympic flame never expire.” Adolf Hitler at the first Olympic torchlighting ceremony in Berlin 1936 (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Adolf_hitler).

“If you are going to do something, do it well.” Charles Manson in an interview with Diane Sawyer in 1994 (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Charles_Manson).

“Nothing is impossible for a man with a strong will.” Kim Jong-il in “Unification of the fatherland is an act of supreme patriotism” written in the 1970s (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Kim_Jong-il).

“When you work hard to do something right, you don’t want to forget it.”  Ted Bundy, serial killer.  Michaud, Stephen; Aynesworth, Hugh (August 1999). The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy (Paperback; revised ed.). Irving, Texas: Authorlink Press.

To an atheist, the examples above sound similar to Christians quoting scripture from the Bible.  Yes, it sounds nice, but when one considers that the source is a gay-killing, slavery-endorsing, woman-bashing, genocidal maniac who thinks it’s OK to send good people to a place of eternal torment, it somehow loses its impact.

A religion based in reality would certainly become more attractive and believable as one delves deeper into the scriptures of that faith. The fact that the reverse is true for Christianity is good evidence that it’s false.

(434) Children of same-sex couples fare as well if not better than children of heterosexual couples

Christians have consistently argued that children deserve a mother and a father as a means to achieve a successful upbringing, claiming that same-sex couples cannot provide the complete environment for a child’s development.  Unfortunately for them, this argument has been refuted by scientific studies, as in this example:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/07/07/children-of-same-sex-couples-are-happier-and-healthier-than-peers-research-shows/

If marriage is ordained by God, and assuming that God, as according to the scriptures, does not approve of same-sex relationships, one would expect that there would be a considerable difference in the outcome of children in same versus opposite sex households.  One household is being blessed by God, the other cursed.  This would have a steady impact on millions of events throughout the child’s maturation process, and the cumulative effect should be palpable and measurable by scientific means.

The fact that children of gay couples fare as well if not better than their peers indicates that God is in fact not having any effect on the success of child rearing in either case, and it’s even better evidence that the god of Christianity does not exist.

(435) Ebionites

Ebionites is a “term referring to a Jewish Christian movement that existed during the early centuries of the Christian era They regarded  Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah while rejecting his divinity and insisted on the necessity of following  Jewish Law and rites The Ebionites used only one of the Jewish Gospels, revered James the Just and rejected Paul the Apostle as an apostate from the Law.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebionites

The former existence of this group is compelling evidence against the validity of modern-day Christianity, for it appears that the Ebionites were the true followers of Jesus, who on many occasions in the synoptic gospels emphasized the continued observance of the Jewish Law as a prerequisite for salvation.  It can also be stated that if some of the miraculous events told in the synoptic gospels were true regarding Jesus’s miracles, death, and resurrection, where he allegedly appeared to over 500 men plus women post-crucifixion, that the Ebionites would have never existed, because Jesus’s divinity would not have been questioned.  Indeed, it appears that the Ebionites, which some scholars have equated to the Nazarenes, a movement that Jesus likely was a member, was the authentic continuation of Jesus’s ministry.

The fact that the Ebionites existed and considered Jesus to be a messiah, but not divine, is a window into the reality of Jesus’s historical footprint.  The embellishments that were added by Paul as well as other gentile/pagan influences that were eventually incorporated and promoted by the Roman emperors were a bastardization of Jesus’s ministry.  But because of the outcome of war and politics, it became the basis of modern-day Christianity, while the Ebionites became a withering footnote lost for the ages.

It is important to realize that the Ebionites, many of whom were direct real-life witnesses of Jesus’s life and works rejected the theology of Paul, who was not an eye-witness to anything Jesus did. Therefore, we have evidence that people who, with their own eyes and ears, saw and heard Jesus would, if they were to come alive today, reject the Christianity that is practiced by virtually all contemporary Christians.

(436) Deification of Jesus moves back in time as Christian doctrine matures

In the earliest days following the crucifixion, a belief arose that Jesus was exalted to be the son of God at the moment of his resurrection  Not long after this, the tradition arose that Jesus was actually deified at his baptism.  This would coincide with the earliest gospel, Mark, that begins with Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist.  But then Christians began to believe that Jesus was made God at his birth, and therefore we have the later gospels, Luke and Matthew, adding stories of a miraculous virgin birth.  A few decades later, Christians began to believe that Jesus was actually God all along and existed along with God the Father for all time.  This is then reflected in the last gospel, John, which promoted the idea that Jesus was God from the beginning of time.

Obviously, this progression of belief belies the influence of a human element in defining Christian doctrine.  It makes for a forceful argument that Jesus’s moment of deification as well as hundreds of other doctrines were susceptible to the whims and imaginations of later followers of the faith, such that the core truth of Jesus and his ministry was corrupted beyond recognition.

(437) Earthly reward and punishment strictly controlled by humans

Whenever a wicked person is captured and punished or a great person is rewarded, it is a human effort that bring this about. There is no evidence whatever that a god is involved in this process.  Serial killers evade justice for years, and great scientists succumb to illness or accidents at the rate that can only be explained by natural consequences.  This should be a discomforting thought to a Christian who is conditioned to believe that God is all-seeing and all-powerful, and yet he appears to just watch and do nothing.  Contrast this to the god described in the Old Testament and to angels in the New Testament who do things such as incinerate whole towns for their depravity or kill people who doubt their faith.

So the question to be asked is – why does the interventionalist god of the Bible, who gets directly involved in human affairs and metes out an immediate earthly retribution, suddenly become completely impotent in the current age?  Gay cities go unpunished while the Bible Belt is ravished by tornadoes.  It seems that the Biblical god is mysteriously AWOL.

(438) Promiscuous teleological intuition and attribution of agency

Scientists are beginning to better understand the tendency of humans to believe in supernatural entities in the absence of sufficient evidence to do so.  This research can help to explain why in the United States more people believe in the Devil than in biological evolution despite the complete absence of evidence for the former versus the extensive and mounting evidence for the latter.

It comes in two parts.  First is what is termed ‘promiscuous teleological intuition,’ or the tendency to see a purpose for everything and every event. The second component is ‘attribution of agency,’ or the idea that some agent, often supernatural, was responsible for creating the thing or causing the event- all in order to execute the assumed purpose.  Because of these tendencies, every human civilization for at least the past 10,000 years has invented some form of religious belief, and there is evidence of religious traditions reaching as far back as 100,000 years.

The following article provides details of this research:

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/why_do_people_believe_in_gods

What this means for Christianity, and for all other religions as well, is that widespread belief in supernatural claims is not an indicator of their truth, but rather a reflection of the incapability of the human mind to be fully objective.  It is what fueled a growing belief that a peasant preacher rose from the dead and that he was God incarnate.

(439) Parents sheltering children

One of the signs that Christianity is false are the concerted efforts by many Christian parents to shelter or deprive their children of a broad-range experience of life.  A quote from this site:

http://valerietarico.com/2014/10/31/psychological-harms-of-christianity/

Many Christian parents seek to insulate their children from “worldly” influences. In the extreme, this can mean not only home schooling, but cutting off media, not allowing non-Christian friends, avoiding secular activities like plays or clubs, and spending time at church instead. Children miss out on crucial information– science, culture, history, reproductive health and more. When they grow older and leave such a sheltered environment, adjusting to the secular world can be like immigrating to a new culture. One of the biggest areas of challenge is delayed social development.

If Christian truth is so evident in the world, why would parents need to restrict their children’s access to information, or restrict their interactions with non-Christian friends,  or diminish their activities in favor of church attendance?   The best answer to this is that an unrestricted access to knowledge and a full experience of life does not support the authenticity of Christian doctrine. Caging children’s minds in this manner is a form of child abuse.

(440) Christians consistently on the wrong side of history

As discussed at this website. http://www.alternet.org/belief/10-things-traditional-christians-got-terribly-wrong Christians have historically been wrong about a large number of social issues.

1) Slavery- Many Christians in the U.S. South used the Bible’s consent of slavery as a justification for continuing the practice, eventually leading to a civil war.

2) Women’s suffrage- Christians fought against women getting the right to vote based on the gender rules in the Bible.

3) Evolution- Christians continue to argue against the established scientific proof of evolution simply because it conflicts with their theological beliefs.

4) Pain relief for childbirth- Christians opposed anesthesia of childbirth because God had cursed women with pain for Eve eating the forbidden fruit.

5) Catholics- Protestant Christians up until the mid 20th Century despised and vilified Catholics as being apostates and aligned with Satan.

6) Prohibition- The failed temperance movement was largely sponsored by Christian groups.

7) Segregation- Many Christians used Biblical passages to suggest that God had made the races and had separated them for a reason.

8) Contraception- Christians opposed contraception even for married couples based on the view that God had made sex purely for procreation.

9) School prayer- Christians promoted school prayer and opposed efforts to prohibit it until the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional.

10) Marriage equality- Christians continue to oppose marriage equality based on their interpretation of the Bible.

In each case cited above, Christians opposed a change that was eventually adopted by society as a whole.  How could this be if they are the ones who are connected to and enlightened by an infinitely intelligent deity who certainly would have known about and agreed with the future efforts by humans to be more inclusive, compassionate, and fair? The historical failure of Christians to lead on social reforms is a good indication that they are psychologically stuck on an ancient book that has no ties to any supernatural source.

(441) Christianity’s offer of eternal life is a false promise

Consider the following points:

  • Practically every religion ever invented offered some kind of life after death, whether in a paradise or as a reincarnation.  The reason for this is that the makers of these religions realized that they can offer nothing in this life- that is they cannot promise better health, wealth, or even happiness, for it was well understood that their supposed gods or supernatural forces had no earthy effect. Therefore, what better scam than to promise a future reward that can never be proven false?
  • Why would a god want to provide an eternal life to billions of people anyway?  It would be as if you owned an ant farm.  As the ants die, would you be particularly interested in bringing the deceased ants back to life to live on some paradisaical anthill?
  • Why are only humans offered an eternal life and not other animals such chimpanzees, dogs, horses, or grasshoppers?  We have gradually evolved from distant ancestors that we share with each of these animals.  So how long ago was the first person given an eternal life- 6000 years ago, 100,000 years ago, 250,000 years ago?  And what happened to the parents of that lucky first immortal soul?
  •  Since overcoming obstacles and setbacks as well as progressing though career struggles is what gives meaning and texture to our lives, how can living in a perfect setting for eternity offer any lasting meaning or enjoyment?
  • How can reuniting with family members in heaven have significance when everybody will be the same age- that is, your grandfather and grandson are the same age as you?
  • How can families be re-united?  Will your children live with you or will they live with their children? Mathematically, families cannot be reconstructed in an afterlife, and it gets even worse when you consider the next point.
  • How can you stay married to your spouse when Jesus specifically stated that there will be no marriage in heaven, and that people there will be like angels? (Mark 12:25)
  • Would singing praises to Jesus for trillions of years be something you would never get tired of?

The empty promise of an eternal life in paradise is all that Christianity can offer because ‘they’ know darn well that the Christian god will do nothing for you in this life.

(442) Acquiescence to Roman rule

Most Biblical scholars are in agreement that the missions of Jesus, John the Baptist, and other preachers contemporary to this time were principally focused on ending the Roman occupation of the holy land.  They had various strategies for bringing this about ranging from rectifying their relationship with God so that he would find favor and supernaturally evict the Romans to the more mundane approach of waging civil war.  In either case, the political realities of this time should not be lost in the interpretation of the words and actions of these religious leaders.

What we find in the New Testament, though, belies this underlying reality, for it seems to suggest that the Jews were complacent about being under Roman oppression and even considered their lot to be a god-ordained plan.  In Mark 12: 15-17, we see the first sign of this acquiescence:

“Shall we pay or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at.” They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him.

It’s reasonably certain that this was not an actual saying of Jesus, but it was added to the scripture to assure the Romans that Christianity would not be a threat to the Empire.  This passage was probably a nod to Paul and his interpretation of Christianity, which was a Gnostic view of life that understated the importance of an earthly existence.  In Romans 13:2-4, Paul elicits this theme in detail:

Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

What this implies is that Christianity was hijacked by pagan influences to encourage its growth among the various peoples of the Roman Empire, by integrating it into the political milieu and making it a safe practice of religious faith in the presence of Roman authoritarianism.  This, of course, chipped away a measure of the authentic gospel of Jesus.

(443) Barbaric punishment for crimes

One the best ways to evaluate the truthfulness of a religion is to observe the types of behavior that it inspires among its followers. When it comes to penal punishments, Christianity fails this test in an emphatically spectacular way.  Perhaps inspired by the brutality of the God described in the Bible, Christians who often held the authority to levy civil justice took the term “cruel and unusual punishment” to a new level.

The following is taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/gad_penal.htm

During the whole period of 1,500 years or so that the Church enjoyed absolute power the concept of penal reform was unknown. Prisons in 1800 were as insanitary, cramped, infested and dangerous as they had been when the Roman Empire first adopted Christianity. Prisoners had virtually no rights, were subjected to violence and arbitrary punishment, could expect little or no medical assistance, and were likely to die of disease or starvation before their release. The prime purposes of gaol were punishment and retribution.

Christian tortures took many forms. People were restrained by irons and fetters, sometimes locked into agonising positions with neck, wrists and ankles held within inches of each other. After a short time in this position they were permanently disabled. Alternatively prisoners could be racked, beaten, flogged or otherwise abused. One method was to keep their feet in water until they rotted.

What is remarkable is that penal reforms of the past several centuries were almost always sponsored by secular interests, withstanding opposition by church authorities. From the same source:

The movement for penal reform in England was led by Jeremy Bentham, who was influenced by Beccaria. Bentham, a Utilitarian philosopher, was roundly condemned by churchmen as an atheist with unrealistic dreams. He was the impetus behind many reforms including those implemented by Lord Brougham in 1832. He even designed the first modern prison (the Panopticon ). Atheists like Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant, Quakers like Elizabeth Fry , and other nonconformists like John Howard supported reform. Fry formed a reform association in 1817, and Howard gave his name to one founded at a Quaker meeting in 1866. People like these opposed contemporary prison practices such as the treadmill, hard labour and corporal punishment.

When you see secular movements providing the impetus to raise the level of human dignity and compassion, while being opposed by leaders of a religion, it is certain that this religion is not from a god.

(444) Christian beliefs about disease caused avoidable deaths

For centuries, Christians followed a mindset that disease was caused by sin and that efforts to heal the afflicted were subverting the will of God. The following is from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/gam_sick.htm

Since disease-causing demons were God’s punishment for sin, it was clearly a pious duty to accept that punishment. To minimise it or seek to avoid it would be further sin. This attitude led to a form of fatalism still widespread in the East and once common in Western Christendom too.

If God wants a person to suffer or die, it is plainly blasphemous for that person to try to avoid their fate. Since the victims of plague were destined to die by God’s decree, the disease could not really be contagious in any conventional sense, and there was no point in taking precautions against catching it. Many thousands of devout Christians thus suffered avoidable death and suffering. For example, during the Black Death in Britain in 1665, pious Christians declined to take precautions for the protection of their families, claiming that they did not wish to pervert God’s will. As Daniel Defoe noted, places where this fatalistic attitude was common suffered significantly higher mortality rates than elsewhere.

Well into the twentieth century, devout Christians relied on Psalm 91, which they said clearly confirmed that God would protect them from pestilence and other evils. The devout were held to be immune from epidemics, whatever the evidence might be. To be inoculated against disease was to doubt God’s word, and therefore plainly sinful. So it was that many of the devout, and their trusting children, died unnecessarily in epidemics following the advice, or the orders, of their religious leaders.

It is inconceivable that a God would inspire a religion that would result in its followers believing a flawed model of disease that caused so much unnecessary death and suffering.  The opposite would have been expected- that is, the ones enlightened by the master of the universe would have been the first to understand the true causes of disease.

(445) Jesus lies to his brothers

In John Chapter 7 there is a story about Jesus being persuaded by his brothers to go the Festival of the Tabernacles in Judea to publicize his ministry. Jesus declines but then changes his mind.

John 7:3-10

Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him. Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.

Although the gospel claims he went in secret, soon thereafter he was preaching to the crowd.

John 7:14

Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach.

This presents a dilemma for Christianity.  Assuming that this story is true, as improbable as that might seem given that it was written approximately 70 years after the fact and that it was not recorded in either Mark, Matthew, or Luke, then Jesus is seen going back on his word, changing his mind despite giving a definite reason for not attending.  This behavior is not consistent with Jesus being God. If the story is untrue, then it means that many other stories in the Gospel of John are also likely fictional.

(446) Condemnation of the effeminate and homosexuals

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10  we read:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

This was written at a time before it was understood that being effeminate or being a homosexual is not a choice made by an otherwise average person, but rather an innate and immutable part of their personality.  It is how they were made.  So a scripture like this that condemns persons of this nature cannot have been inspired by an all-knowing god.  This is positive proof that Paul was writing as a man with only the wisdom he possessed at the time. To use his letters as a guide for the morals and ethics 2000 years in the future is a travesty.

This example by itself is sufficient to show that the Bible, or at least parts of it, is not a celestially-inspired document.

(447) The outsider test for faith in Christianity

John Loftus wrote a book entitled “The Outsider Test for Faith,” which is summarized at the following website:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1f6ZewV_Ro5HLixACGE_wgJrnlFNVKVxTfuVALqARNEs/preview?hl=en_US&pli=1&sle=true

The Outsider Test for Faith (John Loftus)

What if you had been born in Saudi Arabia as a Muslim and were given the opportunity to examine the Christian faith as a born and raised Muslim?

A. If you acknowledge you probably would have remained a Muslim in these circumstances – there is a high probability your belief is simply an accident of birth and culture, or at the very least not the result of careful, objective reasoning.

B. If you believe the “evidence” would have convinced you to convert to Christianity, that means one of two things:

1. You believe you have solid, objective and falsifiable evidence that can be examined through the eyes of a Muslim and still be self-evident. Why then don’t more Muslim’s convert or consider the Christian religion as a serious alternative to Islam? Where is this evidence and why doesn’t it seem to convince people who aren’t born into Christianity by accident of birth? What is it that personally convinces you that a god exists? If this were discredited, would you still believe it? If so your belief is not based on reason or evidence.

2. You are delusional with faith, which is not so much a virtue as willingness to believe something that there is no evidence for whatsoever.

C. If you had been born into isolation and not exposed to or even heard of religion for the first thirty years of your life, and then were suddenly exposed to all of the religions that have ever existed all at once, how would you come to the conclusion that the one you believe in now is true and all of the others are false? Imagine comparing the Samoan creation story with the Biblical creation story if you had never been exposed to either? What makes one more plausible than the other?

The outsider test makes it obvious that the object of a person’s faith is in almost all cases determined by the circumstantial  elements of a the person’s parentage and place of birth, and not, except in extremely rare cases, by the result of an analytical comparative study of the world’s religions.  This fact is readily apparent to an atheist but stubbornly indiscernible to the average Christian (or other theist).

(448) The clear fabrication of the ‘Last Supper’ symbolic drinking of blood

Nothing highlights the historical inaccuracy of the gospels more than when a pagan ritual is blatantly inserted.  During the ‘Last Supper’ accounts in Luke and Matthew, Jesus is portrayed as symbolically offering his blood for his disciples’ consumption.

Matthew 26:27-28:

And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

This command would have horrified his disciples who were raised with the strongest injunctions to avoid drinking blood from any animal, as discussed in Leviticus 7:26:

‘You are not to eat any blood, either of bird or animal, in any of your dwellings. Any person who eats any blood, even that person shall be cut off from his people.’

Consequently, it is nearly certain that Jesus did not make these statements, but rather that a pagan tradition, that of drinking the blood and eating the flesh of a god, was inserted into the gospel stories as a way to make the faith more palatable to the Gentiles and allow Christianity to better compete with the prevailing pagan religious faiths of that time.

The distortion of Christianity to conform to the sensibilities of potential converts from the pagan world was a necessary step for Christianity to be accepted by the people of the Roman Empire and for it to become a world religion.  Had this not happened, it would have remained a minor sect of the Jewish faith.

(449) Christian belief is all words, not actions

The true test of a religion’s truth claims is whether it followers, particularly the most ardent ones, behave in a way that validates the underlying dogma.  Christianity fails this test, and it fails it miserably.

If a Christian truly believes the doctrine, he will accept that this life is just a brief spec of time compared to the eternity that awaits in heaven.  He will also believe that dying is nothing to be concerned about because losing a few years on Earth is nothing compared to the trillions of years to be enjoyed in heaven, and besides, leaving the arduous and stressful existence often experienced in this life to go to a place of eternal peace and joy is a good thing.  Further, if our 70 years on this planet decides whether we will spend 10000000000000000000000000000000000000000+ years in heaven versus the same amount of time in hell, it would demand that we spend every living moment making sure that we will go to the right place.

All of this fails with virtually every Christian- they are all frightened of their own deaths, grieve when loved ones die, frantically try to survive if they get cancer or some other life-threatening disease, and spend most of their time trying to make their lives good in this life- pursuing careers, buying expensive houses and cars, watching TV and movies, going on vacations- all instead of devoting every waking moment to Bible study, prayer, going to church, sharing the gospel with others, selling their possessions and giving to the poor.

It would be as if you were given the following offer.  You have 10 minutes to pick up all of the $100 bills you can, but you must then live on that amount of money for the rest of your life.  When the clock starts, would you dally around for a few minutes watching the birds flying around, or would you immediately start to pick up the money? In this analogy, the average Christian picks up a bill every minute or so while doing something completely irrelevant to the task the rest of the time.

This is the bottom line, Christians claim to believe in Christianity but behave just as if they know it’s false- that this is the only life we can count on and it’s a better bet to live as if that is the truth.

Christians often claim that one of the best indications that Christianity is true is the fact that so many people believe it. But a much more precise and defensible claim is that Christianity is false because so few people actually live as if it is true.

(450) The incongruity of punishment as a means of erasing sins

Christian doctrine insists that all of the sins of mankind were expunged by the suffering of Jesus on the cross, something that lasted only a few hours, soon after which Jesus returned to heaven to bask in celestial comfort for eternity.

However, a good moral person who lived an exemplary life but who considered the evidence for Christianity to be unconvincing suffers in Hell for a billion years and yet that is still not a sufficient price to pay for his paltry few insignificant sins?

The Christian dogma relating the degree of punishment to the propitiation of sins is spectacularly out of sync and must be discarded by any rational, sane person.

(451) What if you’re RIGHT?

In 2006, Richard Dawkins gave a talk at Liberty University when a young woman asked him the question, ‘what if you’re wrong?’.  His answer has been enshrined in the atheist Hall of Fame, and is shown in this clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mmskXXetcg

However, there is another way this question could have been answered, as follows:

“What if I’m wrong, well anybody could be wrong, but what I think you are really asking is what if I am wrong and you are right, eliminating the possibility that we are both wrong.  So let’s go with that.  Christianity is correct and spells out the authentic doctrine of the living god.

OK, now let’s suppose you get married and have two children, a son and a daughter. Both become extremely accomplished in their fields of medicine and science, win many awards, have exemplary families, and are loved and respected in their communities and in their churches.  All seems so well.  You and your husband eventually die and go to Heaven.  After a time, you realize that your son and daughter have probably died as well, but you have yet to meet up with them.

Finally, you ask an angel about them and he says that he will look them up to see what happened.  To your chagrin, he informs you that they are both in Hell.  You are in disbelief and ask how that could have happened.  The angel explains that although they went to church, neither one actually believed in Jesus or accepted him as their personal savior, so they died with their sins unforgiven.  Since God cannot let any sin enter into Heaven, they were sent to Hell.

You ask how long they will be there, and the angel tells you it will be for all eternity. He offers to let you view them through a direct link to Hell.  You see your daughter crying out in pain as she is being lashed by three demons, and your son is wallowing in a tub of hot acid.  You cannot believe what you have seen and protest that this is not fair and that you emphatically demand that your children be rescued and sent to Heaven.  The angel upbraids you by saying you must never criticize God, for everything he says is true, and everything he does is just.

Further, he instructs you to go to the next 12-hour praise session that will begin shortly, where you must praise God, raise your hands in worship, and declare that God is great, and fair, and just, and deserves unbridled admiration.

What this vignette shows is the total putrid bankruptcy of the Christian doctrine that you hold dear, and so I respond to your question with a question of my own- WHAT IF YOU’RE RIGHT?”

(452) Cleaning past history

A good sign of a man-made religion is that to function in a modern world it needs to clean up some of its past history.  We see this happening in Christianity.  The following is taken from:

http://blog.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/

The Christian Church is adapting itself to the secular world in almost all areas. It has been remarkably successful in covering its tracks on its traditional teachings. Modern Christians outside the most conservative Christian communities generally have no idea what traditional Christian teachings were on subjects such as capital punishment, torture, slavery, women’s rights, “mixed” marriages, freedom of belief, anti-Semitism, and so on.

The trick is done in to ways. The first is to rewrite history to make Christians the good guys – we all learn in school about Christian reformers, rarely do we hear that they followed generations of non-Christian reformers or that the few Christian reformers spent their lives fighting opposition from the majority of their orthodox brethren. The second is to remove the evidence. Hardly any Inquisition records survive. Trial records disappear. Compromising letters get lost, or edited. Torture chambers get turned into innocuous well-lit offices. Teams of Christians work night and day to ensure that Wikipedia gives a view slanted to the benefit of the Church.

One point of growing embarrassment is the national Saint of Spain. Santiago, Sant Iago, or Saint James, sounds innocuous enough, except that he is actually Santiago Matamoros, Saint James the Moor Killer. In Christian fantasy the heavenly saint fought alongside Christian forces against the Muslims at the Battle of Clavijo during the reconquista, cutting down and trampling God’s enemies. Each year, festivals around the country feature brave Christian knights killing Muslims. A number of Mexican settlements were named Matamoros by Spanish settlers in honour of their patron saint. [note how the picture has been changed]

 

A religion guided by the supernatural  would have no need to whitewash its history as it would all reflect the glory of the living god.

(453) The blood test analogy

One way to test the truth of Christianity is to relate it to a common scientific practice, for example, a blood test that can  yield either a positive or a negative result.  The following is a contribution received from the Center for Inquiry Canada (CFIC), which is a not-for-profit educational organization with headquarters in Toronto, Canada. Its primary mission is to provide education and training to the public in the application of skeptical, secular, rational and humanistic inquiry through conferences, symposia, lectures, published works and the maintenance of a library.

The argument of silence as a blood test

The argument of silence

– A blood test provides the evidence that there isn’t a certain disease

– This means there is a lack of evidence of the disease being in the blood

– This is an argument of silence because there is no evidence of being infected

– Is it conclusive that the person doesn’t have the disease because the blood test was evidence of a lack of it?

– There is no evidence of Jesus and historians and archeologists have looked for centuries for it but have found none and instead found evidence against Jesus being even historical

– There should be evidence if Jesus existed but there is not and the tests have come back negative

What are the tests?:

– That there would be evidence and there isn’t

– That christians would actually be protected with magic and other religions wouldn’t be torturing them to death

– That the entire bible wouldn’t be so full of lies, mistakes, contradictions, scientific inaccuracies and evil atrocities

– That 43,000 sects of christianity wouldn’t exist and just one sect instead

– That Jesus would actually communicate with people and not just the ones who coincidentally are liars and coincidentally suffer from mental disorders

The blood test for Christianity has come back negative.  The apologists claim that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence is emphatically incorrect (if you test negative for HIV, you can assume you are not infected)- the ‘blood test’ for Christianity provides necessary, though not completely sufficient, evidence that Christianity is false.  In a world where Christianity is true, we would expect a probability exceeding 99% that there would be at least some definitive evidence of its truth.  We would expect a positive blood test.

(454) God fails to improve the morals of the Israelites

Christianity would have us believe that God made his initial contact with the Israelites about 6000 years ago and that this was the first contact God made with any humans on the Earth, despite the fact that modern humans had existed for at least 100,000 years previously.  It would be expected that this god would have imparted some important lessons to help make his ‘chosen people’ the shining star beacons of the world, exhibiting a morality and ethics that would stand the test of time all the way to the present day and beyond.

This did not happen.  This god continued to support slavery, the killing of enemies including women and children, the condemnation of homosexuals, the practice of men owning women as property, the killing of animals as sin offerings, the practice of polygamy, etc. In other words, this god imparted a morality exactly identical to what the Israelites were doing already- HE MADE NO CHANGES! He simply endorsed the ethics that existed at the time.

It is incredibly unlikely that a god who could easily understand where human morality would eventually evolve would not have taught his chosen people to follow these more enlightened principles.  The fact that this god simply endorsed the existing morality is very strong evidence that he was created by, and only by, human minds.

(455) Inventing a story to hide an inconvenient scripture

The following is taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/cf0_injunctions.htm

Jesus was definite about the importance of poverty.

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Mark 10:25 cf. Matthew 19:24

Even if he actually said rope rather than camel, he said that it is not enough merely to keep the Commandments. To get to Heaven one must sell everything one has (Mark 10:17-25, Luke 18:18-25, cf. Matthew 19:16-24).

In the Middle Ages, when the Church had become the richest organisation in the world, and its leaders extremely wealthy, this teaching became an embarrassment. Medieval Church leaders therefore invented a more acceptable interpretation. The story they invented was that a narrow gate in the walls of Jerusalem was known as the Needle’s Eye. According to this story a camel might experience a little trouble in passing through this gate, but not enough to cause concern to the rich. There is no evidence that any such gate ever existed, yet the fiction is still repeated today.

This is another example where Christians give supreme authority to scriptures that are convenient to their agenda, but try all sorts of machinations to squirm away from the ones that are contrary.  This scripture is one such example and it shows two things- that Jesus was certain that the world was soon coming to an end and that it’s unlikely that God wouldn’t have known that this scripture was eventually going to be inconsistent with the evolution of future society.  Both contribute to the conclusion that it came from the mind of a human.

(456) Christianity is rooted in fascism

Christianity shares many attributes of fascism:

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/DebunkingChristians/Page31.htm

a) You must obey or be punished.
b) No independent thoughts or free speech. Only conformity is allowed.
c) Your ruler is to be feared, for fear keeps you obedient to authority.
d) The use of fear and guilt as psychological control mechanisms.
e) The view that the individual is weak and powerless, and his/her life is without purpose unless aligned to serve a “higher power” or “collective.” (e.g. God, state or dictator).

