(801) Why did Jesus leave the Earth so quickly?
This is a question that has perplexed theologians for decades. Why didn’t Jesus remain on the Earth and continue to enlighten and guide the world in accordance with God’s moral directives? Some will say that he needed to travel to other planets and die there for the sins of aliens. Others will say he left so that faith would be required to believe in him, rather than hard evidence.
These might be plausible theories, but what is more questionable and less explainable is why he left so quickly so as to leave so many of his fellow Jews in a state of non-acceptance of his messiahship. The very people that his ministry was focused on ended up rejecting him and considering him to be a failed prophet. Doesn’t it seem like a compassionate Jesus would have stayed around long enough to convince his fellow Jews, his CHOSEN PEOPLE, that he was actually the son of God, or God himself, so that they would not be left in an erroneous state of unbelief for the next 20+ centuries? By proving his resurrection to his countrymen, he could have bridged the Jewish-Christian divide once and for all.
Additionally, why did he leave so soon without clearly identifying the tenets, doctrines, and rules for the new religion of Christianity? If he had done so, we would have exactly one denomination of Christianity instead of over 38,000, and it would have prevented the torture and murder of hundreds of thousands of people who believed something different from their tormentors.
The answer to this question is the one that requires the least amount of rationalization. Jesus did not rise from the dead, and the myths that evolved saying he did would not have had much acceptance if it was claimed that he spent a long time post-resurrection on the earth. Getting Jesus off the planet quickly was essential to sell the believability of the story. Otherwise there would have been questions about why so few had seen him. All myths require a quick and complete withdrawal of the ‘evidence.’
(802) God is responsible for sending people to Hell
Christians will often claim that God does not send people to Hell, but rather they send themselves by refusing the free gift of salvation. They use the analogy of a someone stranded in the water, being thrown a life preserver, but deciding not to use it, and so they drown.
This is a flawed analogy. To make it more accurate, it is dark outside and the person on the boat has two life preservers. One is just a regular version, but the other one has a light attached to it. He throws the unlighted preserver into the water, but the drowning person cannot see it and therefore drowns. Is the person on the boat morally responsible for the death of the victim?
Now, of course, the person on the boat is God. He has two life preservers- the regular one which represents the current state of evidence he has provided the world regarding his existence and the path to salvation, and the ‘lighted’ one that that represents the concrete indisputable evidence that he could provide- kind of like when Jesus was working miracles and rising from the dead.
(803) Failure to heal paralysis
In John 14:12-13, Jesus made this promise:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
In Matthew 9:1-8, Jesus healed a paralyzed man:
Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.
Since there has never been a verified case of paralysis being cured by faith healing, and the fact that, for the most part, prayers to heal paralyzed victims are not even attempted, there is no rational way to remedy this contradiction. According to scripture, faithful prayers should be sufficient to cure paraplegics and quadriplegics, just like Jesus did. This is proof that, at the least, biblical scripture is flawed, and at the most, evidence that the entire story of Jesus is a fable.
(804) What is the overall result of 2000 years of prayers?
Christianity claims that faithful followers have a direct connection to a benevolent, loving, and all-powerful god who has promised to hear and answer prayers. So after 2000 years, what is the overall result of this propitious situation? The following is taken from:
And yet, according to recent polls, there are at least 2.4 billion practicing Christians on this planet. Most of them, we must presume, spend a portion of their life praying. Praying for what? For peace. For goodwill. For the intervention of their God. Most of these Christians, we must presume, have petitioned their God about the current situation on Earth (as they have presumably been doing for at least 2,000 years). And their God (who allegedly said that when his believers ask anything in his name, it will be done) either doesn’t listen, or doesn’t care. But that wouldn’t make any sense. If he doesn’t care, then these believers are wrong about his love anyway and the whole point is moot. If he doesn’t listen, why did he lie to them when he said their prayers mattered? And neither can these Christians claim that their God has answered their prayers. There is no peace on Earth. There is no salvation. Reality is dark, and it’s getting darker. No one is answering any prayers (and the recovery of lost items or the finding of a parking space—these things don’t count; not when such bigger matters are being ignored).
Where is the God of the parking spaces and the greeting cards when 150 human beings are being senselessly butchered in the name of religion?So where is this God? Where is the God of the parking spaces and the greeting cards when 150 human beings are being senselessly butchered in the name of religion? Where is the net result of 2.4 billion prayers? Where is the result of 2,000 years worth of prayer? If this God existed and deigned to answer prayer, this planet would be completely different. But look around. Look for those answers. There are none.
We are on our own, people. There is no God out there. It’s time to finally come to terms with that, as a species. It’s time to stop praying and start taking matters into our own hands. The only ones who can save the humans are the humans. We must be our own salvation.
This is the argument of cumulative effect- if billions of people have prayed for the same things over twenty centuries to an actual, righteous, loving god who promised to deliver their petitions, the world would look VERY different than it does today. This represents overwhelming evidence that Christianity is false.
(805) Jude cites non-canonical source
Any claim of biblical inerrancy is refuted by a reference made in the New Testament Book of Jude to the Book of Enoch, a book which was determined in the Third Century to be ‘not inspired by God’ and removed from the Bible.
Jude 14 contains a prophecy of Enoch. Thus, if the Book of Jude is the Word of God, then the writings of “Enoch” from which Jude quotes, are also the Word of God. The Book of Enoch was used in the early church until at least the third century – Clement, Irenaeus and Tertullian were familiar with it. However, as church doctrine began to solidify, the Book of Enoch became an embarrassment to the church and in a short period of time it became the Lost Book of Enoch. A complete manuscript of the Book of Enoch was discovered in Ethiopia in 1768. Since then, portions of at least eight separate copies have been found among the Dead Sea scrolls. It is easy to see why the church had to get rid of Enoch – not only does it contain fantastic imagery (some of which was borrowed by the Book of Revelation), but it also contradicts church doctrine on several points (and, since it is obviously the work of several writers, it also contradicts itself).
The following describes the Jude reference to Enoch:
Enoch is referred to as a historical person and prophet, and quoted, in Jude 1:14–15:
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
Compare this with Enoch 1:9, translated from the Ethiopic (found also in Qumran scroll 4Q204=4QEnochc ar, col I 16–18):
And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His Saints To execute judgment upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.
The reason this is important is that it shows that the identification of what is and what is not scripture was a political process that changed with time. Enoch was considered scripture and then was later discarded, but the reference in the Book of Jude remained. If Enoch was not inspired then it would follow that Jude was also not inspired because of its faulty reference. Thus, the Book of Jude should have been removed from the Bible.
(806) Calling the disciples
There can only be one way that Jesus collected his disciples and if the gospel writers were being inspired by the Holy Spirit to write an accurate history, it would be expected that their stories would match. They do not. The following is taken from:
1. In Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20, Peter and Andrew are casting nets into the sea. Jesus calls out to them and they leave their nets and follow him. Jesus then goes on a little further and sees James and John mending their nets with their father. He calls to them and they leave their father and follow him.
2. In Luke 5:1-11, Jesus asks Peter to take him out in Peter’s boat so Jesus can preach to the multitude. James and John are in another boat. When Jesus finishes preaching, he tells Peter how to catch a great quantity of fish (John 21:3-6 incorporates this story in a post- resurrection appearance). After Peter catches the fish, he and James and John are so impressed that after they bring their boats to shore they leave everything and follow Jesus.
3. In John 1:35-42, Andrew hears John the Baptist call Jesus the Lamb of God. Andrew then stays with Jesus for the remainder of the day and then goes to get his brother Peter and brings him to meet Jesus.
(807) The parable of the shiny car
To most Christians, Christianity is like a shiny car that sits in their garage. It looks gorgeous, and they often go to gaze at its beauty. As long as that’s all they do, everything is great. But there is one caveat- do not look under the hood! The car has no engine!
Christianity looks lovely from the outside, but once you look at the history of how it came into existence, the way it changed over time, and the numerous scriptural contradictions, the ‘car’ no longer looks fine and in fact no longer looks like a car at all, but just a mirage. It will never look the same again.
Fortunately, for most Christians, they never ‘look under the hood,’ so they can maintain their fantasy. The church encourages this lack of investigation by discouraging independent study of the Bible, sermons that do not address the theological difficulties, and recitations from only the good parts of scripture. The aphorism ‘ignorance is bliss’ applies here in spades.
For those who have ‘looked under the hood,’ dealing with those who haven’t can be frustrating. It is like the kid who sees Mom and Dad placing toys under the Christmas tree and eating the cookies, but having to deal with brothers and sisters who continue to insist that Santa is real and who dispute your eyewitness testimony.
Yes, it is possible to refute Christianity to a 100% certainly level, but it takes courage, effort, and a clear mind. The evidence is there and it’s sufficient for one to be certain. A reasonably informed atheist is much more sure that he is right than even the most fervent Christian.
(808) Jesus admits he is just a messenger and a sacrificial lamb
Jesus is usually portrayed by Christians as being one-third of the Trinity, and as being co-equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit. But a scripture in the Gospel of John seems to contradict that characterization:
“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
This is most likely just a made up verse by the author of John, but what it shows is that even at the time that John was written, about 60 years after Jesus’s death, the theology of his divine status was not fully complete. There are hints of Jesus’s relegated status in other gospels, such as Mark 10:18
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.”
But what John wrote in 12:47-50 goes to the heart of the problem for Christianity as Jesus is admitting that he is just saying what the Father has told him to say, a definite sign of subservience. He also states that he is not to judge anyone, but rather to save everyone, presumably by dying on the cross. So he is just a messenger and a human sacrificial ‘lamb.’ That hardly makes Jesus seem like the revered god that Christians worship.
(809) The Bible is stuck in the Iron Age, needs to be updated
The standard Christian theological position is that the Bible is a timeless document, no less true or relevant today than when it was first written. But when it comes to issues such as the treatment of disease and psychological maladies, forms of punishments for crimes, and issues such as slavery, homosexuality, divorce, legalities, and resource management, it is noticeably outdated.
Another area that the Bible lags modern society is women’s rights. The following is taken from:
The Old and New Testaments were written predominantly, if not exclusively by men during a time when women were essentially marital property, with their status and moral worth often linked to marriage and to childbearing. These stories by the very nature of the context of their creation, carry cultural biases that need to be considered and challenged today, especially regarding the role of women in ministry leadership and gender roles in general, where the Bible has too often been an impediment to progress.
The Bible was written during the Iron Age and is tailored for that age, but so much has changed since then. The problem for Christianity is that the Bible has been taken as an inspired document that is ultimately relevant for all time. This is a fatal problem for any theological or philosophical movement- when the leader dies or when the inspired writings come to an end, the enterprise becomes increasingly irrelevant with time.
The only way for Christianity to be a truly up-to-date religion and one that still applies to our modern society would be for God to provide continued revelation. And it would have to be done in a non-controversial manner, such that it wouldn’t be confused with human authorship. But, for some reason, God stopped the process of providing revelation some 1900 years ago. Some might argue that there have been many great Christian thinkers and writers over that time span, but what they have offered is highly contradictory to each other, and there is no firm agreement as to what God might approve or disapprove.
The Bible needs to be updated, but there is no process available to make that happen that wouldn’t receive stultifying resistance. So Christianity remains stuck defending Iron Age values in an information-age world that is swiftly leaving it behind.
(810) The signs of the end times are no longer valid
The events leading up to the end of the age have always intrigued Christians, trying to guess when Jesus will return. The problem is that the signs have already occurred, and many, many times over, making them totally impotent harbingers of what is to come.
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
To be quite clear, all of these things have happened, and have been happening without pause ever since the time that Jesus allegedly made this statement. Anybody living during the past 2000 years could claim that the signs of the end were happening in their lifetime, and indeed, there’s never been a generation that didn’t see their’s as the last.
So, the bottom line is this. There are no valid signs anymore. Jesus wasted his time making this prediction. It is now totally meaningless. A true god would have foreseen the vapidity of such a redundant prognostication.
(811) Jesus was copied from Inanna The Queen of Heaven
You can’t deny certain coincidences. They happen every day, but should you trust them? There are many coincidences that scream suspicion and have the appearance of being something more than mere chance.
One such coincidence is The Queen of Heaven. The Queen of Heaven had many names (Isis, Anat, Inanna, Astarte, Hera and others). Specifically Inanna in this case. She is even mentioned in the Bible.
“The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger.”
Although there are differences, there are many important similarities between Inanna and Jesus. Inanna was worshiped 2000 years before Jesus was, so Inanna couldn’t have copied Jesus, but those who created the myth of Jesus quite easily could have copied from the story of Inanna.
As written in The Ascension Of Isaiah chapters 6-11:
As Dr. Richard Carrier writes in his book On The Historicity Of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason To Doubt.
“We have even more reason than that to be suspicious here. For the initial story told of Jesus in The Ascension Of Isaiah sounds a lot like the story of another descending and ascending, dying and rising god, originating over a thousand years before the christian era. In the descent of Inanna, we are given a similarly repetitious account of a goddess (Inanna, variously otherwise known as Ishtar, or Astarte), the very ‘Queen of Heaven’ (and daughter of God), who descends from ‘the great above’. Thus ‘abandoning Heaven’ she descends from outer space all the way past Earth into the realm of the dead below, fully intending to be killed there and then resurrected three days later. Just like in The Ascension Of Isaiah, the narrative relates her plans in advance to ensure this, and then relates how it happens exactly to plan. And like the ‘Jesus’ figure in The Ascension Of Isaiah, Inanna is crucified (nailed up) and most notably not on Earth, but in a non-earthly realm (the sub-world, in accordance with Sumerian lore of the time), and not by people, but by demons–and their godly overlords, who happen to be the gods of death, yet another coincidence with the ascension (and like the narrative that ends up in the Gospels, Inanna is also humiliated and condemned to death in a kangaroo court).”
For a further breakdown of similarities:
Considering the similarities between the story of Inanna and the story of Jesus, that Inanna was worshiped around the same time as Christianity, and that other gods such as Zalmoxis, Dyonysus and Romulus were also very similar to Jesus, the evidence of Christianity being a plagiarized faith is overwhelming.
(812) Human embryonic comparison to other animals
Christianity’s legitimacy rests on the concept that humans are the special creation of God, made for a unique and separate purpose. This is why it employs a robust apologetic industry to question the theory of evolution. There are many proofs of evolution, but perhaps the best visual demonstration is the comparison of embryonic humans to the embryos of other animals, as shown below:
(813) The backfire of the designer argument
Christian apologists often use the argument that the complexity of the universe proves that there must have been a designer and constructor who could have brought it all into existence. This, of course, has been refuted scientifically by demonstrating that all of the observed complexity came about by way of natural forces over a vast amount of time (13,700,000,000 years).
Scientifically literate Christians acknowledge this fact, but hang on to the concept that the origin of the universe, the Big Bang, must have been triggered by a supernatural force or being, preferentially the God of Christianity. Science has yet to confidently refute this hypothesis, but even if it is conceded that God sparked the Big Bang, it reveals another hypothesis that is infinitely more improbable.
Christianity must deal with the creation of God. Obviously, no Christian will say that God was designed by a higher order designer. Most likely, they will claim that God has always existed. This brings up some logical issues, such as why God waited an infinite amount of time before creating the universe. Even if he has created an infinite number of universes going back in time, there had to be a time before he created the first one, and given that he has always existed, this would still mean he waited an infinite amount of time before creating the first universe.
But an even stronger objection exists- God must be the most intricately complex structure in the universe, with unlimited powers of perception and instant manipulation throughout a vast universe that is approximately 270,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles across, and yet with the ability to see all that is happening in real time (despite the speed of light restriction) and even to be able to read the minds of people saying silent prayers. The idea that such a god existed for all time, without any designer or period of development, or somehow just came into being is spectacularly preposterous. The improbability of this being true exceeds the atheistic assumption by many orders of magnitude. Christians should abandon the designer argument immediately.
(814) Jesus thought dumbness was caused by a demon
In Matthew 9:32-33, we read:
While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
This piece of nonsense brought to you courtesy of the Bible indicates Jesus believed that dumbness was caused by a demon, or at least that was the thinking of the person who wrote this fictional story. We now know that dumbness is almost exclusively caused by deafness, the inability to hear sounds and to learn to mimic them vocally. It has nothing to do with an evil spirit.
How should a scientifically-literate Christian react to this verse? At the very least, it should be an embarrassment- that this supposedly timeless, divinely inspired book presents such an erroneous, antiquated idea about a serious condition that afflicts approximately 70 million people worldwide.
(815) Faith healers avoid hospitals
Christian faith healers, such as Ernest Angley and Morris Cerullo, ply their trade in big churches and stadiums, where mostly able-bodied people attend to have their minor maladies healed. These sessions are produced as a televised spectacle, with the afflicted person being prayed for and then pushed back into the arms of a ‘catcher’ as they are ‘slain in the spirit.’ Although some psychosomatic conditions might be alleviated by these methods, actual physical ailments are never permanently resolved.
If these faith healers could actually do what they claim, they would enter hospitals on a regular basis curing people with cancer, heart disease, etc. But notice that they don’t. Why is that? Because hospitals are staffed with medical professionals who can accurately assess the health conditions of their patients and determine whether any actual healing has taken place. A charlatan faith healer knows to avoid that kind of situation.
On a broader topic, if faith healing had any merit at all, (in other words if what Jesus promised was true), every hospital would have faith healing wings with highly paid faith healers on the staff. The absence of this is prime evidence that Jesus was wrong and Christianity is not true.
(816) Proof the Bible is not inerrant
Many, though not all, Christians claim that the Bible is inerrant. It is understandable why they would believe this, because if the Bible is actually inspired by God, who is perfect, then the scriptures he inspired must also be perfect. God, in that sense, would not only direct the composition of the original manuscripts, but would also police the copying and translating that would occur later.
There are many examples of where the Bible is not perfect, with thousands of contradictions that are well known to skeptics and liberal Christians, though apologists bend over backwards to squirm out of each and every one. But one passage in the Book of Ezra is the most unassailable example of a biblical mistake.
Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god. Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.
This was the inventory:
|matching silver bowls||410|
In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along with the exiles when they came up from Babylon to Jerusalem.
The inventory totals 2, 499 items, not 5,400. This is not a trivial error. And the Christian apologist argument that the itemized inventory was simply a partial list of what existed falls flat because of the line item ‘other articles’ that would include everything not specifically listed above.
Conservative Christians are right about this- if the Bible has any errors at all, it reduces it to a status somewhat below that of a divinely-inspired book, and opens it up to controversy, criticism, and uncertainty that effectively clouds all of its contents. The firewall for these Christians is to claim that the Bible is perfect. Ezra shows that claim is false.
(817) Physics demonstrates that there is no free will
Christianity is dependent on the concept that each human being is free to direct his thoughts and actions in a manner of his own choosing. Otherwise, God’s reward/punishment scheme would be unfair. Our current understanding of the workings of the human brain has revealed that free will is an illusion- we operate more or less like inanimate machines without any capability to alter the course of our decisions. The following is taken from:
Free will is an illusion. Our amazingly, wonderfully complex brains are comprised of various cognitive systems cycling amongst themselves and generating our thoughts, consciousness, choices and behavior. These systems and their effects all result from the mechanical, inorganic laws of physics, over which we have no control.
Consciousness is presented to us as a result of our neurons, our brains, our senses. When we lose these, we lose consciousness. These systems are governed and controlled by neurochemicals, hormones, ionization, impulses: in short, by biochemistry. Biochemistry is in turn merely a type of chemistry, and when we look at the molecules and atoms that make up our chemistry, they obey the laws of physics.
Balls bouncing around a pool table have no free will. The basic chemicals that make up our bodies and minds have no free will. Neurons fire when they should fire, according to their electrochemical properties. They don’t randomly fire: They fire when they’re stimulated to fire by other neurons or by environmental inputs. Stimulation results from a constant biochemical cycle. These natural cycles determine our states of mind and our choices. Through a long and complicated series of cause and effect, our choices are made. As such, all our ‘choices’ are ultimately the result of impersonal and mechanical forces. There is no “free will force” that causes neurons to fire some times and not at others. They fire in accordance with the rules of physics, firmly beyond our control but not beyond our appreciation. These facts are proclaimed also by none other than the foremost physicist Albert Einstein:
“I do not at all believe in human freedom in the philosophical sense. Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity.”
More from the same source:
If an omnipotent and omniscient being created the universe at time=0, do we have free will? The answer is no, of course, and the proof follows: God is omnipotent. It can do any (logical) thing. It is a requirement of omnipotency that it also must be omniscient – it knows everything. If it can do anything, then in an instant it can look at the position of everything in the universe and know everything. No problem so far.
When it created the universe, or life, it knew full well what it was doing. Every event that affects a persons have already been laid down and foreseen (and therefore instigated) by this God. It is these events that affect a person’s character, etc, and therefore what choice they will make.
Let us presume a person has two choices to make: He can go to heaven or hell. The crux of the matter balances on him doing whatever act is required to get him into heaven. Life revolves around many points so let us consider the exact moment of truth, for this man, when he can finally make the right choice and get to heaven.
How does he decide? It depends entirely on all the information he had gathered through his life and on the current state of his body and memory. All these things were not his doing, not his devising and not his choice, yet the choice he finally makes depends on them. It is for this reason that God has already made the man’s choice for him.
God, in setting the seeds for the universe, knew full well, in omniscience, which factors that it was setting would affect this poor man’s outcome. When setting up a certain atom, molecule, object, etc, it could foresee the exact consequences. I.e., this slight change here will mean that this event happens slightly differently and the man will experience a slightly difference occurrence and therefore make the right choice. Depending on whether God aligns the object one way or another, the man will make the right or wrong choice.
The theists refutations, the hardest ones to immediately overcome is: “God knows what choice he will make, but leaves it up to the man to make it” – we have already refuted this one, by explaining the way that God has already set up the circumstances of the person’s life which dictate his decisions. Causality refutes free will – God’s omnipotent sovereignty contradicts free will.
“We still have a choice, though, whether to do the right thing or not” – this is about the final line for the theist. A stake on your conscience, perhaps. It is wrong, because the person’s very perception of right and wrong is a result of the circumstances already projected by God. Also, the question of whether the man makes the right decision or not is decided by the same causality-bound things.
The situation is not resolvable: If an omnipotent being created life then we have no free will.
This add another level to the unfairness of the Christian faith. The first level is the fact that we are born into widely varying circumstances, all the way from an evangelical Christian home to an atheist home or one based on another religion. But even if we were all born into the same initial circumstances, Christianity would still not be fair because our actions, thoughts, and decisions are not being controlled by a will that is free to act independently of external influences. The image of billiard balls hitting each other in a random fashion after a break is an accurate model of how our brains work in a chaotic world. The balls move with seeming purpose but they are really just reacting mindlessly to the forces being placed on them.
So, Christianity is an unfair system of judging humans because of disparate initial conditions as well as a brain structure that does not possess independent free will. Most likely all of this escaped the perception of the Iron Age people who created this religion.
(818) Snake handling
There are a few Christian cults that take literally a scripture in the Book of Mark suggesting that handling poisonous snakes without injury is a sign of faith. Most Christians laughingly dismiss this practice (even though it is explicitly endorsed by their Bible), but what they don’t realize is that it underscores evidence that Christianity is false. The following is taken from:
The worship services of some American churches regularly include a ritual called snake handling, in which members of the congregation pick up poisonous snakes, often raising them into the air and sometimes even allowing them to crawl on their bodies. The most commonly-used types of snake are rattlesnakes and copperheads, both of which can be caught wild in the forests of the southern United States. Participation in the ritual is voluntary, and some worshipers may remain in their seats and just watch. In addition to snake handling, the services normally include praying, singing, and speaking in tongues.
Members of these churches believe that snakes are demons in bodily form, and that handling them demonstrates God’s power to protect true believers from the forces of evil. Unfortunately, more than 100 deaths from snakebites in religious services have been documented in the United States. As a result of these deaths, six southeastern states have passed laws against snake handling. But this hasn’t stopped the practice, because most of the churches are located in remote rural areas where people tend to live by their own rules. Many of the bitten people believe that God will heal them and don’t seek medical help, so that some cases may not be reported.
Snake handlers say that they are following instructions from the bible, particularly a verse at Mark 16:18 which says that believers “shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them” [King James Version]. In fact, in addition to snake handling, some members of these churches regularly drink poison (usually strychnine) during worship services. If someone is bitten by a snake, or gets sick from poison, other church members may attribute it to the person’s lack of faith and failure to receive the Holy Spirit.
The total number of these churches isn’t known, but is probably less than 100 congregations. Many of them require their members to follow strict dress codes, including the stipulation that women must not use any cosmetics and must always wear ankle-length dresses. Most of the ministers also preach against the use of alcohol and tobacco.
Some ministers and church leaders own small collections of snakes which they keep in cages at their homes and carry to the services in small boxes. The snakes are not drugged before they are handled.
Christian scholars have known for a long time that Mark 16: 9-20 is a forgery that was not included in the original manuscripts of this gospel. So, not only do we not know who wrote Mark, but we doubly don’t know who added the extra verses or the motivation of this person to do so. Most Christians will say that these 12 verses were not inspired by God, that they were included by mistake, but that none of this casts aspersions on the authenticity of their faith.
This is where logic wins an argument over faith. Because Christianity insisted that its God is all-seeing and all-powerful, it must admit that God witnessed the unauthorized inclusion of these verses and just let it happen, knowing full well that it would not only promote a dangerous and meaningless practice to perpetuate for centuries, but also that these fake verses would be an enduring embarrassment to the faith and degrade its authenticity. This presents a challenge to apologists who, once again, can only guess at why such a ridiculous situation developed in the first place.
