(3601) Mark not written by Peter’s friend

Both religious and secular scholars realize the historical importance of the Gospel of Mark, because it was likely the first gospel written and it heavily influenced (was copied by) the subsequent gospels. This means that the accuracy of this gospel affects that authenticity of all of them. So whether it was written by an eyewitness or in consultation with an eyewitness has a large importance.

Many Christian scholars support the theory that this gospel was written by a man named John Mark, who was a companion to the apostle Peter. The postulation is that Peter (unschooled) dictated what John Mark wrote. If this is true, then the Gospel of Mark would be somewhat reliable. However, there are good reasons to conclude that the author of this gospel did not derive information from Peter. The following was taken from:


One of the big reasons why Mark is probably not the author of the Gospel of Mark and why it’s probably not based on Peter’s account is its genre – it has been identified as a Greco-Roman historical biography (βίος, vita). When authors of Greco-Roman historiographical writings were eyewitnesses to the events they were recording or they had access to eyewitnesses, they explicitly say so in the text because eyewitness testimony was very highly valued and perceived as superior to hearsay. There are numerous examples to this (so much so that it’s actually difficult to find any extant counter-examples):

Herodotus 2.99.1-2; Thucydides 2.48; Xenophon: Cyropaedia 8.4.5; Ctesias of Cnidus (in Photius: Library 72); Polybius 3.4; Dionysius of Halicarnassus 20.10.1-2; Diodorus of Sicily 1.83.9; Plutarch: Themistocles 32.5; Appian: The Punic Wars 132; Lucian: Demonax 1; Cassius Dio 73.18.3-4; Philostratus: Apollonius 1.3; Herodian 2.15.6; Porphyry: Plotinus 7; Josephus: The Jewish War 1.prologue; Sallust: The War With Catiline 3.3; Cornelius Nepos: Atticus 17.1-2; Livy 22.7.4; Tacitus: Histories 1.1; Suetonius: Gaius Caesar 19.3; Ammianus Marcellinus 14.9.1; Aurelius Victor: De Caesaribus 20.5; Eutropius 10.16.

We even have this practice attested in forged historiographical works attributed to entirely non-existing authors, e.g. Dictys of Crete 1.13; Dares the Phrygian (prologue); Historia Augusta, Aur. 43.2.

And it is also widely attested in ancient Christian historiographical literature, starting with the beloved disciple in the Gospel of John and including e.g. Hegesippus (in Eusebius: Church History 4.22.2); Eusebius: Life of Constantine 1.28; Lives of the Jura Fathers 4.

It is nearly certain that if a companion to Peter had written the Gospel of Mark, it would have included something similar to this:

“I, John Mark, a companion to the Apostle Peter, and using his remembrances of the miraculous exploits of Jesus of Nazareth, write this record to provide for posterity the words and deeds of the Lord and Savior of the world.”

The lack of any such attestation means that the author of Mark was probably not associated with Peter or any apostle or, for that matter, any eyewitness, given that it was written about 40 years after the crucifixion- a time when most eyewitnesses would have already died. Given that assumption, the historical accuracy of this gospel (and the other three gospels as well) is in question.

(3602) Elijah resurrections brushed aside by Christianity

Christians had an agenda to make it seem that the resurrections performed by Jesus were unique events, even though there were counter-examples to this effort (zombies in the Gospel of Matthew). But the resurrections associated with Elijah (who was allegedly taken into heaven without experiencing death) were never given any emphasis by the biblical authors. This appears to have been a deliberate snub on Elijah’s resurrection powers- especially the third one referenced below:


I recently gave book of Kings a brief reread. As a quick reminder, 3 resurrections occur Elijah raises a boy from death 1 Kings 17:17 Elisha resurrects the son of the woman of shunem 2 Kings 4:32

Finally, the most interesting of all to me, because it does not occur as a direct volitional act of a prophet A dead man comes back to life when his body touches Elisha’s bones 2 Kings 13:21

It occurred to me that with all the old testament references the early Christians make, and with the resurrection of Jesus being the fundamental, pivotal event for the religion, that it seems quite odd these resurrection accounts never seem to be referenced.

Did the early Christians, or even Jews that did not become Christian, envision Jesus’ resurrection differently than how they viewed the resurrection of the man whose dead body touched Elisha’s bones? Is there a specific reason why they may have wanted to avoid mentioning these scenarios as to make Jesus’ resurrection seem even more important, or am I overthinking things and they just didn’t see these resurrections as important/meaningful?

There are many theories about why the resurrections associated with Elijah were not given emphasis in Christianity. The leading one suggests that they wanted to make Jesus’ resurrection power to be unique and to appear unavailable to a mortal prophet or regular human (yes, Peter raised Tabitha in Acts 9:36-42, but that was done allegedly by the name of Jesus). The fact that Elijah is seen to have the power to raise people from the dead and that he could do so even without directly trying (like how Jesus healed a woman without volitional effort, Luke 8:45-47) is an inconvenient issue for Christianity- and it was best for them to ignore it.

(3603) Slaveholder morality in early Christianity

Jennifer A. Glancy’s book Slavery in Early Christianity exposed the fact that early Christians possessed a morality that promoted the institution of slavery and furthermore justified the physical and sexual abuse of slaves. The following is an abstract :

This study focuses on the impact of the ubiquitous ancient institution on the emergence and early development of Christianity. Slaveholders as well as slaves were pivotal in early Christian circles. The centrality of slavery affects not only the reconstruction of the social histories of the emerging churches but also theological and ideological analyses of Christian rhetoric. Slaves were designated and treated as bodies. The bodies of slaves were the sexual property of their owners; the bodies of slaves were also vulnerable to regular abuse. Free persons were anxious to protect their bodies from the kinds of violations to which the bodies of slaves were regularly subjected. Christians who argued that true slavery was spiritual in nature often depended on somatic metaphors; in its reliance on metaphors of enslavement and liberation, Christian discourse encodes widespread cultural anxiety about preserving the integrity of the free body. In its generally uncritical acceptance of the institution of slavery, early Christianity transmits the ethical patterns of a slaveholder morality.

It is well established that the Bible is guilty of an ethical failure for not condemning the practice of humans owning other humans, but the fact that early Christians put that atrocity into practice is even more abhorrent. If Jesus or the Holy Spirit was real and influencing the actions of their followers, it is telling that such a situation would develop. Far more likely, the divine trio of Christian gods do not exist and early Christians were simply falling in line with the mores of their time.

(3604) Insignificance and hostility

Christianity presumes that human beings are the central focus of God- the reason why he created the world in the first place. But the structure of the universe and the short relative duration of human life suggest that this presumption is in error. The following essay explores this disconnect:


When we look at the universe, it’s natural history, and how our place in it, we seem to play a very insignificant role. Humans and beings like us seem to only occupy a very tiny portion of the universe, and we only occupy a small portion of its natural history. I would like to clarify that I’m talking about rational moral agents, not specifically humans.

Not only do we occupy a very insignificant portion of the universe, over 99% of it seems to be utterly hostile to any propagation of conscious moral agents. If you try to live on the sun, you’ll die. If you try and live in a black hole, you’ll probably die. If you try to live in the vacuum of space, you’ll die. A vast majority of planets which exist in this universe probably aren’t fit for us or other rational moral agents to live on.

Let’s take a look at the definition of God again, and let’s look at some claims which a very large number of theists seem to attribute to God. Most theists seem to think that God values conscious life and rational moral agents. Any theist who wants to use the fine-tuning or any argument similar to that has to think this in order for those observations to be evidence for God. Now what would we expect to see if God existed? Well, we’d probably expect the universe to be fit for the flourishing of rational moral agents. We’d also expect rational moral agents to be the “main event” in some sense. We’d probably expect to play a much larger role in the history of the universe, and we’d expect rational agents to be almost everywhere. And what do we see? A universe which is utterly hostile to the flourishing of conscious rational moral agents where we are spectators at most. We occupy a very small portion of natural history. We do not seem to be the “main event”. This seems surprising under theism.

What would we expect under a hypothesis of indifference? We probably wouldn’t expect conscious life to play a significant role in natural history nor would we expect it to be almost everywhere. We probably wouldn’t expect most of the universe to be friendly towards the flourishing of rational moral agents. We probably wouldn’t be the “main event”. And what do we see? Pretty much exactly that.

In a world where Christianity is true, we would expect to see a tighter universe, where most of it remains compatible with human existence. Furthermore, we would expect human history to have existed for a large percentage of the total age of the universe. The fact that we observe the opposite suggests that Christian theology is flawed, and that if any god actually exists, humans are an insignificant element of its concern.

(3605) Problem of evil solution debunked

One of the defenses used by Christians to address the problem of evil (in God’s ‘perfect’ universe) is that God uses evil to cause the emergence of a greater good. So, in effect, in the end, everything is better off than if the evil had not occurred. The following essay handily debunks this argument:


According to most solutions of the problem of evil, bad things are allowed by God because in the long run — as Dr. Pangloss put it in Candide — “all is for the best.” In other words, each terrible event is justified as the means for bringing about a result that more than makes up for its badness. For example, one such view claims that evils are necessary in order to provide us with the opportunity for moral growth. Thus, the apologist Richard Swinburne, a proponent of this idea, maintains that if even “one less person had been burnt by the Hiroshima atomic bomb… there would have been less opportunity for courage and sympathy…” (The Existence of God, p. 264). The death of all those people — or of the millions killed by the black plague, for that matter — was, all things considered, a good thing. Otherwise, God wouldn’t have allowed it to happen.

There are of course many objections to such a view (for more on that, see chapter 4 of my book The Truth about God). Here, however, I want to point out one rather interesting consequence of accepting this solution to the problem of evil — a consequence that its defenders are apparently unaware of: namely, that it makes worrying about our moral choices entirely pointless.

Suppose I’m pondering whether or not to perform some terrible act — say, shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, or perhaps voting for Donald Trump. According to the view in question, if I go ahead and do anything like that, then what I do will serve a purpose of God’s that is for the greater good — and thus, in the grand scheme of things, will be a good thing. That is why God will allow me to perform the act. And this is the case no matter how evil a thing we’re talking about. But if that’s true, then why shouldn’t I go ahead and do it?

Now, one apparent problem with this logic is that, even though whatever I do is overall “for the best,” my doing terrible things still makes me an evil-doer — and doesn’t that mean I will end up in hell? That is, maybe the things I do will be for the best for most people, but maybe not for me. But, besides being a rather selfish concern, this really is only an apparent problem. For once one realizes that doing these acts is actually not a bad thing, then one isn’t actually doing something evil. That is, if my goal in, say, hitting everyone I encounter on the head with a baseball bat is not to do something bad, but instead to do yet another thing that will serve God’s overall greater purposes (which according to the view is guaranteed to be the case), then how can I be regarded as immoral? It follows that if one agrees with this solution to the problem of evil, then one should no longer be concerned about doing anything bad whatsoever.

Religious people sometimes worry that atheism may lead people morally astray. Will these same people worry about this version of theism?

The evil-for-a-greater-good theory is so ridiculous that it would suggest that murderers, rapists, extortionists, and terrorists are God’s foot soldiers that he uses to make the world a ‘better’ place. Apologists need to dig deeper to figure out a way to explain why God allows so much evil. So far, they are striking out. One suggestion- admit that God is evil himself.

(3606) Christians do not test their faith

Most Christians interpret all outcomes of an event as providing evidence for their faith. This is a way of playing tennis without the net, and disallowing the introduction of any doubt. “Bob was healed, praise God, Bill died, he was needed in heaven, praise God!” This defensive reaction to whatever happens prevents personal growth or any chance for someone to discover that their beliefs might be in error. The following was taken from:


Imagine someone is part of some religion and they do well financially and socially. This will typically be attributed to the fact that they’re worshiping the correct deity or deities. Now imagine that they don’t do well financially or socially. This is also used as evidence, as it’s common for theists to assert that persecution is to be expected for following the correct religion. Opposite outcomes are both proof for the same thing.

This presents a problem for theists to at least consider. It doesn’t disprove or prove anything, but it is nonetheless problematic. What can’t be evidence for a god or gods? Or perhaps, what can be evidence if we can’t expect consistent behaviors and outcomes from a god or gods? Consistency is good when it comes to evidence, but we don’t see consistency. If theists are intellectually honest, they should admit that this inconsistency makes it difficult to actually determine when something is evidence for a god or gods.

If opposite outcomes and opposite results in the same situations are both equally good as evidence, doesn’t that mean they’re both equally bad evidence?

Christians play this game all of the time- “I prayed for a close-in parking space and just then someone pulled out next to the building, praise God!” “I prayed for a close-in parking space but I had to park far away. God knew I needed some exercise. Praise God!”

Christian belief is sustained through a determined (and rigorously taught) suspension of objectivity. Otherwise, all it takes is an honest analytical view of how the world works to realize that nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Everyday, the world ‘screams’ that there are no gods pulling any strings, answering any prayers, smiting any people, etc.- it is just that Christians have plugged their ears so they can’t ‘hear it.’

(3607) Fake testimonies can flourish

A lot of religious belief is based on personal testimonies, many of which certainly found their way into the Bible. The problem with such testimonies is that they are often made up or exaggerated, but when the content of them reinforces a pre-existing belief structure, these stories can gain a lot of traction in popular culture. The following is a recent example:


The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven: A True Story is a best-selling 2010 Christian book that purported to tell the story of Alex Malarkey’s experiences in heaven after a traffic accident in 2004. It was published by Tyndale House Publishers in 2010. Alex’s father Kevin Malarkey is credited as a co-author along with Alex, although Kevin holds sole copyright. The book was a commercial success, selling over a million copies. It was adapted into a television film in March 2010.

The book describes supernatural visions and experiences that purportedly occurred to Alex immediately after the accident and during his recovery. These include an out-of-body experience where he saw his father being caught and carried to safety by an angel after flying out of the window of the car. The book says that soon after that he felt an angel take him through the gates of Heaven, which he describes as being “tall”, to meet Jesus, who appears through a “hole in heaven”. The devil also features multiple times. The book recounts several trips to heaven and back.

Tyndale House promoted the book as “a supernatural encounter that will give you new insights on Heaven, angels, and hearing the voice of God”

Since publication, Alex Malarkey and his mother Beth have disavowed the book. Alex commented online in 2011 that it was “one of the most deceptive books ever”, and wrote an extensive repudiation in an open letter to Christian bookstores in 2015, describing his near-death experience as a fabrication.

This is an excerpt from that letter:

“Please forgive the brevity, but because of my limitations I have to keep this short. I did not die. I did not go to Heaven. I said I went to Heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough.”

It should be noted that if Alex or his mother had not revealed the fictitious nature of this book, it would still be selling many copies, and millions of readers would assume that it is factual and that it provides a description of and evidence for heaven.