What should be clear from this argument is that a real god would not punish reason, open-mindedness, logic, scientific inquiry, or the free thinking of sincere truth-seeking individuals, but a man-made institution bent on subjugating and controlling people to advance political and financial gain would have a strong incentive to discourage these ideals and use fear and mind-controlling tactics to enslave minds and foster obedience.

(457) Biblical prophecies fail a test of authenticity

The Bible contains many prophecies, many of which were written after the fact to make it appear is if it had predicted a certain event.   But what is really important is that none of these prophecies meet the criteria for a legitimate fulfilled prediction- that is they are not specific, they are not falsifiable, and they don’t predict a future event but rather point to a past event. For instance the alleged messianic prophecies in the Old Testament that were used by the Gospel writers were not recognized as being fulfilled prophecies until long after Jesus lived. The pre-Jesus Jews did not recognize them as being predictive of a future messiah.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/09/what-makes-a-good-prophecy-and-why-bible-prophecies-arent/

Beyond this argument is another that cannot be overlooked. The prophecies of Christian preachers over the past 20 centuries can be shown to have been uniformly inaccurate.  How could God have influenced his vocal communicators to disseminate so many failed predictions?

If Christianity is true, it seems that the Bible, inspired if not dictated by God, would contain specific prophecies that would have been unambiguously fulfilled.  Additionally, Christian leaders, being in direct communication with God, should have astounded us with their visions of the future.  Neither of these have happened, and that’s a good sign that Christianity has no connection to anything supernatural.

(458) Eusebius- the great forger

Eusebius of Caesarea (260-339 AD)  was a Roman historian, scholar, and Christian apologist of Greek descent.  He was a close personal friend of Constantine, who became the emperor who promoted and legalized the Christian faith within the Roman Empire.

The problem for Christianity is that Eusebius was an admitted liar and forger who believed that changing historical accounts or even making up totally fictitious stories, so long as they promoted the faith, was justified.

http://www.christianity-revealed.com/cr/files/fathereusebiustheforger.html

Dr. Robert L. Wilken, first Protestant scholar to be admitted to the staff of Fordham University recently wrote:

“Eusebius wrote a history of Christianity in which there is no real history. Eusebius was the first thoroughly dishonest and unfair historian in ancient times”.  (The Myth of Christian Beginnings, History’s Impact on Belief, Chapter III: The Bishop’s Maiden: History Without History,  p73, p57)

Edward Gibbon, speaking of Eusebius wrote:

“The gravest of the ecclesiastical historians, Eusebius himself, indirectly confesses that he has related what might rebound to the glory, and that he has suppressed all that could tend to the disgrace, of religion. Such an acknowledgment will naturally excite a suspicion that a writer who has so openly violated one of the fundamental laws of history has not paid a very strict regard to the observance of the other; and the suspicion will derive additional credit from the character of Eusebius, which was less tinctured with credulity, and more practiced in the arts of courts, than that of almost any of his contemporaries.” (Gibbon, Rome, vol. ii., Philadelphia, 1876).

Paul L. Maier (1999) wrote:

They cannot deny their crime: the copies are in their own handwriting, they did not receive the Scriptures in this condition from their teachers, and they cannot produce originals from which they made their copies. Some have even found it unnecessary to emend the text but have simply rejected the Law and the Prophets, using a wicked, godless teaching to plunge into the lowest depths of destruction. They have not been afraid to corrupt divine Scriptures, they have rescinded the rule of ancient faith, they have not known Christ, they ignore Scripture but search for a logic to support their atheism. If anyone challenges them with a passage from Scripture, they examine it to see if it can be turned into a common syllogism. Abando

Many Christians who are wavering in their faith often use the martyrdom death stories of Jesus’s disciples as evidence of Jesus’s resurrection, claiming that they would not have endured such a fate for a lie.  But it appears that most if not all of these stories are forgeries created by Eusebius and perhaps others.

The Christian religion appears to be the construction of three individuals, none of whom knew Jesus (assuming he existed)- Paul, who became Christianity’s cult leader, Constantine, who had the power to enshrine Christianity as the state religion, and Eusebius, for fraudulently editing the scriptures and forging and masterminding the best ways to mislead people into believing something with no evidence.  Modern-day Christians are following the precepts of these three men, not those of a hypothetical Jewish preacher who roamed the desert 2000 years ago.

(459) Sin labeling

By labeling virtually every natural human urge and function as a sin (from sexuality to excessive eating to acquiring  wealth to having negative feelings about our enemies), the church ensures the lifelong dependency and commitment of its guilt-ridden, emotionally-crippled followers.  This appears to be much more the scheme of human manipulators than the precepts of a benevolent god who would fully understand the limitations and challenges of the human condition.

This is the perfect scam- create an impossible standard to meet, invent a horrible punishment for failing to do so, then offer a way out by demanding an unconditional servitude.

(460) The “Rule of 3”

Man-made religions seem to follow a certain formula- a prophet is selected by a god, the prophet is visited by a celestial creature, and then the prophet constructs a holy text.  Christianity falls into this category with, for example, Islam and Mormonism:

1) Christianity

a) Paul the apostle
b) The archangel Jesus talked to Paul
c) Paul’s 7 authentic letters which had other letters forged as Paul’s and caused the Gospel books to be written

2) Islam
a) Mohammed the prophet
b) Gabriel the archangel talked to Mohammed
c) The Koran written because Gabriel said what to write in it for a 23 year period

3) Mormonism
a) Joseph Smith the prophet
b) Moroni the angel gave Joseph Smith the golden plates temporarily
c) The Book of Mormon is created using the golden plates which they are copied from

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HVuw1wEuaAQ

Any religion that follows this formula is fake.  A real god would not isolate his contact to a single individual but rather would communicate his presence and expectations on a global scale.  The fact that Christianity is dependent on the testimony of a single individual making the extraordinary claim of being visited by a celestial creature is proof positive that it is false.

(461) Stellar Nucleosynthesis (element creation)

Ask your average Christian, where all elements around them came from (including the building blocks of life) and they will say “God did it”.  Ask them if they have ever heard of stellar nucleosynthesis, or fusion from exploding supernovas, and the answer will probably be “no.”

When the Big Bang happened 13.8-14 billion years ago it didn’t create planets and suns instantly like most Christians think that scientists are telling them, but rather by a slow and very gradual process.

After a period of cooling, the Big Bang created 74.99% hydrogen (1 electron) and 24.99% helium (2 electrons) with 0.1 % trace elements of lithium (3 electrons) and beryllium (4 electrons).

The hydrogen and helium clouds eventually collapsed due to gravity creating stars throughout the universe. These stars eventually died and become white dwarfs, or they got so massive that they became supernovas when they collapsed in on themselves.

Some of these white dwarfs reignited and went supernova also, but depending on the size of the star, the bigger ones produced more energy to create more different types of elements.

A star within itself will create various elements with fusion, but only as high as 26 on the element chart (which is iron, the most stable element), so most of the elements created with atomic numbers greater than 26 on the periodic table are created from exploding stars. This is how we have naturally-occurring uranium (atomic number =92) in the Earth.

Everything in our solar system is the same age because it was created from the same supernova that exploded 4.55 billion years ago (which is how we know the age of the Earth because we match it with the age of meteors).

In the last 1000 years there have only been 4 sightings and documentation of supernovas in our Milky Way galaxy.  The last one was recorded in 1987 and was reported as having created 25,000 ‘Earth masses.’

With new technology over the past 20 years, over a thousand supernovas have been observed in other galaxies.

So this is ‘creation’ -a natural process that simply takes place over time naturally and without any supernatural input.  These processes also created the biproducts of life, the same “star stuff” that we are all made of.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_nucleosynthesis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova_nucleosynthesis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_dwarf

http://www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/27304046/Where-Do-Chemical-Elements-Come-From#fullscreen

For a short video to get a quick grasp on how the process works:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uKqvjEE0wFg

This is called science, not magic. Christianity cannot incorporate this scientific creation story into its limited, sophomoric doctrine.  It would be like trying to explain Paris, France with only one photo and one sentence.

(462) The sheer number of gods

Over the past 10,000 years of so, humans have invented approximately 4000 gods, as discussed at this website:

http://www.godchecker.com/

Christians disbelieve in 3999 of these gods, only one less than atheists.  If you have a barrel full of 4000 apples and the first 3999 you pick out are rotten, what’s the chance that the last one will be ripe and ready to eat?

(463) Christians fail to ask themselves the right questions about the Devil

The Old Testament talked about the Devil as an angel who simply tested peoples’ faith and that’s it. Then Christianity made the Devil into something much, much worse.

Now putting the evidence behind regarding how the devil is (obviously) fiction, let’s go even one step further into the reality of what Christians are implying and how they have shown evidence that they really haven’t put any effort into rationalizing it very well in their heads. Christians have demonstrated that they have been indoctrinated to not ask the right questions and to absolutely not ask any questions that put doubt on their faith in their religion.

So let’s go through this:

“The Devil wants you to be evil!”

– Why?
– Who cares?
– If the Devil is so powerful wouldn’t the Devil have better things to do with it’s time?

“The Devil hates God and wants you to turn against God”

– So why wouldn’t God give us evidence then?
– How did the Devil get so powerful?
Why is the Devil not that bad of a guy overall in the Old Testament, but God is a psychopathic narcissist mass murdering bully in it, but God is considered loving?

“The book of Revelation says that Jesus will kill the Devil in the apocalypse!”

– Seriously?
– People actually say that?
– So wouldn’t the Devil know about Jesus planning to kill him since we already know too?
– If the Devil knew then wouldn’t it take measures to stop Jesus from killing it?

“God is more powerful than the Devil”

– So why keep the Devil around?
– Why wouldn’t God run Hell itself since Christians imply that God holds Hell in such high regard and importance?
– Wouldn’t the Earth be better off without the Devil? So why does God keep the Devil around just so God can kill the Devil in the apocalypse?
– Couldn’t God just make the Devil good?

“The Devil makes you do evil things!”

– So God couldn’t just snap its omnipotent fingers and stop the Devil from making people mix their fabrics, eat shell fish, have sex for fun and masturbate?
– Why would the Devil seriously even care?
– If you were the Devil wouldn’t you do something else for a career, or at least get a hobby?
– If you had the power of the Devil the way Christians claim it does, then how would you spend your time?

“You can’t possibly imagine what goes on in the Devil’s mind”

– What goes through the Devil’s head that could actually make sense, if it hypothetically existed and functioned the way Christians claim that it does?
– It’s easy to ask enough questions to see that Christians really haven’t put any effort in this.

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he doesn’t exist.”

– So wouldn’t that be the same trick Jesus pulled since there is not one shred of evidence that Jesus existed?
– Did the Devil learn that trick from God?
– Wouldn’t God logically want people to know that the Devil existed if it did exist and give actual evidence?
– Wouldn’t the Devil logically want people to know it existed if it even remotely filled the role that Christians depict it as filling? So wouldn’t the Devil give us evidence?

Now the question that Christians need to ask themselves the most:

What is more likely?

– That a magical, divine, cosmically powerful telepathic and very evil being exists and makes people do bad things and goes “I’m evil and I love being evil and I love making others be evil and everything I do is evil just because evil is what I’m all about”?

Or

– People have just been child indoctrinated to fear something their whole lives because these fears benefit people who tell you about the fears, by making them rich and controlling and manipulating you for power and money?

Either way, Christianity is based just as much on fearing the Devil and Hell as it is on simply just believing in Jesus and as explained here, if you don’t disbelieve in the devil by examining historical dissection of it, then at least ask yourself the questions regarding the Devil and it’s thought processes and questions based on logic, not faith.

So the bottom line is that the very concept of the Devil and the complete absurdity of such a being is just another reason that Christianity is false.

(464) Cognitive versus intuitive thinkers

A scientific study has shown that  people who process information related to knowledge, attention, memory, judgment, evaluation, reasoning, and computation tend to accept the theory of evolution and are less likely to be religious.

http://www.dailytimesgazette.com/scientists-discovered-how-our-brain-affects-our-decision/16805/

On the other hand, people who process information in an intuitive fashion tend to reject evolution and embrace religion.

Evolutionary theory would suggest that both styles of thinking were adaptive to survival.  Intuitive thinking helped people to form bonds around traditions and religious beliefs while cognitive thinking was critically needed to form industries necessary to survive cold and hunger.

But what can be attested is that a cognitive mind is much better suited to discover objective truths, those facts of reality that are independent of a person’s hopes or desires.  As such, the fact that cognitive thinkers are less religious and more likely to accept evolution provides a measure of evidence that Christianity, and all other religions, are not true.

(465) The ‘Big Rip’ defies a god-created universe

Scientists have known for many years that the universe is expanding and they recently also discovered that the rate of expansion is increasing.  This is because of a strange property referred to as dark energy, which makes up 70% of the content of the universe.  Dark energy is playing a tug-of-war game with gravity, one causing expansion while the other (gravity) tries to compress the universe. Dark energy is winning this battle and recently scientists have calculated the the rate of expansion will not stop, but will extend to an infinite rate such that in 22 billion years it will rip space-time completely apart and nothing will be left- the universe will vanish.

Since the universe is about 14 billion years old, it is nearing its middle age and in 4 billion years it will be halfway through its life, ironically about the time that the sun will enter its final throes of death to become a white dwarf.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/02/not-with-a-bang-but-with-a-big-rip-how-the-world-will-end

It is highly unlikely that the God described by Christianity created a universe with such a fatal flaw in its design. This casts much doubt on the existence of an all-powerful creator deity.

(466) Carnivorous animals

There are approximately 150 species of carnivorous animals currently living on our planet, listed here:

http://www.theanimalfiles.com/mammals/carnivores/carnivores.ht

Many others have gone extinct, including most species of dinosaurs.

Christians typically make one of two assumptions for how life originated on this planet- either God created animals all at once as described in the Genesis accounts, or else he guided the evolutionary processes to ensure that, eventually, beings in his own image would emerge.  Either way, God is responsible for the working mechanics of the animal kingdom.

This is where a major problem develops. If God is benevolent and merciful, why would he create a system that involves so much terror, stress, pain, torture, and suffering to billions of animals that meet their end being ripped apart, skinned, and eaten alive?  The amount of pain this creates is incalculable.

God could have created life that was uniformly herbivorous, leaving the clean-up of dead carcasses to bacteria, worms, or the like. In other words, he could have created a benevolent world where pain, misery, torment, and agony was minimized.

On the other hand, an unguided, un-purposeful evolutionary process would have no impetus or reason to avoid the development of carnivorous behavior, but would in fact favor such activity as a means to cull unfit animals.  Therefore, the existence of carnivorous animals, past and present, is evidence that the God described by Christianity, being supposedly humane, compassionate, and benevolent, does not exist.

(467) Old Testament never said the Messiah would die for our sins

The Christian doctrine that the Jewish Messiah (Jesus) died to pay for mankind’s sins is to be found nowhere in the Old Testament.  In fact Deuteronomy 24:16 states:

“Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.”

This implies that everyone pays for their own sins, the complete opposite of Christian dogma.

Further, nowhere in the Old Testament is there a hint that the Messiah will appear on Earth, leave, and then make a second appearance.  This is significant evidence that Christianity is a fake religion that purports to be the divine extension of Judaism, but is in fact just a gross corruption of the same.

(468) The failure of Christians’ basis for belief

If you ask a Christian why they believe that their faith is true, they will likely give one or more of the following four reasons.  The first three are taken from:

http://www.quora.com/Why-do-atheists-think-that-Christianity-is-false

1. A claim is true if many people believe it’s true. Once, many people believed the world was flat; they believed if you sailed across the Atlantic from Europe, the first continent you’d reach would be India; they believed disease was caused by bad smells; they believed the Sun revolved around the Earth; they believed FDR could walk; etc.

2. A claim is true if leaders and/or wise people say it’s true. Einstein was wrong about Quantum Mechanics; Linus Pauling was wrong about DNA; etc. The Bush Administration was wrong about WMDs.

3. A claim is true if my gut tells me it’s true. Every day for almost 20 years, I knew I would never have a girlfriend. I was absolutely sure of it. I knew it in my heart and in my gut. This Saturday, my wife and I will celebrate our 17th anniversary. I’ve had so many experiences in which stuff “I know in my heart” has turned out to be false. I take “emotional truths” seriously. I think they’re vitally important. But I don’t think they’re reliable guides to cosmology.

And finally, we have:

4. A claim is true if it is documented in an ancient book.  Christians have no problem discounting claims in the Quran or the Book of Mormon, for example, but fail to see why others see the claims in the Bible to be similarly specious.  It shouldn’t be a revelation that many written historical accounts are false.

So what IS a good reason to believe a claim?  How about this?:

5.  A claim is true if it can be demonstrated by multiple, disinterested observers.  The fact that the Earth revolves around the sun meets this criterion. Christianity does not.

(469) The puzzling incongruities of Christian doctrine

The following is an insightful post from the following website,  which asks the question why atheists believe Christianity is false:

http://www.quora.com/Why-do-atheists-think-that-Christianity-is-false

It’s not so much we think it’s false as we think it’s very implausible.

For example, I tend to think like this : we have animal bodies, our chemistry and anatomy is pretty much identical to our close relatives like chimps and gorillas. We see continuities of behaviour and (so we infer) continuities of thought-patterns with them too. Like animals we need to breathe, to eat and drink. We reproduce sexually like animals. We are born as immature infants, grow to maturity; and die. Like animals.

Given all this similarity, which seems most likely :

1) that we, in fact, are animals, that just happen to have acquired some extra tricks of language and abstract thinking and got ideas above our station?

Or

2) that we are, in fact, immortal spirits that a super immortal spirit has decided to send on a tour of duty of the physical world, packed into a mortal animal body? For no apparent reason whatsoever. (Remind me again, if everything in Christianity is about immortal souls, why IS there a physical world at all?)

Is it more likely that the sexual instinct to reproduce ourselves is an essential weapon in our evolutionary struggle? Or that the super-spirit just happened to arbitrarily make us intensely horny despite not wanting us to do too much of it, too early, or with too many people or with the wrong kind of people?

Is it more likely that we are born / grow / die like animals because we’re animals? Or that the super-spirit which could have had us pop into physical existence as adults chose (once again, arbitrarily) to create us in the form of immature babies and have us grow to maturity. Like all the other animals.

Given that souls are immortal (and there are presumably a finite number) why are bodies not? Why is the physical world not simply populated with a finite collection of these souls walking around (on a sufficiently big enough planet.)? Why the constant dripping of them out one generation after another?

Ultimately my reason for rejecting Christianity is not a single piece of evidence but a holistic picture. The materialist / evolutionary idea of us as a smart animal makes sense of everything: why we come into the world through sexual reproduction, why we’re born, grow and die. Why we need to eat, drink, breathe. Why we feel desire, hunger. All these factors unfold from the basic principle of what animals are.

Christianity OTOH annihilates that coherence. Why we’re stuck here in physical bodies. Why we appear as infants and grow to be adults. Why we have sex. Why we need to eat. And breathe. Why we die. Why there are generations and generations of us. All of these must simply be whims of God, because immortal souls seem to have none of these characteristics.

This commentator has nailed the reasons why analytically-thinking people have a problem with the claims of Christianity.  In the first order, they just doesn’t make sense.

(470) Cognitive inhibition

Recent studies have identified a portion of the brain (the right inferior frontal gyrus) that is more strongly activated in skeptics than in believers.  This area of the brain is associated with the ability to override certain mental processes, or the ability to disassociate events from inbred beliefs or prejudices.  A person with strong cognitive inhibition would see a rainbow as just a rainbow, whereas someone with weak cognitive inhibition might see it as a sign that God is answering their prayer.

http://www.alternet.org/belief/why-doesnt-everyone-believe-god-skeptical-brain-may-hold-answer

It is well known that the tendency to see thing that aren’t actually there is associated with survival in term of our evolutionary past. From the same website:

He gives the example of an early human hearing a “rustle in the grass.” Is it a hungry predator or is it the wind? If the person assumes it’s a hungry predator but it’s actually the wind, he or she will come to no harm. But if the person believes it’s the wind when it’s actually a hungry predator, it could mean death. So, the tendency to be overly cautious and falsely believe leads to being able to pass on those cautious, believing genes. Or, as Shermer puts it, “we are the descendants of those who were most successful at finding patterns.”

Shermer adds that once humans see the patterns, they tend to infuse them with “meaning, intention, and agency.” He calls this “agenticity.” How does this lead to supernatural belief?

“God is the ultimate pattern that explains everything that happens,” he wrote, “the ultimate intentional agent.”

The significance of this is that it provides scientific evidence that religious belief is more of an internal phenomenon, rather than a reasoned analysis of external information.  A person with strong cognitive inhibition is much more likely to find truths external to him or herself and thus can be better trusted to identify an authentic description of reality.  Which means that Christianity is sustained by people who tend to mix reality with credulous predispositions that are forged by their inherited brain structure and by childhood inculcation.

(471) Desire-based belief

There are times when what we desire contaminates what we know to be true.  Take a lottery.  People will buy a ticket not because they think they will win, but because they know they MIGHT win, and this makes them feel ‘virtually’ wealthy at least until the numbers are drawn.  Suppose you buy a $1 ticket and then someone comes along and tells you that your chance to win is virtually zero, and they offer to buy back the ticket.  Very few people will take that offer, even though they know they will most certainly end up losing the money.

Something similar is happening to most Christians..  They understand that it’s unlikely that they will actually be resurrected to an eternal blissful life, but they don’t want to give up that very small chance that it might be true.  So instead of taking a mature approach to reality, they cling to a precariously dangling belief.

But nothing can be more sad than a world full of grown adults perpetuating a morally and intellectually stunted set of beliefs merely out of want.  And given this reality, the pervasive belief in Christianity should not be seen as evidence for it’s truth, but rather as a product of the deceitful exploitation of the dreams of its followers.

(472) God fails to select righteous Popes

For at least the first 15 centuries after the birth of Christianity, the Roman Catholic Pope was God’s first-in-line ‘spokesman’ or representative of the Christian faith on Earth.  The Pope was the mirror of God in an earthly body, receiving direct communications from God, and he was allegedly infallible.  If Christianity is to be taken seriously, one must assume that God was involved in the voting processes that selected each Pope, and that God would always assure that each one possessed the character necessary to shed a positive light on the faith. Further, it can be assumed that God would guide and inspire the Popes appropriately during their terms.

The exact opposite happened.  Most of the Popes have been either incompetent, corrupt, lecherous, or murderous.  The sordid tales of past Popes comprises a long litany of embarrassments for the Church.

This website estimates the number of people killed by Popes during the Middle Ages and later:

http://www.cs.unc.edu/~plaisted/estimates.html#_Toc135810590 

As it stands, 80 popes were directly responsible for the torture and murder of over 50 MILLION people by some of the most painful and excruciating ways to die possible.

This website takes on the difficult task of picking the worst 10 Popes:

http://www.oddee.com/item_96537.aspx

Would the Christian God have allowed this situation if he was actually engaged in guiding the Christian faith?  No.  What has occurred, however, is directly in line with the common history of human-centered enterprises. The fact that the Papacy has been corrupted by so many unworthy men is extremely significant evidence that the Christian God does not exist.

(473) The Bible is irrelevant

If the Bible was truly the inspired work of a supreme celestial deity, we would expect it to be the most important resource book ever created to guide people so that they would know how to behave, to do good deeds, and to avoid doing evil.  But what we actually see in the Bible is that it gives guidance only for good behavior that was already obvious to everyone at the time, AND it adds much evil guidance that is antithetical to good moral and ethical values.

Here we have a list of 516 good things in the Bible:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/good/long.html

This is a nice list, but everything there was already known to humanity before the Bible came into existence.

Now let’s see what it says about bad things.  Here are 1321 references and commands of cruelty and violence from Yahweh and Jesus :

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html

Here are 1528 references of injustice that Yahweh and Jesus seem to be okay with:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/inj/long.html

Here are 2307 things of absurdity throughout the Bible:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/abs/long.htm

So what would be the difference in the world today if the Bible didn’t exist?  All of the good would still be incorporated into our conventional wisdom, and all of the bad would be eliminated from our collective conscience.  Thus, the Bible is irrelevant. It’s existence is a net negative.  This would not be true if the Christian god was real.

(474) Dreams

Nearly every human as well as dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, wolves, giraffes, zebras, lions, elephants, and many other animals have dreams.  With modern scientific tools, we can map the areas of the brain that are activated during dreams, and thus we

understand now that dreams are a product of purely physical processes occurring in the brain.

In past history, though, before the age of modern science, dreams were often considered to be messages received from gods or other ethereal beings, and thus were deemed to be very important and relevant to policies, decision-making, and religious beliefs.  An unpopular law could be justified by a tribal leader who claimed he received it in a dream, and thus it had a supernatural imprimatur.

Dreams were one of the major reasons ancient people believed there was something beyond the material world, and that fueled much of their belief in gods and other such beings.  They are likely the source of many claimed encounters with gods, encounters that were eventually related as real life experiences that became dogma supporting religious claims.  Episodes of people meeting a resurrected Jesus or Paul being visited on the road to Damascus probably fits in this category.

The fact that dreams are now understood to be regular brain activity and not a stimulus from any external source provides counter-evidence for all religions, including Christianity.

(475) Money reveals the fraud of Christianity

If Christianity is true, then its principal worship figure, Jesus, is God and has complete control over everything that happens.  The Jesus described in the gospels was very anti-wealth and extolled the virtues of poverty, giving alms to the poor, and helping people in need.  He stated that people of wealth would be unlikely to enter heaven, and even encouraged wealthy people to give up everything to the poor.

But what did Christianity become?  Magnificently expensive cathedrals and churches,  well-paid clergy, evangelistic preachers flying private jets,  museums with art worth millions, land holdings and properties worth billions protected from taxes. In other words, Christianity has evolved into an elaborate corporate infrastructure that would appall Jesus, who would emphatically reject it all.

But Jesus is supposedly God and remains in the eyes of Christianity an all-powerful entity who can control events to his liking.  If that’s the case, why would Jesus have allowed Christianity to become the exact opposite of what he preached while he was on Earth?  We would expect something very different- no big churches, perhaps just groups meeting in persons’ houses, but spending almost all of their time witnessing and helping others in need rather than singing songs in a church accompanied by an expensive organ.  It is actually a disgrace how little of the tax exempt donations made to churches goes to the types of activities that Jesus would approve.

The trail of money in Christianity shows that it is a human-centered business with no association whatsoever with the Biblical figure of Jesus.

(476) “God works in mysterious ways”

The statement “God works in mysterious ways” is just a euphemism for saying “stop asking difficult questions.”  It also is a suggestion to quit using so much logic and critical thinking.  But what it mostly reveals is the fact that Christians are constantly being bombarded with evidence that is contradictory to their beliefs.  This comes in the form of, for example, unanswered prayers, natural disasters, and scientific discoveries.  So this trite remark is a defense mechanism used to suppress any cognitive dissonance.  It should be well understood and obvious that if Christianity was a true religion, invoking God’s mysterious behavior would not be necessary.

(477) Jesus is superfluous

If we are taking the Bible at its word, even if we assume that it tells an exact history and that God created the world just 6000 years ago, then we must assume that the ancient Hebrews, including figures such as Moses, Elijah, and Abraham, were able to get to heaven just by believing in and obeying God.  In other words, they didn’t need for Jesus to die on a cross so that their ‘original’ and lifetime sins could be forgiven.  This means that Jesus’s death on the cross was superfluous, not needed whatsoever.

This presents a logical stumbling block for Christianity and reveals the mistake of tying its roots to an already established religion.  If people could get to heaven without Jesus, why did God send Jesus to die for our salvation?  It makes no sense.

(478) Jesus birth year problem

Matthew 2:13 states:

Now when they were departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I tell thee: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

We know from multiple and reliable Roman records that Herod died in 4 BC, indicating that Jesus must have been born prior to that date.

However, Luke 2:1-7 states:

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

We also know from multiple and reliable Roman sources that Quirinius was made governor in 6 AD.  Therefore, Jesus was allegedly alive in 4 BC but was born in 6 AD.  At least one of these accounts must be in error.

To try to sort out which one is in error, we can look at the writings of the historians who were alive and living in this area during this time, including Columella, Florus Lucius, Geminus, Phaedrus, Titus Livius, Marcus Paterculus, Pomponius Mela, Valerius Maximus, and Lucius Seneca, to see when  they noticed an unusual star that stayed in the same place in the sky for weeks. This would give a clue as to whether Luke or Matthew was mistaken.  Unfortunately, none of these historians published anything about a star, or about Herod killing infant babies, or anything else that would relate to the birth of Jesus, or, in fact, to anything related to Jesus, including the miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection.  They were completely silent.

So from this we can confidently state that a significant error was made by a gospel writer and that placing Jesus in a fixed chronological setting is impossible. This, of course, adds evidence to the concept that he was mythologized if not completely made up.

(479) The birth of Christianity- in 49 AD?

Although we have gospel accounts generally placing Jesus in the time frame from 4 BC to about 30 AD, the first mention in history of Christian followers comes in 49 AD with the first extant letter written by Paul to the Galatians.  It is enlightening to see what he wrote.

Galatians 1:1-11:

Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers and sisters with me, to the churches in Galatia:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

It is evident in this letter that Paul is writing to a pagan church, perhaps one he had preached at previously, and is upset that they are straying away from his gospel of Christ, that they had initially accepted, but were now turning back to their pagan gods. It is important to note that Paul stated that his gospel is not of human origin, so he seems to think of Jesus as only a spiritual creature. Indeed, he never wrote of any of the earthly history of Jesus but only referred to events after the resurrection.  Paul never saw Jesus.

This raises the possibility that Paul created Christianity all by himself based on some dream or hallucination, began preaching and writing to the pagan churches of his experience, and started to covert followers.  The gospels were not written until at least 70 AD, and these were most likely written by followers of Paul who had an incentive to create an historical footprint for the Jesus figure, and with a goal to make this figure consistent with Paul’s gospel. Another follower of Paul could have manufactured a fake history of the early church in the Book of Acts.

Even if Jesus was an actual historical figure, the admission of Paul in his letter to the Galatians indicates that the early Christians were not fully convinced of Jesus’s divinity, given that they were so easily de-converted less than 20 years after the resurrection, and given that some of them may have physically witnessed that event.