(819) Jesus condemns most Christians
There are many scriptures that are uncomfortable for Christians, and these are most often avoided at all costs, rarely heard in church or Bible studies, and uneasily re-interpreted by apologists. One of the best examples of this is found in Luke 6:20-26;
Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
Most Christians and practically all preachers are fairly affluent and well fed, given their girth, and they laugh freely every day. They also enjoy the compliments of those in their social circles. For them, being poor, or hungry, or crying, or being criticized is something to be avoided at all costs, and they do whatever they can to avoid these situations.
So what is this scripture doing in the gospels? Christian preachers generally say that by following Jesus, you will receive blessings not only in the afterlife, but in this life as well. But this scripture is saying that blessings in this life are a liability, even hinting that they can be injurious to your eternal fate.
There are many theories about how to interpret this saying of Jesus, or at least what was written by the author. One of the best is that early Christians came from the lower, poorer class of people, so giving them hope for a future comeuppance against the privileged rich people was a good way to grow the faith.
But no matter what its motivation, this scripture is a window into the mind of the desert tribesmen of the times, who somehow thought that a fearsome god would value and reward suffering and pain over happiness and prosperity. Such a bitter, dismal, pessimistic, and morbid attitude would most certainly not emanate from the mind of an almighty god.
(820) Destruction of records
Christianity has a long record of destroying any written materials that contradicted its beliefs and tenets, or was not considered orthodox to its ever-changing dogma, or just about anything scientific, historical, or otherwise that shed an embarrassing light on the faith. The following is taken from:
Christian authorities have been responsible for the “loss” of countless invaluable historical and religious records over the last 2,000 years or so: purportedly apostolic and apocryphal writings, Gnostic and Ebionite writings, classical and philosophical writings, Jewish writings and the sacred writings of other religions, all criticism of Christianity, non-compliant histories, anything savoring of heresy or originality. Later we shall see that all manner of other works were also destroyed: science, mathematics, architecture, natural history, medicine, ancient classics — all writings in fact not currently considered orthodox, and in practice this meant everything except officially approved propaganda.
Even the records of Church Councils and ancient biblical texts were mislaid, destroyed or otherwise “lost”. Many such documents were for example collected for the famous Council of Trent (1546), never to be seen again. Other records have also been lost. For example Church records of trials for witchcraft and heresy are remarkably scanty. Much hard evidence comes from independent contemporary accounts, secret letters and municipal records. Other Church records have also been mysteriously lost — records of torture, show trials, interference in politics, and so on. Even recent records are prone to get unaccountably lost. Church records of proceedings against individuals and political groups even in the twentieth century have been mysteriously “lost”.
What better evidence is there that Christianity is untrue than its long campaign to weed out all of the things that show it to be false? If Christianity was true, nothing of that sort would have been necessary. Instead, there would have been a concerted campaign to preserve non-canonical writings to demonstrate the validity of the faith independent of its holy scripture.
(821) Fabricating a preposterous casualty count
That the Bible is just a storybook full of fiction is manifest to anyone with an objective eye. One of the ways to prove this is to examine some of the stories to see where the author made an obvious mistake that flies in the face of reality. One such example is in 2 Chronicles 13: 16-18:
The Israelite army fled from Judah, and God handed them over to Judah in defeat. Abijah and his army inflicted heavy losses on them; 500,000 of Israel’s select troops were killed that day. So Judah defeated Israel on that occasion because they trusted in the LORD, the God of their ancestors.
In order for 500,000 men to be killed during one day’s battle, assuming a 12-hour sunlit period, would require that over 11 men be killed every second for the entire 12-hour period. Even during the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War, at Gettysburg, only 46,000 were killed over three days.
Now, keep in mind the half million killed were only on one side, so it doesn’t include any of the casualties suffered by Abijah’s army. Also, keep in mind there were no machine guns, bombs, or any other instruments of modern warfare, even when compared to Gettysburg, available to kill all of these soldiers.
(822) The vile character of the Christian god
Christians rarely sit back and examine the character of the god that they worship. It is so ingrained in their psyche that God is all good, merciful, and benevolent, but this description is shown to be utterly false by an examination of scripture. The following is a quote from Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899).
DID these words come from the heart of love?—”When the Lord thy God shall drive them before thee, thou shalt smite them and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, or show mercy unto them.”
“I will heap mischief upon them. I will send mine arrows upon them; they shall be burned with hunger and devoured with burning heat and with bitter destruction.”
“I will send the tooth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.”
“The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin; the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.”
“Let his children be fatherless and his wife a widow; let his children be continually vagabonds and beg; let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places; let the extortioner catch all that he hath, and let the stranger spoil his labor; let there be none to extend mercy unto him, neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children.”
“And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body—the flesh of thy sons and daughters.”
“And the heaven that is over thee shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.”
“Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.”
“I will make my arrows drunk with blood.”
“I will laugh at their calamity.”
Did these curses, these threats, come from the heart of love or from the mouth of savagery?
Was Jehovah god or devil?
Why should we place Jehovah above all the gods?
Has man in his ignorance and fear ever imagined a greater monster?
Have the barbarians of any land, in any time, worshipped a more heartless god?
Brahma was a thousand times nobler, and so was Osiris and Zeus and Jupiter. So was the supreme god of the Aztecs, to whom they offered only the perfume of flowers. The worst god of the Hindus, with his necklace of skulls and his bracelets of living snakes, was kind and merciful compared with Jehovah.
Compared with Marcus Aurelius, how small Jehovah seems. Compared with Abraham Lincoln, how cruel, how contemptible, is this god.”
Countless pagan gods and human philosophers and heads of state have shown a character, virtue, and integrity that vastly exceeds that of the Christian god. And yet they worship him without reservation. If a human displayed the same morality, they would hate and revile him.
The rationalization ‘that’s just the Old Testament’ is a feeble and unacceptable attempt to weasel out of this unassailable truth- the God presented in the Bible is not worthy of worship or even mild admiration, but rather he deserves contempt, disgust, and derision.
(823) Daniel in the lion’s den
First off, this story is almost certainly fictional, but it shows the mind of the people at the time and how they viewed their invented god. Here is the story as told in Daniel 6:16-24:
So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
What a nice children’s story!???? Well, it is always told by leaving out that last part. God saved Daniel, which is probably admirable, because he was falsely accused, but the same god failed to protect the wives and children of the false accusers.
This is a repeated theme throughout the Bible- that the relatives and descendants of guilty people also deserve to be punished. This concept is strongly pushed in the Bible, but it’s equally strongly forbidden in modern society. This should give pause to any Christian who is biblically literate. The biblical theme of punishing the relatives of the guilty is strong evidence that the Bible is not the inspiration of any real god.
(824) Early Christians dismissed science
Christianity has been notoriously wary of science, perhaps more so than any other religion, including the other two Abrahamic faiths, Judaism and Islam. It all began early in the church’s campaign to assert authority over any system of knowledge that potentially challenged its articles of faith. The following was taken from:
The outlook of Christians was fundamentally different from that of the ancient Greeks. According to Christians, God revealed himself through the Bible and the Church. As Tertullian explained, scientific research [inquisitio] became superfluous once the gospel of Jesus Christ was available:
We have no need of curiosity after Jesus Christ, nor of research after the gospel. When we believe, we desire to believe nothing more. For we believe that there is nothing else that we need to believe.
De praescnptione haereticorum (On the Rule of the Heretic)
The Church taught that it knew all there was to be known. Christian knowledge was comprehensive and unquestionable. Rational investigation was therefore unnecessary. Existing learning was not merely superfluous, but positively harmful. Theologians were convinced that God had defined strict limits on the knowledge that human beings might acquire, and anything else was “sorcery”. When Saint Paul visited the great city of Ephesus many Christians burned their books (or scrolls) because they were considered to contain sorcery. This set the tone for Christian thought for centuries. In the fourth century Eusebius attacked scientific inquiry, dismissing it as “useless labour”. St. Augustine of Hippo who regarded scientific inquiry as a worse sin than lust, also said that “Hell was made for the inquisitive”. To seek to discover more was a sin and therefore also a crime, the crime of curiositas2 . For him, scientific curiosity (“knowledge and learning”) was as a more serious sin than lust:
To this the sin [of lust] is added another form of temptation more manifoldly dangerous. For besides that concupiscence of the flesh which consisteth in the delight of all senses and pleasures, wherein its slaves, who go far from Thee, waste and perish, the soul hath, through the same senses of the body, a certain vain and curious desire, veiled under the title of knowledge and learning, not of delighting in the flesh, but of making experiments through the flesh.
If Christianity was true, its leaders would have welcomed all sources of inquiry to confirm the same. But if it was not true, then the best way to grow the faith was to suppress all forms of knowledge that tended to contradict it. That is what happened. And that is what is still happening today.
(825) Matthew inflates Mark’s story
It is well known that the author of the Book of Matthew used the Book of Mark as a source material, copying large portions in composing his own history of Jesus. It is enlightening to see what Matthew did when copying Mark’s tale about Jesus exorcising demons and sending them into a herd of pigs. Compare Mark’s tale to what Matthew later wrote about the same episode:
They went across the lake to the region of the Gadarenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
Matthew had a habit of inflating stories told by Mark, and in this case he changed the encounter to say that there were two men possessed by demons, not just one. He then changes the dialogue for no apparent reason.
What is important to note about these two scripture stories is that they are obviously both describing the same event. Mark was the first to document this, and probably about 10 years later, Matthew wrote his version. Because neither of these men witnessed this event, it is inexplicable why Matthew would change the story to say that two men instead of one were involved. other than simply trying to make the story more compelling or dramatic.
It was not an oversight by Matthew because he referred to two men in the first paragraph and then referred to ‘men’ and not ‘man’ in the third paragraph. So the change was intentional. Some Christians might say that Matthew was correcting the story that Mark wrote by way of a revelation from the Holy Spirit, but it that’s the case, then why did the Holy Spirit make a mistake with Mark?
Similarly, in Matthew 20: 27-30, the author says that Jesus encountered two blind men when he was leaving Jericho, whereas Mark, telling the same story (Mark 10:46-47), says there was only one.
(826) Christianity traffics in sexual guilt and redemption
Trafficking is time-honored scam that foists a measure of guilt or dependency on someone while offering a usually expensive or subservient means of absolving the guilt. Christianity has done a masterful job trafficking sex guilt. The following is an except from:
Sexual intimacy and sexual pleasure are two of humanity’s most cherished experiences. A recent study showed that sex makes people even happier than religiondoes. The Church knows that. It also knows that forbidding something we crave—making it taboo—can make the craving even stronger. It’s the perfect set-up for an institution trafficking in guilt and redemption.
Most people recognize that the elderly men running the Vatican hold some archaic and ignorant notions about sex. What we often don’t recognize is how many of our own sexual hang-ups are their doing. Even if you are secular you likely have been infected with noxious ideas that come straight from the Ancient Near East and Medieval Europe by way of the Church and her Protestant offspring.
If you want to live by your own values when it comes to sex, it might help to ask yourself which of these ideas and messages have gotten inside you in some form.
1. Sex is for procreation, which means sex for “mere pleasure” is bad and safeguarding against ill-conceived pregnancy makes you cheap. If you don’t want a baby in nine months you should keep your legs together or your zipper up.
Catholic “pro-life” theologian Monica Miller recently earned herself a Facebook meme when she said that Planned Parenthood should get no federal funding because “the kind of sexual ethic that Planned Parenthood promotes is sex for recreation, sex for mere pleasure.” If Miller spent more time studying biology instead of theology, she might not have made herself a laughingstock. Research shows that sex for “mere pleasure” improves mental and physical health, strengthens pair bonds and eases conflicts between partners, and it does so in a wide variety of species, not just humans.
Any Christian who buys into the guilt trip involving sex must first come to grips with the unsportsmanlike conduct of a deity who makes humans with a strong sexual urge but who then demands that they don’t act upon it. Conservative Christians often say it’s OK to be gay as long as you don’t have gay sex. They might as well say it’s OK to be heterosexual as long as you have sex only with your spouse in a missionary position and only when you are sincerely trying to conceive.
(827) Reasons to doubt the empty tomb
A critical point of theological dogma underscoring the Christian religion is that Jesus’s tomb was found to be empty a day or so after he was buried there. It is used commonly as a symbol of the truth of the faith. However, there are good reasons to believe that it was a later invention of Jesus’s followers and not an historical reality. The following is taken from:
There are good reasons to doubt the empty tomb story. First, early Christian writers like Paul do not even presuppose or imply the empty tomb story. Had there actually been an empty tomb, Paul would have likely mentioned it in 1 Corinthians 15 because he was trying to convince the people at Corinth that there was a resurrection from the dead. The empty tomb would have been excellent evidence for him to make his case. “Moreover,” writers Marcus J. Borg, “the first reference to the empty tomb story is rather odd: Mark, writing around 70 CE, tells us that some women found the tomb empty but told no one about it. Some scholars think this indicates that the story of the empty tomb is a late development and that the way Mark tells it explains why it was not widely (or previously) known” (15).
Second, another argument against the empty tomb is the fact that none of the disciples or later Christian preachers bothered to point to it. If the empty tomb had actually existed, it would have been a powerful piece of evidence for the resurrection claim. We would expect the early Christian preachers to have said, “You don’t believe us? Go look in the tomb yourselves! It’s at the corner of 5th and Main, in the Golgotha Garden Memorial Cemetery, third sepulcher on the right.” This is exactly what happened in Luke 24:24: two of the disciples ran to the tomb to verify the women’s reports. Yet Peter doesn’t mention the empty tomb in his preaching in Acts 2, nor does Paul mention it in his letters, nor do the gospels give a location. If even the disciples didn’t think the empty tomb tradition was any good, why should we?
Finally, neither Jewish nor Pagan sources confirm the empty tomb. This objection does not in itself constitute grounds for rejecting the empty tomb story, but taken together these three objections suggest that the empty tomb tradition is not a reliable one.
It would seem that an event as paramount as the empty tomb would have garnered much more historical substantiation if it had actually happened. An analysis of all available evidence suggests strongly that it was a myth created several decades after the time of Jesus.
(828) Improbable logistics of Jesus’s ministry
Supposedly Jesus left his carpentry business at around the age of 30 and began a preaching ministry. Leaving his family home would have created a problem for his parents, leaving them with the need to hire someone to take up the slack, unless, as Catholics are loathe to admit, he had plenty of siblings.
He collected 12 principal followers, or disciples, each of whom may have been married or who were at least involved in some form of business. The impact of their departure would have created much distress and consternation with their families, especially with any wives or children. There is no evidence that they ever returned to their families.
The ministry of Jesus lasted at least one year, and perhaps as much as three according to John’s gospel, so it would have required considerable resources to adequately support 13 itinerant men. They would have needed extra clothes and a way to wash their clothes, plus a way to convey these personal articles. They would have needed places to sleep, to get out of the cold or the rain, and lots of shoes.
They would have required a lot of food and water, especially considering the huge distances they had to walk. Take a look at the map and consider that they ranged as far as Jerusalem to the south to the Sea of Galilee to the north and even farther to the city of Tyre, which is off the top of the map, a walking distance of approximately 250 km.
The gospels give no account of how they attained these resources, as there is no indication that they conducted any business or worked for any wages. All of these things would have to have been gifts of people along the way, including hotel services for each night, unless they slept under the stars. The gospels do not describe any of these logistics except to mention a few times that they were invited to share a meal.
Did they urinate and defecate in the open, as there were very few trees or foliage to provide cover? In the rain, did they have a cover? Did they carry food and water with them, and if so, how was this done? The amount of water they would have needed to carry would have been very heavy.
The average low temperature in Jerusalem in January is 39F (4C), so did they all have suitable winter clothing? And how was that transported with them? If it is assumed that the 13 men had lots of helpers to carry these provisions, it just means that these people would have needed extra provisions for themselves.
If it is assumed that they didn’t have places to stay every night, did they have tents, candles, and wood for fires to cook food?
The thrust of this discussion is to point out that it is very easy to write a story about 13 men wandering the countryside spreading the good news of redemption, but it is an entirely different thing to present a realistic story that comports to realism and common sense. Christians will claim that since Jesus was God, he simply multiplied the scant resources at will whenever it was necessary, but if that was the case, why were the disciples astonished when he fed the 5,000?
(829) Analyzing the virgin birth
For some Christians, the legend of the virgin birth of Jesus is an essential aspect of Christian theology, as any other origin of Jesus would compromise the concept of his divinity. It is instructive to visit all of the possibilities:
- (1) Jesus was not a real person, and was entirely mythical.
- (2) Jesus was conceived by Joseph and Mary in the usual way, but perhaps a story was concocted to say that it was a virginal conception.
- (3) Mary was impregnated by a Roman soldier, Pantera, as alluded to in some documents, but covered up the rape? or consensual affair by claiming a celestial visit.
- (4) Jesus was a product of parthenogenesis, a rare condition when an egg cell produces a regular offspring, though this can be generally discounted because this would create a female fetus.
- (5) Mary was impregnated by God, via a sperm that God inserted into Mary’s vagina. The DNA of the sperm might have been linked to the Davidian line.
- (6) God inserted a fertilized egg into Mary’s uterus, meaning that Mary was a surrogate and that Jesus did not share DNA with his parents.
Judging the probability of each of these possibilities produces different results depending on the bias of the analyzer, but one fact that must be considered is that the story of the virgin birth did not materialize in any of Paul’s letters, the Book of Acts, or the first gospel (Mark), and only first appeared in the Book of Luke, written at least 80 years after the magical conception would have taken place. This is strong counter-evidence of the virgin birth and equally strong evidence that it represents a contamination of Christian theology from pagan religious traditions.
From a reasonably skeptical point of view, the probabilities of each possibility above might be:
(830) Jesus does not know the hour of his return
In Mark 13:32, and in a similar scripture in Matthew (24:36). we read:
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
At the time that the gospels of Mark and Matthew were written, the concept of Jesus’s divinity was not fully developed, as demonstrated by this verse and others that suggest the same thing. But it is clear from this verse that the author did not consider Jesus to be equal to the Father and also that he was not a divine, all-knowing being.
It is interesting that there are many later manuscripts that left out the clause “nor the son,” primarily because by then Jesus was considered to be God himself and therefore this scripture was embarrassingly contradicting that dogma.
(831) Meet you in Galilee or Jerusalem?
In the Book of Mark, the first and generally assumed the most authentic gospel, after Jesus’s tomb is found to be empty, an angel states the following to the women (16: 6-7):
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’
This refers back to Mark 14:28, when Jesus said:
“But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
This seems to be a clear instruction to the disciples that they should travel to Galilee, about 175km away, and that they would meet Jesus there.
However, there are critical contradictions to this plan. In the forged versus (Mark 16:9-20), it is clear that Jesus meets his disciples in Jerusalem and on the same day as the resurrection. Besides that there are additional problems. The following is taken from:
Matthew, Mark, and John have Jesus saying the disciples are to rendezvous with him in Galilee, northern Israel, about three days journey away. In contradiction to this, Luke’s two books—The Gospel of Luke and The Book of Acts, have Jesus planning to rendezvous in Jerusalem….
In the real world, people cannot be in two places at the same time, and to claim otherwise is to be caught up in a contradiction…. The Bible, like the cheating husband, has been caught in a contradiction, exposed as a liar, and therefore can’t be trusted to tell the truth (Smith, 1995).
Apologists of the Christian faith assert that there is no contradiction, that Jesus met the disciples in both places at different times. The problem with this argument is that the first meeting of Jesus is to be in Galilee, after three arduous days of walking. This would put the ‘second meeting’ in Jerusalem at least 6 days after the resurrection. This timeline is in direct contraction to Luke, Acts, and the interpolated verses at the end of Mark.
The question that must be asked is why didn’t the gospel writers get this story straight? It could only have happened one way and if the Holy Spirit was actually inspiring them, one would expect the stories to be consistent.
(832) If God is real, we are all slaves
The definition of slavery is submission to a dominating influence. The master demands a set of expectations, and if the slave compiles, he is rewarded; if not, he is punished.
This is precisely how Christianity works. There is no Christian liberty. You either worship your lord or he will exact a very severe, if not eternal, punishment on you. This is not freedom.
The following is a quote by Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876):
This contradiction lies here: they wish God, and they wish humanity. They persist in connecting two terms which, once separated, can come together again only to destroy each other. They say in a single breath: “God and the liberty of man,” “God and the dignity, justice, equality, fraternity, prosperity of men” — regardless of the fatal logic by virtue of which, if God exists, all these things are condemned to non-existence.
For, if God is, he is necessarily the eternal, supreme, absolute master, and, if such a master exists, man is a slave; now, if he is a slave, neither justice, nor equality, nor fraternity, nor prosperity are possible for him. In vain, fling in the face of good sense and all the teachings of history, do they represent their God as animated by the tenderest love of human liberty: a master, whoever he may be and however liberal he may desire to show himself, remains none the less always a master. His existence necessarily implies the slavery of all that is beneath him.
Therefore, if God existed, only in one way could he serve human liberty — by ceasing to exist.
Most Christians are so caught up in the fantasy of a heavenly protector and the promise of eternal bliss that they fail to see that they have sacrificed their freedom, individuality, personal dignity, and intellectual integrity in the process. Christianity is not an admirable belief system- it is a dictatorship, a master-slave construct, and an anathema to the highest ideal that each of us are born free to follow our hearts.
It is exceptionally unlikely that a universal god would place humans in such a subservient and sycophantic role. A true god would set our minds free to explore our world unfettered by dogma, fear, and superstition.
(833) The Book of Joshua
If anyone wants to know if Judeo-Christianity has any basis in reality, they should read the Book of Joshua. It is filled with horror, and it claims the unique property of having absolutely nothing redeemable, nothing of value, nothing of goodness, nothing of decency, and nothing of morality. The following is a quote from Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899):
Is there anything in Joshua—with its wars, its murders and massacres, its swords dripping with the blood of mothers and babes, its tortures, maimings and mutilations, its fraud and fury, its hatred and revenge—calculated to improve the world?
Does not every chapter shock the heart of a good man? Is it a book to be read by children?
The book of Joshua is as merciless as famine, as ferocious as the heart of a wild beast. It is a history—a justification—a sanctification of nearly every crime …
Read this book of Joshua—read of the slaughter of women, of wives, of mothers and babes—read its impossible miracles, its ruthless crimes, and all done according to the commands of Jehovah, and tell me whether this book is calculated to make us forgiving, generous and loving.
Very few Christians have read this book, but it’s in the Bible that they carry around as if it’s a font of all that is good. This is a travesty. If any Christian reads Joshua and comes away not questioning his faith, he is either seriously brainwashed or has a profound lack of reading comprehension.
(834) Time from resurrection to ascension
In the Books of Mark and Luke, Jesus appears to two disciples in the countryside, then returns to Jerusalem to confront all of the remaining eleven disciples (Judas was dead by this time). Immediately after this, Jesus ascended into heaven. By these accounts, Jesus ascended into heaven on the very evening of the morning that he rose from the dead.
The book of Matthew does not mention the ascension. The Book of John states that there were many appearances of Jesus after the resurrection, and that at least one week passed between two of them, as can be seen in John 20:24-27:
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus ), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Further, in the Book of Acts, we read this verse (1:3):
After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
The discrepancies in these accounts are unmistakable. It is informative to note that in the first accounts written (Mark and Luke), Jesus leaves very quickly, but then as the later accounts are written (John and Acts), the time span increases dramatically. This is quintessential evidence of an evolving myth.
(835) Problems with the Book of Esther
In the book revered by Christians as being written by the hand of God, another example of its fallibility can be found in the Old Testament Book of Esther. The following was taken from:
The book of Esther purports to describe how a young Jewish girl named Esther was chosen by the Persian king Xerxes I to be queen after he had divorced Vashti. Although historians know a great deal about Xerxes I, there is no record that he had a Jewish queen named Esther or was married to Vashti.
Additionally, the book of Esther describes the Persian empire as having 127 provinces, but historians maintain there was no such division of the empire. Also contrary to the book of Esther, historians assure us Xerxes did not order Jews in his territories to attack his Persian subjects.
(836) The biblical view of agency
To understand the Bible, it is important to understand the prevailing views that existed at the times it was written. The knowledge of the biblical authors was much less than that of a typical first-grader today. Without inspiration from a higher source, we would expect the biblical authors to write much material that would be considered embarrassing if written by contemporary authors. When it comes to the subject of demons, or supernatural agents, we see just that. The following is taken from:
The History of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology states: “It is important to keep in mind that throughout the centuries of antiquity, there was a more or less unspoken assumption that the universe is peopled with a great variety of agencies, personages, deities, and deity-like forces, some helpful, some malevolent, some both, and these agents and agencies played an important part in human welfare, illness, and also in severe emotional distress.Daimones, guardian spirits, Keres, Furies, and Larvae are among the many names for particular agents … The assumption was “popular” … [and] it pervaded ancient cults, philosophies, religions, and healing practices.
Concomitant with the multiplicity of the external agencies, there was another assumption, less clearly articulated, of the divisibility or “fractionability” of the person or the psyche and of the ability of the psyche to leave the person and migrate. These two interwoven views constitute the framework for the deeply held belief that illnesses, whether benign or grave, including unusual or disturbed mental and emotional states, were caused by a demon or possessing spirit.” (Wallace IV & Gach, 2008, p. 183)
It is difficult for a Christian apologist to deny that the Bible presents a world view of ‘behind the scenes’ agents that is no longer considered credible. If it had been the work of a god, the Bible would have done a better job of standing the test of time.