This happened in modern society. Two thousand years ago, stories like this flourished without challenge and most of the fabricators did not recant. These tales fed off peoples’ gullibility and willingness to accept any account as being true if it reinforced what they already believed. This is why we cannot trust anything in the Bible- it all might fall into the same category as The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven.

(3608) Jesus gives a nonsensical prophecy

There are some verses in the gospels that make no sense. The following one is especially problematic:

Matthew 19:28

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, in the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

There are many things wrong with this verse, not the least of which is that the idea of there being twelve tribes of Israel is a fiction (see #3588). Beyond that there are these issues:

– At that time, Judas (the betrayer) is one of the 12 disciples, and he obviously would never merit a throne to judge from.

– The idea that these 12 disciples would be judging only tribes of Israel appears to limit Christianity to being strictly a Jewish faith. It essentially waives of the rest of civilization. Or would there be other thrones set up with non-disciples to judge Christians and Muslims and others?

– The temporal aspect of this prophecy is unclear. Jesus supposedly was sitting on this throne immediately after the resurrection, but the disciples stayed on earth for a while. Did they get their thrones after they died, or would they have to wait until the end times and rapture?

– The concept of the disciples judging people seems theologically out of sync. The scriptures do suggest that Peter would be at the gates of heaven judging the newly arrived dead people, but this seemed to be a privilege strictly gifted to him, not something he would share on an equal basis with the other disciples.

– The idea that there would be thrones in heaven for Jesus and the disciples tells us that the imagination of the gospel writers were mired in a terrestrial mindset, imagining gods inhabiting similar settings of kings and princes, who actually do sit on thrones and judge whoever. This is but one biblical example of where gods are imagined as being analogous to earthly kings.

(3609) Emotional reasoning

There exists a scientific explanation for why some people believe in god. It involves a short-circuit in the brain that interprets an emotional response as evidence for a physical reality. The following was taken from:


Whenever someone concludes that their emotional reaction to something thereby defines its reality, they’re engaged in emotional reasoning. For example, if you feel afraid and because of that think that you must be in danger, when you’re actually not. This cognitive distortion is most often attributed with negative thoughts and results in things like phobias, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, etc.

I suggest that emotional reasoning is a conceivable way for some to believe in the supernatural should they have an overwhelming emotion that convinces them of its merit.

In this way, the brain elevates a subjective feeling into the arena of the objective and concludes that the perceived reality is adequately evidenced by the strength and focus of the emotional experience. For example, while singing praise songs in church, a person will feel an overwhelming sense of joy and release and will interpret these feeling as being sourced by a supernatural presence.

The existence of emotional reasoning is a boon to religions because it provides an easy way to reinforce the faith of their followers- passionate oratories from the pulpit or sweeping crescendos of music are effective ways to generate these seeming otherworldly perceptions- and it helps to keep repeating these tactics on a regular frequency, because like vaccines, they tend to lose their effectiveness over time.

Given the lack of any hard evidence supporting the claims of Christianity, exploiting emotional reasoning is the most effective way to keep people believing in the myth- and churches do this to the max.

(3610) Argument of sporadic miracles

Most Christians believe in miracles and that their god is the one who performs them. But whether you are a believer or a skeptic, it is obvious that miracles, it the truly exist, are rare. And that presents a problem for Christian theology. An all-powerful god who performs only a limited number of asked-for miracles seems to be arbitrarily unfair. The following was taken from:


The conclusions to my argument will be that either God does not exist (if defined as being omnibenevolent), or God is unfair, or, I guess, that miracles don’t happen. Personally, I believe both that God does not exist and that miracles do not happen.

The simple fact of the matter is that, even if you are a miracle-believing Christian, miracles are rare. Very rare.

Let’s look at miracles of healing (forgetting that they never include the healing of an amputee or other non-naturalistically explicable healings). God appears to choose only certain people to be miraculously healed, which is to say that the vast amount of people who have ailments are unhealed, many dying after years of agony and suffering (including the suffering of family members).

And for many of the people “healed,” they are only somewhat healed, and not brought totally back to their most healthy former selves.

Take Bill Kent, the 15-year quadriplegic who was miraculously healed. Let’s put aside all the many criticisms of the claims we can easily make as skeptics and assume a miracle actually took place for the sake of this argument.

Bill Kent could suddenly walk a bit after a miraculous church faith healing. God cherry-picked this person, one disadvantaged person out of perhaps millions or billions, and sort of healed them. Let’s make up some numbers. This is to say that God chose Bill Kent out of 500,000 grossly physically disadvantaged people and healed him (sort of).

This leaves 499,999 other people unhealed. God is showing preference to this one person and allowing him access to healing that he is not allowing to all of these others, many of whom will have attended (in vain) similar faith-healing ceremonies themselves. This appears arbitrary (especially given his ability to heal any or all of them).

Thus, it appears that God is being unfair, especially given a lack of clear rationale for such a cherry-pick. The distribution of luck across time and space is already a sound argument against God. Why do some people get born in times and places without access to God’s true revelation? Why do some people get born with cancer or disease or disabilities? Why do… the list is long. The world is tremendously unfair and this doesn’t depend on human agency.

And this argument is another one to add to that list of unfairnesses. Why does God heal Bill Kent (sort of) and not others?

These are abductive arguments—inferences to the best explanation. What does this data best support, an all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing God, or atheism? For me, the answer is rather clear.

If we assumed OmniGod, then I think we would assume a fair distribution of healing miracles (or the lack of need for healing miracles in the first place) or at least a good explanation of the reasons as to why miracles healings are so rare and sporadic. If God could heal everyone, then why doesn’t he? And we, as ever, come to the Problem of Evil argument.

Did Bill Kent deserve to be healed? Was he that much of an awesome believer to warrant special treatment? That much more than each and every other physically disadvantaged person who doesn’t receive such treatment. And goodness knows what this says about people receiving faith-healing in other religions!

So when a Christian comes at you with an argument that X or Y healing miracle proves miracles and thus God’s existence, hit them in return with the notion that their own claim is evidence of God being unfair and thus not existing.

So, there are three viable scenarios:

1) Miracles happen, but God is unfair and performs only a few isolated miracles with no sense of why those recipients are more deserving than others.

2) Miracles don’t happen, but God exists. He just lets the natural world unfold and dismisses any prayer requests that involve violation of the natural physical laws.

3) Miracles don’t happen, and God does not exist.

But it seems the fourth option is untenable:

4) Miracles happen, and God is fair, we just can’t see how the distribution of sporadic miracles forms a just and fair system.

Most Christians will choose #4 and default to the overused mantra ‘God is mysterious.’

Christians who look more closely at this problem will likely choose #2, thinking that this renders God to be fair, and applying a strategy that affects everyone equally.

A few misotheists will choose #1, and criticize God when their request is turned down.

And non-theists, of course. will choose #3 and rest comfortably alongside the clear lack of evidence for either god or for miracles.

(3611) Daniel’s lion den is a metaphor

It seems the more we look, the more the spectacle of the Bible fades. Christians love to tell the story (usually to children) of how Daniel was able to survive being placed into a den of lions (Daniel, Chapter 6). Instead of being torn apart, the lions leave him alone. A deeper look reveals this story to be a metaphor.

Here’s an excerpt from Van der Toorn, “Scholars at the Oriental Court: The Figure of Daniel Against Its Mesopotamian Background”, in The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception (Volume 1), pp. 42-43:

The tale of Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6) is both powerful and puzzling. The narrator implies that confinement into a pit of lions (for the Aramaic term refers to a pit rather than a den) was a generally practiced punitive measure among the Medes and Persians. As most commentaries observe, there is no extrabiblical evidence whatsoever that would verify this implication.

[…] The story of Daniel’s fall from grace, the period of his tribulations, and his eventual return to court conforms to the traditional narrative pattern of what might be called the Tale of the Vindicated Courtier. Such tales tell the story of an esteemed royal counselor who suffers disgrace and misery at the hands of envious colleagues, but who is eventually restored to his former glory owing to the intervention of a friendly god. The pattern belongs to the literature of the sages; its protagonist is a sage who enjoys the confidence of the king. The stories of Joseph and Ahiqar can be adduced as examples.

The biblical variant of the Tale of the Vindicated Courtier extant in the story of Daniel follows a Babylonian narrative tradition. The vicissitudes of Daniel are patterned after those of the protagonist of a classic of Babylonian wisdom literature, viz. Ludlul bel nemeqi, “I shall praise the Lord of Wisdom.” Close study of Ludlul bel nemeqi reveals that the motif of the pit of lions goes back to Babylonia as well. In the Babylonian tradition, however, the lions are not real lions; they stand for human adversaries. The single time that a “pit of lions” is mentioned in a cuneiform scholarly text, it serves as a metaphor for the hostility and competition among the court sages. The biblical author inherited the motif of the lions’ pit from the Babylonian tradition, but when incorporating this into the Daniel narrative he interpreted the metaphor as though it were a literal description.

Christians have a habit of taking everything in the Bible as being literal history without any hint of an idea that their gullibility is being exposed with each passing year. Determined ignorance of reality is what fuels their fervor, but it is becoming embarrassing for secular observers to see how easily entrapped the human mind can become when mired in wishful thinking.

(3612) Morality evolves- Alan Turing

Christians often say that God is unchanging and that his laws are immutable. They believe that the Bible presents the eternally precise rules of morality. They are wrong. Dead wrong. The following history of Alan Turing shows how morality changes- for the better:


Ministers often hail “God’s eternal laws,” the supposedly unchanging morality rules of the Bible. But they’re wrong. Morality evolves constantly.

For example, Leviticus 20 commands that males who engage in gay sex must be killed: “They shall be put to death, their blood is upon them.” (Oddly, lesbians aren’t mentioned.)

However, this gory mandate is abandoned in compassionate Western democracies, most of which finally decriminalized homosexuality and allowed same-sex marriage. It was a historic stride for decency and secular humanism.

Here’s a sad example of the bad old days:

During World War II, Alan Turing was a British math genius working at a top-secret decoding lab forty miles north of London. He was superbly fit – almost Olympic class – and often ran to London meetings.

He developed a “Turing machine,” an early computer that cracked the Nazi military’s baffling Enigma code by applying step-by-step algorithms to symbols. It was an enormous breakthrough that enabled Allies to intercept Nazi U-boats, air squadrons and other attacks. Winston Churchill said Turing did more to shorten the war than any other individual.

Unfortunately, Turing was gay at a time when homosexuality remained a felony. After the war, he invited a thug into his home, who later returned to rob him. When police investigated, and learned Turing’s sexuality, he was prosecuted. He was offered a choice of prison or chemical castration. He chose the latter.

But it was tragic, turning his athletic body to mush. And his elite security clearance was revoked. In despair, he committed suicide with cyanide.

Later, after morality evolved, Britain was ashamed of his treatment. In 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an official apology for “the appalling way he was treated.” In 2013, Queen Elizabeth granted him a posthumous pardon. In 2017, Parliament passed the “Alan Turing Law” retroactively pardoning men convicted under past taboos. In 2019, his face was put on the fifty-pound note.

Today, Turing is a British hero, with statues of him in many places and science prizes named for him. In a 2019 BBC poll, he was voted the greatest person of the 20th century.

You might call this an example of “God’s eternal law” being revoked. Good riddance to cruel bigotry and prejudice. It’s a shame that a heroic genius was forced to be a martyr.

When human morality exceeds that of God, it should cause Christians to ask the question, ‘who am I worshiping?’ If God fumbled on the issue of homosexuality, what else did he get wrong? In today’s world, Alan Turing would be fine. His early demise was due to people holding on to ancient myths. Morality evolves. Yahweh doesn’t -he is stuck in the past and becomes more irrelevant with each passing year.

(3613) Leviticus 20:13 defense debunked

One of the most notorious verses in the Bible is Leviticus 20:13:

If a man lies with a man as with a woman, they have both committed an abomination. They must surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

This verse is becoming a greater liability for Christianity as time goes on, and as most people have come to accept that homosexual love is morally alright. So, apologists have tried to wiggle out of the problem by saying that this verse is a mis-translation of the original text and that what was actually being condemned was pedophilia- a man having sex with a boy.

This solution would seem to solve the morality question as pedophilia remains nearly universally condemned. However, there is a big problem:

If this verse is talking about a man having sex with a boy, why does it say that they (both of them) must be put to death? Why would a boy, an innocent victim of a pedophile, deserve death when he was accosted by a man?

So, the attempt to wiggle out of a tight spot fails, and Christianity is left with either maintaining an ever more unpopular stand against homosexuality…or, admitting that the Bible contains a significant error that has contributed to terror and death for centuries against a vulnerable subset of humanity.

(3614) Heavenly citizenship is fragile

Comparing a person’s ‘citizenship’ for living in heaven to a national citizenship, it is seen to be much more fragile to the extent that no one can ever be sure that they are actually holding this privilege. The following was taken from:


The system set up that whether we go to Heaven or not (in other words, have heavenly citizenship), depends on the thoughts inside our heads, is an awfully weird and fragile form of “citizenship.”

Let me use national citizenship as an example – say, the United States. If you are a U.S. citizen (and most Redditors are,) your US citizenship is very robust. It’s almost impossible for you to lose it. You can usually only lose it by purposefully revoking it – going to a governmental office and filling out a form, passing an interview, paying a $2,300 revocation fee, and also paying a detailed and calculated exit-tax penalty – none of which you can do accidentally or carelessly.

You could commit a felony in America and still not lose your citizenship. You can live abroad for decades and not lose your citizenship. You can scream at the top of your lungs, “I hate America and all it stands for!” and still not lose your citizenship. You could even develop Alzheimer’s and have your brain rot away to the point where you can’t even comprehend what “America” is, or what nations or countries are, and you still wouldn’t lose your citizenship. It is a very robust, solid thing that is not easily lost.

But such is not the case with “heavenly citizenship.” Whether you go to Heaven or not, according to Christian doctrine, depends on whether you trust in Jesus as your savior or not. Well, guess what? That’s incredibly fragile. That would be like the U.S. government saying, “You are only a U.S. citizen if you believe that you are a citizen and believe in the Constitution.” By that standard, millions of people could lose their citizenship on an hour-to-hour basis. Alzheimer’s, brain damage or other things could knock out your belief in Jesus. You might go into such a vegetative state that you don’t even understand the concept of God. Maybe one day you suffer a crisis of faith because your daughter got murdered and you lose your salvation that very night. You have no documents you can refer to as proof that you are a citizen of Heaven, no Heaven passport you can pull out and look at and say, “Yup, I’m a citizen of Heaven, no worries or doubts about that.”

On that basis, how is anyone supposed to be sure they’re going to Heaven at all?

The uncertainty associated with Christian salvation is strong evidence against it being a divine imprimatur. Rather, it appears to be the disparate thoughts of many disagreeing parties. It seems that a real god would have orchestrated this critical situation in a clearer fashion.