(480) Bible was translated in biased fashion by Christian scribes

There is a good reason to conclude that the Bible was tampered with by scribes and other ecclesiastical authorities during the first centuries after the birth of Christianity, as there was a natural bias to make the scriptures match the evolving doctrines.  The following is taken from this website:

http://www.quora.com/Why-do-atheists-think-that-Christianity-is-false

The bible was transcribed by human hands 70 to 300 years after the time of Christ. Any ancient text is difficult to translate accurately, but this is made doubly troublesome by the fact that modern editions of the Bible are almost all made by devout Christians.  This means that in many editions passages on which key Christian doctrines are based tend to be translated with those doctrines in mind, which skews the way they are translated.  This means that many of the very passages used by Christians to support, say, the idea Jesus was God are translated in a way that supports that doctrine.  Which makes using them to back up the doctrine in question an exercise in circular reasoning. There is nothing in the bible that can relate to concepts in modern life. People have already thrown out more than half of what is in the bible and yet hold on to other parts only because they are convenient.

This highlights a huge problem for Christianity.  So much depends on the the accuracy of the Bible and instead what is left is a highly questionable and unreliable text.

(481) Science true everywhere, not religion

The science of gravity, electromagnetism, and hydraulics, for example is the same everywhere on the planet.  What is true in China, is true in Pakistan, and is equally true in Canada.  Religion does not display this regional consistency, as each continents has different gods.  This reveals them to be local cultural inventions.

If one religion was real, it would be universal, similar to science. Which is another way of saying that if there is a god and that god wanted to communicate with people, it would do so in a universal fashion.  A human-made religion would be the opposite, starting in a very small spit of land before spreading outward.  This suggests the likelihood that all religions are man-made.

(482) Atheism is not a choice

If we are to view Christianity as being a fair and logical system of reward and punishment, then one must assume that atheists, who presumably are bound for Hell, have made an unfortunate choice that will lead to their destruction.  It would not be fair to send a person to Hell if their lack of belief was beyond their control. However, a person’s theological belief Is beyond their control, as explained in this article in Psychology Today:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201109/disbelief-is-not-choice

What this means is that Christianity’s approach to atheists is misdirected similarly to society’s bashing of gay people, who also are that way beyond their control.  This points out a major fallacy of Christianity- it fails to provide sufficient evidence of its authenticity, but then punishes people who have mental faculties and upbringings that cause them, without any choice, to disbelieve.  No god would establish such an unfair scheme as this.  He would ensure that his existence and rules were established fact.

(483) Secular spirituality

Many Christians justify the belief in their faith based on the feelings they experience when worshiping- as being evidence that they are being filled with the Holy Spirit.  This would constitute real evidence if it only happened to Christians and not to followers of other religious faiths.  Of course, this is not the case.  Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists have the same rapturous experiences.

Atheists and agnostics also have these experiences, indicating that they do not originate from anything supernatural, but are instead just the inner workings of the human brain.  This is described at this website:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roger-housden/secular-spirituality-an-oxymoron_b_1211837.html

Seeing a whale in the ocean, a beautiful rainbow, a child saved by heroic efforts, or a successfully executed intricate space mission can elicit the same kinds of inner feelings in atheists that Christians experience in their lives.  This fact significantly erodes the evidence for Christianity by showing that it does not have a uniquely manifested effect on peoples’ emotional experiences.

(484) Biblical incongruity about Jesus’s conception

In Luke 1:26-35, we read:

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

This indicates that Mary was told before she was pregnant that she would conceive a baby.  In Matthew 1:18-21, we read:

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about : His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,f because he will save his people from their sins.”

So, the problem is this. Mary was told by an angel that she would conceive a child through a miraculous conception. Later, after it became obvious that she was pregnant, Joseph contemplated divorcing her (or ending the engagement)- until an angel visited him. Therefore the time between the angel informing Mary and the angel informing Joseph had to be at least two months.

For these two passages to be true, we have to assume that Mary did not tell her fiancee, Joseph, about the angelic visit, despite this being a life-changing experience.  Despite at least the passage of two months, and despite all of the issues related to the implications of being an unwed mother.

This example shows that Luke and Matthew were making up stories and failed to make sure that they were consistent.

(485) Fabricated snake story in the Book of Acts

It’s pretty obvious that there are numerous made-up fables in the Book of Acts.  It reads like an analog to the Iliad and the Odyssey. But it’s not easy to prove that these stories are false, though in the case of Acts 28:1-6, the story of a snake that bit the Apostle Paul is provably false.

Acts 28:1-6

Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

There is solid scientific and historical evidence that poisonous snakes have never lived on the island of Malta, and this fact definitely applies to the 1st Century. The story implies that natives living on Malta witnessed Paul being bit by a snake and expected him to die.  The natives would have had to witness fatal snake bites to have had this reaction.  These facts prove that this story is false.

(486) Scientific mistakes in the Bible

If the Bible was actually inspired by the Christian god, or any god for that matter, we would expect it to contain accurate scientific information, even if the men who were writing the books were themselves ignorant of the same.  However, the Bible displays precisely the scientific ignorance of its time, as shown at this website:

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/DebunkingChristians/Page9.htm

The Bible asserts that insects have four feet, that rabbits chew their cud, that snakes eat dirt and dust, that the bat is a bird, that snails melt, that the Earth is flat, that the Earth is motionless, that the Moon is a light, that the sun is same age as the other stars in the sky, and that the wind is held in storehouses.

In addition, there are mathematical mistakes, such as assigning 3.0 to the value of pi, and numerous counting errors.

These errors and mistakes can only mean one thing: The Bible was written by the people of its time without the guiding inspiration of an all-knowing celestial deity.

(487) Doctrine of atonement is missing from the first three gospels

The core theological principle of modern Christianity is that Jesus died on the cross to absolve the sins of mankind (this is termed ‘atonement’).  It is succinctly summarized in John 3:16:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

However, there is a crucial problem- this concept is not discussed in the earlier three gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke) with the exception of an apocryphal verse added to the ending of Mark that is universally understood to be a later addition (it is missing in the oldest extant manuscripts).

Instead, the earlier gospels indicate that a person can be saved and go to heaven simply by being good servants, following the commandments, being peacemakers, giving to the poor- in other words, all of the things that a real god might be interested in.  The question has to be asked: If Jesus dying on the cross is so central to Christian doctrine how could the authors of Mark, Matthew, and Luke have been unaware of it?  And going further, using the Christian assumption that God was writing through the human hands of these authors, how could God have failed to articulate the atonement doctrine, given that early Christians had available only the first three gospels for several decades?

The answer to this dilemma is obvious- the atonement doctrine was an idea that evolved only after the time of Jesus, most likely the unique invention of Paul, and was not ever taught by Jesus to his disciples. It is important to note that the requirement to believe in the sacrifice of Jesus versus just being good people gave the Church much more power and control over Christian followers.

(488) Jesus was not extraordinary

It would be expected that a god-man would stand out in many spectacular ways to differentiate himself from all of the false messiahs that have populated the Earth.  This was not the case for Jesus. The following is taken from:

http://atheistfoundation.org.au/article/christianity-is-false-and-immoral/

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.

These limitations and biases are not the hallmark of a divine being. It should be obvious that Jesus, assuming that he was an actual historical figure, was nothing more than a mortal man.

(489) Selective belief in prophets

It is a common practice of religious people to accept the claims of the prophets supporting their faith while dismissing all others, despite the obvious similarities among all of them.  This selective belief is caused by training and inculcation, not a concerted effort to objectively evaluate the various candidates. To this end, we can say the following: Christians, as well as followers of other faiths, are over-trained and under-educated when it comes to religion.

Here is an excerpt from this website:

http://thewisesloth.com/2009/12/19/prophets-and-cognitive-dissonance/

Consider everyone throughout history and around the world who have claimed to be prophets but weren’t/aren’t accepted by traditional Christians: Joseph Smith of the Latter-Day Saints, Muhammad of Islam, the Dali Lama of Buddhism, L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Sun Myung Moon, etc., etc., etc.

Why do Christians discredit these individuals as being false prophets? Why not just have faith in any of them?  They all fail the test of reason. Christians understand that common sense tells you their stories were fabricated.Theywould tell you that all the other prophets’ stories are scientifically impossible based on what we know about how the universe operates. It’s obvious God didn’t give Joseph Smith magical golden plates. It’s obvious an angel riding a flying horse didn’t reveal Himself to Muhammad. It’s obvious the Dali Lama wasn’t reincarnated. It’s obvious L. Ron Hubbard was a science fiction writer desperate for a pay check who wrote the most profitable fantasy story he could think of. Why is it obvious? Because God told us? No. Atheist and Christians alike all over the world have figured out that those stories aren’t historically accurate, because we put them to the test of reason and evidence and found the claims of false prophets lacking.

We know these things to be true, and yet when Christians look at their own religion they don’t practice what they preach. Take the apostle, Paul for example. Paul saw God on a journey from one place to another just like Muhammad. Afterwards magical scales formed on his eyes until he made it to the end of his journey where they were miraculously removed. Afterwards he was imbued with the authority of God, and angels helped him along his way. God even caused an earthquake to get him out of prison.

Mormons fail to see the obvious fraud of Joseph Smith, not because they are unintelligent, but because their brains have been messed with, hardwired if you will, to accept childhood teachings while systematically dismissing any information to the contrary. Christians accept Paul in the same way.

(490) Bible rules are a reflection of ancient Middle Eastern Jewish culture

One thing we would expect to find if a god visited the earth and made contact with human beings is that any rules that would be promulgated would be independent to large extent from the rules that previously existed within the culture of the god’s chosen people. In other words, the god would instill a new paradigm that would reflect a higher and more enlightened standard of behavior. However, the Bible simply endorsed what was already in place.  The following is taken from:

http://thewisesloth.com/2009/10/28/what-is-sin/

So I took a year-long course on The Torah and read the Bible from cover to cover. To my astonishment, the only common denominator I found that tied all the commandments of the Bible together logically and coherently is this: Everything the Bible says is a sin was a cultural taboo in ancient Middle Eastern Jewish culture. You only have to scratch the surface of The Torah to find this, and the deeper you dig, the more you’ll find.

Consider some of the sins listed in the Torah and try to find the common denominator they all share:

  • You can’t cut your sideburns.
  • You have to be circumcised.
  • You can’t work on Sunday
  • You can’t eat animals with cloven hoofs.
  • You can beat your slaves, kill your children and sell your daughters.
  • If you have a wet dream you have to leave the camp for several days until you’re spiritually clean again.

Finding any other pattern between the sins listed in the Bible becomes harder when you include The New Testament. Find a common theme in these New Testament rules:

  • Homosexuality is still a sin.
  • Adultery is still a sin, but you should no longer stone adulterers.
  • Slavery is still approved of, and slaves or told to obey they masters at least 4 times.
  • Working on Sunday is now okay.
  • Not believing the story of Jesus is a now a worse sin than murder.
  • Divorce isn’t a sin if the wife fornicates.
  • Stealing is still bad.
  • Women shouldn’t wear pearls or gold, and they should either cover their heads during prayer or shave their heads.
  • Jesus turns water into wine for people to drink, but Paul says drinking is a sin.

Put the rest of the Bible to the test if you don’t believe me. Read the whole thing, and every time there is a commandment stated or implied, write it down. Make a list, and then try to find some form of logical, purpose-driven standard that ties them altogether. I guarantee there is only one common denominator that elegantly and without exception ties all of the rules in the Bible together.

That denominator is simply this- the Bible was written by men who invented a god who conveniently believed the same things they did about sin and rules of conduct.  This is convincing evidence that the Bible is not a supernaturally inspired document.

(491) Jesus casts our demons in Mark, Matthew, and Luke, but not in John

There are 25 Biblical verses in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke where Jesus casts out demons from people allegedly inflicted with an evil force.

http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Jesus-Casting-Out-Demons

There are additional accounts of the apostles banishing demons in the Book of Acts.  However, it is interesting to note that there is no mention of demons in the Gospel of John (which was written after Mark, Matthew, Luke, and Acts).  Why is this?  If exorcism was such an important feature of Jesus’s ministry, why would it have been left out of the gospel that most completely summarizes modern Christian doctrine? Could it be that the author of John was better educated and understood that demons were not real entities?

No matter what, these facts present two problems for Christianity. First, that Jesus, who was God according to Christians, believed that imaginary creatures were causing disease and afflictions.  Second, that the latest and most important gospel dropped all mention of demons.  This is a one-two punch against Christianity- combining a mythological superstition with a crucial contradiction.

(492) God’s short and restricted visit to the Earth

Christians believe that Jesus was God and that he visited the earth in a material body to invoke a new theological contract with humans. Consider the parameters of this highly significant visit.  According to Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus’ ministry covered about one year.  But according to John, Jesus’ ministry covered about three years. This is a mild contradiction, but the much larger point is that even if we assume the 3-year figure, this is still a very short time compared to the ensuing and ongoing 1985 years of his complete absence.

This point is further underlined by the fact that the boundaries of Jesus’s ministerial travels accounted for well less than 1% of the Earth’s inhabited surface area at the time.

Also, it is interested to note that this momentous visit was made during a relatively primitive time before reliable historical records were available.

How likely is it that the god of the universe would decide to visit our planet but stay only for a brief spec of time, confining himself to a small, isolated corner of the world, at a time when historical records of this visit would be unreliable, and then completely vanish for 20 centuries? The answer is obvious: extremely unlikely.

(493) Christians fear questioning their faith

The reward is so phenomenal and the punishment so brutal that faithful Christians are trapped in a bind wondering how to deal with family and friends who appear to be bound for Hell.  It would be as if they see you in front of two buttons, one which gives you a billion dollars, the other which places you a billion dollars in debt and they see you aiming for the ‘bad’ button.

The infinitely huge gap between the fate of going to Hell or going to Heaven also instills a great amount of stress for their own lives.  It instills a fear that if they even so much as question their belief, they could lose everything. The following is from:

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/DebunkingChristians/Page3.htm

Besides fear of this literal eternal damnation, there is also a fear of losing eternal life in heaven as well.  Before, the common Christian doctrine was that once you’re saved, you’re always saved and nothing you can do will cause you to lose your salvation.  Now though, many churches have changed that doctrine or are reconsidering changing it, probably because of the large number of deconverts from the faith who give it a bad reputation by doing whatever they want and claiming to have eternal life with nothing to lose.  Regardless of church doctrine, it is natural for a born-again Christian to have a natural fear that challenging his faith might result in the loss of his/her eternal life, or at least the discovery that it was never real in the first place.  Now think of what that means too.  To lose one’s immortality would be like losing a million dollars (though in technical terms, immortality would actually be worth a lot more than a million dollars of course, but you get the idea).  So naturally, one would cling very tight to it.  And one would be scared to death of risking either losing immortality or being subject to eternal damnation.  Hence, it is UNTHINKABLE for them to question or challenge this theology or religion.  And even if they do have doubts deep down inside, they would not dare declare them, but instead try to suppress them.

We can draw two points from this discussion. First, it is unlikely that a real god would inflict people with this kind of dilemma, fearing the free exercise of logical thinking.  Second, the success of Christianity to retain followers is due in large part to believers shutting out doubt rather than them being convinced by evidence of its truthfulness.  A real god would never have created places such as Heaven and Hell with such an ambiguous basis for how people would be assigned.

(494) Christians used the Bible to defend segregation

In the United States, and elsewhere, Christians of the middle to  late 20th Century used the Bible to defend laws supporting the segregation of the races.  One of the most complete explanations of this doctrine was delivered by Bob Jones, Sr. on Easter Sunday in 1960:

http://www.kyroot.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1181&action=edit

The following excerpt is taken from this site:

http://www.alternet.org/belief/10-things-traditional-christians-got-terribly-wrong

Religious leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. led the desegregation movement, but it’s also important to note that the pro-segregation movement was also conceived as a Christian one. Arguments against “race mixing” were largely framed in religious terms. The judge who initially ruled against the interracial couple in Loving v. Virginia argued that the “Almighty God” put people on separate continents and “did not intend for the races to mix.” Christian right leader Jerry Falwell got his start fighting to uphold segregation, giving sermons about how integration was offensive to God. As Max Blumenthal noted in the Nation, the modern religious right as we know it started off as a movement to defend segregation.

This is just one of many examples where social progress has been stymied by religious leaders claiming that God was supporting their position. But if God is real and is the all-intelligent, compassionate, and super-enlightened figure that Christians claim, it would seem that he would have made it a high priority to abolish racism and segregation.  Unfortunately, he set a very poor example by choosing the Jews as his ‘chosen people,’ thereby installing a concrete endorsement of racial inequality (for example, he saw the Samaritans as being a lesser race).

The Christian God could and should have inspired religious leaders to take the lead in abolishing segregation and racism through scripture and by way of personal revelation- if he actually existed. Given this failure, it can be concluded that he either isn’t there or has a morality that is inferior to almost every person alive today.

(495) The folly of worshiping God

Christians are commanded to worship their god and are punished severely and for eternity if they fail to do so.  Right off the bat, we are immersed in a pathological victimization plot.  But let’s examine the reasons why God should be worshiped.

Did God do anything to become God?  Did he start out as something less and then by extraordinary efforts become a god through hard work and on his own initiative?  No, he simply came to be, complete, and in his final form. That is not a basis for worship.

Did this god create humans and place them in a world conducive to their lives?  No, the earth did not even come into being until about 9 billion years after the Big Bang, and humans did not evolve for another 4.5 billion years. The history of evolution indicates that there was no guiding force to create humans and that it was only the eventual product of many catastrophic extinctions.  Our existence on this planet is no basis for worshiping God.

Did this god provide scientific wisdom to alleviate human suffering? Perhaps helping people to understand the germ theory of disease or lessons in nutrition, or ways to grow and cultivate food?  No, nothing of this sort was communicated by this god.

Did this god give people a good moral code to live by?  No, not even close.  He endorsed slavery, the concept of women as the property of men, and the killing of homosexuals and rebellious children. Many great leaders and authors have formulated a much better morality than what is described in the Bible.

Did this god do anything to protect people from disease or natural disasters, or the actions of evil persons? No, he has done nothing to limit evil in the world.

Did this god do anything himself that would be considered evil? Yes, he murdered over 20 million people in many different ways, including giving orders to kill women, children, and infants.  In other words, this god is a mass murderer. He also created an eternal torture chamber for those who failed to believe in him.

As can be seen, there is no reason for any person to worship the Christian god other than his jealous demand for the same.  If a religion identifies a god figure that doesn’t merit worship, it is nearly certain that that religion is false.

(496) Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph are mythical characters

Most Biblical scholars as well as reasonable adults acknowledge that Adam and Eve as well as Noah are mythical figures in Jewish folklore.  But until recently, it was generally accepted that Abraham, his son Isaac, as well as Jacob and Joseph were actual historical people.  New research now indicates that these patriarchal personalities are most likely mythical.

Based on anachronistic elements in the narratives combined with the evidence that they were written at least 600 years after the alleged events indicates that the stories were the product of mythical oral traditions that were passed along, augmented, and distorted as happened inevitably during pre-historic times.

The following website provides a good summary of this research:

http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/abraham.html#top

The reason this is significant is that it expands the portion of the Old Testament that is non-historical and also brings into question the narratives that followed.  It also undermines the foundational bedrock upon which Judaeo-Christianity is built.

(497) The location of Heaven and Hell

Early Christians believed that the Earth was flat and located in the center of universe, which was very small and only consisted of the surface, the ground below, and a celestial dome above adorned with little spots of light (the stars) that rotated around the terrestrial disc. With this understanding, they could conceive of Hell being located in the ground below them and Heaven somewhere above the celestial dome.

Using this simplistic model of the world, it was easy to conceive of Heaven and Hell as being actual, physical places. The modern, much more accurate understanding of the Earth and its surroundings makes it much harder. We certainly cannot place Hell in the Earth’s interior or Heaven somewhere in outer space.  No Christian today would think that we could drill down to discover Hell or devise a spacecraft that could fly to Heaven. In other words, Christians will agree that Heaven and Hell are not part of the universe in which we live.  They will also agree that we could not fly a spacecraft anywhere in the universe to take a photograph of God or Satan.

So this begs the question: Where do these things exist- Heaven, Hell, God, and Satan?  If they are not physically in this world, is there any reason to conclude that they are anything other than imaginary places and imaginary beings?

(498) Raising people from the dead

The New Testament is full of people being raised from the dead, including the widow’s son at Nain (Luke 7:13-15), Jairus’s daughter (Matthew 9:25), Lazarus (John 11:43-44), the saints rising from their graves after Jesus’s crucifixion (Matthew 27:52-53), Jesus (Matthew 28:5-7), Peter raising Tabatha (Acts 9:36-42), and Paul raising Eutychus (Acts 20:9-12).

In the first order, it is understood that when people are dead, they cannot be brought back to life. That is a universal assumption. However, given that there is a belief that Jesus was divine, it can be quasi-conceded that he had the power to raise dead people, including himself.

However, it gets more problematic when Peter and Paul are alleged to have raised dead people.  This seems to imply that anyone with sufficient faith should be able to do the same.  So the question is: Why can’t anyone, no matter how faithful, no matter how many people join them in the effort, raise anyone from the dead today? There are two possibilities- either God has withdrawn this capability from his followers or the two resurrection accounts in the Book of Acts are fictional. It will be left to the reader to decide which of these two is more likely.

(499) God did not select the books for the Bible

Most Christians think that the Bible has been unchanged from it’s original creation and that God inspired the men who determined which books should be included.  This is not true.

The following is taken from:

http://freethought.mbdojo.com/canon.html

Most Christians seem to think that the bible (as it is now, with its sixty-six or so books, divided into chapters and verses) has existed for thousands of years. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the bible that most Christians are familiar with is a fairly recent contrivance. The religious term “canon” refers to the divinity of a specific set of writings. Just which books are canonical and which are not has been the subject of debate among Judeo-Christian leaders for the last two thousand years. The Protestant Church did not agree on which books should be contained in the bible until as late as 1647, at the Assembly of Westminster.

New Testament Books which are now accepted by Christians, but which were for a time rejected, are Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation.

Books now excluded from the canon, but which are found in some of the older manuscripts of the New Testament, are Shepherd of Hermas, Epistle of Barnabas, 1 Clement, 2 Clement, Paul’s Epistle to Laodiceans, Apostolic Constitutions.

Books accepted as canonical by some Jews, and for most part by the Greek and Roman Catholic churches, but rejected by the Protestants, are Baruch, Tobit, Judith, Book of Wisdom, Song of the Three Children, History of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Manasseh, Ecclesiasticus, 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, 5 Maccabees.

The only books of the bible which are accepted as divine by all Jews and all varieties of Christians are the first five books of the Old Testament: the Pentateuch.

If God was the agent for selecting the books to be included in the Bible, why wouldn’t he have gotten it right at the beginning?  Why would books be included, then discarded, or at first discarded, and then included?  Clearly this is the work of men, not a God. The Bible is a human construction and therefore cannot be trusted to be the word of God.

(500) Interpolations indicate that God did not write the Bible

An interpolation is a spurious addition to a written work, added by someone other than the original author.  Numerous examples have been identified in the Bible, and for each one there are probably many more that can’t be identified based on current scriptural evidence.

The following is taken from this website:

http://new.exchristian.net/2015/07/the-problem-of-interpolations-in-bible.html

Below is a list of New Testament verses considered by most historians (even Christian ones) to be interpolations:

Matthew 6:13

Matthew 16:2-3, 18-19

Matthew 25:13

Matthew 27:35

Matthew 28:19

Mark 7:16

Mark 9:31

Mark 10:21, 34

Mark 15:28

Mark 16:9-20

Luke 2:14

Luke 9:55-56

Luke 11:2, 4

Luke 22:43-44

Luke 23:34

Luke 24:12

John 1:18

John 7:53-8:11

Acts 8:37

1 Corinthians 14:33b-35

1 Corinthians 15:3-11

1 John 5:7-8

What are we to make of this? In light of these interpolations, the thinking man must deduce that there are only three options here:

1) God did inspire the Bible but needed to change it over time

2) God did inspire the Bible but humans were somehow able to tamper with it

3) The Bible is not inspired by any God

If we go with the first option, that the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God and that God also inspired the later interpolations, then we must wonder why God, as the perfect inspirer, didn’t get it right the first time. Why did he need other humans, decades and centuries later, to come along and tweak this and tamper with that and add this? Doesn’t this seem to indicate what most academics have been saying all along, that the Bible is indeed merely the work of human beings and not the product of a perfect deity?

If we go with the second option, that God did inspire the Bible but failed to keep it safe from future tampering, one must wonder why God cared about the creation of the project but not its ongoing wellbeing. This is a curious possibility to consider when we recall that Christianity views the Bible as God’s special message to humanity. I cannot think of why God would guide the writers and then fail to keep away the tampering hands of future generations.

If we go with the third option, that God did not inspire the Bible, no insurmountable theological problems present themselves. Thus, option #3 becomes the most likely choice.

The trilemma logic presented above is very sound from a logical standpoint. It points to the near certain conclusion that the Bible is strictly a human-created endeavor.

A detailed dissertation of the Bible’s unreliability can be viewed in the following slideshow:

http://www.richardcarrier.info/NTReliabilitySlideshow.pdf

(501) The randomness test

One way to test for the existence of a god is to study the occurrence of  natural events (those beyond human control) to see if a pattern exists which deviates from a random arrangement. This would be the expected situation if a god was manipulating affairs and answering prayers.

The following is taken from:

http://web.archive.org/web/20041021163550/http://www.freethought.mbdojo.com/miracles.html

It seems that the Church thought that putting a lightning rod on your building, and saving it from destruction, was an attempt to thwart God’s will. The Church forbade the use of the lightning rod on churches for decades after its invention… even though churches, because of their tall spires, were the tallest buildings in the towns and therefore the ones most frequently struck by lightning. These lightning strikes caused extensive damage, fires, total destruction and hundreds of deaths.  To be a bell ringer in the 18th Century was the most dangerous job in the world.  However, the only thing the priests did was to pray harder and consecrate their bells.  But the destruction and death continued, and the people said: “Why would God destroy his own consecrated, holy temples? Why would he kill his own servants? Or, why would he allow Satan to do so?”

Even now, tornadoes frequently destroy churches in the Bible Belt.  Why?  If God was going to destroy something, why not a Freethought Hall full of atheists? Or a Jewish temple?  Or a mosque full of Muslims?  Or a maximum security prison full of murderers?  What these events show is that natural disasters are just as likely to strike a good man as a bad man, and just as likely to strike the believer as the unbeliever.  It shows that natural disasters are completely random, without cause or reason.

“God is going to judge the entertainment industry.”  The Rev. Pat Robertson, Founder of the 700 Club & Christian Coalition, uttered this ignorant statement regarding the fire that devastated Universal Studios.  Note that the good Reverend was strangely silent when fire destroyed his own radio station, WNTR  [4-24-96].   This is a classic example of how people see what they want to see, and ignore what does not fit their beliefs.

If God uses tornadoes, then how come he is limited to a small geographical region?  Why must tornadoes occur in flat, arid regions?  How come the Tornado Belt just happens to coincide with the Bible Belt, the most religious region on earth?  How come we don’t hear about tornadoes in New York, that den of sin?  Or in Oregon?  Or in Sweden?  Is God limited to using tornadoes only where the physical conditions permit them? Or is a better explanation the fact that tornadoes are purely natural occurrences that only happen under certain conditions generated in a specific region, and that god is a myth?

And there are many natural disasters– hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, mudslides, droughts, floods, famines, disease, airplane crashes, etc.   Need I go on?  What happens when these bad things occur?  People pray to God for assistance. Don’t they think that He already knows what’s going on? And if people survive these catastrophes, they thank God that He protected them.  They think that their prayers did good… even though believers and nonbelievers stood the same chance of surviving or dying.

But people never blame God for these acts of extreme violence. A plane crashes in a field, and even though 99 people died, people will still say: “Thank God two survived!” Maybe they should have said: “Thank you for killing only 99!” People forget that if their God is all-powerful and all-knowing as they believe, He knew that the plane crash was going to happen, had the power to prevent it, and failed to do so. You might go so far as to say that He created the conditions under which the plane crashed, and therefore He crashed the plane Himself deliberately. In either case it’s the same: He had the power to prevent it (presumably without effort). One might avoid these moral and logical difficulties by considering the more rational conclusion that the plane crash was simply an accident based upon mechanical failure or weather conditions, and that the reason that God did not prevent the accident is because no such being exists.

If this world, looking as random as it does, has a God in it, then what would it look like in my scenario where there is no god?  Would it look even morerandom?  Is it possible that the world could look more random?  How could you tell the difference between a world where random natural disasters and occasional fortunate events occur from one in which God carelessly plays with peoples lives– handing out tragedies to good people, and occasionally rewarding bad people with good fortune? Is there any difference?

The randomness test indicates with near certainty that there is no supernatural overlord manipulating the natural world.  This means that if a god exists, he is allowing natural forces to govern without his interference.  This is inconsistent with the Christian view of a god.

(502) The Last Supper was copied from Mithraism

Christianity’s principal ritual is the symbolic (or literal (Catholicism)) eating of Jesus’s body and drinking of his blood.  It mimics a story told in the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke where Jesus allegedly shared his final meal with his disciples, and during which he commanded them to practice the serving of bread and wine as a remembrance of him.  (Curiously, this story does not appear in the gospel of John.)

The problem for Christianity is that the exact same ritual was already being practiced by the followers of the god, Mithras.  The following is taken from:

http://infidels.org/library/modern/paul_carlson/nt_contradictions.html

The Lord’s supper was not invented by Paul, but was borrowed by him from Mithraism, the mystery religion that existed long before Christianity and was Christianity’s chief competitor up until the time of Constantine. In Mithraism, the central figure is the mythical Mithras, who died for the sins of mankind and was resurrected. Believers in Mithras were rewarded with eternal life. Part of the Mithraic communion liturgy included the words, “He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made one with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation.”[*].

The early Church Fathers Justin Martyr and Tertullian tried to say that Mithraism copied the Lord’s Supper from Christianity, but they were forced to say that demons had copied it since only demons could copy an event in advance of its happening! They could not say that the followers of Mithras had copied it – it was a known fact that Mithraism had included the ritual a long time before Christ was born.