(837) The Bible was not written in the language of the participants
The question of the Bible’s authenticity hangs to some extent on the background of those who authored it. The problem for the Bible is that it was written mostly in a language that was different from that spoken by the cast of characters or the local population. This also indicates that it was written in locations that were probably quite distant from the scenes of the action. The following was taken from:
So, with all of this in mind, the Torah, some of the Prophetic books, and many of the wisdom books were probably originally composed in Greek, and later adapted for Jewish settlements and villages in both the Greek polis’ and the chora (rural areas in Egypt), as well as other Diaspora settings where these settlements are not fully or mostly Hellenized and still communicated in Aramaic. There are perhaps some narratives that were originally composed in Hebrew, such as 1 Maccabees, Ester (although it seems more likely composed originally in Greek, the debate continues), Ecclesiastes (although some debate on this continues, the dating ranges from the fifth – third centuries BCE), and some of the prophetic books. Virtually all of the deuterocanonical books of the Hebrew Bible were not written in a Semitic language but rather in Greek.
Additionally, New Testament scholarship had for a very long time thought that the original composition of some of the Gospels (if not all of them) was in Aramaic, reflecting eyewitness authorship which no longer is assumed. Today, it is understood that the Gospels are not the works of eyewitnesses writing on historical events, but also literary creations composed by anonymous authors with very different motivations. The Gospel narratives, like many of the Old Testament literature, were written in Greek. All of Paul’s letters and the various pseudonymous epistles and Revelations were also written in Greek. And probably most of the Gnostic literature found at Nag Hammadi were also originally composed in Greek, and then later copied into Coptic – the language we currently have most of them in today (although some Greek fragments remain for some of them). The language adaptation of the texts reflects the adaptation of the interpretation by the authors of other narratives. It is all relative, and represents the times and culture of the day.
The Bible would be viewed as being more reliable if it was written predominantly in Hebrew and Aramaic. That being not the case elevates the probability that it contains a lot of non-eyewitness fiction.
(838) Evidence of Christian polytheism
Standard Christian doctrine is that God is composed of three personages- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But it is strongly emphasized that they do not represent three gods, but rather just one. This would imply that they comprise a single, unique consciousness. As such, there should be no need or reason for them to talk to each other. Consider Luke 23:34:
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
If Jesus is talking to the Father, this indicates that they are two separate consciousnesses and therefore two separate gods. If they truly were a single god, Jesus would not have addressed ‘himself’ in this manner. This is just one example of many where Jesus is praying or talking to the Father. This is definite proof that Christianity as defined in the Bible is polytheistic.
(839) Paul invented the Last Supper
The Last Supper never happened. It was an invention of Paul, who claims that he received it in a revelation from God. Here is the text from 1 Corinthians 11:23-26:
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
The following is taken from:
In 1 Corinthians 11:23 the apostle Paul writes, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread…” Here Paul claims that he got the instructions for the Lord’s Supper directly from Jesus (evidently from one of his many revelations). Paul writes these words about twenty years after Jesus’ death, and had the church already been celebrating the Lord’s Supper he certainly would have been aware of it and would have had no need to receive it from the Lord. Some apologists try to play games with the text to make it seem like Paul actually received the instructions from the other apostles, but one thing Paul stresses is that what he teaches he receives from no man (Galatians 1:11-12).
About 20 years after Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians, Mark wrote the first gospel and included the same scene with similar wording (Mark 14:22-25):
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
This meal never took place. It became a Christian tradition only because Paul was influenced by his exposure to the Mystery religions, particularly Mithraism, as explained at this website:
There is little doubt that the Christian Paul was familiar with the rites of the Mystery Religions. He was a Jew of the Diaspora, and would necessarily have been exposed to various cross cultural influences. Let us keep in mind that it was Paul, the putative founder of the Christian religion, who reached out and proselytized pagan Gentiles to join the early Christian churches. He was said to be from Tarsus, and was often identified as ‘Saul of Tarsus.’ According to Earl Doherty, Tarsus happened to be the center of the Mithras cult from as early as the 2nd Century BCE.
Doherty also argues that even though Paul borrowed from the Jewish religion, he could not have borrowed a Lord’s Supper from it. As Hyam Maccoby contends in Paul and Hellenism, the ritual of eating and drinking god’s flesh and blood would have been viewed as disgusting and even idolatrous by Jewish believers. The Christian Eucharist meal would have been impossible to borrow from the Jewish religion. But the Eucharist that Paul refers to in his writings, the taking and eating of bread and wine, symbolizing Jesus’ body and blood, is unmistakably similar to the sacred meals of the diverse Mystery cults.
Paul’s ‘revelation’ was clearly not an eyewitness account and it was suspiciously similar to a common practice of the followers of Mithraism, a religion that was very popular at the time. From these facts, the most likely truth is that Paul created the myth of the Last Supper, and it was shared among early Christians, then picked up by Mark, who might have thought it was an authentic event. Then the authors of Matthew and Luke copied it from Mark. Almost certainly, it never happened.
(840) Did Jesus go to the wilderness or Cana?
In the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, Jesus proceeds immediately to the wilderness after being baptized by John the Baptist.
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
The gospels of Matthew and Luke repeat the same chronological sequence. However in the gospel of John, Jesus is recorded to have remained in the area of the Jordan for two days collecting disciples and then proceeding on the third day to a wedding in Cana, in Galilee.
After the baptism, the following scripture in John follows:
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there
These stories are incompatible. It is interesting that John left out the business about Jesus’s sojourn in the wilderness and temptation by Satan. There are other stories in the synoptic gospels that John left out, probably because he realized they were mythical. So even then, about 70 years after Jesus died, we have a significant scholar identifying that myth had infiltrated Christian doctrine.
(841) Jesus had symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia
Jesus may have suffered from a common psychotic condition. The following is taken from:
Jesus satisifed the diagnostic criteria of paranoid schizophrenia:
- hallucinations: hearing or seeing God, Satan, demons, and angels;
- delusions of grandiosity: belief that he is the salvific Christ/Messiah with miraculous powers and apocalyptic foreknowledge;
- delusions of persecution: temptation by Satan; opposition by demons;
- an insidious reduction in external relations and interests: nomadic asceticism; estrangement from his family.
However, Jesus was not so mentally ill as to believe he was omnipotent. The gospels say repeatedly [Jn 7:1, 8:59, 11:53-54, 12:36; Mt 12:14-15, Mk 3:6-7, Lk 13:31,33] that Jesus retreated from or avoided danger. He was secretive and evasive about his special nature [Mk 3:12, 8:30, 4:41; Lk 9:21, 10:22-24; Mt 16:20; Jn 2:24, 8:25-29, 10:24-38, 12:34], and reluctant to have his powers tested [Mk 8:12; Lk 11:29, 23:8; Mt 4:7, 12:39, 16:4; Jn 2:18]. He was likely neither liar nor lunatic, but rather a preacher, faith-healer, and apocalyptic prophet who in the months leading up to his anticipated execution came to believe he was the Jewish Messiah and even the divinely-special savior of mankind.
Jesus shared many of the same psychological traits as David Koresh (Branch Davidians) and Jim Jones (The People’s Temple), both of whom committed suicide in a frenzied apocalyptic delusion. It is not unusual for someone to see themselves as being uniquely special, nor is it unusual for lots of people to believe them.
(842) Applying Occam’s Razor to Christianity
A true religion should stand out significantly from all of the false ones. And the best way to show this is that it transcends the cultural values and knowledge of the original followers. Christianity fails this test in spades. The following is taken from:
A religion which strongly reflects the beliefs of its time is more likely to be a product of its time than of revelation. If a given religion was purely the invention of human beings, we would expect that that religion would bear similarities to its culture of origin. On the other hand, a transcendent or all-knowing deity, or even one that was merely far wiser than human beings, would not be limited by what was known or believed at the time he dispensed a revelation, but could provide new information of which people were not previously aware and which did not correspond to any concepts in their experience. However, when we examine religions, we find that the former and not the latter situation invariably applies.
Christianity, again, is a perfect example of this. The theology of this religion blends apocalyptic fears, Jewish monotheistic ideals, Greek ethical philosophy, and the worship practices and beliefs of the mystery cults at precisely the time when those things were mixing at a cosmopolitan crossroads of the Roman Empire. Granted, God could decide to reveal his wisdom to humanity at a time and place when it would exactly resemble a syncretistic fusion of the prevailing theologies of the day. However, all else being equal, the principle of Occam’s Razor should lead us to conclude that it is nothing more than that. Positing a deity is an extra assumption that is not necessary and gives no additional explanatory power to any attempt to explain the origins of the Christian religion.
Some good videos:
(843) Christianity had died hundreds of times
A common Christian argument is that the faith has survived twenty centuries of attack by skeptics. John Loftus, in the following essay, destroys this false idea:
Christians claim that skeptics have come and gone but their faith has withstood all attacks so far and survived. Balderdash!Here’s the truth. The Christianity that survived is a reinvented one in each generation as the result of skeptical attacks, sometimes coming from within. Just think of the modernist rift due to the enlightenment which divided all denominations to some degree. This division can be attributed to the skeptical attacks of Hume, Kant, Darwin, Nietzsche, Paine, Ingersoll, and many others. The liberal church is a testament to the effectiveness of the skeptical arguments.
Even within conservative denominations there are liberal ideas that would have been condemned by the Office of the Inquisition, like Open Theism, a metaphorical and/or annihilation view of Hell, women in leadership, Preterism, the emergent church, acceptance of a gay orientation, the mythical (or literary) view of Genesis 1-2, and so forth and so on. The Christianity practiced and believed by any denomination today is not something the early church would recognize. And the future church will be almost as different. Let’s have done then with this cockamamie notion that the church has survived our attacks. No it hasn’t. In each generation the former Christianity dies, so to speak, and a new one is invented due to skeptical arguments.
A true religion of an all-knowing god would not need to re-invent itself or capitulate to skeptical attacks. Christianity has had to re-shape itself countless times to maintain its relevance in a fast-changing world.
(844) Professions that often result in atheism
It is enlightening to consider the fields of study that tend to lead indoctrinated Christians to abandon their faith. The following is a list taken from:
1) Become a Pastor. Then you’ll learn how church people really behave. It could sour you from thinking there is an inward presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians. Think Dan Barker, Charles Templeton, Joe Holman, yours truly, and many others. I had to start out this way. 😉
2) Become a Psychiatrist/Psychologist. Most practitioners in these fields do not believe. It’s probably because they know what makes people tick so they just can’t believe in a wrathful god who will judge us for our behavior or thinking patterns. Think Valerie Tarico.
3) Become a Biblical Scholar. I dare you. Do not stay within the confines of conservative scholarship, which is not much better than special pleading. Study at real schools. Think Hector Avalos (OT), Bart Ehrman and Bob Price (NT).
4) Become a Biblical Archaeologist. Just think William Dever and his books What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?, Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?, and Did God Have a Wife?
5) Become an Anthropologist. Not only are most anthropologists non-believers they are also relativists. Think David Eller (my favorite).
6) Become a Biologist. Try to maintain intelligent design as a biologist. And after getting your degree try publishing a peer-reviewed paper defending it. Only one has ever slipped through the cracks.
7) Become a Neurologist. Once you see how the brain works it accounts for why we think and behave as we do without the god-hypothesis.
8) Become a Physicist. Enough said. Think Victor Stenger.
9) Become a Zoologist. Study animals and see how much they are like us, and how we are like them. You’ll be forced to consider their fate when they die compared to where humans go when we die. You’ll be forced to consider why they suffer so much if there is a good god.
10) Become a Cosmologist. The existing universe and the many other possible existing ones put out the fires of religious passion. You’ll be forced to consider the vastness of existence and the wastefulness of a creator god whose greatest creation is on this pale blue dot.
If Christianity was true, then following these fields of study would tend to lead one to come to believe it or else reinforce any prior belief. Of course, the opposite it true, and it tends to make Christianity into a belief system for the uninformed.
(845) Interpreting crisis situations
Generally, when a Christian is met with a crisis, a terrible setback, or tragedy of some nature, it will spawn one of two reactions- a resurgence of religious faith or a sincere questioning of it. It rarely produces a neutral response to what has happened. It is interesting to observe the kind of thinking that drives Christians down one of these two roads. The following is taken from:
It could be the loss of a child to Leukemia, being molested by a priest, or a tornado that ripped through one’s house. It could be bankruptcy, or being sent to prison when innocent. Or it could be the loss of one’s life savings because of a con-artist. It could be noticeable hypocrisy from church members, a church fight, and/or being ostracized by the church rather than cared for in times of need. The church is, after all, the one place where they shoot their own wounded. And when cast aside by the church these believers must deal with any doubts on their own, and at that point they are free to question what they believed without the social pressure to conform.
Many different tragic events could cause Christians to question their faith. While most Christians will reaffirm their faith in the midst of a crisis, many others will reject it. Then it will be said of these former believers that they left the fold because of emotional reasons, when the fact is that the crisis merely shocked them into doing what sane reasonable adults should have done all along, questioning what they believe in the first place. Snapping is a good term to describe this process, for in a very short amount of time a person is snapped into seeing these things in a new light.
Those that question or abandon their faith after a life-altering event have minds that allow them to overstep the ingrained beliefs of their upbringing. Those that don’t remain Christians, often more enthusiastically so than before. This set up an operation similar to a battery, with the more objective minds moving toward secularism, and the more subjective minds moving toward passionate belief. As time proceeds, Christianity becomes more populated with people who cannot view the world outside of their own minds, and it leads to the anti-intellectualism that is its trademark.
One of the strongest arguments against the truth of Christianity is that people living all across the globe, embracing other religions and immersed in other cultures, live happy, productive, and loving lives with no belief in Jesus Christ. How can people missing ‘the way, the truth, and the life’ flourish just as well as any Christian? The following is taken from:
Anthropology has shown us from the fact that there are many different cultures around the globe and with it a great deal of religious diversity, that there are many rational ways to understand our place in this world. Human beings get along just fine living in these so-called different universes. As a result many people are embracing multiculturalism. This is contrary to any given located cultural expression of Christianity which equates their Christianity with the absolute standard for cultures as a whole. Such a parochial limited notion is absolute hogwash.
Christianity’s claim that it is the one and only way to salvation should be categorically rejected, based not only on the anthropological evidence, but also on the fact that any god worthy of any measure of worship would never set up such an exclusive and disputable criterion for the delivery of his grace.
(847) Mostly non-religious countries are the least corrupt
If Christianity is true then it should show productive results with respect to morality and overall standards of honesty. More to the point, if any religion was true at all then we would expect to see evidence of that religion’s influence having an impact at spreading morals and decency in general.
Instead we have the opposite. The ten least corrupt countries in the world are the ones that have the least religious populations. This evidence demonstrates that secular influence, not religion and definitely not Christianity, is what helps countries to be moral and just.
The list of the ten least corrupt countries:
4. New Zealand
(848) Christian Bible made sense….for its time
If you lived over a thousand years ago, the Bible would have made a lot of sense and seemed compatible with everything you knew. It would have been the principal source to answer your questions and satisfy your yearnings. But that was then, and now is now. The following was taken from:
The Christian bible was written at a time when the Earth was presumed flat, communities and cultures were extremely insular (that is, knowledge was contained), and there was no concept of Western medicine as we now know it. Stars were not known to be suns like our own, and the Earth was thought to be the center of the Universe — our world, the only thing that existed; us, the purpose of existence. Under these circumstances, the Christian bible seems truly believable. There was no knowledge of physics to explain the big bang and the formation of the Earth; there was no knowledge of peoples living in areas unknown who had their own systems of belief; there was no knowledge of the true causes of suffering, life and death. Under these circumstances, the answers offered by the Christian bible actually seem quite reasonable — everything was created by an all-powerful being, the ruler ofeverything, and this creator obviously is closest to human beings, as they are the rulers of the Earth, and hence he created humans in his image.
However, it is now 2010. What is more likely: That the Christian faith is the one true faith, amongst countless others, though its source and primary document is over a thousand years old and was written by men who would not pass a 5th grade biology/ethics/physics/hi
The death knell has rung for Christianity, although most people do not realize it yet. The evidence provided by scriptural scholarship is now wholly sufficient to prove that the Bible is mainly myth and fiction. It will just take time for this to sink in to the general public.
(849) Dan Barker’s challenge
Dan Barker is an American atheist activist who served as a Christian preacher and musician for 19 years. He has issued the following challenge:
The conditions of the challenge are simple and reasonable. In each of the four Gospels, begin at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul’s tiny version of the story in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. These 165 verses can be read in a few moments. Then, without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension: what happened first, second, and so on; who said what, when; and where these things happened.
Since the gospels do not always give precise times of day, it is permissible to make educated guesses. The narrative does not have to pretend to present a perfect picture–it only needs to give at least one plausible account of all of the facts. Additional explanation of the narrative may be set apart in parentheses. The important condition to the challenge, however, is that not one single biblical detail be omitted.
No one has been able to respond to this challenge.
Most Christians do not understand the issue of plausibility. When you have a set of facts that are all assumed to be true (in this case because biblical scripture is supposedly inspired by a celestial deity), there should be at least one plausible scenario that would incorporate all of the facts. When it is impossible to construct any plausible scenarios, this proves that some of the facts must be false. In the case of the resurrection to ascension period, a plausible scenario cannot even be constructed by leaving out many of the facts- they are literally all over the board. This is a dramatic demonstration of a fabled myth created by many uninspired hands.
(850) The fallacy of feeling God’s presence
When confronted with contradictory evidence regarding the authenticity of their faith, many Christians will counter with the statement that they have felt God’s or Jesus’s presence personally in their lives, and that this constitutes to them solid confirmation of God’s existence.
However, easily observed evidence shows this to be a logical fallacy. Although Christians report a personal experience with Yahweh or Jesus, Muslims report the same and no less intense experience with Allah. Hindus report the same with Vishnu or other of their gods. If Yahweh is the true god and all others are false, it would be expected that Christians would report a much stronger personal feeling of connection to their god. That is, there should be an easily seen difference between the personal feelings of people worshiping an actual god versus those who are praying to an imaginary being.
The following was taken from:
Further, nearly 50 billion people were born and died before Christ was born. If Christianity is the “one true religion,” then every one of those 50 billion (except for the few atheists and agnostics) was in a false religion, WHILE BEING CONVINCED THAT THEIR LEAP OF FAITH WAS A SUCCESS. You see, history proves that it is very, very easy to leap into a false religion. In fact, it’s practically effortless. Throughout history, at least 90 billion or so have done it.
Most of those who make that leap of faith do so because they feel something inside themselves that convinces them they are in touch with a god. For many, this feeling is even taken as proof. For example, the noted apologist William Lane Craig has written, “No Amount of Evidence Could Ever Convince Me I’m Wrong!” (Because, he says, of the “testimony of the Holy Ghost” within him.)
But let me tell you a story which exposes the fatal flaw of that argument. Once, I believed with utter conviction that there was a god. I felt his presence so thoroughly that I often prayed or spoke to him, and I just knew that he was watching my every move. This condition lasted for many years. However, while I once felt with utter conviction that there was a god, now I don’t feel it, and I don’t believe in any gods.
Now, obviously, the world didn’t change; only my feelings changed. And it’s just as obvious that this inner certainty that I felt was absolutely useless as evidence on the question of the existence of a god. I also know of many others who once “felt” the reality of a god but no longer do. Thus, I am not just describing a failing of mine, but a facet of the human condition.
The across-the-board similarity of all religious people feeling the presence of their god or gods leads to a conclusion that either all of these gods actually exist or that none of them exist. The latter possibility is by far the more likely.
(851) God cares less about conversion than do Christians
The previously interventionalist god has gone silent and seems to be indifferent about trying to convince people that they should worship him. Meanwhile, Christians are eager and willing to go to great lengths involving personal hardship to do so. The following is a quote by John W. Loftus:
That although it’s claimed God got the attention of Abraham, Moses, the Pharaoh, Gideon, Mary, Joseph, and Saul (who became Paul) and that he knows how to get the attention of anyone and everyone, there is no objective evidence he’s trying to get the attention of the billions of people who don’t believe. In fact, Christians are much more concerned than God is that non-believers are converted. Just compare the lengths to which Christians will go in order to convert non-believers, with a God who has the means to convert everyone and yet does nothing to help them do this. If you say God is helping to convert non-believers then tell us how to objectively know God is actually doing this.
It is obvious that if the Christian god exists, he is not doing all he can or even anything at all to try to enlighten people to become Christians. It is being left up to missionaries who seem to be intent on doing what God does not see as a priority.
(852) What if Jesus came today?
Suppose Jesus didn’t come 2000 years ago but instead shows up today in Jerusalem and proclaims that he is the savior of the Jews. He gathers some followers and moves around the Holy Land preaching the coming of the end of the world. How would he be received? Most likely as a crazy person.
He would be driving a bus along with his followers going from city to city. He would claim to work miracles, but people with cell phone cameras everywhere would be taking videos, so any fake miracles would easily be refuted. On the other, any real miracles would be recorded and verified.
Instead of relying on ancient, re-edited, non eye-witness accounts of what Jesus said, we would have videos of him speaking and sermons on live television, eliminating any ambiguity of what he was saying. We would have interviews where questions could be asked and answered.
It would be an international news story, not one that was confined to a tiny spot of the world 2000 years ago. He would not be casting out demons, but rather just healing people, or better yet delivering new science for the betterment of our medical services.
When it came time for his execution, there would be an international outrage and a concerted effort to save him. But since his death would be essential to mankind’s salvation, he would be put to death anyway, and despite the fact that Israel has not executed anyone since 1962. His death would be by hanging, and henceforth Christians would wear necklaces with little ropes hanging from them.
One thing is clear- if Jesus is for real, he should have come now, so that we could have adequate evidence of his divinity and an uncontested and accurate account of his doctrine. However, if he is not for real, coming today would have been impossible. It just would not have worked, and the myth could never have been sold in our modern information age.
(853) If the Jews didn’t believe, why should we?
We must look at the events of Christianity down a long tunnel of time, depending on non-eyewitness accounts, written in foreign lands, in foreign languages, and subjected to countless edits and unauthorized revisions. On the other hand, the Jews of Jerusalem, Judea, and Galilee were physically there when all of the action was taking place. It’s interesting to see how they reacted to the miracles, resurrection, and ascension. The following is taken from:
Even if we agree with the Jews of Jesus’ day that Yahweh exists and he does miracles this still does very little if anything to lead us in today’s world to think Yahweh raised Jesus from the dead. Because a completely overwhelming number of Jews in Jesus’ day did not think Yahweh did this particular miracle in this particular case. If they were there, and if they knew their Scriptures, and if they believed in Yahweh, and if they believed in miracles, but they didn’t believe God raised Jesus from the dead THEN WHY SHOULD I believe? WHY SHOULD WE?
(854) God’s failure to communicate led to massive bloodshed
The history of Christianity is littered with atrocities leveled at those of other faiths, especially Muslims. But the bloodshed between Christians was even more impressive, and most of it was due to sometimes very slight differences in doctrinal beliefs- such as whether a wafer was literally the body of Jesus.
The following site describes the history of Christians persecuting heretics:
For many centuries, the crime of heresy was punishable by death. In fact, as early as the second century, there was enough of an orthodoxy of Christian dogma, that torture and killings of those who refused to acquiesce were already beginning.
Why did this happen? Was it inevitable? The answer to these questions is ‘no.’ This happened because God failed to communicate better. He failed to set the record straight in an unambiguous fashion. He failed to spell out and define these important doctrinal points.
Of course, God was not really to blame, because this was all made up…..by humans. If a god had been involved, the truths would have been defined to a tee and all of this carnage would have been avoided.
(855) Atheist attacks increase Christians’ faith
To explain the persistence of Christian belief in a scientific information age, in the face of powerful evidence that the Bible is full of inconsistencies, myth, outdated rules, and ungodly atrocities. there are two mechanisms at work- childhood indoctrination and a tendency for Christians to bolster their faith when presented with arguments against it.
The following is taken from:
And that’s why, when presented with contradictory evidence, belief perseverance can actually make Christians more, not less, confident they are right. It might be part of why the most stubborn Christian demographic in the United States — the category that is bleeding the fewest adherents in today’s increasingly nonreligious world — is Christian evangelicals. The more they are given evidence against Christianity, the more (just like that biased article I clung to in the above example), they may cling to the actual words of the Bible, so that arguments against them increase, as opposed to decrease, their faith.
Although people of all ideological orientations are vulnerable to this bias, it is especially strong in people who have an indoctrinated and socially supported belief system. This is why so many well-educated Christians disbelieve in evolution, despite hearing all of the overwhelming evidence.
Many Christians will believe even more strongly after reading the arguments presented on this website. It is this malfunction of the human brain that allows an obviously false belief system to persist despite being surrounded by an ocean of information refuting it. It is also a good explanation for how Christianity remains a dominant faith, rather than ascribing that fact to any actual truth that might underlay it.
(856) Lies taught to Christian women
The Bible discriminates broadly against women, showing that it’s not the work of a god but rather that of misogynistic men. Christianity teaches many lies to women. The following is a list of ten such lies taken from:
- You were created from and for man.
- You are to be submissive to men, especially in church and in your marriage.
- Since you are a less sexual being than a man, you are responsible for making it easier for the men in your life to maintain pure thoughts.
- Your sexual purity is your worth.
- Each sexual partner you have before marriage takes a piece of your heart that you can never get back, and if you give away too much of your heart you will eventually have nothing left to give.
- Within marriage, denying sex to your husband is sinful.
- It’s weird for women to masturbate.
- Women who seek out sex with multiple partners are sluts and probably have daddy issues.
- It is actually better if a man doesn’t marry a woman at all, but if he burns with lust then he’ll have to settle for marriage even though it’ll get in the way of him serving god to the best of his ability.
- If you really think about it, everything that is wrong with the world is because of women.
Misogyny begins in the third chapter of the Bible and continues to the very end. There is no possibility that a god who created the universe would view men and women as unequals, though it is hardly surprising that the Iron Age men who wrote the Bible had beliefs along that line.
It is not just scripture but also the way in which it has been used by church leaders to ingrain women with a sense of inferiority. A true god would never have allowed his true faith to cause this injustice.
