(4651) Missing critiques

There is evidence that there were numerous critiques of Christianity written in the early centuries of its existence, but none of these remain in their complete form. They were systematically expunged by Christian enforcers, but we have enough clues from citations to know that they presented a lot of dis-confirming evidence of the church’s claims. The following was taken from:


Lastly, it is perhaps not surprising but still worth noting that all critiques of Christianity from the early centuries of its existence have been lost. They survive only in brief excerpts quoted in books written by their Christian detractors. The ones that we know of include Celsus’ The True Logos, Marcus Cornelius Fronto’s Discourse against the Christians and Hierocles’ The Lover of Truth.

According to Augustine and others, the NeoPlatonist philosopher Porphyry of Tyre was a Christian, but that must have been before he wrote Against the Christians, fifteen books against what he called “a confused and vicious sect.” It is Porphyry who first realized and showed that the Old Testament book of Daniel was a later forgery and that the “Sea” of Galilee is nothing of the kind. Though many Church apologists wrote against him, his own writing survives only in the fragments they quoted.

Even the Emperor Julian wrote sharp critiques against Christianity in his scathing satire Symposion (or Kronia), and the three books in his philosophical treatise Against the Galileans. Even though Galileans only survives in the excerpts from Cyril of Alexandria’s rebuttal, it exposed problems in Christian theology that still hold up today. Eunapius (c. 4th – early 5th century) wrote History against the Christians with the explicit aim of critiquing Christian versions of historical events from 270 to 404, or as he put it, “when the practice of Christianity was gaining ground and usurping all men’s minds.” For instance, he gives his own take on the claims regarding Constantine’s “conversion.” Despite its anti-Christian bias, many later historians, including Christians, employed it as a source, before it was finally lost (except for fragments). His Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists still survives.

Again, these are only the ones we know about. Add up all these missing pages, books, letters and scrolls from respected writers of the ancient world, and there is not just a lost library, but a string of evidence of Christians seeking to alter the record to cover up the embarrassing absence of Jesus from secular history.

The missing texts revealed two major themes- that Jesus was inexplicably under-reported by contemporary historians despite the gospel claims of his intense fame, and (2) that the miracles and many of the events described in the gospels did not happen or were plagiarized from previous sources.

(4652) The antitheist perspective

The theist perspective is that we should worship God for no reason other than that he created us. But a more logical take on this concept reveals that there are only three possible realities surrounding this alleged deity, and none of them are good. The following was taken from:


I will keep this short because it’s a very simple concept to explain. Every single time I see a theist trying to argue for the existence of their god(s) whether through convoluted jargon or false “evidence” they never seem to address the antitheist perspective. It’s simple: either way, you’re wrong, because there can only be 3 possible answers to whether god(s) exists.

    1. There is no god.
    2. A god exists, created the universe and left all of existence to fend for itself until the end of time, never having contact again and has forgotten about us. Why worship such a thing that isn’t even aware of your existence?
    3. A god exists and created everything in existence and actively picks and chooses when, where and for whom to intervene with. Every single thing that happens in every single living thing’s life is all part of the divine plan. Some people find success and happiness, while countless children die of terminal cancer. Sounds like a fantastic creator. How can you not hate such a thing?

The point is that if such a being exists (which I do not think it does) how could you worship or proclaim to love it when all it deserves is our hate?

Christians have been brainwashed to think that worshiping their god is natural and righteous, despite the fact that (1) this god didn’t do anything to become what he is, (2) does little to nothing to alleviate human and animal suffering, and (3) sports a plan to torture some people forever after they suffer needlessly in this life just because they believe in the wrong god or none at all. Anyone seeing this from the outside spots the problem- Christian worship is a form of delusion.

(4653) Killing of the first born not limited to babies

The story in Exodus Chapter 11, where God murders the first born sons of Egypt, is worse than what most people imagine (which is the view that only babies or small children were slaughtered). Actually, it would have included males of all ages who happen to have been the first sons born to their original family. The following was taken from:


The killing of the Egyptian first born sons as told in Exodus is much more insidious than I first thought. And that is the big problem about that story.

The killing of the first born sons in Egypt was not limited or specified to be that of babies! First borns would have been of every age: husbands, their first children; widowers, foster carers, single fathers, beggars, and the homeless, even cranky old farts who had one foot in the grave anyway.

Essentially, a grandfather (who was the first born son of his parents), his first born and his first grandson were killed. That is a lot of death! This story is extremely ridiculous when you look at it this way.

But even worse, what did livestock have anything to do with anything?

Yet, Christians carry this book to their churches, claim it be literal truth, and WORSHIP a deity who massacred an innocent, all-age population of first-born males throughout an entire country. Any Christian who claims that the Bible is literal history, and still worships Yahweh, deserves no respect- just unmitigated disgust. And any Christian who sidesteps the problem by saying it is a mythical story still must face the question as to why such disgusting fiction was placed in their ‘holy book.’

(4654) Book of Daniel is error-ridden

Many Christians, especially evangelicals, extol the Book of Daniel as a road map to the end of times. It is allegedly filled the hints of the apocalypse and the return of Jesus. This is, of course, nonsense. But what most Christians don’t know is, neglecting the obvious magical/mythical elements of this book, that the historical details are in serious error. The following was taken from:


The book of Daniel purports to relate the experiences and visions of its title character, a Hebrew noble and prophet, during the Babylonian Exile in the 6th century BCE. As with myriad other marvelous accounts from antiquity, Daniel’s text explicitly (and implicitly) refers to a number of verified individuals, locations, and events. Despite these convergences between the story and reality, though, several passages and references conflict with the extrinsic archaeological and written evidence. While the book doubtless conveyed theologically and psychologically resonant messages about national identity, oppression, fidelity, perseverance, vindication, and hope to its intended audience, it is not an inerrant work of history.

For purposes of this discussion, we’ll put aside the astounding tales about the lions’ den and fiery furnace and such, as well as the extent to which the prophetic visions did nor did not get the future right, to focus instead on whether the book did or did not get the past right. And the results are…well, human, as Mr. Spock would say. A few thoughts (by no means comprehensive) about the more problematic passages follow.

Adventures in Chronology

Joshua 1:1 in the Aleppo Codex [Aleppo Codex; scanned by http://www.aleppocodex.org, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

We need not wait long to find an issue.  According to Dan. 1:1-2 (NJPS):

In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar [II] of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. The Lord delivered King Jehoiakim of Judah into his power, together with some of the vessels of the house of God, and he brought them to the land of Shinar [southern Mesopotamia, around Babylon] to the house of his god; he deposited the vessels in the treasury of his god.

Biblical quotes and citations are from the New Jewish Publication Society translation in The Jewish Study Bible (OUP, 2004).

While Babylonian forces really did invade Judah and deport some of the population to Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar’s leadership, the dating here is now generally acknowledged to be inaccurate.[i] Practicing historians of the period put the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign in 606 and Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Judah and first siege of Jerusalem in 598/7 (with the beginning of the exilic period around 597-587). In other words, the timing of the pivotal event depicted in the opening lines of Daniel seems to be off by almost a decade. “As for Dan. 1.1-2, it is completely confused, most likely based on a misreading of the narrative” in the passages in 2 Kings 24 and 2 Chronicles 36 describing the Babylonian conquest.[ii]

Dan. 1 goes on to give the biblical equivalent of a superhero origin story. We’re told young Daniel and other bright Judahites taken to Babylon received a three-year education in Chaldean learning, and Daniel developed “understanding of visions and dreams of all kinds.” (Dan. 1:4-5, 17.)  To explain, the Chaldeans were the Aramaic-speaking Semitic people who ruled the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 626 to 539. At the end of their schooling, Daniel and his comrades were presented to Nebuchadnezzar, who was impressed and ordered them into service in his court (Dan. 1:19).  Daniel would remain in Babylon “until the first year of King Cyrus” (Dan. 1:21). The Persian King Cyrus, discussed further below, captured Babylon in 539, decades after the setting of Dan. 1, and famously permitted exiled Hebrews to return to Judah and rebuild, according to both biblical and extra-biblical accounts.

Nebuchadnezzar II depicted on the ‘Tower of Babel stele [Robert Koldewey (10 September 1855 – 4 February 1925), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

Dan. 2 tells the story of our hero’s first dream-reading for King Nebuchadnezzar; his consequent, meteoric promotion to governor of the prosperous, central province of Babylon; and the appointment of his Judahite peers to help him administer that province. And like Dan. 1, the chapter starts off with a chronological incongruity, placing its events in “the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar” (Dan. 2:1).  This cannot be accurate on its face. Nebuchadnezzar became king on his father’s death in 605, at least five or six years before conquering Judah, besieging Jerusalem, and initiating the Exile in 598/7. Moreover, just within the book of Daniel itself, we see an apparent misalignment between Dan. 2:1 and Dan. 1. Recall that the first chapter describes a three-year training period under Nebuchadnezzar’s officials before Daniel and his friends are presented to the king and merely made members of the court. Without doing eisegetical yoga or essentially adjusting the text, it is difficult to reconcile the timelines and events of Dan. 2 and Dan. 1 satisfactorily.

King Takes King

But what’s a year or two (or ten) between friends? – Let us turn our attention from relatively petty chronological discrepancies to matters of greater import—royalty, succession, and conquest. By way of background, here’s an overview of the sequence of relevant kings from the perspectives of mainstream history on the one hand, and the narrative in Daniel on the other:

Two peculiarities in particular are worth some exploration—the identity of the last Neo-Babylonian king, and the identity of “Darius the Mede.”

    • The Last Neo-Babylonian King:  Nabonidus or Belshazzar?  (Nabonidus. The Answer Is Nabonidus.)

The book of Daniel is conspicuously silent about the kings known to have reigned in Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar and before Cyrus the Great of Persia. Overlooking the unremarkable, high-turnover suzerains who ruled from 562-556 might be justifiable, but the omission of any mention of Nabonidus—the notoriously heterodox king who lost Babylon to Cyrus—is striking.  Without knowing the relevant history, anyone reading the book of Daniel would naturally and incorrectly believe that Belshazzar was the last Neo-Babylonian king. Dan. 5:30-6:1 tells us that “Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed, and Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.” This statement is as clear as it is “ahistorical.”[iii]

In fairness, Belshazzar, son of Nabonidus, acted as a kinda-sorta-almost-king for a while, serving as prince regent in Babylon during his father’s lengthy sojourn from roughly 553 to 543 in the region around Tayma, a distant oasis settlement to the west. Yet Nabonidus in no sense abdicated.  “The title of king remained [his] exclusive privilege,” and the Babylonian texts of the time give Belshazzar no higher designation than “son of the king,” even during his father’s absence.[iv]  More importantly, we know Nabonidus was back in Babylon from 543 until 539, the fateful year of Persia’s conquest.[v] Babylon fell under King Nabonidus, not Belshazzar, quite at odds with the description in Dan. 5:30-6:1.

King Nabonidus on Neo-Babylonian stele [Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg), CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Along related lines, a reader of Dan. 5 unfamiliar with the Neo-Babylonian period would get the clear and mistaken impression that Belshazzar was Nebuchadnezzar’s son and direct successor, with nary a clue about Nabonidus. In the interests of time, we’ll pass over a detailed analysis as to whether the relationship between the real-world Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar might accurately be captured by the flexible words “father” (אָבav) and “son” (בֵּןben) in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic.[vi]  For purposes of this discussion, it is enough to note that, due to the paternal-filial terminology in Dan. 5 and other reasons, most scholars conclude that Daniel’s authors—or the traditions on which they relied—conflated Nebuchadnezzar and Nabonidus in key ways.[vii]

    • Darius the Who?

As a matter of history, the Book of Daniel likewise shoots noticeably wide of the mark in naming “Darius the Mede” the first king to follow the Chaldean dynasty.  This character, also described as “Darius son of Ahasuerus [Xerxes[viii]], of Median descent” in Dan. 9:1, is a non-entity in extrinsic records. “There was no such historical figure, though there were two Persian kings named Darius, both of whom ruled after Cyrus.”[ix]

To be clear, while it is not inconceivable contemporaneous evidence for the existence of a king “Darius of Mede” might someday surface, we have little reason to expect it. Babylonian, Greek, Egyptian, Persian, and other texts from the 6th and 5th centuries provide all sorts of information about the twilight of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the exploits of Cyrus the Great, and the Persian Empire’s expansion. No identifiable “Darius the Mede” matching the profile in Daniel appears in any of the relevant chronicles, histories, inscriptions, letters, stelae, bullae, or government and commercial records—nor is he mentioned in any other book of the Hebrew Bible.[x] What’s more, the information we have leaves no discernable room for a Median king of Babylon between Nabonidus and Cyrus.[xi] (One especially prominent and pertinent example is the cuneiform Nabonidus Chronicle, likely first written in Babylon during the late 6th or early 5th century, which recounts the Persian invasion, the decisive battle at Opis, Nabonidus’ flight and subsequent capture, and Cyrus’ personal entry into the city of Babylon, all occurring within a period of a few weeks.)

Some evangelicals, apologists, and other advocates with inerrantist inclinations have accordingly sought to make “Darius the Mede” an alias or nickname for a known historical figure who might have ruled Babylon as “king” during the first few years of Persian hegemony. Candidates proposed include Cyrus himself; certain of his relatives, viceroys, and lieutenants; and even—absurdly—Darius the Great, who in 539 was a relatively unaccomplished Persian (not Median) nobleboy preparing to conquer puberty (nowhere near sixty-two), and whose son (not father) was named Xerxes. Time being a finite and scarce resource, we won’t dig into these diverse hypotheses here. Suffice it to say the better arguments are sometimes plausible and well-researched, but nevertheless heavy on motivated speculation and eisegesis, light on clear and convincing evidence, and unpersuasive to a critical mass of mainstream experts. They also suffer from the unfortunate tendency to generate roughly as many difficulties as they purport to resolve. (The fact that so many of these suggested solutions conflict with one another doesn’t help.)

The current scholarly consensus is that “Darius the Mede” is most likely a later creation of rhetorical repurposing, artistic license, and tradition “modeled on . . . Darius the Great ([r.] 522-486 B.C.), the second successor of Cyrus.”

The Writing on the Wall:  The Book of Daniel Is not an Autobiography

Belshazzar’s feast, by Rembrandt [Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

Historical continuity problems of the sort surveyed above would be surprising and perplexing if the text were a first-hand account written by a highly educated governor and prophet named Daniel in the 6th century, as was long asserted. Nowadays, most experts across the spectrum of religious belief consider that traditional view untenable.

A broad consensus has existed since [the late 19th and early 20th centuries]. It is agreed that Daniel is pseudepigraphic: the stories in chapters 1-6 are legendary in character, and the visions in chapters 7-12 were composed by persons unknown in the Maccabean era. The stories are almost certainly older than the visions, but the book itself was put together shortly after the Maccabean crisis (which ran from 167–160 BCE).[xii]

In other words, the Book of Daniel is a composite work of apocalyptic literature conveying earlier traditions or tales—with some historically accurate details, to be sure—that may well have oral or written roots reaching back to the mid-1st millennium. Taken as a whole, Daniel was substantially compiled and composed by unknown authors “during the bitter persecution carried on by Antiochus IV Epiphanes ([r.] 167-164),” the post-exilic, post-Alexandrian Seleucid king whose oppression of the Hebrews precipitated the Maccabean Revolt.[xiii]

This understanding is a product of more than just the book’s alignments and misalignments (including those of the prophetic passages, which we elided entirely here) with known historical events and persons. For instance, modern philological analysis reaches the same conclusion. Recent research affirms that Daniel’s Hebrew reflects a demonstrably younger linguistic stage than do books of the Tanakh confidently dated to the mid-1st millennium, such as Ezekiel. “Daniel, unlike Ezekiel, is thick with LBH [Late Biblical Hebrew] elements,” in terms of both grammar and vocabulary, pointing to post-exilic composition in the 3rd-2nd centuries.[xiv] The overall state of Daniel’s Aramaic (used from Dan. 2:4b to 7:28) seems to be somewhat older than the Hebrew, but still “the balance of probability…favors a date in the early Hellenistic period [4th-3rd centuries], although a precise dating on linguistic grounds is not possible.”[xv]

The Book of Daniel fascinates in many ways. It is a collection of memorable, astonishing tales, as well as cryptic, symbol-laden visions that reveal insights into the worldview of Second Temple Judaism. Along with Ezra, it is one of only two books in the Bible to include substantial material in Aramaic and Hebrew, making it especially fertile, layered ground for scholars of ancient Semitic languages. And it can be of some value to careful, rigorous historians.  But consistently accurate history it is not, even in its mundane, muggle, non-miraculous components. Daniel neither simply nor scrupulously recounts the past. The book relays and reworks a received tradition in service to the authors’ didactic, dramatic, rhetorical, and theological purposes.

Like everything else in the Bible, the Book of Daniel is a quasi-historical, fiction-infused story written by a creative author who used inspiration and knowledge of his time, but who had precisely zero connection to any supernatural source of information.

(4655) Religion doesn’t forestall dementia

In the most expansive and longest duration study of its kind, it was found that people who practice religion show no advantage in delaying the onset of age-related cognitive decline. It further reinforced earlier studies that indicated that there is a small negative correlation between intelligence and religiosity.


In a study spanning over a decade, researchers found no evidence to suggest that religious practices, such as praying or attending religious services, have a protective effect against cognitive decline in older adults. Contrary to some expectations, the study indicated a consistent, albeit small, negative association between cognitive abilities and religiosity, remaining stable over time. The findings have been published in the journal Intelligence.

Prior studies have generally shown a negative correlation between cognitive abilities and religious beliefs and behaviors. However, there was a growing hypothesis that religiosity might act as a protective factor against cognitive decline, especially in the elderly. This notion stemmed from observations that religious involvement could offer social engagement and mental stimulation, potentially buffering against the cognitive impairments commonly associated with aging. Understanding this relationship is particularly crucial given the rising global prevalence of dementia and other age-related cognitive disorders.

“Like many people I’m interested in the big questions: Why are we here? Where do we come from? Is there life after death? Is there a deeper meaning to life? Is there a God? – but I’m also fascinated by the fact that people find so different answers to these questions and if this might be associated with certain human traits,” said study author Florian Dürlinger, a clinical psychologist and external lecturer at the University of Vienna.

“So, I became interested in reasons why people turn to religion in general and in religiosity and intelligence associations in particular. Religiosity (although there have been negative impacts on humanity and human lives undoubtedly) seems to have a lot of (secular) merit too – otherwise it wouldn’t exist. The well-established small negative correlation of religiosity and intelligence could be seen as an indicator thereof.”

“Religion has the potential to fulfill psychological needs and desires and so does intelligence,” Dürlinger explained. “However, we might not do justice to the understanding of this relation if we only examine it cross-sectionally. The effects of religiosity on cognitive declines have previously been investigated, but mostly in more religious regions than (Western) Europe: predominantly in America, but also in Asia – and with diverging results. Some authors proposed a slower decline in religious people while others suggested an even faster decline. We therefore conducted a large-scale assessment including mostly Western European countries.”

The study involved a detailed analysis of data from the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), covering individuals aged 50 and above from 28 European countries and Israel. The researchers examined data from three waves of this survey, spanning 2004, 2007, and 2013, including over 30,000 participants in the initial wave.

The participants’ cognitive abilities were measured through a series of tasks. These tasks assessed numeracy (basic mathematical skills), verbal fluency (the ability to name as many animals as possible in one minute), and memory (recalling a list of words immediately and after a delay). To gauge religiosity, the participants were asked about their frequency of praying and participation in religious services.

There was a small but consistent negative association between cognitive abilities and religiosity. Individuals who engaged more frequently in religious activities, such as praying, tended to have lower scores in cognitive tasks assessing numeracy, verbal fluency, and memory. This cross-sectional correlation persisted even after controlling for other factors like age and sex.

In their longitudinal analysis of the data, which tracked changes in cognitive abilities over time, the researchers found that the negative association between cognitive abilities and religiosity remained stable. This suggests that religiosity does not affect the cognitive decline of individuals.

“Our main finding is that religiosity does not protect against cognitive declines,” Dürlinger told PsyPost. “We instead found that the small negative correlation of religiosity and intelligence does not show meaningful within-individual changes over time (as it should if religiosity had any impact on cognitive functions in later life).”

But the study, like all research, includes some limitations. The age range of the participants might have influenced the findings. “It needs to be stated that due to the nature of our sample (participants from the SHARE database are 50 years or older) attrition was major and we were only able to include three times of data collection, covering a time span of nine years,” Dürlinger said. “So, we cannot entirely rule out that protective effects – if there are any – may manifest themselves only after 62 years, which represents the mean age of our participants in the last Wave of data collection.”

The study also considered the impact of societal religiosity, that is, the overall level of religious engagement in different countries. It was observed that in countries with higher overall levels of religiosity, the decline in cognitive abilities was somewhat faster. However, this trend was not uniformly observed across all countries, especially when countries with extremely high religiosity levels (like Greece) were removed from the analysis. This suggests that the impact of societal religiosity might be more complex and nuanced.

“We could not provide robust evidence for a moderation by societal religiosity,” Dürlinger said. “This, however, could be due to the low variance of national religiosity estimates for the countries included. Future research could address the question of potential moderating effects of societal religiosity possibly explaining why effects were found in the United States but not in Western Europe.”

“Although we cannot answer this conclusively with our data, to me personally it seems that if religiosity has the potential to protect against cognitive declines, it is probably due to its behavioral aspects, like socializing, praying, reading, etc,” Dürlinger added. “Those effects, which might come out as more beneficial in more religious societies, could be obtained without religion or a belief in God as well: That an active lifestyle is conductive to a healthy cognitive ageing is something we have already known.”

The study, “Religiosity does not prevent cognitive declines: Cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe“, was authored by Florian Dürlinger, Jonathan Fries, Takuya Yanagida, and Jakob Pietschnig.