(3615) Pauline Christianity is not valid

Biblical scholarship is beginning to realize how much of a divide must have existed in early Christianity between the Jerusalem Christians and those outside of Judea where Paul was preaching and setting up churches. It is obvious that Paul modified the central message of Jesus (assuming that the synoptic gospels have a good kernel of truth in them). The following was taken from:


Richard Pervo in Mystery of Acts says that he thought the Jerusalem church never accepted Paul’s collection for the “poor” even after he brought it to them. Pervo supports this both with quotes from Paul’s letters expressing concern about whether they’ll accept it and Acts of the Apostles glossing it from a donation to the Church to simply alms for the poor. That’s in addition to the above mentioned bad blood Paul still evidently had with the Jerusalem Apostles even after the council of Jerusalem, when Paul is still calling them “the circumcision party” and saying he wishes the knife would slip and they would cut their own junk off. He never says they accepted his revelations, and why should they have. If someone came up to you and said your dead brother, who they had never met, had appeared to them in a vision and told them things you knew your brother would never say, would you give that guy any time of day? It’s hard to believe that anyone would, which is why Acts of the Apostles is what Pervo calls a “fictional origin story for the church.” Acts fabricates visions for Peter and James to get them on board with Paul’s antinomianism and fabricates Nazarite vows and supplications at the Temple from Paul to prove his Jewishness.

I think Pauline/Roman Christianity was probably a far cry from what the original sect actually taught. In a way, it’s even a betrayal of what Jesus did teach. In the Gospels, Jesus always says that salvation comes from how you treat other people. The rich young ruler asks how to get eternal life and Jesus says give everything you own to the poor. He doesn’t say give everything to the poor and worship me.” The Parable of the Sheep and Goats (“what you do to the least among you, you do to me,), “Love God and love your neighbor,” (which two things are defined as equivalent in the Parable of the Sheep and Goats. It’s always about ethical behavior as well as statements that you get what you give. You will be judged or forgiven according to how you judge and forgive others, “measure for measure,” etc. Never anything about himself, about a need for a sacrifice or death and resurrection. That’s what Paul turned it into. I don’t believe Jesus would have agreed with Paul’s soteriology at all, and I think James and Peter knew that full well.

It would be breaking news to most Christians that Jesus believed that making it to heaven was solely dependent on how they lived their lives, rather than whether they ‘accepted’ Jesus’ ‘sacrifice’ on the cross as the transactional payment for their sins. Paul’s Christianity was not Jesus’ Christianity, and that should strike fear in the hearts of Christians.

(3616) God wants/doesn’t want all to be saved

An omnipotent god would be able to give everybody the amount of evidence they need to believe in his existence and to accept the gift of salvation. The Bible says that God wants all to be saved (and the preceding sentence assumes that this could be accomplished), but it also says the reverse- that God deliberately wants to keep some from achieving salvation.. The following was taken from:


When regarding 1 Timothy 2:4 – “(God) desires that all *men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” strongly conflicts with Matthew 11:25 “At that time Jesus said “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, and revealed them to little children.”

* Note that “men” here means all people. Presumably…right? I mean you can’t just have males saved in Jesus’ religion can you? Okay so on to the “meat” of the subject.

How can the Christian god both desire that all men be saved but actively keep things that would help others be saved to be kept a secret? This not only is contradictory but it destroys The Doctrine of the Trinity. How so? Jesus is supposed to be God at unity with the other two “personages” of this godhead but he praises the Christian god (who happens to be himself too) but to be clear he did say the Father…so okay… No, not okay. If they are in union then what God the Father wants is what God wants and since Jesus is supposedly god then it should be what Jesus wants too but it isn’t. In fact, Jesus praises the Father for hiding these things from the wise and learned. So, 1 Timothy 2:4 says God desires that all men be saved so if that is the Christian god’s desire then how can Jesus, who supposed to be God according the The Doctrine of The Trinity, praise God the Father for hiding things from men that are wise and learned so that they can’t be saved?

The amount of apologetics written on this to fix the asymmetry of these two verses is legendary in it’s mental gymnastics. From fiddling with distinctions that make no difference in the translation of the Koine Greek to trying to mail you a 50-page book so they can salvage this train wreck is laughable. This ironically reminds me of a James 1:8 – “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” how much more so then for a double-minded god? It takes a person living in cognitive dissonance to defend such a contradictory belief. I submit then that the Christian god is indeed the author of confusion regardless of a saying that claims otherwise (1 Corinthians 14:33). This is just one example of two mutually exclusive and thus truly contradictory Bible verses taking down the popular Christian Doctrine of Salvation but is even worse for popular Christianity as it blows a hole right through the Doctrine of the Trinity!

This represents a theological skein that entangles Christianity into a non-sequitur. How can an omnipotent god who wants all to be saved fail to make sure that this happens? Or better yet, how can an omni-god want all to be saved and at the same time not want all to be saved? The entire enterprise of salvation is a mess in Christianity. It is possible to make a case for everything from universal salvation to universal damnation and everything in between. God is not the author of confusion? Yeah, right.

(3617) Five points to no god

It takes little more than academic reasoning to conclude that, most likely, gods do not exist, especially the omni-max god Yahweh imagined into existence by Judeo-Christianity. In the following, a glide-path along five elements of conscious thought leads to an inevitable conclusion:


1) I don’t believe in any gods that are responsible for the creation or function of the universe.

If you have evidence to demonstrate that your god is the author of all and that nothing can exist without your god then show me the evidence. Your personal conviction is not evidence of anything except that you’re convinced. I need more than words to believe, I need independently verified peer reviewed observation. That then brings me to my next point:

2) I don’t believe in any of the gods that must be argued into existence.

Philosophical arguments from Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways through to the modern modal ontological argument are not evidence, they’re speculation. Speculation only ceases to be speculation when you can present evidence that can be independently reproduced and does not depend on a desire to believe before it can be observed. Claiming that life is dark and ugly without your god doesn’t show me your god is real, it shows me you have no imagination. Invoking love and beauty doesn’t prove your god is real, it proves you view life through a very narrow lens and I have no reason to limit myself like that. Threatening me with dire consequences doesn’t convince me of anything except that you have no argument. Arguing for your god doesn’t impress me, evidence does.

3) I don’t believe in any gods that are interested or interceding in our lives.

Gods have been depicted as everything from humans or familiar animals with super powers to single omnimax entity greater than the whole of our universe. I could see how people might think the super-powered gods might take an interest in our affairs but the omnimax god doesn’t make much sense. It would be like us focusing on a small batch of mitochondria within our bodies and declaring that everything revolves around them. But regardless of power level, I just don’t see any reason to believe there are gods intervening in our lives. I get the same results praying to Zeus, Wotan, Jesus and Ganesh as I do to a jug of milk. Repeated studies find no effective change in outcomes from prayer except those corresponding with the placebo effect and you can replicate that result just by letting people know you’re wishing them well.

4) I don’t believe in any gods that have the power to suspend natural laws to perform miracles.

Miracles are tricky things. They never happen when anyone can test or verify them. A discouraging number of them have been debunked, even the “official” ones. They’re always held up by the faithful as evidence of their gods’ power but they’re rarely convincing to anyone else. I rarely hear of devout Hindus experiencing a miracle from the Christian god or devout Christians experiencing miracles performed by the Muslim god. But let’s assume for the sake of argument that these miracles really did happen as claimed; where’s the evidence? Even an ethereal, extra-temporal omnimax god would necessarily leave traces when interacting with our universe, also known as “evidence.” The evidence presented for these miracles is always subjective and typically anecdotal. There’s never any evidence that skeptical researchers can point to and say “that must be of supernatural origin, because it violates causality.”

5) I don’t believe in any of the gods that have been presented to me because I’ve not been given convincing evidence that any of them exist.

I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it as long as it continues to be applicable: I’ll believe anything you tell me as long as you show me evidence appropriate to the claim. Nothing else will do, and you’re only wasting your time if you think you’ve come up with a new argument or example for why I should believe. If your evidence wouldn’t win you the Randi Foundation Million Dollar Prize then it won’t move me, either.

Any sane, rational, objective, unindoctrinated person living today should align with these points and conclude, absent the future receipt of some truly remarkable evidence, that there is no good reason to postulate the existence of gods- especially the type of god that Christians believe in- all-powerful and focused on the intricacies of each human life. The default (and only fully defensible) position is to disbelieve at this time while maintaining an open mind.

(3618) Commentary on Carrier’s mythicism

The following is a commentary on biblical scholar Richard Carrier’s argument that Jesus was likely a mythical figure (something that he believes has a 2/3 probability):


I was skeptical at first, but after reading Carrier’s main arguments in On the Historicity of Jesus, I have to say I’m rather impressed. He begins by laying out the following Rank-Raglan criteria (pp229-30):

  1. The hero’s mother is a virgin.
  2. His father is a king or the heir of a king.
  3. The circumstances of his conception are unusual.
  4. He is reputed to be the son of a god.
  5. An attempt is made to kill him when he is a baby.
  6. To escape which he is spirited away from those trying to kill him.
  7. He is reared in a foreign country by one or more foster parents.
  8. We are told nothing of his childhood.
  9. On reaching manhood he returns to his future kingdom.
  10. He is crowned, hailed or becomes king.
  11. He reigns uneventfully (i.e., without wars or national catastrophes).
  12. He prescribes laws.
  13. He then loses favor with the gods or his subjects.
  14. He is driven from the throne or city.
  15. He meets with a mysterious death.
  16. He dies atop a hill or high place.
  17. His children, if any, do not succeed him.
  18. His body turns up missing.
  19. Yet he still has one or more holy sepulchers (in fact or fiction).
  20. Before taking a throne or a wife, he battles and defeats a great adversary (such as a king, giant, dragon or wild beast).
  21. His parents are related to each other.
  22. He marries a queen or princess related to his predecessor.

Carrier acknowledges that several popular historical figures such as Alexander and Octavian accumulated such stories about them, and this might throw a wrench in his argument. However, he quite insightfully has discovered that if we assign the number 12 as an arbitrary minimum, then we can obtain the following list of figures attaining it:

I. Oedipus (21) 2. Moses (20) 3. Jesus (20) 4. Theseus (19) 5. Dionysus (19) 6. Romulus (18) 7. Perseus (17) 8. Hercules (17) 9. Zeus (15) 10. Bellerophon (14) 11. Jason (14) 12. Osiris (14) 13. Pelops (13) 14. Asclepius (12) 15. Joseph [i.e., the son of Jacob] (12)

We might quibble about the numbers associated with each person. For instance, I count that Jesus only meets 7 out of the 22 criteria. However, Carrier has counted differently somehow, and I can’t deny that assigning Jesus instead a score of 20 does indeed help his case. So, I suppose it is the right thing to prefer the larger score, since, again, it is crucial to Carrier’s argument. No doubt some of the other scores have been adjusted as well, to improve the argument. These kinds of adjustments are quite appropriate, however, as we naturally prefer strong arguments to terrible ones.

To counter-balance these preferential adjustments, Carrier has generously assumed that 4 out of the 14 non-Jesus figures listed above were in fact historical, even though he himself believes that none of them are. He then applies Laplace’s rule of succession (p243) to find that Jesus has a roughly 31% chance of existing based on this evidence.

This may seem like a dubious move, but it turns out that the rule of succession is mathematically valid given certain assumptions. In particular, it requires that the figures on the list be treated as conditionally independent observations given any hypothetically true proportion of historical figures in the Rank-Raglan class. So for instance, Hercules being historical or not should not affect the probability of Perseus being historical or not, under the hypothesis that the true proportion is, say, 0.5. Similarly, whether Moses is historical should not affect whether Joseph is historical if the true proportion is 0.2; etc.

It seems clear that this assumption of conditional independence is incorrect, but in history we can only do our best, and so it seems quite appropriate to proceed regardless, which of course Carrier does to obtain his impressive 31% result.

In order to shore up this conclusion further, Carrier looks at the name, Jesus, which apparently means Yahweh saves. What are the odds that someone later hailed as a savior would so conveniently be named as a savior? Carrier, having already done his due diligence with data collection for the Rank-Ragner class, changes things up for this probability calculation, which he estimates, apart from concerns about data, to be 2 to 1 against. Hence, there is an approximately 33% chance that Jesus was a real historical person (p240).

The numbers here are immediately striking. According to one method he arrives at a figure of 31%, and according to a completely different method he arrives at 33%. The conclusion is obvious, and I can phrase it no better than Carrier himself (p244): No matter how you chew on it, no matter what numbers you put in, with these ratios you always end up with the same prior probability that Jesus was an actual historical man: just 33% at best.

I have to say, this is truly impressive. While I do understand that few if any historians agree with Carrier’s methods, and while it may superficially seem like those methods are invalid, we can hardly deny that they do arrive at an astonishing result. I hope, therefore, that we can start taking the Christ myth position far more seriously from now on.

If we take Carrier’s statistical prediction seriously, that would mean that there is a 2/3 chance that Jesus was invented out of whole cloth, and that there is a 1/3 chance that he was a real person, but who was mythologized by adorning him with 20 attributes of the Rank-Raglan criteria. Either way, it spells trouble for Christianity.

(3619) Acts 25 drives anti-Semitism

It would seem that a book inspired by a God who ‘chose’ the Jewish people as his special human partners would not include elements that would later result in horrific atrocities perpetrated against them. But that is what we find in Acts, Chapter 25. The following was taken from:


There is yet another problem with Acts 25. Keep in mind the agenda of this author: he was positioning the Jesus cult as superior to Judaism, and it suited his purpose to cast Jews as the enemy. Thus, in Acts 25 we find these statements:

“Three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, where the chief priests and the leaders of the Jews gave him a report against Paul.” (vv.1-2)

“…they were, in fact, planning an ambush to kill him along the way.” (v. 3)

“…the Jews who had gone down from Jerusalem surrounded him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.”   (v.7)

“…the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me about him and asked for a sentence against him.”   (v.15)

“And Festus said, ‘King Agrippa and all here present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish community petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.’” (v. 24)

Naturally, the author of Acts was in a combative mood as a propagandist for the Jesus cult. To our great misfortune, however, his book ended up as scripture—which later propagandists assured the faithful is the very word of God; so this anti-Jewish attitude was given divine sanction. It is especially alarming in the gospel of John. Thus the New Testament has played a role in stoking religion-on-religion hatred. The extreme anti-Semitism in Western history has its roots in Christian scripture. In my essay, “Five Inconvenient Truths That Falsify Biblical Revelation,” in the 2019 John Loftus anthology, The Case Against Miracles, I wrote this:

“The damage the Bible has done wipes out the claim that God planned it to be our guide for the ages. Too much that was swept into the canon hasn’t stood the test of time—and too much was left out. A competent God wouldn’t have screwed up so badly.”  (page 319)

Wouldn’t the all-wise, all loving Christian deity have been able to look far into the future to see how badly, how disastrously, the anti-Jewish texts would play out? There is so much—far too much—in Christian belief about God especially, that is incoherent, and this is yet another example. Hence Christian apologists work tirelessly to rationalize hundreds of such problematic texts throughout the propaganda fantasy literature in the New Testament.