(857) First and Second Peter are forgeries
The books of 1 Peter and 2 Peter both claim to be written by the Apostle Peter, the right hand man of Jesus during his ministry. There are many reasons to conclude that this is false.
These two books are written in highly literate Greek, a language that would be unknown to Peter, who spoke in Aramaic. Additionally, only about 3% of the First Century population of Palestine, where Peter lived, had the ability to write in Aramaic and many fewer in Greek. Peter was a fisherman and not a member of the schooled aristocracy that tended to comprise the literate population that lived mostly in urban areas. As further evidence of Peter’s inability to write, the following was written in Acts 4:13:
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
To make matters worse, the writing style and composition of 2 Peter differs so much from 1 Peter that biblical scholars concede that they were not written by the same person.
The message of truth in these two books is hypocritical because it is written by a person who is lying about his own identity. If the Bible were being constructed today, 1 Peter and 2 Peter would be left out.
(858) The double standard of Christian faith claims
Christians have accepted and ultimately defend what they believe using a double standard, one for the their own faith and a different one for all other faiths.
They accept as truth the miracle claims and historical events of Christianity while dismissing the similar and just as believable claims of every other religion. The method they use to deny belief in other religions is to use science, logic, and critical thinking- that is, exactly what they don’t use to judge their own religion. And they do this without even realizing what they are doing. It takes a dispassionate observer to see this in action, and it often looks like two children arguing over who has the better father. Neither child of course can judge this question objectively, much less even know very much about the other child’s father in the first place.
And very few Christians know much of anything about other religions. They are for the most part satisfied to blindly believe what they have been trained to believe and to dismiss anything different that anyone else believes. Thus, Christianity is populated by uninformed hypocrites who claim that ‘their father is the best.’ The Christian god, if he is real, is to blame for this situation by failing to provide evidence sufficient to show that Christianity is the most authentic faith.
(859) Christians defend God as if he can’t do it himself
John Loftus wrote an interesting article about what would happen if Christians went on strike and quite trying to convert non-believers. The conclusions reached by this thought experiment are very thought provoking. Here is an excerpt:
If Christians went on strike there should be no cause for concern. If God is really inside the Christian faith then it cannot fail. The theme of the book of Revelation is about God’s victory in the end. So the faith response is to relax since this is assured. “Be still and know that I am God,” believers are told. Actually, the Hebrew is better translated, “Cease, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). Even if believers didn’t do anything the victory is assured. So don’t be frustrated. Don’t lose any sleep over it either. God is winning and will win in the end. After all, Jesus reportedly said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30). Imagine that, me, offering devotional advice!
It seems to me believers feel they must comment in order to keep others from being persuaded by what I write. “Oh” they say to themselves, “I must say something lest others be led astray.” That’s because they don’t believe God can keep people away from my arguments. They don’t believe God can give believers an extra jolt of the God juice, or that he is able to answer a prayer in a spectacular way in order to mitigate my arguments, or that God can speak to believers in dreams, or audibly, or visibly appear to them at night, if needed. They simply do not believe God could blind people from sites like mine. They don’t believe God could change the search engine hits so that susceptible believers would not find skeptical sites like mine. They do not believe God could keep any thought of reading something by a skeptic out of the minds of susceptible believers. They do not believe God can take away enough critical thinking skills that even if susceptible believers did find skeptical sites like mine they would not be led astray.
Believers act and talk as if God isn’t helping them at all, as if God doesn’t care to do anything if they don’t do it themselves. They really do not believe the Parable of the Lost Sheep applies to God, that he will do everything he can to shepherd his sheep. Christians claim to “pray as if it’s all up to God, but act as if it’s all up to us.” Yet, that’s not what I see. Many Christians simply do not believe God does anything to help at all. No, I cannot convince them of this, I know. But having been on the other side and seeing what I have seen for six years of Blogging, this is my informed opinion. It’s what I see on a daily basis. Christians act and talk as if God doesn’t do anything at all to help them. Not only this but they do not think prayers to God will work either.
Christians really do not believe. That’s my conclusion. They can’t. The way they comment here to defend their God against every argument I make proves it. It proves to me they don’t believe God can defend himself. They don’t believe their God will take the necessary steps to defeat arguments against his existence and his plan of salvation. It proves to me that God needs human beings to do this work because he doesn’t exist at all.
In so many ways, Christians behave in a manner that suggests that their god does not exist. We see it when they get sick, when they need a lawyer, when they buy insurance, etc., and one other way we see it is when they feel compelled to vigorously defend their faith and try to suppress any information that runs counter to their beliefs. It suggests that their god is powerless to do this himself.
(860) Lying undermines the credibility of Christianity
One of the best ways to evaluate the credibility of the Bible and Christianity is general is to observe how honest Christians have been in recent times in reporting events and apparent miracles. The result is not impressive.
We have many faked discoveries of Noah’s Ark. We have many faked analyses of the Shroud of Turin. We have the fake ‘miracles’ at Lourdes. We have many fake apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Just recently we had the fabricated authentication of a miracle healing by Mother Theresa. We have the fake ‘incorruptible’ corpses of Christian saints. We have the faked victims of stigmata, or bloody wounds on hands and feet to mimic Jesus on the cross. We have the fake crying statues of Mary. We have the fake flying escapades of Joseph of Cupertino. We have the numerous fake ‘miracle of the sun’ events at Fatima, along with the fake transfiguration of silver into gold. We have the fake ‘healing’ services of evangelical preachers. We have the fake exorcisms still performed in the Catholic Church.
So here is the problem. If all of these alleged miracles are being faked in an information age, and yet still believed by millions of unquestioning, gullible, non-critical thinking Christians, how can we have any confidence in the miracles reported in the Bible, at at time before any reliable reporting or fact checking was possible? The answer is we can’t. The current history of deceit is an overwhelming reason to discount every miracle contained in the Bible.
(861) The Christian god is a loser
The Christian god is a loser. Let’s count the ways:
- He created a universe that is quite messy, with exploding stars, colliding planets and asteroids, black holes, and lifeless planets. In other words, his creation does not look like it was intelligently designed.
- He committed many atrocities, including genocide, killing women, children, animals, and whatever. His problem with anger management went unabated.
- He failed to prevent the Holocaust, enough said.
- He does nothing to prevent natural disasters, despite supposedly having the power to do so.
- He doesn’t answer any prayers- and that is correct, any.
- He fails to communicate in any verifiable manner.
- He authored a book full of contradictions, forgeries, editing errors, and confusing doctrines that left everyone arguing about it for centuries and killing each other over it.
- He allows 17,000 children to die every day, even though he has the ability to save every one of them.
- He allows many false religions to flourish and deceive people away from the ‘truth.’
- His son failed to educate people about the causes of disease, later resulting in devastating plagues, and instead cast out imaginary demons.
- He promoted torture, slavery, misogyny, and homophobia.
- He son reneged on his promise to return.
- He prepared a place to punish people after they died…forever.
- He made everything look like he doesn’t exist, just to make sure lots of smart people disbelieve, so he can send them to Hell.
- He used his own son as a human sacrifice.
This is the god that Christians worship. He is a loser. He deserves no worship, but rather disdain, condemnation, contempt, and derision. But then, considering that he is imaginary, maybe what he really deserves is a permanent dismissal.
(862) Minds of Christians are more closed than atheists
Christians often assert that atheists are just as close-minded as they are, and that atheism is just another religion. But this is a false equivalency. The following is taken from:
What closes their [Christians] minds? Well, an ancient pre-scientific superstitious set of canonized sacred writings, as interpreted by one’s trusted exegetes in today’s world. Are they open to other pre-scientific sacred writings? No, not any more than atheists and agnostics are open to accepting them. In fact, despite the results of science they will usually mindlessly quote-mine from the Bible as having a much higher authority than empirical evidence. Just think of the many young earth creationists there are, as represented by Ken Ham’s Creation Museum. While more informed Christians see this with regard to Ken Ham creationists, we atheists and agnostics see the same thing when it comes to their own theologies based on the Bible. Most Christians are even sure that their ancient superstitious set of sacred writings, as interpreted by one’s trusted exegetes in today’s world, have a higher authority over the results of science and the scientific method for investigating truth claims. They will even attack science and the scientific method without having anything to replace them, except private subjective experience, which is absolutely nothing by comparison. [If there is no scientific method then would someone please, please, tell me how science has produced a massive amount of knowledge without one?]
So the question of who is close-minded can be settled quite easily. Who is open to the results of science and the scientific method for investigating truth claims? People who have DO (doxastic openness} are. People who have DC (doxastic closure) are not. It just so happens that people who accept the results of science and the scientific method do not think there is enough evidence to believe. It didn’t have to turn out this way. It just did. If a deity exists he could have produced this evidence. It just doesn’t exist.
The atheist’s mind is more open than the Christian’s, although that’s not to say that atheists don’t have a bias or tend to filter information as well. It’s just that the degree to which they do it is less than a typical Christian. That means that their analysis of the truth is more likely to be accurate.
(863) Redundant genealogies
The gospels of Matthew and Luke provide genealogies connecting King David to Jesus, which was necessary to qualify Jesus as the messiah according to Jewish scripture. But when the legend of Jesus’s virgin birth was introduced, it made the genealogies redundant because it rendered Jesus not directly related to David.
The following is taken from:
Both the genealogies of Matthew and Luke show that Joseph was a direct descendant of King David. But if Joseph is not Jesus’ father, then Joseph’s genealogies are meaningless as far as Jesus is concerned, and one has to wonder why Matthew and Luke included them in their gospels. The answer, of course, is that the genealogies originally said that Jesus was the son of Joseph and thus Jesus fulfilled the messianic requirement of being a direct descendant of King David.
Long after Matthew and Luke wrote the genealogies the church invented (or more likely borrowed from the mystery religions) the doctrine of the virgin birth. Although the virgin birth could be accommodated by inserting a few words into the genealogies to break the physical link between Joseph and Jesus, those same insertions also broke the physical link between David and Jesus.
The church had now created two major problems: 1) to explain away the existence of two genealogies of Joseph, now rendered meaningless, and 2) to explain how Jesus was a descendant of David.
The apostle Paul says that Jesus “was born of the seed of David” (Romans 1:3). Here the word “seed” is literally in the Greek “sperma.” This same Greek word is translated in other verses as “descendant(s)” or “offspring.” The point is that the Messiah had to be a physical descendant of King David through the male line. That Jesus had to be a physical descendant of David means that even if Joseph had legally adopted Jesus (as some apologists have suggested), Jesus would still not qualify as Messiah if he had been born of a virgin – seed from the line of David was required.
Women did not count in reckoning descent for the simple reason that it was then believed that the complete human was present in the man’s sperm (the woman’s egg being discovered in 1827). The woman’s womb was just the soil in which the seed was planted. Just as there was barren soil that could not produce crops, so also the Bible speaks of barren wombs that could not produce children.
This is the reason that although there are many male genealogies in the Bible, there are no female genealogies. This also eliminates the possibility put forward by some apologists that Jesus could be of the “seed of David” through Mary.
The virgin birth might have made the new faith more palatable to people following pagan religions, but it also created a critical contradiction that made Jesus ineligible to be the Jewish messiah. It was a solution that created a bigger problem than what it solved.
(864) Allowing belief in an imminent end to the world
It is uncertain if Jesus actually made statements about the world coming to a quick ending, within the lifetime of those who were listening. It might have been just an insincere ploy by others to get people to give away their possessions and devote time to the church. But the effect it has had on Christians for the past 2000 years is hard to calculate. Bad things happen when people erroneously think the end is near. The following is taken from Bertrand Russell :
I am concerned with Christ as he appears in the Gospels, taking the Gospel narrative as it stands, and there one does find some things that do not seem to be very wise. For one thing, he certainly thought his second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time. There are a great many texts that prove that. He says, for instance, “Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of Man comes into his kingdom”; and there are a lot of places where it is quite clear that he believed his second coming would happen during the lifetime of many then living. That was the belief of his earlier followers, and it was the basis of a good deal of his moral teaching.
When He said, “Take no thought for the morrow,” and things of that sort, it was very largely because He thought the second coming was going to be very soon, and that all ordinary mundane affairs did not count. I have, as a matter of fact, known some Christians who did believe the second coming was imminent. I knew a parson who frightened his congregation terribly by telling them the second coming was very imminent indeed, but they were much consoled when they found that he was planting trees in his garden.
The early Christians really did believe it, and they did abstain from such things as planting trees in their gardens, because they did accept from Christ the belief that the second coming was imminent. In this respect, clearly He was not so wise as some other people have been, and He certainly was not superlatively wise.
The crux of this argument is that whether or not the scriptures are reliable on this matter, it happened under God’s watch as his ‘one true religion’ was forming. For twenty centuries, Christians have consistently believed that the end is near, so it didn’t make a lot of sense to worry about any long-term projects, or to worry much about their children’s or grandchildren’s future. In today’s world, it means not taking heed of such issues as pollution or global climate change. If the Christian god is real, then he is to blame for this situation; but actually, given the facts, this strongly suggests that he is not real.
(865) Problems with the story of Judas
Judas, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, supposedly betrayed Jesus to the Roman authorities, later felt remorse, and killed himself. But when you delve into the scriptures, some crucial inconsistencies emerge. The following is taken from:
a. In Matthew 27:5 Judas hangs himself.
b. In Acts 1:18 he bursts open and his insides spill out.
c. According to the apostle Paul, neither of the above is true. Paul says Jesus appeared to “the twelve” after his resurrection. Mark 14:20 makes it clear that Judas was one of the twelve.
d. In Matthew 19:28, Jesus tells the twelve disciples, including Judas, that when Jesus rules from his throne, they will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
The problem with ‘a’ and ‘b’ is not trivial, despite many Christians who say it it. The two causes of death are mutually exclusive and subject only to desperate attempts of rationalization. Either Mark or Acts is correct, or neither one is, but both are not.
The problem with ‘c’ is that it indicates that Paul was uninformed about Judas’s betrayal and death. Here is what he said in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5:
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.
This appearance was well before the apostles selected Matthias to replace Judas, so Paul should have written the Eleven.
The problem with ‘d’ is that it appears to show Jesus unaware that Judas will eventually betray him, although later he makes that very prediction.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
It is reasonable to expect that a book inspired by the supernatural Holy Spirit would get straight the stories surrounding Judas. On the other hand, an evolving myth would be expected to create these types of discrepancies.
(866) Brown dwarf stars
Brown dwarfs are failed stars that have a mass of approximately 15 to 75 times the mass of Jupiter, but are not large enough to create a sufficient core temperature to fuse hydrogen atoms. Therefore they do not produce thermonuclear energy. Current estimates indicate that there are more then 70 billion brown dwarfs in the Milky Way galaxy, or about 10 for every human alive today.
The principal thing that this indicates is that the universe is not intelligently designed, as no architect or engineer would create so many meaningless, purposeless, impotent celestial bodies. It is however, exactly what would be predicted under the model of an expanding universe acting solely due to natural forces following a big bang explosion. In that model, hydrogen collects to form every size of orb from as small as Jupiter to as large as a red giant, such as Betelgeuse, which has a diameter approximately 1,000 times that of the sun.
In a universe designed by a god, whether from scratch or by directing the long-term formation of stars and planets after a big bang, we would expect to see every feature to a have an integral purpose and to exhibit a full function of its potential. This leaves no room for billions of failed stars.
(867) God is pleased by the slaying of an interracial couple
If anyone wants to figure out if the god described in the Old Testament is an actual celestial deity, who is all-knowing, wise, and infinitely just, they need look no further than this scripture, Numbers 25:6-13:
Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman’s stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.
The Lord said to Moses, “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”
In this episode, the god that Christians worship rewards Phinehas with a priesthood covenant for killing an interracial couple and he is so pleased by this homicide that he also ‘mercifully ‘ stops a plague at 24,000 dead.
This scripture, along with many similar ones, has been used to defend bans on interracial marriage. Christians predicted that God would smite the United States after the 1967 Loving vs. Virginia Supreme Court decision striking down state bans on interracial marriage. They were 100% wrong. And the Bible is wrong in this instance as well, once again trying to paint God as the parochial godfather of Medieval mores.
It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to realize that the god of the Israelites, the same one that Christianity adopted, is a sick fantasy dreamed up by people who lived in a backwards, ignorant, and highly superstitious time.
(868) Evidence we do not survive death
Christianity and other religions offer a reward of an afterlife, usually in very appealing circumstances, and usually as an eternal state of being. At the times that these ideas were being incorporated into doctrine, very little was known about the workings of the brain. In fact, many people of the time thought that the brain was just a heat exchanger and that the mind was immaterial. What we have learned since makes the prospect of life after death very, very improbable.
The following is taken from:
Barry Beyerstein points out that the view “that consciousness is inseparable from the functioning of individual brains remains the cornerstone of physiological psychology” (Beyerstein 44). This is due, he says, to “the theory’s parsimony and research productivity, the range of phenomena accounted for, and the lack of credible counter-evidence” (45).
Beyerstein lists five main types of empirical evidence which support the dependence of consciousness on the brain. First, phylogenetic evidence refers to the evolutionary relationship between the complexity of the brain and a species’ cognitive traits (Beyerstein 45). Corliss Lamont sums up this evidence: “We find that the greater the size of the brain and its cerebral cortex in relation to the animal body and the greater their complexity, the higher and more versatile the form of life” (Lamont 63). Second, the developmental evidence for mind-brain dependence is that mental abilities emerge with the development of the brain; failure in brain development prevents mental development (Beyerstein 45). Third, clinical evidence consists of cases of brain damage that result from accidents, toxins, diseases, and malnutrition that often result in irreversible losses of mental functioning (45). If the mind could exist independently of the brain, why couldn’t the mind compensate for lost faculties when brain cells die after brain damage? (46). Fourth, the strongest empirical evidence for mind-brain dependence is derived from experiments in neuroscience. Mental states are correlated with brain states; electrical or chemical stimulation of the human brain invokes perceptions, memories, desires, and other mental states (45). Finally, the experiential evidence for mind-brain dependence consists of the effects of several different types of drugs which predictably affect mental states (45).
We now know that our thoughts and memories can only exist within the dynamic operation of the material neurons in the brain. When these neurons are damaged, we lose various capabilities depending on the location of the injury. When all of the neurons die after death, we lose all consciousness and enter an eternal state of awareness no different than being under general anesthesia. We go back to what it was like before we were born. Christianity is selling snake oil.
(869) Wedding at Cana problems
In the second chapter of John, a story is told about a wedding ceremony that took place at Cana in Galilee. Supposedly this occurred three days after Jesus was baptized although the Book of Mark would have had Jesus in the wilderness being tempted by Satan during this time. But even more problematic is that none of the previously written gospels mention this story, even though the disciples attended it along with Jesus and his mother, and it was the first demonstration of Jesus’s divinity (by turning water into wine). Here is the story in John (2:1-12):
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
It is likely that the author of John made up this story to portray Jesus as a divine figure because turning water into wine was a typical means of establishing divinity in pagan traditions. Certainly, if it had happened, being such a seminal moment in Jesus’s ministry, it would have been reported by Mark, Matthew, and Luke.
Certain elements of the story make no sense. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was an invited guest, but she seems to take charge after the wine runs out by giving orders to the servants. Jesus declares that his time has not yet come (presumably to start performing miracles) but then he performs a miracle anyway. Jesus needs to start with water in the jars- he can’t make wine from nothing? But he made the universe from nothing? The servants have no problem filling wine jars with water just because some stranger told them to do so. Then, of course, we have the obligatory statement by the banquet master that Jesus’s wine is the best.
(870) Romulus is plagiarized for stories of Jesus
Of all the many parallels of Christianity and the similarities that can’t be denied about the deities that were worshiped and believed in 2000 years ago and many years prior, nothing stands out more than the Roman god Romulus.
For the best and most detailed research on the Romulus/Jesus parallels, Dr. Richard Carrier summarized it in his book On The Historicity of Jesus: Why We Have Reason To Doubt.
“But when taken altogether the Romulus and Jesus death-and-resurrection narratives contain all of the following parallels;
1 . The hero is the son of God.
2. His death is accompanied by prodigies.
3. The land is covered in darkness.
4. The hero’s corpse goes missing.
5. The hero receives a new immortal body, superior to the one he had.
6. His resurrection body has on occasion a bright and shining appearance.
7. After his resurrection he meets with a follower on a road from the city.
8. A speech is given from a summit or high place prior to ascending.
9. An inspired message of resurrection or ‘translation to heaven’ is delivered to a witness.
10. There is a ‘great commission’ (an instruction to future followers).
11 . The hero physically ascends to heaven in his new divine body.
12. He is taken up into a cloud.
13. There is an explicit role given to eyewitness testimony (even naming the witnesses).
14. Witnesses are frightened by his appearance and/or disappearance.
15. Some witnesses flee.
16. Claims are made of ‘dubious alternative accounts’ (which claims were obviously fabricated for Romulus, there never having been a true
account to begin with).
17. All of this occurs outside of a nearby (but central) city.
18. His followers are initially in sorrow over the hero’s death.
19. But his post-resurrection story leads to eventual belief, homage and
20. The hero is deified and cult subsequently paid to him (in the same manner as a god).”
It is ironic that Christians believe the existence of Romulus to be untrue and they are right to think so, but they need to acknowledge that if they accept all of these qualities of Romulus as untrue, then they must also acknowledge that these identical factors about Jesus might also not be true.
The many similarities could not be a co-incidence, it is too highly unlikely and if one copied the other then it would have to be the deity that was second, which was Jesus, who was said to have been crucified in around 30-33 AD. The story of Romulus is over 700 years older than the belief in Joshua (Jesus), or his crucifixion.
Luke mimics the story of Romulus by having a man with a similar name to Proculus in the Romulus story (which means ‘to proclaim) with Cleopas in Luke (which means to tell all). Proculus looks for Romulus’ missing body, meets Romulus on a road to Rome, and Romulus preached to him much the same way Jesus did in Luke 24. Then just like Jesus, Romulus went up to heaven.
As with everything about Christianity, this is just another demonstration of plagiarism that shows Christianity to be an unoriginal collection of myths, fables and ancient stories depicting other peoples’ gods and messiahs that people wished were theirs. This demonstrates with probable certainty that Christianity is a false religion.
(871) Ease of creating scripture
Suppose you are a scholar living around 90 AD and want to write a gospel of Jesus. You don’t know anything about Jesus, but you have copies of the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke to use as source material.
Much of what you write is copied from the previous gospels, although you make small changes in style and editing, sometimes inserting subtle changes in the order and progression of events and in the dialogue. However, you want your story to stand out in some way, so you decide to invent a pleasant story to make Jesus seem even more spectacular than he’s been presented previously. Here is the new material you add to your gospel:
Andrew 12: 10-24
The next day, Jesus and his disciples entered Kursi on the east coast of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus commanded his disciples to say nothing to anyone as he was fatigued from the previous day’s travel and large crowds. But as they entered the city, a man who walked with a limp recognized him and said, “Master, I saw your great works in Capernaum, Lord, I beseech you, not for me, but my mother, please come to heal her and forgive her sins.”
Jesus was moved by the man’s faith and said, “Very well, take me to her.” The man’s mother was born without legs and had to be carried about, but yet she bore two healthy sons. Jesus took pity on the woman, but commended her, “Woman, you have taken what the Lord has given you and made the most of it, blessed are those who receive little, and yet give much.” The woman replied, “Sir, or master, I have been blessed all of my life with a good and faithful husband and two fine sons, there is nothing more I could ask of God.”
But the sons responded, “Lord, she is too humble to ask for anything, but we know you have your Father’s favor and can do great things, please in all humbleness, may you heal her and make her whole?”
Jesus was moved by the faith and dignity of this family and began to shed tears. The room became completely silent and Jesus cried out, “Father, not for me, but for your glory take this woman, full of faith and charity, in your hands so that she might be at peace and be made whole.” Jesus then took both of his hands, bringing them over the woman’s body, covered her with a blanket, and then said a prayer, “with this touch, thou shalt be made whole.” He then commanded the sons to remove the blanket. When the woman became uncovered, she was seen to be fully formed. Everyone gasped with astonishment and began to praise Jesus. The sons helped the mother up and she took the first steps of her life. Jesus told the sons to find her new clothes and shoes.
As Jesus left the house, he commanded the disciples to tell no one of what they had seen. Because of the commotion, Jesus left the city and stayed overnight two miles away. On the way he told the disciples to take two tarps they found along the way, for it began to rain.
There is every reason to believe that if your gospel had been placed in the Bible that people today would believe that this was a true, factual story in the life of Jesus. Who could refute its truth? Yet it was just made up because you wanted your gospel story to be more compelling than the previous ones. This is exactly what happened over the decades following Jesus’s ministry. We see it in the gospels as they chronologically became more sensational.
Also note the subtlety of adding two unnecessary elements to the story above- the first son having a limp and the rain at the end. These gratuitous details are a means of making a fictional story seem more real, and it was a technique used time and again by the gospel writers.
(872) Disciples just got up and left?
The way that the gospels describe the manner in which Jesus calls his disciple lacks any sense of realism. Here are some examples from the Gospel of Mark:
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
To put this in a modern-day application, suppose you are at work at a construction site. A man walks by who seems to be someone special and he tells you to follow him. As if in a hypnotic spell, you simply leave your job site and walk away with the man, saying nothing to your boss, or informing your family or friends. And you don’t come back for at least one year.
Christian apologists will say that Mark was being characteristically brief with his details and that the actual situation probably involved more negotiation and logistical workings. This may be true, but it is also true that this type of haste in writing style is indicative of someone writing fiction by over-simplifying a complicated scenario. A person departing suddenly leaves a gaping hole in a community where peoples’ lives and livelihoods are intimately interconnected, and it’s unlikely that a divinely-inspired writer would have glossed over that fact.