What probably happened is that in the early days of Christianity, recruitment of new Christians among the followers of Mithras and other pagan gods was difficult, so elements of these pagan faiths were incorporated to make Christianity more marketable.  But in so doing, it contaminated the religion with a cloak of forgery that greatly diminished its authenticity.  It is highly likely that the Jesus’s Last Supper never happened – unless….Jesus copied it himself as a means of embellishing his credentials.  Either way, it undermines the credibility of the faith.

(503) Failed prophecies in the Book of Daniel

Many Christians point to the fulfilled prophecies in the Book of Daniel as evidence that the Bible is the inspired word of God. However, there is  a major problem with this claim.

The following is taken from:

http://infidels.org/library/modern/paul_carlson/nt_contradictions.html

The Book of Daniel is included here because, after the Book of Revelation, Daniel is the book most studied with regard to the second coming. Christians are very impressed with the detailed prophecies in Daniel that have been fulfilled. Anybody would be, if they believed that Daniel was written during the Babylonian exile, as the book of Daniel says.

However, the book itself makes it possible to pinpoint the date of its writing as 167 BC. How? Because up to that year all of Daniel’s detailed prophecies came true. After that year none of them did. But how was Daniel to know that shortly after he wrote his book one of the greatest events in Israel’s history, the Maccabean revolution that defeated Antiochus Epiphanes, would occur?

There are similar examples in both Biblical testaments where prophecies were made after the events had occurred.  All of the prophecies regarding the future return of Christ and the tribulation remain to be fulfilled and are in fact late in their fulfillment.  A book truly inspired by a real god would likely be perfect in its predictions about the future and would not contain fraudulent prophecies or those that are patently wrong.

(504) Forgery in Paul’s epistle negates women’s ordination

In 1 Corinthians 11:4-5, Paul discusses the curiously important topic of head coverings for men and women during worship services:

Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.

Putting aside the idiocy of what is being commanded here, the important point is that Paul is acknowledging the fact that women can and do participate in worship services, both through prayer and prophecy.

But later in this same letter (1 Corinthians 14:33-37), we read:

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people. Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.  Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.

Here, Paul appears to contradict himself by stating that women must remain silent in the churches.  Many Biblical scholars now agree the the italicized portion of the above excerpt is a forgery, added later by an unknown person and was not part of Paul’s original letter.  This is evidenced by the aforementioned contradiction, the change in literary style, and the fact that, when the spurious portion is removed, the letter flows perfectly (from verse 33a to 37).

This scriptural tampering is a tragedy for women’s rights in the worship services conducted by many denominations.  It also has fueled the bigoted policy that women cannot be ordained as priests in the Catholic Church or serve as ministers in many Protestant denominations, including Mormonism.

It is highly unlikely that these verses were inspired by an enlightened celestial deity, but most certainly was the ejaculation of a chauvinistic man.  No true god would have allowed a “swinging dick” to tamper with scripture, especially in a way that results in such a miscarriage of justice.

(505) Child sacrifice  condoned by God in the Bible

In Judges, Chapter 11, a story is told about a man named Jephthah who made a deal with God that if he could successfully defeat his enemy, he would kill the first person to greet him upon his return as a burnt offering. This implies killing the person and setting the corpse on fire- that is, if we are to assume the mercy of not burning them alive.  The use of burnt offerings of animals was common in the Jewish culture, but this upped the stakes to a living human being.  As luck would have it, the first person to greet him was his daughter, whom he later killed and burnt.  Here is the text from Judges 11:29-40:

Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites.  And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands,  whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands.  He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter.  When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.”

 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites.  But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”

 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry.  After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.

From this comes the Israelite tradition  that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

There are so many things wrong with this, that it is hard to know where to start. First of all, it is extremely likely that it is a fictional story because of its unmitigated insanity and depravity.  It is beyond certain that the god who created the universe would not make such a deal with anyone, or ever require a human sacrifice as payment for battlefield assistance.

Second, it involves a ridiculous criterion for determining who would be sacrificed, conditioned on the highly circumstantial probability of who would first greet Jephthah upon his return.

Third, it seems quite ‘ungodly’ that any sacrifice would be needed if God wanted Jephthah to defeat the Ammonites according to his holy plan. In that case, God should give Jephthah a reward rather than require him to make a sacrifice.

Fourth, it is incredibly unlikely that a God would get involved in such a petty, colloquial battle and help anyone to kill anyone.

Fifth, sacrificing an innocent child should be recognized as being a wicked, criminal act.  If this were to be repeated today,  Jephthah would be convicted of murder and be faced with life in prison or the death penalty, no matter how earnestly he claimed it was condoned by God.

Sixth, this echoes another feigned child sacrifice by Abraham of his son Isaac, an act stopped only at the last second by an angel in Genesis, Chapter 22.  This seems to imply that this is not an isolated occurrence, but that the Christian god actually considers child sacrifice to be a viable ritual.

Seventh, this atrocity is contained in the Bible, meaning that the committees deciding the contents of the Bible did not eliminate this book, showing their apparent consent to this story.

Eighth, this Biblical story has the potential of terrorizing children, afraid that their fathers might make a similar deal with God resulting in their deaths.  We don’t know how many psychotic Christians might have been inspired by this story to kill their child in payment for having a significant prayer ‘answered.’

Ninth, conservative Christians hold up the Bible as being the moral standard that we should live by, decrying the fact that our societies are making up their own rules, morals, and ethics apart from the scriptures.  It should be obvious that this is a good thing.  They will hold up their Bible while protesting at abortion clinics unaware probably that it contains a much worse atrocity than aborting a fetus.

Tenth, it reveals the mindless, sycophantic way that some Christians try to reason out of difficult scriptures by outright lying.  They will claim that the child was not sacrificed, but only that her virginity was sealed so that she could not marry.  Even if that is the truth, it would still be an insane and unjust punishment for the child.  But an objective look at the scripture completely destroys this interpretation.  Jephthah clearly states that he will make the sacrifice as a burnt offering.  That has a well established historical meaning that involves killing the being and burning the corpse. Later, it is stated that ” he did to her as he had vowed.”  Why would he have to do anything to her if she was just forbidden from marrying?  The insincerity and lack of critical thinking skills displayed by Christians making this claim is astounding.

Eleventh, it paints a picture of God that should cause anyone to hope beyond hope that such a bloodthirsty tyrant of a god does not exist. Yet, Christians will continue to worship him, clinging to the feel-good verses while ignoring the huge elephant in the room.

(506) People living in scenic areas are less religious

The following describes a study that identified that people living in scenic settings with good weather tend to be less affiliated with religious organizations:

http://www.psypost.org/2015/08/us-counties-with-beautiful-scenery-and-nice-weather-have-lower-rates-of-religious-affiliation-36430

What this implies is that the transcendent, spiritual feelings that Christians report experiencing in church can also be had in secular settings, such as a forest or a beach.  This provides evidence that these feelings are not the work of a god or any other supernatural force, but are innate human behavioral phenomena.

And so it appears that there is a human need for some degree of transcendent emotional feelings, and that those people who can get a good dose of it in their immediate surroundings do not feel a need to find it in a church setting. Those in less scenic settings perhaps use church as compensation for the lack of environmental stimulation and then mistake the spiritual experience as something provoked by a divine being.

This study provides evidence to refute the claims by many Christians that the feelings they experience in church are a sign that God exists.

(507) Mother Theresa’s fake miracle

Mother Teresa (real name, Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu) was the head and absolute ruler of the Missionaries of Charity,  a charitable ministry to poor, sick people  inflicted with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; among other afflictions. Her major ministry was located in India, near Calcutta. Although she is generally highly admired, it has been revealed that she withheld pain and curative drugs from her patients because she believed that suffering was a pathway to godliness.  Meanwhile, she used all medical care available to alleviate her own health concerns.

Because she was so highly esteemed within the Catholic Church, a campaign was organized to raise her to sainthood.  This required that she perform a miracle to confirm that she had found God’s favor.  The ‘miracle’ involved the healing of Monica Besra, who was allegedly suffering from a cancerous abdominal tumor. However, investigation of this ‘miracle’ revealed that Monica did not have cancer and that her healing was totally due to the medical care she was receiving.  The details of this deception are summarized at the following website:

http://rosarubicondior.blogspot.com/2015/03/mother-teresas-fake-miracle.html

This story reveals much- that Mother Theresa could not work miracles, that Christians are willing to believe almost anything that confirms their beliefs. that miracles reported by scriptures and other documents are likely to be just as fake as Mother Theresa’s, and that it’s a safe bet the miracles never actually happen.

(508) Jesus supports castration

In Matthew 19: 8-12, we read this:

He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.

In this passage, Jesus discusses the way men can be castrated and become eunuchs.  He starts out by saying some are born that way, indicating the he, being God, allows this to happen to innocent male children.  Clearly this is not fair, and the only way out of this argument is to admit that God does not control the gestation process and mistakes happen on their own. This implies that God does not have full control of the world.

Jesus discusses the second way for men to become eunuchs – castration is forced upon them.  Clearly this is a violent act violating the rights of these victims, but Jesus does not say anything about that.  He appears to accept it as being OK.

The third way is for men to castrate themselves, or else allow someone else to do it.  Jesus seems to think that this is an act of high honor that only the most faithful can undertake.  Presumably, these men will receive preference in heaven.

It should be obvious that this passage of scripture is pure nonsense. It starts off by Jesus stating that men cannot divorce except if their wife commits adultery.  He says nothing about the rights of women to divorce their husbands.  Then he goes on to extol the virtues of castration, as if being sexless is the pinnacle of being a spiritual being.  How improbable can it be that a god would engage in this kind of discourse?  It certainly smells like something a medieval mind would conjure up.

(509) The locality argument

Any religion created solely by humans would start in a specific location and then spread out to adjacent areas over time. A religion started by a god would not be restricted in this sense.  A god would be certain to be fair to all people no matter where they lived and therefore he would reveal himself to everyone at the same time. Otherwise, he would be playing favorites and give some people a distinct advantage over others in terms of being able to access blessings and rewards.  A god would be sure to treat everyone on the planet equally.

Every religion ever created on Earth has started at a distinct location.   This provides evidence that all religions so far have been created solely by humans.

(510) Watching 21,000 children die

Imagine that you are in charge of 21,000 children, mostly infants, who are housed in a large warehouse.  An assistant informs you that there is a gas leak in the warehouse and that the children are in peril. You check the video screen and can see the children choking. On your computer is a valve configuration map such that you can click an icon to open or close any valve in the system.  The assistant points out the valve that you could shut to terminate the gas leak. Would you close the valve?  NOT IF YOU WERE GOD.

Christians claim that God is all-seeing and all-powerful, so just like the above example, God can see these children dying and can easily save them. But, no, God watches 21,000 children die EVERY DAY. Most of these deaths are accompanied by intense and prolonged pain as well as the excruciating psychological stress that torments the parents and relatives of these children.  God lets the kids die without lifting the finger that could save them.

God works in mysterious ways. Yes, he does.

(511) The Three Laws of Imaginary Gods

The following website describes three laws that apply to imaginary gods:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/alethianworldview/2015/08/09/the-three-laws-of-imaginary-gods/

The First Law: Your god(s) can do anything you can imagine, in the stories, legends, rumors, and hearsay that believers share about Him/Her/It/Them, whether or not it is consistent with anything else you imagine concerning your god(s).

The Second Law: You can give your god(s) credit/responsibility for any real-world event or phenomenon, or not, however you see fit, whether or not it is consistent with anything else you say about your god(s).

The Third Law: Your god(s) cannot do anything in the real world that cannot be accomplished by imagination alone, apart from the efforts and assistance of real persons.

The fundamental nature of real things is that they are consistent with reality, which means first and foremost that they are consistent with themselves. Imaginary gods, however, are not real, and are thus under no obligation to be consistent with anything, not even with themselves. This is what gives rise to the First and Second Laws: they are under no constraints to be consistent with anything, and therefore you can imagine anything you like about them, and can give them credit for any real-world event you like, whether or not it’s consistent with anything else you believe about the character, motives, or methods of your god(s).

The one limitation of imaginary gods, of course, is that they are the product of human imagination, and thus their abilities are limited to what human imagination can produce. You can imagine a god so powerful he can move mountains with a single word, and in your imagination and in the stories you share about him, he really can move mountains. But in the real world, you cannot move mountains by imagination alone, and therefore your god’s mountain-moving power won’t work in the real world. In fact, your god couldn’t pick up a dollar bill lying on the sidewalk in the real world. He only exists in your imagination, and he can only act on things in your imagination. You can wait for something natural to happen to the mountain, and then use the Second Law to give your god credit for what happened, but until it does happen, your god has no power against it at all.

The Christian god follows all of these laws and, therefore, it can be concluded that he is very likely imaginary.

(512) God beliefs are egocentric

A study filed with the National Academy of Sciences in 2009 found that people tend to use the same area of the brain associated with their own beliefs when they estimate what their God believes. However, when estimating the beliefs of other people, they use different neural pathways.  This indicates that people’s view of God may be largely an echo chamber of their own views.

http://www.pnas.org/content/106/51/21533.abstract

This is the abstract from the study:

People often reason egocentrically about others’ beliefs, using their own beliefs as an inductive guide. Correlational, experimental, and neuroimaging evidence suggests that people may be even more egocentric when reasoning about a religious agent’s beliefs (e.g., God). In both nationally representative and more local samples, people’s own beliefs on important social and ethical issues were consistently correlated more strongly with estimates of God’s beliefs than with estimates of other people’s beliefs (Studies 1–4). Manipulating people’s beliefs similarly influenced estimates of God’s beliefs but did not as consistently influence estimates of other people’s beliefs (Studies 5 and 6). A final neuroimaging study demonstrated a clear convergence in neural activity when reasoning about one’s own beliefs and God’s beliefs, but clear divergences when reasoning about another person’s beliefs (Study 7). In particular, reasoning about God’s beliefs activated areas associated with self-referential thinking more so than did reasoning about another person’s beliefs. Believers commonly use inferences about God’s beliefs as a moral compass, but that compass appears especially dependent on one’s own existing beliefs.

This study points out the fact that most people cannot objectively evaluate their belief in God as it relates to alternative beliefs because of a ‘traffic jam’ that occurs in their brains. This egocentric tendency is what has fueled an abundance of religions, each with many denominations, and each replete with a cavalry of fully-convinced believers.

(513) Magic handkerchiefs

In Acts 19:11-12, we read:

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

This rather innocuous sounding story is actually a big problem for Christianity’s credibility in the 21st Century.  First, it strains credulity to believe that a cloth touched by a mortal man would have any curative effect on anyone, other than as a placebo that would ameliorate an affliction only for a temporary moment.  Second, it suggests that the illnesses were cured by releasing evil spirits from the body, once again indicating that God was not inspiring these words, assuming God as the infinitely intelligent being who has knowledge of the true nature of disease.

Indeed, this scripture is a Rosetta Stone, enlightening people of our current age to know that the Bible was written by primitive men, who were writing strictly on their own,  with no inspiration from a supernatural being.

(514) Least religious U.S. cities are healthier

The following website lists cities in the United States in order of the percentage of residents who do not identify with any religion:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/most-religiously-unaffiliated-us-cities_55c52ac3e4b0f1cbf1e526b0?kvcommref=mostpopular

The least religious cities are:

Portland, OR 42%, San Francisco, CA 33%, Seattle, WA 33%, Denver, CO 32%, and Phoenix, AZ 26%

On the other end of the list, the more religous cities are:

Orlando, FL 18%, Houston, TX 18%, Pittsburgh, PA 18%, Charlotte, NC 17%, and Nashville, TN 15%

The following website lists the healthiest American cities:

http://time.com/3883628/health-rankings-america-fitness-index/

The healthiest cities are:

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Minneapolis
  3. San Diego
  4. San Francisco
  5. Sacramento, Calif.
  6. Denver
  7. Portland
  8. Seattle
  9. Boston
  10. San Jose, Calif.

As can be seen, four of the five least religious cities are evaluated to be in the the top 10 of America’s healthiest cites.  None of the more religious cities, those that ranked #26 to #30 in the study are in the top 10.

This is an unexpected result if God actually assists religious people, bestowing his grace, answering their prayers, and curing their illnesses.  Also, it would be expected that God would grant special favors for cities that maintain a high degree of faithfulness to him, and punish those cities that have turned away.  After all, we can see what God did to Sodom and Gomorrah. No such correlation exists, and in fact the case can be made that the least religious cities fare better overall.

These facts point out a significant piece of evidence that the Christian god does not exist.

(515) Marian apparitions

A Marian apparition is an appearance of Mary, the mother of Jesus, to one or multiple individuals. It often is just an appearance, but sometimes it includes a mini sermon, usually consisting of an admonition or instruction of some sort.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_apparition

There were hundreds of Marian apparitions during the 20th Century, though the Catholic Church validated only 8 of them as being authentic. The most famous one occurred in Fatima, Portugal in 1917.  The rate of purported apparitions has declined significantly in the past several decades, and particularly after the year 2000. The apparitions were most prolific in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/resources/aprtable.html

Many Christians will point to these events as evidence of the truth of Christianity. However, the opposite is true.  It points out the ease at which people can become convinced that they have seen the Virgin Mary as well as the willingness of others to believe that they did.  This is a template for what happened in the First Century as many people reported seeing Jesus after his crucifixion.  It would have been much easier to convince people of that time that an apparition was genuine.

(516) Religions developed because of false attribution

When ancient people saw a spear reigning down on them or had a rock hit them on the head, they assumed that there must have been a person that threw these objects.  Likewise, when they saw lightning, or a tornado, or hail, for example, they assumed that some being was directly causing these events. Since these phenomena were considered beyond human capability, they ascribed them to gods.

Of course we now know that lightning, tornadoes, and hail are not caused by any conscious being, but are the result of random atmospheric events.  So Christianity, as well as all other religions, likely started because primitive people made the misjudgment that natural events are caused by superhuman beings. Once the existence of these gods was assumed, they evolved over time as the product of rampant imagination.

(517) Christian martyrdom is unimpressive

Many Christians will point to the fact that many of their flock have been persecuted over the past 20 Centuries, showing a determination, faith, and steadfastness that only can exist if they were receiving divine assistance.  That is, they consider it to be good evidence that the Christian god is real.

There are many problems with this. First, we can say with some confidence that the stories about the original apostles being martyred are at least greatly exaggerated, if not completely made up.   Second, the followers of other faiths have displayed even greater perseverance in the face of persecution. Third, there are many examples where Christians gave up their faith to save their lives, though these stories are rarely discussed in Christian circles.

The following is taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/fa0_popular.htm

The premise here is that at least one Christian martyr has behaved in a superhuman way. Unfortunately not a single such death has ever been reliably reported. Even if we accept the most liberal estimates for orthodox Christian martyrs, then we find that heretics have died just as bravely and horribly, and in much greater numbers. Gnostic sects provide an example. The earliest Church historian mentioned the immense numbers of martyrs claimed by the Marcionite sect, a group who opposed the line now considered orthodox*. Other religions have many more (and better-attested) martyrs than Christians. Amongst them are pre-Christian Saxons, Cathars, Jews, and Shi”ite Muslims. Numerous modern fringe sects (like early Christianity and Shi”ite Islam) have clearly appealed to people who have actively sought martyrdom, a predisposition more indicative of their personalities than of divine favour.

It is also worth noting that the reason we do not hear about putative Christian martyrs who changed their minds at the last minute is not that they did not exist. Many Christians renounced their faith under pressure, or avoided trouble in other ways, but later Christians conveniently forgot about their existence*. Tertullian tells us that whole communities of Christians avoided problems by the simple expedient of bribery. Whenever Christians have been put under real pressure they have apostasised (abandoned their beliefs) en masse. Cyprian for example reported mass apostasy, led by bishops, during early persecutions. Later, millions abandoned Christianity for Islam. Even monks, when put under pressure by their own Church, went off to join the Saracens*. Again, when the French Church came under pressure during the French Revolution some 20,000 priests agreed to be de-Christianised, along with 23 bishops.

If Christianity is the one true religion, it would be expected that its martyrs would be distinguished from those of other faiths. The fact that this is not true is evidence against Christianity.

(518) Opposition to contraception

The Roman Catholic Church has consistently opposed birth control techniques, including the pill and the IUD.  But what has had the greatest effect on public health is their prohibition on the use of condoms.  This alone has led to the deaths of many millions of people all over the world.  Generally, Protestant churches have taken a more moderate stance, though some also reflect the position of the Catholic Church.  The common justification for banning contraception is that God granted humans sexual abilities only for the purpose of procreation, and that it was never meant as a means of expressing love or having casual pleasure.

The following is taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/gag_contraception.htm

At the time of writing there must still be untold numbers of people around the world suffering from congenital syphilis because of the desire of both Roman Catholics and Protestants to see sinners punished. Since the advent of AIDS it has been widely recognised that the best way to save lives is to educate people about the disease and to encourage the use of condoms. The Roman Catholic Church has opposed both of these measures, and Vatican authorities have stated that it is better for married couples to risk catching the virus rather than to wear condoms*.

A cardinal in charge of Vatican social policy has stated that “to talk of condoms as safe sex is a form of Russian roulette”. He claimed that condoms may help spread AIDS through a false sense of security, claiming they weren’t effective in blocking transmission of HIV. He also reaffirmed that the Catholic Church advises against people infected with HIV wearing contraceptives”*. His views were described by the World Health Organisation as “Extremely Dangerous”. Bishops and archbishops have explicitly advocated the deliberate fiction that condoms cause AIDS*. One Cardinal has carried out public condom-burning ceremonies*.

As late as 2009, the Pope himself speaking in Africa to the press, claimed that AIDS “cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems” to the outrage of health organisations throughout Africa the rest of the world*. The United Nations estimates that up to 83 million Africans will die of Aids by 2025.

God’s influence on church leaders has been certainly lacking on this issue.  It is difficult to assume that God is watching this happen without seeing a need to exhort his spokespersons to take a position more amenable to decent humanity and sound public policy.  The profound misery caused by Christian authorities banning the use of condoms as well as the silent acquiescence of the Christian god, leads one to conclude that Christianity is an invalid world view.

(519) Original sin

One of the most odious concepts Christianity has foisted on mankind is the doctrine that the sin of one man caused the condemnation of all people who would live thereafter. This is the doctrine of original sin.  It is was capsulized by the Apostle Paul in Romans 5: 17-19:

For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

There is no imaginable reason why a god would condemn people because somebody else did something wrong.  It goes against every aspect of every legal system existing on the Earth.  It goes against common sense and decency.  If anyone today punished a child because his father or uncle did something wrong, he would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Yet, Christians continue to worship a god who did just that.

Why did Christianity adopt this senseless idea?  Most likely it was done to give power to the priests who controlled the sacrament of baptism, forcing fearful parents to quickly have their children baptized to avoid having them sent to Hell.

The concept of original sin is not consistent with the nature of an almighty deity, and it is compelling evidence that Christianity is the illogical product of unenlightened men.

(520) Apostle’s Creed versus Nicene Creed

The Apostle’s Creed was first put in written form sometime in the 2nd Century and is one of the earliest formal statements of Christian belief.  Here is the text of this creed:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic* Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

Note that it says nothing explicitly about the divinity of either Jesus or of the Holy Spirit.

In 325 AD, at the Council of Nicaea, a new creed was developed, called the Nicene Creed, as follows:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spake by the Prophets. And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

In the Nicene Creed, Jesus is made divine, pre-existing with the Father before his earthly mission, and of the same substance as the Father.  The Holy Spirit is also made into a divine being that is to be worshiped.  Also, the Nicene Creed dropped the notion that Jesus descended into Hell following his death.

What we see here is the evolution of a religion, as more and more human hands fashion it to their liking, trying to make it more amazing and marketable to the masses.  This is a red flag, alerting an objective person to the fact that whatever survived the tumultuous first few centuries of the faith is a highly distorted version of the truth.

(521) Jesus tomb burial anachronism

The gospels state that the stone used to block the burial crypt of Jesus was rolled away, for example in Matthew 17: 59-60:

And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.

The same is stated in Mark and Luke.  The problem with this is that spherical stones were not used for sealing tombs at the time of Jesus’s death. Instead, only square blocking stones were used. it was only after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD that round stones began to be used.  This corresponds to the time that the gospel authors were writing the books that were later included in the New Testament.  Therefore, it appears that they mistakenly used a currently common practice to describe the events that took place 40+ years earlier. This is evidence of fictional writing.

The following is taken from:

http://infidels.org/library/modern/peter_kirby/tomb/improbabilities.html

There is another reason to doubt the tomb burial that has come to my attention since I first wrote this review: the tomb blocking stone is treated as round in the Gospels, but that would not have been the case in the time of Jesus, yet it was often the case after 70 C.E., just when the gospels were being written. Amos Kloner, in “Did a Rolling Stone Close Jesus’ Tomb?” (Biblical Archaeology Review 25:5, Sep/Oct 1999, pp. 23-29, 76), discusses the archaeological evidence of Jewish tomb burial practices in antiquity. He observes that “more than 98 percent of the Jewish tombs from this period, called the Second Temple period (c. first century B.C.E. to 70 C.E.), were closed with square blocking stones” (p. 23), and only four round stones are known prior to the Jewish War, all of them blocking entrances to elaborate tomb complexes of the extremely rich (such as the tomb complex of Herod the Great and his ancestors and descendants). However, “the Second Temple period…ended with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. In later periods the situation changed, and round blocking stones became much more common” (p. 25).

Why is this significant? Three of the four Gospels repeatedly and consistently use the word “roll” to describe the moving of the tomb’s blocking stone (“rolled to”proskulisaV, Matthew 27:60; “rolled away” apekulisen, Matthew 28:2; “rolled to”prosekulisen, Mark 15:46; “roll away” apokulisei Mark 16:3; “rolled away”apokekulistai Mark 16:4; “rolled away” apokekulismenon Luke 24:2). The verb in every case here is a form of kuliein, which always means to roll: kuliein is the root of kulindros, i.e. cylinder (in antiquity a “rolling stone” or a even child’s marble). For example, the demon-possessed boy in Mark 9:20 “rolls around” on the ground (ekulieto, middle form meaning “roll oneself,” hence “wallow”). These are the only uses of any form of this verb in the New Testament.

This provides evidence that the author of Mark did not have documents written before 70 AD at his disposal when writing his gospel, lessening the likelihood that his account represents an accurate history.  Luke and Matthew copied his error.

(522) David Koresh of Waco Branch Davidians is “Jesus”

Many still remember what happened with the Branch Davidians and Waco, Texas in 1993. The Branch Davidian cult failed to surrender their compound (however you want to say it) and 80 members died including the group’s “messiah” David Koresh (formally Vernon Wayne Howell).

For more on how Koresh became what he was if you aren’t familiar:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Koresh

What most people aren’t aware of, or need to consider is the following:

– The Branch Davidian cult is still going strong, breeding children and indoctrinating them to the Branch Davidian faith

– Many surviving members consider Koresh their version of Jesus even though they believe in the bible just like other Christians do

– The Branch Davidians believe Koresh will someday be resurrected ( just like Jesus) and so will members killed in the fire

More on that here:

http://m.nydailynews.com/news/national/waco-survivor-waiting-david-koresh-resurrection-article-1.1734205#bmb=1

Christians need to realize that the Branch Davidian cult is just another demonstration about how fast a cult can grow and how firmly those members can believe something and make their children believe something unquestionably.

People need to understand that all religions, like Christianity, started out as nonsensical cults, that simply grew into a religion.

https://hateandanger.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/the-only-difference-between-a-mythology-a-cult-and-a-religion-is-the-number-of-followers.jpg

Most of the reasons that Christians know the Branch Davidian belief to be false are generally the same reasons non-believers have for not believing in Christianity and knowing Christianity to be false.

(523) Leading Christian apologist says evidence is not important

The world’s leading Christian apologist William Lane Craig, who most Christians feel is an amazing ‘defender of Christianity’ and probably the best, says “that evidence is not important.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ALj8-L9VJf8&feature=youtu.be&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DALj8-L9VJf8&feature%3Dyoutu.be

When the leading Christian apologist basically says that people should believe Christianity without evidence, because Satan wants you to not believe Christianity and then contradicts himself in the next minute saying that people need to follow through with evidence to convince themselves, then you know that Christianity really has no defense.

When Craig says to follow the evidence of the Holy Spirit in your heart, then says that people should prove things to themselves with evidence and follow the sources as far as they go, then he is giving really bad advice since there is no genuine credible evidence that Jesus existed in any source outside of the Bible.

Any claims of evidence of Jesus existing, or that he wasn’t an irrelevant nobody if he did exist, are shown to be simply repeating Christian hearsay and nothing else, and, as previously mentioned here in this list, there are no writers who actually claimed to have followed Jesus or even ever having seen him.

The only person who writes about ‘seeing’ Jesus is Paul in his genuine 7 epistles, but everything else is a forgery, and Paul only mentions talking to Jesus in visions that supposedly happened after his claimed death. There isn’t any evidence that Paul had real visions- for all we know Paul was lying, or insane, as anyone would think of someone today who said the things Paul wrote about.

If this is the best that Christianity’s best defender can come up with, then it is questionable how any Christian can earnestly defend their faith.

(524) The length of Jesus’s ministry extended to three years in John

When most Christians are asked to define the length of Jesus’s earthly ministry, they say “three years,” from the time he was 30 until he became the age of 33. This is consistent with the Gospel of John, which refers to three distinct Passover periods during Jesus’s ministry.

The problem with this interpretation is that in the first three gospels, Mark, Matthew, and Luke, the ministry of Jesus only lasts one year.  It seems unlikely that the first authors would truncate Jesus’s tour of preaching from three years down to just one year.  It is more likely that the these authors would portray the extent of the ministry more accurately rather than less accurately than any authors that come later.  From this, we can assume that Jesus only preached for one year before he was executed by the Romans.

This means that the Gospel of John likely contains much fictional material, as can be seen by its referring to many events not described in the earlier gospels, including the dramatic raising of Lazarus from the dead, and its inclusion of many lengthy discourses by Jesus compared to the more pithy statements seen in the first three gospels.

The contradiction in the duration of Jesus’s ministry is significant evidence that the Gospel of John, which alone contains the foundational thesis of modern Christianity, was not written to be a factual document, but rather it contains a lot of made-up material used to re-define Christianity a century after Jesus lived.

(525) Cargo cults

Modern-day cargo cults provide evidence of the mechanism that created Christianity.