If Christianity is true, this would be an unexpected result, because prayers would therefore be beneficial to the mental health of the penitents. This study is further evidence that belief in God and the practice of praying has no benefit beyond a placebo effect, and even that phenomenon appears to be undetectable within the limits of this study.

(4656) God is not the author of confusion?

That title is what Christians tell themselves every day, but if the Bible is the source of God’s communication to humankind, then there is good evidence to provide a powerful rebuttal. The Bible is a mess of confusion. The following was taken from:


The entire foundation of becoming a Christian, must be rooted in and based upon Biblical Scripture. It is the only source that proclaims itself divinely inspired and the only source that attempts to inform about a person called Jesus while declaring Him to be the only Name under heaven whereby a person can be saved (Acts 4:12).

So let’s review and engage in a sincere study of the Bible and maybe without the assumption that everything our preachers and parents and apologists taught us is completely accurate. Let us examine exactly what it really says. If one accepts that salvation is necessary, then there cannot possibly be anything that is more important than getting it right.

All quotes from the Bible are from the NASB version, reputed by many scholars to be the most accurate. I hope we can agree that a perfect and all knowing God cannot possibly contradict Himself, nor should any important message from Him be ambiguous or difficult to comprehend.

We will begin by looking at exactly what the Bible says and then conclude by summarizing several alternative opinions of what this all means.

Galatians 2:16 & Romans 3:20 state that salvation is by faith alone. James 2:21–24 teaches that it is by works. Acts 2:21 & Romans 10:13 instruction is to just call on the name of the Lord and you will be saved; however, Matthew 7:21 states that not everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be savedMatthew adds in 25:34–46 that heaven can be obtained only by helping the poor and needy and without doing those things one is eternally condemned.

Mark 16:16 declares that you must be baptized, but in 1Corinthians 1:14 we hear the great missionary Paul thanking God that he didn’t baptize any of them, except for one or two. Philippians 2:12 warns the reader to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, while John 3:16 says all you need to do is believe. James 2:14 makes it clear that faith alone is of no value.

Romans 8:29–30 & 9:15–18 clearly tell us that salvation is only the result of election and predestination by God, regardless of what anyone does. Let’s look at Romans 9:15–18 word for word: For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I have mercy, and I will show compassion to whomever I show compassion.” So then, it does not depend on the person who wants it nor the one who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very reason I raised you up, in order to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

Yet, in the same book we are instructed in Romans 10:9 that we must actually confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord AND believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead. Romans 2:13 teaches that you must keep the law and in Matthew 10:22 & Mark 13:13 we hear that only those who endure to the end will be saved.

Luke 21:19 teaches salvation is achieved only by standing firm while 1Chronicles 28:9 claims that all we have to do is seek Him. Hebrews 9:28 says even in sin, if we eagerly await His second coming, He will give us salvation. We hear in Acts 10:35 that in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.

If anyone is still confused about what the Bible teaches concerning salvation and what they need to do to obtain eternal life, we can read the very words that John quotes Jesus as saying in John 6:53–54 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

If a perfect God inspired the Bible, is it possible for there to be any mistakes or confusion in it? If the most important thing in life is your eternal destiny, should not the requirement(s) for salvation be crystal clear so that everyone can understand it?

Many will say that it is only because of sin that the Bible seems confusing, but if God is trying to save sinners, this argument is discredited.

There are hundreds of Christian denominations, that in addition to the above, also have major controversies about each of the following Scriptural issues. There have been violent debates, wars, tortures, and countless killings because many of these are just not clear.

Regarding baptism: should it be sprinkled or full immersion, with the words being “in the name of Jesus” or “in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost?” And should babies be baptized or only those who understand and accept the Gospel? If one is not baptized are they eternally damned?

The Eucharist or communion: Should real wine or Welch’s grape juice be used; and regardless, does it or does it not turn into the actual and literal flesh and blood of Jesus, and if so when?

Are babies saved if they die (despite no scriptural support that they are); can women teach or even talk in church; are black people fully human?

Is marriage limited to one man and one woman, or can a man have multiple wives, like the wisest man on earth according to the Bible had. Solomon was allowed 700 wives with 300 concubines while his father King David, had eight.

Is speaking in tongues of God or of the devil? Are demons and witches real, or should witches be burned at the stake as is commanded by the Bible? Is hell literal, and if so, is it eternal with outer darkness or red hot fires? The Bible describes it as being both.

Does the Bible contain any myths or analogies, or must you believe that every story is literally true? Is the age of the earth appropriately 6,000 years, or is it permissible to accept the findings of science that 4,500,000,000 years is much closer?

How about the end of time? Does the Bible teach that there will be a pre-rapture (before the “tribulation”), post-rapture or no rapture?

Can you simply punish a disobedient child or must you stone it to death as is commanded in Deuteronomy 21:18–21?

Is divorce and remarriage authorized, or like many denominations teach; it is a sin for an abused wife to ever divorce an abusive husband? If it is, must she really count it as joy to be beaten, or can she at least call the police?

Is it all right to violate the ten commandments by working on the sabbath, or other laws that forbid things like the eating of pork and shellfish?

Are movies and dances sinful? Is drinking permitted? How about smoking or even coffee drinking? How short can a skirt be? Can women wear slacks, or can men wear long hair? There are many other disagreements that are directly based on something the Bible records; including are Mormons even Christians? (Franklin Graham said no until Mitt Romney, a Republican Mormon, ran for president. Then they all magically, (pun intended), became great Christians the same day.)

Oh, how the Bible so quickly can say whatever the preacher wants it to say. And they all use verses from the Bible in support of each of their desired beliefs.

What does all of this mean? What conclusions and questions are there that reasonable people might make? Let’s consider a few of them that deserve serious consideration.

Preachers and apologists try to justify the confusion by suggesting it is all because of our sin. But if it is sinners that God is trying to reach, this argument is nonsensical.

Given the enormous number of contradictions and disputes about basic doctrinal issues, no one can believe that their denomination or belief system is the right one.

Could a perfect and good God who intended to communicate a message to His creatures, possibly fail in that attempt by having it so flawed and convoluted to such a degree that it actually inspired wars, murders, racism, woman abuse, “witch burnings,” slavery, and among other atrocities, genital mutilation?

Is it not possible for anyone to really understand what God is trying to communicate? Maybe re-read the above list of problems if you are not sure.

Preachers and apologists tell us that we just have to have faith. But would that not make any side of any contradiction or controversy absolutely correct for whoever placed their faith in the side they decided to believe was right? After all, anything can be believed in if all you need is faith. It is subjective without evidence. That is why there have been thousands of gods throughout history.

Could it be possible that Christianity is just as wrong as the other hundreds of religions there are on earth and it’s God, just as fictitious as the thousands of other Gods that have been worshipped and served for the whole of all history?

Can a savior really love someone and then torture them for an endless eternity, if that person does not love him back?

Is it not true that the vast majority of people throughout history basically believed what their parents and culture taught them with little or no doubt that it was the truth? Most had absolutely no way to fact check anything even if they wanted to. And many do not fact check much today.

That is why most people in America are Christians, most Indians are Hindus, most Chinese are Buddhists, and most people in the Middle East are Muslims.

Would not the vast majority of Christians be Muslims if they were born and raised in Saudi Arabia and vice versa?

Speaking of the thousands of gods that have been invented by mankind, the fact is, it is extremely easy to create a religion or god that soon is believed in by many. Just think about recent history. Mormonism was founded around 1830 with almost 20 million members. Jehovah Witnesses has over 100,000 congregations with nearly 10 million members, founded in 1870. Scientology founded in 1950 has nearly 50,000 members paying massive amounts of money. Seven Day Adventist has well over 20 million members and started in 1863.

Would an infinitely intelligent deity intent on providing criteria to human animals (apparently none other) ground rules for a planned after-life existence in either a plush enjoyable city or else a torture chamber, be anything less than CRYSTAL clear about how, respectively, to attain and avoid these places- NO.

(4657) Steps Christians must take to believe the nativity

Most Christians fail to tackle the inconsistencies regarding Jesus’ birth narratives in the gospels, out of an apparent determined lack of curiosity. In the following, it is shown that they must resolve a whole host of issues to maintain any semblance of intellectual integrity:


I was recently talking in a thread or two, about the historical implausibility of pretty much all of the claims in both Luke and Matthew with regards to the infancy accounts of Jesus’ birth.

The situation is this. I maintain that, to hold to the notion that the accounts are historical, one has to jump through hoops. However, the Christian might say that one or two claims in the accounts may be false, but that does not mean that the other claims are false. But in this approach lie many issues. For example:

1) If we accept that some claims in the accounts are false, does the Christian special plead that the other claims are true?

2) The claims are so interconnected that to falsify one or two of them means that the house of cards comes tumbling down.

3) If we establish that at least some of the claims are false, how does this affect other claims within the same Gospel? How can we know that claims of Jesus’ miracles are true given that the reliability of the writer is accepted as questionable?

And so on. In my book, The Nativity: A Critical Examination, I think I give ample evidence that allows one to conclude that the historicity of the nativity accounts is sorely and surely challenged. All of the aspects and claims, that is. There are problems, for sure, if one accepts that some claims are false but others are true. But the simple fact of the matter is that all of the claims are highly questionable.

Here are the hoops that a Christian must jump through. They are flaming hoops, and the Christian can do nothing to avoid being burnt, it seems. From my book:

In order for the Christian who believes that both accounts are factually true to uphold that faithful decree, the following steps must take place. The believer must:

• Special plead that the virgin birth motif is actually true for Christianity but is false for all other religions and myths that claim similarly.
• Deny that “virgin” is a mistranslation.
• Give a plausible explanation of from whence the male genome of Jesus came from and how this allowed him to be “fully man”.
• Be able to render the two genealogies fully coherent without the explanation being contrived or ad hoc.
• Believe that the genealogies are bona fide and not just tools to try to prove Jesus’ Davidic and Messianic prophecy-fulfilling heritage.
• Be able to explain the inconsistency of the two accounts in contradicting each other as to where Joseph lived before the birth (without the explanation being contrived or ad hoc).
• Somehow be able to contrive an explanation whereby Herod and Quirinius could be alive concurrently, despite all the evidence contrary to this point.
• Believe that a client kingdom under Herod could and would order a census under Roman diktat. This would be the only time in history this would have happened.
• Find it plausible that people would return, and find precedent for other occurrences of people returning, to their ancestral homes for a census (at an arbitrary number of generations before: 41).
• Give a probable explanation as to how a Galilean man was needed at a census in another judicial area.
• Give a plausible reason as to why Mary was required at the census (by the censors or by Joseph).
• Give a plausible explanation as to why Mary would make that 80 mile journey on donkey or on foot whilst heavily pregnant, and why Joseph would be happy to let her do that.
• Believe that Joseph could afford to take anywhere from a month to two years off work.
• Believe that, despite archaeological evidence, Nazareth existed as a proper settlement at the time of Jesus’ birth.
• Believe that the prophecies referred to Nazareth and not something else. • Believe that the magi were not simply a theological tool derived from the Book of Daniel.
• Believe that Herod (and his scribes and priests) was not acting entirely out of character and implausibly in not knowing the prophecies predicting Jesus, and not accompanying the magi three hours down the road.
• Believe that the magi weren’t also merely a mechanism to supply Herod with an opportunity to get involved in the story and thus fulfil even more prophecies.
• Believe that the magi were also not a reinterpretation of the Balaam narrative from the Old Testament, despite there being clear evidence to the contrary.
• Believe that a star could lead some magi from the East to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem where it rested over an individual house and not be noted by anyone else in the world.
• Believe that the shepherds were not merely midrashic and theological tools used by Luke.
• Believe that there is (and provide it) a reasonable explanation as to why each Gospel provides different first witnesses (shepherds and magi) without any mention of the other witnesses.
• Believe that, despite an absence of evidence and the realisation that it is clearly a remodelling of an Old Testament narrative, the Massacre of the Innocents actually happened.
• Believe that Herod would care enough about his rule long after his death to chase after a baby and murder many other innocent babies, a notion that runs contrary to evidence.
• Believe that God would allow other innocent babies to die as a result of the birth of Jesus.
• Believe that the Flight to and from Egypt was not just a remodelling of an Old Testament narrative in order to give Jesus theological gravitas.
• Give a plausible explanation as to why the two accounts contradict each other so obviously as to where Jesus and family went after his birth.
• Explain the disappearance of the shepherds and magi, who had seen the most incredible sights of their lives, and why they are never heard from again despite being the perfect spokespeople for this newfound religion.
• Provide a plausible explanation as to why Jesus’ own family did not think he was the Messiah, given the events of the nativity accounts.

Once the believer in the accuracy of these accounts can do all of the above, in a plausible and probable manner, then they can rationally hold that belief. I would contest that it is rationally possible to ever hold such a belief.

But does a Christian have to hold the belief that all of the claims are true? This is something which I have mentioned several times. The difficulty here for such a (liberal) Christian is how to arrive at any kind of a rational basis as to what they accept and what they reject. Given that it has been shown that every single claim can be soundly doubted under critical examination, it is difficult to build a case for any veracity within the combined, two-prong approach of the infancy narratives. There really is no solid rational foundation to an acceptance that, for example, the virgin birth claims are true, but the magi are probably false; or that the magi were real and factual, but the star was not; or that the shepherd encounter truly happened as reported, but that the census never took place. It would be fairly arbitrary at best. Many of the events are crucially interconnected.

The ramifications for pulling the rug out from under the believers’ feet is that we are left with no proper account of Jesus’ life until, really, he starts his ministry. Furthermore, we have no real evidence for the claims that Jesus is the Messiah and is derived from Messianic and Davidic heritage. As a result, we have only the accounts of the miraculous events surrounding Jesus’ ministry and death. However, the same problems afflict these accounts: they are uncorroborated by extra-biblical, non pro-Jesus attestation and rely on unknown authors writing in unknown places. What is particularly damaging, as I have already set out, is that if the birth narratives can be shown to be patently false, and the narratives involve sizeable accounts from two Gospel writers, then how can we know what other purported facts are true? If these infancy miracle claims are false, then what of the myriad of other miracle claims – the walking on the water, the water to wine, the resurrection? It is a serious indictment of these writers (especially since Luke is declared as being a reliable historian by so many apologists ).

The undermining of these narratives does not disprove that Jesus was the Son of God, or that he had Davidic lineage, or whatever else these passages were trying to establish, per se. However, one has to recognise that some really damaging chinks are undoubtedly beaten into the apologetic armour of claims of Jesus’ divinity.

The bottom line is that any disinterested party, given the gospels to determine the historicity of Jesus’ birth, would summarily dismiss it into the bin of religious fiction, no different than hundreds of other myths of alleged holy people.

(4658) Misinterpreting Psalm 2

New Testament writers were hell-bent on finding ANYTHING in the Old Testament that might seem as if it predicted the messiahship of Jesus. The following shows how they used Psalm 2 in a very disingenuous manner:


One of the major things claimed by the New Testament in support of Jesus’ life and mission is that Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy (Luke 24:26–27; Acts 3:17–24). If God cannot predict the future as time moves farther and farther into the distance, as I questioned earlier, then neither can any prophet who claims to speak for God. As we will see with regard to the virgin birth of Jesus, none of the Old Testament passages in the original Hebrew prophetically applied singularly and specifically to Jesus. [In chapter 18, “Was Jesus Born of a Virgin in Bethlehem?”]. Early Christian preachers simply went into the Old Testament looking for verses that would support their view of Jesus. They took these Old Testament verses out of context and applied them to Jesus in order to support their views of his life and mission.9

In an important work on this subject Catholic scholar Joseph A. Fitzmyer did an exhaustive study of how the Messiah was understood by the Jews in the Old Testament. Fitzmyer claims that “one cannot foist a later Christian meaning on a passage that was supposed to have a distinctive religious sense in guiding the Jewish people of old.”10  So when examining every potentially prophetic Messianic passage in the  Old Testament, except perhaps for a couple of passages in the book of Daniel (a book which was “finally redacted c.a. 165 BC”), Fitzmyer rightly argues that the Christian writers interpreted these passages anachronistically due to hindsight understandings of who they concluded Jesus to be.

Many of the claimed prophecies came from the book of Psalms, believed by Christians to be “Messianic” (i.e., Psalms 2, 8, 16, 22, 34, 35, 40, 41, 45, 68, 69, 89, 102, 109, 110, and 118). But in their original contexts these Psalms are simply devotional prayers. Among other things we find prayers for help in distress, for forgiveness, and for wisdom, and so on. They declare praise to God, and they express hope that their enemies will be defeated. There is nothing about them, when reading them devotionally, that indicates they are predicting anything at all! For there to be a prediction there must be a prophecy, and there are none in the Psalms. With no prediction comes no fulfillment. Yet the New Testament writers quoted from them and claimed they predicted several things in the life, death, and resurrection of their Messiah, Jesus.

Consider Psalm 2:

1 Why do the nations conspire,
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds asunder,
and cast their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “I have set my king
on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son,
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
with trembling 12 kiss his feet,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way;
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
12 Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 2, according to Christians, expresses the hope for the Messiah, the anointed one, who was none other than Jesus whom the kings and rulers “conspired against,” according to the apostles Peter and John (Acts 4:23–31; see also Acts 13:32; Heb. 1:5; 5:5; Rev. 2:27; 19:15). However, this Psalm has some verbal similarities to King Hezekiah’s prayer in Isaiah 37:16–20, where Hezekiah prays for deliverance from Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, as he approaches to attack Jerusalem.

New Testament scholar I. Howard Marshall admits that “in its original context this Psalm 2 is generally understood as an address to the king to reassure him in the face of enemy attack.”11  In it Yahweh declares the king as his “son.” Kings were regularly thought to be sons of God who dispense God’s justice. Why should this be a problem? Marshall goes on to tell us that “by the time the psalms were gathered together as a collection, this and similar references to ‘the Anointed One’ were seen as referring to the future ruler of Israel, the Messiah, and not to ordinary kings.”12 Fine, but what he’s doing is allowing subsequent misinterpretations of this text to determine what the text originally said, as is done with many of these so-called prophecies. No one would allow that in today’s world if it came from Nostradamus, so why is there this double standard when it comes to the Bible? The same exegetical skills are required. Why should we take seriously what subsequent generations thought when the original context is as Marshall admitted? Even so, any Jew writing about his hope for a future Messiah could have said these same hopeful things. A hope is not a prediction. Fitzmyer concludes, “Psalm 2 is not ‘messianic’ in any sense. . . . There is not even a hint of a ‘messianic’ connotation of the term or of a remote future, when a Messiah might appear.”

It has often been said that determined authors could take the Old Testament and ‘find’ prophecies of Mohammad, Napoleon, Gandhi, Hitler, or any other famous historical figure. That’s because there is nothing specific about them. For that reason there is no basis to believe that they predicted anything about Jesus, other than wishful thinking.

(4659) The silliness of a single verse

There is a verse in the Gospel of Matthew that strains any sense of legitimacy and begs the question of how any reasonable person can believe that the Bible records factual history:

Matthew 4:8

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Let’s count the problems:

1) The idea that a person writing in approximately CE 80 could describe an event that occurred in approximately CE 30, fifty years earlier, who was not there, and who was the first person ever to document this event (the author of the earlier gospel, Mark, had no knowledge of this ‘important’ detail)

2) The idea that there exists an evil character, the devil, who seems to possess unrestrained geographical mobility, and who is allowed to operate freely in a universe controlled by an omnipotent (and omni-benevolent) deity

3) The idea that the devil can command the arrest and re-location of a superior being- Jesus

4) The idea that the devil (somehow) owns the kingdoms of the world such that he can ‘give them’ to Jesus

5) The idea that a tall mountain can offer vision of all of the earth’s kingdoms (flat earth?)

6) The idea that Jesus, as God himself, an omnipotent being, who has command over the entire universe, can be tempted AT ALL, notwithstanding with some earthly rewards

7) The incredibly implausible idea that God could (even possibly) worship an angel, and a ‘fallen’ one at that (Satan)

Yet, there are some Christians who insist on the literal accuracy of the Bible. More rational minds can take Matthew 4:8 as a mini-guide to understand that this gospel, and for that matter the Bible as a whole, is a work of fantasy, not fact.

(4660) No one follows Bible morals

Christians often state that we need to return to the Bible to refine and perfect our morality. This is a laughable assertion. The following was taken from:


Someone who followed the moral code set out in the Old or New Testament would soon find themselves behind bars. The morality of the Bible is a Bronze Age tribal vision of complete surrender to authoritarian rule. It is a nightmare vision of slavery, patriarchy, violence, and intolerance.

In Luke 19:27, Jesus says, “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them — bring them here and kill them in front of me.” Any system of morals enforced by the threat of punishment or death invalidates itself. If I tell you to obey your father under threat of death (which the Bible does), it does not teach you right from wrong. It teaches you obedience to tyrants.

In Ephesians 6, Paul instructs, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.” Clearly, we are meant to eschew freedom, our own sense of what is right and wrong, and enslave ourselves to what we are told. Again, this is not a moral code or an education in ethics, simply an injunction to obey.

What should Sunday School children take away from the story of Abraham? Should Abraham have agreed to murder his son? Under what circumstances is murdering your son a good deed? Is it ethical for God to ask Abraham to kill his son? What is the child who hears this story meant to learn?

What can we learn about morality when God decides to torture Job to see if Job will stay faithful? God does things to Job that no moral code would allow for in any instance. What does it say about God’s perfection when he decides that the best solution to the problem of man’s sin is to kill them all in a global flood? He not only kills humans, but almost all living creatures. What did deer, frogs, and mice do to deserve execution?

In 1 Kings 2:23–25, God sends a bear to kill 42 children for making fun of a bald man. In Deuteronomy 22:22–23, it explains that if a woman does not cry out for help when she is raped, she must be put to death. Did you know children born out of wedlock cannot go to heaven? Deuteronomy 23:2.