(873) God’s nature is inconsistent
The way God is portrayed in the Bible leaves any critical-thinking wondering about the core nature of God. The following is taken from:
In some places God is described as merciful (Ps 86:5, 100:5, 103:8, 106:1, 136:2, 145:8-9; Joel 2:13; Mic 7:18; Jas 5:11), and in other places as lacking mercy; (De 7:2, 16, 20:16-17; Jos 6:21, 10:11, 19, 40, 11:6-20; Isa 6:19, 15:3; Na 1:2; Jer 13:14; Mt 8:12, 13:42, 50, 25:30, 41, 46; Mk 3:29; 2Th 1:8-9; Re 14:9-11, 21:8).
In some places as a being who repents and changes His mind (Ge 6:6; Ex 32:14; 1Sa 2:30-31, 15:11,35; 2Sa 24:16; 2Ki 20: 1-6; Ps 106:45; Jer 42:10; Am 7:3; Jon 3:10), in other places as a being who never repents and changes His mind (Nu 23:19; ISa 15:29, Eze 24:14; Mal 3:6; Jas 1:17).
In some places as a being who deceives and causes confusion and evil (Ge 11:7; Jg 9:23; 1Sa 16:14; La 3:38; 1Ki 22:22-23; Isa 45:7; Am 3:6; Jer18:11, 20:7; Eze 20:25; 2 Th 2:11), and in other places as a being who never does (De 32:4; Ps 25:8, 100:5, 145:9; ICo 14:33).
in some places as someone who punishes children for their parents’ wrong doing (Ge 9:22-25; Ex 20:5, 34:7; Nu 14:18; De 5:9; 2Sa 12:14; Isa 14:21, 65:6-7), and in other places as one who never does (De 24:16; 2Ch 25:4; Eze 18:20).
There is a saying that applies here: ‘too many cooks spoil the broth.’ In the Bible, God is described by too many people each with their own ideas about his nature. What results is a confusing skein of contradictions. A book that was inspired by an actual god would be consistent in all matters. What we see is the opposite of that.
(874) Religion becoming extinct in nine nations
A study reported by the BBC claims that religion may become extinct in nine nations. The following is taken from:
A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction, say researchers. The study found a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.
The team’s mathematical model attempts to account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one.
The result, reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, indicates that religion will all but die out altogether in those countries.
The team took census data stretching back as far as a century from countries in which the census queried religious affiliation: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.
The important thing to note is that the nine nations cited are all first world, affluent, and highly educated countries. The fact that religion is dying in countries of this caliber, and not, for instance, in countries of lower prominence is compelling evidence that religion is not a product of reality, but rather a reflection of man’s pre-scientific superstitions. In this model, the focus of religion’s extinction would begin in countries similar to those cited above. In a model assuming that religions hold absolute truth, the opposite would occur, with it becoming stronger in the most enlightened and cultured countries.
(875) God is obsessed with trivial things
Primitive men living in a pre-scientific age would be mired in the small details of life, but a god who governs the entire universe would most likely be focused more on the big picture. The following is taken from:
The entity that created and sustains the entire universe, including: super-giant stars, super-massive black holes, countless galaxies, neutron stars, red giants, super-nova, hyper-nova, stupendous physical, biological, chemical, geological phenomena, huge terrestrial and gaseous planets, and so on and so on, was obsessed with:
burning flesh, circumcision, sexual practices, Semitic rituals, pig meat, reciting tedious and elaborate lists of family names, incest, oxen goring men needing to be punished, the eating of blood and fat, the eating of shellfish, bodily discharges, beard trimming practices, hair length, crushed testicles, eunuchs, cloth garments … the list is much longer and includes: a man who refuses to impregnate his widowed sister-in-law is put to death by The Lord [GE 38:8-10].
Any person with a modicum of common sense, unconstrained intelligence, or intellectual integrity can see that the silly trivial inanities described in the Old Testament cannot be the workings of a universal god. They are instead a good list of what people in a primitive era thought was important. This is a dead give-away that the God of the Jews and Christians does not exist.
(876) Harry Potter and Christian hypocrisy
Many Christians are concerned about the growing popularity of the Harry Potter books and movies among young people, citing the glorification of the occult as potentially misleading children away from ‘proper’ beliefs. The following is taken from:
Potter has caused quite a stir in many nations, with several Australian Christian schools supporting a banning of the books. “Dr. Chas. Gullo of the Christian Outreach College, a private school in Queensland state, said he read one chapter from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and was exposed to four murders. “It was pretty gory,” Gullo said in Brisbane’s Courier-Mail newspaper.”  Rev. Robert Frisken of Christian Community Schools Ltd in Australia says: “The ordinary person is typified as being bad because they have no (magic) powers, and heroes are the people who are using the occult. Good finds itself in the occult, which is an inversion of morality for many Christian people”  Even many non-Christian parents have been concerned due to the greatly heightened fear that their younger children have after reading Potter’s books. 
While some practicing Wiccans flatly deny any link between Potter’s world and theirs , the evidence is undeniably clear that Potter promotes an interest in magic and the occult. Parents, whether Christian or not, must take an active role in what their children are being exposed to and determine what is appropriate. Christians especially should be guided by God’s Word, the Bible.
These are the same Christians who defend the Bible as being the foremost, ultimate, and final authority on morality, telling us what is right and what is wrong, and providing the absolute guidepost to know the difference between good and evil.
So while Harry Potter dabbles in the occult, the Bible traipses its tiptoes through mass genocide, turning a woman into a pillar of salt, murder of women and children, child sacrifice, polygamy, incest, beating slaves, smiting people with plagues, taking virgins as sex slaves, forced marriage to a woman’s rapist, punishing children for their father’s deeds, butchering animals as a sacrifice, selling daughters and offering them up to rapists, sending bears to maul children, ripping open pregnant women, and sending good people to Hell to be tortured forever in a lake of fire.
(877) Paul says Jesus is only in outer space
What Christians are unaware of but should be aware, is that Paul never mentions Jesus as being an actual man, or that Jesus ever set foot on Earth, or that Jesus ever was anything more than a vision.
But let’s be clear here, we’re only talking about the seven genuine and authentic letters of Paul, even though we know that these seven letters have been altered slightly over the past 1900 plus years.
As Richard Carrier explains in his slideshow
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
This immediately raises the following questions:
– He got a revelation from Jesus?
– How often did Jesus appear to Paul?
Well the answer is of course that Paul (according to his words) talked to Jesus while Jesus was in outer space and Paul was on the road to Damascus. He never actually met him, but claims that the scriptures themselves revealed Jesus to him.
Paul uses the archaeologically unproven and untrue Old Testament to make points in his epistles. This is the equivalent of someone using the book The Hobbit, to say that Gandalf the Grey is communicating with them through verses of the book.
1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
Some issues to consider:
– Paul uses the Old Testament to tell people how to think and act (not a good guideline)
– Several people claimed to have visions of Jesus, but there is nothing indicating that anyone actually met Jesus, or that he was even a real person, or anything more than something people claimed, like people today who claim to speak in tongues.
– Jesus died in outer space as believed by Paul and many others of that time.
– Jesus was believed to have lived and died in “outer space” meaning in “the 7 Heavens”, which was what people believed at that time.
– Paul’s words of “The twelve” are his words, but don’t refer to anything like the disciples, or who and what “the twelve” even means (it’s meaningless).
– Nothing that indicates anything about Jesus being on Earth and getting buried, but as Philo writes, he believed in a deity in Jesus tradition, called “The Logos” who lived in outer space.
– Paul took this Jewish tradition of The Logos and superimposed it with the high priest mentioned in scripture who he interpreted as a celestial being.
As in Zechariah 6:11-13 which was written 600 years before Paul, or Christianity:
Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of JOSHUA the son of Josedech, the high priest And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
But there is no definite evidence that Paul, or anyone else ever met Jesus, that Jesus was human, or ever set foot on Earth.
1 Corinthians 11:23
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread.
As shown, there is no evidence that Jesus was ever on Earth and that he wasn’t killed by demons in space (according to belief). This conclusively demonstrates that if Paul himself never wrote about a human Jesus (over 20 years BEFORE the Gospel of Mark) then we can safely conclude that there is nothing to prove there is any truth to Jesus ever existing. A case can be made that he was just another mythical being, no different than Zeus, or Thor, somewhere up in the sky, somewhere in outer space.
(878) The unassailable logic of David Hume
David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of radical philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism.
The following quote by Hume sums up perhaps the best reason why the claims of Christianity, and those of any other religion that rests its creed on supernatural events, should be discarded:
But I would still reply, that the knavery and folly of men are such common phenomena, that I should rather believe the most extraordinary events to arise from their concurrence, than admit of so signal a violation of the laws of nature.
This touches on the idea of Occam’s Razor, which states that the simplest explanation, the one requiring the least number of assumptions or rationalizations, is usually the correct one.
What Hume illuminates with this quote is that we know positively that there have been numerous and utterly countless claims by humans that have either been deliberately faked or are the result of a misinterpretation. On the other hand, there has never been a single, verifiable event that requires a supernatural explanation. Therefore, when the question arises as to whether a religious miracle happened as asserted, such as Jesus’s resurrection, the probability shifts decisively toward the human explanation rather than the laws of nature being violated.
(879) Jesus will burn people alive
If anything thinks that Jesus, as he is depicted in the gospels, is a good person who is merciful, kind, forgiving, compassionate, and humane, they only need to read the parable of the weeds, which is documented in Matthew 13:36-44:
Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
Any Christian who tries to argue out of this passage by saying the evil people will simply be annihilated is being disingenuous. Jesus refers to a furnace that is ‘blazing,’ indicating that it is an extremely hot inferno. Then when he refers to ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth,’ he is indicating that those who are thrown into the fire do not die immediately (if at all), but suffer intense pain and remorse.
So Jesus is advocating for torture on a scale that dwarfs that of Nazi concentration camps, that violates every notion of decency, and that profoundly breaks the standards of modern warfare as codified in the Geneva Convention.
Keep in mind, this is in the book that Christians bring to church, and describe as the greatest book of all time, and declare that it should be the basis for the laws of civil governments. But what is it really? It is a disgrace to every notion of decency, civility, and righteousness.
(880) Gospel of Matthew is less authentic than Gospel of Mark
The Gospel of Mark was the first written account of Jesus’s ministry that was eventually approved for inclusion in the Bible. It is well established that the author of the Gospel of Matthew used Mark as source material. Matthew made some changes and embellishments to Mark’s account, and it could have been possible, if Matthew had been an eyewitness, that he might have made some needed corrections to Mark’s non-eyewitness account, as well as adding some details that would have been unknown to Mark. This idea though has been debunked, as described by this quote from J.C. Fenton:
It is usually thought that Mark’s Gospel was written about A.D. 65 and that the author of it was neither one of the apostles nor an eyewitness of the majority of the events recorded in his Gospel. Matthew was therefore dependent on the writing of such a man for the production of his book. What Matthew has done, in fact, is to produce a second and enlarged edition of Mark. Moreover, the changes which he makes in Mark’s way of telling the story are not those corrections which an eyewitness might make in the account of one who was not an eyewitness. Thus, whereas in Mark’s Gospel we may be only one remove from eyewitnesses, in Matthew’s Gospel we are at one remove further still.
So, if Matthew was not correcting and fleshing out Mark’s gospel based on his direct witness of Jesus, exactly where did these changes and embellishments come from? Christians will claim that it came from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who, for some strange reason, did not get it exactly right when inspiring Mark, or else from some now discredited ‘Q’ document (though even if that was the case, it is hard to explain why the Q document was more accurate than what God had dictated to Mark). A more realistic explanation is that Matthew, at least in regard to those changes he made to Mark’s stories, made it up as he went along, adding and changing details that came from nowhere else than his imagination. It is roughly analogous to the next person in the ‘telephone game’ telling the story he just heard, but making subtle and unauthorized changes.
(881) The Gospel of John is fiction
Of the four gospels, three (Mark, Matthew, and Luke) are termed ‘synoptic’ or condensed, and show much interdependence. Biblical scholars generally agree that both Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source for their writings.
The gospel of John, however, is 92% unique from the other three gospels, and there is one trait about it that raises even more concern- there is virtually no verbal similarity with the other gospels. That is to say, the words and phrasing of Jesus’s discourse are completely different from the synoptic gospels. It is as if John is documenting the ministry of a completely different preacher.
If the Holy Spirit was inspiring the authors of the gospels to reliably document the words of Jesus, as most Christians profess, then why would the Jesus in John be saying completely different things than the Jesus in Mark, Matthew, and Luke? Clearly, this should not be the case, and, because of this blatant disparity, the Gospel of John should have been rejected from the biblical canon. [the assumption here is that John, being the final gospel is the one that should be rejected outright, the other option is to reject Mark and Matthew and Luke on the same basis- not a palatable option for Christians!] It is pure fiction and because Christianity takes so much of its doctrine from John, then that doctrine is also highly fictionalized.
(882) Sermon on the Mount is geared to end times
Christians make a mistake when they view the Sermon on the Mount as a timeless instruction on how to behave. It is rather the final game plan for a world that is rapidly coming to an end. The following is taken from:
For the Sermon contains, according to the tenets of “thoroughgoing eschatology,” exceptional laws, laws valid only for the time of crisis. It is, so to speak, a form of martial law declared in the last decisive phase of a total war. The Sermon was preached to men who knew that they were standing under a dangerously leaning wall which might at any moment come tumbling down upon them; to men who found themselves in the position of a dying man who knows that he has only a very little time left. This means: The words of the Sermon on the Mount are a challenge to most exceptional effort in the face of catastrophe, a last call to repentance before the End.
Because the situation is so critical, Jesus demands of his disciples that they burn all bridges behind them; they must have no ties left at all with the world. Let the dead bury their dead. All possessions are equally valueless in this catastrophic situation; they must be cast away, so that they do not bind the disciples of Jesus. Even the right of self-defense may play no part in this last hour (Matt. 5:38ff.). In this hour Jesus demands unprecedented commitment, even to the love of enemies. All these are heroic commands, valid only for the short period before the End in which unheard-of sacrifices must be made. In one word: the Sermon on the Mount offers an interim — ethic.
Whether Jesus actually delivered this sermon, or something similar, or if it was made up by the author of Matthew based on his familiarity with similar themes in the Talmud, it is certain that it was not meant to apply to the ensuing twenty centuries of history. Rather, it was rooted in the mistaken idea that the world could end at any time and most likely within the life span of those still alive. As such, it should be discarded. It is an embarrassment to Christianity, exposing what effectively is a failed prophecy.
(883) Matthew misinterprets timeline of Mark
The author of the Gospel of Matthew made a mistake in the sequence of events as he was constructing his gospel while using the Gospel of Mark as a source. In Mark it is clear that John the Baptist had died before Jesus sent his disciples on a missionary trip, and it was only after they had returned that Jesus went into the countryside where he would perform the miracle of feeding the 5,000. In between these two stories, Mark digressed to discuss how John the Baptist was killed. But Matthew erroneously connected the two stories by having news of John’s death, delivered by John’s disciples, causing Jesus to be remorseful and deciding to retreat to the countryside.
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.
These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
From this scripture, it is obvious that John the Baptist was killed before Jesus sent out his disciples, based on Herod’s statement that Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead. Immediately after this passage, Mark digresses to describe how John the Baptist came to be killed, through the wish of Herodias after her dance. Then Mark returns to the present to say that the disciples returned and Jesus went on to miraculously feed the 5,000 men.
Matthew overlooked the fact that Mark had made a back-in-time digression to discuss John the Baptist’s death and then made a big mistake by connecting news of his death to a sorrowful Jesus making a decision to retreat into the wilderness where he would feed the 5,000.
On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
From this point, Matthew goes on to describe the feeding of the 5,000. The only way out of this problem is to assume that the disciples of John the Baptist took longer than the length of the disciples’ missionary trip to provide the news of John’s death to Jesus. However, Matthew kills this idea with the wording ‘then they went and told Jesus’ right after the burial.
What this points out is that Matthew was not documenting a story that was being supernaturally dictated to him. He was just a regular person making the best of what information he had, but inevitably making some mistakes. This discrepancy provides evidence that the gospels are not the ‘word of God.’
(884) The real Ten Commandments
Few Christians know the history of the Ten Commandments, and for the sake of their faith, this is a good thing. The traditional Ten Commandments, listed in Exodus 20, were never delivered to the Israelites because Moses smashed the plates containing them out of anger that his people were worshiping a golden calf. Also, these were never referred to as the ‘Ten Commandments.’ Instead, in Exodus 34, God delivers the official Ten Commandments, identified as such in Exodus 34:28. These are the commandments that were placed by Moses in the Arc of the Covenant. Here are the real Ten Commandments (numbers added by the author):
Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
“Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
“Do not make any idols.
“Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread . For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt.
“The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.
“No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.
“Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel. I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God.
“Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.
“Bring the best of the first fruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.
“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.
So, what to make of this? For one, the Christians who clamor about placing copies of the Ten Commandments on public ground, are not dealing in reality, either with respect to constitutional law or even their own Bibles. Second, the real Ten Commandments are obviously not words of divine wisdom intended to inspire and be followed by modern societies, rather they are a crude set of rules applicable only to their time and place. And finally, whatever you do, make sure that you don’t boil your baby goats in its mother’s milk!
(885) St. Thomas More
St. Thomas More was was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist. He was also a councilor to Henry VIII, and Lord High Chancellor of England from October 1529 to 16 May 1532. Pope Pius XI canonised More in 1935 as a martyr. Pope John Paul II in 2000 declared him the “heavenly Patron of Statesmen and Politicians.” In the United States and Canada, there are more than 100 churches and schools dedicated to this saint.
More was executed because he refused to accept the king as head of the Church of England, asserting that the pope was the ultimate authority. This earned him his eventual sainthood, but, in reality, by today’s standards, he should be seen as a barbaric, brutal, and cruel monster.
The following is taken from:
What neither group ever seems keen to acknowledge is that Sir Thomas was also a man who so abhorred Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation that he burned Lutherans at the stake with great relish. One of More’s motives for hating the Protestant heretics was that they dared to read the New Testament in English rather than Latin, which was against the law in England at the time.
The historian and religious scholar James Wood reminds us that Thomas More, far from being the consummate “man of conscience,” was
…the heretic hunter of the mid-1520s, who personally broke into Lutherans’ homes and sent men to the stake, … [and who] would punish religious dissent not only with “displeasant” words but with state violence.
Hyperbole? Hardly. The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd, one of the morepositive More biographies, recounts that when Sir Thomas learned that John Tewkesbury, a London leather-seller, secretly possessed banned books, he had the man burned alive. After the execution, More expressed his satisfaction: “[He] burned as there was neuer wretche I wene better worthy.” More cherished the image of Tewkesbury burning not just on earth, but in hell, “an hote fyrebronde burnynge at hys bakke, that all the water in the worlde wyll neuer be able to quenche.”
Per James Wood, here is some of More’s handiwork:
With the help of John Stokesley, the Bishop of London, More personally broke into the houses of suspected heretics, arresting them on the spot and sometimes interrogating them in his own home. He imprisoned one man in the porter’s lodge of his house, and had him put in the stocks. He raided the home of a businessman called John Petyt, who was suspected of financing [protestant Bible translator William] Tyndale; Petyt died in the Tower. Six rebellious Oxford students were kept for months in a fish cellar; three of them died in prison. More was now a spiritual detective, a policeman in a hair shirt, engaged in “what would now be called surveillance and entrapment among the leather-sellers, tailors, fishmongers and drapers of London.” Six protesters were burned under More’s chancellorship, and perhaps forty were imprisoned.
There are at least 25,000 Christians in the United States attending churches dedicated to a man who relished and delighted in seeing men being burned alive at the stake. And not for murdering, raping, or stealing- just for the ‘sin’ of owning Bibles that had been translated into English. Consider that being burned alive is perhaps the most painful way to die, much worse than beheading, electrocution, hanging, firing squad, or lethal injection.
To send an innocent man to a gratuitously painful death is perhaps the most depraved action possible for a human being- and yet this man was made a saint, by authority of God’s presumed chosen ambassador. And the all-powerful god allowed this to happen.
(886) First Romans, now Americans, reshape Christianity
Christianity started as a pure system of philosophy among a small sect of Jews in the First Century, but what it is today is something quite different. It all comes down to who ‘owns’ the religion. Early in the 4th Century it became owned by the Roman Empire, and what emerged was a Romanized version of the original. Now, America ‘owns’ the faith, and what is emerging from that situation is readily seen in the excesses and distortions of theology being imposed by the Religious Right and the United States Republican Party. The following is taken from:
Eventually the Roman empire forced “its” version of Christianity on the whole world. The desposiny migrated south, the only place where they could avoid the persecution, and eventually settled in Arabia. Centuries later, their culture would originate Islam, and one of Islam’s tenets would be that “evil people changed the books”.
If Jesus truly existed, most likely he was the last of the Maccabeans and therefore claiming the Jewish throne for himself, but he was an “odd” character, that most Jews scorned instead of worshiping. He convinced a few of them that he was the one meant to lead the Jewish people, the messiah predicted by the Bible, but most Jews would not believe that such an odd character could be the messiah. The Romans were not worried by his claim precisely because he was the object of scorn by his own people. When he began causing serious trouble, the Romans did what they did to all the dissidents: they crucified him.
If the gospel of Thomas is true, then Jesus truly was a philosopher, and his words must have certainly impressed the few who listened to him. Then Paul would be the interpreter who translated those words for the masses and gave them the universal meaning that today we call the “Christian spirit”.
Today’s Christianity is, inevitably, the Christianity that the Roman empire chose. Every Christian in the world worships what the Roman empire decided s/he should worship. In a sense, every Christian betrays the desposyni and possibly Jesus himself by accepting the dogma of the ones who killed Jesus and persecuted his descendants.
Christianity therefore got a first twist when the Roman empire embraced it. Christianity is getting a second twist now that the American empire has embraced it. Just like Rome bestowed on Christianity the meaning that best served its interests, so America is bestowing on Christianity the meaning that best serves its interests. For example, greed is suddenly good, although the Gospels clearly state that criminals are more likely to enter Paradise than a rich man. The death penalty is good, even if the Gospels clearly preach forgiveness. Sooner or later, Americans will edit the Gospels the same way the Romans did and produce a new set of (self-serving) holy books.
And Jesus will have been crucified one more time.
Christianity today no longer follows the message of Christ. It is a completely new construction of theology where acquiring material wealth is seen as desirable, where the use of torture is authorized, where war is seen as a holy mission, where owning lots of guns is praiseworthy, where opposing civil authority and ignoring laws is virtuous, and where loving your enemy is scorned. So, in effect, Christianity is dead. What we have left is a rotten and corrupted shell of its original inspiration.
(887) The fictitious missionary journey of the disciples
When an author produces fiction, he often tries to make his account seem realistic if the goal is to have people believe it actually happened. Generally, this is what the authors of the gospels strove to do. Some of what they wrote was actually based on something they read or heard, but clearly a lot of it was simply made up by their imagination. When Mark, the first gospel writer, wrote about Jesus sending his disciples out two by two to preach his message, he introduced plenty of elements letting us know it never happened.
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.
These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
Here are the reasons to doubt this story:
- Jesus almost certainly would not have sent his followers away at any time, given that they gave him protection. Jesus wandering about by himself would have been suicidal.
- Even if the disciples were sent, what would have been their message?- “we are following a man who claims to be a prophet and he is working some miracles?” That would be about all they could say. Obviously, at this time, they knew nothing of the ultimate doctrine that Jesus was to die for the salvation of mankind.
- Jesus gave them ‘authority over impure spirits,’ that is, he gave them authority over things we now know don’t exist.
- He tells them to take nothing for the journey other than sandals and a shirt. This is embarrassingly unrealistic, unreasonable, and completely unnecessary to their purported mission. He is improperly burdening other people who will end up having to provide for his men.
- He tells them to dust off their feet as a testimony against those who appropriately reject their message. The author of Matthew added even more venom to this threat when he copied this story from Mark (Matthew 10:15- Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.)
- They drove out many demons (that don’t exist) and anointed sick people with oil ( having no curative value).
This story could have been written in a much more realistic manner, but even at the start, there was no need to even posit that such a venture would have happened in the first place. In other areas of the Bible, we are led to believe that the disciples were unlearned, rather dull people who were very slow to understand Jesus’s divinity and message, and yet Jesus sent them out by themselves to preach? That Jesus went solo for what, several weeks or months? This doesn’t whisper, this doesn’t speak, this doesn’t shout, no, it screams FICTION.
(888) Christianity falsely claims it is the source of morality
Almost all Christian leaders convince their parishioners that without their faith, they would not be morale people, that they would be like a rudderless boat in a storm. And most buy in to this lie, a lie that can be easily demonstrated by examining the moral character of people following other religions and those who are not religious. The following is taken from:
Exploiting people who are naturally helpful and caring is a traditional tactic for religions. Without a god, they are told, they would be amoral, they could do nothing good. This is not only a way to keep them dedicated to the religion they’re members of, but a lie, and degrading. It’s the methodology of telling a cult member, an Islamic terrorist, a Nazi, etc., “You’re nothing if you’re not with us one hundred percent.” To brainwash good people with the dogma, “Without God, I can do no good,” is ludicrous, and meant to keep the dedicated do-gooder chained to the religion.
Religions claim they are necessary for maintaining morals. Psychological manipulation, again. Let’s be honest and look at the big picture: Without God or gods, billions of humans are doing good, loving their families, being true friends, even unthinkingly sacriﬁcing themselves in the service of others, and physically, emotionally, helping one another day by day. (Consider the atheists Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett and his sister, for outstanding examples.) Billions of members of faiths are doing likewise. We are all pretty much the same everywhere. And we pretty much all fail in the same ways.