There is so much in Acts 25 that undermines any confidence that it should be taken seriously, that it even remotely deserves “word of God” status.

It is very ironic that God’s chosen people of the Old Testament become the villainous enemy of the New Testament. This cannot be the result of a single god inspiring the entire Bible. Acts 25 is a blatant clue that it was written by a person who had a vendetta against the Jews, and not the inspired dictation of a god who earlier chose the Jews out of all the earth’s people to be his chosen treasure.

(3620) Quest for historical Jesus is futile

Historians are realizing that we will never know for sure if Jesus was a real person, or, if he was, what he did or said. There is too much ambiguity in the limited sources available. And these sources are contaminated with many legendary elements that were deceptively added to promote the fledgling Jesus cult. The following was taken from:


It would be hard to name a book that has been hyped more than the Bible. During the last couple of centuries its status has slipped among those who study it critically, but still today there are extremist Christians who insist that it is a holy book, free from error. Even more moderate Bible editors know that the hype still sells, so Holy Bible is the title they choose for the cover. But this is undeserved, as devout scholars themselves admit—although maybe not out loud, or too loudly.

We have discovered what the Bible authors were up to, especially the writers of the New Testament. They lived in a cult-eat-cult world, and were determined to convince their target audiences that their cult was the right one. They showed no restraint whatever in their depictions of Jesus, for example. Richard Carrier has pointed out:

“[The gospel authors] are mythographers; novelists; propagandists. They are deliberately inventing what they present in their texts. And they are doing it for a reason (even if we can’t always discern what that is). The Gospels simply must be approached as such. We have to stop thinking we can use them as historical sources.” (p. 509, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt)

In other words, the common assumption that “it must be true because it’s in the gospels,” doesn’t work at all. Anyone should be suspicious, for the simple reason that there is so much fantasy and miracle folklore in the gospels: how in the world can we separate fact from fiction? So far, New Testament scholars have not been able to agree on a methodology for doing that. Thus the famous quest for the historical Jesus—pursued for decades now in Christian academia—has produced no verifiable results.

Acknowledging the futility of defining a historical Jesus, we are left with a basic rule of thumb- do not ascribe magic to any historical figure until we can deduce that magic is even possible in our world (and based on billions of observations of natural phenomena, and the absence of anything supernatural, that assumption holds firm to the present moment). So, what this means is that we must assume that if Jesus was unique individual, he did not perform any miracles, and the gospels can be used only to give us a very rough sketch of what he possibly was talking about. Other than that, we should view him as an ordinary man who was imagined into being a god by superstitious, gullible humans.

(3621) Atheists are morally superior

If Christianity is true, it would be expected that its followers ,who are allegedly connected to the supreme source of love and peace, would be the exemplars of moral living. But even a cursory look around reveals the opposite to be true. Atheists are more moral. The following was taken from:


And yet, contrary to the widespread stereotype of atheists as immoral, the surprising reality today is that atheists and agnostics actually exhibit very compassionate, ethical, altruistic, and humane proclivities. Indeed, if anything characterizes the personal orientation of contemporary secular people, aside from their godlessness, it is their care and concern for the well-being of others—care and concern that is often stronger and more pronounced than that of religious people.

Consider Americans’ response to COVID-19. As the highly contagious pandemic raged, adhering to mandated health directives such as avoiding public gatherings, wearing masks, and getting vaccinated was not only a matter of self-care but communal care, as doing so protected others from illness too. While the majority of Americans–both religious and secular—were willing to take these necessary steps to fight the virus, it was the most fervently faithful among us who were the most resistant, while it was the most staunchly secular among us who were the most amenable. For example, it was the strongly religious who fought the hardest against the bans on large public gatherings, which resulted in increased sickness and death. Furthermore, vaccination rates among atheists, agnostics, and humanists were significantly higher than among the religious; one study from 2021 found that, while over ninety percent of atheists had gotten vaccinated, only sixty-six percent of Protestants had.

Regarding another public health scourge, gun violence, the secular again lean more towards the safe and ethical end of the spectrum than their religious peers. Thus, despite Christianity’s ethos of nonviolence, national data shows that secular Americans are significantly less likely to own guns and are more likely to favor stricter gun control laws than the religious–especially white Evangelicals.

When it comes to compassion and sympathy for racial minorities, especially African Americans, the secular community again stands out. Numerous studies have found that atheists and agnostics exhibit markedly lower levels of racism than their religious peers, are the least likely of all religious groups to blame African Americans for the suffering they endure, and are far more supportive of social justice/civil rights movements than religious people. That is, despite the apparent religious emphasis on caring for others, sympathy for racial minorities is actually much more pronounced among white Americans who are not religiously active than among those who are.

Additionally, on the compassion and sympathy front, Americans’ views on undocumented immigrants are illustrative. Biblical scriptures are strongly supportive of caring for the stranger in one’s land, and the very circumstances of the birth of Jesus entail refugees needing shelter, only to be told there is “no room at the inn.” However, it is actually atheists and agnostics today who exhibit the greatest degrees of compassion for non-citizens in our midst; while sixty-five percent of white Evangelicals, fifty-two percent of white Catholics, and nearly forty-six percent of Mormons favor deporting all undocumented immigrants, only around twenty-five percent of atheists and agnostics hold to such an unmerciful position.

Speaking of mercy, secular Americans stand out morally on the anti-death penalty front, as well. A recent Pew study found that atheists oppose the death penalty just about as strongly as Protestant Christians favor it. On many other leading ethical issues of the day–from wanting to effectively address the threats of climate change to supporting affordable healthcare for all, from supporting women’s rights to bodily autonomy to believing women’s claims of sexual assault, and from opposing child abuse to supporting the rights of non-human animals, secular Americans do not exhibit the immoral, unethical, corrupt orientation many assume. Quite the opposite.

What undergirds the relatively high moral acumen of atheists?

Rather than obedience to divine authority and the following of religious rules, godless people base their morality on empathy and compassion: treating others the way they themselves would want to be treated and seeking, when possible, to reduce the suffering of others. Such ethical proclivities are naturally grounded in our evolved histories as social primates, our ongoing socialization and enculturation, our ability to conscientiously reflect on the consequences of our actions, and our personal experiences as we live and interact with others. Additionally, because atheists don’t believe in a life after death, they are compelled to see fairness and justice enacted here, in this world.

Atheists and agnostics are not the immoral monsters many assume them to be. As religiosity continues to weaken, and faith in God continues to decline, the result will not be moral mayhem or ethical chaos. Rather, care and concern for others will continue to exist, and maybe even increase.

There is a popular song that circulates around Christian circles with the lyrics ‘and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.’ In reality, we know a lot of Christians by their discrimination, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, gun-loving tendencies, insurrectionist leanings, and disregard of public health measures. Sometime is wrong here. How can God’s true followers be so ‘ungodly?’

(3622) Satan in disguise

A case (frivolous, yes, but still salient) can be made that the god of the Bible is actually Satan in disguise. This ruse can be used to reverse the grounds for redemption such that only those who dis the Bible would be seen as being qualified for salvation. The following was taken from:


This is for Christians that believe in the existence of Satan. If I assess God’s goodness and intelligence based purely on their commandments, actions, and communication methods, then the God of the Bible seems quite cruel, petty, limited, and careless. I’d have an easier time believing the Bible was written by Satan in disguise than an actual all-loving and all-wise God. As far as why the real God would allow Satan to write the Bible and fool people, it could be because the real God wants people to figure things out for themselves and the Bible is just a trap/test. Humans get zero hand holding when it comes to science and every other area of life, but apparently spirituality is the one area where hand holding is allowed. These are the reasons I think the God of the Bible is more likely to be Satan in disguise than the real God:

  • Jesus contradicted the God of the Old Testament and was trying to point out that the God of the Old Testament was immoral and not who he claims:Example 1:The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. Numbers 21:5-6Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? Matthew 7:9-10Example 2:Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: About midnight I will go out through Egypt. Every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the female slave who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the livestock. Then there will be a loud cry throughout the whole land of Egypt, such as has never been or will ever be again. But not a dog shall growl at any of the Israelites—not at people, not at animals—so that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. Exodus 11:4-7But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. Matthew 5:44-45
  • Jesus said no one knew the Father, aka the real God, except him. But the Hebrews 2000 years ago were well aware of “Yahweh” and even had commandments that came directly out of his mouth. Perhaps Jesus was saying only he knew the Father, because he came from the real Yahweh, and the real Yahweh had not yet revealed himself up until then. Thus the Yahweh everyone had known up to that point was an imposter.All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Matthew 11:27
  • If the God of the Bible is Satan in disguise, then it explains all the following:
    • Hell, eternal torment, slavery, massacres, sexism, nonsensical means to salvation, etc. Satan loves double think, so Satan presents an image of God that is cruel, petty, immoral, irrational, etc. while getting people to believe that this is the image of an all-loving and all-wise God.
    • The Bible and Christian doctrine is full of fear and guilt because Satan feeds off these negative emotions. This is why Satan had included hell, emphasized sin, set unreasonable standards, turned biological drives into a factory of guilt, etc.
    • God’s apparent demand for worship. Only Satan would have an ego that needs to be stoked through worship.
    • The God of the Bible is very authoritarian. This is because Satan despises freedom and views humans as characters in The Sims that he can direct this way and that way.
    • Satan loves ignorance. This is why the Bible has bad science, heavily miskewed conceptions of the afterlife, heavily miskewed conceptions of God, laws and commandments that would be considered immoral by any sufficiently advanced society, etc.
  • “Yahweh”/Satan tells the Israelites that if cities surrender to them in peace, to capture everyone and turn them into slaves, and if they refuse, then to kill all the men and “plunder” all the women/children. Only Satan would command such horrible acts. Some of those women the Israelites captured definitely birthed children and they did not consent to doing so.

10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby. Deuteronomy 20:10-15

  • “Yahweh”/Satan can’t do anything truly good, so that’s why freeing the Israelites had to accompany the killing of all the Egyptian firstborns.
  • “Yahweh”/Satan couldn’t simply teleport the Israelites out of Egypt and give them what they needed in the promised land. This forced the Israelites to go to war with other nations and acquire slaves. This is because Satan isn’t as powerful as the real God and has to work with limited means.
  • An early sect of Christians known as the Gnostics had their own set of scriptures inspired by Jesus, and many of them believed that Jesus came to inform them that the God of the Old Testament was a lesser, corrupt God and not the one true God. The early church killed all the Gnostics and burned all their writings. The implication of this is that there were alternative views of Jesus that have been suppressed and the New Testament only contains the scriptures that the early religious leaders wanted people to be aware of.
  • Satan made it a virtue to believe something the more questionable it is, i.e., faith. A very clever tactic. Some of Satan’s other tactics:
    • Fill the Bible with “God is good” and “this is God’s divine word” and people will begin to believe it once they have read it enough times.
    • Do something good once for people a long time ago (i.e. freeing the Israelites from Egypt) and they’ll be convinced you’re good from then on. It doesn’t matter what you do or say afterwards or how many thousands of years of suffering your people endured afterwards.
    • Do something powerful or at least convince people that you have done something powerful (e.g. parting the red sea) and they’ll assume you’re good because you are powerful. Might is right.
    • Make people want to believe in The Bible: a divine mother/father that watches over everyone, life after death, heaven, the return of Jesus and the coming of the Golden Age.
    • Make people afraid of deconverting: fear of eternal torment, fear of being wrong, fear of punishment, fear of wasted investment (sunk cost fallacy), fear of losing their sense of identity and belonging, etc.
    • Indoctrinate people from birth. People tend to stick to the religion/worldview they grew up with meaning the majority of people’s beliefs are rooted in circumstance and have nothing to do with devotion to truth or objective thinking.
    • Fill in the vacuum left by the real God. Satan doesn’t have to outcompete the real God. Satan just has to appear to be more convincing/attractive than the alternative religions/worldviews.

The god of the Bible is very hard to distinguish from the attributes that most Christians assign to Satan. It is irrelevant in the sense that God and Satan do not exist, but it is especially telling that the Bible authors failed so miserably to outfit their god with personality traits that would sharply contrast with their imaginary bug bear.

(3623) Heaven and hell plot holes

The best strategy for Christians is to not think too deeply about heaven and hell, because once you do, you start to see a lot of plot holes that can’t be plugged without employing some very vigorous mental gymnastics. The following was taken from:


If Satan, and a third of all Angels fell from grace by sinning IN HEAVEN, then what’s stopping regular people from falling into sin while in Heaven? Over the time of Eternity, many people in Heaven would go to Hell. Mathematically speaking, everyone would sin in their thoughts at some point in Heaven, so everyone would just end up in Hell.

Once they’re in Hell, there is no redemption. Heaven isn’t eternal, but Hell is?

But wait! How come Satan could go up to Heaven, talk to God about Job, and then freely roam thereafter? Heaven is suddenly capable to containing very sinful beings.
None of this makes sense, am I just being crazy, or are these massive plot holes?

The point made above is very important to consider. If rebellion or misbehavior in heaven can cause someone to be sent to hell, then given an eternity of time, it is certain that everyone will end up in hell at some point, and heaven will contain only God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

All former humans and angels will have fallen at some time and then spend the ‘rest’ of eternity in hell. Christianity paves a one-way street from heaven to hell ( there is no exit from hell, other than Satan and his demons, who apparently have a temporary free pass to heaven and places on Earth).

(3624) Angel ‘facts’

It is revealing to see how much information that the Bible provides in its description of angels. These (clearly non-existent) beings are adorned with all sorts of capabilities. This is an example of how the Bible elevates a fantasy into a faux reality. The following was taken from:


Angels are mentioned 273 times in the Bible. Although we won’t look at every instance, this study will offer a comprehensive look at what the Bible says about these fascinating creatures.

1 – Angels were created by God.

In the second chapter of the Bible, we are told that God created the heavens and the earth, and everything in them. The Bible indicates that angels were created at the same time the earth was formed, even before human life was created.

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. (Genesis 2:1, NKJV)

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Colossians 1:16, NIV)

2 – Angels were created to live for eternity.

Scripture tells us that angels do not experience death.

…nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:36, NKJV)

3 – Angels were present when God created the world.

When God created the foundations of the earth, the angels had already been in existence.

Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: “…Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? …while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:1-7, NIV)

4 – Angels do not marry.

In heaven, men and women will be like the angels, who do not marry or reproduce.

At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. (Matthew 22:30, NIV)

5 – Angels are wise and intelligent.