The Bible is a set of primitive and cruel beliefs enforced by a bloodthirsty bully who solves most problems with murder. This is a god who had the power to forgive everyone for their sins, but chose instead to torture and murder his own son as a sacrifice offered to himself.

A child could easily do a better job than God in thinking up solutions to conflicts and crimes. We don’t need a 3,000-year-old book to teach us how to behave. We’ve made a lot of progress since the tribespeople of Palestine wrote down their superstitions.

Currently, there is a conflict raging in Palestine. If we need guidance, we can consult the Bible for advice. When the Hebrews came to Israel, they found it was already occupied by the Amalek people. In Samuel 15:3, God tells the Hebrews what to do. “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” Does that sound like good advice? Maybe it would be better if we put the Bible away and try something a little less primitive.

Writings inspired by a god would stand the test of time. The Bible fails this test…miserably.

(4661) God and the Birkenau concentration camp

There has been much written about the apparent contradiction between the description of the Christian god (who is purportedly omnipotent and benevolent, and who loves human beings) against the backdrop of immense human suffering. It is often casually dismissed by Christians as a ‘mystery’ or ‘something we’ll understand when we get to heaven.’ But when the overall picture is reduced to a more human level, the degree of mental gymnastics needed to rescue this god becomes overwhelming. The following was taken from:


The memoir of Magda Hellinger was preserved with the help of her daughter, Maya Lee. This is one glimpse of life at Birkenau concentration camp:

“There were no toilets or running water at the new camp. Our ‘toilet’ was a large hole in the ground with a plank over the top. It was bad enough coping with the stench of this open pit, but falling in became our greatest fear. Only a few days after we arrived, one girl lost her balance and found herself covered in excrement. She stumbled through the camp in search of somewhere to wash, but her effort was fruitless due to a lack of water. A guard chose the solution that was to become commonplace: he shot her dead.” (p. 68, The Nazis Knew My Name: A Remarkable Story of Survival and Courage in Auschwitz-Birkenau)

“Death was always close. It should never be forgotten that the period over the summer and autumn of 1944 was the deadliest of the Holocaust. The Nazis murdered close to 400,000 people, mostly Hungarian Jews, in just a few months. Most were gassed immediately after their arrival, but many others died in the weeks and months afterward. Some just lost hope and fell to the ground, or threw themselves against the electric fence to end it all. For many others, injury during work, disease, malnutrition—any reason for not being able to work—was enough reason for an SS guard to send a prisoner up the chimney. Not that they needed a reason at all. There were no consequences for an SS guard who chose to simply shoot a prisoner dead for being in the wrong place or for looking at him the wrong way. After all, the aim was genocide, sooner or later. The life of a Jewish prisoner had no value.” (p. 150, The Nazis Knew My Name)

All of this, gruesome as it is, is fully consistent with a world devoid of gods, or for that matter any supernatural being intent on promoting the wholesome treatment of living things. But for a Christian to square the experience of the people at this concentration camp with their idealized image of their god, the effort strains the bounds of intellectual honesty- unless they admit that there is something wrong with their assumptions about God- and concede that this god is either not all-powerful, or not all-caring.

(4662) Common myths about God

Christians are trained to parrot out syllogisms designed to defend their belief in God and shield them from examining it. They are all easily refutable. The following was taken from:


“God is necessary for the universe to exist”: This doesn’t necessarily imply God, there are various scientific theories (like the Big Bang and multiverse theories) that propose non-theistic explanations.

God is necessary for morality”: Many ethical systems (like humanism) propose morality based on human well-being rather than divine command.

“Miracles prove God’s existence”: “Miracles” are unverified supernatural claims or natural phenomena that we don’t fully understand yet.

Religious experiences prove God’s existence“: Personal experiences don’t provide objective evidence of God.

Majority belief in God”: Just because a belief is widespread doesn’t make it true. There are many examples in history where majority beliefs were later disproven.

God is necessary to give life meaning”: Many people find purpose and meaning in life without belief in God, such as through relationships, achievements, or contributing to the betterment of humanity.

God is the answer to what we don’t know”: This is known as the “God of the gaps” argument. Using God to explain what we don’t understand doesn’t prove God’s existence and can discourage scientific exploration of these unknowns.

Not only do none of these arguments demonstrate the existence of any god, they also fail to justify a belief in the Christian god specifically. They are vacuous utterings meant to shut down any effort on the part of the intended audience to launch into an objective analysis of why they believe what they do. If Christians were selling a real product, their arguments would carry much more weight, because the evidence available at their disposal would be overwhelming.

(4663) Seven inconvenient facts about Jesus’ birth

At Christmas time, the faithful luxuriate in the gospel stories surrounding the birth of their savior. This is a mostly mindless exercise, simply regurgitating and accepting without thought what they have been programmed to believe. A more cognitive view of the subject illuminates a LOT of problems. The following was taken from:


1) The Genealogies are Inaccurate and Irrelevant. The royal genealogies of Jesus in the later gospels of Luke (3:23–37) and Matthew (1:1–17) have historical problems with them. For instance, Matthew’s gospel makes Jesus a descendent of king Jeconiah (1:11), even though the prophet Jeremiah had proclaimed none of Jeconiah’s descendents would ever sit of the throne of David (Jer. 22:30). Someone messed up big time here, don’t you think?

The genealogies of Jesus are irrelevant if he was born of a virgin. Jewish royal lineages are traced through men not women, so Luke’s genealogy is irrelevant since it traces the lineage of Jesus through Mary. Matthew’s genealogy is equally irrelevant, since it traces the lineage of Jesus through Joseph, who was not his father, according to gospel accounts. To desperately claim Mary’s baby was a new divine creation unrelated to the lineages of either Mary or Joseph, also makes the genealogies irrelevant. For then it wouldn’t matter which mother’s womb God decided to create his son inside.

Modern genetics decisively render the genealogies irrelevant since one cannot even have a human being without the genetic contributions of both a male seed and a female egg. To claim, as Catholic New Testament scholar Raymond Brown did, that Jesus was “technically” the adopted son of Joseph, is absurd and also irrelevant since only blood lines count in royal lineages. Adopted sons would never legitimately inherit any throne.

2) Jesus Was Not Born in Bethlehem. In Matthew 2:5 we’re told Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem. But the precise phrase “Bethlehem Ephratah” in the original prophecy of Micah 5:2 refers not to a town, but to a family clan: the clan of Bethlehem, who was the son of Caleb’s second wife, Ephratah (1 Chron. 2:19, 2:50–51, 4:4). Furthermore, Micah’s prophecy predicts a military commander who would rule over the land of Assyria (which never happened), and was certainly not about a future Messiah.

The earliest gospel of Mark begins by saying Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, not from Bethlehem (Mark 1:9). Let that sink it. The first gospel says he’s from Nazareth. In the later Gospel of John, Jesus was rejected as the Messiah precisely because the people of Nazareth knew he was born and raised in their town! That’s the whole reason they rejected him as the Messiah! They rhetorically asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee?” They said, “A prophet does not come out of Galilee” (John 7:42, 52). [He was from Nazareth. Therefore he’s not the Messiah.]

Since everyone knew the Messiah would not come from Galilee, Matthew and Luke invented conflicting stories to overcome this insurmountable problem. In Matthew’s gospel—the one most concerned with making Jesus fit prophecy—Joseph’s family is living in Bethlehem when Jesus was born (Matt. 2). In order to explain how Jesus got to Nazareth, Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt because of Herod (Matt. 2:15). After Herod died, Joseph took his family to Nazareth and lived there (Matt. 2:21–23). Luke’s gospel, by contrast, claims Joseph and Mary lived in the town of Nazareth but traveled to Bethlehem for a Roman census, at which time Jesus was born (Luke 1:26; 2:4). After he was born they went back home to Nazareth (Luke 2:39).

When we compare Matthew and Luke’s accounts, Raymond Brown concludes, “Despite efforts stemming from preconceptions of biblical inerrancy or of Marian piety, it is exceedingly doubtful that both accounts can be considered historical. A review of the implications explains why the historicity of the infancy narratives has been questioned by so many scholars, even by those who do not in advance (i.e., a priori) rule out the miraculous.”

To make these stories work they invented a world-wide Roman census (per Luke), to get the holy family to Bethlehem, and the slaughter of the innocents by Herod (per Matthew), to explain why the holy family left Bethlehem for good. Matthew’s gospel invented a Messianic Star for emphasis, which was overkill, based on Numbers 24:17. But there was no census, no massacre of children and no Bethlehem star. [As we’ll see in the next three facts to consider].

3) There Was No Census. Luke’s gospel tells us something bizarre, that Joseph had to go to Bethlehem to register for the census because “he was from the house and lineage of David.” (Luke 2:4) According to Luke’s genealogy king David had lived forty-two generations earlier. Why should everyone have had to register for a census in the town of one of his ancestors forty-two generations earlier? There would be millions of ancestors by that time, and the whole empire would have been uprooted. Why forty-two generations and not thirty-five, or sixteen? If this requirement was only for the lineage of King David, what was Caesar Augustus thinking when he ordered it? He had a king, Herod.

Both Matthew and Luke said Jesus was born during the time of Herod the Great (Matthew 2:1, Luke 1:5). Herod died in 4 BC, so Jesus was born at the latest in 4 BC. The only known census of that period was a local one in Galilee which took place in 6 AD by Syrian governor Quirinius. There’s a gap of ten years between Herod’s death and the alleged census, which means there was no census at the birth of Jesus, if he was born during the reign of Herod. But Luke’s gospel said it was a world-wide census, not a local one. And that census didn’t take place at all, for as Raymond Brown tells: “A census of the known world under Caesar Augustus never happened” and he reigned from 27 BC to 14 AD.

4) There Was No Slaughter of the Innocents. In Matthew’s gospel king Herod was said to have ordered all the male children “in Bethlehem and all the surrounding countryside” to be slaughtered (2:16). But there is no other account of such a massacre in any other source. It’s clear that the first century Jewish historian Josephus hated Herod. He chronicled in detail his crimes, many of which were lesser in kind than this alleged wholesale massacre of children. Yet nowhere does Josephus’ mention this slaughter even though he was in a position to know of it, and even though he would want to mention it. So the story is a gospel fiction, like the virgin birth story.

5) There Was No Star of Bethlehem. Matthew’s gospel says: “The star, which they (the Magi) had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.” (2:9–10). There is no independent corroboration of this tale by any other source, Christian or otherwise. No astrologer/astronomer anywhere in the world recorded this event, even though they systematically searched the stars for guidance and predictions of the future. More significantly the author of Luke chose not to include the story of a Star, Magi, or the attempt on Jesus’ life, which is telling, since his gospel was written after “a careful study of everything” he says, so readers could know what actually took place from what didn’t. (1:1-4).

Theories for this Star include a comet, a supernova, or the conjunction of planets. The fatal problem is that none of them conform to what the text actually says in Matthew’s gospel. The Magi see the Star “leading” or directing them to Bethlehem from Jerusalem. Not only are moving stars pre-scientific nonsense, they would be moving in a southern direction, from Jerusalem down to Bethlehem. Stars don’t move in the sky, and they certainly don’t appear to move in a southerner direction. They all appear to move from the east to west, like the sun, because of the spin of the earth. Then we’re told the Star stopped in the sky directly over a place in Bethlehem. But there’s no way to determine which specific house a star stopped over, if it did! This is only consistent with pre-scientific notions of the earth being the center of the universe with the stars being moved by a god who sits on a throne in the sky.

6) The Prophecies Are Faked. In Matthew 1:20–23 the author claims that Isaiah 7:14 predicts Jesus’ virgin birth. The context for the prophecy in Isaiah tells us that before a son born of a “young woman” (not a virgin) “is old enough to know how to choose between right and wrong the countries of two kings (i.e., Syria and Samaria) will be destroyed” (7:15-16). The prophecy in the original Hebrew says nothing whatsoever about a virginal conception. Period. It says nothing about a messiah, either. The prophecy was actually fulfilled in Isaiah 8:3 with the birth of the son Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

The Hebrew word for virgin is betulah. It’s used five times in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah 7:14 isn’t one of them. The word used in Isaiah 7:14 is ‘almah, which means young woman, or simply girl. It does not specify a virgin. Full Stop. The gospel of Matthew’s error was to use a 200 year old Greek translation of the Hebrew which used the word parthenos. Originally the Greek word parthenos meant “young girl,” but by the time Matthew wrote his gospel that word had been changed by usage to signify a “virgin” rather than a young girl. This is not unlike how the words nice and gay have changed in meaning over the years. So Matthew grossly misunderstood the original Hebrew text in Isaiah by incorrectly claiming Jesus was to be born of a virgin.

A second prophecy in Isaiah 9:6–7 reads: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” [See Luke 1:31-33] Any Jew writing at that time might express the same hope for a Messiah/savior who would rescue their nation from their oppressors. But an expressed hope for a future Messiah is not to be considered a prediction, unless along with that expressed hope are specific details whereby we can check to see if it was fulfilled in a specific person. Isaiah provides none. With no details there isn’t any real prediction.

German theologian Ute Ranke-Heinemann concludes after her own study: “If we wish to continue seeing Luke’s accounts… as historical events, we’d have to take a large leap of faith: We’d have to assume that while on verifiable matters of historical fact Luke tells all sorts of fairy tales but on supernatural matters—which by definition can never be checked—he simply reports the facts. By his arbitrary treatment of history, Luke has shown himself to be an unhistorical reporter—a teller of fairy tales.” [Putting Away Childish Things, p. 14]

7) The Virgin Birth of Jesus Has Pagan Parallels. Robert Miller shows us many important people in the ancient world were believed to have been the product of virgin births: “People in the ancient world believed that heroes were the sons of gods because of the extraordinary qualities of their adult lives, not because there was public information about the intimate details of how their mothers became pregnant. In fact, in some biographies the god takes on the physical form of the woman’s husband in order to have sex with her.” [Born Divine, p. 134] And then he proceeds to document some of these stories. There was Theagenes, the Olympic champion, who was regarded as divine for being one of the greatest athlete’s in the ancient world. Hercules was the most widely revered hero of the ancient world. He was promoted to divine status after his death, and it was said he was fathered by Zeus. Alexander the Great was believed to be conceived of a virgin and fathered in turn by Heracles. Augustus Caesar was believed to be conceived of a virgin and fathered by Apollo, as was Plato, the philosopher. Apollonius of Tyana was believed to be a holy man born of a virgin and fathered by Zeus. Pythagoras the philosopher was believed to be a son of Apollo. There were also savior-gods, like Krishna, Osiris, Dionysus, and Tammuz, who were born of virgins and known to the Gospel writers centuries before.

Justin Martyr was a second-century Christian apologist who tried to convince the pagans of his day of the truth of Christianity. In his First Apology to Roman people he wrote:

When we say that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter…Of what kind of deeds recorded of each of these reputed sons of Jupiter, it is needless to tell to those who already know…[I]f we even affirm that he [Jesus] was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you accept of Perseus.

All that these virgin birth claims show is that someone thought these people were important, and that’s it. None of them are taken to be literal virgin births, probably not even in that day! So it should not come as a surprise that the early Christians came up with similar myths about Jesus. It’s myth all the way down with no historical reality to it. There’s no reason to accept this extraordinary claim at all.

If the maker of the universe has actually placed himself into a human body and delivered the most important message in the annals of history, it would seem that this amazing event would have been documented fully and faithfully and would not have been contaminated with the ignorance, myths, and superstitious beliefs endemic to that time. On the other hand, it this amazing event did not happen, then stories about it, emanating from a pre-scientific age, would be expected to be easily picked apart… as they are.

(4664) Jesus devalues marriage

Although marriage is a big deal in Christianity, a sacrament of holy significance, Jesus effectively dismissed its importance by stating that there will be no marriage in heaven. The following was taken from:


The gospels are full of Jesus re-establishing the Law to be more universal and talking about love, but then he talks about marriage and it doesn’t make any sense. Specifically, when he is asked about a hypothetical woman who is widowed 7 times: who shall she be with in the resurrection? Jesus’s response is that in the resurrection people will not marry or be given in marriage. This was so pertinent to Jesus’s message that it is in at least 3 gospels (Matt. 22:29, Mark 12:25, Luke 20:35).

This is problematic because if marriage is no more in the resurrection, then marriage means nothing in life. So why would God even care one bit about marital and sexual happenings enough to make laws about it? Why wouldn’t there still be marriage/sex in the resurrection? Isn’t that the entire point of the 2 becoming 1 flesh, and of Jesus’s own example referencing Adam and Eve? Therefore, Jesus’s view of marriage seems at odds with the entire point of marriage, and even incongruent with God’s view of marriage (see the Law).

These gospel passages in the synoptics represent a mistake on the part of the authors, for failing to see the contradiction that it presents for the institution of marriage, effectively trivializing it as a short 50-or-so year, strictly-earthly proposition before it is abolished in the trillion-years and beyond existence in heaven.

(4665) Four ways gospels could be better

If we hypothesize that the basic Jesus story comprises actual history, then it would seem that the god-inspired recording of that seminal time would have been exquisite. But no, the gospels are actually a big mess. The following discusses four ways they could have been better (and would have been better if a god was actually involved):


Let’s look at a few ways in which the gospels could have been so much better.

Could Have Been So Much Better, One

So much is missing from the gospels! Why doesn’t Mark include an account of Jesus’ birth? And why would John omit one? And credibility is missing from the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke, which fully qualify as fantasy literature. What about the life of Jesus before he began his ministry? Luke reports that when Jesus was twelve years old, on his family’s trip to Jerusalem, he headed to the Temple to converse with the religious leaders—and remained there for days. Mary and Joseph were well on their way home when they realized he wasn’t “among their relatives and friends.” They headed back to Jerusalem, eventually found him, and gave him a scolding. Historians don’t take this episode seriously: how would Luke know any of this? What were his sources? Who was there taking notes? Out of his imagination, Luke was portraying a holy hero at age twelve.

Tim Sledge has identified the central issue here:

“The temple visit at age 12 marks the start of 18 years of silence about the life of the only person who—according to Christianity—ever managed to avoid committing even one sinful thought or act. Why do we know absolutely nothing about the world’s only perfect life between the ages of 13 and 29?…I see the Bible’s silence on these years of Jesus’s life as a glaring and troubling omission.” (p. 55, Four Disturbing Questions with One Simple Answer: Breaking the Spell of Christian Belief)

“If only we had more stories of Jesus’s early years that clearly portrayed real-life examples of what doing the right thing looks like—in as many situations as possible…And what if we had the details of Jesus’s life in his twenties? How did he transition from adolescence to adulthood? How did he build strong, meaningful friendships? How did he deal with sexual temptations? …Wouldn’t you wonder why the God empowering this perfect life failed to ensure that someone wrote about events from its every year?” (pp. 55, 56 & 57, Four Disturbing Questions with One Simple Answer)

We’ve got the gospels as they are because the authors weren’t historians. Their primary agenda was promoting the theology/mythology of the Jesus cult.

Could Have Been So Much Better, Two

And speaking of mythology, resurrection of a dead hero fully qualifies. What an embarrassment that a major world religion remains committed to this idea. Dying/rising savior cults were a feature of the religious landscape of the time, as Richard Carrier has demonstrated so well in his 2018 essay, Dying-and-Rising Gods: It’s Pagan, Guys. Get Over It. Somehow the idea caught on that Jesus belonged to this elite group, but the gospel writers did a poor job incorporating it in their Jesus stories. Mark wrote that Jesus predicted his resurrection to his disciples three times (8:31-33, 9:30-32, 10:32-34)—but, no surprise, “But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.” (9:32) Even so, when Jesus was killed, how could they forget this thrice-repeated prediction? Yet they didn’t camp out near the tomb to witness the miracle, and have a welcome-back-Jesus celebration! As Robert Conner has pointed out, “Remember, in the canonical gospels nobody actually witnesses the risen Jesus leave the tomb.” (Kindle, loc 2568, Apparitions of Jesus: The Resurrection as Ghost Story)

The gospels could have been so much better if the four gospel accounts of Easter morning had been consistent. The confusion becomes obvious to anyone who reads them, one after the other. Theologians, clergy, and various apologists have put considerable effort into making them look compatible, but that’s a real stretch. It’s so hard to take these accounts seriously when Matthew added the story that people who had come alive in their tombs at the moment Jesus died, walked out and toured Jerusalem on Eastern morning. Luke didn’t help either with his story of Jesus appearing, unrecognized, to disciples “on the road to Emmaus”—then poof! —vanished the moment they realized who he was. It’s very helpful to read Conner’s book referenced above: the gospel authors were influenced by ghost folklore.

Could Have Been So Much Better, Three

Why not be honest about what actually happened to Jesus in the end? In the first chapter of Acts we find the story of Jesus ascending above the clouds to join Yahweh in the sky. That story works only if the ancient view of the cosmos is correct. We now know a few miles overhead there is the cold and lethal radiation of space—and how to get there.

As A. N. Wilson put it:                                                                                                          “For a modern observer, of whatever

religious beliefs, it is impossible not to know that a man ascending vertically from the Mount of Olives, by whatever means of miraculous propulsion, would pass into orbit.” (Jesus: A Life, p. 3)

Theologians now may wish to read the story symbolically—for example, “Jesus now lives and reigns with god” —but no matter, it never happened. Jesus never left planet earth, and—even if you believe

that he resurrected—he died again. But the resurrection is fantasy as well, unless you’re willing to concede that the other dying/rising savior gods truly did the same thing.

We’re stuck wondering what actually happened to Jesus. The gospels could have been so much better if they had told the truth, an accurate story, based on history, not theology.

Could Have Been So Much Better, Four

In Mark’s gospel, 14:62, Jesus tells those attending his trial that they will see him “seated at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Mark was perhaps influenced by the apostle Paul’s assurance in I Thessalonians 4 that dead Christians will rise from their graves to join with living believers—himself included—to meet Jesus in the air, to be with him forever. I suspect that a high percentage of Christians today pay little attention to these bits of scripture, although many believers still keep an eye on the sky, hoping desperately that Jesus will arrive to rescue the world.