As described in Websters, a cargo cult is:

A quasi-religious cult among some South Sea islanders, based on a belief that the spirits of their ancestors will return with supplies of modern goods, thus inaugurating a golden age of prosperity and, sometimes, liberation from colonial domination.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult

These modern 20th century island cults demonstrate the same underpinnings of Christianity- which is that superstition and hearsay can cause fictitious characters who are saviors and messiahs to be created out of thin air, or to have ordinary people be viewed as ‘divine’ through misinformation and superstition.  For more on some well known cargo cults of last century look up ‘John Frum’ and ‘Tom Navy’.

Here is the story of the John Frum cargo cult:

The religion centering on John Frum arose in the late 1930s, when Vanuatu was known as the New Hebrides, although there was a claim in 1949 that it had started in the 1910s. The movement was heavily influenced by existing religious practice in the Sulphur Bay area of Tanna, particularly the worship of Keraperamun, a god associated with Mount Tukosmera. In some versions of the story, a native man named Manehivi, using the alias “John Frum”, began appearing among the native people of Tanna dressed in a western-style coat and assuring the people he would bring them houses, clothes, food and transport.

Others contend that John Frum was a kava-induced spirit vision. Said to be a manifestation of Keraperamun, this John Frum promised the dawn of a new age in which all white people, including missionaries, would depart New Hebrides, leaving behind their goods and property for the nativeMelanesians. For this to happen, however, the people of Tanna had to reject all aspects of European society including money, western education, Christianity, and work on copra plantations, plus they had to return to traditional kastom (the Bislama language word for customs).

In 1941, followers of John Frum rid themselves of their money in a frenzy of spending, left the missionary churches, schools, villages and plantations, and moved inland to participate in traditional feasts, dances and rituals. European colonial authorities sought to suppress the movement, at one point arresting a Tannese man who was calling himself John Frum, humiliating him publicly, imprisoning and ultimately exiling him along with other leaders of the cult to another island in the archipelago.

Despite this effort, the movement gained popularity in the early 1940s, when 300,000 American troops were stationed in New Hebrides during World War II, bringing with them an enormous amount of supplies (or “cargo”).[9] After the war and the departure of the Americans, followers of John Frum built symbolic landing strips to encourage American airplanes to land and bring them “cargo”. Versions of the cult that emphasize the American connection interpret “John Frum” as a corruption of “John from (America)” (though it could mean John from anywhere), and credit the presence of African American soldiers for the idea that John Frum may be black

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Frum

It is likely that Christianity began as a form of a cargo cult, built around a mythical figure, such as John Frum, or a real person who was exalted way beyond reality. The ‘cargo’ in this case was not goods and services, but rather deliverance from Roman oppression and entry into a magnificent kingdom. The desire for freedom was a powerful motivator for people willing to believe anything that might deliver it.

(526) Christianity exploits our desire for intimacy

All people search for a friend who will always be there, who can help us when we are in trouble, and soothe us with comforting words when we are depressed.  Christianity exploits this need to a tee.  By claiming that this man-god Jesus knows you, is aware of your issues, and will answer your prayers, followers take refuge in having a friend for all time, a friend who will never fail or turn against you, and a friend who is so powerful that you never need to fear or worry.

The following video illuminates this idea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8vWgeCgfe4

Even in the wake of evidence contradicting the story of Jesus, or the fact that so often Jesus does not answer prayer, Christians will still cling tenaciously to this forever friend – because giving him up is often as hard to do as recovering from any other addiction, such as smoking, drinking, or gambling.  A belief in this imaginary friend is what keeps some people from crippling depression or even killing themselves, but nevertheless it reveals a weakness of not being able to confront reality head on.

Further,  it is enlightening to note that most Christian followers, when compared to non-believers, tend to be more psychologically fragile and in need of some sort of magical beliefs.   A faith that exploits this tendency, rather than our most noble strengths, is unlikely to be the creation of an authentic deity.

(527) Fabricating the return of Elijah

In Matthew 17:10-13, we read:

The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

The reason for this confusing passage is a scripture in Malachi (4:4-6):

“Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”

Because of this scripture it was understood by scripturally literate Jews that Elijah the prophet would return to the Earth before the coming of the Messiah.  This created a problem for Christianity, because Elijah had not returned prior to the appearance of Jesus.

So what to do? Simple, simply claim that John the Baptist was Elijah. Whether Jesus actually said this or it was just the words of the gospel author doesn’t matter.  In either case, it is a bald-face fraud. The Malachi scripture does not say someone in place of Elijah or who embodies Elijah’s spirit will come, no, it says that the prophet himself will come.

This represents yet another transparent attempt by Christians to manufacture legitimacy for their new religion, to make it consistent with the extant scriptures of the time.  It provides powerful and convincing evidence that Christianity is a counterfeit religion.

(528) Ignored scripture undermines Christianity

Please note, this is a photograph of Victoria Osteen, wife of Joel Osteen, an American preacher, televangelist, author, and the senior pastor of Lakewood Church, the largest Protestant church in the United States, in Houston, Texas. His televised sermons are seen by over 7 million viewers weekly and over 20 million monthly in over 100 countries.

You would expect the Osteen family to precisely follow scripture because they believe it is the unalterable word of God, timeless in its brilliance, subtle in its perfection.

But, consider this scripture, 1 Timothy 2: 8-10:

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.  also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

Now, to be fair, Bible scholars have determined that 1 Timothy, purported to be a letter from Paul to a person named Timothy, is a forgery.  It was written by somebody else.  But what can’t be denied, is that this book was accepted and remains accepted in every Bible currently published, including Catholic and all Protestant Bibles. Because Christians must believe that God had a hand in selecting the books of the Bible, as well as inspiring the words in these books, they must concede that this scriptural passage is a legitimate message from God.  After all, they certainly view the Biblical prohibitions of homosexual acts in this manner.

So what to make of this? First, it shows the silliness and outdated customs contained in the Bible, demonstrating that it is NOT a timeless document.  Second, it reveals the astonishing hypocrisy of Christians who completely ignore this scripture while screaming bloody murder about other ones. And third, it provides definite proof that the Bible is a flawed text, clearly the work of Bronze and Iron Age men, and not the handiwork of an almighty creator.

(529) Absurd punishment

Suppose the following. You live in Colorado and intend to drive to Utah. On a National Enquirer website, you read that anyone caught speeding in Utah will be put to death.  This seems really far-fetched, but, to be sure, you make inquiries all around, including to the state of Utah, but all you get are conflicting messages.  No one will confidently confirm or deny this alleged law.  Given the pedigree of National Enquirer and the absurdity of killing someone for speeding, combined with the lack of any confirmation of the law’s validity, you assume that it’s safe to drive to Utah.

You drive into Utah and are stopped by police for speeding.  You are taken immediately to a wall and are facing a firing squad.  You protest that this is a wildly excessive punishment for speeding, but are told that you must have read the law on the National Enquirer website, so you were adequately forewarned of the consequences. Then, the riflemen deposit multiple bullets into your body and you are dead.

This is the story of Christianity.  You are given a Bible, full of inconsistencies, contradictions. absurdities, anachronisms, brutalities, mixed messages, and illogicalities, and then, if you don’t believe in it, or at least in the one of the 38,000 different interpretations that is ‘correct,’ you will be punished for all eternity.

Let’s be clear about one thing: If God will not reveal himself in a way that is clear and unmistakable, it is absurd to think that you deserve eternal torment for not believing.  It doesn’t matter whether Hell is actual torture, or just a separation from God, the fact that this punishment lasts forever is the point. This is a complete and totally fatal flaw with Christianity which, by itself,  proves that it is a false religion.

(530) Evidence for Christianity not admissible in court

The evidence supporting the Christian faith is almost entirely wrapped up in the New Testament books, other than a steady stream of highly dubious and scientifically unsubstantiated miracles. That is to say, the only tangible evidence that can be accepted by all observers is the writings presented in the gospels and epistles of the New Testament.  There are no reliable extra-biblical sources documenting the alleged events surrounding the ministry of Jesus.

This leaves Christianity with a big problem- the entire New Testament is based on hearsay.  There are no direct witness accounts.  Hearsay is defined as the unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another person and not part of one’s direct knowledge.  The authors of the gospels were not direct witnesses of Jesus, and certainly never met him, but wrote their accounts based on what others told them, as well as adding in elements of their own creation.  Paul, and other epistle writers, likewise, never met Jesus, and were again only repeating what others told them or making it up as they went.

In virtually every court of law, hearsay evidence is considered to be so unreliable that it is not allowed to be presented to the jury. Therefore, if someone filed a case to prove that Christianity was true, the plaintiffs would be frustrated to learn that none of their evidence would be admissible, and the judge would call a mistrial. Christianity has no foundation, it is built on quicksand.

(531) Elvis Presley

Christians often point to the fact the there was only an 18-year period following Jesus’s death until his resurrection was chronicled in the first of Paul’s epistles.  This, they argue, is evidence for the truth of this event, because it would take a longer time before a myth of this proportion could gain a foothold in the mainstream culture.

There is a strong counter-example to this assertion, and it involves a very recent figure, Elvis Presley (January 8, 1935–August 16, 1977), who was an American singer, musician and actor. He died prematurely due to a combination of over-work, obesity, depression, bad diet, and severe abuse of prescription drugs.

Many fans refused to believe that Elvis really died, and even to this day there are rumors that Elvis is still in hiding, or abducted by aliens. As early as 1987, a mere ten years after his death, a book titled Is Elvis Alive? was published.

http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Elvis_Presley

Elvis sightings littered the cultural landscape for decades after his death and a cult of followers earnestly believed that he was still alive. Many remain to this day.  This is a testament to the human tendency to relinquish the exercise of critical thinking when there is something that is strongly desired.

It’s obvious that rumors and myths could proliferate much better within a backwater tribe of the 1st Century versus the information-rich media-centered world of the 20th Century.  The example of Elvis Presley easily explains how myths surrounding Jesus could have spread and become conventional wisdom well before Paul began to write his series of letters.

(532) The Lisbon earthquake and the birth of Atheism

The effects of a large earthquake in 1755 in Lisbon, Portugal, is thought by many historians to be the beginning of the atheist movement in Europe. The following is taken from this website:

http://lifeafter40.net/2014/12/25/the-1755-lisbon-earthquake-the-start-of-atheism/

The year was 1755. The place was Lisbon, which was Portugal’s capital and the largest city in the area. It was known as one of the biggest ports on the Atlantic Ocean, and the city played a critical role in world trade. It was also a pious city of devout Christians. It was November 1, All Saints Day. Most people were gathered in their churches and synagogues. They were praying and worshiping. Suddenly, an earthquake that likely had a magnitude of 8.0, struck the area. Contemporary reports said it lasted between 3 – 6 minutes, causing fissures 5 meters (15 feet) in length to open in the city center. Roughly 85% of Lisbon’s buildings were destroyed, which included nearly all of the churches whose structures tended to be among the tallest, and thus the most deadly when they collapsed on their occupants. The screams of terror must have been horrific. It would be later known as one of the deadliest earthquakes ever recorded.

To make matters worse, forty minutes later a tsunami engulfed the area killing many more. Close to the coast, a 6 meter (20-foot) tall wave rushed ashore, the first of three. And if that wasn’t bad enough, fires broke out which raged for 5 days. If the earthquake didn’t get you, the water or fire likely did. The death toll estimates range between 10,000 – 50,000 from these natural disasters. An exact number isn’t known since accurate records were either not kept or any records of the populace that existed, were destroyed by the disasters.

Many that survived, which included escaped prisoners, fled Lisbon immediately. The survivors soon began to ask the question, why did this happen? Was God the cause? If God is love, how could this happen? Was it divine judgment?

 Religious authorities did proclaim that the earthquake was the wrath of God against the sins of the people. Many philosophers rejected those notions, in part, because Lisbon’s red-light district suffered only minor damage while nearly all of the churches were destroyed in this very devout Christian city.

Many great thinkers, including Voltaire, were influenced by this event to entertain the idea that there really wasn’t a god, mainly because it would be too terrible to think that the all-powerful and benevolent god proposed by Christianity could not have caused or allowed this to happen.  Since then, many natural disasters on this scale have occurred, but this one, because of it’s specificity on targeting packed churches on a holy day, remains the one that best contradicts the existence of the Christian god.

(533) Architect of Christian doctrine was not Jesus or a disciple

Paul’s epistles form the framework about which modern Christianity revolves.  They also helped to shape much of the structure of the gospels, especially the Gospel of John, which is the most influential of the four gospels in spelling out the assumed divine nature of Jesus.  However, Paul never met Jesus, and although he might have met some of Jesus’s disciples, he did not interview them to learn more about Jesus, as a true historian would have done. Rather, he argued with them, trying to claim that his vision of Jesus was more accurate than theirs.  To put this in perspective, consider the following analogy:

In 1970, a man living on Borneo has a vision about President Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963.  He sees JFK as being a divine being who was resurrected into heaven and who will return to earth.  This man never met JFK, nor did he do any research to find out anything factual about his life.  His only interest is in his death and supposed resurrection.  He starts to write letters expounding on his theories.  Lots of people begin to believe his miraculous message and become followers, forming a cult of JFK worship.

Now, back in the USA, the actual eyewitnesses to JFK’s life begin to take note of this phenomenon.  People such as JFK’s brother, Robert Kennedy, who served as Attorney General, Lyndon Johnson, then Vice President, later President, and now a private citizen, and Kenneth O’Donnell, who was Special Counsel to the President, call on this man to come to the USA to discuss matters.  When the man from Borneo arrives, he insists that his vision of Kennedy is correct and that RFK, Johnson, and O’Donnell are wrong.

Now, as an objective viewer, given this scenario, who would be the more credible persons to provide an accurate description of who JFK was?  Quite obvious, but as we play out this scenario, to make it compatible with what happened in First Century Judea, a huge invading force lands in the USA and decimates the population.  All of Kennedy’s acolytes and most of the population is killed, and any books or videos of JFK are destroyed.  Now, all that is left are the cults created by the man from Borneo.  These cults survive into the future, and now, in the year 4000, Kennedy is worshiped as a God who will return at any time.  The true nature of John Kennedy is lost to the ages.

This fictional story has a strong similarity to what happened in early Christianity.  It is critically revealing that what we know and preach about the life and ministry of Jesus does not come from Jesus himself, or from his disciples, such as Peter, John, or James, and further does not come from anybody who followed Jesus or heard him preach.  It comes from one man who claimed to have a vision, who disagreed significantly with the true eyewitnesses, and who never learned or seemed to have any interest in learning the details of Jesus’s life.

(534) Jesus failed to define himself or his doctrine

An important point needs to be made about Jesus in regards to how he left Earth without adequately defining himself or his (and his Father’s) position on social issues.  The following is taken from:

http://humanknowledge.net/Philosophy/Metaphysics/Theology/Christianity.html

Thus, just as Jesus failed to leave clear teachings about salvation, hell, divorce, circumcision, and diet, he also did not effect a competent revelation of who precisely he was. Depending on e.g. various 4th-century Roman emperors, there waxed and waned such christological heresies as Ebionism, Docetism, Adoptionism, Dynamic Monarchianism, Sabellianism, Arianism, Marcionism, Apollonarianism, Nestorianism, Monophysitism, and Monothelitism. The doublethink of the “trinity” is not found in the Bible, but instead was invented to reconcile Jewish monotheism with Jesus’ idiosyncratic Sonship claims.

A real god visiting the world would have made defining who he was as well as his position on social issues the number one top priority. Although most Christians believe that Jesus was God (or at least a part of a triune godhead),  the words that Jesus spoke in  the gospels fail to firmly establish this fact.  The terms ‘son of god’ or ‘son of man’ were commonly used to describe fully mortal humans as well, so they don’t convey the dogma that Christians embrace.

It is absolutely certain that if Jesus was implementing a judgment system that would carry eternal implications for people then and now, he would have communicated an unmistakable and unambiguous description of who he was and the rules by which he would ultimately judge everyone.  The absence of this achievement is an indication that Christianity is a sham.

(535) Critical mismatch- Jesus claims to be the only way to Heaven but presents himself only to a small population.

Consider the following scripture alongside the following image:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Image result for christianity is wrong

It should be patently obvious that if God was presenting a method of salvation that was the ONLY way to attain that salvation, he would have offered it to the ENTIRE world, not just to an area where less than 2% of the world’s population lived.

To put this in perspective, suppose there is a tornado approaching a neighborhood with 100 houses.  You have the time and means to alert persons living in each of these houses, but instead you just go to 2 houses and then call it quits.  This, in a nutshell, is what Jesus did.  If he was God, he had the capability to visit all of the major civilizations around the world, correcting their erroneous beliefs and offering them the same chance for eternal life in Heaven.

However, if Jesus was just a human being, then it’s easy to understand his failure to do this.

(536) Dionysus and Jesus parallels

It is acknowledged that many of the purported parallels between the life of Jesus and various pagan gods have been exaggerated, but the fact that pagan beliefs, legends, symbols, and rituals were incorporated into Christianity is an established fact.   This in and of itself is a strike against the authenticity of a religion that purports to be the unique truth of the universe.

The Greek God of wine Dionysus, also called Bacchus, is a good example of a prototype Jesus.  Dionysus was worshiped at least 1000 years before Jesus. He was born of a human mother, Semele, who was inseminated by the Greek God Zeus, and thus was both human and divine, similar to Jesus.

The following is taken from:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysus#Birth_.28and_infant_death_and_rebirth.29

The earliest discussions of mythological parallels between Dionysus and the figure of the Christ in Christian theology can be traced to Friedrich Hölderlin, whose identification of Dionysus with Christ is most explicit in Brod und Wein (1800–1801) and Der Einzige (1801–1803).

Theories regarding such parallels were popular in the 19th century. Some modern scholars such as Martin Hengel, Barry Powell, Robert M. Price, and Peter Wick, among others, argue that Dionysian religion and Christianity have notable parallels. They point to the symbolism of wine and the importance it held in the mythology surrounding both Dionysus and Jesus Christ; though, Wick argues that the use of wine symbolism in the Gospel of John, including the story of the Marriage at Cana at which Jesus turns water into wine, was intended to show Jesus as superior to Dionysus.

Scholars of comparative mythology identify both Dionysus and Jesus with the dying-and-returning god mythological archetype. There are differences in the details of the event while the resurrection of Christ was placed in a specific historical and geographical context. Moreover, it has been noted that the details of Dionysus death and rebirth are starkly different both in content and symbolism from Jesus, with Dionysus being (in the most common myth) torn to pieces and eaten by the titans and “eventually restored to a new life” from the heart that was left over. Other elements, such as the celebration by a ritual meal of bread and wine, also have parallels. Powell, in particular, argues precursors to the Catholic notion of transubstantiation can be found in Dionysian religion.

Another parallel can be seen in The Bacchae where Dionysus appears before King Pentheus on charges of claiming divinity which is compared to the New Testament scene of Jesus being interrogated by Pontius Pilate.

Here is another website that discusses the similarities between Jesus and Dionysus:

http://www.truthbeknown.com/dionysus.html

The parallels that exist between Jesus and various other (obviously) mythical figures suggest rather strongly that Jesus himself is mythical, or at least elements of the stories that became attached to Jesus are mythical.  A truly transcendent divine being would be expected to be unique in all ways compared to the mythical gods created by humans.

(537) The Christian view of gods

The following is the status of belief Christians hold for the following gods:

  • The Hebrew chief god, El, is fake
  • The Hebrew fertility god, Baal, is fake
  • The Greek god of the sky, Zeus, is fake
  • The Norse ruler god, Odin, is fake
  • The Roman god of the sky and thunder,Jupiter, is fake
  • The Norse god of war, Thor, is fake
  • The Hebrew god of war,Yahweh, is real
  • The Greek god of strength, Atlas, is fake
  • The Norse trickster god, Loki, is fake
  • The Egyptian goddess of love, Hathor, is fake
  • The Greek god of war, Ares, is fake
  • The Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, is fake
  • The Egyptian sun god, Ra, is fake
  • The Egyptian god of death are resurrection, Osiris, is fake
  • The Native American trickster god, Coyote, is fake
  • The Egyptian healing god, Horus, is fake
  • The Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva, is fake
  • The Roman goddess of love, Venus, is fake

With one exception, Christians and atheists agree on all of these assertions.  It points out the obvious tendency for every civilization to create mythical divine characters to explain questions about the weather, the struggle between love and war, the enigmatic dynamics of the night sky, and, what was at that time, the mysteries of human reproduction.  It is important to understand that the pedigree of the Christian god is no more authentic than any of the other gods on the list- He was identified in the same manner and worshiped in the same way. He is in the same pool, not the ripe apple in a barrel of rotten ones.

(538) Jesus arrived at the wrong time

Very few Christians, or Biblical scholars, or non-Christians, or anyone for that matter question the timing of Jesus’s appearance on the Earth.  But this question needs to be asked.  Did the timing of Jesus’s arrival suggest a strategy that should be considered flawed, and therefore a sign that this story had nothing to do with a  real god?

God and Jesus were watching the events in the Middle East and, obviously, they had to decide when Jesus would descend to our planet and become a fetus inside of a virgin mother.  They had to strategize and pinpoint the exact moment to implement their plan.

The principal criticism of this timing is that it came too early to allow for the reliable transmission of original eyewitness documentation to future generations.  This has led to our current confusion and controversy attempting to generate a consensus of who Jesus was and the rules by which God will ultimately judge people. There can be no doubt that if Jesus had arrived a century or two later, we would have reliable writings that would have cleared up much of the confusion we have today.

Now some will say that God chose this timing expressly for the purpose of keeping everything in a murky, mysterious fog that would keep people wondering if Jesus really existed, or whether he was really God or just a prophet. This would tend to make God seem somewhat sinister and not very ‘sporting’ when dealing with the ultimate fate of the billions of people who were yet to be born.

The ill-timed appearance of Jesus is evidence that he was not associated with the supremely wise and benevolent creator of the universe.

(539) The age of accountability

Various religious traditions have identified the age at which a child becomes eligible (or expected) to participate in the full spectrum of rituals, requirements, and opportunities that are attached to that faith.  In the Jewish faith, 13 is the age that boys attain the same status as full grown men.  In Catholicism, 7 is the age at which  children are expected to attend regular church services.

But in another light, the age of accountability may also be defined as the demarcation that God uses to determine the ultimate fate of children who die at at young age.  That is, children who die prior to reaching this age limit would be given a free pass into heaven regardless of what they believed or how they behaved. Any child who lived beyond this age would have to have met some criteria defined by God in order to achieve entry into heaven.

Now, some will claim that God makes this cutoff on a case by case basis, depending on the mental capability of each child, and the degree to which the child had been exposed to Christian dogma (assuming that they are living in a Christian household). Nevertheless, it must happen at a specific point in time for everyone. That is, let’s consider a child who has been exposed to Christianity but has, so far, rejected it.  That child dies in a car wreck, but is just short of the time that God has defined his age of accountability.  Therefore, this child goes to Heaven.  Now, let’s suppose the car wreck occurs 5 minutes later, and the child has just passed the age limit defined by God.  Now, instead, the child goes to Hell.

Some people will ridicule this example.   But, to be sure, there must be a moment in time that God applies accountability to a person, and this must come down to an exact moment, not gradually over days or months, but to the split second (black and white).  So the example above is legitimate.  But because it is so unfair and unreasonable, it points out a critically-important logical problem with Christianity. And remember, we are not even talking about the problem of people who die, at whatever age, without being exposed to Christianity.

How could Christianity avoid this problem?  God would have to ensure that every person lives into adulthood and receives the message of salvation, thereby not allowing anyone into heaven strictly because they died at a young age.  The only other way would be to just allow young children to die and cease to exist, but this would seem to make God something less than good, fair, compassionate, or benevolent.

The fact that there is no fair and logical way to address this issue is evidence that Christianity is a non-factual religion.

(540) Pareidolia and visions

Pareidolia is is a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern where none actually exists.  For religious people, It results in seeing holy figures, such as Jesus, or Mary, in various everyday objects, such as a piece of toast or a cloud formation. The human brain, it seems, is conditioned to find order and meaning even in the face of disorder and chaos.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia

Many of the visions that people report of seeing Jesus, or a saint, are the consequence of pareidolia. It is likely that much of the religious beliefs from the dawn of civilization owes its existence to this phenomenon.  After a belief originates of some holy figure, people will have a tendency to reinforce this belief by finding images and sounds that they then attribute to this figure, even though what they are actually seeing is random in nature.  A person with a different set of beliefs will see something different in the same scene.

This is a good website discussing pareidolia:

http://www.skepdic.com/pareidol.html

Where this affects Christianity’s credibility is in the visions reported throughout the Bible, such as the reports of the sighting of a resurrected Jesus, or an angel, or the devil.  It is nearly certain that these attestations, if earnestly transmitted, are the result of pareidolia.  A person who has a religious figure in mind will likely ‘see’ this figure in many purposeless and disordered patterns.  Once reported and believed by others, it is likely that the ‘sightings’ will become more numerous over time.

(541) Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross was a sham

Christians revere the ‘sacrifice’ Jesus made on the cross as being the ultimate in self-renunciation and surrender, the greatest gift to mankind, and perhaps the most difficult and painful death in history. But, in actuality, it was not.

The following is taken from:

http://blog.atheistsurvivalguide.org/ten-reasons-christianity-makes-sense/

Even more relevant is that when he was hanging there on the cross, Jesus knew that he was going to come back. He didn’t have to endure the fear of death that any other human being would have had to face or the uncertainty that presumably afflicts all but the most devout at the moment of death about whether there really was going to be an afterlife, or if this was lights out for good. Yes, he probably suffered physically, but he knew that death would be no more than a long nap and then he’d be up and at ‘em again. In short, he didn’t die.

And, being God, he likely could alleviate his suffering at will.  In short, his sacrifice pales in significance to that of human heroes who have gone their deaths in battles at war.  But the larger question is this: why did he have to die at all?  Couldn’t he have simply delivered his message, saying that forgiveness of sins could be attained through repentance in his name, and then left?

The fact that Jesus knew for sure that he would survive his death and go on living as before makes his ‘sacrifice’ a sham, definitely not worthy of the reverent significance assigned to it by Christian followers.

(542) Jesus did not overturn the tables at the temple 

In Mark 11: 15-17, we read:

Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS ‘? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

A similar story is told in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, though these accounts were essentially copied from Mark.  There are good reasons to conclude that this is a fictional story.  The following is taken from:

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/jesus/jesusqanda.html

The gospel accounts of the Bible describe Jesus attacking money-changers and pigeon-sellers on the Temple grounds in an apparent protest of the commercialism that had come to surround Temple worship.  Matthew reports Jesus complaining, “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.”  Scholars have raised questions about this account.  Bart Ehrman, for example, points out that Jesus never criticized the institution’s sacrificial practices and that animal-selling and money-changing would be necessary to support the practices.  Jews often made very long trips–from Egypt and elsewhere–to the Temple and could hardly be expected to “load a lamb on his shoulders and start walking, especially since the sacrificial animals had to be completely free from injury and blemish.”  Animals clearly needed to be provided in the vicinity of the Temple.  Moreover, the money-changing was to allow the conversion of coins bearing images of the emperor into Tyrian silver coins, the only form of coin acceptable for donations. Jesus, contends Ehrman, would surely find this “all to the good.”  Also, any large-scale disturbance of the sort reported in the gospel accounts would almost certainly have brought an immediate response from–and probable arrest by–armed Temple police.

It is likely that the author of Mark was trying to make it seem as though a prophecy was being fulfilled from Jeremiah 7:11:

Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD.

This passage in Jeremiah had nothing to do with money-changing, but rather refers to people who were offering sacrifices to Baal, a different God, for their sins of theft, adultery, and murder, and then entering the Jewish Temple claiming to be cleansed.  God is chastising them for their lack of loyalty to him.

So this is another instance of gospel writers trying desperately to tie Jesus to Old Testament prophecies or, in this case, a statement of displeasure from God, to make Jesus seem like he was the legitimate Jewish messiah.  In this case, the effort failed, and the artifice is clearly observed.

(543) Jesus preaches unscientific information

In John 12:23-25, we read:

And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.”

The people of Jesus’s time thought that seeds had to die first before they could bring forth new life.  Of course, we now know this is untrue, seeds must remain alive to produce new fruit and if they die, they bring forth nothing.

In this passage, Jesus is predicting his death, and making an analogy to the effect that his death will bring forth new life in the people who accept him as their savior.   However, the analogy fails from a scientific viewpoint, and It must be true that Jesus, if he was God, would understand this problem.  So we are left with three possibilities:

1. Jesus was just a human, no more educated than those around him, and therefore he believed the erroneous conventional wisdom of his day.

2. Jesus knew this was a false statement, but made it anyway so as not to confuse anyone.

3. Jesus never said this, it was the invention of the author of John (it does not appear in the first three gospels).

Here is an estimate of the probabilities of each of these scenarios:

  1.  20%
  2.  0.01%
  3.  80%

Given this, there is a 99.99% probability that either Jesus was not God or else that the author of John made up something that Jesus never said. Either way, it discredits the authenticity of Christianity.

(544) The fictional story of Pentecost

In Acts 2: 1-12, we read:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

This is one of many phantasmagorical stories in the Book of Acts, suggesting rather strongly that it is a compilation of religious fables rather than a true historical account. In this case, the reader is introduced to the Holy Spirit who makes a very splashy entrance. There are three elements to this story that raise an eyebrow- the violent wind, the tongues of fire, and the ability of people to hear various spoken  languages in their native tongue.

Christianity claims that the Holy Spirit is 1/3 of the Trinity and is alive and present in our everyday lives.  But If that’s the case, why does this entity make one spectacular display and then go silent for 2000 years? To be sure, some Christians speak in tongues at certain evangelical churches, but how many of the congregants hear what they are saying in their native language?  How many see tongues of fire sweeping over them?  How often is the spectacle accompanied by a violent wind?

To an objective person, this story as well as many others in the Book of Acts is an exercise in fantasy, a literary device used by the author to enliven the narrative and to sell the product to a group of receptive, gullible people.