Angels can discern good and evil and give insight and understanding.

Your maidservant said, ‘The word of my lord the king will now be comforting; for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king in discerning good and evil. And may the LORD your God be with you.’ (2 Samuel 14:17, NKJV)

He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.” (Daniel 9:22, NIV)

6 – Angels take an interest in human affairs.

Angels have been and will forever be involved and interested in what is happening in the lives of human beings.

“Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” (Daniel 10:14, NIV)

“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10, NKJV)

7 – Angels are faster than humans.

Angels seem to have the ability to fly.

… while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. (Daniel 9:21, NIV)

And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. (Revelation 14:6, NLT)

8 – Angels are spiritual beings.

As spirit beings, angels do not have true physical bodies.

Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire. (Psalm 104:4, NKJV)

9 – Angels are not meant to be worshiped.

Angels are sometimes mistaken for God by humans and worshiped in the Bible, but reject it, as they are not meant to be worshiped.

And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10, NKJV)

10 – Angels are subject to Christ.

Angels are Christ’s servants.

… who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. (1 Peter 3:22, NKJV)

11 – Angels have a will.

Angels have the ability to exercise their own will.

How you have fallen from heaven,
O morning star, son of the dawn!
…You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14, NIV)

And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. (Jude 1:6, NIV)

12 – Angels express emotions like joy and longing.

Angels shout for joy, feel longing, and show many emotions in the Bible.

… while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:7, NIV)

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (1 Peter 1:12, NIV)

13 – Angels are not omnipresent, omnipotent, or omniscient.

Angels have certain limitations. They are not all-knowing, all-powerful, and everywhere present.

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. (Daniel 10:12-13, NIV)

But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9, NIV)

14 – Angels are too numerous to count.

The Bible indicates that an incalculable number of angels exist.

The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands … (Psalm 68:17, NIV)

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly … (Hebrews 12:22, NIV)

15 – Most angels remained faithful to God.

While some angels rebelled against God, the vast majority stayed faithful to him.

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:11-12, NIV)

16 – Three angels have names in the Bible.

Only three angels are mentioned by name in the canonical books of the Bible: Gabriel, Michael, and the fallen angel Lucifer, or Satan.

    • Daniel 8:16
    • Luke 1:19
    • Luke 1:26

17 – Only one angel in the Bible is called an Archangel.

Michael is the only angel to be called an archangel in the Bible. He is described as “one of the chief princes,” so it is possible that there are other archangels, but we cannot be sure. The word “archangel” comes from the Greek word “archangelos” meaning “a chief angel.” It refers to an angel ranked highest or in charge of other angels.

18 – Angels were created to glorify and worship God the Father and God the Son.

19 – Angels report to God.

20 – Some angels are called seraphim.

In Isaiah 6:1-8 we see a description of seraphim. These are tall angels, each with six wings, and they can fly.

21 – Angels are known variously as:

If you were reading a book about American history and within that book there were many descriptions of unicorns or leprechauns, would you have some concern about the validity of the other portions of the book? Probably. And this is why the 273 mentions of angels in the Bible cause skeptics to summarily dismiss the Bible as a valid picture of reality.

(3625) Nocturnal emissions cause uncleanness

The following scripture from Leviticus discusses the Lord’s instruction when a man has a nocturnal emission, a discharge of semen while in a dream state of sleep. This occurs naturally, especially among young men who routinely abstain from sex. However, for God, this is something that makes the man unclean and this uncleanliness is contagious and can infect objects and other people.

Leviticus 15:1-12

And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites, ‘When any man has a bodily discharge, the discharge is unclean. This uncleanness is from his discharge, whether his body allows the discharge to flow or blocks it. So his discharge will bring about uncleanness.

Any bed on which the man with the discharge lies will be unclean, and any furniture on which he sits will be unclean. Anyone who touches his bed must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean until evening. Whoever sits on furniture on which the man with the discharge was sitting must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean until evening.

Whoever touches the body of the man with a discharge must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean until evening. If the man with the discharge spits on one who is clean, that person must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean until evening.

Any saddle on which the man with the discharge rides will be unclean. Whoever touches anything that was under him will be unclean until evening, and whoever carries such things must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean until evening.

If the man with the discharge touches anyone without first rinsing his hands with water, the one who was touched must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean until evening. Any clay pot that the man with the discharge touches must be broken, and any wooden utensil must be rinsed with water.

This scripture is extremely irrelevant in today’s world. It is completely ignored by Christians. However, to maintain the ideal of the Bible as the ‘word of God,’ Christians must acknowledge that in ancient times this was a real concern of the (unchanging?)Lord. Skeptics can safely assume that this scripture did not come from an otherworldly source, but rather the mind of an anal-retentive man.

(3626) Excuses for Jesus’ failed prediction do not work

Christians are often challenged to explain why Jesus’ prediction that he would return quickly after his ascension did not happen. Apologists have constructed some alternate explanations in an attempt to erase this problem. However, they are not valid and they fail to remove this devastating contradiction in Christian theology. The following was taken from:


I know this has been addressed numerous times in this sub. But I don’t think enough attention is given to Matthew 10:23 — perhaps the clearest verse that shows Jesus falsely predicted his second coming. Jesus says to his disciples, “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

First let me explain what I think Jesus is getting at in this passage. Jesus starts by giving his disciples instructions on the brief mission they were being sent on. He then transitions in vs 16 to talking about the future persecutions they would suffer after he departs. They will be brought before governors and kings of other nations, and they will be persecuted in town after town (in both Israelite and Gentile cities). Jesus instructs them, though, not to waste time tarrying in any one city. ”Keep it moving! The time is short. In fact, by the time I return, you won’t even have touched every town in Israel (let alone anywhere else!). That’s how short the time is, so make the most of it.”

Now, other interpretations have been put forth for what Jesus means in this passage. But I will demonstrate (by process of elimination) that Jesus could only be referring to his second coming here. Let’s have a look at other potential interpretations:

1) “Before the Son of man comes” refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70: The problem with this view is that it makes the coming of Jesus synonymous with the destruction, as if they’re one single event. It’s true that in the OT God’s judgment is sometimes described as a “coming”. But in Matthew 24, Jesus is clear that his coming takes place AFTER the desolation of Jerusalem, indicating that they are not the same event. For further support on this, in Luke 21 Jesus is explicit that his coming will take place after Jerusalem is trodden down and its people led captive into all nations. The order of events in Luke is 1) the temple is destroyed, 2) then the Jews are taken as captives, 3) then the Son of man will come. So the coming of the Son of man cannot be referring to the destruction of Jerusalem.

2) It refers to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost: This doesn’t work either. Consider this. Why is Jesus telling his disciples to flee from city to city? Answer: Because the Son of man will come before they get the chance to finish their work. But if this is about Pentecost, it renders the statement unintelligible. ”The disciples should flee from city to city because the Holy Spirit will come before they finish preaching?” It’s not clear what’s even being said here. The disciples weren’t even preaching when the Spirit came at Pentecost; they were praying and waiting for the outpouring of the Spirit. Thus, under this interpretation, Jesus’ statement would be incoherent.

3) It refers to Jesus’ resurrection and/or ascension: This fails for the same reason as the previous explanation… It’s incoherent. ”The disciples should flee from city to city because Jesus is going to rise from the dead before they finish preaching?” Again, I challenge anyone to tell me what this means. The disciples weren’t preaching when Jesus resurrected. In fact, they were hiding.

4) It refers to Jesus’ second coming: This seems to make the most sense of the text. Not only does Jesus frequently refer to his second coming as “the coming of the Son of man”. But this explanation also makes sense of why Jesus urged his disciples to flee from city to city: they should move quickly because Jesus will return before they get the chance to finish their work.

If you have another potential explanation that I left out, feel free to comment and I’m happy to address it. Otherwise, I think the second coming is undoubtedly the best interpretation of Jesus’ words here.

This remains as one of the most compelling reason to conclude that Christianity is false. The only way around this problem is to say that Jesus never made this prediction, but the gospel authors, possibly in an attempt to stimulate the contemporary Christian church, put these words in Jesus’ mouth to make it seem like the end times were to happen very soon. Either way, it kills Christianity.

(3627) Lack of NDE conversions

Many Christians credit near death experiences (NDE) or the more dramatic claims of someone  coming back to life after dying  as evidence for the truth of Christianity. However, there exists a major problem with this assertion- there seems to be no conversions of those who are already aligned with a given religious faith.

If Christianity is true, and if NDEs and return-from-death experiences are valid, then it would be expected that virtually everyone affected would see evidence supporting Christianity. This means that we should be hearing about Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Buddhists converting to Christianity after they have an NDE. But that is not the case- almost everybody instead experiences something that aligns with their pre-existing beliefs.

So either Christianity is not true, or NDEs are not a valid view into the afterlife. If forced , Christians would choose the latter, but it would represent a significant loss in their basket of so-called ‘evidence.’

(3628) God doesn’t know why atheists disbelieve

Taking Christianity at face value, it can be seen that God doesn’t understand why atheists disbelieve in him and therefore he finds it justifiable to send them to hell. This is supposedly an omniscient being who should easily discern how a human brain might come to a godless conclusion given the evidence provided. The following was taken from:


Just take a moment to think about this whole thing.
The supposed creator of the whole universe GETS UPSET because people don’t think “he” is real. And he sends these people to this place full of fire and pain where they’ll suffer forever. Because they deny his existence. Can you imagine this? Something that is capable of creating the whole universe and is omniscient, omnipresent, all powerful, you name it… is upset by people not believing it exists. “I AM GOD. I MADE YOU. YOU HAVE TO THINK AND SAY I EXIST OTHERWISE I’LL BURN YOU”.

So basically you have this god who knows everything, the most supreme powerful being in the universe, the almighty creator, and he punishes people who don’t believe he exists by sending them to HELL. This god does not manifest himself in any way shape or form and WANTS us to believe in him otherwise we’ll be punished. It punishes people for being rational. It’s like this god doesn’t know why we don’t believe in him. So much for omniscient.

Just really do take a moment to let this whole idea of god and hell fully sink in and remember that there are tons of people who actually believe this story. They believe the whole thing, they believe we as atheists will be tortured forever for not believing that something for which there’s no real evidence exists. They believe that something they portray as literally the creator of the whole universe gets upset because people deny its existence. Just… wow.

Given the above, there are two possibilities- God is either not omniscient or he is spectacularly cruel. He cannot be both all-knowing and‘ kind.

(3629) God slept for nine hundred years

It is inconceivable that God could have watched for nine centuries the atrocities committed by those who believed in him and who perpetrated their violence in his name without DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. He must have been sleeping…or else failing to exist at all. The following was taken from:


Religious insanity scarred Europe for a long time.

After killing Muslims in Crusades and Jews in massacres, Christians began murdering fellow Christians who deviated from official dogma. One deviant group was the Cathari, or Albigenses, so named because they centered around Albi, France. In 1208, Pope Innocent III declared an “internal crusade” to exterminate Albigenses. An army of 20,000 captured the city of Beziers. When commanders asked the papal legate how to distinguish the faithful from heretics among captives, he replied: “Kill them all. God will know his own.” It was done.

Various other internal crusades were fought against sects following unapproved beliefs. Finally, the Holy Inquisition was mobilized to ferret out heretics and execute them. Pope Innocent IV authorized torture in 1252, and Inquisition dungeons became places of horror. Screaming victims usually confessed to escape the pain. Then they were led in a holy procession (“auto de fe” — act of faith) to be burned at the stake.

The Inquisition had three phases: the medieval pursuit and execution of nonconformists, then the Spanish Inquisition in the 1400s, mostly against secret Jews and Muslims, and finally the Roman Inquisition, after the Reformation, that purged hidden Protestants. Uncountable thousands were put to death.

Spaniards brought the Inquisition to American colonies to pursue Natives who returned to tribal beliefs. Hundreds of heresy trials were recorded in Mexico in the 1500s.

In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued an infallible bull asserting that many people “abandon themselves to devils, incubi and succubi, and by their incantations, spells, conjurations and other accursed charms and crafts, enormities and horrid offenses, have slain infants yet in the mother’s womb, as also the offspring of cattle, have blasted the produce of the earth, the grapes of the vine, the fruits of the trees, nay, men and women, beasts of burden. … They hinder men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving.”

Accused women were stripped by inquisitor priests who searched their bodies for “witch marks” or “witch teats” where they allegedly suckled demons. They were tortured into confessing that they copulated with Satan, changed into animals, blighted crops, made themselves invisible, or flew through the sky. They also were forced to name alleged fellow witches — who were arrested and given the same treatment.

When the Holy Inquisition branched into finding and killing witches, it followed the bible’s mandate: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” The witch hunts became a ghastly phase of history. Medieval historian Anne Barstow estimates that 100,000 women were executed.

In 1583 in Vienna, for instance, a 16-year-old girl suffered stomach cramps. Jesuit priests exorcized her for eight weeks, then announced that they had expelled 12,652 demons from her — demons that her grandmother had kept as flies in glass jars. The grandmother was tortured into confessing that she had sex with Satan, and was burned at the stake.

Witch hunts spread to many lands, including American colonies, and lasted until the rise of the Enlightenment. In Scotland in 1722, an old woman was burned on charges that she turned her daughter into a pony and rode her to a witch coven. In Germany in 1749, a nun was burned in the Wurzburg marketplace on charges that she turned into a pig and scaled convent walls.

Mark Twain wrote in Europe and Elsewhere: “The Church … gathered up its halters, thumbscrews and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry.”

In his inimitable way, Twain aptly summed up the madness.

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to theorize that God and Jesus died during the First Century.  Everything that has happened since would make sense if this was true. Where were they during the times that women were being killed and tortured because of Christian delusions? There is no satisfactory explanation for this. Either God was sleeping or he doesn’t exist- Christians have no choice but to pick one of these two options.

(3630) Jesus was loquacious or laconic?

This question depends on which gospel you read. The length of Jesus’ speeches vary widely among the three synoptic gospels, even when it is the same exact speech. The following was taken from:


The differences in the length of Jesus’s speeches in Matthew and Luke are best seen in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3–7:27) and the Eschatological Speech (Matthew 24:4–25:46). These are the two longest speeches in the Gospel of Matthew at around 1,900 and 1,500 words, respectively. Meanwhile, the corresponding speeches in Luke (Luke 6:20–49; 21:8–36) are roughly 550 and 450 words, respectively. Indeed, Luke’s longest uninterrupted speech (Luke 15:4–16:13) is only some 800 words, making it four percent of the total length of the gospel. Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, however, is more than ten percent of the book. On several occasions, Luke’s shortened speeches go beyond condensing or omitting material, such as separating the Lord’s Prayer from the Sermon on the Mount or the Parable of the Talents from the Eschatological Speech.