This is an ancient version of the Superman comic book hero, who will come flying through the air to perform good deeds. In the Christian version, based on the gospels and Paul, Jesus will do so much more: he’ll kick out the hated Roman tyrants, he’ll save the world. There is nothing whatever to disprove that this is simply more ancient superstition, a level of nonsense that deserves no respect whatever. The gospels could have been so much better had they depicted Jesus as a great moral teacher. But the gospel authors were not satisfied with that; they were promoting a cult that glorified a hero, belief in whom guaranteed eternal life. This religious gimmick has been a constant for millennia.

A healthy embrace of reality can break the spell of this gimmick, and a healthy embrace of skepticism and critical thinking can diminish the hold the sloppy gospels have on Christian belief.

Most Christians are unaware of the underwhelming nature of the gospels, or their inconsistencies, lack of detail, and use of magical elements that were common tropes of the time. Rather, they read each gospel in isolation, so when they read another one, they miss noticing the problems. This is exactly what Christian pastors want them to do. They know of the problems, but keeping their congregations not knowing them is what keeps them in business.

(4666) The gospels if God was real

The gospels were written by unknown people who were definitely not eyewitnesses to Jesus’ exploits. But when we consider the critical nature of these books to the ‘salvation’ of people who would come after, it seems that God could have ensured a more credible product. The following was taken from:


The theistic god could have arranged things such that the gospel accounts were thoroughly documented and the events they allege to describe validated. Preempting a line of future skepticism, the gospel accounts could have been:

    • all written by direct eyewitnesses
    • written in part by Jesus himself, exhibiting a world-historical level of genius insight and artistry never before or since achieved by mere humans
    • attested to by numerous contemporary Roman and other scribes, writers and philosophers
    • much more comprehensive in their coverage of Jesus’ entire life (much more text about his childhood and early adulthood)
    • all accounts consistent with each other (no contradictions)

Relative to the creation of the universe, this task could have been infinitesimally easy by comparison if the gospels were in any way the product of the god of theism.

Instead, we have the Bible and the gospels in particular as they are, with all of their contradictions, historical lacunae and falsifications, etc.

If Jesus was a real person, and actually part of the trinity, and that therefore this drama is the most important thing that ever happened or could happen, then you would think that God would ensure that the accounts of this miraculous time would be impeccable and vigorously attested. But no, nothing like that exists, and it is disturbingly easy to punch holes in the gospel accounts. If the Jesus story is real, then God failed miserably to document it for future generations, and many people will go to hell because of that- and the blame for that is God himself.

(4667) Leviathan evolves into Satan

Hebrew myths about an evil monster called Leviathan were eventually morphed into the standard Christian theology of the evil, anti-God villain called Satan. It appeared to be the intent of the author of Revelation to state that Satan was this monster all along and that Satan is and always has been God’s enemy.

Revelation 12:7-9

Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

The following was taken from:


In 12:7, the author of Revelation is likely drawing on the Leviathan, a monster referenced several places in the Hebrew Bible.

Many ancient Near Eastern cultures had myths about a deity battling a dragon-like monster. For example, the Babylonians had the Enuma Elis, in which Marduk defeats the chaos dragon Tiamat. There’s also the Ugaritic Ba’al Cycle, in which Ba’al defeats the sea god Yam and his dragon Lotan. For more detail, see here.

Ancient Israelites seem to have had a version of this myth, in which YHWH slays the chaos dragon Leviathan (or Rahab). The Bible doesn’t explicitly narrate this event, but various books do make reference to YHWH’s triumph over Leviathan, either in the distant past or at the coming end of days.

For example, Isaiah 27 talks about how YHWH will one day defeat the “fleeing serpent… the twisting serpent” (these epithets are borrowed from the Ba’al Cycle’s description of Lotan). Job 41 describes the Leviathan as a gigantic, ferocious beast only God is able to subdue. Psalm 74 describes YHWH killing the Leviathan and giving its body as food for the “creatures of the wilderness.” [quotes from NRSV]

Prior to the development of Satan as a singular malevolent entity (early Biblical literature features the satan as an agent operating on God’s behalf), the Leviathan filled the role of God’s ultimate cosmic enemy.

The author of Revelation seems to be conflating Satan with the Leviathan. God’s most ancient foe was the devil all along, and this frames basically all of history as a cosmic battle between the figureheads of good and evil.

This worldview was pretty standard for Apocalyptic literature; whatever current political struggle the author was criticizing (in this case, a potential coming clash between Rome and Christianity) was framed as the culmination of an ongoing war between the forces of good and evil.


    • New Oxford Annotated Bible, NRSV
    • Jewish Study Bible, NJPS
    • Zakovitch, From Gods to God
    • Coogan, Stories from Ancient Canaan
    • Coogan, A Brief Introduction to The Old Testament
    • Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination
    • Ehrman, The New Testament
    • Smith, The Early History of God

All fictional heroes have adversaries that they fight against and as literary vehicles for showing how good and honorable they are in comparison. Christianity fell for this trope, but in reality it doesn’t work in this case- a struggle cannot exist between an omnipotent being and any other being – unless the other being is considered to be equally omnipotent, but that’s more of a stretch for even credulous Christians to make.

(4668) Killing a slave not a problem if it takes time

Unlike modern criminal law, where attackers can be charged with murder even it their victims remain alive for a long period of time, it seems that in biblical times, this distinction was not made. As long as the slave didn’t die immediately, God was OK with it. Here is Exodus 21:20-21 in the following two translations:

New International Version

“Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

New King James Version

“And if a man beats his male or female servant with a rod, so that he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if he remains alive a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his property.

These verses suggest that God was OK with slavery, and further was OK with killing a slave as long as it took at least a day or so for the slave to die. That this is in a book that is supposed to be God’s ultimate ‘gift’ to the world should make anyone question whether a) God is a brute, b) the Bible is not the word of God, or c) God doesn’t exist and the Bible reflects the questionable morality that existed when it was authored.

It is also interesting to note the difference between the two versions listed above. It shows how the translators of the later New International Version tried to water-down the implications of the New King James Version, focusing on the slave’s recovery rather than his death.

(4669) Jesus ascending UP is clearly fiction

There is no better example of how biblical writers displayed their ignorance of cosmology than when they reported that Jesus rose up off of the earth and into to sky on a voyage back to heaven. The following was taken from:


According to the New Testament, after his resurrection Jesus ascends into heaven. Acts 1:6-10 describes it as follows:

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Why did Jesus go UP? There was nothing for him to go up toward. Any modern Christian will tell you that wherever God or heaven is, it’s not up in the sky. They will probably say that it’s in a completely separate spiritual dimension of some kind. For Jesus to return to heaven he would’ve “phased out” in some way or simply disappeared from our spacetime. So why float up into the sky? How far up did he go? Just until he was out of sight and then phased out? Up into the stratosphere? All the way into outer space? Did he fly out past Jupiter or reach the Kuiper Belt before disappearing? Why not float away sideways? Why not sink down into the ground?

The reason that he went UP into heaven is because this is a fictional account that reflects a misunderstanding of cosmology that was common to its author’s time and place. People in the 1st century did not have knowledge of the limit of Earth’s atmosphere, the vacuum of outer space, distant galaxies, or the universe as a whole. We should not forget that anywhere we see the word “heaven” in the Old or New Testament, it is simply the word “sky” and the translators must decide which way to render it.

There was a long Jewish, Greek, and Mesopotamian tradition of levels or regions of heavens literally above the Earth into the distant sky. In some Greek thought this included the sublunary sphere or the region below the moon and down to us on the ground. There were layers of concentric spheres going outward, corresponding to the 7 “planets” as well as the sphere of the fixed stars. Jewish and other early Christian cosmological ideas can be seen in texts like 2 Enoch and the Ascension of Isaiah. These both involve traveling UP into the sky and through various levels of heavens.

There is simply no reason that Jesus would ascend into the sky to reach heaven, except that the story is more mythology in this same vein.

If the Bible was being written today, Jesus would likely simply disappear and exit into another dimension. There would be no nonsense of him floating up into the sky.

(4670) How Christianity makes no sense

All it takes is a little bit of thought outside the prison of indoctrination to realize that Christianity is not a workable system of logic. It fails the easiest test of what would make sense. The following was taken from:


Witnessing loved ones afflicted by mental illness and adverse childhood experiences made it clear to me how our behaviors are determined by things outside of our own control such as DNA, brain structure, neurotransmitters, hormones, etc. This realization made the Christian ideas of extreme punishment and reward unpalatable and unbelievable to be coming from an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God. Allegedly the same being who created all of the said factors that form our personalities and behaviors.

So who is to blame for the outcome? Not to mention there is no chance I am going to be amicable towards a religion which doesn’t have physical evidence and also tells me my loved ones that have passed and didn’t believe correctly are currently being eternally tortured in Hell. If that isn’t psychological terror, then I don’t know what is…

The people who invented this religion were not very intelligent. They failed to see how their imagined god and his alleged test of humans for future reward or punishment could not possibly be fair in the real world. Any functioning, objective mind can see that Christianity does not work.

(4671) Christianity and miscarriages

Christian apologists have strained to explain why bad things happen in a world overseen by an omnipotent, benevolent deity. They usually trot out the argument that God grants free will to everyone and if someone uses that free will to do evil, then it is on them, not God. But apologists have no answers to why so many women miscarry their fetuses. The following was taken from:


It is estimated that each year, 23 million women worldwide have a miscarriage. There’s also an estimated 2 million stillbirths a year, which is a miscarriage after 28 weeks of pregnancy. Combined, we are looking at 25 million unborn babies dying due to these causes each year. And these numbers are likely to be on the low side, due to under-reporting on miscarriages around the world, and due to these numbers being a few years old. There’s only 31 million seconds in a year, so it’s probable that today, a baby is dying in the womb somewhere on the planet every single second.

In response to most evil in the world, Christians use the free will argument to absolve the god they worship of guilt. They would say Hitler and the Nazis are responsible for the holocaust. That God simply gave Hitler and the Nazis free will, and that he has no responsibility for what those men chose to do with their free will. But there is no choice with a miscarriage. The fetus is a cluster of cells with no consciousness, so it is not making a decision to die. The mother and father in the majority of pregnancies want their child, and want a healthy baby to be delivered. A miscarriage is actually going against the free will of all of the people involved in most cases.

So who is responsible for these miscarriages? In some cases, you have something external you could point to, like a mother falling down the stairs. In these cases, you could argue the miscarriage was a result of a human action, and still try to absolve God of guilt. But a lot of times, there isn’t something obvious like this. The mother feels normal one day. The next, she’s going through cramping and experiencing the symptoms of a miscarriage, and she has no idea why. As if the miscarriage just fell out of the sky.

If you are a christian, then you don’t believe things just fall out of the sky. And no matter how you slice it, the ultimate responsibility for these miscarriages is on the christian god, assuming he exists. You can blame the biology of the mother for a miscarriage, but who created humans in his image? Who created every animal and plant and virus in the galaxy exactly as they are? Any biological process that leads to a woman miscarrying against her will is totally natural and is working exactly as god intended. So the blood of those dead children is still on gods hands for creating humans the way he created them, and for putting them in the environment he created for them.

And the biological argument is only sensible if you are trying to whitewash God. I think there’s a better argument to be made that miscarriages are more likely to be some kind of punishment or direct action taken by God rather than some kind of accident. In Samaria, he had pregnant women dashed to pieces to punish the men there (Hosea 13:16). In the ordeal of the bitter water, God describes a procedure that one is to use to get him to reveal a cheating wife by forcing her to miscarry (Numbers 5:11–31). When God punished Jerusalem, he starved children to death en masse (Lamentations 2:10-11). He starved their entire families, to the point that it was reported in the bible that mothers were cooking and eating their dead children to survive. (Lamentations 4:10).

Most damning, in Exodus 23:25-26, God tells Moses that he will send Moses an angel to follow, and if Moses follows the angel, then God will reward Moses’ people by doing away with miscarriages. An admission that God had the power to stop miscarriages, but chose instead to use the dead children as a carrot/stick to manipulate human beings.

In summary, God is directly responsible for miscarriages in some way or another, and that blood is on his hands. The bible is clear that God has to power to cause and prevent miscarriages. And when Christians tell those who have miscarried that “God has other things for you,” or “Maybe it wasn’t in God’s timing,” or “It’s all part of God’s plan,” they are acknowledging the reality that their God must responsible for these deaths. Yet they try to blame anything but God for why these miscarriages happen so they can continue to justify worshiping him. Then they still try to pretend they are moral and that they value human life more than anyone else. But it is the height of hypocrisy to go protest at an abortion clinic because you think an unborn life is precious, and then turn around and go to a temple where you worship and symbolically kiss the feet of the most prolific abortion doctor in human history.

The numbers of miscarriages are staggering, but they don’t tell the whole story because most miscarriages are never realized as they happen within days of conception. In a world controlled by a god as envisioned by Christianity, miscarriages would not occur. This god would ensure that each fertilized egg cell would develop into a live baby at term. Of course, this is only one example of how reality destroys Christianity.

(4672) If Jesus was God’s plan all along

It should be intuitive that if God sending his son to redeem humankind was his plan all along, then the prophets that he inspired should have been talking about this from Day 1. But instead, the Old Testament contains a murky chaotic mess of quasi-predictions, with just a few vague verses that have been creatively interpreted to forecast the arrival and mission of Jesus. The following was taken from:


Christian’s love to talk about how perfect of a plan god made in his son Jesus. Ever since the “fall of man” God had a plan, to send his son.

Then why wouldn’t he have said something? I don’t mean vague mentions of a messiah. I mean very clear cut instructions. That was his style throughout the Old Testament.

He was very specific about hundreds of laws.

God is not the author of confusion right?

God gave his people commands with many details. If they didn’t follow those details they would be punished, cursed, killed…

It makes no sense that if God had planned on Jesus from the start, he wouldn’t have just flat out said it over and over again.

“I’ve got my son, who is also me, coming to die for you. It’ll change all the laws I gave you but that was my plan all along ever since Adam. “

Or what about all the “prophecies”? If there ever was something that should be specifically and vividly foretold it would be this…

The inconsistencies between the Old and New Testament that we observe would not exist if Christianity was the true successor to the Jewish Faith. Rather it appears more like something that got pasted on top of the original religion without regard to consistency or fluidity. These two blocks of books do not belong under the same cover.

(4673) Dating of gospels trends later

Christian apologists would like people to believe that the gospels were written soon after Jesus’ time by eye-witnesses. This dream has evaporated with more recent scholarship. Not only has it been determined that the gospels were not written during this early time period, nor by those who had seen Jesus, but the estimated dates for when they were written is trending up to a point a century after the events they purport to chronicle. The following was taken from:


Bart Ehrman: A Brief Introduction to the New Testament, fourth edition: Mark: around 70 CE, Matthew: around 80-85 CE, Luke: around 80-85 CE, and John: probably around 90-95 CE. Since this is a commonly used textbook, I consider this as the standard dating. I do think this standard dating is being challenged by the positions below, so I don’t know how common these dates really are.

One reason I disagree with Ehrmans dating is the use of Josephus by the author of Luke-Acts. Steve Mason: Josephus and the New Testament and Richard Pervo: Dating Acts have presented rather strong arguments that the author of Luke-Acts used the works of Josephus. As a result, many scholars now date Luke to the second century.

Mark Goodacre is currently working on a book where he will argue that the author of John used all of the synoptic gospels. He also agrees with Mason and Pervo, so he dates Luke and John both to the second century. In this video, around 12:30, he says that, for simplicity’s sake, he dates Mark: 70’s, Matthew: 80’s, Luke: early second century, and John: early second century.

A next consideration is Marcion. If you think that the author of Luke used the Evangelion, then that has implications for the dating of Luke. David Litwa presents that view in this video. This results in a date of 130 to 150 CE for Luke.

The latest dating I’m familiar with comes from Markus Vinzent. He argues for Marcionite priority with respect to not just Luke, but all the canonical gospels. In his book Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic gospels, he argues that all four canonical gospels were written between 138 and 144 CE. There are several other proponents of Marcionite priority as well.

If Christianity was true, then God would have ensured that the historical accounts of his son’s work on Earth would have been written by those who knew Jesus, who directly heard his sermons and observed his miracles, and during a time very shortly after all of this transpired. The fact that this didn’t happen speaks strongly for the mythical nature of what is related in the gospels.

(4674) The poop argument  

Christians have an idealized image of Jesus, one that excludes most of the ‘down-to-earth’ aspects of being a human animal. But once you ponder the reality of Jesus as a human man, you cannot dismiss certain elements of what being a human entails. That’s when the idealized image evaporates and the entire theology falls apart. The following was taken from:


One of the reasons I don’t believe in God is because Jesus pooped. That’s right, you won’t read about it in the Bible, you won’t hear about it in Sunday school … But we all know it happened. And I just can’t picture the son of god, the holy of holies, oh king of kings, sitting on the crapper and dropping a load.

I call it, The Poop Argument. Argumentum ad Poopum.

What’s even more difficult to imagine is the image of God boning Mary… Wait, that’s right, early Christians came up with a workaround for that one. Sex is an animal act, unfit for gods — therefore, virgin birth! Immaculate conception!

Such is the reasoning of the idealist. The idealist does not see the world for what it is. The idealist sees the fairy tale version: symbols and oversimplifications, how he wants it to be and not how it truly is. It is the only way he is able to justify his beliefs, by putting everything into neat little ‘idea containers’. The idea of pooping doesn’t fit into the idea container for God. The idea of sex doesn’t fit either — hence the need for the doctrine of virgin birth.

Have the great theologians ever pondered whether Christ had a boner? I would think it quite difficult for a human male to live to the age of 33 having never experienced a boner. Not to mention biologically impossible. So then we are left with this image of the son of God, at some point in time, walking around Nazareth with a hard-on … what is one to think? Best not to. If one is to remain a true believer, anyway.

One could go on. It doesn’t need to end at pooping. What about farting? Diarrhea? Incontinence? Hemorrhoids? Was Christ exempt from experiencing these things? If so, so much for the pulpit platitudes about God understanding what it’s like to be one of us. It defeats the purpose of the Christian doctrine of God becoming man if he didn’t suffer, as we do, from these very common bodily ailments. And if Christ did in fact suffer from incontinence and diarrhea then, well, that’s simply hilarious. I can’t take God seriously knowing he once suffered from incontinence.

Suppose Christ didn’t poop at all and God used his omnipotence to close his bowels or something … The food was miraculously digested and excreted … God hiding his poop is even more ridiculous a notion than the idea of God pooping!

Part of being a human being is being disgusting. This is exactly why men cannot be gods. Our need to eat, to shit, to piss, to fuck and all other manners of bodily functions reminds us that we are animals. The notion of god becoming an animal is absurd.

Christians have been conditioned to accept the idea of a god becoming a human. But then their thinking comes to a dead end. If they could extend their imagination a little further, the preposterousness of the proposition becomes clear.

(4675) Mumbo Jumbo

The falseness of Christianity can be discerned by the fatuous nature of how it operates. The following discusses the elements of Christian services that are dead giveaways that they are running a human-created show:


There has been some 2 years since the last time I attended to an Evangelical church like the ones I was used to go to. I was at my family’s house as they casually invited me to go to one of these churches. These is a Pentecostal church that, nowadays, only my grandmother attends regularly.

It was supposed to be a short service but ended up being way longer than expected. Because charismatic Evangelicals like to keep hugging each other in the pulpit and give long tedious and irrelevant life testimonies of how they accepted Jesus and it drastically changed their lives (even if nothing really changed at all).

There was an introductory message, which was not terrible at all, but was accompanied by all types of awkward and infantile behavior, as if the man was talking to dumb children instead of growing adults. During the worship song, there were two ladies dancing at the pulpit, movements that were not even synchronized and were poorly executed, not because of incompetence, but out of pure laziness. This stuff is incredibly cringe and random, but it happens a lot in Brazil and they call it “prophetic dance” _and this is just the tip of the iceberg of weird things I’ve witnessed in these churches.

Finally, there was the preaching itself, which we can’t even call a sermon, because these modern pastors don’t even bother to elaborate a sermon anymore, they just pick a random passage and rant about it. I probably put way more care and devotion into one single of my articles ditching Christianity than these Christian ministers have ever put into their entire lives as “believers”.

Call me judgmental, but I could see that, unlike the first preacher who gave the introductory message, this pastor was just a typical narcissistic prick who demands a lot but don’t practice half of what he preaches. Just by the smell you could feel the vanity of a larger than the world ego.

His message was centered in the passage of the two thieves in the cross. A story that we know was made up by the author of the Gospel of Luke to anticipate criticisms against the obvious contradiction of the omnipotent Son of God not being able to handle a few pagan soldiers.

And, as you can expect, he compared the people who fall for his evangelistic scam to the “good thief” who recognized the “power” of Jesus before dying and to whom Christ said “Today you’ll be with me in Paradise”. Now, people who cannot believe on things that don’t make any sense at all are compared to the “bad thief”, who, before dying, questioned and challenged Jesus’ power.

If this was the only thing he said, I wouldn’t really bother that much. But he first made a big deal out of the fact that people who are not doing evangelism are almost unsaved. And pointed out the brave missionaries suffering on Sub-Saharan Africa, India and some Muslim country. We live in Brazil, while Evangelicals were sending people to distant places full of complications for Evangelism, the more intelligent Catholics built a massive evangelization campaign on Amazonia (which is a very calm place in our country, untouched by Christianity), because they don’t want to unnecessarily risk their lives just to play the victim card later.