(545) The confusing path of salvation

The main purpose of Christianity is to provide salvation, an award that allows someone after a physical death to continue to live in a beautiful setting forever.  The other related purpose is to protect against being sent to Hell.  The problem is that the criterion for attaining salvation is not clear.  The following is taken from:

http://infidels.org/library/modern/michael_martin/xtianity_absurd.html

There is no consistent Christian account of how humans are supposed to be saved, although this is of the utmost practical urgency. It is absurd that the aim of Christianity is human salvation and yet Christian doctrine does not make clear how this is achieved. Indeed, there are conflicting ideas of salvation suggested by the creeds, the gospels and Paul’s letters. For example, one view of salvation presented in the Synoptic Gospels is that a person is saved by following a moral code. A second view, one maintained by Paul, John, and the Creeds, is that a person is saved by having faith in Jesus. In other words, the first path to salvation seems to be through works, whereas the second path to salvation is by faith alone.

The second route is the one most commonly associated with Christianity. However, it is not clear just what it involves besides belief. Even when one concentrates only on the cognitive dimension of faith there are unclarities. The Creeds seem to demand the kind of belief that defines orthodox Christianity: namely, everything from the Virgin Birth to the Second Coming, from the Resurrection to the Incarnation. But John only seems to demand belief in the incarnation and Paul only seems to demand belief in the resurrection. Neither Paul nor John demands belief in the Virgin Birth or in the Trinity but the Creeds do.

So Christians who read the New Testament and the Creeds of Christianity carefully should be utterly confused for they are presented with conflicting doctrines. They will not know whether one is saved by works or by faith and, if by faith, by faith in what.

To make it even more confusing, we have this scripture in Matthew 7:21-23:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

So, there are several theories about how God will judge people,but there is no clear, concise explanation.  Christians hold many contradictory views on this issue, so it is impossible to know what the ‘true’ criteria are.  What should be obvious is that if a god decided to establish a judgment system that would send dead people either to an extremely attractive place or a place of sheer terror, he would supply an indisputable, clear, and well-distributed message as to how to attain the better outcome.

(546) Jesus demands faith, has none himself

The following is taken from:

http://blog.atheistsurvivalguide.org/ten-reasons-christianity-makes-sense/

Jesus was always rolling his eyes and scolding his disciples for not having enough faith. There are many verses to be found in the New Testament in which Jesus says some variation of, “Don’t trust your senses, don’t look for evidence, just accept it because I said so.” But if Jesus was the son of god, then faith wasn’t something he needed – he knew god and heaven were real because that’s where he came from, no faith required. How fair is it to command the rest of the world to believe something on faith alone, threatening eternal punishment to any who don’t believe it, when you yourself have no faith and all the evidence?

Jesus may have been a role model for various virtues, but one that doesn’t fit this ideal is faith.   He demands faith and delivers the maximum penalty for anyone who fails to comply, all the while supplying a measly measure of evidence on which to base one’s faith (to us today, even much less than he gave his apostles). Meanwhile, he has no need for faith himself whatsoever.  In this light, Jesus is a major hypocrite.

(547) The fallacy of God’s ‘love’

Christians fawn over the immensity of God’s perfect (agape) love without really considering how conditional and tainted it is.  The following is taken from:

http://blog.atheistsurvivalguide.org/ten-reasons-christianity-makes-sense/

“I love you so much that I will torture and murder my own son as a symbol of something I could just give you without the bloodbath. I love you so much that I will reward you with an eternity in heaven, but you have to suffer and die in this world first. Salvation is yours, so long as you swear your devotion to me and only me. And believe what I say even if it sounds like nonsense because I told you to. And admit that deep down you are a rotten piece of garbage who doesn’t really deserve my love. And if you don’t do all of these things you will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity. But seriously, I love you.”

A god who actually loved us would, first of all, not threaten us with Hell. Second, he would let us know who he is and make his existence positively known.  Third, if he decided to give us life after death, he would guide every one of us to this happy place. The god of Christianity fails on each of these points.

(548) A fictitious drought

In James 5:16-18, we read:

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.

This scripture claims that a drought of 3.5 years occurred over the entire earth.  This refers to scriptures in 1 Kings 17 and 18.   The problem with this claim is that it would have caused the extinction of almost all life forms on the land, including trees, plants, grass, and so forth. It is highly likely that all advanced forms of life would have died out as well, particularly any animals from humans down to termites.  There is, of course, no evidence that anything of the sort actually happened.  This is an example of extreme hyperbole in a Biblical text that purports itself to be factual.

Also, this scripture would appear to claim that prayers for rain, or the cessation of rain, should be effective if prayed for earnestly. Time and time again, we have observed that these types of prayers are routinely not answered.

(549) God and the fourth dimension

In an effort to define the physical structure of God, it becomes necessary, first of all, to define his characteristics.  For the purposes of this point, we will use the definition that is most commonly employed by Christians- that God is infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent, and all-knowing.

For an entity to possess all of these attributes, he must not be localized to any place in the universe, but rather must inhabit every square centimeter of space.  Therefore, God would not have any recognizable shape, face, figure, or anything else we would relate to our human experience.  Sorry, but the idea that he made us in his image (Genesis 1:27) cannot be true.  The person who wrote this scripture had no idea of the immensity of the universe or the limitation of the speed of light.

So, if you are sitting alone in a room, how is God monitoring you- how is seeing you and from what angle, and how is he hearing you, and, to be sure, how is he reading your thoughts- considering that many prayers are not vocalized?  We know that the room does not contain anything other than atoms and molecules associated with your body, the chair you are sitting on, the walls, and the air that you are breathing.   So the only way God can see you without having a physical presence in the room  is for him to inhabit another dimension- perhaps what we would describe as a fourth spacial dimension.  To understand how this might work, take a look at this video where Carl Sagan discusses dimensional interactions:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiWKq57uAlk

What should be obvious from watching this video is that if God is watching you from a fourth dimension and says something to you, the voice will feel like it is emanating from inside your body.  Now, this would not be a ‘voice in your head.’ Rather, it would be a vibration that you would feel throughout your body.  And if God decided to enter into your 3-dimensional space, you would see a shape magically transforming into different shapes.

We do not experience any such phenomena, and because of this, we can be fairly confident that God is not inhabiting an extra dimension of space AND at the same time interacting with humans.  But if that is the case, then we must conclude that God is in fact a presence in our familiar 3-dimensional space, meaning he must inhabit a specific location.  Once that concession is made, the existence of the god proposed by Christianity is impossible.

(550) Christianity denigrates human wisdom

In 1 Corinthians 3:18-20, we read a very enlightening scripture:

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” ; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.

So, according to this scripture, the discovery of the germ theory of disease and the development of treatments and vaccines to prevent the death and suffering of millions of people was ‘foolishness’ in God’s sight.  Even though God himself, through Jesus, failed to provide this insight.

Newton’s theory of gravity- foolishness.  Copernicus’s model of the solar system- foolishness. Einstein’s theory of relativity- foolishness. This list could go on forever, but the conclusion is the same.  God sees human wisdom as foolishness.  Apparently he wants us to give up on science, read the Bible, and spend our lives praising him.

The absurdity of this scripture is evident. God gives us big brains but doesn’t want us to use them too much.  Throughout history, Christianity has resisted new knowledge gained through science, and this fact is one of the best indicators that Christianity is a fake religion.

(551) The three men who made Christianity

If we assume that Jesus was a real person who preached the coming of a kingdom and that he was crucified by the Romans for the crime of sedition- claiming that he would rule over a new kingdom in Judea, then we can identify three men who were instrumental in the formation of the Christian religion as it currently exists.  Remove any of these three and Christianity would not exist today, or else it would be a very small sect.

1. Joseph of Arimathea

Joseph must have had a personal connection to Pontius Pilate, because he was able to convince Pilate to let him take possession of Jesus’s body after only a few hours on the cross, when normally crucified people were left on their crosses for several days or even a week, long after they had died, such that the bodies decayed and were attacked by birds. He placed the body in his personal tomb and rolled the stone in place at the entrance.  (The idea that a Roman guard was stationed at the tomb is pure fiction- it is mentioned only in Matthew’s gospel and was inserted to quash a rumor that Jesus’s body was stolen, which the gospel itself alludes to.)

On the second night after the crucifixion, Joseph rolled back the stone and moved the body of Jesus to either another tomb or to another burial site.  He left the tomb open for the women who came to the tomb the next morning, and dressed in a white sheet, told them that Jesus was resurrected.  They identified him as an angel.

Joseph’s intent was several-fold. He was close to the apostles and commiserated with them over their intense loss and wanted to do something to bring them out of their depression. Also, he didn’t want his tomb to become a shrine for pilgrims, and, frankly, wanted to use it for other purposes. And third, he was an admirer of Jesus’s message and wanted it to go forth even after the great man’s death.

The actions taken by Joseph of Arimathea set in motion the belief that Jesus had defeated death and was alive again.  The remainder of this illusion was fueled by the visions, dreams, and imaginations of his followers, who were all too willing to believe anything they heard concerning sightings of the master.

2. Paul

The entire Jesus movement would have faltered and gone extinct without the actions of Paul.  This is a fact of history, because we know that there were two distinct denominations of early Christianity- one led by Paul, the other by James, Jesus’s brother. The James faction was completely annihilated during the Jewish War of AD 70 and ceased to exist. Only Paul’s ‘church’ continued after that time.  Thus, it can be confidently stated that without the ministry of Paul, a man who never met Jesus, Christianity would have died in the First Century.

3. Emperor Constantine

Christianity was flailing by around the year AD 300, was just a minor sect, and was losing in its competition with various pagan religions, especially Mithraism.  One of the reasons for this was Jesus’s failure to return as expected. Christians became disillusioned and dispirited waiting for a big event that, according to their scriptures, should have already happened.   But in AD 312, after his miraculous military victory that he superstitiously attributed to a Christian prayer, the emperor made Christianity a state religion and broadcast this fact to the entire empire.  Thus, Christianity, resurrected from its ashes, rose in prominence and summarily extinguished the competing pagan faiths.

History is a fragile enterprise and when we look back it is interesting to see how things could have turned out differently.  Remove any of these three men and Christianity would not exist Anchortoday.

(552) The shortest version of Christianity

If we cut through all of the tedious stories embellishing the Christian myth, we can actually distill it down to just this:

God: ” Because I am angry that Adam ate the forbidden apple, I will send my son to earth and have his descendants torture and kill him, so I can forgive them and everyone else for what Adam did.”

This is the Bible in a nutshell and it points out the absurdity of washing away a trivial sin with one that is much more damning. After all, if Adam eating the apple was enough to condemn all future people, wouldn’t the killing of the son of God do the same, but much, much more?  When you take off your blinders, you realize that Christianity doesn’t make any sense.

(553) Anachronistic marital advice

In 1  Corinthians 7:10:11, we read:

To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

In this scripture, Paul is making it clear that this command is not coming from him, but rather the Lord (in the next verse, he reverses the side remark and makes it clear that he is speaking from his own mind).  So any Christian who believes that the Bible is the word of God must acquiesce to this scripture.  It should be recognized as the timeless command of God that must be followed if one is to be considered a Christian.

Of course, this scripture is not followed or even preached in most Christian churches.  Even the Catholic Church has found a way around this decree by hypocritically declaring in most cases that any marriage, no matter how it lasted or how many children it produced, can be annulled and considered as if it didn’t happen, thus allowing someone to remarry.

So if this scripture is be taken at its word, the Christian god has shown himself to be insensitive to the vagaries of human life and has failed to recognize that divorce is a necessary institution to protect not just the psychological well-being of incompatible spouses, but also the health, well-being, and lives of those who are abused and battered. On the other hand, if it is conceded that this didn’t really come from God, then the scriptures themselves are laid bare and shown to be invalid.  Either way, Christianity loses a measure of authenticity.

(554) Disciples acted like they didn’t expect the resurrection

There is a major conflict in the gospel scriptures.  On one hand, Jesus repeatedly told his disciples that he would be put to death and then rise on the third day, but on the other hand, when these events supposedly played out, the disciples acted as if they knew nothing of the sort.

The following is taken from:

http://www.questioningchristian.com/2004/10/troubling_incon.html#InfluentialFriends

According to the Gospels, Jesus explicitly and repeatedly told his disciples that he would be put to death but would be raised on the third day [Mt 16.21-23, 17.22-23, 20.17-19; Mk 8.31-32; Lk 9.21-22, 18.31-33; Jn 14.18-20, 16.16-20].

Matthew and Mark indicate that the disciples very much got the message, judging by their strong reactions to it, including Peter’s saying, no way, Lord, I won’t allow it!  [Mt 16.22, 17.23; Mk 8.33].

And during Jesus’s ministry, the disciples are said to have seen not just one, but two examples of dead people being raised to life:  Jairus’s daughter [Mt 9.18-25, Mk 5.21-24, 35-42], and Lazarus [Jn 11].  So it’s not like the disciples would have been unfamiliar with the concept.

But then after Jesus’s own death, the disciples acted as though they’d never heard of anyone being raised from the dead, let alone that (supposedly) Jesus had explicitly and repeatedly foretold his own raising:

  • On Easter Sunday, a handful of disciples went to Joseph of Arimathea’s new tomb after the Sabbath.   They were perplexed when they found the tomb empty [Mk 16.5; Lk 24.4; Jn 20.2, 9].
  • Other disciples refused to believe the first reports of resurrection sightings [Mk 16.13; Lk 24.11; Jn 20.24-25].
  • Mary Magdalene initially failed to recognize Jesus when she encountered him [Jn. 20.14]; ditto with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus [Lk 24.16].
  • Jesus’s followers are described as being startled and terrified when they saw him, thinking they were seeing a ghost [Lk 24.5, 24.37; Mt 28.10].

You would think at least some of the Eleven would have remembered Jesus’s predictions of his resurrection.  It appears none of them did.

Additionally, the scriptures portray the disciples as cowering and being afraid, disavowing their master, at the time of the crucifixion. This would be unlikely if they knew this event had to happen.

As a historian, you must look at this evidence and try to ferret out what really happened, that is, which parts of this story ring true, and which parts appear to have been added after the fact.  What makes the most sense is that Jesus never prophecized his death and resurrection, and, in fact, never expected to die in the first place, but rather thought he would be exalted as the King of the Jews in a restored holy land kingdom.  By the time the gospels were written though, it became necessary to show that Jesus planned it this way all along, and therefore, some quotes needed to be added to confirm his foreknowledge of the events to come.

The other way, that the disciples were adequately prepared for the crucifixion and resurrection, and acted accordingly during these events, but the gospel authors wanted to make it look like they didn’t know, makes much less sense. Therefore, this scriptural conflict lends much evidence to the idea that Jesus did not predict his death and resurrection, that it was an unexpected turn of events, and that he was not a divine being.

(555) The ‘miracle’ of the loaves and fishes

The story of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes is the only miracle that is discussed in all four gospels.  It tells of two occasions where Jesus allegedly turned a small number of loaves and fishes into a multitude enough to feed first 5000 and then 4000 men plus women and children.  Here is one of the accounts in Mark 6:30-44:

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

“How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

This is considered to be one of Jesus’s most remarkable accomplishments, proving that he was a divine being.  But when we consider the way stories are told by any one of us, it becomes obvious that a story such as this could have been greatly exaggerated as it was told and re-told over several decades before it became a part of scripture.

There is likely no one who has ever related a story who has not experienced a moment of guilt when an element of untruth or stretching of truth gets inserted into the telling.  It is a natural human tendency to make the story compelling to the listener, especially when we sense that the listener is not being impressed by the bare fact details.  We tend to add a little to the size, number, length, time, or other attributes to make it a more remarkable tale.

Here is an idea of the evolution of the story of the loaves and fishes.

First generation:  There was a big crowd following Jesus and people were hungry and we were a long walk from town, so Jesus commanded all of us to share what we had to eat.  Most of us had nothing, but there were a few who had lots of fishes and loaves of bread.  Miraculously, there was enough to feed everyone to their satisfaction.

Second generation: There was a big crowd following Jesus and people were hungry and we were a long walk from town.  Jesus and his apostles had only a few loaves and fishes, but then Jesus said something, and all of a sudden, there were lots of fishes and loaves being passed around.  We all had enough to eat.

Third generation: There was a big crowd following Jesus and people were hungry and we were a long walk from town.  Jesus and his apostles had only a few loaves and fishes and nobody had any food themselves, so Jesus looked up to the sky and prayed, and all of a sudden, the baskets were filled with loaves and fishes, overflowing like a river, enough to feed everyone.  Jesus worked a true miracle.

This is an example of how all of the miracles in the Bible and other sources likely originated, evolving from the mundane to the miraculous, through repeated embellishment with each generation of the recounting.

(556) The Bible spawns human violence

It should be an obviously understood truth that a book inspired by a holy deity would engender the highest ideals of morality and ethics in the people who read and study it. Regarding the Bible, the opposite is true:

The following is taken from:

http://americanhumanist.org/humanism/Some_Reasons_Why_Humanists_Reject_the_Bible

A serious problem with the violence and injustice in the Bible is that, all too often, the teachings and example of the biblical God have incited cruel acts by his followers.

Many of them reasoned that since God, who is considered just and loving, committed or approved of the most brutal acts, good Christians need not have qualms about behaving likewise. Such logic led the American patriot Thomas Paine to say, “The belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man.”

Joseph McCabe’s treatise The History of Torture illustrates the reasoning process. McCabe reports that during the Middle Ages, there was more torture used in Christian Europe than in any society in history. The main cause of this cruelty was the Christian doctrine of eternal punishment. McCabe explains: “If, it was natural to reason, God punishes men with eternal torment, it is surely lawful for men to use doses of it in a good cause.”

Other historical examples of violent and unjust acts supported by biblical teachings include: the Inquisition; the Crusades; the burning of witches; religious wars; pogroms against Jews; persecution of homosexuals; forceful conversions of heathens; slavery; beatings of children; brutal treatment of the mentally ill; suppression of scientists; and whippings, mutilations, and violent executions of persons convicted of crimes. Those acts were a regular part of the Christian world for centuries.

Thomas Paine was entirely justified in saying about the Bible: “It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it as I detest everything that is cruel.”

The Bible has certainly spawned good behavior as well, but the historically-significant amount of evil behavior negates the credibility of calling it the “Good Book.” Further, it strongly suggests that it is the sole creation of primitive and unenlighted men.

(557) 1 John Epistle not inspired by God

The following is a description of the Biblical epistle known as 1 John:

The First Epistle of John, often referred to as First John and written 1 John, is a book of the New Testament. This fourth catholic or “general” epistle is attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two Epistles of John. This Epistle was probably written in Ephesus between the years 95–110.[1] The work was written to counter docetism, which is the belief that Jesus did not come “in the flesh”, but only as a spirit. It also defined how Christians are to discern true teachers: by their ethics, their proclamation of Jesus in the flesh, and by their love.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Epistle_of_John

The following is Verse 2:18 from this epistle:

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.

This statement unambiguously states that this is the last hour, meaning the last few moments before the return of Jesus, or alternately, the last remaining fragments of time before the world order was to change, entering a period of tribulation as described in the Book of Revelation.  It does not refer to a 1900+ period where the world will continue in its current configuration.

If God is considered by Christians to have inspired all that is contained in the Bible, then they must conclude that 1 John 2:18 is directly from the mind of God.  If so, it is difficult to explain why this scripture was erroneous, predicting something that did not happen.

At best, it was written by a man who ‘thought’ the end was near without the proper divine inspiration, but even then, it becomes difficult to explain how God allowed it to become holy scripture when supposedly he had the capability to influence to the minutest detail the construction of the Bible.

(558) Christianity miss-identified the cause of disease

The following is taken from:

http://americanhumanist.org/humanism/Some_Reasons_Why_Humanists_Reject_the_Bible

This misdirection of energies is seen, for instance, in the history of the attempts to prevent the outbreak and spread of diseases in Europe. The historian Andrew White relates that, during many centuries in the Middle Ages, the filthiness of European cities repeatedly caused great plagues that sent multitudes to their graves.

Based on biblical teachings, Christian theologians during those centuries thought the plagues were caused by the anger of God or the malevolence of Satan. The Bible gave them ample support for their belief. It contains numerous instances of God punishing people by means of pestilence (e.g., Exodus 32:35; Numbers 16:44-49; Jeremiah 21:6). And in describing Jesus’ healing miracles, the New Testament attributes the following afflictions to demons: blindness (Matthew 12:22); muteness (Matthew 9:32-33); lameness (Luke 13:11,16); epilepsy (Matthew 17:14-18); and insanity (Mark 5:1-13).

Those teachings led the early church leaders to promote the idea that demonic activity is the primary cause of disease. For example, St. Augustine, whose views strongly influenced Western thought for over a thousand years, said in the fourth century: “All diseases of Christians are to be ascribed to these demons. . . .”

With the coming of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, there was little change in the Christian attitude toward the causes of disease. Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, repeatedly attributed his own illnesses to “devils’ spells.” He also stated: “Satan produces all the maladies which afflict mankind, for he is the prince of death.”

As a result of believing in supernatural causes of disease, theologians taught that plagues could be averted or stopped by seeking supernatural assistance. And the way to obtain God’s help, they thought, was to perform religious acts. These included repenting from sin; providing gifts to churches, monasteries, and shrines; participating in religious processions; attending church services (which often only increased the spread of disease); and killing Jews and witches (since it was thought Satan used them as his agents in causing illness). Religious leaders largely ignored the possibility of physical causes and cures of diseases.

This is perhaps one of the strongest arguments against the truth of Christianity.  How could a religion directly guided by an infinitely intelligent god get such an important concept so terribly wrong? How could the same religion have been used to retard the kinds of inquiry and analysis that would have so greatly alleviated the pain, suffering, and death of millions of people?  The answer is, it couldn’t. As clear as can be stated: The Christian religion was imagined, codified, preserved, and promoted by men who had no more (and probably less) knowledge of reality than anyone else on the planet at the time.  It is false beyond all doubt.

(559) Romans fail to react to a risen Jesus

The Romans were ruthless in their execution process, first of all making sure the condemned person was actually dead. If we are to believe the gospels, this strategy was not followed in Jesus’s case. Normally, people remained pinned to their crosses for many days, remained there long after death, and were attacked by birds of prey. This was done to create a visceral reaction in the local population to dissuade them from doing actions similar to the condemned.  In Jesus’s case, his body was allegedly and inexplicably allowed to be removed after only a few hours on the cross.

According to the scriptures, Jesus emerged from his tomb after a day and a half and began to walk around and converse with his disciples and, according to Paul, even appear before 500 people. Now, to be sure, the Romans would have known that this was happening and Jesus would still have been under a death warrant, meaning that he would be susceptible to recapture and being sent back to the cross.  However, the scriptures make it appear that Jesus is not concerned whatsoever about this fact, and has no qualms about circulating around and being seen by hundreds of people, some of whom undoubtedly would have been Romans or Roman sympathizers.

There is no reference to the Romans mounting a man hunt to recapture Jesus, or to the Jews who were supposedly instrumental in condemning him to death.  To be sure, if he actually rose from the dead, it might have converted some of the members of the Sanhedrin who had prosecuted him, but the unusually early dismantlement from the cross would have made it much more believable that he had swooned, not died, and then recuperated.

This is a conflict in the Biblical story, suggesting that the resurrection, as a true physical event, did not occur.  Otherwise, Jesus would have been secreted away and remained out of sight of all but his closest disciples, and certainly would not have appeared to over 500 people without any reference to still being under a death sentence.   The lack of any discussion of a Roman response to Jesus remaining alive is a red herring in the description of these events.

(560) The Bible in reverse- God steadily gets worse

The following is an excerpt of a letter sent to this website:

http://new.exchristian.net/2015/09/an-atheist-explains-his-atheism-part-one.html

I decided to read it [the Bible]in reverse, starting at Revelation, and moving backward, book by book, until I finished by reading Genesis. Without trying, without even thinking I would notice this, with no inkling whatsoever that what happened would happen, I noticed a glaring trend: God got worse the farther back I went, and Jesus got less interesting. Moving through the New Testament in reverse, I saw Jesus go from the Christ-Savior-Redeemer-Spiritual King of Paul’s device to the less emphatic though spiritually wise local, itinerant prophet of the Gospels. Moving through the Old Testament in reverse, I saw God go from the portending voice of the prophets to the genocidal thug of Canaan to the insecure tormentor of Job to the insanely vengeful deity of a small band of nomads.

The exercise of reading the Bible in reverse is something very few people have done, but it offers a unique perspective, similar to walking the other way around a familiar path.  When the Bible is read front to back, the character of God continually improves into a more compassionate, saner deity, and it’s easy to fail to notice what is happening. But in reverse, this negative behavioral trend cannot be overlooked.

It’s not just that God changes from the Old to the New Testament, it’s that he changes gradually and consistently within each testament, from the very beginning to the very end- a steady transformation.  Even Jesus gets better as the references to Hell fade away.

What is reflected by this evolution is not a god who is constantly changing, but rather the changing mores and ethics of the world the Biblical authors lived in as each century clicked by.  In short, the Bible is not about a god, it is rather about the progression of human civilization.

(561) Euhemerism or Euhemerization

The ancient Greek writer Euhemerus wrote about the gods Zeus and Uranus as if they were actual real human kings. This was of course centuries after they had already been worshiped as cosmic deities.

The same goes for several other long worshiped fictional deities who were written about as having human form as being half-gods, or the sons of gods, but written about as having a human body. This is where the term ‘euhemerism’ comes from. When mythical beings are suddenly written as historical. This is the exact opposite of ‘deification’ where an actual person is written about and given a god status.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euhemerism

Here is a summary of the issue from Dr. Richard Carrier:

http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/8161

Other examples are Hercules, Romulus, Horis and Osiris.

There is a possibility that a similar tactic was used to humanize Jesus, who may not have been a real person.  From his letters, it appears that Paul the apostle was only talking about Jesus as a celestial deity based upon scripture and hijacked pagan religions. Other people who wrote the many New Testament forgeries and even the 40 other gospels that were taken out of the New Testament, are the ones who turned the sky god Jesus/Joshua into a human form that walked the Earth.

As in Zechariah 6:11-13 which was written 600 years before Paul, or Christianity:

Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of JOSHUA the son of Josedech, the high priest And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:  Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

Paul may have taken the name mentioned in this verse and used it for his celestial deity. The many writers of the gospels and apochrypha did the rest.

Much like a wolf was domestically bred and evolved into a poodle, there is evidence to suggest that a bunch of myths about a celestial Jesus evolved into a claim that he was a real person.

(562) Christian ‘proofs’ are just claims for deism

Deism is the belief that God created the universe but remains apart from it and permits his creation to administer itself through natural laws. It rejects the supernatural aspects of religion, such as belief in revelation in the Bible, and stresses the importance of ethical conduct. Most Christian apologists apply evidence that only supports deism when attempting to demonstrate the truth of Christianity.

The use of claims of deism as their arguments of evidence for theism (Christianity) is probably the Christian apologists most deceitful tactic for misleading the sheep. They don’t offer any evidence for Jesus, or evidence of anything in the Bible, and could apply to any religion ever formulated in the past or to come.

So just to be clear, theism is the belief in a specific religion, with a specific personal god or gods, whereas deism is belief in an impersonal and non-interventionalist god.  So the bottom line is that all arguments for God’s existence are just claims of deism, not evidence of theism.

Arguments are not evidence. If arguments do not have any evidentiary value, then they are just claims and nothing else. Suggesting that a god exists in no way supports the belief that Jesus was a real person or was God himself.

We might not be able to disprove “God” the generic version, but we can find plenty of evidence to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt the gods of the Bible and every other religion.

So when Christians attempt to do the illusion of superimposing deism claims as evidence for Christianity, all they are doing is showing both how desperate they are and how there really is nothing at all that adequately supports the claims of Christianity.

If Christianity was true, apologists would not need to use claims for deism because they would have ample evidence specifically supporting the claims of Christianity.  The problem is: they don’t have this evidence in any form other than hand waving, and this in and of itself is a strong piece of ‘evidence’ that Christianity is untrue.

(563) The Raglan Mythotype shows a pattern

In 1936, Lord Raglan developed a scale of rating mythical characters and their characteristics and patterns.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rank-Raglan_mythotype

On Raglan’s system:

1. Mother is a royal virgin

2. Father is a king

3. Father often a near relative to mother

4. Unusual conception

5. Hero reputed to be son of god

6. Attempt to kill hero as an infant, often by father or maternal grandfather

7. Hero spirited away as a child

8. Reared by foster parents in a far country

9. No details of childhood

10. Returns or goes to future kingdom

11. Is victor over king, giant, dragon or wild beast

12. Marries a princess (often daughter of predecessor)

13. Becomes king

14. For a time he reigns uneventfully

15. He prescribes laws

16. Later loses favor with gods or his subjects

17. Driven from throne and city

18. Meets with mysterious death

19. Often at the top of a hill

20. His children, if any, do not succeed him

21. His body is not buried

22. Has one or more holy sepulchers or tombs

Interestingly enough, on Raglan’s system Jesus scored an 18, which is the same as Romulus and Perseus, all of whom beat Hercules who scored a 17.

Does this prove a historical Jesus didn’t exist? No, but it does show that the stories told about Jesus are coincidentally the same as several other god-men that Christians recognize as being clearly mythical. It would certainly seem that if a real god-man arrived on the planet, he would show some significant distinguishing characteristics from the fantasy-gods created by superstitious men.  This lack of uniqueness concerning the figure of Jesus is evidence that he belongs in the same category as Zeus, Apollo, and all the rest whether or not he can be traced to a physically unique human being.

It appears to an objective historian that many things documented about Jesus are just recycled or plagiarized fiction.

(564) Miscarriages belie the Christian god

The following is taken from:

http://www.hopexchange.com/Statistics.htm

Sadly, miscarriages are a very common occurrence. Sources vary, but many estimate that approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage; and some estimates are as high as 1 in 3. If you include loss that occurs before a positive pregnancy test, some estimate that 40% of all conceptions result in loss. 

Although statistics can vary slightly from one source to the next, here is a general account (based primarily on information provided by the March of Dimes) of the frequency of miscarriages in the United States:

  •       There are about 4.4 million confirmed pregnancies in the U.S.           every year.
  •       900,000 to 1 million of those end in pregnancy losses EVERY           year.
  •       More than 500,000 pregnancies each year end in miscarriage        (occurring during the first 20 weeks).
  •       Approximately 26,000 end in stillbirth (considered stillbirth            after 20 weeks)
  •       Approximately 19,000 end in infant death during the first                   month.
  •       Approximately 39,000 end in infant death during the first year.
  •       Approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage; some               estimates are as high as 1 in 3. If you include loss that occurs             before a positive pregnancy test, some estimate that 40% of all       conceptions result in loss.
  •       Approximately 75% of all miscarriages occur in the first                       trimester.
  •       An estimated 80% of all miscarriages are single miscarriages.           The vast majority of women suffering one miscarriage can                 expect to have a normal pregnancy next time.
  •       An estimated 19% of the adult population has experienced the       death of a child (this includes miscarriages through adult-aged         children).