Luke’s speeches tend to be much closer in length to those found in the much shorter Gospel of Mark. The Eschatological Speech found in Mark (Mark 13), for example, is nearly identical to that found in Luke. However, at other times, Luke’s speeches are even shorter than those of Mark. Mark’s Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:3–32) is around 500 words, while Luke’s (Luke 8:5–16) is around 300 words. While the Synoptic Gospels have much in common, it is likely that one of the features that sets the Gospel of Luke apart from the rest is simply its correspondence to Greco-Roman literary style.

Luke’s tendency to truncate the speeches of Jesus is a good sign that he was not writing (dictating) under the influence of a supernatural being, but rather was using his own training and experience as a Greco-Roman scholar. The discrepancies in the lengths of Jesus’ speeches is evidence that the gospel authors were using their own thoughts and background rather than being inspired by the Holy Spirit.

(3631) Verbatim failure

Christians often like to profess that the Bible is inerrant. But there are many challenges to that claim. One of them exists in Acts, Chapter 10, where a message delivered by an angel to Cornelius is stated in a verbatim format in two places. The problem is that the wording is quite dissimilar.

Acts 10:3-6

One day at about the ninth hour, he had a clear vision of an angel of God who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”

Cornelius stared at him in fear and asked, “What is it, Lord?”

The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have ascended as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to call for a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”

Acts 10:30-32

Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this, the ninth hour. Suddenly a man in radiant clothing stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your gifts to the poor have been remembered before God. Therefore send to Joppa for Simon, who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, by the sea.’

Although the meaning of the two statements is, for the most part, similar, there are some differences. In the earlier verses, it was an angel that appeared, where in the second it was a man in radiant clothing. In the first, prayers were said for the poor but not in the second. And in the first, it was said that men (multiple people) were sent, whereas in the second there is no account for who or how many were sent to Joppa.

But beyond the slight changes in meaning, the important point is that the author of Acts portrayed both statements as a verbatim script, and the variations in wording belie that fact.

(3632) Better educated equals less religious

Religious belief in the United States is plummeting, and the best explanation for why this is happening is that Americans are becoming smarter, better educated, and more informed (largely due to the internet). If Christianity was true, these trends would cause an increase rather than a decrease in belief. The following was taken from:


The Secular Age is snowballing in America, as in other Western democracies. Year after year, reports show church membership and attendance slip-slidin’ away.

Church leaders agonize over this ominous erosion. Endlessly, they call for more prayer, more proselytizing and other tactics to entice believers. They ask why the relentless loss is happening.

Sociologists too analyze the cultural shift and offer various explanations. Many concur that Western life is becoming more prosperous and secure, so people no longer feel an urge to pray for divine help. That makes sense.

While experts search for answers, I want to employ Occam’s Razor, the philosophical axiom that says the simplest, most straightforward explanation is the best. Tens of millions of Americans have turned away from supernatural religion for an obvious reason, in my view: They see that it’s untrue. Intelligent, educated, modern people perceive that magical dogmas are a bunch of hooey — just fairy tales with no factual reality. Gods and devils, heavens and hells, angels and demons, miracles and messiahs, prophecies and divine visitations, visions and other such stuff, are fiction.

Researchers generally accept the Flynn Effect, which says average IQs have been continuously rising over the past many decades. Better-educated Americans are smarter than they were in the 1960s. They can detect nonsense more easily. Further, researchers find that doubters have higher IQ than believers do. As the West grows more intelligent, the brightest reject supernatural claims.

Ever since Ancient Greece, brave thinkers have doubted holy hokum. Among the wildest was the late comedian George Carlin, who proclaimed:

When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: religion. No contest. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of 10 things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these 10 things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!

But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit! … There is no God. None, not one, no God, never was.

Right before our eyes, supernatural faith is dying in America. Using Occam’s Razor, we can conclude that it is happening because magical dogmas no longer are believable.

The claims of Christian dogma cannot survive in a world where information is available at the click of a mouse. This is because it is false, and whatever is false will eventually be shoved aside whenever information becomes freely available.

(3633) Jesus, the godawful doctor

If we taken Christian theology as being valid, then Jesus was an infinitely intelligent person who often acted to heal people with afflictions. He even possessed supernatural powers. Metaphorically, he was like a doctor who entered a primitive culture. But unlike real doctors who have heroically traveled to impoverished un-developed areas to help suffering people, Jesus failed and he failed miserably. The following was taken from:


Jesus didn’t teach/instruct about germs, diseases, medical intervention, infection care, sulfa drugs, parasites, how to increase crop yields, mental health care, communicable diseases, basic hygiene, or antibiotics. Jesus never instructed on the dangers of pouring sewerage in streams that eventually led to villages. This lack of action would be a crime today.

If Jesus is god and god created the universe and all of the life that inhabits it. Jesus would know how to end the suffering of millions with just a couple of these basic instructions. The ethical problem becomes even stranger when one considers what Jesus actually chose to teach.

Jesus instructed on how to punish (beat) slaves. Jesus also instructed on what material of clothing to wear and how to pray. Jesus had years to impart this basic knowledge, yet he did nothing.

If a doctor with advanced medical knowledge found him/herself in an impoverished nation that lacked the basics of education in medical intervention. It would be their absolute duty to use their knowledge to save lives and end as much suffering as they could. To hide their knowledge from those suffering would be a horrific and unnecessary tragedy.
How is Jesus’ behavior on earth not a sin?

The Bible is pretty clear on Jesus’ actions while on earth, and I acknowledge his occasional raising of the dead, or healing a few blind people. However, this only makes his actions worse because, if you believe that, he had both knowledge AND supernatural powers. Yet Jesus said nothing.

The suffering that Jesus could have ended is staggering. His message would have been undeniable. And nothing about educating people on such matters wouldn’t require Jesus to perform magic as all of these things are natural and logical.

There are only three solutions to this quandary:

1) Jesus didn’t care to help humankind to avoid horrendous suffering.

2) Jesus was a regular human being constrained by the conventional knowledge of his time.

3) Jesus was a mythical figure.

Christians must choose one of these three options, and it will not be easy task for them to do so.

(3634) Judeo-Christianity should be the only religion

If the Bible is factually true, then Judaism and Christianity should be the only religions being practiced on the earth. The following presents the logic backing up this claim:


For my argument to be logically sound not all of Christian mythology needs to be taken literally and as historic fact but certain parts listed in the premises. Other parts are not taken into consideration for the Framework of this Argument.

This Argument doesn’t try to disprove the existence of the Christian God neither does it make claims about the morality of the Bible. The only purpose is to show that a literal and factual interpretation conflicts with the objective reality of Humanity.

Premise 1: The Creation myth of Genesis regarding Adam, Eve and the Garden of Eden is a literal account of historical facts.

Premise 2: The Flood myth regarding Noah and The Ark is a literal account of historical facts.

Premise 3: Romans 1-20 is a factual account of literally every human in existence receiving a personal revelation about God’s will and the sacrifice of Jesus.

The first 2 are very tight bottlenecks for the religious traditions here.

  • Adam and Eve where created as the very fist Humans – meaning all humans alive today are their descendants. Those two knew God personally they interacted with him directly and spoke to him in person. They experienced his wrath first hand. So they knew the correct religion. Faith was not even needed just real world experience. They would have thought this to their children.
  • Noah and his family where the last surviving humans after God whiped out all other humans with the flood. Noah had visions from God directly telling him directly what would happen and what he had to do. Even if his family did not have direct visions. They have witnessed everything transpire as Prophecised. Even the miraculous parts like lions standing in line and not eating any of tge other animals and the Flood itself. When they re-populated the earth they would have teached Judaism to their descendants. According to Answers in Genesis the Flood was 4359 years ago. From that point on humans would have re-populated and reached every corner of the globe.

Look at the North Sentinel Islands for example. This is a native tribe that is still not contacted by Europeans. Those people there have no oral or written history of Judaism. They have an entirely different religion.

For this to have happened their ancestors must have arrived at those islands and collectively decided to abandon the true religion of Judaism. And not just in a “I am going to be atheist because I want to sin” Kind of way. No the religion was completely replaced.

So the people reach this island and collectively decide to just burn all their copies of the thorah and never speak of it again, because they want to go to hell. And just to mess with the souls of their children and their childrens children and so on, they started to teach their descendants a new religion wich they where in the position to actively know where made up.

It is highly unlikely that something like this would EVER happened. But if the myths of creation and flood are taken literally this has to have happened countless times around the world.

  • Hinduism
  • Buddhism
  • Asatru
  • Greek Religion
  • The Roman Religion
  • The Egyptian Religion
  • Countless Animistic traditions of indigenous people around the world.

All of those are at one point in the last 4359 years made up by groups of people who did receive the teachings of Judaism and Decided to erase all traces of it.

This Problem gets even bigger when we take Premise 3 Romans 1-20 into consideration.

About 2000 Years ago ALL people on the world did receive a personal revelation and those who where not already in the know about Christianity just decided to ignore it.

Conclusion: since People groups with non Abrahamic religions exist that have no oral or written history about being descendants of Noah specifically the Stories of Christian Mythology can not be factual and Literal.

The amount of mental gymnastics needed to fight for a literal interpretation of the Bible is olympic in nature. The story of Christianity is self-refuting. It was spawned by people who had a pronounced ignorance of this planet’s history, and it belongs in the fiction section of the bookstore.

(3635) Babies go to hell

Taking Christianity at face value, and removing euphemistic rationalizations, it is clear that dead babies end up in hell because they have not accepted Jesus. Some will say that infant baptism takes care of this problem, but that is debatable, and many babies and fetuses die before baptism, and many sects of Christianity do not perform infant baptisms. The following was taken from:


Modern Christians deny that infants go to Hell. William Lane Craig, perhaps the most prominent Christian philosopher in the world has denied it, but if Christianity is true, then of course they do.

ALL are born into sin, God is NO respecter of persons and ONLY by accepting Jesus can, a person be saved from Hell.

Saint Augustine, probably THE most influential non biblical writer believed that even babies are damned. And in the 1800’s, a priest ( I have forgotten his name) wrote a book for children describing the torments of children in Hell and the church praised it as “a book fit for education”.

A Christian may not wish to believe it, but it seems to follow that God does indeed burn babies. A god that would drown them in the flood and come down from Heaven to strangle Egyptian babies personally, would have no problems burning them in the here after.

Christian theology cannot deal with this issue- it would work only if everybody lived a long life with multiple chances to be saved. Here is the problem:

– if babies go to hell, then God is incalculably cruel, and Christians should not have children to risk such a horrid fate for a person who never even gets to enjoy a regular life.

– if babies do not go to hell, then killing your baby is an act of love, protecting them from the possibility of growing up, not believing the (poorly-evidenced) Jesus story, and suffering eternal torture.

You see, there is no good solution. It simply doesn’t exist.

(3636) Suffering of Jesus was unnecessary

Much is made of the pain and suffering of Jesus as he was whipped and nailed to the cross, as if this violent and inhumane punishment was necessary so that his ‘sacrifice’ would be effective to wash away peoples’ sins. This appears to be an artifact of ancient Iron Age beliefs. It certainly doesn’t fit well in modern times. The following was taken from:


Now the Easter is upon us I am pondering a theological question: Why was the suffering and death of Jesus necessary?

I understand that people 2000 years ago thought that sin could only be forgiven after a painful punishment, but I would like to think that we have moved on since then. We know it is possible to forgive someone without punishing them first (much less a scapegoat). We do it all the time.

It seems to me that God could just have cut out the Son-of-Middleman and said: “Good news, everyone! Your sins are forgiven. Here’s a new book that explains how you can be saved!”

One acquaintance told me that sin is not just a grudge but an objective spiritual phenomenon that cannot simply be “forgiven” but can only be atoned for with death.

If we roll with that, then how about this: On Maundy Thursday, have Jesus just keel over from a heart attack or the like. Bypass the 39 lashes and the nasty crucifixion. Then raise him from the dead a bit later. It’s still death and resurrection, but much less painful. And it ought to have the same spiritual effect.

My conclusion: The suffering and crucifixion of Jesus were not necessary for anything.

Apologists might insist that God had to work within the setting that Jesus inhabited and that the brutal forms of punishment were all that existed at that time. But God should have been able to look into the future and see that eventually:

1) punishing someone for someone else’s crime is unethical, and

2) deliberately inflicting pain or causing the release of blood to punish someone is immoral, and

3) Forgiveness does not require any punishment.

In other words, it would have been expected that a real god would have set a better example for future societies to showcase the idea that direct and humane (pain-free) punishment is the most ‘Christian-like’ approach. Instead he promoted the idea that blood must be shed to forgive sins and that doing it to a surrogate is an effective practice, both ideas of which would infect human societies for centuries.

(3637) Bad theology to explain human suffering

Sometimes the best way to determine the veracity of a theology is to analyze the strategies used to defend it. In the case below, a Christian apologist attempts (incredibly weakly) to explain why an omnipotent god allows so much human suffering:


Mine arrived from a woman named Virginia, return address in Pawling, NY. Curiously, the envelope was postmarked: Santa Clarita, CA. Even so, it looked like an envelope from a friend. The opening couple of lines:

“I hope this finds you well and safe. Who knew just a few years ago, that we would have a pandemic and that it would go on for such a long time and have such a large scale number of deaths globally.”

Then the missionary speaks. This is her second paragraph:

“Will suffering ever end? You may be surprised to read in the Bible, that the Almighty God is ‘tolerating’ our suffering, the same as He tolerated the suffering of His son while on earth. But why is He tolerating and allowing it if He is the ‘Almighty God’? It’s because the sanctity of his holy name and reputation, and the rightfulness of his universal sovereignty have been challenged and He must settle these vital issues in His own way, before mankind and angels, once and for all time.”

So, this excuse for the Christian god’s tolerance of suffering can be added to a long list of such excuses created by apologists; but this surely qualifies as one of the weakest, most pathetic imaginable. It certainly reflects very poorly on Virginia’s god. What is she claiming? That human suffering grinds on because the sanctity of god’s name has been diminished and his reputation has been challenged? Is it really a good idea to put so much emphasis on god’s ego? This surely qualifies as bad theology.

This reminds me of a Bible verse I found baffling, even as a kid, Genesis 15:13, the OT god’s promise to Abraham: “Know this for certain, that your offspring shall be aliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves there, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years.” Why would a good, caring, powerful god allow slavery to go on—for his chosen people no less—for four hundred years? That just doesn’t make sense.

Horrific human suffering is an inevitable outcome of the process of biological evolution in the absence of any supernatural supervision. What we experience is what we expect under naturalism. But under theism, especially the type promoted by Christianity, it is somewhat surprising, and the excuse given above is about as good as any… and it’s pathetic.