Also, I don’t really get why their omnipotent God would make the salvation of a person completely dependent in the preaching of another flawed and limited human being. Yet, we are told to run like crazy to save as much souls as we can, because this is a true sign of being saved. If God doesn’t bother lifting a finger to save more people, why should we? And if Jesus is the one that deserves the credit for salvation, why are we the ones to do all the heavy lifting?

As we can easily figure out this is just a psychological tactic to trick believers into bringing more people to the church, because more people obviously mean more tithes for their Levitical mafia.

I’ve heard this story so many times, yet I never moved a finger to proselytize, because, even when I kind of believed this nonsense and wanted friends to convert, I was very aware of how annoying and weird it sounds for a normal person to randomly hear all these Jesus talk. And I was never dishonest enough to try to persuade them through more sneaky and subtle methods.

Finally, the guy conquered my complete despise. As he had to appeal to the worst of Christian cliches and insisted that there is only Heaven and Hell, if you don’t accept Jesus and what he did in the cross you go to Hell. Period… It is just this old-fashioned spiritual terrorism to pressure people into become church members _ because, remember, more members, more tithes.

How the hell has my family ever considered that this is normal? And firmly believed that they did me a giant favor by taking me to this type of asylums to hear all this stupidity uttered in the worst ways possible? How people buy into that is beyond me… The worst thing is that it is all of incredibly bad taste, there is nothing there that makes it worth it to be brainwashed. And they think they are the true spiritually superior Christianity. Actually, the only true religion in the entire universe!

The preacher even said (about the whole Gospel mumbo jumbo) “Doesn’t matter if you like it or not. It is not supposed to be liked by you”. Not even in a feeling of concern for people’s salvation, but in pure Pharisaic entitlement. Even if I tried my best to create the most mean-spirited caricature of a Christian preaching, it wouldn’t be as bad as his actual message was. It feels like a malicious parody, but it is exactly how it was. And I went there with complete indifference, trying to ignore all the ill stuff.

At the same time, my conscience was wondering if I was being too unfair with the many recent critiques on Christianity that I’ve posted in this website recently. This event was clearly the work of Providence, an answer, the voice of God telling me to keep on with my good work speaking out the truth and exposing these pathological merchants of lies.

Once a person overcomes the indoctrination that blinded them to the disingenuous way that Christian churches run their shows, it all becomes clear. This religion is the Great Oz and the people running the production behind the curtain are unctuous criminals.

(4676) Christianity is God’s mid-course correction

Most Christians see their religion as being separate from Judaism for the most part, with Jesus as a revolutionary figure that brought salvation to the entire world. But the roots of Christianity fall predominantly in the Jewish faith- it was led by a Jew and promoted by Jews for a long period of time. So, really, it’s just a sect of Judaism. The following was taken from:


Christianity is a Jewish invention.
Jesus (the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name Joshua) was a Jew.
Jesus even declared that he had ONLY come for Israel in Matthew 15:4.
The apostles were Jews.
The Tenach (or Old Testament) is for 100% accepted as the Word of God.
The New Testament was written by Jews.
The New Testament is one very big statement of how and why Judaism should transit into Christianity by including believers from the gentile nations.
The New Testament is based upon and rooted in the Tenach.
Jesus is believed to be the Jewish Messiah, descendant of David and the fulfilment of Jewish prophecies in the Tenach.
Jews were the first believers.
The first Church was in Jerusalem and consisted of mainly Jews. They gathered in the temple.
The apostles took the message to the other nations, but it started as a Jewish matter.
Paul (the apostle of the gentiles) always first went to the local synagoge with his message, only to start outside of this when they rejected his message.
So by all means Christianity started or (so to speak) was invented by Jews.
Or to put it differently: Christianity is more Jewish than most people realize.

Christianity should be viewed as a denomination of Judaism, and not as an independent religion. When viewed in this light, it places extra pressure on the legitimacy of the faith, raising the question as to why an omnipotent god would decide to make a mid-course correction.

(4677) Four endings to the gospels

It would seem to be important for all of the gospel accounts to be consistent with each other, especially when it comes to the endings- where everything is wrapped up and where Christians can understand where the story ends up and without confusion for what is to come. This is not the case. The gospel endings are all inconsistent with each other. The following was taken from:


Devout scholars have been pondering—and arguing about—the four gospel endings for a long time now. Is there any way that these different endings qualify as history? So much has been written about this, so I’m going to mention here just a few of the issues that come to mind. For those who want to insist that the story of Jesus is supremely important, the end of his story—well, the end of his supposed earthly existence—should be of the best possible quality. But that’s not what we find. Let’s look at each of the four endings.

Mark: the first gospel written, and the least said

Until the invention of the printing press in the fifteen century, New Testament manuscripts were copied by hand, and as old manuscripts came to light, it was obvious that a lot of errors and intentional changes had been made: we are at the mercy of scribes who worked without benefit of electric lighting and eyeglasses, and who modified texts according to their theological views.

The ending of Mark’s gospel—in the oldest manuscripts—is a puzzle. In these documents Mark ends at 16:8. Three women had gone to the tomb, were alarmed to find a young man sitting there. He told them Jesus had been raised and would see them in Galilee. Then the abrupt ending, verse 8: “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

There has been disagreement among scholars: did the gospel really end this way? Nothing at all about the activities of the risen Jesus? There can be little doubt that this ending failed to satisfy some early readers, hence an unknown person—just an unknown as the author of the gospel itself—created additional text, verses 9-20, which shows up in later manuscripts.

This author, no surprise, was committed to the superstitions of the Jesus cult. At the opening of Mark 16, we read that three women had gone to the tomb: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome. Now in verse 16 it is claimed that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene, “from whom he had cast out seven demons.” She then told his disciples that Jesus had appeared alive to her—and they didn’t believe it. What happened next? “After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country.  And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.” (vv. 12-13)

It is a major violation of cult rules not to believe what the cult teaches. So the author of this supplement reports next that Jesus appeared to the eleven and scolded them for their doubts. There are consequences for not believing: “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who does not believe will be condemned.” (v. 16) The primary reason for belonging to the cult of a dying-rising god is to be saved. The primary purpose of this text is to promote that agenda.

Then we find one of the most bizarre texts in the gospels:

“And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (vv. 17-18)

The use of Jesus’ name works like a magical spell. It can be used to cast out demons and heal people by touch. And why not throw into the bargain speaking in tongues, picking up snakes, and drinking poison?
We can be confident that not too many clergy these days base sermons on this text—aside from those in snake-handling Jesus-cults in Appalachia.

As soon as Jesus finished saying these goofy things (yes, goofy: believers would agree if no one told them that this is Jesus-script), he ascended to heaven: “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” (v. 19) There is no hint here that forty days had gone by. This author was unaware of the ascension story that would end up in the first chapter of Acts (the forty-day reference in Acts 1:3).

One final comment on Mark 16:9-20. Modern Bible translators/editors have been honest enough to put this text in a footnote. But their honesty has its limits. They commonly attribute variant readings to “other ancient authorities.” But they have no idea at all who wrote Mark 16:9-20, for example. How does it make sense to call him an authority? This is an attempt to cover up the scandal of so many errors having been made in the copying process. The biggest piece of dishonesty, however, is printing Jesus-script in red, as is the case with Mark 16:15-18—which includes the goofy quote. The translators/editors know very well there is no way whatever to verify that these are authentic words of Jesus. In fact, none of the Jesus-script in the gospels can be verified.

Matthew, with a touch of Comic Book fantasy

In the last chapter of Matthew (28) we read that two women (Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary”) went to the tomb. Now we’re told about a dazzling hero flying from the sky:

“And suddenly there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.” (Matthew 28:2-4)

It is this angel (not a man sitting in the tomb) who tells them that Jesus has risen, and advises them to alert the disciples. But on their way, suddenly they ran into Jesus himself: “And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.” (v. 28:9) His message for the disciples is to go on to Galilee. There indeed they met him: “When they saw him, they worshiped him, but they doubted.” (v. 28:17) Then we find more cult fanaticism: our holy hero has it right:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (28:18-20)

Make disciples of all nations, baptize them, teach them to obey. So much damage has been caused by scripture: The Christian colonial powers many centuries later took this as their mandate to invade, conquer, and impose their religion.

Luke, and the Jesus ghost who is not a ghost

We read in Luke 24 that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James—and other women as well—went to the tomb, and were surprised that the body of Jesus wasn’t there.

“… suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to the hands of sinners and be crucified and on the third day rise again.’” (Luke 24:4-7)

The women reported what had happened to the eleven disciples and others, “But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” (v. 11) The next verse is missing from some manuscripts—another example of tampering. It reports that Peter rushed to the tomb, saw that it was empty, and went home amazed.

What is truly amazing is that there was disbelief, that the disciples themselves hadn’t camped out at the tomb to see Jesus come alive again, as he had predicted he would do three times.

Next this author displays his skill as a propagandist for the Jesus cult, i.e., the story of the risen Jesus appearing to two followers on their way to Emmaus (which is not reported in the other gospels). They don’t recognize him, and he draws them into conversation. They explain to this stranger what had happened to Jesus, and how puzzled and disappointed they are—and they get a scolding:

“‘Oh, how foolish you are and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.” (Luke 24:25-27)

It was one of the certain beliefs of the cult that Moses himself and “all the prophets” had predicted Jesus’ role in history.

The two fellows persuade Jesus to stop with them to dine at Emmaus. At the very moment when Jesus blessed the bread, “Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished from their sight.” (v. 31) Isn’t that what ghosts do?

The two fellows rushed back to Jerusalem: “Then they told what had happened on the road and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” (v. 35) Then, suddenly, Jesus was right there among them.

“They were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.  He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see, for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’” (vv. 37-39)

To drive home the point, Jesus asked for something to eat—and they watched as he ate a piece of boiled fish. Once again, he emphasized what Moses and the prophets had taught about him, and promises what the cult members wanted to hear: “And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (v. 49)

Then they headed out to Bethany. “While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.” More tampering here: “and was carried up into heaven” is missing from some manuscripts. This ascension—quite soon after the resurrection—would contradict the story in Acts 1 that Jesus ascended after forty days.

Robert Conner, in his book, Apparitions of Jesus: The Resurrection as Ghost Story, has demonstrated that the gospel resurrection tales were based on ghost folklore. Luke reports that Jesus ate a piece of fish to prove he wasn’t a ghost, yet he vanished from the dinner table at Emmaus the instant he broke bread. Luke seems not to have grasped his own plot flaws.

John, more piling on of resurrection events

The author of John’s gospel was a master at exaggeration. He was obsessed with promotion of the Jesus-cult, centered on its version of a dying-rising savior (an idea absorbed from other such cults). Anyone who has carefully studied Mark, Matthew, and Luke cannot help being puzzled by John’s eccentric, inflated, and sometimes crude theology. He excelled at inflated theology: he claimed that the Galilean peasant preacher had been present at creation. How could he possibly know such a thing?

His story of the raising of Lazarus (missing from the other gospels) is contrived—and crude: Jesus said he was glad he wasn’t there to save Lazarus from dying. The climax of this magical tale (the resurrection is voice activated), is Jesus’ claim that he is the resurrection and the life. Likewise his story of Doubting Thomas (also missing from the other gospels) seems designed to make the point—crucial to the cult: don’t look for evidence on what to believe: just take it on faith.

John’s account of the resurrection differs substantially from the others. It is Mary Magdalene alone who goes to the tomb. She reported to Peter, and the disciple “whom Jesus loved” that Jesus was nowhere to be found. They ran to the tomb, found it empty and returned home. Mary looked in the tomb again, saw two angels dressed in white, then, turning around, saw Jesus, whom she mistook for the gardener. When she realized who it was, she went back to the disciples to report what she’d seen.

Then, in verses 19-29, we find the famous Doubting Thomas story, followed by two verses that feel very much like the end of the gospel. But then we get chapter 21, in which Jesus shows up—unrecognized—at the Sea of Tiberias, where Peter and other disciples had gone fishing. They’ve had bad luck, until Jesus tells then what to do—and they have a massive catch of fish. And that’s breakfast!

Then Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him—to the annoyance of Peter. And readers too must wonder: What was the point? The chapter concludes with reference again to “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” with the final claim that it was this disciple who wrote down all these things about Jesus: “This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” We know that his testimony is true. This is cult bragging, but it is not the way authentic history is written. The supposed events presented in John 20-21 escaped the notice of the other gospel authors.

A crucial factor needs to be stressed repeatedly: there is no contemporaneous documentation (diaries, letters, transcripts, and other archival materials) by which to verify any of the events and teachings reported in the gospels. Inventing a beloved disciple (unknown to the other gospel authors) who recorded everything doesn’t alter that reality. The four different gospel endings were the inventions of four different advocates for the Jesus-cult.

Every gospel author had no compunction to invent mystical elements to tie up their accounts of Jesus. At least three of them are fictional, and the fourth is most probably likewise.

(4678) Why the supernatural doesn’t exist

Christianity asserts that God can be accessed through prayer to perform supernatural outcomes for any problem that might occur. Or that God works independently to help his followers. All of this is put to rest by observing and measuring the natural world- and that this process reveals the fact that it is purely natural, with no signs of influence from any supernatural actors. The following was taken from:


Hypothesis: The natural world is a petri dish of testability and falsifiability. Therefore, claims about events occurring in the natural world are verifiable. This brings me around to claims of god answering prayers, god healing a sick child, or god looking out for you. Events such as these would leave fingerprints that are measurable.

Christianity has been at the forefront of making god claims for a couple thousand years, but record keeping back in the early days of the church was nothing like today. Today, everything medical, financial, legal, and divorce is tracked and can be made into charts and graphs faster than it took me to write this sentence. This means deaths from cancer, and cancer survival, are tracked down to the individual level. Things like children who recover from, or die from, illnesses are tracked.

This means that if even one percent of Christian players for loved ones to heal were answered, the blip in the survival numbers for Christians who pray compared to those who don’t pray, or pray to the wrong god, would be irrefutable evidence for both god and prayer. Christians would enjoy faster recoveries, lower death from cancer rates, higher survival rates from car accidents, fewer financial problems, lower divorce rates, and a whole host of other real world problems. And that’s just one percent of prayers being answered.

I believe that it’s perfectly fine to believe in a god and that someone has a personal relationship with that god. However, the moment someone claims that the supernatural is working in the natural world, the whole thing falls apart. And this is where all of the special pleading and apologetics begin.

Statistics should provide strong evidence for any religion that is true. But none of this type of evidence exists. This infers that the supernatural does not exist in our universe, and that there are no gods that have any influence on our lives.

(4659) Death by circumcision

The story is told in Genesis where two of Jacob’s sons took revenge on a city where their their sister Dinah had been defiled. What is ‘entertaining’ about this story is that the key part of the plan was to get all of males of the city to agree to be circumcised. Somehow, this left the men powerless three days later when they were all killed by only two of Dinah’s brothers.

Genesis 34: 25-29

All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.

Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.

A little pain will not stop a person from vigorously defending their lives. This story is obviously fictional, and a good clue that everything else in Genesis is likewise.

(4680) God is unjust or the Bible is wrong about gays

Christianity faces an insurmountable problem concerning its stance about homosexuals. The problem develops when assumptions are made about God’s omnipotence, combined with the growing scientific evidence about the underlying biological and environmental causes of homosexuality, and further in view of the several scriptural verses addressing this matter. The following was taken from:


God created gay people deliberately, or the Bible is wrong.

When debating homosexuality, Christians tend to argue that being gay is a choice, and that homosexuals have free will like us all and are responsible for sinning. But there are biological components to homosexuality. The bible clearly states that being gay is sinful, like in Leviticus 20:13 where says that homosexuals should be put to death. In the new testament Corinthians 6 verses 9 to 11 also state this. The problem with these verses is that they claim that homosexuality is an abomination, and is even a sin worthy of death, but the reasoning they give is that it’s not how God intended.

With that being said, being gay is partially the result of biological factors. Things like brain structure, genetics, and hormones can all impact whether someone is homosexual or not. The topic of sexuality is very complex, of course, but there are factors outside of someone’s control. Knowing that there are some biological factors to being homosexual, God must have given gay people them. This means that God, who does not accept homosexuals into heaven, also intended for them to exist. Either God created people destined for eternal suffering deliberately, or the Bibles teachings are wrong.

Both of these answers don’t align with Christian beliefs. Assuming that the Bible’s teachings are accurate, and that being gay truly does result in someone going to hell, God is unjust for creating homosexuals in the first place. Assuming that the Bible’s teachings are inaccurate means assuming that the bible is wrong. Either assumption means that Christianity is a flawed religion.

The only way for the biblical proscription of homosexuality to have survived the centuries hence would have been scientific findings revealing that being gay is strictly a choice, and nothing more. That hasn’t happened; in fact, the reverse has been proven instead. Christians are using a flawed book or they are worshiping an evil god.

(4681) God is either imperfect, uninvolved, or non-existent

The flaws in human and other animal biology leads to a powerful refutation of the claims of most Christians that God is perfect and that he either created humans and other lifeforms or else guided the pathway of evolution to that end. The following was taken from:


God’s designs are poor or suboptimal, so either God is nonexistent, or God is imperfect and could not have possibly made Man in his perfect image

Many people try to refute evolution by advocating for intelligent design, or in other words God designed and created the things on Earth and therefore they ought to be perfect.

Anybody who thinks that should take a telephone book and look at the listings of dentists, orthopedists and chiropractors. It is already evident that the human body has so many “design flaws” that entire professions exist to correct them.

But suboptimal designs are not only restricted to humans. There are many examples of poor design among animals. For instance, there exist beetles that have wings but are unable to fly. Such insects (Apterocyclus honoluluensis, Tenebrionidae, and many beetles) have a full set of wings, but they live their entire lives on the ground and are physically unable to use their wings for flying.

There are also plants that have flowers while they reproduce asexually, like dandelions. They continue to produce flowers with self-fertilizing ovaries, along with bright yellow petals that remain attractive to pollinators, making the opened dandelion flower redundant.

So it seems that evolution by natural selection is really the cause of the creatures we see today, instead of intelligent design or God’s intervention.

There exist only three viable options- (1) God is imperfect, or (2) God kept his hands off of the pathway of biological evolution, or (3) God does not exist. There are so many Christians who protest that all of these are wrong, without providing a suitable alternative theory.

(4682) The Ten Non-Commandments

Christians unctuously hold on to their starry-eyed view of the biblical Ten Commandments as if they represent something that passes the limits of human efforts to construct such a ‘perfect’ moral code. This is so ridiculous that it doesn’t merit a rebuttal. In the following, a set of (non) commandments are presented that, had they been in the Bible instead of the others, the world would be in a MUCH better place today:













If everyone followed this guidance, we would have a world that truly reflected the highest pinnacle of what humanity could be. The Bible fails spectacularly against this set of edicts.

The following are relevant corollaries to the list above:

I- Don’t fall for dogma or the unquestioned agreement with a ‘guru.’
II- Be objective
III- Use science wisely and demand evidence for what is asserted
IV- Women have a right to abortion. Period.
V- Do not persecute those who lack belief in supernatural figures
VI- Do not look for a scapegoat to wash away your ‘sins’-own them and compensate
VII- The golden and the platinum rule, the latter of which is not found in the Bible
VIII- Don’t forget that people younger than you deserve a livable planet too
IX- Being gay is a natural and acceptable way to live life
X- Be responsible for the health of planet Earth

The people of biblical times were not ‘evolved enough’ to present moral rules of such sophistication that can stand up to modern standards. This, any Christian would likely concede. But if God inspired these people or the writing of the Bible, then shouldn’t we expect to see such divine brilliance within its pages? The fact that we don’t is very telling.

(4683) Hell can never be justified

We know much better now than 2000 years ago that humans have a very limited range of thoughts, actions, and beliefs, owing to the physical makeup of our brains and the specifics of birth family, country, indoctrinated religion, and experiences. What this means is that to pin full responsibility against someone who fails to meet a rigid religious test cannot be fair. The following was taken from:


First of all, those born evil, like pure psychopaths, didn’t ask to be born nor did they design their own brain. It’s not their fault they are the way they are and I bet if they could easily change their natural mindset, they would. Even if they feel like they don’t want to change, it’s because of how their brain is wired.

Secondly, most people that become evil later on in life or people with tendencies to commit evil are just a product of their environment/upbringing, if they weren’t in that environment, they probably would’ve turned out fine.

Thirdly, people (including me) will always feel the need to judge “bad” people, regardless of everything I previously said. That’s because evil/heinous wrongdoings, evoke negative emotions from humans and that’s completely understandable. However even though it’s always easy to pass judgement, we need to understand that we could’ve easily been born as anyone else in this world and we could’ve had someone else’s horrible life/defective brain.

Lastly, if God created everyone, then he gave everyone the brain they have, no matter what type of brain it is. Some might say okay well he also gave us free will so you can choose to not be evil even if you were born evil. The thing is, even if you have free will, it’s next to impossible to completely alter your brain chemistry. It’s like telling someone with an IQ below 50 to choose to become a genius.

I’m not advocating for evil people, I do believe and support the justice system (prison/asylums). If they have committed evil acts they need to be separated from the rest of society for our safety and the justice for the victims. It’s just if there is an after life, i don’t think they should be burning for all eternity.

It is probable that any religion being developed today would acknowledge these facts and not conceive of a place like hell for the disadvantaged. And we have mostly seen that play out in the newer religions of Scientology and Mormonism. Hell is an extremely unfortunate invention by people who were clueless about the mechanics of human nature.

(4684) John re-makes Christianity into a cult

The release of the Gospel of John represented a watershed moment in the history of Christianity. It evolved the nascent Christian movement, then just a branch of standard Judaism, into a separate faith and a full-fledged cult. If the authors of Mark, Matthew, and Luke ever read this gospel, they must have been thinking it was about someone different than who they were describing. The following was taken from:


In this article, I will focus on a few verses in John 14-17, a huge Jesus monologue found nowhere else. How did the other gospel authors miss it—if they used reliable oral tradition and eyewitness testimonies? How did they miss it if they were inspired by god to tell the truth about Jesus? All of the gospel authors were motivated to advance the early Jesus cult, but John 14-17 stresses the benefits of being a member of the cult: it is an example of massive overpromotion.