Christians cling to the myth that they are more morale than others because they desperately want to believe that theirs is the one true religion, and one of the best manifestations of that hypothesis is that Christians, the only ones plugged in to the real god of the universe, should shine forth as the light of the world. Well, too bad- the evidence points out their god is no more able to make people moral than any other god, or, for that matter, no god at all.
(889) Josephus writes about other messiahs
In the works of Josephus he writes about four other men that he implies were messiahs, without actually saying it. He specifically talks about them in messianic fashion by the deeds they performed (that he believed, or he wrote about their claims).
In his book On The Historicity Of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason To Doubt, Dr. Richard Carrier lists the four implied messiahs that Josephus wrote about in the first century.
As explained here, quoting Craig Evans:
“(1) “The Samaritan” tried to gather Israelites at Mount Gerizim, at which point Pontius Pilate sent a legion to wipe them out. One might wonder why such a hasty scorched earth reaction from Pilate. But gathering the Israelites at Mount Gerizim is precisely what Joshua did, and which God had previously commanded him to do, once he had launched his conquest of the land of Israel (Deuteronomy 27:12 and 11:29, and Joshua 8:30-35; also alluded to in the parable of the trees in Judges 9). Pilate clearly had advisers who got the point. No doubt he had access to other confirming evidence that a reenactment was what the Samaritan had in mind. Thus just as the first Jesus did (meaning Joshua, the original Conqueror of the Holy Land), the last Jesus would do (reestablish the Holy Land by military might). The later Christians even made their Jesus allude to this (in John 4).
(2) “Theudas” gathered a multitude of Israelites and said he would part the Jordan, which is precisely what the first Jesus did to launch his original conquest of the Holy Land (Joshua 3). Theudas was thus modeling himself on the first Jesus, too, in effect claiming now to be the last Jesus, just as the Samaritan seems to have done. That the Romans responded again with overwhelming lethal force is thus not surprising here either. Notably the Christians made their Jesus “part the Jordan” as well, metaphorically: he is baptized in the Jordan and “parts the heavens” above it (Mk 1:9-11).
(3) “The Egyptian” preached from the Mount of Olives and claimed he would miraculously fell the walls of Jerusalem. The Messiah was expected to preach from the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14), and of course the Christians made their Jesus do so, too. But more importantly, miraculously felling the walls of Jericho is precisely what the first Jesus did to secure his first great victory in his conquest of the Holy Land (Joshua 6). Thus “the Egyptian” was also claiming to be the last Jesus, who would begin his reconquest of the Holy Land the same way the first Jesus did (only beginning with Jerusalem rather than Jericho). He was thus representing himself to be the final Jesus, Messiah. In other words, Jesus Christ.
The NT suggests John the Baptist (Jn. 1:20and Lk. 3:15) and Simon Magus (Acts 8:9-11) were also messianic pretenders (or else depicted John as preaching the messiah was nigh: e.g. Mt. 3:1-12; Mk. 1:1-8; Lk. 3:1-20; Jn. 1:15-28). The Gospels and Acts can’t really be trusted as historical sources since they are so laden with the skewed agendas and views of later Christians.”
So having acknowledged this, we need to remind ourselves that the “evidence” of Josephus that Christians try to use, that we know to be forgeries, doesn’t depict or describe the Jesus they say died by the specific circumstances stated in the gospels or had the historical role that is claimed by the faith. What Josephus took the time and trouble to do was to detail other people with messianic roles and histories, so it’s odd he wouldn’t have mentioned Jesus if he had a messianic role. Whether or not Josephus believed Jesus existed, or even if he did exist, Josephus didn’t describe Jesus as anything important, or in a detail similar to the other ‘messiahs.’
The latest from Dr. Carrier on the Testimonium Flavianum being exposed as forgery:
(890) Saints show Christianity’s pagan roots
When Christianity was spreading into areas dominated by pagan religions, one of the ways to recruit new followers was to tell the pagans that their gods were actually Christian saints, and that by invoking them, they could have access to God’s blessings. The following was taken from:
The Invocation of the Saints is the asking of saints in Heaven for their intervention in worldly affairs. There is no mention of this practice in the Bible and no reference to it in Christian writings until the third century. The Invocation of the Saints was common throughout Christendom by the fourth century. Many Christians prayed to the saints just as they had previously prayed to their heathen gods. In fact in many cases Christian saints were their old heathen gods with a veneer of Christianity.
To counter charges of polytheism, the Church insisted that saints had no power themselves, they were merely mediators between God and man (as Jesus had been during the early years). Theologians disagreed as to how this might work. The Council of Trent was careful not to be specific. It declared that the Invocation of the Saints was good and useful, that all benefits come from God through the mediation of Jesus Christ, and that all superstition was to be put down (Session 25 ).
The Church of England rejected the Invocation of the Saints as a fond (i.e. foolish) thing vainly invented (Article 22 of the 39 Articles). The Eastern Churches on the other hand permit the invocation not only of saints but also of the dead , an apparent remnant of ancient ancestor worship.
The invention of saints, dead people who lived virtuous lives being somehow able to hear prayers and help people, is another sign that Christianity was not fully established by Jesus, or even by his direct followers. The disciples and Paul did not believe in saints, and evidently neither did Jesus. If saints existed and that they should be invoked, Jesus would have established and encouraged this practice. Instead it evolved over several centuries as Christianity became increasingly contaminated by pre-existing pagan religions.
(891) Bart Ehrman changes his views on evidence of mythicists
In the past almost two decades many people will agree that the greatest defender for the past existence of Jesus (the historical Joshua who was crucified by Pontius Pilate) has been secular historian and university professor Bart Ehrman.
Though Professor Ehrman has written several books that are of very high quality, with amazing content that annihilates the New Testament and a lot of the Old Testament and exposes several flaws in the logic, truth, and reasoning of Christianity, he has been the “go to guy” for Christians to assert that Jesus HAD TO have been an historical person.
Christians will constantly state in various words “that Ehrman is himself an agnostic atheist historian, who insists that Jesus did exist and was a real historical person and that all Jesus mythicists (people who say that Jesus never existed) are not to be listened to, or taken seriously and could never get a job at any university or school teaching religious history anywhere.”
Another thing he has said in the past is that there are barely any mythicists with degrees and proper credentials. In fact he is only aware of about three. Since the release of Ehrman’s book Did Jesus Exist in 2012, he has been told how wrong he was. He has been given the names of multiple accomplished scholars who stand by their work that they acknowledge to their better judgement and understanding (with evidence) that Jesus (the Jewish man crucified on the cross by Pontius Pilate) did not exist.
These scholars all acknowledge that there could in fact have been a Jesus that the gospels copy the name from (Joshua) since Joshua was a very popular name then. A man named Joshua probably was killed by the Romans around 30 AD (maybe even several men by the same name), but there is no evidence to prove that he existed; in fact, there is considerable evidence that the historical Jesus of the gospel probably did not exist.
In Professor Ehrman’s book Did Jesus Exist, he makes several arguments and claims of evidence for the historical Jesus, but some of the mythicists that Ehrman attacked in his book confronted him and stated that much of the content was fallacious, inaccurate, or untrue. Many other scholarly people came forward and said the same things to confront Bart about his mistakes.
Dr. Richard Carrier responded and exchanged with Professor Ehrman shortly after the release of his book and documented this discussion in its entirety online for anyone to research and evaluate the arguments and evidence for themselves.
Professor Ehrman mostly ignored what Dr. Carrier said and did not respond, but the exchange was quite revealing. People can come to their own conclusions reading this exchange about whether or not Jesus was historical, or divine, or non-existent, but for Christians to use Ehrman’s book Did Jesus Exist as evidence FOR the existence of an historical Jesus is something that they might not want to waste their time on.
When a Christian attempts to defend Christianity and Jesus and by saying that “Bart Ehrman, an atheist scholar who is one of the best in the world, says Jesus existed and he wrote an entire book on it full of evidence that you should read”, show them the arguments against him and the fallacies he has committed and if that doesn’t seem to work, then you should also show them Ehrman’s latest book that came out in 2014, How Jesus Became God: The Exhaltation Of A Preacher from Galilee.
What Professor Ehrman says in this new book CONTRADICTS what he said in his book Did Jesus Exist. He even admits that his views on many things have changed. Without coming right out and saying it though and without so much as an apology, he says his views and opinions have changed, but he doesn’t mention that some of those views are about the points he attacked mythicists for regarding the content of their arguments and evidence.
For an excellent breakdown and exposure of Professor Ehrman’s flip flopping, Dr. Richard Carrier has listed and explained Ehrman’s errors and fallacies, and he even complimented Ehrman at times that it is earned.
Dr. Carrier says:
“The most startling feature of this new book is that in it Ehrman has now completely reversed a position he took against me in Did Jesus Exist (as is well known, I published a detailed critique of that awful book). He now admits that from the very earliest recorded history, indeed even earlier than that, even possibly their very first year, Christians regarded Jesus as a pre-existent divine being. That this was not a later development first encountered in the Gospel of John, for example. “The idea that Jesus is God is not an invention of modern times…it was the view of the very earliest Christians soon after Jesus’s death” (p. 3). Because, “soon after Jesus’s death, the belief in his resurrection led some of his followers to say he was God” (p. 83). Ehrman concludes that at least “some Christians were saying that Jesus was a preexistent being (a ‘later’ view) even before Paul began to write in the 50s–well before our earliest gospel was written” (p. 235), in fact, he admits, “it must have been remarkably early in the Christian tradition,” because “it was in place well before Paul’s letters” and thus did not originate in the time of the gospel of John as has commonly been insisted (p. 276).”
For highly recommended books that finely and thoroughly detail everything that could be known and relevant on Jesus and Christianity, Dr. Carrier has written many books on the subjects that are peer reviewed, well written, well researched, with a tremendously thorough collection of citations and references to back up and support everything he says in its entirety.
In summary, Christians CANNOT use Bart Ehrman as evidence for the existence of Jesus. As more evidence comes to light, the trend among objective scholars is to assert that Jesus was probably mythical.
(892) Important events mentioned in only one gospel
Although it is possible for three of the gospels to leave out an important event that is reported in the remaining fourth gospel, it raises suspicion that the ‘fourth’ author was exercising poetic license in his reporting of the events. The following significant events are discussed in only one of the four gospels:
- Pre-existence of Christ (John)
- Birth of John the Baptist (Luke)
- Annunciation (Luke)
- Visitation of Mary (Luke)
- Annunciation of the shepherds (Luke)
- Adoration of the shepherds (Luke)
- Circumcision of Jesus (Luke)
- Infant Jesus in the temple (Luke)
- Star of Bethlehem (Matthew)
- Adoration of the Magi (Matthew)
- Flight into Egypt (Matthew)
- Massacre of the innocents (Matthew)
- Herod’s death (Matthew)
- Child Jesus found in the temple (Luke)
- Marriage at Cana (John)
- Jesus and Nicodemus (John)
- First Temple cleansing (John)
- Growing seed parable (Mark)
- Miraculous catch of fishes (Luke)
- Young man from Nain (Luke)
- Two debtors parable (Luke)
- Seventy-two new disciples (Luke)
- Discourse on ostentation (Matthew)
- Parable of good Samaritan (Luke)
- Jesus at home of Martha and Mary (Luke)
- Friend at midnight parable (Luke)
- Rich fool parable (Luke)
- Samaritan woman at the well (John)
- Discourse on holiness sermon (Matthew)
- Test of a good person sermon (Matthew)
- Two blind men at Galilee miracle (Matthew)
- Exorcising a mute miracle (Matthew)
- Command to bring a sword (Matthew)
- Paralytic at Bethesda miracle (John)
- Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew)
- Barren fig tree parable (Luke)
- Infirm woman miracle (Luke)
- Parable of the pearl (Matthew)
- Drawing in the net parable (Matthew)
- Hidden treasure parable (Matthew)
- Deaf mute at Decapolis miracle (Mark)
- Blind man of Bethsaida miracle (Mark)
- Coin in fish’s mouth miracle (Matthew)
- Bread of life discourse (John)
- Man with dropsy miracle (Luke)
- Counting the cost parable (Luke)
- Unforgiving servant parable (Matthew)
- Lost coin parable (Luke)
- Prodigal son parable (Luke)
- Unjust steward parable (Luke)
- Rich man and Lazarus parable (Luke)
- Cleansing ten lepers parable (Luke)
- Unjust judge parable (Luke)
- Pharisees and the publican parable (Luke)
- Woman taken in adultery (John)
- Workers in the vineyard parable (Matthew)
- Blind man at birth miracle (John)
- Raising of Lazarus from the dead (John)
- Jesus and Zacchaeus (Luke)
- Two sons parable (Matthew)
- Ten virgins parable (Matthew)
- Sheep and goats parable (Matthew)
- Grain of wheat sermon (John)
- Promising a paraclete sermon (John)
- Healing ear of a servant (Luke)
- Blood curse on Jews (Matthew)
- Doubting Thomas (John)
- Catch of 153 fish (John)
This is just a partial list of events presented in only one gospel. The question that must be asked is ‘if the Holy Spirit was inspiring these men, why did only one of them receive and document so many of the seminal events in Jesus’s life?’ Of course, this is exactly what you would expect if four men, writing independently except for what they may have copied from each other, would produce. It is strong evidence that much of the gospel stories are fictional.
(893) Michael the Archangel plagiarized by Jesus
Though the Book of Daniel is fiction in its entirety, one thing that is undeniable is that it paved the way to the belief in Jesus and Christianity (based on being similar to Jesus).
This fictional character written in the Book of Daniel was Michael “the archangel” (yes, the one from the just as fictional John Travolta movie).
AND at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
Everything about Michael the archangel was fictional and was written around 167 BCE, but here is the problem- 200 years later people didn’t know it was fiction (and still don’t). For that matter people didn’t know that 99.9% of the Bible is fiction except for a few irrelevant names of a few people and places. Historically and archaeologically, scholars do have evidence that the entire book of Daniel is fiction and that has become a general consensus.
Afterall, what Daniel 9:24-27 shows us, suggests to the reader the basic sum of a close duplicate of Christianity:
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
– We have “the Messiah The Prince” (Michael) being a parallel to Jesus (the Messiah king)
– Michael makes himself the sacrifice to atone for peoples sins when the end times happen (sounds familiar?)
Then Daniel 12:10-13 continues it’s parallel to Christianity, which happened 200 years before Christianity was Christianity.
Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
These verses in Daniel sound precisely like Christianity. So if Christians attempt to say that the Jewish people didn’t already have a belief in archangel messiahs sacrificing themselves and coming back from the dead, so that people could have an afterlife and get rewarded or punished, then show them the Book of Daniel to put that to rest.
Again, Dr. Richard Carrier talks about this in great detail, including other messiahs and archangels believed before Christianity was invented, in his book On The Historicity Of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason For Doubt (element 5 in the book).
This supports one of the main points of mythicism, which is that pre-common era people believed in a celestial archangel deity messiah, from which Christianity evolved.
The Bible itself is so plagiarized that it plagiarizes itself. It’s too much of a coincidence that Daniel’s Michael and Paul’s Jesus are so similar. This is another reason that leans toward Christianity being a false religion.
(894) Atheist quotes bring clarity
Sometimes, all it takes is a singular, clear, focused idea to understand the folly of religion. The following quotes each have that pedigree- they make us realize that Christianity, and religion in general, is a phantom wrapped in a fairy tale:
- It’s a strange myth that atheists have nothing to live for. It’s the opposite. We have nothing to die for. We have everything to live for. -Ricky Gervais
- What’s ‘God’? Well, you know when you want something really bad and you close your eyes and you wish for it? God’s the guy that ignores you. -From the movie The Island
- When you need something to believe in, start with yourself. -Unknown
- That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens
- Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God’s infinite love. -Bill Hicks
- The supernatural is the natural not yet understood. -Elbert Hubbard
- Morality is doing right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you’re told, no matter what is right. -Unknown
- Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. -Steven Weinberg
- Your religious beliefs typically depend on the community in which you were raised or live. The spiritual experiences of people in ancient Greece, medieval Japan or 21st-century Saudi Arabia do not lead to belief in Christianity. It seems, therefore, that religious belief very likely tracks not truth but social conditioning. -Gary Gutting
- How thoughtful of God to arrange matters so that, wherever you happen to be born, the local religion always turns out to be the true one. -Richard Dawkins
- But why, in any case, do we so readily accept the idea that the one thing you must do if you want to please God is believe in him? What’s so special about believing? Isn’t it just as likely that God would reward kindness, or generosity, or humility? Or sincerity? What if God is a scientist who regards honest seeking after truth as the supreme virtue? -Richard Dawkins
- Creationists eagerly seek a gap in present-day knowledge or understanding. If an apparent gap is found, it is assumed that God, by default, must fill it. [But] gaps shrink as science advances, and God is threatened with eventually having nothing to do and nowhere to hide. -Richard Dawkins
- If God can’t prove he exists, what makes you think you can? -John Willow
- Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. -Carl Sagan
- Science adjusts its views based on what’s observed. Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved. -Tim Minchin
- What kind of God creates beings that are incapable of understanding him and then makes understanding him the criteria upon which they’re gonna base their salvation? -Matt Dillahunty
- How is it that you use reason as a path to truth in every endeavor of your life, and then when it comes to the ultimate truth, the most important truth, you’re saying that faith is required? -Matt Dillahunty
- (From God’s perspective) Books you think I wrote are way too thick. Who needs a thousand metaphors to figure out you shouldn’t be a dick? And I don’t watch you when you sleep. Surprisingly I don’t use my omnipotence to be a fucking creep. -Bo Burnham
- Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man, living in the sky, who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do! And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time…but he loves you! -George Carlin
- I tried to believe that there is a God, who created each of us in his own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize, something is fucked up. -George Carlin
If Christianity was real, we wouldn’t have the intellectual luxury of making the types of statements that are listed above. It’s truth would permeate our core existence and its denial would require a surrender of our faculties rather the free exercise of them.
(895) In God we Trust?
“In God we trust” is the official motto of the United States. It was adopted as the nation’s motto in 1956 as an alternative or replacement to the unofficial motto of E pluribus unum, meaning ‘out of many, one.’
But what does it mean to trust god? Trust implies having the confidence that someone else will act in a certain favorable way such that you do not need to enforce that behavior, or perhaps even monitor it.
When used in the United States, ‘In God we Trust’ refers 99.9% of the time to the Christian god, Yahweh, who is, of course, the old Hebrew tribal war god who evolved to became the only true god, the maker of time and space and the entire universe. So how does that trust in this god stack up?:
Do we trust God to keep us safe from natural disasters? No, we anticipate them and prepare for them.
Do we trust God to keep us safe from terrorists? No, we employ extensive intelligence and countermeasures.
Do we trust God to keep us safe from plagues? No, we use vaccines and isolation techniques to prevent the spread of them.
Do we trust God to prevent our citizens from being harmed by transportation accidents? No, we employ an accident investigation team to investigate them and propose remedies.
Do we trust God to keep our population healthy? No, we use an extensive medical delivery system.
Do we trust God to keep our citizens safe from crime? No, we have an elaborate police system for that purpose.
So, what do we trust God to do? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. And why is this? Because God doesn’t do anything, he is just a figment of peoples’ imaginations. When you distill it down, it is as obvious as the proverbial elephant in the room.
(896) What Christianity lacks
For what it possesses, Christianity lacks several attributes that are listed here:
Logic, facts, evidence, science, common sense, proof, reasoning, probability, thinking, intelligence, feasibility, confirmation, wisdom, likelihood, knowledge, rationality, realism, plausibility, intellect, open mindedness, analysis, induction, deduction, logistics, brainpower, coherence , saneness, consistency, congruity, enlightenment, sensibility, legitimacy, authenticity, predictability, believability, and foresight.
If Christianity was true, it would be logical, it would have facts on its side, plenty of confirming evidence, would make common sense, be amenable to reason, etc. The standard by which Christians judge the reality of their faith is set way too low. We are dealing with a claim of vast and unlimited supernatural powers, a potency that exceeds our ability to imagine, and yet we are dealing with a religion that cannot even distinguish itself from countless other Bronze Age myths. What Christianity claims versus what it delivers is like comparing an elephant to a flea.
(897) Probability that Christianity is true
We must analyze a set of factors to determine a realistic probability that Christianity is a true religion.
- The probability that a god was needed to cause the big bang- set this to 0.5 as we have no way of knowing this. (Pbb = 0.5)
- The probability that this god survived the blast- once again set this to 0.5 for the same reason. (Psb = 0.5)
- The probability that God has the ability to see everything in the universe in real time- this seems very unlikely given our current knowledge of physics, but we cannot discount the possibility, so let’s set that at 0.05. (Pse = 0.05)
- The probability that God can manipulate events at all locations at will, this is quite different from being able to see what is happening. We can see things happening at a distance but we have no way to control what we are seeing. The same may be true of a god. Let’s set this to 0.05 as well. (Pme = 0.05)
- The probability that God waited 14 billion years to create beings in his own image- this seems quite unlikely if humans were such an important part of his plan, so let’s make this 0.01. (Pw14 = 0.01)
- The probability that God waited 100,000 years + to contact humans after they became a unique species and began to develop their own erroneous ideas of gods- this seems quite unlikely as well, so the best guess is around 0.01 also. (Pw100,000 = 0.01)
- The probability that God would chose to reveal himself only to one small backward tribe in a very remote spot of the Earth, and avoid revealing himself to more advanced civilizations in places such as China where a reliable system of record-keeping had already been established- this is a very unlikely move by a god, so let’s set this to 0.005. (Prbt = 0.005)
- The probability that God would suddenly change his method of salvation by sacrificing his son as a means of sin forgiveness- this is well beyond a realistic expectation for a divine personage, so let’s set this to 0.01. (Pss = 0.01)
So, the probability that Christianity is true can be calculated by multiplying each of these factors together, such that the probability that Christianity is true (Pct) is:
Pct = (0.5)(0.5)(0.05)(0.05)(0.01)(0.01)(0.005)(0.01)
= 3.13 X 10 (-12)
or 1 in 319,488,817,891.
(898) Christian god flunks four question test
The truth or non-truth of the Christian god hangs on the answer to four logical questions, all of which would be answered ‘yes’ if he was real. The following is taken from:
To my mind, the likelihood that the Bible God exists depends on the answer to four questions:
- Do claims about this God pass the tests of not contradicting each other and not contradicting external evidence?
- Is the Bible’s God the best and most likely explanation for the design and function of nature?
- Is the Bible’s God the best and most likely explanation for the biblical record and Christian history?
- Is the Bible’s God the best and most likely explanation for humanity’s long and enduring quest for God or our profound experience of His presence in our lives?
I think that the answer to all four of these questions is no:
- No because many of the claims made about God in the Bible contradict either each other or external evidence.
- No because we have better explanations for natural phenomena.
- No because we can explain the biblical record without recourse to God.
- And no because we can do the same for our own experience of God.
All of these “no” answers make the existence of the Christian God highly unlikely.
These four questions distill down the essence of how to judge the likelihood of the existence of a god. In this test, the Christian god fails to satisfy any of the questions is an uncontroversial fashion, leaving a level of ambiguity well beyond what would be expected of an actual supernatural deity.
(899) Christian dominance more to do with military might
Many Christians point to the rapid spread and global dominance of Christianity as evidence of its truthfulness. But a truthful examination of history paints a different picture. The following was taken from:
There was a long struggle for religious dominance over the Roman Empire, and it was a near thing. Had events gone differently Christianity probably would have remained an obscure cult on par with Zoroastrianism. But once Christianity was installed at the highest levels of Roman government it was then spread by force throughout the Empire with Roman armies being accompanied by Christian missionaries who put all those who refused to convert to the sword.
Christianity’s dominance had as much to do with military might as anything else. Once installed by fiat, the church enforced doctrinal purity with a zealotry equal to that of Muslim clerics. Heresy was punished by torture and death until the Enlightenment robbed the Church of its temporal power.
History does not back up what Christians would like to believe. Christianity is the most dominant religion in the world, but it got there not because of its truthfulness, but because it enjoyed a surreptitious confluence of historical events.
(900) Gospels mostly silent on the ascension of Jesus
The critical elements of Jesus’s life are his birth, his ministry, his crucifixion, his resurrection, and his ascension into heaven. The final element, his ascension, is strangely and suspiciously downplayed in the gospels.
The Gospel of Mark ends at Mark 16:8, if we discount the forged ending, and says nothing of Jesus after he resurrected. The Gospel of Matthew simply ends without any discussion of how Jesus left the world. The Gospel of John, even considering the forged final Chapter 21, says nothing about Jesus ascending into heaven. Only in the Gospel of Luke is the ascension mentioned, and it is only a very brief description:
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
This is the only gospel account of Jesus ascending to heaven. The only other Biblical account is in Acts, written by the same author as Luke.
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
So, in the entire New Testament, only one person, a non-eyewitness, writes anything about how Jesus left the planet. And he suspiciously adds a new detail the second time he writes about it (the angel’s proclamation).
The important point to take from this is that the historical truth of Jesus’s ascension is highly dubious. What this indicates is the likelihood that Jesus’s resurrection was seen primarily as a spiritual event, not of flesh and blood, such that the ascension was more or less superfluous. Otherwise each of the gospels would have described in considerable detail how the physical -bodied Jesus had left them to go to his Father- it would have been a seminal, psychologically important event worthy of a detailed account.
(901) Violence more common in the Bible than the Quran
A recent study of the percentage of violent passages in the New and Old Testament versus the Quran indicated that the Bible was more violent. The following was taken from:
An analysis into whether the Quran is more violent than the Bible found killing and destruction occur more frequently in the Christian texts than the Islamic.
Investigating whether the Quran really is more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts, software engineer Tom Anderson processed the text of the Holy books to find which contained the most violence.