(3638) Near extinction events

Christianity claims that God either made humans out of whole cloth or at least guided evolution to make them. This implies the expectation that God would protect his ultimate creation from any events that would cause an extinction of humans or a near miss. The history of human existence shows this expectation to not have been met. The following was taken from:


It turns out humanity has been almost wiped out a few times in our distant past. How did it happen, and what does it mean for the future of human evolution?

Scientists can spot near-extinctions by correlating several different pieces of evidence. First, by studying DNA samples, counting mutations and measuring genetic diversity (Alu sequences and mitochondrial DNA being especially useful in this regard), they can find population bottlenecks. A bottleneck indicates that for some period of time a given species had very low numbers. This reduces genetic diversity, since every member of the species from then on is descended from this limited number of progenitors.

The next step is to find something that might cause widespread deaths – usually a catastrophe like the eruption of a supervolcano or an asteroid impact. The genetic studies can narrow down the time frame of the population bottleneck somewhat, and geologists can pinpoint the dates of massive eruptions and impacts fairly accurately. If the dates coincide, you might be onto something.

The third major clue is evidence that the catastrophe did things that would lead to mass die-offs. A huge eruption can cause a prolonged cooling effect, aka “volcanic winter,” aka the name of my next band. Alternately, the injection of massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere can lead to a runaway greenhouse effect, not to mention the settling of toxic compounds over a wide area. All of these effects are geologically preserved, and can be found, measured and dated. If the whole thing lines up with your bottleneck and your catastrophe, you’ve got a pretty solid case for an extinction event.

In fact, a recent study found just such evidence for the end-Triassic extinction, caused by a series of massive eruptions in north-central Pangaea, and recently completed studies into the Chicxulub impact all but confirm that a massive impactor was indeed responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs.

But what about humans? There is one near-extinction event that is fairly well-known, although it remains controversial. Roughly 70,000 years ago, give or take a few thousand years, an enormous eruption occurred in what is now Sumatra, leaving behind Lake Toba (the crater lake pictured above). The eruption coincides with a population bottleneck that is often cited as the reason for the relatively low genetic diversity across Homo sapiens sapiens. Research suggests as few as 2,000 humans were left alive by the eruption and its aftereffects.

A recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found another population bottleneck much farther back in human history. Genetic studies found that 1.2 million years ago there were as few as 55,000 members of genus Homo, including pre-human hominids like Homo erectus and Homo ergaster. This one is interesting because we don’t have solid evidence of a catastrophic event during that period, so we’re not sure what might have caused the population crash or where to look for more evidence.

The really interesting thing about a population bottleneck is the effect it has on evolution. With a small population, mutations get passed through a very large percentage of the species’ members. Detrimental mutations could be devastating and lead to outright extinction. Beneficial mutations, however, could cause fairly fast shifts in the population. And if you imagine some kind of tribal arrangement in which a few dominant males were responsible for a lot of the procreation going on, this situation becomes even more pronounced. An entirely new species might be created within a few generations. Anthropologists have proposed that such bottlenecks were responsible for the rapid development of hominids.

A catastrophe induced bottleneck has another factor affecting evolution. It isn’t just a bottleneck, it’s a bottleneck under pressure. The kinds of dire circumstances that you can imagine would follow a supervolcanic eruption take “survival of the fittest” to a much higher level. Now, that beneficial mutation (say a larger brain that makes it easier to hunt sparse game and build crude shelters) still spreads through a large percentage of the species, but in addition, every genetic line without that mutation dies off (or moves away to somewhere they can hack it). The result: rapid speciation.

When you’re in the world building phase of your SF magnum opus, keep speciation in mind. If a planet is not geologically active, it might have homogeneous flora and fauna, or else some other reason why there are diverse species present. After all, giant volcanoes aren’t the only reason speciation happens (anything that puts a species under pressure, including other species, works too). On the other hand, a planet prone to sudden, rapid ecological changes might be a good place for sentience to emerge. Any environment that puts species under constant survival pressure and places a premium on adaptability might tend to create intelligent creatures. Sort of like ours did.

If humans were the ultimate reason for why God created the earth, then it seems incredibly unlikely that he would have allowed so many challenges to the survival of our species. The natural history of the earth appears to be much more consistent with the absence of any supernatural guidance.

(3639) Paul’s vision had no evidential value for resurrection

The vision of Jesus that Paul allegedly had on this trip to Damascus was not unusual for its time, and it would not have been seen by his contemporaries as evidence suggesting that Jesus had experienced a physical resurrection. The following was taken from:


The Greco-Roman world of the first and second centuries is filled with examples of people encountering deities or the deceased in ecstatic visions. So Paul’s encounter would’ve been familiar to his non-Christian contemporaries, who wouldn’t have made any connection between his vision and a previous resurrection event, or seen it as proof of a resurrection as a historical event, which was a concept largely absent from Greco-Roman thought. Same with the visions that James and the others experienced of Jesus that Paul describes in 1 Cor. So the conversion event on the Damascus road cannot say anything for or against the historicity of the gospels’ resurrection narratives.

The phenomenon of seeing visions of the deceased is most likely the best explanation for the emerging belief that Jesus had ascended to heaven, similarly to Elijah in the Old Testament. This in no way suggests that early Christians believed in a physical resurrection- they probably considered that Jesus’ mortal body had remained dead, but that he had arisen in his spiritual body. It was only later, about 40 years hence, that somebody wrote an account of Jesus’ life (Gospel of Mark) that included, or at least hinted at, a physical resurrection. Later gospel authors fleshed out the resurrection details, and ever since Christians have believed that Jesus’s dead body actually came back to life and then flew up into the sky and beyond. If a Christian of 30-70 CE came back to life, they would be befuddled by such a story.

(3640) Investment in ancient scriptures

There will come a time in human history, after centuries of technological and scientific advances, where ancient scriptures will be relegated to the times that they were written. We are smarter and better informed than the people who wrote the Bible, and to continue to allow those ancient scriptures to guide our thoughts, laws, actions, morals, and ethics is making less sense each passing year. The following was taken from:


Is it appropriate to be so heavily invested emotionally in ancient scriptures, written well before humans had figured out how the world works? In the first century it was commonly believed that the realm of the gods was above the clouds and below the moon—and that there were layers of heaven, inhabited by a wide range of beings, e.g., angels, demons, gods themselves. Catholics would add thousands of saints to this mix. Holy people climbed mountains to get closer to their gods and get divine instructions. And it was so easy to assume that gods communicated through visions and holy writings.

That was then, this is now. A broader perspective would include learning and absorbing the amazing insights about nature and reality, achieved by the greatest minds. It doesn’t take much study to grasp what Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace figured out about nature. They were not evil men. They used their brains and powers of observation to explain things that previously had not been understood. Nor does it take much study to be stunned about what Edwin Hubble found out about the Cosmos—and our place in it. We can now be confident that ancient “inspired” texts fail to deliver reliable information about reality.

Third perspective: This perspective grows out of the second, i.e., it’s important to try hard to realize our place in the Cosmos. The men who wrote the New Testament—who passed on to us their ancient world view—didn’t even know what stars were. As one meme circulating for a while puts it, “They didn’t know where the sun went at night.” This fundamental fact was unknown: that our planet orbits a star, which in turn orbits the galactic center (just one orbit takes about 225 million years), in a galaxy of hundreds of billions of stars and trillions of planets. The Voyager Spacecraft captured the iconic photo of our tiny Pale-Blue-Dot planet, from 3.7 billion miles away.

Yes, we are lost in space. From this perspective, does it make sense that a creator god, with so many trillions of planets under management, closely monitors one mammalian species (humans!) on one planet, and holds a grudge against us for disrespecting its name? This concept really doesn’t work anymore, does it?

Absent the never-to-happen return of Jesus, the death of Christianity is a certainty- only the timing is in question, but the process is well underway. Old ideas pass away to be replaced by new ones, and old ‘knowledge’ bows to what we learn as time goes on. Christianity is an old idea that took root during a time before humans understood their place in the universe. It cannot and will not stand the test of time.

(3641) Failure of ‘something from nothing’ argument

One of the most popular (and over-used) arguments that Christians offer to ‘demonstrate’ the existence of their god is the claim that something cannot come from nothing, that is unless that ‘something’ is a god, and their god specifically. So, in effect, they are saying that their god came from nothing, but that everything else must come from something. The following was taken from:


Why there is something rather than nothing is one of the oldest philosophical questions known to man. It is the ultimate existential question, and it has led many to propose that everything that begins to exist has a cause, and therefore because the Universe (allegedly) began to exist, it must have had a cause, and that cause is God. The argument, often called the First Cause argument, has been around for hundreds of years and refuted for hundreds of years, but if you’ve always been taught that God exists and took it for granted that He did, you may have never pondered this matter.

On January 6, 2011, then Pope Benedict told the world that God’s mind was the force behind the Big Bang, and that the Universe was the result of the wisdom and inexhaustible creativity of The Creator. This is fundamental to the something from nothing argument. The Something from Nothing argument isn’t limited to the entire Universe.

Believers in God will also use it as an argument for the creation of life on Earth, quoting the Bible in Genesis indicating that God made everything in six days. Now it’s true that man has not yet solved the riddle of how the very first living things came into being. Not yet anyway. But there are plenty of workable hypotheses to test. Think about this: when massive stars die in the most powerful show of explosive force in the Universe, the heavy elements in the star, created through the intense nuclear fusion of hydrogen atoms, are sent hurling out into space in a Supernova. These elements are the very same elements that exist in every living thing on Earth.

The thing about the Something from Nothing argument that really makes me shake my head is that the average religious believer has no problem visualizing a God that has always existed. A special exception to this argument is made for God, which is rather convenient to say the least. Thus, Richard Dawkins observed in his magnum opus:

“…these arguments rely upon the idea of a regress and invoke God to terminate it. They make the entirely unwarranted assumption that God himself is immune to the regress. Even if we allow the dubious luxury of arbitrarily conjuring up a terminator to an infinite regress and giving it a name, simply because we need one, there is absolutely no reason to endow that terminator with any of the properties normally ascribed to God: omnipotence, omniscience, goodness, creativity of design, to say nothing of such human attributes as listening to prayers, forgiving sins and reading innermost thoughts. …it is more parsimonious to conjure up, say, a ‘big bang singularity’, or some other physical concept as yet unknown.” (The God Delusion, pages 77-78)

I strongly suggest that you read A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss and watch his presentation on YouTube of the same name. He presents the current level of understanding regarding the origins of the universe and I found it a truly fascinating read (also see my defense of Krauss’ cosmological model against critics, ranging from religious apologists like William Craig to serious philosophers such as David Albert).

The SfN argument is fallacious, involves special pleading that a god needs no cause, but that the universe does, and that the existence of any god implies that it must be the Christian god. When it takes this much mental gymnastics to demonstrate the existence of something, it is a good clue that that ‘something’ is really nothing.

(3642) Human life worthless compared to wounded vanity

If we take Christianity and the Bible at face value, it becomes apparent that God is more concerned with his self-image (ego) than he is with human suffering and death. Why else would he value worship over compassionate conduct? The following was taken from:


A god who would reward a lifetime of wickedness, but then punish good people for the crime of not believing in him—even though they could find no evidence of his existence after many years of fruitless searching—is the epitome of pure evil.

This shows that rational disbelief in god is a crime worse than the extermination of 6 million Jews or the rape, murder and torture of hundreds of innocent women. Human life is worthless compared to the supreme being’s wounded vanity.

Further, this reveals the Christian god does not respect honest intellectual inquiry. He wants man to shut down his brain, lie to himself and show blind obedience to his commands, like a petty and spiteful dictator. This makes the Christian god a heavenly version of Kim Jong-un, but on a much larger scale and vastly more megalomaniacal.

And if the atheist refuses to delude himself into believing in god, guess what? He’s threatened with an eternity of being roasted alive in hell by the devil and his angels. While Hitler and Ted Bundy get to enjoy the blessings of heaven.

This isn’t an omnibenevolent god; this is a divine sadist.
If this is what you believe in as a Christian, how can you claim to believe in a god who is fundamentally good?

This is analogous to a boss promoting someone who speaks well of him but performs poorly over someone who gives him reasonable criticism while performing flawlessly. The god of Christianity is well outside bounds of deserving respect, much less worship. He finds it easier to reward those who mistreat, injure, torture, or kill others, as long as they acknowledge his existence, than those who who lead exemplary lives but don’t believe (based on credible and rational analysis). His inflated ego is more important to him than the human victims of his cult of believers.

(3643) Better to not be born

There is a verse in the Gospel of Mark that best shows that the gospel authors failed to promote the concept that God is both omniscient as well as benevolent. The following was taken from:


I was in my mid-20’s and returned from work at the seminary to have my nightly devotions. I was reading Mark, where Jesus was telling his disciples about who would betray him, and read Mark 14:21 “woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born”. I’ve read that verse many times, but that one evening I realized something was wrong.

I believed the following things at the time: i) god is omniscient (1 John 3:20), ii) god is responsible for creating life (Jeremiah 1:5), and iii) hell is an eternal torment (Matt. 13:42, 25:46).

When reading that verse I realized that Jesus was being sincere. It would be better for a person like that to have never been born. In fact, how can god purposefully create individuals that he knows will not believe in him, only to have them spend eternity in hell? Surely a merciful god would simply poof them out of existence rather than have them suffer eternally? Especially when god essentially created unbelievers knowing they would go to hell.

If someone destined for hell would be better off not to have been born, then God (omnipotent) would have known such in advance. Therefore, God is guilty of creating people who he knows will spend eternity (minus 75+ years on earth) in hell. There is no way around this problem- the Christian god is a sadistic monster.

(3644) Grading God’s qualities

Christians often make assumptions about God’s characteristics without putting much thought into it. The following counters some of the ones most frequently used:


“God is perfect”

This same perfect god: creates a world highly prone to natural disasters and gives us countless critical genetic conditions.

“God is good all the time”

This same god who’s good all the time: allows good people to suffer and die in cruel ways and doesn’t answers prayers from people who are good and devote their lives to him.

“God is just”

This same god who’s just: doesn’t manifest himself in any way shape or form, wants us to believe in him on shitty evidence and based on blind faith, then sends people who don’t believe in his existence as a result of critical thinking to hell.

“God has a plan for us”

The plan: being susceptible to being wiped off this planet due to things like climate change and space rock collision like it happened to all the other species who have gone extinct. We are simply adapted to this planet and the fact we can have the same destiny as the other species is not coherent with some supernatural creature having a fucking plan.

God gave you your life. Be thankful.

Meanwhile this same life-giving god: allows people to die before they are even born. I’m talking about fetal death. It’s like at the same time this god gave me my life he took it away from others before they even got the chance to experience it? Why would he do this? If anything he didn’t give me my life on the account of being good and I don’t have to be thankful.

How the fuck can people believe this obviously manmade nonsense???