John was obsessed with the certainty that knowing Jesus, belonging to Jesus, was the only way to connect with god at the most profound level—and be guaranteed eternal life. He was sure that his god—his god alone—could make sure this happened.

Cult comfort

How well I recall, from my childhood, the opening of John 14:1-2, in the wonderful language of the King James Version: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

Verse 3 offers the ultimate assurance to the cult members: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” And here’s the whole purpose of the cult, vv. 6-7: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Near the end of this long monologue, at the start of chapter 17, Jesus “looked up to heaven” to address the Father. This reflects the cozy view of the cosmos then accepted: the Father is above, as is his dwelling with “many mansions” that the cult members will settle into, after their escape from death, thanks to the dying-rising hero Jesus. These folks are assured they are the most privileged, 14:13-14: “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”

Because the members of the cult adore the dying-rising hero, his departure will not be a source of alarm, vv. 18-20: “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” And verse 26: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you.”

Thus the author of this gospel offers his assurance that the cult will be continually guided by this Holy Spirit. The irony, of course, from our perspective many centuries later, is that the Christian cult has fought and splintered endlessly because there is so little agreement on exactly what the Holy Spirit has taught. John’s imagination was not up to the task of seeing the history of the church that was to come.

Cult threats

Chapter 15 begins with another of the “I am” claims made by Jesus—according to this author: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.” But then comes the warning, the cult has high expectations, v. 6: “Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” Lack of full commitment, full loyalty are not permitted. This reminds us of the brutal verse that we find in Luke’s gospel, 14:26: “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.”

Hatred against the cult

What was it like to have a conversation with the author of John’s gospel? In chapters 14-17 especially, his religious arrogance is on full display: “Ours is the only right religion, we’re privileged to be uniquely loved and favored by god.” Did he behave this way in his every-day interaction with other people? If so, it’s not hard to imagine that people didn’t like him, wanted to keep their distance: “What a pompous ass!” He must not have been too bothered by this shunning, and he created Jesus-script to explain it:

“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (15:18-19)

It would seem that being hated is part of the divine plan. Maybe John just failed to notice that being arrogant and pompous produced hateful responses.

The seeds of the most destructive hatred

One of the great sins of the New Testament is its fueling of anti-Semitism. The Jesus cult was a breakaway Jewish sect: the vast majority of Jews rejected the idea that Jesus qualified as the Messiah. The author of John’s gospel responded by lashing out. He devised this Jesus-script at chapter 8:44, addressing the Jews: “You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires.” As Hector Avalos has pointed out, “That verse later shows up on Nazi street signs.” (The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails, ed. by John Loftus, p. 378) This theme is repeated in a different way in chapter 16:1-4:

“I have said these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.”

They have not known the Father. This blunt accusation—along with the suggestion that the Jews have the devil for their father—has caused so much damage. No doubt Martin Luther’s virulent anti-Semitic rantings derive from such texts.

Promises to the cult

Later in chapter 16, verses 23-24, the benefits of belonging to the cult are defined precisely: “Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” Countless devout Christians have discovered that this is simply not true.

And devotees of the cult will be protected, verse 16:33: “I have said this to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution, but take courage: I have conquered the world!”

More fluff—first rate theobabble—that emerged from this author’s imagination.

The Jesus-script prayer to the Father in chapter 17 includes this promise as well, verses 21-23:

“As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

That they may become completely one. A bigger failed promise can hardly be imagined.

My constant appeal to the devout is please read the gospels. Dr. Jaco Gericke has stated the harsh truth: “If you read the scriptures and are not shocked out of all your religious beliefs, you have not understood them.” (The End of Christianity, ed. by John Loftus, p. 137) This actually requires more than reading: put curiosity and critical thinking into high gear—which is so hard to do for those who have been indoctrinated, who have been persuaded from their earliest years that the Bible is a reliable source of god-information. Break out of the Sunday School mentality. Study John 14-17. It’s not hard to see that the ancient theologian who wrote these chapters did a lot of damage to the religion he was supposedly championing. Your religious beliefs are in for a major shock.

Although Christians have a love affair with the Gospel of John, the truth is that Christianity would be on much firmer ground if it had been left out of the Bible. You can’t have two incompatible portrayals of your hero under the same cover. It doesn’t work, except for those Christians who never read the Bible and just mindlessly absorb what their pastors tell them.

(4685) Why the Judas story is bad fiction

For 2000 years, Judas, whether a real person or not, has been the scapegoat responsible for Jesus’ death. Even in a literary sense, the character development of this figure is highly questionable, theologically inconsistent, and is, just in general, bad fiction. The following was taken from:


The following development is heavily inspired by Marcel Pagnol and the preface of his theatre play “Judas”. It aims to show that Judas has been misjudged during more than 2000 years by all Christians movements. To give force to those thoughts, I use only pure christian sources, nothing else. Moreover, I want to show that the writers of the Gospels have introduced heavy bias in their writings, especially John.

According to Christian doctrine, Jesus had to die. Otherwise, he would just have been a preacher, a man like any other. Christianity might even have disappeared in the turmoil of the Jewish revolt of 66. From a Christian point of view, Jesus had to die to give meaning to his existence. Judas is therefore the most important apostle in Christianity, much more so than Peter and John, because he is the one who fulfils the prophecies.

What might Judas’ motives have been? The Gospels give two possible explanations: the love of money and the temptation of the devil. Neither of these holds water. Judas held the common purse, and no doubt had access to much more than 30 denarii. Fleeing with the purse would have been much more profitable and would not have involved having the death of an innocent on his conscience.

As for the devil, that’s an easy excuse, and the Gospels don’t even agree on when the devil entered Judas; sometimes it’s around the time of the sinful woman and the amphora of perfume, sometimes it’s during the Last Supper. There are prophecies fulfilled by the act of Judas, and the Gospels insist on them heavily. If the devil had really inspired these acts, he would have asked for any sum other than 30 denarii.

The main testimony about Judas is that of John, and John seems to have a grudge against Judas, for reasons I don’t know. Was it jealousy? After all, Judas was the treasurer of the group, a position of prime importance, which could cast a shadow over the man described as “the beloved disciple”. During the episode with the bottle of perfume, Mark says that “some of the disciples” (Matthew generalizes even more and just says “the apostles”) complained that it was money wasted that could have been used for the poor (we’re talking about 300 silver coins, much more than 30 unfortunate denarii), to which Jesus replies that the woman was right, since her act announced his embalming. And now, in John, we go from several disciples to Judas specifically, to which the evangelist adds, out of nowhere, that it’s because Judas stole from the till.

This is extremely bad faith. If John knew that Judas was stealing from the till, why is he the only one to mention it? Didn’t he say anything to anyone? Did he let Judas go on for 3 years as if nothing had happened? This sudden story of theft sounds like a false testimony (ironic, considering John is the most quoted Gospel).

Again according to John, Jesus declares in chapter 6 that one of the apostles is the devil. And without further ado, John directly accuses Judas, at a time when no one knows who will betray Jesus. And yet, in the Gospel, there is only one apostle explicitly designated as Satan, and that is Peter (Matthew XVI, 23). This is another case of unfounded judgment on John’s part.

All this to say that the traditional narrative of the Church does not make sense. John’s point of view has been adopted indiscriminately and everything has been held against Judas; in fact, Judas has never been given a fair trial by Christians. When Judas is mentioned, it is never to explain his actions, but always to condemn him, to the point where his name has become synonymous with traitor.

And yet, if we stop for a few minutes, Judas’ act makes sense. Judas, like the other apostles, knew the prophecies. The Gospels describe many of Jesus’ acts as the fulfillment of a prophecy, which supports the importance of the prophetic dimension for the apostles, particularly in the context of the resurgence of a state of mind of messianic expectation in Judea. For Judas, Jesus was the Messiah, and he had to be betrayed for the prophecies to be fulfilled. Judas does everything he does willingly, but no doubt with some reluctance. Matthew even shows him hesitating (“Rabbi, could it be me?”). After all, he had spent several years with Jesus, for whom he undoubtedly felt admiration and friendship. That’s why Jesus repeatedly urges him to do what he has to do: “Whatever you have to do, do it quickly” (John XIII, 27), “my friend, do your work” (Matthew XXVI, 50).

Jesus is well aware that he is asking Judas to do something very difficult (“Blessed is the man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed” Matthew XXVI, 24). Judas is racked with remorse. Add to this the fact that his act provides a very good excuse for his rivals (especially John, but possibly also Peter) to oust him (after all, isn’t it strange to treat someone so badly who has just fulfilled the prophecies they were waiting for? The event no doubt serves as an excuse to eject Judas). This is a pretty good explanation of why he committed suicide.

Judas is the tragic figure par excellence, so much so that the tragedy continued after his death. The judgment of Judas by all the Churches, whether they are catholic, orthodox, Lutheran or evangelist, is insanely unfair. The only thing more incredible than this is that they entirely trust John, even though his story is highly unreliable.

It is likely that a mythical figure doing mythical things and written about by multiple authors will end up being unrealistic in many ways. And this is the story of Judas. Whether he was a real person or not, clearly we have no way of knowing, but if he was real, then we can be assured that none of what was recorded about him should be considered historically reliable.

(4686) Old Testament is proto-fascist

If we were to consider ancient Israel as a country and God as its president, then we would describe it as a fascist dictatorship that would be condemned by the United Nations as a rogue and dangerous nation. The following was taken from:


If Christianity never gained major influence, how do you think most historians would interpret the Old Testament?

    1. Yahweh tells the Israelites that they are the ‘chosen people’,insinuating they are superior to all other nations (basically master race without saying master race and making it sound spiritual)
    2. He encourages them to brutalize and sabotage all neighboring civilizations and to see everyone else as lesser. See Joshua killing all the people and even their livestock and the verses describing this as a good thing. But they were not the chosen people so their deaths don’t mean anything, right?
    3. Canaanite genocide intended originally as ‘just’ a cultural genocide. Ah yes, look at these people practicing their religious beliefs in peace…oh wait, their beliefs are not the exact same as ours? KILL THEM ALL!
    4. 10 plagues of Egypt. God sees the lives of the Israelites as superior to and of greater importance than those of the Egyptians + the 10th plague killing a newborn child because…well who cares? Its not like the child was from the chosen people right?
    5. Jesus, the so called all loving all forgiving all accepting savior, compares a starving Syrian woman to a dog (paraphrasing) ‘do not give the bread of god’s children to dogs’


Not to mention all the other countless mentions of genocide and racial supremacy in all but name in the Bible. Some of the acts committed in the Bible if they were committed today would result in prosecution for war crimes.

Has anyone else realized that Christianity, at its core when literally interpreted, is essentially a primitive form of fascism?

How would God’s leadership of the Israelite nation be judged by modern standards? Not well. His record would place him among history’s most evil and despicable world leaders.

(4687) Unmitigated ambiguity

The following essay expresses the fact that the story of Jesus is too ambiguous to be the production of an almighty god intent on spreading his salvific message to humankind. That, in its own right, is enough to conclude that Christianity is not for real. The following was taken from:


What did Jesus really say?

The title question implies a couple of things. First, it is premised on the existence of a person named Jesus whose life is described in the New Testament gospels. Second, it suggests that there is a way to know what that person said.

Was There a Jesus?

The fact is that we don’t, and really can’t, know if Jesus was real. That a lot of people believe he was real doesn’t mean anything. The number of people who still believe that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, or that Trump is still president today, demonstrates that point convincingly.

Jesus is mentioned in the writings of a few other ancient historians, but there is no evidence that any of those references were based on independent information. One of the ancient historians who is often cited is Josephus. However, his mention of Jesus is thought to have been based on another, since lost, gospel. He repeated what he had read.

What Did He Say?

For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that Jesus did exist and that much of the narrative about him in the New Testament has some factual basis. How do we take the words he is reported to have said?

At one extreme is the red-letter version of the bible, wherein every word “spoken” by Jesus is highlighted in red (as in the photograph above). The implication here is either that someone was essentially taking dictation while Jesus spoke, or that by some miraculous means the Gospel writers were given exact quotations as they were writing. Neither of these is a defensible contention. Christian doctrine rejects the latter (no “divine dictation” in writing the bible). As far as I know, the former has never been claimed and would probably be met with widespread suspicion, even among Christians.

The gospels are thought to have been written, from memory or previously existing accounts, well after Jesus is thought to have died. The best one can hope is that the writers captured the essence of Jesus’ teaching, but in their own words, and inevitably colored by their own interpretations. There is no way to know if this is true, or how close their recollections might be to the actual events and dialog.

The last possibility I’ll mention here is that Jesus was simply a character in a story and that the New Testament’s purpose was to get across messages and beliefs rather than document an actual person’s existence, words, and actions. Again, there is no way to know this is true.

In short, deciding that Jesus existed and that the gospels do a reasonably good job of capturing what he said and taught, is an act of pure faith.

Following “the teachings of Jesus”

So what does it mean when someone says that they don’t like organized religion, but are followers of “the teachings of Jesus.” If that means the words attributed to Jesus in the bible, then we’re back to something like the red letter approach.

Suppose that phrase refers to everything that was written in the New Testament. This is more in line with mainstream Christian doctrine, which states that the entire bible is the inerrant word of god. In that case, however, one has to address the many stories and teachings in the New Testament that are antithetical to the modern understanding of morality (subjugation of women, or dehumanization of people from other cultures or religions, for example).

A third possibility is that following the teachings of Jesus could mean believing in loving one another, caring for those in need, etc. This amounts to the “pick and choose” approach to Christianity [discussed here], embracing the feel-good ideas while ignoring the rest. In this case, however, there is no real need to attribute such teachings to Jesus or any higher power, because there is nothing earth-shattering or new — they are simply the principles of human compassion.

So what did Jesus, a person whose existence can’t be factually proven, “really” say? I don’t know, you don’t know, no one knows.

Uncertain quotations are not limited to documents from the distant past. The internet has enabled the proliferation of incorrectly attributed quotations. My favorite parody of this phenomenon is:

“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” — Abraham Lincoln

In the same spirit, I propose a new quotation:

“Hey, I never said that!” — Jesus

If there was a god who sent his son (or self) to our planet for what would amount to the most critical event of its 4.5 billion year history- that the record of such a miraculous and important event would be reliably documented for the benefit of future generations. A real god would have ensured this. A fake god would leave us clueless.

(4688) Bible versus ChatGPT

It is enlightening (if not entertaining) to pit the Bible against an AI chat box to see which one spits out the best moral guidance- will it be the text allegedly inspired by an omnipotent god or an algorithm created by human engineers? Here is one inning of this contest:


I stumbled across this verse in the New Testament…

“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” – 1 Timothy 2:12-13

This prompted me to ask Chatgpt, “Should women be allowed to speak or lead over men?” The response was…

“Yes, women should be allowed to speak and lead over men if they possess the necessary skills, qualifications, and experience for the job. Women have the same fundamental human rights as men, including the right to freedom of speech, the right to participate in decision-making processes, and the right to pursue leadership roles.”

Bible passages are often used to justify men being deemed the head of the house, which means his opinion will always outweigh hers, and he is divinely ordained to make every decision. Many women end up realizing they have very little control over their own life in this system. Through a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, the only power women are granted when they are stuck in a position like this is to submit to, and pray over him, and not to quarrel. Divorce isn’t permitted except for infidelity.

The truth is, there’s nothing about men which makes them inherently better at speaking, leading or making decisions. So how did the church get away with making it the norm to exclude women from such important roles in society? Most churches still don’t allow women to be members of the board, deacons, pastors, etc.

So ChatGPT wins this competition by a landslide. God is outperformed by human scientists, and just plain common sense. How any woman can be a Christian is beyond astounding.

(4689) Ten marks of delusion

Much of religious belief results from early-life inculcation combined with incentives to limit one’s exposure to other cultures, science, or philosophies. In a sense, many religious people live in an invisible cocoon that shields them from dis-confirming evidence that could shake their faith. It is literally a defense of ignorance. The following, discussing ten ways this scheme plays out, was taken from:


Below in no particular order are what I consider the ten marks (or characteristics) of a deluded person. I think even educated Christians will agree with most of them. You might want to consider from this checklist how many of them apply to you. To the degree that more of them apply then the more likely you are deluded by your faith. Now it’s quite possible that Christians can be deluded and yet their faith is true, in the same sense that a person might be brainwashed or indoctrinated into believing the truth. But the point is that if you’re deluded then you have no reason to believe.

A deluded person is more likely than not one who…

1) Was born and raised into his or her religious faith. Just taking the odds at face value this is non-controversial and undeniable given the number of religions propagated around the globe and adhered to with utter and complete confidence as the one true faith.

2) As an adult never adopts nor cultivates the adult attitude of doubt. All adults must revisit the religious faith taught to them by their parents since #1 above is undeniably true. That means they must doubt. Doubt is the adult attitude.

3) Never reads widely or is exposed to other points of view in the media. I’m talking about non-fiction works about the sciences, different cultures, different faiths, and those written by skeptics or non-believers. To escape from being deluded, believers should read books that are written by people within different cultures and faith communities, and watch programs on the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, PBS, 60 Minutes, Dateline, and yes, YouTube.

4) Does not travel widely including travel into different cultures. A deluded person only experiences a small slice of the pie. One must experience the world to see how others live. The more the better. Such a person basically stays within the social confines of like-minded religious people. The Amish are the extreme examples of this. Many believers only have believing friends. Even if believers cannot travel the world they can still step outside their social grouping to meet other people who think differently. Most believers do not trust people of different faiths or non-believers. Seek them out. Attend a freethinker’s group meeting. Get to know them. Become friends with them.

5) Never studies deeply into the nature of his or her adopted faith. The more you know the less you believe, the less confident you become, and the more you doubt.

6) Lies in order to defend one’s faith. There are plenty of examples of this, from faking stories about finding Noah’s Ark, to fudging the truth when there is no reasonable response, to making up personal healing stories, to claiming a conversion from a position of intellectual atheism (versus a practical atheism) to Evangelical Christianity like Lee Strobel and David Wood, to personal and unjustified attacks on anyone who questions one’s faith in order to poison the well against them, to debate tactics like the ones used by Bill Craig and Dinesh D’Souza who as debaters, just like boxers in a ring, are out to win the debate no matter what must be said in order to win it. These are liars for Jesus to various degrees. If you have to lie to defend your faith then you need help.

7) Preaches to people who think differently rather than rationally engaging them. I am constantly amazed, bewildered, frustrated, and bored with the kind of responses I see from believers who comment here at DC. They come here preaching. They pontificate. They quote mine from the Bible. They even say we’re going to hell with glee. Many of them merely mouth the words of the creeds and affirm what they believe, rather than actually engaging us with a rational discussion about the basis for believing in the first place. They come here preaching to us from an ancient superstitious set of texts rather than showing us why we should believe them in the first place.

8) Claims he or she does not need evidence to believe. Take notice Alvin Plantinga and Bill Craig! This is utterly delusional thinking especially when we consider all of the things they must take as properly basic beliefs coming from the witness of the Holy Spirit. As someone said, “what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” Anyone who claims his or her faith does not need evidence, even if true, ought to take a reality check.

9) Must be convinced that his or her faith is impossible before seeing it as improbable. Time after time believers will claim I have not proved that their faith is impossible, and so lacking this kind of proof they still claim to have a reason to believe. However, we’re always talking about probabilities. So even if it’s still possible to believe in light of a number of problems for faith, it’s still an improbable faith and that should be good enough.

10) Must denigrate the sciences in order to have faith. This is what I see time after time. Believers denigrate the sciences in a number of ways in order to believe. That’s because faith demands it. Some believers don’t even know what I’m talking about. Since science tells us prayer doesn’t work then it doesn’t work. It tells us the universe is 13.7 billion years old. It tells us we evolved. It tells us there was no Israelite Exodus from Egypt. It tells us the Nativity stories in the Gospels could not be true. It tells us virgins do not have babies. It tells us that dead people do not bodily rise from the grave. Christians must denigrate science in order to believe. Science or Faith? Science has a track record. Faith flies planes into buildings. Science all the way, hands down. End of story.

It is fairly certain that if these 10 elements were removed from the life trajectory of most people, very few would become Christians. Christianity depends on these types of experiential limits to foist their wild hypothesis on vulnerable people in order to perpetuate their fraud. It cannot compete on a level playing field.

(4690) Jesus baptizing contradiction

Did Jesus baptize people or not? Usually such a question is met with the response- ‘it depends on which gospel you read.’ But with the Gospel of John, this query depends on which chapter you read. Note the discrepancy below:

John 3:22-26

After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

John 4:1-3

Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John—although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

Apologists can always wiggle out of even the most unassailable contradictions, because their image of the Bible being infallible is critical to their faith. So, in the above, they say that Jesus was baptizing for awhile, but then he stopped doing it and thereafter had his disciples take over this ritual completely. Such rationalization satisfies only the most incurious of human minds. To the rest of us- we realize that the author of this gospel made a mistake.

(4691) Ten Jesus quotes

You would think that if a divine humanoid actually visited our planet that this individual would say things that were astonishing, unassailable, and noteworthy. Or else, if someone was making up such a character that they would strive to make sure that what this person said would be other-worldly. But there is so much that Jesus is alleged to have said that is, frankly, not anything to be proud of- in fact, much of it is dangerous and shameful. The following discusses ten Jesus quotes that are morally indefensible:


Let’s start on a positive note—before I move on to discuss very problematic Jesus quotes from the gospels. Of course, there are good Jesus quotes, and I like to combine Matthew 7:1-2 with John 8:7, which are, in fact, hard for conservative Christians especially to deal with:

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For the judgment you give will be the judgment you get, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.”