In a blog post, Mr Anderson explains: “The project was inspired by the ongoing public debate around whether or not terrorism connected with Islamic fundamentalism reflects something inherently and distinctly violent about Islam compared to other major religions.”
Using text analytics software he had developed, named Odin Text, he analysed both the New International Version of both the Old and New Testaments as well as an English-language version of the Quran from 1957.
It took just two minutes for his software to read and analyse the three books.
By categorising words into eight emotions – Joy, Anticipation, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, Surprise, Fear/Anxiety and Trust – the analysis found the Bible scored higher for anger and much lower for trust than the Quran.
Further analysis found the Old Testament was more violent than the New Testament, and more than twice as violent as the Quran.
Mr Anderson summarises: “Of the three texts, the content in the Old Testament appears to be the most violent.
“Killing and destruction are referenced slightly more often in the New Testament (2.8%) than in the Quran (2.1%), but the Old Testament clearly leads—more than twice that of the Quran—in mentions of destruction and killing (5.3%).”
This is a revealing comparison because most Christians believe that the Islamic texts are much more violent than their own. Although recent history suggests that Christians are more peaceful than Muslims, this was certainly not always the case, and it was often the more offensive parts of the Bible that gave inquisitors ‘permission’ to slaughter millions of ‘infidels.’ The bottom line is that any holy scriptures that advocate for violence are most likely not the ‘word of God’ but rather a reflection of the bellicose personalities of the men who wrote them.
(902) Catholic Church and condoms
It has been scientifically proven that condom use helps to prevent unwanted pregnancies as well as the spread of HIV-AIDS and all other sexually-transmitted diseases. Also, the use of a condom does not result in the process of fertilization, does not involve the killing of a zygote, and therefore it doesn’t infringe on the sensibilities of devout Christians who believe that life begins at conception.
So why has the Catholic Church historically, and to this day, prohibited its members from using condoms? The best answer is that it is rooted in their Medieval concept that sex was invented by God for the sole purpose of procreation. As if to say that God is in the business of enforcing sexual frustration by providing humans with strong sexual urges only to prevent them from enjoying them.
This is a testament to the inflexibility of religion in the face of changing times and new evidence. It also points out the fact that the predominant denomination of the Christian religion is on the wrong side of basic humanity, decency, and compassion, instead clinging tenaciously to a rigid idealistic standard. The condom prohibition has resulted in a public health crisis in sub-Saharan Africa involving AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea , and other preventable diseases.
Why would God stand by and watch this happen? Wouldn’t he change the minds of popes and cardinals to address this crisis and stem the tide of embarrassment his church is suffering over this issue? Wouldn’t he act to help prevent more people from being ravaged and killed by these sexual diseases? The answers to these three questions is ‘he wouldn’t, he would, and he would’ -IF HE EXISTED.
(903) The kingdom moves to the heavens
It is highly likely that Jesus, along with all of the other messiah figures roaming the Holy Land in the First Century, was preaching the coming of an earthly kingdom of the Jews, to be established in Jerusalem. The first priority was to become free of Roman rule. However, after many frustrating setbacks, the followers of Jesus eventually resolved that the new kingdom was actually in the heavens. The following is taken from:
The legend of Jesus may also have a political aspect. The Jews of Palestine never accepted the rule of Rome. Their prophets were telling them that a “fifth kingdom” was coming (the previous ones being the occupations by Assyrians, Medes, Persians and Greeks), and it would be a Jewish kingdom, created by a messiah imbued with divine powers. For some or most of Jesus’ followers, Jesus may have been identified with that messiah. The Jews then fought three bloody wars against the Romans, each one with “messianic” fervor. They lost all three and the third one ended with the Romans banning Jews from Jerusalem. Then it became impossible to deny that the Romans, not the Jews, were the fifth kingdom. Jesus was obviously not the messiah that prophets had predicted would free the Jews from external domination. No wonder most Jews made fun of Christians and even today do not recognize Jesus as the messiah.
The historian Josephus chronicles the events of the first century. The Jews believed in the prophecy that one of them (the messiah) was destined by god to rule over the entire world. Therefore they kept revolting against the Romans. As the Romans kept winning, that belief moved further and further in time. But the Jews who fought the Romans in 66 and then again in 132 probably did so because 1. they were opposed to accepting Roman rule (i.e., Herod and the Herodians) over Palestine (that had been ruled by the Maccabeans) and 2. they were convinced that one of them (the messiah) was meant to rule over the world (not the Roman emperor). Jesus’ blood relatives (the “disposyny/desposini”) were probably among the leaders of the rebellions. In 136 emperor Hadrian definitely crushed the Jewish resistance and forbad Jews from ever entering Jerusalem again. That is the time when the “gnostic” attitude is born: instead of interpreting Jesus as the messiah, some Jews started interpreting his message as a message of knowledge (of love, fraternity, piety, etc). And the kingdom moved to the heavens.
It is likely that Jesus was working to establish an earthly kingdom, but time and circumstances eventually led his followers to give up on that ideal and instead await a heavenly kingdom. The oral traditions and scriptures surrounding Jesus were then fashioned for that purpose. Given these facts, it is not surprising that the Jews by and large abandoned belief that Jesus was the messiah.
(904) Christianity became clothed with paganism
After the Emperor Constantine and the Romans took over Christianity in the Fourth Century, they reworked it in the fashion of the existing pagan religions. Eventually, it became virtually indistinguishable in almost all respects. The following is taken from:
No sooner had Constantine the Great abolished the superstitions of his ancestors than magnificent churches were erected everywhere for Christians. These churches, which were richly adorned with pictures and images, bore a striking resemblance to the Pagan temples, both in their outward and inward form. The rights and institutions by which the Greeks and Romans and other nations had formerly testified their veneration for fictitious deities were now adopted, with some slight alterations, by Christian bishops in the service of the true God. Hence it happened that in the third and fourth centuries the religion of the Greeks and Romans differed very little in its external appearance from that of the Christians. They had both a most pompous and splendid ritual, gorgeous robes, mitres, tiaras, wax-tapers, croziers, processions, lustrations, images, and gold and silver vases; and many such circumstances were equally to be seen in heathen temples and Christian churches*.
Bishops adopted not only the shepherd’s crook carried by the Egyptian god Osiris but also his crown. This crown was used for example by the Bishop of Rome, and became a prototype papal tiara. Many familiar Christian concepts are pagan ideas only slightly disguised. The clerical tonsure seems to have been borrowed from the priests of Isis. As so often, Christians seem to have synthesised a number of existing practices. The tonsure also seems to have been used as part of an old Roman ceremony of adoption. (Trainee priests abandoned their own families and were adopted into the family of their bishops, and trainee monks into the family of their abbots)
This should be a cause of concern for believing Christians. Christianity was not a Roman religion and its focus was in Jerusalem, not Rome. When Rome appropriated the faith and used it to blanket their empire, they distorted it in ways that left it significantly changed from its original foundation. Jewish Christianity died, Roman Christianity lives on today.
(905) Noah and Atrahasis
Every scientifically literate person who is not brainwashed knows without doubt that the story of Noah and the Ark is fiction. But what is important in this discussion is whether it was also a story that was borrowed from another tradition unrelated to the Jewish religion. If this is the case then we can deduce that the Old Testament was not altogether inspired by the Jewish god, Yahweh, but was a document that was plagiarized from other sources.
Although it is possible that Yahweh would impart a fictional tale to his chosen people to explain in understandable terms how the earth was purged and re-populated, it would be a completely different situation if the tale was merely stolen from some other civilization. In the later case, it renders the argument for Yahweh’s existence and the legitimacy of the Old Testament to be a harder sale. And this is just the situation with the story of Noah. The following is taken from:
The Old Testament writings from Abraham to Solomon were not solely a brilliant product of the imagination. “Just as Egypt, India and China, Crete, Greece and Rome, the Germans and the Celts, inherited and restyled the civilizing legacy of the nuclear Near East, so too the authors of the Book of Genesis” (Campbell, 1962, p. 130).
Compare the Babylonian Epic of Atrahasis with the Old Testament Flood myth:
In the Epic of Atrahasis, the god Enlil becomes angry with mankind, Enlil convinces the other gods to destroy mankind with a flood but the god Enki favours Atrahasis telling him to build an ark; this allows Atrahasis to survive the flood with his family whilst saving a quantity of animals (Frymer-Kensky, 1977; Jones, 2005).
The Old Testament Flood myth was not solely a brilliant product of the imagination; no imagination is required when you’re plagiarising other myths.
If someone presented you a holy scripture that they wrote and said was inspired by God, but you found out that they had stolen a lengthy passage from Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment, would that make you more or less likely to believe it was true? Therein lies the problem with the inclusion of the plagiarized story of Noah’s flood in Genesis Chapters 7 and 8.
(906) Mary Magdalene and the seven demons
In Mark 16:9 we read:
When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.
This is repeated in one other gospel:
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out.
Christians assert that the gospels were inspired by God, being the veritable ‘Word of God.’ If this this true, then demons must be actual beings populating our world. And if this one woman had seven of them in her body, then there must be a very large number of demons in our presence. Also, because a definite number of demons, seven, were cast out, then the ability to count them must mean they have unique identities or else present themselves in a manner to make it easy to distinguish them in a crowd. But we no longer need to posit demons to explain anything that’s happening, so, by applying Occam’s Razor, we can safely assume that they don’t exist.
The only way out of this problem for a Christian is to admit that the gospel authors were mistaken, but that opens a Pandora’s Box, suggesting that this error, based on the ignorance and superstitions of the time, is just the tip of the iceberg.
(907) Thou shalt (not?) kill
For one of the most blatant contradictions in scripture, consider the following:
When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.
He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”
“Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”
Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.
Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’ ” The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”
According this piece of savage fiction, Moses has just returned from the mountain carrying the Ten Commandment on two stone tablets. One of those commandment was “Do not kill.” So what does the Lord command?- to kill, kill your brothers, friends, and neighbors. And not only that, but afterward the Lord ‘blessed’ them for breaking the commandment.
As a side, note two other interesting features. The magical calf that forms from burning articles of gold. And the reference to the ‘God of Israel,’ apparently he had not yet graduated to be the one and only god of the universe.
(908) Christianity proves the concept of evolution by evolving from other religions
Though many Christians and even the Vatican believe in evolution, many Christians still do not, even though two particular Christians of the highest rankings in the academic chain of knowledge and achievement in biology acknowledge evolution to be true.
One of these Christians is Francis Collins:
And the other is Ken R. Miller:
Evolution of course is a contradiction to Christianity having truth, since so much of the Bible is based on Genesis, with Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, and Cain and Abel. The fact of evolution quite thoroughly throws all of that out the window.
Yet here we are with these two Christians (with Collins actually even being an evangelist) who are being unbiased and simply acknowledging scientific facts and truth, based on undeniable evidence.
Another demonstration of evolution is how Christianity and several countless other religions evolved from other religions, using natural selection in a sense.
Through the centuries and millennia, religions would (metaphorically speaking) breed with other religions and their surroundings and then customs and beliefs would be accepted or rejected and some new ones would be created. New religions evolved and were created and thrived, while old religions would just die off over time and be replaced.
A name for this method of evolution of religions is called “cultural syncretism” As Dr. Richard Carrier explains in Element 11 in his book On The Historicity Of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason To Doubt:
(Read more about this and other factors involved in this in element 11 of the book.)
“Notably all the mystery religions were products of the same sort of cultural syncretism. The Eleusnian were a syncretism of Levantine and Hellenistic elements; The mysteries of Attis and Cybele were a syncretism of Phrygian and Hellenistic elements; the mysteries of Jupiter Dolichenus were a syncretism of Anatolian and Hellenistic elements; Mithraism was a syncretism of Persian and Hellenistic elements; the mysteries of Isis and Osiris were a syncretism of Egyptian and Hellenistic elements. Christianity is simply a continuation of the same trend: a syncretism of Jewish and Hellenistic elements. Each of these cults is unique and different from all the others in nearly every detail- but it’s the general features they all share in common that reflect the overall fad that produced them in the first place, the very features that made them popular and successful within Greco-Roman culture.”
Evolution is shown in multiple ways to be true besides just religion. It is shown socially, it is shown academically, it is shown environmentally. Another form of evolution is the effectiveness of lies and what works best for these lies to be accepted.
Christianity is just another example of religions evolving and adapting their lies and changing and altering themselves in order to be believed. Nothing though whatsoever involves Christianity evolving because of anything it says having any truth, or any real evidence
(909) Devil blamed for Christianity’s plagiarism
In the early years of Christianity, critics mocked the new faith by pointing out that it had simply adopted many of the elements of the pre-existing pagan religions, such as the virgin birth, the guiding star, the last supper, and the death and resurrection of a savior god. One of defenses offered by Christian apologists was the rather bizarre claim that the Devil knew that Christianity was coming so he made sure that the pagan religions took on some of the same elements of what was to come in Christianity. In this way, he was setting up the illusion that Christianity stole these things from the pagans. The following is taken from:
Several early Christian writers such as Justin and Tertullian felt that they had to defend Christianity from such accusations. Early Christian literature is full of references to pagan legends and myths as work of the Devil for the simple reason that Christians adopted the very same legends and myths and the only explanation would be that the Devil was playing a prank on them by pretending that those legends and myths had existed before Jesus.
(910) Science causes Christians to make up things
A thousand years ago, no Christians doubted the story of the Garden of Eden, the tower of Babel, or the Noah’s flood. But as science became more sophisticated, it became evident that these stories were fictional. As a result, Christians had to start rationalizing the contradictions between their beliefs and the growing weight of scientific evidence. The result was a band-aid approach- to make up all sort of excuses and guesses designed to cautiously admit some of the science but never to doubt the intrinsic claims of their faith. The following was taken from:
Why is this a big deal? There’s always the view that the Bible doesn’t have to be literally true, and that it doesn’t have to be inerrant. I think most Christians hold just such a view. Over at the Christian blog Wide as the Waters, Jack Hudson wrote a post where he talked about the historicity of the Old Testament. He makes an important claim:
There were no archeological controversies over ancient Greek or Roman religious beliefs because they were never understood to be historical in nature – they didn’t pretend to be. We don’t talk about Hindu archeology or Buddhist archeology because those religions are not reliant upon historical facts. None of these religions even pretends to be the product of a set of events that occurred in a particular time and place in history; only vague references to certain individuals whose actual existence is unimportant to the belief system. Biblical belief however is definitively set in a particular places and times and concerns certain individuals. [link]
Exactly. The Bible is rooted in historical claims – so since we have overwhelming evidence that many of those historical claims are false, it creates real problems for Christian theology. Were it not for the progress of science, Christians would believe all these stories to be literally true. It’s only in the face of science that Christians change their tune and say, “Oh, but of course that scripture was never intended to be taken literally!” The obvious problem is that Christians have no independent means of discerning which parts of the Bible should be taken as historical, and which should not. Science does the work for them, and they subsequently alter their theology to make it fit the facts.
This is already evident with the non-existence of Adam and Eve. Biologos has an article on it, and this is what they say:
One option is to view Adam and Eve as a historical pair living among many 10,000 years ago, chosen to represent the rest of humanity before God. Another option is to view Genesis 2-4 as an allegory in which Adam and Eve symbolize the large group of ancestors who lived 150,000 years ago. Yet another option is to view Genesis 2-4 as an “everyman” story, a parable of each person’s individual rejection of God.
In other words, just make shit up. I sincerely wonder how Christians can do this to themselves. When the facts reveal their theology as untenable, they don’t reject their theology – they just alter it with speculative nonsense to placate their cognitive dissonance. Why spend so much effort rationalizing beliefs for which there is no evidence?
(911) Societal changes suggest Christianity is false
If Christianity is true, then we are not putting anywhere near enough emphasis on it. We should be spending much more money and resources to get as many people saved as possible. Because we are talking about the eternal fate of people, getting them saved should take immense priority over getting them educated, having jobs, adequate health care, etc.
But if Christianity is false, then we are suffering a needless drain our our time and resources that should be used in other ways. The following was taken from:
If the Humanist view of the Bible is correct, millions of Bible-believers and churchgoers are wasting much time, money, and energy. Humanity’s condition could be greatly improved if those resources were used for solving the world’s problems instead of worshiping a nonexistent God.
Moreover, because so many people have been told the Bible is the “Good Book,” biblical teachings shape the attitudes of millions on numerous subjects. When the subjects involve governmental issues, all of society can be affected when Bible-believers express their views in the political arena.
Anyone who becomes politically active can soon discover that Bible teachings influence the opinions of many Americans on issues involving nuclear war, overpopulation, conservation, women’s rights, gay rights, racial equality, corporal punishment of children, church-state separation, sex education, science, abortion, contraception, censorship, capital punishment, and other subjects.
When people view the Bible as the word of a just and omniscient God, and attempt to have society’s laws and social practices reflect biblical teachings, serious error and harm will occur if the Bible was actually written by fallible humans who lived in an unenlightened era.
In that case, the Bible would not be a guidebook for attaining human happiness and well-being. It would instead perpetuate the ideas of an ignorant and superstitious past – and prevent humanity from rising to a higher level.
There seems to be no middle ground here. Either we are slacking off disastrously by not adequately supporting Christian evangelism or we are wasting precious human and economic capital chasing a fantasy down a rabbit hole. Therefore, as a planet in need and for the sake of humanity, we must resolve this issue with a strong degree of confidence and re-direct our efforts accordingly.
So which way is society trending? If you look at world history over the past several centuries in predominantly Christian countries, there has been a sea change in how resources are being expended, with much greater emphasis on providing for peoples’ welfare in this life, and a concomitant decrease in emphasizing their eternal fate. This provides back door evidence that Christianity is false, because if it was true, evidence would have been building up to support it from science, increased personal observations of phenomena, and faster and more reliable communications. Countries are becoming more secular precisely because evidence is building that Christianity is false.
(912) The fallacy of dismissing the Old Testament
When confronted with the spectacular brutality of the Old Testament, many Christians respond by saying that Jesus superseded the Old Testament and that it does not represent the face of Christianity. Setting aside for the moment that this attitude flies in the face of reality or even the purported words of Jesus, agreeing with the premise leads Christianity down an even more sordid path. The following is taken from:
In the New Testament, God became far worse in regard to imposing excessively severe punishments. It would be hard to imagine anything more cruel and disproportionate than punishing people with eternal torture for mere disbelief that Jesus was the son of God.
The inability to believe that proposition harms no one, and it has been disbelieved by some of the greatest benefactors of humanity. Nonetheless, God promises to punish them and all other nonbelievers with the most horrible pain conceivable.
Yes, the Old Testament god was a brute, but at least he just killed people who mercifully became unconscious after he murdered them. But the New Testament god became the heinous tyrant who saw fit to punish dead people, and not just with a degree of separation, but to an actual place of physical punishment, a sentence that he promised would never end. Any Christian who says, ‘that’s just the Old Testament’ is not playing with a full deck of cards.
(913) What Christianity doesn’t want to see
Our world is populated by private interests that tacitly root against advancements that would be wonderfully favorable for mankind. For instance, hospitals and doctors would not want an inexpensive preventive cure for cancer and heart disease to be developed. Such would be a wonderful boon to society, but a devastating economic blow to the medical profession. Likewise, lawyers would not want to see a dramatic reduction in divorce rates, or automobile body shops would not want to see all cars outfitted with automatic collision avoidance technology. These are just a few examples, but it points out the fact that significant segments of society don’t want to see dramatic improvements that would overall be great for the world.
In a like manner, there are many ‘good’ things that Christianity as whole, does not want to see:
- It doesn’t want to see everyone going to college, a known killer of sectarian belief.
- It doesn’t want people to become more familiar with the Bible, becoming aware of the myriad problems and contradictions.
- It doesn’t want science to advance any further, finding more evidence for evolution or perhaps the non-deistic mechanism of the universe’s creation.
- It doesn’t want people to become more knowledgeable about the origins and evolution of Christianity.
- It doesn’t want school children to be taught critical thinking skills.
If Christianity was true, all of these things would enhance, not degrade, faith, and they would be aggressively promoted by Christian leaders. The fact that instead they are feared and stifled is a tell tale sign that Christianity is false.
(914) God forbids Christmas trees
It is well known that Christianity took on many of the pagan symbols that existed long before Jesus roamed the earth. But what is little known is that God specifically denigrated one particular symbol- the Christmas tree.
Jeremiah 10: 1-5
Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. This is what the Lord says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”
This biblical scripture claims that these words came directly from God. He is unambiguously discouraging the use of cut-down decorated trees that would later become known as Christmas trees. It is one thing to use pagan symbols, but quite another to use one that upsets the God that you worship.
(915) First Century literacy rates compromise biblical authenticity
There is a troubling 40-year gap between the time that Jesus was crucified and the first gospel account of his life (Mark) was written. During this 40-year period, many people were born and died. Literacy was extremely limited at this time and place, and it is also well known that the first Christians were of the lower classes, as were Jesus’s disciples, so their literary skills were even less than average for the time. So the transmission of the events, words, life, and times of Jesus was almost exclusively word-of-mouth during those 40 years, making it extraordinarily unlikely that anything that came out of this extended ‘telephone game’ remotely resembled the real Jesus. The following was taken from:
Several significant studies of literacy have appeared in recent years showing just how low literacy rates were in antiquity. The most frequently cited study is by Columbia professor William Harris in a book titled Ancient Literacy. By thoroughly examining all the surviving evidence, Harris draws the compelling though surprising conclusion that in the very best of times in the ancient world, only about 10 percent of the population could read at all and possibly copy out writing on a page. Far fewer than this, of course, could compose a sentence, let alone a story, let alone an entire book. And who were the people in this 10 percent? They were the upper-class elite who had the time, money, and leisure to afford an education. This is not an apt description of Jesus’s disciples. They were not upper-crust aristocrats.
In Roman Palestine the situation was even bleaker. The most thorough examination of literacy in Palestine is by a professor of Jewish studies at the University of London, Catherine Hezser, who shows that in the days of Jesus probably only 3 percent of Jews in Palestine were literate. Once again, these would be the people who could read and maybe write their names and copy words. Far fewer could compose sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and books. And once again, these would have been the urban elites.
To put this is perspective, suppose that shortly after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, a group of people was sent to a remote island, completely cut off from civilization. All they could do was to talk about what they recalled of Kennedy’s life. They had no means of writing anything down. Then, in the year 2003, one person arrives by boat with a paper and pen and interviews the people who are still alive on the island. Keep in mind by this time most of the original settlers are dead, so the people he is talking to are just repeating what they heard about Kennedy from their parents. Then the author pens his account of Kennedy’s life. He then leaves the island and returns to civilization. The question is: how close will his account be to the wikipedia account that is currently online? This is a nutshell of what the gospels are- nothing even remotely close to the true history of Jesus.
(916) Gravitational waves provide more evidence against Genesis
The recent discovery of gravitational waves is another example of the supremacy of science over religion. Predicted 100 years ago by Albert Einstein, these waves have now been positively identified, unlike the religious predictions that inevitably always seem to fail to materialize. This discovery also provides another nail in the creationist coffin, as it is direct evidence of an event that occurred 1,300,000,000 years ago. The following was taken from:
About 1.3 billion years ago two black holes swirled closer and closer together until they crashed in a furious bang. Each black hole packed roughly 30 times the mass of our sun into a minute volume, and their head-on impact came as the two were approaching the speed of light. The staggering strength of the merger gave rise to a new black hole and created a gravitational field so strong that it distorted spacetime in waves that spread throughout space with a power about 50 times stronger than that of all the shining stars and galaxies in the observable universe. Such events are, incredibly, thought to be common in space, but this collision was the first of its kind ever detected and its waves the first ever seen. Scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced on Thursday at a much-anticipated press conference in Washington, D.C. (one of at least five simultaneous events held in the U.S. and Europe) that the more than half-century search for gravitational waves has finally succeeded.
A universe created, designed, managed, and controlled by an all-powerful god would not have two black holes colliding. It is time for Christians to surrender the young-earth hypothesis and join the 21st Century.
(917) The synoptic Jesus is not the Jesus of the Gospel of John
The Jesus described in the synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke) is a different person than the Jesus described in the Gospel of John. This is a very troubling problem for Christians to explain. Furthermore, If the Gospel of John was removed from the Bible, evangelical Christianity would largely collapse.
The following was taken from:
The Johannine material (Gospel of John) is a radical departure from the synoptics of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. John’s psuedepigraphical author relied solely on the Greek Septuagint, did not have a Semitic-language background, and Colwell (Greek of the Fourth Gospel) echoes what other scholars agree with, that being that the text of John “shows language and vocabulary paralleled in pagan usage of the first century A.D.” Additionally, I should like to explore the contextual differences between the Gospel of John as king-maker who turns Jesus into a sacrificial soter man-god, Philo’s Logos, and a Creator (of the universe), versus the synoptic tradition of Jesus as eschatological Messiah and messenger who heralds the kingdom of God.
I refer to Sanders  for a contemporary review of the literature that concentrates on how “John and the synoptics are again very different.” I’ll outline them:
- The synoptics tell that Jesus performed exorcisms, but John does not.
- The synoptic Jesus refuses to give signs of his authority (Mark 8:11) but John’s Jesus is prominent in lavishing a series of signs in order to prove his authority. (2:11, 23; 3:2; 4:48, 54; 6:2, 14; 7:31; 9:16; 11:47; 12:8, 37; 20:30)
- The synoptic Jesus asks his disciples who people say that he is but never comments on the topic himself. (Mark 8:27; 11:27-33) The Johannine Jesus departs from this greatly by having Jesus speak of his authority, identity, relationship with God and his disciples and so on. Nothing is privately discussed (per the synoptics) and this is all publically open.