Usually, when confronted with the obvious problems created by assigning these qualities to God, Christians will default to the euphemistic ‘God is mysterious.’ This is a retreat disguised as a win. Things that are real are rarely mysterious, but rather rooted firmly in objective evidence. The alleged wonderful qualities of God do not survive even a cursory exercise of thought. If God is omniscient as Christians claim, then his grade card is full of F’s.

(3645) Paul never warned about hell

In all of his writings, Paul never warned that non-believers would be sent to hell to suffer eternal punishment, something that is directly implied by statements spoken by Jesus in the gospels. This is a major disconnect. It implies the possibility that the idea of hell had not yet jelled in the minds of Christians until the later stages of the First Century, whereas the letters of Paul were all written before 55 CE. The following was taken from:


Paul never mentioned hell! I repeat: nothing written by Apostle Paul in the New Testament mentions the word “hell” in either the Greek or the English.

This is beyond amazing when you consider that Paul claimed he was caught up into heaven and given the Gospel directly by Jesus, that all men would be judged according to his gospel, that he had declared to people the whole counsel of God, that he kept back nothing profitable from the people he taught, and that he was the apostle to the gentiles (meaning all who are not Jews).

Here are the verses to support what the previous paragraph states.

11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2 CORINTHIANS 12:2 KJV 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

ROMANS 2:16 KJV 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

ACTS 20:27 KJV 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

ACTS 20:20 KJV 20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,

ROMANS 11:13 KJV 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office

1 TIMOTHY 2:7 KJV 7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

Get the picture? Paul was caught up to Heaven and given the responsibility by Jesus to communicate His message to the world. Yet he never mentions hell to anyone — let alone everyone. Why would Paul do that?

If the future for those who fail to have faith in Jesus Christ is never-ending torture, don’t you think that information should be included if you are going to say you have declared the whole counsel of God and kept back no profitable information? Paul seems to clearly say, “I told you everything you need to know.” How could that possibly be — when he NEVER mentioned hell – – if hell really is a place of never-ending torture for those who do not believe in Jesus?

The only verse in Paul’s writings that someone might point to as possibly applying to hell (although the word hell is never mentioned) is found in 2 Thessalonians 1:9.

{Note: Many scholars do not believe that Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians}

2 THESSALONIANS 1:9 KJV 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; Here is the whole passage, so you can read this verse in context.

2 THESSALONIANS 1:6-10 KJV 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

What does “everlasting destruction” mean in verse nine? It could mean the kind of “destruction” that will happen to those who reject the Lord, an “eonian type of destruction” — possibly like saying a “divine destruction.” Or, it could mean destruction that will last for an age. Maybe it means both. But we have already proven that aionios – the word used in verse nine — does not mean eternal or everlasting.

Young’s Literal Translation of verse nine says, “who shall suffer justice — destruction ageduring — from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his strength.”

The verse seems to state the type of “destruction” they will experience — a separation from the glorious presence of the Lord. Certainly the passage warns of judgment. But no mention is made of hell, and everlasting is not an accurate translation for aionios.

Possibly Clarence Jordan got it right in his Cotton Patch Version which reads, “They’ll be sentenced to spiritual exile from the presence of the Lord and from the mighty display.”

Whoever believes Paul referred to punishment in hell in verse nine should give us a satisfactory reason why Paul never mentioned hell in any other writing. All the other churches should have been warned of hell if Paul was teaching that to the Thessalonians.

If you were Paul writing to different churches, would you not include a warning about hell in each and every letter — if hell is eternal torment? Paul, who claimed Jesus Christ gave him the responsibility to proclaim the Gospel to all non-Jews, and who said he fully proclaimed everything the Lord gave him to tell us, is strangely silent on the subject of hell. Why? Could it be that our idea about hell has been wrong, and that it was not a part of the teaching and preaching of the apostles in the first century? If they did not preach it, should we?

GALATIANS 1:8 KJV 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

It was not only Apostle Paul who failed to mention hell in his writings. Only one verse in any writing specifically directed to the Church (from the book of Acts through the book of Revelation) mentions hell in relation to punishment or wrong-doing. That is 2 Peter 2:4 and it specifically applies to angels — not people! Note also that the word translated hell (tartaroo) is found only here in 2 Peter 2:4 and nowhere else in the New Testament.

2 PETER 2:4 KJV 4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

Nowhere in the entire Gospel of John is the subject of hell mentioned. It is also quite astonishing that not even once in the book of Acts do we find any mention of hell being the destination of those who do not believe. Clearly, those closest to Jesus, His apostles, are not on record as preaching or writing about hell.

If I believed in a hell of eternal torment of fire for all unbelievers, and I was given the responsibility directly by the Lord to tell the Gospel to the nations, I would make sure I warned everyone about hell. In every letter and every message, I would give a clear warning so people would avoid hell. If I failed to give that warning, and it was my responsibility to clearly communicate the Gospel to the world (which Paul said the Lord had given to him), then I would expect to be labeled the greatest criminal of all time because of my failure to mention such a horrible calamity awaiting those who did not believe what I preached.

Failing to warn people about a hell of eternal torment for those who don’t believe would be the worst criminal neglect of all time, if one exists, and if you were designated by the Lord to write the Gospel message down for distribution to the whole world, as Paul was! To put it plainly, if there is a hell of eternal torment and Paul failed to warn us clearly, then he committed the greatest crime in history and deserves to suffer in hell more than anyone.

The doctrine of hell is central to Christian theology. Any Christian who believes that non-believers will simple cease to exist after death is not mainstream, but rather has created a sidestream theology that does not comport to anything in the Bible. But, analogously, based on his writings. Paul did not believe in a hell like modern Christians do. This is a major problem for Christianity. It’s primary architect did not believe in what would become one of the foundational pillars of the faith.

(3646) Bible fumbles on ‘Jesus is God’ claim

Other than the cryptic prologue to the Gospel of John, where Jesus is referred to metaphorically as the ‘Word’ there is next to nothing in the New Testament that states or even insinuates that Jesus is God, or part of a divine trinity. If this claim is in fact true, then it should be the central message of the scriptures, and repeatedly and forcefully proclaimed. The following was taken from:


One of the central tenets of Christianity is the idea that Jesus is God – not merely a prophet, not merely a messenger, not merely a preacher, not “God’s son” in any sense that implies a lesser, subordinate being, but one of three “persons” of God Himself.

My claim is that the gospels, our main source of knowledge about Jesus, contain essentially nothing to support that idea.

Imagine you’re writing a gospel. You want to tell others about your Lord and Savior, who you believe to be God. You’re probably going to put that central belief right in the first sentence, something like “This being the adventures of one Jesus Christ, who saved us all and who is God”. Makes sense, right? And you’re probably also going to sprinkle the phrase “Jesus is God” throughout the rest of the text, because Jesus’ divinity is such a bold and important point.

Instead, we find that the gospel of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament, starts with a genealogy of the human ancestors of Jesus. Reeling off a list containing dozens of lowly sinners seemed more important to Matthew than screaming “Jesus is God” at the top of his voice. Strange, but hey, Jesus is human too, so whatever. At least “Jesus is God” is the next sentence just after the genealogy, right?

Nope. And it’s not the next sentence either. Or the one after that. The Gospel of Matthew doesn’t contain the sentence “Jesus is God”.

Okay, but we have four gospels, not just one. And then there’s also Acts, and the Epistles, and Revelation. Maybe the important stuff is simply elsewhere?

Let me save you the suspense: The Bible does not contain the sentence “Jesus is God” anywhere. And it doesn’t contain an equivalent paraphrasing of it either. That’s hundreds and hundreds of pages where we are being informed of details like Simon Peter catching “153 large fish”, but a clear, unambiguous statement that Jesus is God was somehow not important enough to squeeze in.

Scriptural support for the divinity of Jesus is laughably weak, considering the boldness and importance of the claim. You’ll find about the same amount of evidence for Elvis Presley being the Second Coming. At least five separate New Testament authors failed to clearly state their conviction that Jesus is God. The only reasonable interpretation is that those authors did not, in fact, believe that Jesus is God after all.

This would be like writing a book about Julius Caesar, and talking about his feelings and beliefs, what he enjoyed doing, as well as his friends and lovers, but without ever mentioning that he was the emperor of the Roman Empire. Something is seriously amiss here. If the Holy Spirit actually inspired the biblical authors, wouldn’t this critical fact about Jesus have been clearly communicated? Instead it almost seems like the idea that Jesus is God developed after the New Testament had been written.

(3647) Killing Canaanite babies

Christian apologists have constructed a meme to justify the order God gave to the Israelites to kill all of the Canaanites including women and children. The (non-biblical) charge is that the Canaanites were sacrificing babies. They weren’t, but this was all they could come up with to justify this incredibly evil atrocity. But, even if so, why kill the victimized babies as well? The following was taken from:


If you are unfamiliar, it says in the Bible that the Israelites were ordered to genocide all of the Canaanites because they were ungodly. One of the claims that Christians make is that these tribes of Canaan were sacrificing babies. First of all, I do not believe that they were. Often, leaders make propaganda about their enemies to justify killing them. This has happened in every conflict in human history, but here are a couple major examples. The Nazis falsely claimed that the Jews were cannibals who ate Christian children, and European colonists were told that the Native Americans were also cannibals, even though it was only a few tribes out of the thousands in the New World. I don’t think it is likely that Canaanites were sacrificing children.

But for the sake of argument, let’s just pretend that it is 100% true. Let’s say Canaan was stealing people’s babies and killing them. (Interesting that the Nazis used this same story). How would it be just that your response is to kill all of them, including the babies? They are hypocrites and child murderers themselves. The Bible does not believe in the modern, liberal justice system, where you only stand accountable for your own actions. In olden times, the sins of your ancestors are also pinned upon you. This is explicitly stated multiple times in the Bible, perhaps most famously in the Ten Commandments passage, where Yahweh claims that he will punish people for their ancestor’s actions, even up to the fourth generation of the actual sinner.

Another part of this is because of racism and bigotry. Let’s suppose that there does exist an evil tribe of child kidnapping killers. We can justify killing the perpetrators of the evil, and the leaders of the tribe. But we definitely cannot justify killing children and infants in that tribe. It was justified to ancient man, because they believed that that whole ethnic group was corrupt, and completely impossible to be saved. You could easily take those children out of the terrible situation, and raise them into good people. Unless you believe that the whole ethnic group is inherently corrupt, which is what the writers of the Bible believed.

Long story short, Biblical values are outdated and awful. We did not base our modern, liberal justice system off of the Bible, it was based off enlightenment values, rationality, and scientific thinking. We are so much better off because of this.

Making false claims about an enemy you are attacking is an age-old tactic, but still in use today (Russia claiming that Nazis are running Ukraine to justify their war in 2022). But when you need to do this to defend your belief in God, it appears to be rather desperate and unrelentingly pathetic.

(3648) God, the absent teacher

In effect, Christianity proposes that the ‘teacher’ (God) is giving a test to all of humanity, and that if a person passes the test, they go to heaven, but if not, to hell. However, unlike the typical school situation where the teacher (person to person) tries to educate the student to identify the correct answer, God is notably absent, leaving the ‘student’ essentially blind. The following was taken from:


If a teacher slapped down a question on multivariate calculus to a first grader, and then held the first grader responsible for getting it right (maybe basing their entire future education and career on whether they get it right), does that make sense?

Or would we not expect that a reasonable teacher would ensure that the student has what they’d need to be able to get the correct answer?

So what are the resources available to us to sort this Abrahamic religion issue out, to determine which one, if any, is actually true? The teacher is entirely absent…

I’d argue that any true God behind any of them has utterly failed in providing us what we’d need to make that determination. The situation we currently have comes down to which answer you take faith in being true.

God is forcing us to pass a test without giving us enough information to identify the correct answer. Many will flunk just because they understandably follow their familial faith without giving much thought to the alternatives. The teacher is absent for the most important test humans will ever take. Or, just maybe, the teacher and the test do not really exist.

(3649) Disciples ‘sunk cost’

If we assume that Jesus was a real person with a following of core disciples (for this purpose not crediting any supernatural claims), then there is a plausible scenario to explain why they continued to ‘follow’ Jesus after his crucifixion.

Assuming that the gospel stories are semi-correct, then as Jesus was starting his ministry, he walked around Galilee and talked to some of the men working in various professions, mostly fishermen. He was able to persuade a few of them to abandon their livelihood, their possessions, their homes, their wives and children (if any), and their friends to travel about Galilee and Judea spreading the theological message that Jesus wished to impart on the Jewish people. This was a major risk and sacrifice on their part, and likely a sacrifice as well for their families and townspeople who lost their companionship and skill set. For as much as we can tell from the gospels, the disciples were away from home and traveling with Jesus for somewhere between one and three years.

If they believed that Jesus was, as he claimed, the messiah, and since Jewish theology at that time would have caused then to assume that the messiah would defeat Rome and establish an earthly kingdom, they would have been devastated when instead Jesus was crucified as a common criminal.

At this point, they could have crawled back to their villages with their ‘tail between their legs’ and admit that they made a colossal mistake following this man, and making apologies to their family and friends for abandoning them, and begging for forgiveness, OR, they could have decided to change the narrative to construct a new reality- one that they had been ‘taught’ to expect all along.

Sunk cost is a very well studied psychological phenomenon where a person who has invested a lot of time, money, effort, or passed up alternative opportunities, and was then confronted with the apparent failure of their enterprise, will not admit that it was a mistake, but rather double down on the situation, and reconfigure the outcome to make it seem as if it was all worthwhile.

So fabricating a story of seeing Jesus alive again or over-crediting an hallucination would be a way for them to recover the cost of their ‘investment.’ They had not made a mistake, but rather were in the right all along. And feeding off of the popularity of Jesus, they could resurrect their fates and livelihood by preaching his holy message.

(3650) Celebrating a war crime

With current talk of war crimes committed by Russia during its 2022 invasion of Ukraine, it is instructive to recall the greatest war crime ever committed- by Yahweh, the god of Christianity. The following was taken from:


I don’t understand why this is a positive thing to Jews. The idea is that Jews were enslaved by the Egyptian pharaoh and god tried to free them. Instead of using his power to move them to Israel and instead of pulling the pharaoh up to heaven and pulling out his fingernails until he released the slaves, god slaughters all the innocent Egyptian first born male children. How can anyone worship a god who does such a thing? An “all powerful” being who created the earth has no other way to free the slaves but to commit a war crime by killing innocent civilians.

The fact that this crime never happened is immaterial. What is important is that the Jews, and by extension the Christians, have failed to condemn their imaginary god for this imaginary atrocity. The Stockholm Syndrome best explains this behavior- when a powerful man is watching everything you do and will torture you forever if you make a mistake, you tend to go along to get along. The religion of ‘peace’ and ‘family values’ has a giant turd in its soup bowl

Follow this link to #3651