“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

But evangelicals savor despising gay people, feminists, and those who campaign for women’s rights (such as access to abortion). So they have ways to work around these compassionate teachings of Jesus, not to judge, not to throw stones. Their severe Christianity demands strident opposition. So Jesus can take a hike—at least they turn their backs on these quotes of their lord and savior: they can’t mean what they seem to mean.

It’s probable that mainstream Christians aren’t so sure. But then they have to deal with Jesus quotes that are even more troubling—to say the least. Since many of the devout neglect basic Bible reading/study, they aren’t aware of many of the problematic Jesus quotes, and their clergy commonly avoid mentioning these texts in their sermons.

Let’s look at ten of them.

(1)  Matthew 10:34-36:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.”

The purpose of Jesus’ coming to earth was to damage/destroy families? The next few verses elaborate on this theme, adding the role his ego played:

(2)  Matthew 10:37-39:

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

There is a parallel text to this in Luke’s gospel, the infamous 14:46: “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” If Luke knew about Matthew 10:37-39, he apparently felt it was not strong enough. Hence his use of the word hate. Hatred of family, and even life itself, was a requirement for being a disciple.

With these texts we run into a blunt fact about Christianity that most of the devout don’t want to think about, at least those outside an extreme fundamentalist mindset. The earliest Jesus believers were a breakaway Jewish sect, which is best described as a cult—as demonstrated so clearly by these texts from Matthew and Luke. Cults expected undivided loyalties, which meant that attachment to family had to be abandoned. One of the scariest chapters in the gospels is Mark 13. This is a stark introduction to cult delusion—and it’s presented as Jesus-script.

Those in the cult would have the privilege of seeing the world disintegrate as their precious kingdom of god arrived.

(3)  Mark 13:7-8:

“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.”

(4)  Mark 13:12-13:

“Sibling will betray sibling to death and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

(5) Mark 13:30-31: 

“Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

This generation will not pass away. So keep awake! In this Jesus-script, believers are to behave as servants whose master has gone on a journey:

(6)  Mark 13:35-37:

“…keep awake, for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening or at midnight or at cockcrow or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”  In chapter 14, Jesus promises those at his trial that they will see him seated by at god’s right hand, and then “coming with the clouds of heaven.” (v. 62)

It is still the expectation among many Christians that Jesus will keep his word. They watch the skies, they examine Bible texts to see if there are hidden clues about when Jesus will descend through the clouds. Repeatedly, dates have been announced, then excuses offered as to why Jesus failed to appear. But these folks can’t admit that their Bible got it wrong. The Jesus portrayed in Mark’s gospel expected god’s kingdom to be initiated very soon. Perhaps this author was influenced by the apostle Paul’s strong conviction that Jesus would not delay long. We can be sure that many modern Christians divert their eyes from these texts—they wish these Jesus quotes could be deleted—because they just don’t make sense. Unless one’s brain is still held captive by the cult mentality. Others can face the facts, as John Loftus has pointed out: “So if Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet, then he was a failed one, just like every other doomsday prophet in history—before and after him.” (p. 325, The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails)

Now let’s look at three remarkable Jesus quotes—remarkable for their severity and lack of compassion.

In Matthew 10, Jesus sends his disciples out to preach in surrounding villages. How do we respond today to missionaries who knock on our doors? It might have been pretty much the same back then. Here’s what Jesus says to reassure his disciples.

(7)  Matthew 10:14-15:

“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”

In other words: those who don’t listen to your preaching will have their houses and villages burned down. And that day of judgment isn’t too far away.

Speaking of which, one of the most famous texts in the New Testament is Matthew 25, in which Jesus describes how his god will render judgment over “all the nations gathered before him.” People who have been compassionate will receive their reward: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…” (v. 34) But those who have failed at compassion (i.e., didn’t welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit people in prison), will face the consequences:

(8)  Matthew 25:46:

“…these will go away into eternal punishment…”

Many Christians today should probably tremble at this severity. Do they do all they can to welcome strangers (such as refugees crossing our borders), feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit people in prison? Failure of compassion seems to be the big sin here. Strange that Jesus neglected to mention, specifically, owning slaves, oppressing women, beating up on gay people.

One of the texts that the devout adore the most is John 3:16, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son…”  How wonderful, God is Love. But please read all of John 3, carefully, critically. We also find these severe words of warning:

(9)  John 3:18 and John 3:34:

“…those who do not believe are condemned already because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life but must endure God’s wrath.”

This is more cult fanaticism: ours in the one true religion, and you will be wiped out by our god if you don’t believe exactly what we believe; if you don’t believe in the magical power of his son’s name.

Just as Mark 13 is one of the scariest chapters in the gospels, so John’s gospel provides us with perhaps the most ghoulish text. The Jesus believers had adopted the dying-and-rising savior hero (worshipped by other ancient cults) as the model for their own hero. Sacred meals could be part of the ritual, and in John 6:53-57 we find full strength magical thinking, indeed magic potions:

(10)  John 6:53-57:

“…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day, for my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.”

With such superstition, the gospels sink to a new low. This is bad theology, bad religion. Who wants to believe that Jesus said any such thing? Please delete!

Relief is on the way, however! Although devout Christians probably won’t welcome it. Since the gospels were written decades after the death of Jesus, and since there is no contemporaneous documentation (diaries, letters, transcripts) by which to verify the words attributed to Jesus, we have no way of knowing what he said. I often refer to Jesus-script, because that’s what the gospel writers created. There is no such thing as an authentic Jesus quote. The author of John’s gospel ran wild with the idea, putting words in Jesus’ mouth that are not found in the other gospels. This is not the way to write history, but it is the common practice of theologians.

We actually have no way of knowing what Jesus would do.

We don’t know what Jesus said. We don’t even know if he actually existed. But we do know that if he was a real person and said the things documented in the gospels, then he was nothing more than a regular, mortal human of his time, spitting out ideas that seemed OK for Bronze Age ears, but which land with a thud in modern times. Fiction or real, neither is impressive- anybody today could construct a much more admiral god-man.

(4692) The new ark

The gospels should be characterized mostly as a literary rather than historical work. One good example is in the Gospel of Luke where the author presents a story about Jesus’ birth that strongly parallels David’s experience with the Ark of the Covenant (in 2 Samuel). The following was taken from:


The Church in her liturgy and tradition has long praised Mary as “the Ark of the New Covenant.” We see biblical roots for this in the readings for the Fourth Sunday in Advent (Cycle C).

Compare Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth with the story of David returning the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and you’ll hear interesting echoes.

As Mary “set out” for the hill country of Judah, so did David (see Luke 1:192 Samuel 6:2). David, upon seeing the Ark, cries out “How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?” Elizabeth says the same thing about “the mother of my Lord” (see Luke 1:432 Samuel 6:9).

John leaps in Elizabeth’s womb, as David danced before the Ark (see Luke 1:412 Samuel 6:16). And as the Ark stayed three months in “the house of Obed-edom,” Mary stays three months in “the house of Zechariah” (see Luke 1:40,562 Samuel 6:11).

The Greek word Luke uses to describe Elizabeth’s loud cry of joy (anaphoneo) isn’t used anywhere else in the New Testament. And it’s found in only five places in the Greek Old Testament – every time used to describe “exultation” before the Ark (see 1 Chronicles 15:2816:4-52 Chronicles 5:13).

Coincidences? Hardly. The old Ark contained the tablets of the Law, the manna from the desert and the priestly staff of Aaron (see Hebrews 9:4). In Mary, the new Ark, we find the Word of God, the Bread of Life and the High Priest of the new people of God (see also Catechism, no. 2676).

Allusions such as this are the hallmarks of fictional literature and not what is normally seen in objective historical biographies. As such, the gospels are principally fictional in nature, hinting ever so slightly though rarely decipherably on what might have actually happened.

(4693) Protestant church leader misdeeds

It cannot be assumed that everyone working in churches representing the all-seeing god of the universe would behave in a stellar manner, but such indiscretions should be a rare occurrence. However, the recent record of Protestant church personnel misdeeds points out that such occurrences are not rare, but disturbingly frequent. The following lists just some of the reported issues from the period May 12, 2023 to January 20, 2024:


Assemblies of God: 4

Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ: 1

Baptist – Other: 33

Baptist – Southern: 39

Calvary Chapel: 1

Christian Reformed Church: 1

Christian and Missionary Alliance: 5

Church of Christ: 8

Church of God (Cleveland, TN): 1

Church of God Mountain Assembly: 1

Church of God of Prophecy: 1

Church of the Nazarene: 4

Community of Christ: 1

Congregational: 1

Disciples of Christ: 1

Episcopalian: 2

Evangelical Free Church of America: 2

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: 1

Foursquare: 2

God’s Missionary Church: 1

Jehovah’s Witnesses: 1

LCMC – Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ: 1

La Luz del Mundo: 1

Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod: 4

Lutheran Congregation in Mission for Christ (LCMC): 1

Mennonite Brethern: 1

Mormon: 1

Non-denominational: 68

Presbyterian Church in America (PCA): 2

Salvation Army: 1

Seventh-Day Adventist: 4

The Church of Jesus Christ: 1

United Church of Christ: 1

United Methodist: 6

United Pentecostal Church: 3

Victory Outreach: 1

Vineyard: 1

World Pentecostal Fellowship: 1

Apologists will punt to the idea that human nature never leads to perfection, so it is not unusual that people who work in churches would often fail to behave in a godly manner. But there is a difference in this case. If it is assumed that an omniscient (Christian) god is interacting with our planet, then such a god would have incentive to assure that people representing his church would admirably carry out his mission. Such a god would have a laser focus on the Christian churches to ensure that they are free of scandal. The record above suggests that such a god does not exist.

(4694) God’s monsters

The Bible is full of mythical and legendary monsters used by God and Satan for various purposes. Any person existing in their right mind can see that these beings are not real, but to an inculcated Christian, they must have actually existed- or else the Bible is nonfactual. This topic is well fleshed out in Esther Hamori’s book God’s Monsters, Vengeful Spirits, Deadly Angels, Hybrid Creatures, and Divine Hitmen of the Bible reviewed as follows on Amazon:

The Bible is teeming with monsters. Giants tromp through the land of milk and honey; Leviathan swims through the wine-dark sea. A stunning array of peculiar creatures, mind-altering spirits, and supernatural hitmen fill the biblical heavens, jarring in both their strangeness and their propensity for violence–especially on God’s behalf.

Traditional interpretations of the creatures of the Bible have sanded down their sharp, unsavory edges, transforming them into celestial beings of glory and light–or chubby, happy cherubs. Those cherubs? They’re actually hybrid guardian monsters, more closely associated with the Egyptian sphinx than with flying babies. And the seraphim? Winged serpents sent to mete out God’s vengeance. Demons aren’t at war with angels; they’re a distinct supernatural species used by Satan and by God. The pattern is chilling. Most of these monsters aren’t God’s opponents–they’re God’s entourage.

Killer angels, plague demons, manipulative spirits, creatures with an alarming number of wings (and eyes all over)–these shapeshifters and realm-crossers act with stunning brutality, each reflecting a facet of God’s own monstrosity. Confronting God’s monsters–and the God-monster–may be uncomfortable, but the Bible is richer for their presence. It’s not only richer; the stories of the monsters of the Bible can be as fun, surprising, and interesting as any mythology. For anyone interested in monsters, myths, folklore, demons, and more, God’s Monsters is an entertaining deep dive into the creaturely strangeness of the Bible.

Any attempt to marry the Bible with truth will run into a roadblock in trying to position these biblical monsters onto the landscape of reality. An unbiased person reading about them should instantly realize that these are mythical beings that do not exist, and nor have they ever existed.

(4695) Dying for beliefs

One of the most used apologetic arguments for Christianity is that if it was not true, then the disciples would not have died for their faith. There is much wrong with this defense, as explained in the following:


Thesis: It is not at all difficult to understand why the disciples of Jesus would make false miraculous claims about him, and that people would believe them, and even die for their belief.


Christians often ask, “Why would the disciples have made their claims about Jesus if they weren’t true? Why would they die for a lie?”

Acts 6, recent headlines, and common experience provide easy answers.

First, they may not have believed it at all; they may have just liked being the leaders of a cult. Acts 6 relates that when some followers complained to the Twelve that the food was not being distributed properly, they replied (paraphrased), “What are we, waiters? Do it yourselves, we are busy thinking lofty thoughts.”

Many people are thrilled to have even a little bit of power. Some people go to great lengths to be on the board of a Homeowner’s Association that tells the residents of a couple of blocks what color they can paint their house. There are documented cases of people lying and cheating to get on the school board of an elementary school. And how many people in Congress have been caught embellishing their biographies?

Why would they die for a lie? It’s not clear that any of the Twelve did.

Recent studies, including a very thorough look into the subject by devout Christian Sean McDowell, shows that most reports of martyrdom of the original disciples are legends that sprang up centuries after their deaths. Most have nothing at all written about their deaths in contemporary sources. Only three of the original disciples have any near-contemporary evidence of being killed, and there is no compelling evidence that any of those three could have saved themselves by recanting.

When Roman emperors persecuted Christians, it was almost always to use them as a scapegoat (e.g. Nero blaming the fire in Rome on the Christians), and they didn’t really care what they believed or whether they were willing to recant, any more than Nazis gave Jews a chance to convert before putting them on the trains. While later martyrs may well have believed, they believed what they were told third- or fifth- or 100th-hand, rather than events they actually saw – just like Islamic suicide bombers today. Their willingness to die is a mark of sincerity, but not accuracy.

And finally, look at today’s headlines. Compared to first century Israel, we have almost infinite information available. We can watch important events on live TV, or watch videos with the click of a mouse, and look up any fact we want. We have tons more information available to us than did the librarian of Alexandria, let alone some peasant in Greece or Asia Minor (and is it not curious that unlike most other religions, Christianity caught on only in places like Greece and Asia Minor, where most people knew nothing about Jewish prophecy, and had no way to verify any happenings in Israel. Unlike Islam, which flourished in Arabia, or Buddhism, which flourished in India, or Confucianism, which flourished in China, Christianity was always a small minority in Israel).

And yet, despite all the information available to everyone, tens of millions of Americans are very sure that the tens of millions of Americans who disagree with them are lying, stupid, or gullible. About half think the 2020 election was stolen, about half think it wasn’t. Even more incredibly, there are people, including very powerful and influential people, who think the Jan 6 storming of the Capitol was a peaceful sightseeing tour. Ironically, the people convicted of rioting are being hailed as martyrs.

It just shows that people will believe what they want to believe, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

And if you are one of the millions who think the election was rigged and the rioters were martyrs, then you still agree with my overall point, because you think that the tens of millions who disagree with you are lying, stupid, or gullible. You think that I have all the evidence available to me, and yet I believe a lie. And most amazing of all, you don’t bat an eyelash when a serial adulterer and convicted sexual assaulter is pictured as Jesus’s right-hand man.

The chance that people were lying or mistaken about Jesus is a million times greater than the chance that all kinds of miracles (a bunch of Jewish saints coming out of their tombs and walking around town, three hours of darkness in the middle of the day, earthquakes, etc.) happened in Jerusalem when it was overflowing with Passover crowds, and nobody but Jesus’ apologists noticed.

Being willing to die for a belief has nothing to do with the truth of that belief. There have been many, many people who died for Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism, and on and on. Buddhist priests set themselves on fire. I don’t know if there have been any martyrs for Dianetics, other than the careers of some actors, but give it time.

So no, it’s not hard to understand why people would make claims, and other people would believe and even die for those claims, about Jesus.

There is nothing in the history of Christianity that would demand a conclusion that something supernatural happened. Everything about the history of this faith can be explained by positing purely natural events- and the probability of that conclusion is infinitesimally close to 1.0.

(4696) Studying oneself out of Christianity

Most Christians are hypnotized by apologetic arguments that cover up the problems of Christian theology- so to escape this mental prison takes a certain measure of persistent, objective analysis. The following presents a personal testimony that exemplifies this process:


There are no magic bullets that will automatically deconvert a Christian or convince them that Christianity is not real. Christians have excuses and arguments prepared against almost every common objection or piece of evidence against Christianity. The excuses do not hold up to objective scrutiny, but they are usually good enough to help a Christian keep believing.

Most devout former Christians have to study our way out of Christianity. That is what I had to do.

I was a minister into my 50s. I studied the Bible more than most ministers. My main “dot points” came from studying the New Testament. The foundation for my dot points came from studying the letters of Paul. Seven books in the NT are known by Bible scholars to be authentic letters written by Paul. Those books showed me that Acts is a book of mythology, not history. His letters also cast doubt on the Gospels in ways that Christians never mention.

Acts describes Paul’s “Damascus Road” experience. Paul described the experience as well. Paul had a big ego and thought he was on a mission from God. But he was honest. His account of his conversion experience is not very dramatic. Paul says he was in Damascus. He has a spiritual experience, but he uses a word for it that can apply to either a waking hallucination or a dream. He says he is unsure whether it was a physical experience or purely in spirit. He says that after his experience he goes to Syria for four years before going to Jerusalem. He doesn’t mention anyone else around. Overall, it is a pretty mundane experience. I have had an experience like that myself. Lots of devout people have had very spiritual dreams.

But then read Acts version of the account. Acts says Paul was on the Road to Damascus. The author of Acts likes to use “Road to X” as a dramatic setting for events. He uses it three times. Acts says that Paul had traveling companions who saw a flash of light and Paul was struck to the ground. Paul was blinded by the incident. He was taken immediately to Jerusalem by his traveling companions where Peter healed him of his blindness. After that Peter converted to Paul’s version of Christianity. Paul and Peter became best buddies.

Just the Damascus Road experience alone is enough to show that the author of Acts is creating mythology. It worked. Most Christians know the Acts version of Paul’s account. But few Christians know Paul’s. Even a lot of ministers don’t know Paul’s account. There are apologetic arguments that Christian scholars have developed to try to explain the differences. I tried to hold onto my faith by studying those apologetic arguments. But none of them stood up to objective examination.

There are a lot of other discrepancies. According to Acts, Paul does a lot of miracles. But Paul doesn’t mention them. Paul comes across as a guy with a big ego. In a couple of places he brags about his credentials and things he has done to prove how devout he is. If Paul had made walls of a prison fall down, or if he had raised people from the dead, or if he had a miraculous shipwreck experience, then Paul would have found a way to mention it. He would have listed those things in his credentials. But there was nothing of significance. He mentions that he was in several shipwrecks. But that is mentioned as evidence that he traveled a lot for his ministry. There are no miraculous ones he talks about. He says that he did some healing when he was among one group. But it sounds like the kind of claim that a lot of modern Christians claim. They probably involve the usual placebo effects and healings that occur because of natural processes. No raising the dead or anything like Acts claims.

Some events in Acts, like making prison walls fall down, seem to have been lifted from Greek literature and mythology. The list goes on. In a seminary course, I learned that there were certain minor discrepancies between Acts and Paul. They delivered the apologetic arguments along with the discussion of the differences. Nothing to see here. Move along. But then, decades later, I sat down and studied the letters of Paul itself. I saw the problems were far from minor. And the apologetic arguments fell apart.

The author of Acts made up shit. That pretty much destroyed the story of the Pentecost and most of the post-crucifixion events. It also threw doubt on the Gospel of Luke because the same author wrote both. I looked at Luke, and it was clear that the same pattern of making up shit applied to Luke. That also took out my “Road to Emaus” story. The Road to Emaus was my favorite Bible story. I had even bought a nice print of the painting and had it hung in our living room.

I studied the other gospels. All of them told lies about geography, known history, and astronomy. If they lie about mundane events then how can they be trusted to tell the truth about supernatural events? As I studied more I realized that they all drew on Greek mythology to make up stories about Jesus.

Another line of evidence is that Paul did not seem to know any of the major gospel stories or themes. Paul didn’t know about the virgin birth. Paul didn’t know about the miracles of Jesus. Paul didn’t know about the empty tomb. That suggests those events were made up between the time Paul wrote his letters and when the gospels were written.

Very few Christians ever go to this depth of investigation of their faith. In fact they are subtly discouraged from doing so. Mindless repetition of poorly-evidence memes are the steak and potatoes diet of most church goers- and any analytical thinking is partitioned off solely to secular matters. The religious part of the brain is protected against any meaningful challenges. Yet, some do break through, as in the person testifying above.

(4697) The plain text argument

It can be conjectured that if Christianity is true, then God would have overseen the development of the Bible to the extent that important theological truths would have been plainly stated, leaving no room for controversy. But, of course, the opposite is true. The following discusses how the Bible fails to adequately defend, for example, the concept of the trinity. This failure has led to tens of thousands of denominations- which should be viewed as a consequence of God’s failure to transmit a clear, singular voice.


There are no explicit texts describing Jesus, The Father and the Holy Spirit as being co-eternal, sure you could argue that some implicit texts imply the concept of the trinity but there are many other ways to look at the Christian God such as Arianism. Now the question arises if Christianity were to be true why would God leave room for interpretation on how he is? It should be plain and simple there should be a verse clearly stating the trinity because if you don’t understand who/what God is that defeats the purpose of Christianity and worshiping God , If God were to tell us about himself he wouldn’t leave room for interpretation he would be clear and concise there would be no room for interpretation.

You can look at Bart Ehrman’s books and he states how in early Christianity there beliefs were all over the place some believed in modern day Christianity whilst others believed that Jesus was a Prophet and a lot also rejected the concept of original sin. What I’m trying to say is that the church decided what it is to be Christian not the bible itself, these core Christian concepts developed after Jesus.

If Christianity was true, and if the trinity was correct doctrine, the Bible would contain verses such as this:

And Jesus said, “We three are one, my Father, the Holy Ghost, and I all constitute the same divine being. There is only one god, but in three manifestations. Let this be known as an ultimate truth.”

or even something like this:

“Any child who dies before the age of 8 will go to heaven. After that, only those who accept my ultimate sacrifice for the remission of sins will be admitted there. And those who don’t, no matter how many good works they have performed, unless they have lived a sinless life, will go to everlasting torment in hell.”