Christians claim that life begins at conception and that God recognizes such and immediately inserts a soul into each human life form.  This is the primary reason that they oppose abortion. However, these statistics show that God himself is the most prolific abortionist, greatly exceeding what humans have done.

If God really is in control of human reproduction, and further is benevolent and compassionate as assumed, it would seem that he would have devised a much more reliable system for bringing people into the world.  What should worry Christians is that the statistics cited above are EXACTLY what we would expect as the product of unguided, random, and godless evolution.

So the question is-  within the framework of human  reproduction, how could the hands-on, interventionist, prayer-answering god so convincingly make it look like he doesn’t exist ?

(565) Jesus cannot be the Jewish Messiah

The following is taken from:

According to the Torah, the Messiah, the Mashiach, must be a descendant of King David. This is why the Torah named him “Mashiach Ben David.” The Messiah, a son of David, which means he has to be linked to King David. This is what G-d says in the Old Testament. Come along the people that wrote the New Testament and they know that the story has to match the Torah, because it has to be from the same God, there cannot be any contradiction. So, they come and describe all the generations from Kind David until Josef the carpenter, and, why, because they are trying to link Jesus to King David. If Jesus is not connected to King David he cannot be the Messiah. Because, if he is going to be a great grandson of King David he has a chance, not necessarily that he is the Messiah, but he at least he has a chance.

This is where Christianity made a fatal mistake. In their zeal to make Jesus more than just a man, in fact to make him into a god, they had to forgo a typical biological conception story and make Jesus the product of a divine inseminator and a human woman.  Otherwise he would have been rejected by practically all of the followers of pagan religions as being  less than divine.  And it was these people that Christianity desperately needed to convert.

Although Matthew and Luke devised contradictory and obviously fictional genealogies to connect Jesus to King David, it is quite clear to the most casual observer that Jesus was not the son of his mother’s husband, Joseph.  And because of this, Jesus could not be the Jewish Messiah.  And because of that, Christianity is a fraud.

(566) A universe not designed for life

If human beings are the main reason for God’s creation of the universe, a theory that most Christians hold, then what can we make of the structure of the universe?  Christians will assert that the universe was made particularly with a focus on the harboring of life, and further that God fine tuned the physical constants to ensure this goal.

However, when we look at the universe as as a whole, the places where life could exist, not necessarily where life does exist, is a vanishingly small part.  If we model the universe as a skyscraper, the area that has the potential to support life would be a tiny spec on a single floor that would be too small for even the most powerful electron microscope to detect- smaller even than an atom, a proton, or even a neutrino.  The question that then must be asked is why did God make so much purposeless space and so many lifeless planets? Does this actually reflect the design of a god focused on human life?

What the universe really seems to be designed for is black holes, super dense objects capable of trapping light and any other matter or energy. It is believed that there are around 10,000 black holes orbiting around a super massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy (which has 4.1 million times the mass of the sun), with another 100,000 black holes in other locations in our galaxy.  In the universe as a whole, there are likely more black holes than the number of grains of sand on all of the beaches on Earth.  So rather than being designed for life, it appears that the universe was designed for black holes.  J.T. Eberhard discusses this issue in the following video, starting at 18:50:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiWrCawp3Rs

When looked at as a dispassionate observer, it is clear that the universe was not built specifically for life, but rather that in some tiny spaces against long odds, life was able to eke out an existence on one small planet, and perhaps others, fighting all the while against physical agents trying to wipe it out, including radiation, meteors, volcanoes, exploding stars, plagues, etc.

This is not the universe created by a god to play out a theological game of rewarding and punishing people, rather it is a seemingly cruel and dispassionate world that neither targets nor plays any favors for any living things.

(567) Jesus believed in Satan, Christians not so much

There is significant scriptural evidence that Jesus believed that Satan was a real ‘person,’ not some abstract concept of evil.  In John 8:43-33, we read:

“Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Note that Jesus uses the pronoun “he,” not “it” to describe Satan.

In Matthew 12:25-28, we read:

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Once again, he is referring to Satan as a sentient being who has free will, not some abstract concept.

Where this clashes with the current state of Christianity is that a majority of people who identify as Christian do not believe that Satan is a unique living being.  The following is taken from:

https://www.barna.org/barna-update/faith-spirituality/260-most-american-christians-do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exis#.VgFsGvlVhBc

A new nationwide survey (conducted in 2009) of adults’ spiritual beliefs, conducted by The Barna Group, suggests that Americans who consider themselves to be Christian have a diverse set of beliefs

Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.

To add this up, only 35% of Christians are fairly certain that Satan exists, while the remainder either don’t know or are fairly certain he doesn’t exist. Now, to be fair, it is understandable that a person raised in the First Century would be indoctrinated to believe in evil beings, but a god-man should know better.  And after the explosion of literacy and scientific knowledge over the past 20 centuries, most people today, even those who call themselves Christian, do know better. It is simply no longer consistent with modern culture to believe that a supernatural evil figure is messing with our world. The causes of catastrophes and disasters have been identified as being assigned to the natural world. There is no longer a reason to posit an evil being standing behind the curtain.

The fact that the Bible portrays Jesus as a believer in Satan is evidence that he, assuming he existed, was nothing more than a typical human product of his time.

(568) The failure of the Golden Rule

A lot of Christians fawn over the wisdom displayed by Jesus when he imparted the ‘Golden Rule,’ as recorded in Luke 6:31:

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

There are two problems with this. First, it was not an original saying. The following is taken from:

http://nobeliefs.com/jesus.htm

Most people do not realize that Jesus did not originate this saying. K’ung-Tzu (also known as Confucius) also expressed a similar idea, ironically called the Silver Rule. In fact, Golden Rule type thinking occurs in many ancient texts, written long before the invention of Christianity. Michael Shermer (The Science of Good and Evil) claims that the Golden Rule served as the first moral principle, evolved through our Paleolithic ancestors long before religions co-opted, and codified it.

Second, the Golden Rule is not even a good moral guide.  For instance, suppose you like to be left alone when you are sick, but your friend likes to be doted upon.  Following the golden rule leaves your sick friend feeling unloved and deserted.  Instead, and what should have come out of the mouth a god-man would have been something unique and more compassionate- the Platinum Rule.  The following is taken from:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Platinum+Rule

It [the Platinum Rule] states “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them, not as you would have them do unto you.”The Golden Rule is to treat others as you want to be treated, but the Platinum Rule understands and accommodates for the fact that not everyone wants to be treated the same way. It says that we should treat people how they want to be treated, regardless of how we might personally want to be treated in similar situations.

The Platinum Rule is a much more empathetic, sensitive moral guideline than its predecessor, the Golden Rule, which ignores the wishes and preferences of the recipients of the behaviour in favor of imposing the giver’s preferences onto others in a misguided attempt at kindness.

I like having doors held open for me, but Jane prefers to open her own doors. Instead of insisting that she shut up and let me open her doors, I abide by the Platinum Rule, and I let her open her own doors when she wants to.

If God visited the earth it would seem that his wisdom and insight would have identified that recycling a flawed Golden Rule was a missed opportunity to impart a better and more compassionate behavioral rule.

(569) Paul’s lie about 500 resurrection witnesses

In 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8, we read:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Here, Paul is claiming that at some time after Jesus rose from the dead and before he ascended into Heaven, he appeared before a crowd of more than 500 men and women.  He does not state where this happened or who was in the audience, but he does assert that some of these people remained alive at the time he was writing the letter, about 25 years after the alleged event.  Because Corinth lies about 800 kilometers from where this event supposedly occurred, it would have been difficult for anyone living in Corinth to investigate the claim.

What we do know is that none of the gospels, all written after Paul wrote this letter, discuss Jesus appearing before a large crowd after the resurrection. This is curious, because this would have been the most impressive evidence for the resurrection, the one event that would have been able to convince skeptical potential converts.

Also, none of the other Biblical epistle writers mention anything about it, even those alleged to have been written by the apostles. Add to that, no historians living in the time and region mention it. And none of eyewitnesses, 500 strong, wrote anything about it, at least anything that has survived for posterity.

Christians often use this verse to support their belief in the resurrection of Jesus, claiming that 500 people could not have been hallucinating the same image at the same time. This is true, but what is also true is that if this event had actually happened, it would have jump started Christianity in ways that were not observed in the First Century, and it would have convinced the Jews living in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas that Jesus was the true Messiah.   This is because the eyewitness testimony would have spread virally across the land.  As a result, It is likely that there would not be the division we see today between Judaism and Christianity.

But this didn’t happen, and further, there is no supporting documents to back up this claim.  It is clearly something Paul made up to impress likely converts to the faith.  It raises a question of Paul’s integrity and causes an objective person to question everything else that he wrote.

(570) Christianity maligns human dignity

It is well understood that, since its beginning, Christianity has played a game of trying to convince people that they are unworthy, imperfect, and undeserving sinners in need of a savior.  By destroying a person’s sense of self-worth, you make him vulnerable and receptive to your ‘solution’ for his problem.  This concept is best described in Romans 3:9-20:

What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.

There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

The implication of this doctrine is ironic in that Christianity claims that God made man in his own image, but somehow the image he created is fatally flawed.  Making regular people to feel dirty and sinful is an effective way to make them feel needy of the cure you are offering them, but it is also a HUGE red herring that what you are dealing with is not the product of a wise, benevolent celestial deity.  Rather it is a deceitful and shameful ploy made by men with designs on controlling people.  Any true religion would extol the value, character, and self-worth of the human condition.

(571) Christianity started as an end-of-the-world cult

In much the way we view the cults of David Koresh, Wayne Bent, Jim Jones, and Marshall Applewhite as being erroneous movements predicting the imminent end of the world, we can view Jesus in the same light.  It is clear from Jesus’s ministry that he believed the end was very near, as described in these scriptures taken from:

https://www.reddit.com/r/DebateAChristian/comments/3m1hxn/i_contend_that_christianity_is_descended_from_an/

Imminent end of the world:

  • 1 John 2:18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
  • Matthew 16:27-28 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory o His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.
  • Matthew 24:34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
  • Matthew 10:23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Sell your belongings:

  •  Luke 14:33 “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
  • Matthew 19:21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
  •  Luke 12:33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
  •  Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”Please note that only Luke 18:22 and Matthew 19:21 concern the story of Jesus advising the wealthy young man about the difficulty of entering heaven.

These verses are included for completeness, and to acknowledge the existence of this story because the most common objection I receive to the claim that Jesus required followers to sell their belongings is that I must be talking about this particular story and misunderstanding the message it conveys.

However in Luke 12:33 and Luke 14:33 Jesus is not speaking to that man but to a crowd following him, and in 14:33 he specifically says that those who do not give up everything they have cannot be his disciples. It is therefore not a recommendation but a requirement.

Cut off family members who try to stop you:

  •  Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.”
  •  Matt. 10:35-37 For I have come to turn a man against his father a daughter against her mother a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
  •  Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

The reason that Christianity survived whereas most end-of-the-world cults died is that the authorities were able to finesse a transition to a long-world vision of the faith, reducing the doubt that would otherwise rise from the continued failure for the predicted end to happen.  Most Christian followers are oblivious to the clear indications that Jesus was predicting the very quick ending of the world.  Somehow, this concept has been removed from the liturgy, expunged from the sermons, and generally no longer talked about in Christian circles.  But the elephant is in the room and everyone who is not wedded to Christian dogma can see it clearly.

(572) False use of scripture by Peter

One of the main objectives of the the New Testament authors was to tie the ministry of Jesus to the scriptures of the Old Testament, to prove that Jesus was the legitimate Jewish Messiah. They did this in two ways- either make up a story that matched something in the scriptures (such as Matthew’s mistaken two-donkey entrance into Jerusalem), or they could find a  scripture that was more or less consistent with the already established doctrine.

It is the second case that we see in the Book of Acts 2: 22-32

“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him:

“ ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ 

“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.

Peter is referencing Psalm 16, which is shown in whole below:

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” I say of the holy people who are in the land,“ They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

It is overtly obvious that David, the assumed author of this poem, is referring to himself, not some future person.  He uses the personal pronouns, ‘my’ and ‘me,’ indicating that he is talking about himself. This is not a prophecy about a future messiah.

http://www.questioningchristian.com/2004/10/troubling_incon.html#InfluentialFriends

We can be fairly certain that Peter did not make this statement, but it was rather the blunderous invention of the author in an attempt to legitimize Jesus to the Jews.  These obviously over-stretched efforts to connect Jesus to Old Testament scriptures do more to de-legitimize Jesus than to make him seem authentic.

(573) Irrational basis for forgiveness of sins

In John 20: 21-23, Jesus addresses his disciples after resurrecting from the dead:

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

The implication of this scripture is that the forgiveness of a person’s sins is dependent on the decision of a human intermediary.  The Catholic Church used this scripture, often unscrupulously, to empower priests with the power to absolve or condemn parishioners, often on the basis of favors they were willing to give to the clergy.  It led to the creation of the sacrament of confession, greatly increasing the power of priests to the detriment of everyday Catholics.

What should be obvious is that this scripture makes no sense. Further, it is inconsistent with conventional Christian doctrine that a person’s sins are forgiven based on faith in Christ, not on the whim of a human intercessor. There is no way a god-inspired author would have placed this statement in a gospel book.

(574) Autism lessens belief in God

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

Studies have shown that people who have autism are less likely to be religious. The following is taken from:

http://www.livescience.com/20654-autism-belief-god.html

University of British Columbia psychologists Ara Norenzayan and Will Gervais, along with their University of California, Davis colleague Kali H. Trzesniewski, wondered if having autism, which interferes with theory of mind, might influence people’s religious beliefs. They began with a small study of 12 children with autism and 13 kids without the disorder from the same neighborhood, matched on characteristics such as age, gender and family religion. They found that the youth with autism were only 11 percent as likely as their neurotypical counterparts to say they strongly believed in God.

The study found that the higher the autism score, the less likely the person was to believe in God, with the link partially explained by theory of mind. In other words, the better someone felt at understanding other’s minds, the more fervent their belief in God.

This raises the following questions:

  • why would God allow an affliction such as autism to exist- it now affects 1 in 42 male children?
  • how is it fair that a person who has autism does not possess the same mental capacity to conceive in a god?
  • does God send autistic people to Hell for their lack of faith?
  • does God give autistic people a free pass to Heaven?

It is clear that the existence of autism, and the effect this affliction has on a person’s ability to conceive of religious ideas, is inconsistent with Christianity’s judgment system.  A god could not be this capricious and unfair, and this makes Christianity harder to accept.

(575) Author of Mark makes mistakes regarding customs

The following is taken from:

http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/markauthor.html

Apart from geographical errors the author of Mark made a few rather glaring errors with respect to Jewish customs in Palestine during the time of Jesus.

Given below is an excerpt from Mark where Jesus is quoted as making some pronouncements on divorce:

Mark 10:11-12
He [Jesus] answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

Jesus last sentence implies that women had the right to divorce her husband. But according to Jewish Law a woman had no right of divorce whatsoever.  In Roman law, of course, a woman had that right. The author of Mark had simply and mistakenly assumed that this was so for Jewish Law as well. Again the author of Mark shows an ignorance of the conditions of Palestine which is really impossible for a native of the country to make.

Another example of Mark’s ignorance is from the explanation he included for his readers regarding ritual cleansing:

Mark 7:3-4
For the Pharisees and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of their elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.

This passage by Mark has been the subject of considerable debate among Jewish and Christian scholars. Basically Jewish scholars have pointed out, based on the evidence of the Talmuds, that the washing of hands before meals was obligatory only on priests and not on lay people like the Pharisees and scribes. While it may be possible that some, or even many, Pharisees submitted to this ritual voluntarily, it is certainly cannot be said that all the Jews were following this. Thus Mark had made a mistake in generalizing a custom that was simply not practiced by all during the time of Jesus

All it takes is to point out a single error in the Bible to prove that it is not a document that was inspired by God, at least to the extent where God made an effort to make it perfect, protecting it from original errors and any unauthorized tampering later on. Once this breach of confidence has been made, it opens the flood gates for whatever else might be in error.

Based on the errors discussed above and many others, it can be stated without wavering that the Bible is a fallible human product that should not be taken as the word of a god.  It should be assessed for accuracy as we do for any other history book, and that assessment would conclude that the Bible is far less historically accurate than most of the other books that were written at approximately the same time.

(576) Matthew misrepresents scripture

Consider the following two scriptures:

Matthew 2:14-15:

So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.”

Hosea 11: 1-5

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more they were called, the more they went away from me.They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images.It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. “Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent?

This was a overt misuse of scripture by the author of Matthew.  The following is taken from:

Matthew has Mary, Joseph and Jesus fleeing to Egypt to escape Herod, and says that the return of Jesus from Egypt was in fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 2:15). However, Matthew quotes only the second half of Hosea 11:1. The first half of the verse makes it very clear that the verse refers to God calling the Israelites out of Egypt in the exodus led by Moses, and has nothing to do with Jesus.

This was an avoidable mistake, though it’s likely that Matthew was aware of the deception, but this misrepresentation only serves to undermine the authenticity of the historical account of Jesus.

(577) Demon-man overpowers seven men

In Acts 19:13-16, a story is told that so strains credulity that only a very innocent and gullible person could believe it actually happened. Here is the text:

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

It starts off by considering demon possession to be a real phenomenon, but then takes it a step further by having the demon speak in the local language, and not only that, but the demon ‘knows’ Jesus and Paul (artificially putting Paul on the same level of Jesus). Then the demon-possessed man improbably overtakes seven men, drawing blood, and evidently strips off all of their clothes.

Any sane person realizes that this is a fictional tale.  We know this story is false because it is absurd, but what about other fictional tales that were told in Book of Acts that are not manifestly absurd? Essentially what this indicates is that nothing in the Book of Acts can confidently be considered actual history. This is a major problem for the credibility of Christianity.

(578) The Sinai Bible reveals the fraud of modern Bibles

The discovery of the Sinai Bible was the death blow to any historian claiming the legitimacy of modern versions of the Bible.  The following is taken from:

http://www.vatileaks.com/vati-leaks/a-glaring-omission-in-world-s-oldest-bible

It is a fact of Christian history that the earliest Gospels did not record a resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that claim is supported in the oldest known complete Bible available to mankind today. Called the Codex Sinaiticus, or Sinai Bible, it was named after Mt. Sinai, the location of St. Catherine’s Monastery where it was discovered in 1859 by Dr. Constantine Von Tischendorf (1815-1874). The discovery of the Sinai Bible provided biblical scholars with irrefutable evidence of willful falsifications in all modern-day Gospels, and a comparison identified a staggering 14,800 later editorial alterations in modern Bibles.

With the Sinai Bible, Christian history is traced back as far as it can conceivably go, but it was still written, at best, more than 350 years after the time the Vatican says Jesus Christ walked the sands of Palestine. The ‘Catholic Encyclopedia’ agrees to this extraordinary late composition of the world’s oldest Bible:

’The earliest of the extant manuscripts [relating to Christianity], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century AD’.

(‘Catholic Encyclopedia’, 1909, ‘Gospels’)

Hand-written on animal skins in a dead Greek language, the Sinai Bible was purchased by the British Museum from the Soviet Government in 1933 and is now displayed in the British Library in London. Sometime after its purchase, English-language translations were published (Manuscript No. 43725 in the British Library) and extraordinary new information about the earliest story of Jesus Christ became available to the world. The great comparative value of the Sinai Bible as the world’s oldest available Bible is today universally accepted, and its discovery provided great embarrassment for the Church’s modern-day presentation of Jesus Christ, for it revealed that newer Gospels are the depositories of large amounts of fabricated narratives and intentional perversions of the truth.

One of the most significant facts revealed by the Sinai Bible is that the Book of Mark, the oldest gospel book, did not include any account of Jesus’s resurrection, only that the tomb that he was placed in was discovered to be empty (See Reason #33).  Also, the Sinai Bible contained two New Testament books that are not included in today’s Bibles (the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas).  The shear number of alterations (14,800) made to modern Bibles should end any argument about the Bible being either inerrant, the word of god, or an accurate historical account.  It has revealed that the Bible is the equivalent of a graffiti filled wall in Harlem.

A detailed list of the edits, interpolations, distortions, omissions, additions, and forgeries can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Sinaiticus

Biblical inerrancy is a fantasy held by many misinformed evangelical Christians who remain blissfully ignorant of the current state of Biblical scholarship.  We now know that the Bible is not what we would call in today’s vernacular an historical account of history.

(579) For centuries, Christians were forbidden to read the Bible

Over a period of approximately 1000 years, Christian leaders did everything they could to discourage if not downright prohibit the laity from reading the Bible.  This also included injuctions against translating the Bible into native languages, thereby making it inaccessible to wide swaths of society. The reasons for this are numerous, but the main reason was that the clergy wanted to control their parishioners with a finely tuned message that would not stand up well to anyone who had read and analyzed what the Bible says.  Perhaps the biggest concern was that the Bible presented Jesus and his immediate followers as practicing Jews who had no intention to create a new religion.

The following citations were listed at this website:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bernard-starr/why-christians-were-denied-access-to-their-bible-for-1000-years_b_3303545.html

Decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229 C.E.): “We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.”

Ruling of the Council of Tarragona of 1234 C.E.: “No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments in the Romance language, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days after promulgation of this decree, so that they may be burned…”

Proclamations at the Ecumenical Council of Constance in 1415 C.E.: Oxford professor, and theologian John Wycliffe, was the first (1380 C.E.) to translate the New Testament into English to “…helpeth Christian men to study the Gospel in that tongue in which they know best Christ’s sentence.” For this “heresy” Wycliffe was posthumously condemned by Arundel, the archbishop of Canterbury. By the Council’s decree “Wycliffe’s bones were exhumed and publicly burned and the ashes were thrown into the Swift River.”

Fate of William Tyndale in 1536 C.E.: William Tyndale was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. According to Tyndale, the Church forbid owning or reading the Bible to control and restrict the teachings and to enhance their own power and importance.

The secrecy surrounding this development period of the Christian faith is a Rosetta Stone revealing that it was based on fraudulent intentions to deceive potential converts into accepting strategic distortions of the truth.  It can be certain that a new religion supported by an actual god would not have required this measure of subterfuge.

(580) The Great Insertion and the Great Omission

It is rarely known outside of priesthood circles and among those who attain divinity degrees that there was a massive amount of distortion, both additions and deletions, performed on the Gospel of Luke in the Middle Ages.  The following is taken from:

http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=358977

Modern-day versions of the Gospel of Luke have a staggering 10,000 more words than the same Gospel in the Sinai Bible. Six of those words say of Jesus “and was carried up into heaven”, but this narrative does not appear in any of the oldest Gospels of Luke available today (“Three Early Doctrinal Modifications of the Text of the Gospels”, F. C. Conybeare, The Hibbert Journal, London, vol. 1, no. 1, Oct 1902, pp. 96-113). Ancient versions do not verify modern-day accounts of an ascension of Jesus Christ, and this falsification clearly indicates an intention to deceive.

Today, the Gospel of Luke is the longest of the canonical Gospels because it now includes “The Great Insertion”, an extraordinary 15th-century addition totalling around 8,500 words (Luke 9:51-18:14). The insertion of these forgeries into that Gospel bewilders modern Christian analysts, and of them the Church said: “The character of these passages makes it dangerous to draw inferences” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Pecci ed., vol. ii, p. 407).

Just as remarkable, the oldest Gospels of Luke omit all verses from 6: 45 to 8:26, known in priesthood circles as “The Great Omission”, a total of 1,547 words. In today’s versions, that hole has been “plugged up” with passages plagiarised from other Gospels. Dr Tischendorf found that three paragraphs in newer versions of the Gospel of Luke’s version of the Last Supper appeared in the 15th century, but the Church still passes its Gospels off as the unadulterated “word of God” (“Are Our Gospels Genuine or Not?”, op. cit.)

What we are seeing here may just be the tip of the iceberg because the oldest intact Bible, the Sinai Bible, is itself a product of the Fourth Century, meaning that many previous insertions and omissions may have affected its authenticity as well.  There simply is no way to know for sure what the original authors wrote, and further whether they were also distorting and making up stories at that time.  All of this dramatically belies the idea that a god set in motion a doctrine that must be accepted at the penalty of torture when the message itself is so emphatically muddled.

(581) No difference between historical or non-existent Jesus

A plausible reason why Christianity is false is that it doesn’t matter if Jesus was historical or not; that is, whether he was a real person or just a mythical figure.

Compare the two:

If Jesus was historical:

a) There is still no evidence he was God, the son of God, or divine in any way.

b) There still is not one unambiguous shred of evidence that Jesus existed.

c) The Bible on which Christianity is based has been demonstrated to be mostly untrue.

d) There were many people with the name Joshua, or Yeshua living at that time and more than one of those with that name were most likely crucified by the Romans.

e) There is a record of a high Jewish priest named Jesus 100 years before 33 AD(CE).

f) Everything about Christianity and its predictions have proven to be false (end of the world, raptures, Jesus coming back in the First Century)

g) People would still NOT need to believe in something that isn’t true, to be good people, or to benefit society.

h) Christianity has done more harm to the world than good, despite what people want to believe (crusades, inquisitions, anti-science, exploiting billions of dollars a year to rich con-artist evangelists, bigotry, blasphemy, justifying slavery and Hitler the Christian using God’s name and influence to kill the Jews)

i) All evidence points to the fact that if THE historical Jesus existed (not one of the 20 others that Josephus mentioned that were not forgeries) he was a complete irrelevant nobody, who was the equivalent of a homeless man standing on a street corner selling pencils in a cup and everyone just wrote fabricated stories that stemmed from that person.

j) There still would be no evidence of any sort of an afterlife, or generic ‘God.’

k) People would still be basing their lives on a lie, wasting their time and money, murdering in past wars and crusades and thinking they are supposed to be bigoted and prejudiced towards other religions, sexual orientations, or races (since Jesus wasn’t anything but a nobody).

l) Science and evolution would still be real and scientists would still be uncovering the truth of how the universe works, while priests would still be telling people to ignore science and to believe lies.

If Jesus actually NEVER existed (since there is insufficient evidence):

a) Christianity would be no different than any other religion that Christians don’t believe in that consists of gods that Christians don’t believe in.

b) Christianity would be just as gullible as the many other religions that existed, or still exist, that have no evidence, make no sense, defy all logic, and are based on lies and made up stories.

c) Christianity would be just another example of a religion thriving, because of child indoctrination, a forced rejection of evidence through repetition to do so and lack of facts and education regarding science and history.

d) It would be no different than if Jesus was an insignificant nobody with no supernatural or divine connection.

e) Secular countries would still be happier, more peaceful, and more economically secure than religious countries.

Whether Jesus was a historical insignificant nobody, or he never existed, there is no palpable difference in the outcome of that debate.  The result is the same- Christianity is false.

(582) Jesus does what he condemns

In Matthew 5:22, Jesus says:

“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

But in Matthew 23:16-17, he says:

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ “You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold?

This rather obvious contradiction has been unsuccessfully explained by apologists as being a product of incorrect contextual interpretation.  This is a standard use of apologetics- whenever anything doesn’t make sense, it’s because you haven’t considered the correct context.  To someone not brainwashed in the Christian faith, this is an obviously huge mistake made by the author of Matthew, or else, more unlikely, that Jesus actually made these two hypocritical remarks.

(583) Christianity fails to improve or be clarified over time

The following is taken from:

http://www.alternet.org/story/154774/the_top_10_reasons_i_don’t_believe_in_god

Over the years and decades and centuries, our understanding of the physical world has grown and clarified by a ridiculous amount. We understand things about the Universe that we couldn’t have imagined a thousand years ago, or a hundred, or even ten. Things that make your mouth gape with astonishment just to think about.

And the reason for this is that we came up with an incredibly good method for sorting out good ideas from bad ones. We came up with the scientific method, a self-correcting method for understanding the physical world: a method which — over time, and with the many fits and starts that accompany any human endeavor — has done an astonishingly good job of helping us perceive and understand the world, predict it and shape it, in ways we couldn’t have imagined in decades and centuries past. And the scientific method itself is self-correcting. Not only has our understanding of the natural world improved dramatically: our method for understanding it is improving as well.

Our understanding of the supernatural world? Not so much.

Our understanding of the supernatural world is in the same place it’s always been: hundreds and indeed thousands of sects, squabbling over which sacred texts and spiritual intuitions are the right ones. We haven’t come to any consensus about which religion best understands the supernatural world. We haven’t even come up with a method for making that decision. All anyone can do is point to their own sacred text and their own spiritual intuition. And around in the squabbling circle we go.

All of which points to religion, not as a perception of a real being or substance, but as an idea we made up and are clinging to. If religion were a perception of a real being or substance, our understanding of it would be sharpening, clarifying, being refined. We’d have better prayer techniques, more accurate prophecies, something. Anything but people squabbling with greater or lesser degrees of rancor, and nothing to back up their belief.

This makes an important point.  Over time, science has continually improved, refining previous theories, correcting mistakes, making new discoveries, and discarding erroneous hypthotheses. Over that same time, Christianity has become more confused, with new scholarship bringing into legitimate discussion whether Jesus even existed, studies showing the ineffectiveness of prayer, and so on.

The discussion above illuminates the expectation, over twenty centuries, that the practice of Christianity should have become more refined, better defined, and more effective and efficient as failed doctrines are cast aside for better ones, as failed prayer techniques are eliminated in favor of more effective ones, and so on. It hasn’t happened this way, in fact it has gone in reverse. This is persuasive evidence that Christianity is not a true religion.

(584) Demon possession in New but not Old Testament

The New Testament is littered with stories of people possessed by demons, in need of exorcism, and with Jesus and his disciples routinely performing this task.  However, there seems to be a complete lack of demon possession in the Old Testament.  The obvious question is why would this be the case? If demons are a routine part of existence, wouldn’t they have been active in the centuries before Jesus appeared?  A corollary to that thought is why don’t we have more evidence of demon possession in modern times?

Here’s a New Testament example, Matthew 17:18:

Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

This is one of 33 references to demons in the New Testament, including in all four gospels.

In scouring the Old Testament, only one scriptural reference referring to a bad spirit can be found, 1 Samuel 16:14:

Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.

But note that this spirit was from the LORD, so it doesn’t seem to be the type of evil spirit called out in the New Testament.

This presents a problem for Christianity, in that it appears that belief in demons was a local phenomenon during the latter part of the First Century and into the Second Century, so the authors of the New Testament writing at that time made copious references to them. It is also likely, if Jesus was a real person, that he believed in demons as well.  But if demons were real entities, they would have been prominent in the Old Testament, too, and they would also be an indisputable hazard in today’s world.

(585) The Bible fails to firmly establish Christian doctrine

If anything, a book ‘written’ by a god who is establishing the one true religion would be expected to definitively set in stone is a consistent and unambiguous doctrine that would alleviate confusion and eliminate controversy among its adherents.  The Bible miserably fails to do this:

  • It doesn’t state what happens to babies that die.
  • It doesn’t state what happens to people who never hear the Gospel.
  • It doesn’t state what happens to followers of other religions who reject Christianity.
  • It doesn’t state for sure whether faith is sufficient by itself for salvation.
  • It doesn’t firmly establish marital rules, such as whether mixed race or same sex or even polygamous marriages are acceptable.
  • It doesn’t firmly establish whether Jesus was god.
  • It doesn’t adequately define what Heaven and Hell are all about, who goes there, or whether Hell is a place of torture or not.
  • It doesn’t adequately explain who the Holy Spirit is.
  • It doesn’t establish whether baptism is needed for salvation, or the acceptable manner in which to baptize.
  • It doesn’t state whether the concept “once saved, always saved” is correct.
  • It doesn’t establish whether abortion is acceptable.
  • It doesn’t state whether birth control methods are acceptable.
  • It doesn’t adequately state whether Old Testament laws should still apply.
  • It doesn’t clarify what will happen at the end times, for instance, whether tribulation precedes or follows the rapture.
  • It doesn’t state whether slavery is morally wrong.
  • It doesn’t adequately explain what the unpardonable sin is.
  • It doesn’t resolve whether women and men should be treated as equals.
  • It doesn’t establish rules for the ethical treatment of animals.
  • It doesn’t state whether torture is ethical.
  • It doesn’t state whether social nudism is acceptable.
  • It doesn’t state whether hallucinatory drugs are OK.

This is only a partial list, but the overall idea is made clear: The Bible is a confusing document that fails to define almost anything about its doctrine, leaving these questions to disputatious humans to argue about throughout the ages.  As such, we can be sure that the Bible is not a coherent book authored by a supernatural god.

(586) Jesus makes a false statement

In Mark 13:12, Jesus is talking to his disciples about sending them around Judea to preach the gospel (to the expressed exclusion of the Gentiles) and states:

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.”

Now, it is possible that some of this actually happened, but it certainly would have been isolated, with brothers killing brothers, fathers killing their children, and children killing their parents.  This statement, though, is not presented as if this would be a one-time occurrence, but rather as a common theme that would permeate the territory that the disciples would range.

Bible scholars do not think this is an actual  statement by Jesus, but rather that it was invented by the author of Mark for some purpose or agenda.  Most likely, it was fashioned to emphasize that conversion to Christianity would be resisted by family members and that hatred, violence, shunning, and ostracism should be expected. This was a method of growing the faith, to comfort and retain those who decided to become Christians but who met resistance from their family members.

(587) Artificial religious experiences

The following is taken from:

http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/theistic-proofs/the-argument-from-religious-experience/artificial-religious-experiences/

The more we become able to understand the brain, the more we become able to control it. Scientists have developed a device, called a transcranial magnetic stimulator, that can be used to stimulate small areas of the brain. Depending on which area of the brain is stimulated, different effects are produced; for example, stimulating parts of the motor cortex causes muscular contractions.

The device can, for some people, be used to create religious experiences. Using the transcranial magnetic stimulator to apply a magnetic field to the temporal lobes can cause people to experience God. This phenomenon is not limited only to believers; even atheists can be caused to have religious experiences using the transcranial magnetic stimulator.

The fact that this works for some people suggests that the temporal lobes play a role in religious experience. This is supported by the fact that some sufferers of temporal lobe epilepsy, a condition that consists in having seizures centred around intense electrical activity in the temporal lobes, report that during seizures they have profound religious experiences. V S Ramachandran describes this:

“most remarkable of all are those patients who have deeply moving spiritual experiences, including a feeling of divine presence and the sense that they are in direct communication with God. Everything around them is imbued with cosmic significance. They may say, ‘I finally understand what it’s all about. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for all my life. Suddenly it all makes sense.’ Or, ‘Finally I have insight into the true nature of the cosmos. God has vouchsafed for us ‘normal’ people only occasional glimpses of a deeper truth but these patients enjoy the unique privilege of gazing directly into God’s eyes every time they have a seizure.” [V S Ramachandran & Sandra Blakeslee, Phantoms in the Brain, Fourth Estate Limited (1998), p179]

Religious experiences, then, appear to be simply events in the brain; they need not be experiences of anything real at all.

This research has major implications for Christianity and all other religions as well.  That religious experiences are localized in a certain part of the brain and can be stimulated by purely mechanical means appears to invalidate the supernatural explanation of this phenomenon. It also raises the possibility that many of the visions and epiphanies discussed in the Bible were the result of epileptic seizures.  One example of this might have been Paul’s vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus.

(588) Problems with the Sermon on the Mount

No matter how you look at the Sermon on the Mount, it presents problems for the credibility of Christianity.  Let’s step through the problems:

Problem #1: If Jesus actually said these things, such as letting someone hit you on the other cheek after he’s already hit you once, giving a thief additional items after he has stolen from you, and not storing up resources for your future life, then he was insane.

Problem #2:  To be fair, consider that Jesus said these things, but he earnestly believed that the end of times was very near, so defending your property or protecting your future was not important, so perhaps he was sane.  But, if this was his thinking, then he was not God.

Problem #3:  The Sermon on the Mount does not appear in the Gospel of Mark or the Gospel of John.  Mark was the earliest written gospel, so it is highly questionable why it was not included therein. To be sure, this sermon was the quintessential statement of Jesus’s philosophy, so it is hard to understand how it could not have been preserved in at least a strong oral tradition that would have placed it prominently in the first gospel.

Also, it is enlightening to observe that it was deleted from Gospel of John, which was written a few decades after the first three gospels. It is likely that at that time, it became obvious that Jesus was not returning soon, so the injunctions in the Sermon on the Mount were no longer applicable to the current population, and were, in fact, detrimental to the stability of the society at that time.

Problem #4:  Where did the sermon take place?  Matthew says it happened on a mount, but Luke says it happened on the flat surfaces next to the mount (says Jesus descended from the mount to deliver it).  This is an important discrepancy, but it is theorized that Luke made this change deliberately to show that Jesus was presenting himself as a common man.

Problem #5:  It is very likely that this sermon was made up by someone who was writing at a time after the Gospel of Mark, perhaps by a non-gospel author, whose manuscript was then used by both Luke and Matthew.  Why was it inserted into Matthew and Luke? It is theorized that the early Christians were heavily persecuted and needed to adopt a passive attitude to survive. The following is taken from:

http://www.skeptically.org/bible/id10.html

In evaluating SotM, however, we must keep in mind that in the last few decades of the first century, when the gospels were written, Christianity was in its formative stages. It was an obscure sect within Judaism struggling to survive. The earliest Christians lived for the most part in small, isolated communistic societies where their contacts were almost exclusively with each other. They had intentionally cut themselves off from main stream Judaism in hopeful anticipation of the promised second coming. In those days Christians were little more than defenseless outcasts who had renounced the world and taken refuge in egalitarianism and poverty in much the same way as had their predecessors, the Essenes. Outside of these tight-knit Christian communes there lay in wait a dangerously hostile world. In such a setting the early Christians were often subjected to the most outrageous verbal and physical abuse. Had they responded in kind, there is no question but that they would have been slaughtered without mercy. Their only defense lay in an attitude of passive non-resistance. Parts of SotM seem to be an attempt to deal with that problem.

This seems to be most plausible theory about the origin of the sermon, making the most sense given the facts on the ground.

More issues with the sermon can be found here:

http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Sermon_on_the_Mount

As can be seen, the Sermon on the Mount presents many logistic problems with Christianity and can only serve to make its authenticity appear less likely.

(589) Eternal life inconsistencies

If a baby dies at birth and is then raised up to Heaven to enjoy an eternal life, it is certain that this person will never know of an earthly existence, have never developed an earthly personality, and so whatever this person is in heaven, how can it be stated that the newly created person in Heaven is the same person as that baby? There is no continuity and therefore, babies going to Heaven have no logical meaning.  A consciousness is created in Heaven as a substitute for the dead baby- that’s all it is.

On another tack, what about a 10 year-old child who dies and goes to Heaven?  Will that person continue to be a 10 year-old child or will he be artificially aged to have an adult personality for eternity? If that is so, the new artificially aged person will have little if any connection to the earthly 10 year old child and will not even recognize he is the same person.  If that is not so, it seems strange that the consequence of an early death sentences someone to an eternity with a child-like personality.

Likewise, an old person with Alzheimer’s is sent to heaven with a younger version of his personality?  Thereby erasing a good measure of maturity and knowledge gained in those final years?

The problem with Christianity’s reward of eternal life is that it treats human consciousness as a static property unique to each person, overlooking the fact that our sense of “I” changes throughout life. At birth, there is no sense of an “I” and it doesn’t suddenly appear, but rather slowly develops over time.  It becomes most pronounced around the age of 20 when our brains have the maximum processing power- we see better, hear better, taste better, and process information coming into our senses faster.  With so much brain power available, it can be used to assess what other people are thinking and this is why young people tend to be more self-conscious than older people. After this, there is a slow decline with age where we become less and less conscious and slowly, imperceptibly, begin to fade away. The change is so subtle that we don’t notice it, but if an 80 year old person could become 20 for a day, he would be astonished to see how much more alive he felt.

Eternal life makes little sense in this context because our very identity is an ever-changing entity and this is what makes life a true and meaningful experience.  To try to capture one of these millions of “I’s” that we experience throughout life as our reincarnated heavenly existence reduces us to a single dimension.  The concept of Heaven defies logic as being a valid method of eternally continuing our lives. The concept that we die and cease to exist solves all of these issues.

(590) The God-Satan fallacy

Consider the following three points:

  • God is omnipotent, as Christians claim.
  • 1 Timothy 2: 3-4 states: This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
  • Satan and his demons are working to deceive people from being saved, as Christians claim.

From any logical perspective, at least one of these statements must be false.  If God wants all to be saved and is omnipotent, then he could easily prevent Satan from deceiving people.  So either God cannot control Satan and is therefore not omnipotent, or he doesn’t really want everyone to be saved, or else Satan and his demons are not real beings.  No matter which option is picked makes trouble for Christianity.

But let’s be sporting and concede that 1 Timothy was not written by Paul, it’s a forged document and should not have been included in the Bible.  If we were assembling the Bible today it most certainly would not be included.  So, given that, we can conclude that saving everyone is not a priority for God.  Instead, what he wants to do is to test people to see if they can resist the temptations of Satan.  So, given this game, many people will go to Hell who otherwise would have gone to Heaven if God had bound Satan from messing with them. This makes God responsible for sending people to Hell.  It would be same as if a parent threw a small child in a swimming pool and watched as he struggled to swim to safety, and then not lending a hand as the child drowned.  We cannot imagine a parent doing this, but we praise a god who does the exact same thing.

(591) Eyewitnesses of Jesus rejected him

If you want to access the best source of truth about the Christian claims of Jesus’s divine status, death, and resurrection, you can turn to the only eyewitnesses of these events- the Jews who were living in Jerusalem and surrounding areas who would have seen and heard Jesus preach, witnessed his alleged miracles, and his rising from the dead.

The following is taken from:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2013/06/why-i-am-atheist-my-statement-vs-dr.html

Natural theology doesn’t fare any better. When it comes to Jesus there was a large group of believers who were prone to accept the tales told about him by early Christians. The Jews. They lived in the same time period, believed in Yahweh, that he does miracles, and they knew their OT prophecies. If there was ever a testing ground for the claims about Jesus the Jews in his day were it. Yet they didn’t believe. They were there and they were believers and yet the overwhelming number of them did not believe. Why should we? Who inspired these supposed OT prophecies? Yahweh. So let me ask, were the Jews stupid or did God mislead them? Are Christians really willing to say nearly 8 million Jews at the time of Jesus were stupid? Are Christians really willing to say they did not desire to know the truth, that they insincerely preferred to believe a lie, almost all of them, such that Paul had to preach the gospel to Gentiles for converts? And if God misled them to believe a lie, then he also condemned them to hell. Which is it? The fact is there is no prophecy in the OT that is to be regarded as a prophecy that specifically points to the birth, life, death or resurrection of Jesus. None. All you need to do is read the so-called prophecies in their original contexts and you’ll see that the NT writers grossly mishandled them.

This represents a critical stumbling block for Christianity- that the direct eyewitnesses, those who shared the same beliefs, customs, and faith of Jesus and who actually saw him preach and perform ‘miracles’ rejected him, while the growth of the religion turned only to those who never saw or knew Jesus and who were previously following pagan religions that were completely foreign to Judaism.

This is the best evidence that Jesus was not what Christianity claims him to be.

(592) Five views of Jesus

In the early days of Christianity, there was much controversy about who Jesus was.  Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman discusses in this excerpt about five of these views:

http://ehrmanblog.org/early-christian-docetism/

I can now, at long last, start talking about the kinds of textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament that I covered in my 1993 book, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (I did a second edition, updating the discussion with a new Afterword in 2011).   From the surviving documents of the period, there appear to have been five major competing Christologies (= understandings of who Christ was) throughout the Christian church, and I will devote a post or two to each of the first four.  Docetism, the subject of this post, understood Christ to be a fully divine being and therefore not human; Adoptionism understood him to be a fully human being and not actually divine; Separationism understood him to be two distinct beings, one human (the man Jesus) and the other divine (the divine Christ); Modalism understood him to be God the Father become flesh.   The fifth view is the one the “won out,” the Proto-orthodox view that Christ was both human and divine, at one and the same time, that he was nonetheless one person and not two persons, and that he was distinct from God the Father, both of them being God but there being only one God.

This is significant evidence that Christianity has a mythical foundation, either by inventing a god-man or mythologizing a real person.  If it had been based on a factual foundation, the doctrine would have been tightly aligned at the start, eliminating the battle among the disagreeing sects.

(593) The lie of Mary’s virginity

Although belief that Mary  was an eternal virgin is no longer considered mandatory for most Christian believers, it remains a central doctrine of the Catholic Church.  For many centuries, anyone denying this dogma faced punishment up to and including death. But what makes this ironic and unusual is that the scriptures of the New Testament proves beyond question that Mary did not remain a virgin.  The following is taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/de0_mary.htm

The claim that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus is difficult to sustain. For one thing the gospels strongly imply that sexual intercourse took place between Mary and Joseph. The author of Matthew, for example, says “then Joseph … took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son …” (Matthew 1:24-25). Earlier in his account, the same author refers to a time “before they came together …” (Matthew 1:18). (In modern translations the euphemisms knew and came together are sometimes replaced by other euphemisms such as came to live together , having union, or by explicit references tointercourse.)

More damaging still are the numerous references throughout the New Testament to Jesus” brothers and sisters. One of his brothers is called James*, explicitly identified as the brother of Jesus in Galatians 1:19. Jude (or Juda or Judas) is referred to as James’s brother in Jude 1:1. Both James and Jude, and others named Joses and Simon along with unspecified sisters, are mentioned in the Matthew gospel. Jesus” brothers are also mentioned in Matthew 12:46, Mark 3:31, John 2:12, Acts 1:14 and 1 Corinthians 9:5. Elsewhere the historian Josephus mentions Jesus” brothers*. Again, in the non-canonical Gospel of the Hebrews Jesus specifically addresses James (James the Righteous) as “my brother”.

Also, it is widely accepted that the verse in Isaiah (7:14) that purports to prophecize the birth of Jesus was mistranslated, with the word for “young woman” erroneously translated as “virgin.”

Given this evidence, it can be concluded beyond doubt that Mary, even if she gave birth to Jesus without having sex, later had sex with her husband, Joseph, and delivered additional boys and girls.

Of course there is a strong possibility that the entire story is mythical and that Mary and Joseph never existed.  But, that aside, it still is remarkable that the doctrine of Marian virginity could have become so revered and so inflexibly pushed on Christian believers when the very scriptures forming the basis of the faith told a contrasting story.  The reason for this disconnect is likely that the virgin doctrine did not develop soon enough for scribes to alter the scriptures accordingly.  But we do know, or highly suspect, that other emerging doctrines that developed in the First Century were embraced by scribes who did their best to change the scriptures to support them. The virgin doctrine is simply the one that got away.

(594) Blasphemy invented for unsubstantiated faith

The famous skeptic Robert G. Ingersoll expressed the following insight:

This crime called blasphemy was invented by priests for the purpose of defending doctrines not able to take care of themselves.

Blasphemy is defined as irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.  Christianity had to invent the ‘crime’ of blasphemy because what was decided to be the one and only true doctrine was not uniquely supported either by day-to-day evidence or by scriptural sources.  What this meant is that various groups of Christians adopted varying and sometimes highly contrasting theologies.  In the early Church, there were many factions that, for instance, did not see Jesus as being divine, and they could legitimately use scriptures to back up their claim. But when the Church fathers decided that Jesus was God, the disagreeing factions were considered guilty of blasphemy and persecuted if they remained recalcitrant.

The fact that blasphemy indictments were needed to align Christians to a standard theological doctrine is certain evidence that the development of the faith was flawed.  To be sure, the Biblical authors were not well coordinated and penned copious amounts of contradictory information that failed to converge on a single suite of concepts, but rather caused a wide divergence of the same.  It should be obvious that self-inspired human authors writing in separate locations at different times would likely produce this kind of situation.  But what is just as obvious is that if a god were inspiring all of these writers, a highly consistent, unambiguous doctrine would emerge, causing all Christians to coalesce around a common set of tenets, thereby obviating the need to invent the concept of blasphemy.

(595) Immaterial consciousness does not exist

Christianity, as well as most other religions, makes a claim that God is both conscious and immaterial.  The reason for this is that if a god is assumed to have a solid form, like every other conscious being on Earth, then that god must have limitations in terms of being able to perform actions at a distance, or even being able to see what is happening in real time.  This is because a material being is necessarily confined to a specific location- he can’t be everywhere at the same time.  If a Christian asserts that God has a physical body, it is easy to prove that it is impossible for him to posses the attributes claimed by the faith.

However, it is possible to prove that consciousness requires a material basis, that without matter, a consciousness cannot exist. That is to say, if you produce a vacuum, you can be sure that a conscious entity is not residing within that vacuum.   The same can be said about a volume of air or a volume of rock, because the matter in these substances is not arranged in a pattern that is complex enough to create a conscious being.

Therefore, we can make the assertion that the god of Christianity is not a possible being.  If any god exists, and we can define that as a being that is superior to humans and has capabilities that we would consider to be miraculous in some way, then we can confidently state that that god exists within a physical structure of matter and is located at any  given time in a specific location in the universe.

Based on these concepts, and understanding that we are approaching this problem from a scientific viewpoint, we can state that the god of Christianity does not exist.

(596) The preposterous claim of ‘God’s will”

Most Christians claim that whatever happens is a reflection of God’s will, since he is supposedly in control of the entire universe and makes sure that it operates according to his ‘plan.’  It’s always been an interesting talking point to show how this concept obviates the need for prayer since God already knows what you need and will only give you what is already in his plan.  So your prayer will have no effect.

But, this can be taken a step further.  Suppose somebody kills your child.  Why get upset about this? It was God’s will and nothing more or less than his plan being carried out.  It was ‘his time to go’ and God was ‘calling him to Heaven.’  The person who killed the child was merely God’s agent carrying out his plan and therefore should not be punished.  The child goes straight to Heaven and avoids the possibility that he would end up in Hell.  Using Christian dogma, this all makes sense, but to a consciously sane person not entangled in religious nonsense, it is ridiculous.

This goes to the heart of why Christianity is a failed belief system. You cannot posit an all-powerful God and at the same time maintain that people have free will.  Such a god only allows evil deeds to be carried out if it is in accord with his plan.  Therefore, people who conduct evil are not evil themselves, and we have no need for prisons.

The way our society is set up, with its laws, court system, and incarcerations is a blatant admission that an all-powerful god does not exist and that there is no perfect divine plan, but rather a broad range of potential futures that humans, and only humans, have the power to shape.

(597) God makes imperfect people, but demands perfection

Standard Christian doctrine states that God cannot allow sin into Heaven, so that no matter how much good you do in this life, all it takes is one inevitable misdeed or even bad thought to sentence you to Hell.  Christians universally say that no one can live a perfect life, so the only path to Heaven is through acceptance of Jesus’s ‘sacrifice’ on the cross to wash the sins away.

This is curious. God could easily have made perfect people, or else, more simply and more logically, he could have accepted generally good people into Heaven on their own merits while sending generally bad people to Hell.  This way, he would not have needed to die on the cross, and further, he would have engendered even better behavior among his followers who would then be more steadfast in their conduct, realizing that there was no ‘trick play’ to get themselves out of hock.

Christianity is not the system of an omniscient god, but rather a crude device of manipulative men.  In a world governed by a real god, you would be born sinless and be automatically bound for Heaven unless you emphatically screwed up your life- not born sinful and bound for Hell unless you accepted a poorly supported theology.  A god who is efficient, compassionate, fair, and loving would certainly pick the better plan.

(598) Christianity- the missing evidence

John W. Loftus, in an essay entitled “What would convince me Christianity is true?” answered the question with the following list of tangible evidences that would be sufficient in whole or in part to convince a skeptic to believe:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/05/what-would-convince-me-christianity-is.html

Scientific evidence. God could’ve made this universe and the creatures on earth absolutely unexplainable by science, especially since science is the major obstacle for many to believe. He could’ve created us in a universe that couldn’t be even remotely figured out by science. That is to say, there would be no evidence leading scientists to accept a big bang, nor would there be any evidence for the way galaxies, solar systems, or planets themselves form naturalistically. If God is truly omnipotent he could’ve created the universe instantaneously by fiat, and placed planets haphazardly around the sun, some revolving counter-clockwise and in haphazard orbits. The galaxies themselves, if he created any in the first place, would have no consistent pattern of formation at all. Then when it came to creatures on earth God could’ve created them without any connection whatsoever to each other. Each species would be so distinct from each other that no one could ever conclude natural selection was the process by which they have arisen. There would be no hierarchy of the species in gradual increments. There would be no rock formations that showed this evolutionary process because it wouldn’t exist in the first place. Human beings would be seen as absolutely special and distinct from the rest of the creatures on earth such that no scientist could ever conclude they evolved from the lower primates. There would be no evidence of unintelligent design, since the many signs of unintelligent design cancel out the design argument for the existence of God. God didn’t even have to create us with brains, if he created us with minds. The existence of this kind of universe and the creatures in it could never be explained by science apart from the existence of God.

Biblical Evidence. Someone could’ve made a monument to Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden that still exists and is scientifically dated to the dawn of time. There would be overwhelming evidence for a universal flood covering “all” mountains. Noah’s ark would be found exactly where the Bible says, and it would be exactly as described in the Bible. The location of Lot’s wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt, would still be miraculously preserved and known by scientific testing to have traces of human DNA in it. There would be non-controversial evidence that the Israelites lived as slaves in Egypt for four hundred years, conclusive evidence that they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, and convincing evidence that they conquered the land of Canaan exactly as the Bible depicts. But there is none. I could go on and on, but you get the point. That is, there would be evidence of miracles, and not just that the particular places and people described in the Bible existed. Plus, there would be no Bible difficulties such that a 450 page book needed to be written explaining them away, as Gleason Archer did.

Prophetic Evidence. God could’ve predicted any number of natural disasters (if he didn’t have the power to create a better world which lacked them). He could’ve predicted when Mt. St. Helens would erupt, or when the Indonesian tsunami or hurricane Katrina would destroy so much. It would save lives and confirm he is God. Then too, he could’ve predicted the rise of the internet, or the inventions of the incandescent light bulb, Television, or the atomic bomb, and he could do it using non-ambiguous language that would be seen by all as a prophectic fulfillment. God could’ve predicted several things that would take place in each generation in each region of the earth, so that each generation and each region of the earth would have confirmation that he exists through prophecy. God could’ve told people about the vastness and the complexity of the universe before humans would have been able to confirm it (if he didn’t create it haphazardly as I suggested earlier). He could have predicted the discovery of penicillin, which has saved so many lives, and if predicted it would have speeded up its discovery.

Present Day Evidence. God could visit us in every age, and do the same miracles he purportedly did in Jesus. If this causes people to want to kill him all over again and he doesn’t need to die again, he could just vanish. Also, Christians would be overwhelmingly better people by far. And God would answer their prayers in such distinctive ways that even those who don’t believe would seek out a Christian to pray for them and their illness or problem. Scientific studies done on prayer would meet with overwhelming confirmation. We wouldn’t see such religious diversity which is divided up over the world into distinct geographical locations and adopted based upon when and where we were born.

Evidence specific to the resurrection. There would be clear and specific prophecies about the virgin birth, life, nature, mission, death, resurrection, ascension, and return of Jesus in the Old Testament that could not be denied by even the most hardened skeptic. As it is there is no Old Testament prophecy that is to be considered a true prophecy that points to any of these things in any non-ambiguous way. Many professed Christian scholars think these Old Testament prophecies do not predict anything specific about Jesus and/or do not point specifically to him. The Gospel accounts of the resurrection would all be the same, showing no evidence of growing incrementally over the years by superstitious people. The Gospels could’ve been written at about the same time months after Jesus arose from the dead. And there would be no implausibilites in these stories about women not telling others, or that the soldiers who supposedly guarded the tomb knew that Jesus arose even though they were asleep (how is that really possible?). Herod and Pilate would’ve converted because they concluded from the evidence that Jesus arose from the grave. Setting aside their respective thrones, both Herod and Pilate would’ve become missionaries, or declare Christianity the new religion of their territories. Such evidence like a Turin Shroud would be found which could be scientifically shown to be from Jerusalem at that time containing an image that could not be explained away except that a crucified man had come back to life. But the evidence for it doesn’t exist.

If Christianity was true, most of what is written here would be on the table and there to observe.  But, actually, none of it is.  It remains unfathomable to understand why a god would hide away and play a game of peek-a-boo when dealing with the eternal fates of human souls.  Although Christians bristle at this statement, it is true: Absence of evidence is evidence of absence- just like the absence of evidence for unicorns.

(599) Jesus resurrection story not meant to be taken literally

The recent trajectory of Biblical research has focused on the possibility that Jesus was a legendary figure, but whether that characterization is accurate or not, there is considerable scholarship supporting the idea that the story of Jesus’s resurrection was never intended to be taken literally and that the Christians of the First Century, including Paul, were aware of that fact.

Richard C. Miller has released a book entitled “Resurrection and Reception in Early Christianity.”  A review of this book was penned by M. David Litwa, and an excerpt from that review is shown below:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/

This book offers an original interpretation of the origin and early reception of the most fundamental claim of Christianity: Jesus’ resurrection. Richard Miller contends that the earliest Christians would not have considered the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ resurrection to be literal or historical, but instead would have recognized this narrative as an instance of the trope of divine translation, common within the Hellenistic and Roman mythic traditions. Given this framework, Miller argues, early Christians would have understood the resurrection story as fictitious rather than historical in nature. By drawing connections between the Gospels and ancient Greek and Roman literature, Miller makes the case that the narratives of the resurrection and ascension of Christ applied extensive and unmistakable structural and symbolic language common to Mediterranean “translation fables,” stock story patterns derived particularly from the archetypal myths of Heracles and Romulus. In the course of his argument, the author applies a critical lens to the referential and mimetic nature of the Gospel stories, and suggests that adapting the “translation fable” trope to accounts of Jesus’ resurrection functioned to exalt him to the level of the heroes, demigods, and emperors of the Hellenistic and Roman world. Miller’s contentions have significant implications for New Testament scholarship and will provoke discussion among scholars of early Christianity and Classical studies.

The full review can be accessed here:

http://www.bookreviews.org/pdf/10218_11337.pdf

The implications of this research are critical to the continued evolution of Christianity, which, given recent trends, may someday be a system of beliefs based on a possible religious figure who presented some helpful advice and inspiration, but who was not divine, who did not perform miracles, and who did not rise from the dead. Christians of this future time will simply be followers of this ‘person’s philosophy with no expectation of an afterlife reward.

(600) Christianity- the big picture

Sometimes it’s enlightening to observe the forest instead of studying individual trees.  Stepping back to examine the whole of Christianity reveals that it has a soft underbelly and a corroded interior under its thin veneer of respectability.

The following discussion, touching on this theme, was submitted by James O’Brien:

Today’s Christianity is not the original Christianity. It was altered and rewritten starting with Constantine, so that it can serve as a political force. It worked great during the Middle Ages to control society and send masses off to war. Catholicism was not a benevolent organization.  The real Jesus (not real name) was an obscure person (no miracles) who sought enlightenment and esoteric knowledge, like Buddha,  and had a small group of followers. Miracles were inserted in the Bible to communicate with a child-like, illiterate, audience. The Romans, Jews, and Greeks were polytheistic, as the Hindus.  Also, Catholicism got it’s teachings from ancient Egypt, (Sun God), Babylon, astrology, paganism, (Christmas tree, mistletoe, Easter, Winter Solstice)  Mithraism, and other pre-Christian beliefs and practices.

Modern scholarship, mostly in the past 25 years or so, has revealed that Christianity began as an end-of-the-world cult that attracted the least educated and most gullible people of the time, who, similarly to Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Marshall Applewhite, retreated with their flocks to remote areas and awaited the imminent end of the world. In the case of the three aforementioned cults, they all ended in tragic suicides.  Christianity survived only because it was hijacked and modified by Roman authorities to serve a political rather than a theological objective.   Whoever Jesus was or what he taught, if he was an actual person, was so contaminated by agenda-laden scribes and the political forces of the time that there remains nothing that can be considered genuine.   We don’t know for sure if any deed or statement by Jesus actually happened. This alone lets us know that Christianity was not the ultimate project of an almighty god.

Follow this link to #601