A bible ‘dictated’ by a true omnipotent intelligence would provide definitive statements such as these, leaving little doubt about any theological truths. This is to say, if Christianity was true, the Bible would look a lot different, and there would be only one denomination.

(4698) Restoring hearing

Jesus allegedly restored hearing (Mark 7:31-34) to a man, and further claimed that those who believe in him could do the same. However, no preacher, evangelist, or other person of faith has been able to achieve this feat in modern, recorded times (non-fraudulently). Instead, it was science, not faith, that finally brought about this ‘miracle.’ The following was taken from:


A first-of-its-kind gene therapy has restored hearing in a boy who was born deaf, a feat no amount of prayer has ever accomplished. I’ll never stop despising religion and religious people for doing everything they can to halt progress like this. If it were up to them, we’d all still be shoveling dung in the mud, bowing to kings, and living short, terrible lives quaking in fear of their disgusting god. Fuck religion, science FTW!

Here is an excerpt of the following:


In a remarkable breakthrough, an 11-year-old boy has regained his ability to hear after receiving pioneering gene therapy. Aissam Dam, from Morocco, who was born with congenital deafness, became the first person in the United States to undergo this revolutionary treatment. Thanks to the successful procedure, Dam can now experience the sounds of his father’s voice and passing cars, marking a significant milestone in the field of gene therapy.

The cutting-edge treatment targeted a specific form of congenital deafness and is set to be trialed in younger children in the near future. Dam, who grew up in a world of complete silence, had never heard anything until his family relocated to Spain. It was there that they sought the help of a hearing specialist, who suggested that Dam might be eligible for a clinical trial involving gene therapy.

On October 4, 2023, Dam underwent a groundbreaking surgical procedure at the renowned Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The operation involved partially lifting his eardrum and introducing a modified virus, specifically engineered to transport functional copies of the otoferlin gene, into the fluid of his cochlea. This innovative approach kickstarted the production of the missing protein in his hair cells, ultimately restoring their proper function.

Christianity has always been weary of scientific progress, especially when it pokes around the borders of its theology. Therefore, it is ironic that a human-produced technology has done what  prayers are alleged to do but have never achieved.

(4699) Six degrees of separation

Christians rely heavily on the veracity of the gospels to base their faith in Jesus and hope for an afterlife. But, as the essay below demonstrates, there are at least six counter-arguments to this assumption, leaving the faithful spitting into the wind. The following was taken from:


It is so common for churchgoers to assume they know what Jesus was like. This knowledge comes from what their clergy tell them, the content of favorite hymns—and sometimes by selectively reading the gospels, that is, returning to comforting teachings of Jesus remembered from childhood.

The content of sermons and hymns is based on what can be found—and what is carefully ignored—in the gospels. But the gospels are not, in fact, a portal to Jesus information. They are a barrier. So many devout Christian seem not to have a clue that this is the case, and, moreover, why it is the case. Let’s look at six ways in which the gospels fail to deliver.

One: The gospel documents were mishandled by copyists for centuries. 

A long time ago Bart Ehrman wondered what was the value of claiming that the original Bible books were divinely inspired. There is this awkward fact: we don’t have any of the original Bible manuscripts. None have survived, lost to fire or flood, or they just wore out, disintegrated. For hundreds of years—before the invention of the printing press in the 15thcentury—copies were made by hand. So many mistakes were made by copyists who didn’t have eyeglasses, or the benefit of electric lighting—and some of the copyists may not have understood the Greek texts they were copying. Hence there are scholars today whose business it is to compare hundreds of old manuscripts, trying to identify the errors, to determine the actual exact content of the originals.

Then there’s the problem that Bart Ehrman discusses in his book, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament.  In the introduction he states:

“Here I deal with the theological debates of the second and third Christian centuries, a period of intense rivalry among various groups of Christians who advocated divergent ways of understanding their religion… it was within this milieu of controversy that scribes sometimes changed their scriptural text to make them say what they were already known to mean in the technical parlance of textual criticism—which I retain for its significant ironies—these scribes ‘corrupted’ their texts for theological reasons.” (pp. xi-xii, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture)

Readers of the King James Version of the New Testament have no way of knowing this happened, but more modern translations add footnotes indicating textual variations, for example, noting that a word or verse is missing, or a word or verse was added. There are some major discrepancies: Mark 16:9-20 is not in the oldest manuscripts, but was added later. We have no idea where the story of Jesus and the adulterous women (“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (in John 8) came from. It may not be authentic at all. The editors of the Revised Standard Version added this footnote: “The most ancient authorities lack 7.53–8.11; other authorities add the passage here or after 7.36 or after 21.25 or after Luke 21.38, with variations of text; some mark the passage as doubtful.” Some modern translations (such as The Message Bible) are actually paraphrases intended to disguise the meaning of   disturbing texts.

It is strange indeed that a god powerful enough to inspire the books of the Bible would then allow the supposedly sacred text to be passed along for centuries in such a sloppy, haphazard fashion. How does that make sense?

Two: The gospel writers failed as historians: they created a Jesus based on their own theologies.

The gospel writers never mention their sources. Think about that, take as much time as you need. At the opening of Luke’s gospel there is a reference to eyewitnesses, and at the end of John’s gospel the claim is made that the “beloved disciple” is the one who reported all the deeds of Jesus. But Luke never, anywhere, names the eyewitnesses, and the “beloved disciple” is a character who appears only in John’s gospel—which was written six or seven decades after the time of Jesus. So the professional historians are entitled to dismiss these claims.

Take a look at any modern biography of any famous person. At the back there are many pages listing sources, e.g., letters, diaries, other books: these biographies are based on many hours of archival research. The gospels writers were not familiar with this demanding process. They were theologians, and their agenda was to promote, enhance belief in their holy hero. How did they know what they claim to know? We are so skeptical because they don’t cite credible sources. Just a couple of examples:

In Mark’s gospel, in chapter 1:12-13, we read that Jesus was tested by Satan in the wilderness for forty days. Just two verses. In Matthew 4, this story is expanded to eleven verses, which include Jesus and Satan arguing, i.e., Satan challenging him, Jesus responding. How would the author of Matthew’s gospel know this? Was someone there taking notes? Historians don’t take this seriously.

In Matthew’s gospel, 1:20, the author reports the contents of Joseph’s dream—an angel told him that Mary was pregnant by a holy spirit. Historians want to know how the author knew this. Did he have access to Joseph’s diary? Did he even keep a diary. John Loftus has quite legitimately asked:

“How might anonymous gospel writers, 90+ years later, objectively know Jesus was born of a virgin? Who presumably told them? The Holy Spirit? Why is it God always speaks to individuals in private, subjective, unevidenced whispers? Those claims are a penny a dozen.” (Debunking Christianity Blog, 25 December 2016)

We don’t expect tall tales from historians. Theologians specialize in them….speaking of which…

Three:  The gospel writers throw up major barriers, obscuring Jesus: Fantasy, miracle folklore, and magical thinking.

Changing water to wine, walking on water, stilling a storm, glowing on a mountaintop, resurrecting a man from the dead by voice command, transferring demons from a man into pigs, healing a blind man using mud and spit—the list goes on and on. Devout folks have been conditioned to accept these tall tales because Jesus, their holy hero, was doing them: way back then, such miracles were par for the course. I recently saw a meme: “If Goldilocks and the three bears was a biblical story, Christians would believe it actually happened. And that’s really all you need to know about Christians.”

And that’s just the problem (although liberal Christians might call fantasy stories metaphors). The gospel writers were influenced by the widespread miracle folklore of the time. With big doses of magical thinking thrown in as well, such as a magic spell Jesus must have pronounced to transfer demons into pigs. Is any of this really appropriate for what we might today call sane religion—free from embarrassing superstitions. When we read superhero stories, or Harry Potter, or watch Disney fantasies, sure, such fantastic tales are entertaining and fun—but we would reject any of them as proof of power possessed by superheroes or Harry Potter. It’s not a stretch at all to conclude that these elements in the gospels sprang from the imaginations of their authors—thus they stand in the way of grasping what Jesus of Nazareth was actually like. The gospels are a barrier.

Four: The church—theologians and clergy—have carefully crafted an “ideal Jesus of the imagination” based on carefully chosen gospel texts.

As I recall, it was Bart Ehrman who first mentioned the “ideal Jesus of the imagination.” This is an invention of the church, which has a product to sell: its holy hero must be the best thing ever. Magnificent cathedrals drive home this idea, with Jesus depicted in stained glass windows, sculpture, and paintings. This is the setting (as well as ordinary churches) for finely tuned show business: music, liturgy, costumes, hymns, e.g., What a Friend We Have in Jesus. And the clergy have a selected repertoire of positive gospel quotes to help the folks in the pews love their Jesus. Which means that the dark, sinister, alarming Jesus-script is ignored. And there’s a lot of it. A list of 292 Jesus quotes commonly ignored can be found at www.BadThingsJesusTaught.com. My 2021 book, Ten Things Christians Wish Jesus Hadn’t Taught offers a detailed discussion of many of these quotes. I have gifted this book to a few of my Christian friends. They refuse to read it. They have been sold on the church’s product: they really don’t want to think about it.

Five: Did Jesus even exist? If he was a mythical figure from the get-go, he is about as much help to the devout as Superman or Mickey Mouse.

The cherished gospels also block the way to considering the issues that provoke skepticism about Jesus as a real, historical person. Four gospels, with so much detail, so many stories about Jesus, taught to toddlers—and reinforced year after year. And this inhibits full-throttle curiosity, careful, critical study of the gospels. The scholars who have proposed that Jesus may have been fictional do so based on what we find in the gospels, what we don’t find in records that are contemporaneous with the supposed preacher from Nazareth, and what we don’t find in the New Testament epistles. It’s a complex issue, and so many church folks just don’t want to go there. Why jeopardize their ticket to salvation? They stand firm on the gospel stories they have been taught to love—without, in so many cases—actually studying them carefully. There is usually indignation at the suggestion that Jesus was fictional, with no desire to become acquainted with the basic issues that illustrate the problem.

Six: Our view of the world, and that of the first century.

In his gospel sequel, the Book of Acts, the author of Luke described the ascent of Jesus to heaven, disappearing above the clouds to join god at his throne—either a few miles up, and somewhere below the moon. This is based on the ancient world view, and we know it cannot possibly be true. But ancient world superstitions also included belief in dying-and-rising gods. Christian attachment to the gospels prevents full exploration of this thought-world from which the Jesus cult emerged. Fear of death has been a constant in human experience, and religions have capitalized on this fear with the eternal life gimmick: “We worship a god who died, then rose from the dead, and if you sign up, his magical powers will rescue you from death too.”

Richard Carrier’s 2018 essay, Dying-and-Rising Gods: It’s Pagan Guys. Get Over It provides abundant detail about these cults. It’s no surprise that those who promoted belief in Jesus adopted this gimmick for their hero. But the theologians who participated in this swindle—by writing the four gospels we’re so familiar with—failed to agree on details as they spun their accounts. No matter, of course, devout believers who love their gospels have no desire whatever to look behind the pious façade to discover the roots of their beliefs.

Again, the gospels are a barrier to honest research on Christianity’s origins.

The question that should be asked is this: If God intended for Jesus’ mission to the Earth to provide a definitive path for human salvation, why did he leave the documentation of this great event in such a state of disarray and implausibility? It makes no sense. But what does make sense is that Christianity is a human-created myth based on a chaotic labyrinth of disparate personal speculations.

(4700) Arguments questioning Jesus’ sanity

It is not certain that the gospel-Jesus was a real person, but if he was, and if the gospels provide at least a reasonably accurate description of his personality, then the case can be made that he was a deluded fanatic, the same type of lunatics that are ignored when they shout in crowded public areas. The following was taken from:


The assessment of the sanity of Jesus first occurs in the gospels. The Gospel of Mark reports the opinion of members of his family who believe that Jesus “is beside himself.” Some psychiatrists, religious scholars and writers explain that Jesus’ family, followers (John 7:20, see also: John 11:41–53), and contemporaries seriously regarded him as delusional, , or insane.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

And when his family heard it, they went out to seize himpossessed by demons, for people were saying, “He is beside himself”. And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Be-el′zebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons”.

— Mark 3:21–22RSV

The accusation contained in the Gospel of John is more literal:

There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, “He has a demon, and he is mad; why listen to him?”

— John 10:19–20, RSV

Justin Meggitt [Wikidata], a lecturer at the University of Cambridge,[8] suggests in his article “The Madness of King Jesus: Why was Jesus Put to Death, but his Followers were not?” (2007)[4] and in his book The Madness of King Jesus (2010)[9] that Pilate and other Romans regarded Jesus as an insane lunatic.[4] According to the Gospels, Jesus was presented to Pilate and sentenced to death as a royal pretender, but the standard Roman procedure was the prosecution and execution of would-be insurgents with their leaders. Therefore, to suggest that Jesus was put to death by the Roman authorities as some kind of royal pretender does not explain sufficiently why he was executed, but his disciples were not.[4]

Jean Meslier (1664–1729) had similar thoughts in the 18th century. In chapters 33 and 34 of his Testament, he provides evidence for his conclusion that Jesus “was really a madman, a fanatic” (étoit véritablement un fou, un insensé, un fanatique).[7][10]

Challenging the sanity of Jesus continued in the 19th century with the first quest for the historical JesusDavid Friedrich Strauss (Das Leben Jesu, 1864)[11] claimed that Jesus was a fanatic.[2][12] Lemuel K. Washburn opined in a pamphlet Was Jesus insane? (1889) that “Jesus was not divine, but insane”.[13][14] Oskar Panizza introduced Jesus as a psychopathological and paranoid case.[15][16][17] Oskar Holtzmann in War Jesus Ekstatiker? (1903) presented Jesus as “ecstatic“, which he described as a pathologically-strong excitability of the imagination and the power of will.[18][19] Georg Lomer [de] (as George de Loosten, 1905) attempted to retrospectively diagnose Jesus as generally mentally ill, similarly to Jean Meslier.[2][20] Emil Rasmussen [ru] (1905) determined Jesus to be either epileptic or paranoid. Using a few examples, he developed a description of the typical pathological prophet (“Prophetentypus”) and applied it to Jesus.[2][21] Julius Baumann [sv] (1908) hypothesised that the abnormalities he found in Jesus’ behaviour could be explained by a nerve overstimulation (Nervenüberreizung).[22] However, it was not until the publication of Charles Binet-Sanglé‘s four-volume work La folie de Jésus from 1908 to 1915 that the topic was extensively and visibly discussed.

Binet-Sanglé diagnosed Jesus as suffering from religious paranoia:[7][23]

In short, the nature of the hallucinations of Jesus, as they are described in the orthodox Gospels, permits us to conclude that the founder of Christian religion was afflicted with religious paranoia.

— (vol. 2, p. 393)

His view was shared by the New York psychiatrist and neurologist William Hirsch [de],[24] who in 1912 published his study, Religion and Civilization: The Conclusions of a Psychiatrist,[25] which enumerated a number of Jesus’ mentally-aberrant behaviours. Hirsch agreed with Binet-Sanglé in that Jesus had been afflicted with hallucinations and pointed to his “megalomania, which mounted ceaselessly and immeasurably”.[2] Hirsch concluded that Jesus was just a “paranoid”:

But Christ offers in every respect an absolutely typical picture of a wellknown mental disease. All that we know of him corresponds so exactly to the clinical aspect of paranoia, that it is hardly conceivable how anybody at all acquainted with mental disorders, can entertain the slightest doubt as to the correctness of the diagnosis.

— (p. 103)

According to Hirsch, Jesus, as a typical paranoid, applied prophecies about the coming of the messiah to himself[26] and had a deep hatred towards anyone who disagreed with him on everything.[27]

The Soviet psychiatrist Y. V. Mints (1927) also diagnosed Jesus as suffering from paranoia.[7][28][29] The literature of the Soviet Union in the 1920s, following the tradition of the demythologization of Jesus in the works of Strauss, Renan, Nietzsche, and Binet-Sanglé, put forward two main themes: mental illness and deception. That was reflected in Mikhail Bulgakov‘s novel The Master and Margarita in which Jesus is depicted by Pontius Pilate as a harmless madman. It was only at the turn of the 1920s and the 1930s that the mythological option, the denial of the existence of Jesus, won the upper hand in Soviet propaganda.[30]

Jesus’ mental health was also questioned by the British psychiatrists William Sargant[31] and Raj Persaud,[32] a number of psychologists of the psychoanalytic orientation, like Georges Berguer [de] in his study Quelques traits de la vie de Jésus au point de vue psychologique et psychanalytique.[33][34]

Władysław Witwicki, a rationalist philosopher and psychologist,[35] in the comments to his own translation of the Gospels of Matthew and MarkDobra Nowina według Mateusza i Marka[36] (The Good News according to Matthew and Mark [pl]), which is in fact a psychobiography of Jesus,[37] attributed that Jesus had subjectivism,[38] an increased sense of his own power and superiority over others, egocentrism[39] and the tendency to subjugate other people.[40] He also had difficulties communicating with the outside world[41] and dissociative identity disorder,[42] which made him a schizothymic or even schizophrenic type (according to Ernst Kretschmer‘s typology).[43][44][45]

The American theologian and psychologist of religion Donald Capps in his book Jesus: A Psychological Biography (1989, 2000)[46] diagnosed Jesus as a utopian-melancholic personality (he looked forward to a coming kingdom of God) with suicidal tendencies.[47]

New Testament scholar Andrew Jacob Mattill Jr. [Wikidata] in his article in The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You To Read (1993), he draws attention to the ever-increasing megalomania of “John’s Jesus” (described in the Gospel of John 6:29, 35, 38, 40, 47-58; 7:38; 8:12; 11:25-26; 14:6, 13-14)[48] and concludes:

The more trust one puts in the Fourth Gospel’s portrait of Jesus the more difficult it is to defend the sanity of Jesus.[49][2][48]

The English psychiatrist Anthony Storr in his final book Feet of Clay; Saints, Sinners, and Madmen: A Study of Gurus (1996)[50] suggested that there are psychological similarities between crazy “messiahs” such as Jim Jones and David Koresh and respected religious leaders including Jesus.[51][a] Storr tracks typical patterns, often involving psychotic disorders that shape the development of the guru.[54] His study is an attempt to look at Jesus as one of many gurus. Storr agrees with most scholars of historical Jesus, who are inclined to the hypothesis of Jesus as apocalyptic prophet:

It seems inescapable that Jesus did share the apocalyptic view that God’s final conquest of evil was at hand and that God’s kingdom would be established upon earth in the near future.[55]

Storr recognises Jesus’ many similarities to other gurus. It was, for example, going through a period of internal conflict during his fasting in the desert. According to Storr, if Jesus really considered himself a deputy for God and believed that one day he would come down from heaven to rule, he was very similar to the gurus whom he had previously described as preachers of delusions possessed by mania of greatness. He notes that Jesus was not ideal in family life (Mark 3:31–35,[56] Mark 13:12–13).[57] Gurus often remain indifferent to family ties. Other similarities, according to Storr, include Jesus’ faith in receiving a special revelation from God and a tendency to elitism, in the sense that Jesus believed that he had been specially marked by God.[58]

American neuroendocrinology researcher Robert Sapolsky in his essay included in the book The Trouble with Testosterone: and Other Essays on the Biology of the Human Predicament (1997, 1998)[59] suggests the occurrence of schizotypal (“half-crazy”, p. 248) behavior and metamagical thinking in Jesus and other charismatic religious leaders:

Oh, sure, one can overdo it, and our history is darkly stained with abortive religious movements inspired by messianic crackpots. (…) However, if you get the metamagical thoughts and behaviors to the right extent and at the right time and place, then people might just get the day off from work on your birthday for a long time to come.

— (p. 256)

Then Sapolsky notes that “plausible links can be made among schizotypal behaviour, metamagical thought, and the founding of certain religious beliefs in both non-Western and Western societies.” (p. 256) According to him: “The notion of the psychopathology of the shaman works just as readily in understanding the roots of major Western religions as well.” (p. 255)

In 1998–2000, Leszek Nowak (born 1962) from PoznańPoland[b] authored a study in which, based on his own history of religious delusion of mission and overvalued ideas and information communicated in the Gospels, made an attempt at reconstructing Jesus’ psyche, with the view of Jesus as apocalyptic prophet,[60] taking into account the hypothesis of indirect suicide.[61] He does so in chapters containing, in sequence, an analysis of character traits of the “savior of mankind”, a description of the possible course of events from the period of Jesus’ public activity, and a naturalistic explanation of his miracles.[62]

In 2012, a team of psychiatristsbehavioral psychologistsneurologists and neuropsychiatrists from the Harvard Medical School published a research that suggested the development of a new diagnostic category of psychiatric disorders related to religious delusion and hyperreligiosity.[63] They compared the thoughts and behaviors of the most important figures in the Bible (AbrahamMoses, Jesus, and Paul)[63] with patients affected by mental disorders related to the psychotic spectrum using different clusters of disorders and diagnostic criteria (DSM-IV-TR),[64] and concluded that these Biblical figures “may have had psychotic symptoms that contributed inspiration for their revelations”,[65] such as schizophreniaschizoaffective disorderbipolar disorderdelusional disorderdelusions of grandeurauditoryvisual hallucinations, paranoia, Geschwind syndrome (especially Paul) and abnormal experiences associated with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). According to the authors, in the case of Jesus, it could have been: paranoid schizophrenia, bipolar and schizoaffective disorders.[3] They hypothesized that Jesus may have sought death through “suicide-by-proxy” (indirect suicide).[66]

An attempt to imagine a Jesus-type figure in today’s world yields the type of person often seen on street corners that is ignored and dismissed as being deranged and paranoid. Real or not, the Jesus described in the gospels doesn’t seem to meet the expectations of a deity who made himself into a human.

Follow this link to #4701