- The synoptic Jesus is primarily concerned with the Kingdom of God and uses the Parousaic end-of-the-world (eschatological) message as a basis for much of his ministry. The Johannine Jesus is primarily concerned with his own role as a “soter” or sacrifice to God. Only in 3:5 does Jesus mention the Kingdom of God, but only conditionally, dependant upon being “born from above.”
- Most striking is the style. Unlike the synoptics, in John there are no stories, no actions, that illustrate how God deals with his people. “Just as there are no synoptic-like similes or parables in John, there are no symbolic metaphors in the synoptics.
The synoptics often describe discourse in simile form: the Spirit of God descends “like” a dove (Matt. 3:16); the Kingdom of God is “like” a mustard seed (Mark 4:31); the Kingdom of God is “like” leaven (Luke 13:21). John however makes liberal use of categorical statements such as “I am” (the true vine [15:1]) or “I am from above; ye are of this world.” (8:23). John for the first time, makes his Jesus state definitively those things that early Christians thought that he was, but that he himself did not say that he was.
The selection of books for the gospels was made without a critical assessment to ensure coherence and consistency. The Gospel of John should not have been placed in the Bible. Had it not, the doctrine of Jesus being God would never have developed, nor would the doctrine of the trinity. Christianity would have remained strictly monotheistic and would have been somewhat more defendible.
(918) Emotions are demons (Mammon, the demon of greed)
One thing that should stand out and scream that Christianity is nonsense is the fact that it believes that negative emotions, or what’s generally affiliated with negative emotions, are actually demons.
Christianity actually believes that there is a demon of the emotion of greed called “Mammon”.
As it says in the New Testament:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” [newer translations to this scripture replaced the embarrassing reference to Mammon with the words ‘money’ or ‘riches.’]
— Matthew 6:19–21,24 (KJV)
Emotions, whether they are positive or negative, come from within the brain and not by way of some invisible monster that is a sentient being. There are no invisible monster demons being fueled by greed or any other kind of negative emotion either. Animals can be greedy too, but it’s unlikely that Christians believe that a demon cares about how many dog biscuits a dog eats.
Christians simply don’t have an argument or defense to the Bible saying there’s a demon that is the living embodiment of ‘greed.’ Consequently, they don’t talk about it and most aren’t even aware that early Christians believed this absurdity.
This is another example of cherry picking, like stoning people for countless numbers of petty crimes without giving a reason, or such as why Christians don’t stone their wives if they aren’t virgins, nor stone their kids if they talk back.
The belief in demons being the living embodiment of a negative emotion is just another fallacy people believed thousands of years ago, when people didn’t know that all religions were nonsense. It is another example of how and why Christianity is a false religion.
(919) God dishonors pure faith
In the State of Idaho in the United States, 12 children have died recently because their Christian parents decided to use prayers as the only means of curing their illnesses.
Although these tragedies cause most Christians some degree of cognitive dissonance, most will simply use trite excuses such as it was ‘God’s will,’ ‘we can’t know God’s ways,’ or ‘they didn’t have enough faith.’ These are all hollow explanations for what is happening.
A Christian is justified to believe that God will honor their prayers and heal their child. There are many scriptures that support this promise, such as:
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
For Christian parents to take God’s word literally at the risk of losing their child is perhaps one of the greatest displays of faith possible for a human. And how does God respond to this admirable display of pure faith- he lets the child die. Is God actually that callous, or is he simply imaginary?
(920) Hitchen’s Razor
Christopher Hitchens developed a logical concept that in some ways supplements the famous adage, Occam’s Razor (the simplest explanation is usually the correct one). The following is taken from:
Hitchens’s razor is an epistemological razor which asserts that the burden of proof in a debate (the onus) lies with whoever makes the (greater) claim; if this burden is not then met, the claim is unfounded and its opponents do not need to argue against it. It is named, echoing Occam’s razor, for the journalist and writer Christopher Hitchens, who, in 2003, formulated it thus: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”
Hitchens’s razor is actually a translation of the Latin proverb “Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur“, which has been widely used at least since the early 19th century, but Hitchens’s English rendering of the phrase has made it more widely known in the 21st century. It is used, for example, to counter presuppositional apologetics. This quotation appears by itself in God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, a book by Hitchens published in 2007.
Writer Richard Dawkins, also an atheist, formulated a different version of the same law at a TED conference in February 2002:“The onus is on you to say why; the onus is not on the rest of us to say why not.”
Dawkins used his version to argue against agnosticism, which he described as “poor” in comparison to atheism, because it refuses to judge on claims that are, even though not wholly falsifiable, extremely unlikely to be true.
To determine the applicability of Hitchen’s Razor to Christianity, it is important to list the major areas of evidence:
- The Bible
- History over the past 2,000 years
- Observations of current events
The reliability of the Bible is well within the realm of reasonable dispute based on scholarship that has increasingly exposed its fallacies. The 2,000-year history of Christianity in no way promotes the idea that it is the creation of an all-powerful, all-loving god. Observation of how the world works at the present moment shows absolutely no signs of interference, control, supervision, or surveillance by any supernatural beings. Consequently, Hitchen’s Razor applies. Because the truth of Christianity is being asserted without (acceptable) evidence, it can be dismissed without (providing) evidence.
(921) OCD is the basis for all religion
Robert Sapolsky had become an atheist at the age of 14, from a state of being highly religious. He set out on a scientific and psychological searching mission to find out how and why people believe religion, beyond simple childhood indoctrination, but also the effects and the needs of the human mind.
What he established is that all religion is based upon and believed upon obsessive-compulsive disorders that are created and established from what is called ‘schizotypal behavior’.
In a brief summary:
“Of course, from a neurobiological perspective, meta-magical talk shares a remarkable fit with schizotypal disorder,” he says, noting that schizotypal disorder is not schizophrenia. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, people with schizotypal disorder may be unusually superstitious or preoccupied with paranormal phenomena that are outside the norms of their subculture.
Ritual rings true:
Another domain of religiosity Sapolsky has studied is its ritualistic aspect. He says there are basically four types of rituals: self-cleansing, food preparation and other preparations devoted to everyday living, entering and leaving places, and numerology and symmetry. “All of them are astonishingly close fits to OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder]. It’s a good match.”
That doesn’t mean practitioners can necessarily be diagnosed with OCD, he adds, although many people with that condition find comfort in the rituals that are part of many religions. “When you look at where religions come from,” he says, “my guess is that charismatic OCD individuals were involved in the inception of these [rituals]. They were highly influential people who stepped into the breach at the right time.”
For centuries, theologians have warned followers to be on the lookout for scrupulosity, “which,” says Sapolsky, “was probably their term for OCD.” He says that St. Ignatius of Loyola, and Mohammed himself, warned of becoming overly constrained by rules for their own sake.”
For his video lecture on this, detailing his findings and examples of the ‘how’s and ‘why’s’ of religious belief, watch here:
Dr. Sapolsky demonstrates that religion is based on the simple NEED to believe based on the NEED to believe. Not for everyone, but for the people who believe their particular religion and WHY they need to believe it.
He provides a very compelling case that religions like Christianity are not based on any truth (which we know because there is no evidence) but on belief and induced psychological necessity to believe.
Dr. Richard Carrier, in his book On The Historicity Of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason For Doubt, provides similar evidence and examples in Element 15 of his book that also puts together a very compelling case for the psychological motivation of belief.
More information from Carrier:
In the words of Carl Sagan:
(922) Jesus was mentally abused
No one can be certain if Jesus was a real person, but if he was, there’s an interesting theory to explain what happened before the story was buried under mountains of myth. It is possible that Mary had sex with another man, either consensual or not, while she was betrothed (not yet fully married) to Joseph. Because Jewish Law required that a bride determined not to be virgin at her wedding be stoned to death, Mary had nothing to lose by claiming that she was visited by an angel and told that she would bear a son as a virgin. The following is taken from:
So what makes Jesus’ birth so different? The tragedy of it. One woman’s lie led to the breakdown of her husband who believed his hallucinatory dream that god had sent an angel to confirm his wife’s assertion that she hadn’t cheated. This led to the raising of a child by parents who filled his head with grandiose ideas of his apparent relation to the almighty creator god. He was told this to the point that he believed it and was willing to either trick thousands into sharing the view or honestly convinced them through his own lunacy. He was, in the end, brutally tortured and murdered over the course of a couple of days, all the while asking his “father” to forgive his murderers. That is either serious dedication to his role—or serious insanity as a result of a mentally abusive upbringing. The latter seems most reasonable.
This theory explains how Jesus could have been brainwashed to consider himself to be the son of God and the liberator or messiah of the Jewish people. Now some will say how could Mary have been sure that it would be a boy, not a girl, at which point her story would have been falsified? This is true, but luck was slightly on her side, a 51/49 proposition, on getting a boy. And, as stated above, she had literally nothing to lose.
If this theory is correct, then it can be argued that Jesus was mentally abused as a child because he was burdened by the extremely impossible standard of being perfect, the son of God, a sinless celestial man-God, a prophet, and a savior for his people.
(923) Dr. Charles Templeton
Charles Bradley Templeton (October 7, 1915 – June 7, 2001) was a Canadian cartoonist, evangelist, agnostic, politician,newspaper editor, inventor, broadcaster and author. His history is perhaps one of the most compelling examples of how studying and analyzing scripture and church history can destroy the faith of an earnest believer. It is also an example of how curiosity and faith do not mix.
The following is taken from:
One striking example is Dr. Charles Templeton. Never heard of him? No surprise. But you have heard of Billy Graham, right? Templeton was Graham’s best friend and original preaching partner.
Few now recall that when Graham was just starting in the revivalism circuit, he was half of a team. Chuck Templeton and Billy Graham, fondly called the “Golddust Twins,” quickly grew famous for their deep faith and charismatic preaching. But Templeton, unlike Graham, was curious; he wanted to explore the philosophical foundation of Christianity, the historical evidence for it – “to get some buttressing,” he said. So he applied for seminarian studies at Princeton. That was in the early 1940’s. By 1949, Templeton had become an agnostic and secular humanist.
The following is taken from:
In 1945 Templeton and Torrey Johnson of Chicago, Illinois met with a number of youth leaders from around the United States at Winona Lake, Indiana. Their agenda was to form a working group that would become an organization known as Youth for Christ which was born in 1946. Torrey Johnson was elected as its first president and Billy Graham was hired as the first full-time evangelist. Shortly afterward, Graham and Templeton made an evangelistic tour of western Europe, frequently rooming together, and holding crusades in England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden and other countries.
At one time the United Church of Canada heartily endorsed Templeton’s evangelism, but came to feel a degree of discomfort with mass evangelistic crusades as its own evangelical Protestantism began to settle into a theologically and socially more liberal stream. In 1948, Templeton attended Princeton Theological Seminary. Templeton hosted a weekly religious television show on CBS, Look Up and Live, in the early 1950s. In 1957, after a long struggle with doubt, Templeton declared himself an agnostic. His public pronouncement of his loss of faith caused a backlash from the evangelical community.
Curiosity. Templeton had it, Graham didn’t. When Templeton acquired the knowledge that Billy Graham never learned, he left the faith. This is a template for almost every agnostic and atheist who once believed in Christianity. It simple cannot stand up to objectively applied curiosity.
(924) Christian God laid bare by Mark Twain
The famous agnostic novelist Mark Twain was especially critical of Christianity. In the following quote he summed up the reasons why no one should worship this deity:
“…a God who could make good children as easily a bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice, and invented hell–mouths mercy, and invented hell–mouths Golden Rules and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people, and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites his poor abused slave to worship him!”
(925) Society is most wicked when religious belief is strongest
There can be no question that during the Middle Ages, more people believed in Christianity, and they believed it with more intensity and fervor than Christians today. According to most Christian apologists, that should mean that the society at that time should have been more compassionate, forgiving, gentle, and loving than what we are experiencing in today’s much more secular world. The following is a quote by Bertrand Russell:
As I said before, I do not think that the real reason that people accept religion has anything to do with argumentation. They accept religion on emotional grounds. One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it. You know, of course, the parody of that argument in Samuel Butler’s book, Erewhon Revisited. You will remember that in Erewhon there is a certain Higgs who arrives in a remote country, and after spending some time there he escapes from that country in a balloon. Twenty years later he comes back to that country and finds a new religion in which he is worshipped under the name of the “Sun Child”; and it is said that he ascended into heaven. He finds that the feast of the Ascension is about to be celebrated, and he hears Professors Hanky and Panky say to each other that they never set eyes on the man Higgs, and they hope they never will; but they are the High Priests of the religion of the Sun Child. He is very indignant, and he comes up to them, and he says: “I am going to expose all this humbug and tell the people of Erewhon that it was only I, the man Higgs, and I went up in a balloon.” He was told, “You must not do that, because all the morals of this country are bound round this myth, and if they once know that you did not ascend into heaven they will all become wicked”; and so he is persuaded of that and he goes quietly away.
That is the idea — that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called Ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.
You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress of humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or ever mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.
Despite what many Christians say about the increasing depravity of our world as it becomes less religious (as if same-sex marriage is on the same scale as torturing witches), morality has actually improved greatly with many more accommodations for minorities, people on the fringes, children’s welfare, women’s equality, people with handicaps, and the impressive improvements in the ethical treatment of animals. In fact, the case can be made that morality is directly proportional to the disbelief in supernatural beings.
(926) Paul writes about apostles, not disciples
One of the biggest misinterpretations Christians have is that when Paul talks about people being ‘apostles’ they erroneously think he is talking about the ‘disciples’.
Let’s not confuse the two. There are several points that need to be understood to see how and why this is not the case.
A) Only the four gospels talk about ‘disciples’ of Jesus.
B) The gospels are fictitious books based on the following five factors:
– Political motivation and agenda
– Allegory (a story in which people, things or happenings have a symbolic meaning)
– Evolving stories that writers would push to the limits of what people would believe
C) When Paul says “apostle” he only says “apostle,” not “disciple.”
D) The definition Paul meant by ‘apostle’ was ‘messenger of God’ or ‘someone who had a vision of God’
As Paul himself says in 1 Corinthians 9:1
“AM I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?”
E) The word ‘disciple’ was intended to mean the twelve followers of Jesus while he was supposedly alive but only according to the Gospel books.
F) Paul never talks about the ‘disciples’ at all.
G) He mentions “the twelve” in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 and then separately mentions ‘the apostles.’
– He lists the apostles AFTER everything else;
1 Corinthians 15:5-8
“And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.”
– Whatever ‘the twelve’ is, or was, we’ll never know
H) The “12 disciples” documented in the Gospels is either copied from 1 Corinthians 15 because of “the twelve” reference, or was completely made up.
I) We can’t forget that Paul appears ignorant of almost everything the gospels claim.
Which is additional evidence of the following:
– Jesus not existing at all
– The strongest cases of mythicism being true
– Jesus not being divine in any way, whether he was a historical person or not
So the bottom line here is that the gospels are nonsense, Paul’s letters are nonsense, the Old Testament has been completely debunked by science, history and archaeology, so it is also nonsense and this would mean that Christianity is nonsense as well.
Paul’s letters don’t support the Gospels and the Gospels don’t support Paul’s letters, in fact they contradict each other and the gospels also contradict the other gospels.
When The epistles are mentioned we don’t mean the 13 confirmed forgeries, just the 7 authentic letters of Paul that we know were actually written by Paul but nevertheless still contain some forgeries.
For more on the forgeries:
So the fact that Paul never refers to the disciples adds weight to the possibility that they never actually existed, at least not as described in the gospels. It also raises the possibility that Paul’s reference to “the twelve” is a reflection of his pagan background, the twelve being a reference to the 12 signs of the zodiac. This would be consistent with Paul seeing Jesus as only a celestial being. Then when Mark wrote the first gospel about 20 years after Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, he took Paul’s ‘twelve’ reference to be actual humans who followed Jesus, rather than the 12 constellations of the zodiac.
(927) Early atheism was rooted out by political force
A recent study conducted by Prof Tim Whitmarsh has concluded that there was a large presence of atheism starting about 500 years before the time of Jesus. Then, state-sponsored religions, such as Roman Catholicism, stamped out all pockets of atheism during the Middle Ages, using such tactics as holy tribunals and inquisitions.
Far from being the result of scientific breakthroughs or modern mass education, the belief that there were no gods was relatively common in the ancient world, research by Prof Tim Whitmarsh, a leading Cambridge classicist, concludes.
But the “ancient atheism” was effectively written out of history after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire after the reign of Constantine in the early 4th Century, heralding a new era of state-imposed belief, Prof Whitmarsh, Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge, argues.
What this means is that religious belief doesn’t stand on its own merit, buttressed by supporting evidence, but has to be sustained by political pressure, which now translates to childhood indoctrination, peer pressure, economic pressure, and the like. Atheism thrived in the days before state-sponsored religion, in the light of objective evidence. It is thriving again today in the internet age, when the state and the church no longer have effective control over the dissemination of information.
(928) Distribution and timing of religious visions is based on arbitrary factors
At the following website, a chart shows the reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary since 1531:
As can be seen, the geographical distribution of the visions closely correlates with areas of concentrated Roman Catholic populations-note the large number of apparitions in Italy, France, Belgium, and Ireland, but virtually none in England. Also, most of the sightings in the United State are in the heavily Catholic Northeast corridor. Now some will claim that Mary only decides to appear before Catholics, but that would seem to be somewhat unfair and unsportsmanlike.
Also note that the frequency of the apparitions goes through distinct phases, with a very quiet phase from 1725 to 1825, but then a resurgence during the millennial fever in advance of the year 2000 (Y2K) phenomenon.
What this data shows is that religious experience is a reflection of peoples’ ingrained beliefs, hopes, and expectations, and not an externally applied stimulus being applied by supernatural beings. People see Mary because they want to see Mary. Religion is an internal experience.
(929) Magical thinking repels reason
When someone crosses the divide of seeing the world as being supernatural rather than natural, all bets are off when trying to use logic, reason, history, science, or whatever to convince them of the errors of their beliefs. It engenders the following kinds of rationalizations:
- God placed evidence for evolution and the age of the universe as a test of faith.
- The water for Noah’s flood was delivered and then removed by God.
- God miraculously gathered the animals for Noah’s Ark and then re-distributed them after the flood.
- All of the edits and interpolations of the Bible were choreographed by God, so it remains his perfect word.
- God deliberately hides himself because he honors faith over rationality.
Once a person is convinced that there is an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful god, then the church owns your mind and can convince you of almost everything. No matter what question you throw at them, they can simply play the ‘magic’ card and get out of any difficult quandary. The default is always ‘God is mysterious and we cannot know his ways.’
Christianity has used this deceitful device effectively, limiting the minds and curiosity of its followers, and perpetuating itself even into a scientific age. Those who have broken free can see that the world outside the bubble is much more wondrous and beautiful.
(930) Christianity maintains a set of fictions
A belief system that fails to stand on reliable evidence must create a set of fictions to sustain its believability with its followers. And such it is with Christianity. The following website provides a list of some of the fictions accepted by most Christians without reservation:
These considerations, and the evidence of McGrath’s textbook, suggest that the purpose of teaching Christian theology is to maintain a set of fictions, such as:
- Christianity was founded by Jesus of Nazareth.
- Christianity promulgates doctrines taught by Jesus.
- These doctrines have been maintained and disseminated in the form intended by Jesus, first by the Apostles and then by the Christian Church.
- The New Testament is the set of books initially and solely accepted by Christians as divinely inspired.
- The texts of the New Testament have been preserved in an essentially unchanged form since they were written.
- Although incidents of disharmony and ill will have occurred within the Church, they have been exceptions, not the rule.
- The spread of Christianity was the result of peaceful proselyting.
- The institution of Christianity opposes and rejects violence.
- The institution of Christianity is opposed to war and promotes peace.
To these can be added a set of social fictions that the Church adopted in response to the Enlightenment:
- The institution of Christianity promotes justice.
- The institution of Christianity seeks to eliminate poverty.
- The institution of Christianity opposes authoritarian government.
- The institution of Christianity promotes education (the impartation of knowledge, as distinct from indoctrination).
(931) The Bible makes a provably false claim
That the Bible contains a lot of fiction is no secret to educated people, but much of its fiction is hidden behind the wall of time and historical uncertainty. That is not the case with the story of creation in Genesis or the story of the sun remaining stationary in Joshua. The following is a solid argument refuting the latter.
…I have an example from none other than the Hebrew Bible (the TaNaKh, which the Christians call the Old Testament) itself. Joshua 10:13 says that the sun stood in the half (=middle) of the sky and did not hasten to set for about a whole day. Now, I should like to reflect on Joshua’s miracle. It is not given the same emphasis and prominence as the Sinai Covenant, but numerically it should be. Whereas the revelation at Sinai was allegedly witnessed by only one nation, the miracle of Joshua 10 must have been witnessed by the entirety of humanity worldwide. It should be perfectly clear that if the sun stays in its place a whole day (actually the earth, but let us leave this nice piece of Bible errancy), then the whole world is affected. In no part of the world could this miracle have gone unnoticed. It would have been recorded everywhere, or at least in all cultures having a writing system and astronomical awareness.
In the case of this worldwide miracle, not only do we find no recording whatsoever in any book outside the Bible, but we find evidence against the miracle. The Egyptians and the Babylonians had writing systems and astronomical reckoning, yet they left no trace of the event in their writings. Furthermore, the Egyptian pyramids are aligned with the stars exactly as though the suspension of cosmic affairs never took place . The evidence can be explained either by the implausible hypothesis (and unsupported by scripture) that the cosmic order was later restored to what it had been before the miracle, or by the simpler and more likely hypothesis that it never took place. So it is that we have a public, worldwide miracle which all of humankind supposedly witnessed but most probably did not happen at all. Rabbi Gottlieb’s empirical challenge of producing a public story which did not take place is thus answered, and there is no room here even for a numerical dispute, for the miracle of Joshua 10 is the most public miracle that could ever be imagined in the world.
The author of Joshua probably didn’t realize that his story made a claim that could be categorically proven false by a future civilization. Beyond just the failure of any other society to notice this astronomical event, to stop the sun in the sky would have required the earth to stop spinning (unknown in that day), so the havoc it would have spawned would likely have extinguished much of the Earth’s life and caused devastating earthquakes, volcanoes, and deadly tsunamis. This is a good lesson to the authors of holy texts- ‘Keep your ‘miracles’ local!”
(932) Jesus’s twin brother Jude
Even if we had reliable evidence that Jesus was historical (which we don’t), and even if the resurrection stories in the Gospels were based on rough eyewitness oral stories that were passed on 30-60ish years later, from some apocalyptic prophet’s crucifixion (even though all the eyewitnesses were dead ), the whole resurrection story could have had a totally plausible explanation. That plausible explanation could have involved Jesus’s twin brother Jude.
As Bart Ehrman explains in his debate with William Lane Craig:
“Let me give you another explanation, just off the top of my head from last night, sitting around thinking about it. You know we have traditions from Syriac Christianity that Jesus’ brothers, who are mentioned in the Gospel of Mark, one of whom was named Jude, was particularly close to Jesus and that one of these brothers, Jude, otherwise known as Judas Thomas, was Jesus’ twin brother. Now I’m not saying this is right, but that is what Syrian Christians thought in the second and third centuries, that Jesus had a twin brother. How could he have had a twin brother? Well, I don’t know how he could have a twin brother, but that’s what the Syrian Christians said. In fact, we have interesting stories about Jesus and his twin brother in a book called the Acts of Thomas, in which Jesus and his twin brother are identical twins. They look just alike, and every now and then Jesus comes down from heaven and confuses people: when they’ve just seen Thomas leave the room, there he is again, and they don’t understand. Well, it’s because it’s his twin brother showing up.
Suppose Jesus had a twin brother — nothing implausible! People have twins. After Jesus’ death, Judas Thomas and all others connected with Jesus went into hiding, and he escaped from Judea. Some years later one of Jesus’ followers saw Judas Thomas at a distance, and they thought it was Jesus. Others reported similar sightings. Word spread that Jesus was no longer dead. The body in the tomb by that time had decomposed beyond recognition. The story became more widely accepted that Jesus had been raised from the dead, and in the oral traditions more stories started up and told about the event, including stories about them discovering an empty tomb. That’s an alternative explanation. It’s highly unlikely. I don’t buy it for a second, but it’s more likely than the idea that God raised Jesus from the dead because it doesn’t appeal to the supernatural, which historians have no access to.”
(1 hour 14 minute 45 second mark)
So, even if we didn’t have evidence that the Gospels are fiction, and even if we didn’t acknowledge that there is no credible evidence for the existence of Jesus, there are multiple scenarios that show how things could have happened without magic or any sort of divine interference. The identical twin brother theory is just one of many plausible natural explanations for the belief in Jesus’s resurrection.
(933) Christianity fades as parishioners become better educated than clergy
In centuries past, the clergy were sometimes the only persons in the community that possessed education beyond primary schooling. They were esteemed and considered to be more reliable purveyors of truth for that reason. But over the past century, the tables have turned and often the people in the pews have educational superiority, especially in the sciences, over their preacher. They also have a more balanced, broad ranging education as opposed to the focused and highly biased information supplied to the clergy.
The following is taken from:
Did I hear you say that the clergy are well educated and therefore not in the same category with the fortune tellers and other quacks who claim to do business with the supernatural powers? Ah yes there is the rub. Your pastor has been to school true, but he has never been taught to think. He is a parrot. Forgive him. He can’t think for himself. His thinking has been warped because he has been indoctrinated with religious superstition. His education has been slanted. He has been told what to believe. It ha s been poured into him through a funnel. When he is graduated he is a beautiful bird who wears a colorful robe on Sundays and repeats the same lingo week after week. A moron could do just as well.
Actually the educational level of the average clergyman has always been low though slightly higher than the people in the pews. There are of course exceptions. His little education formerly never mattered as long as the people in the pews were ignorant bu t it matters now because church members today are getting higher education and they can be greatly bored by a 2×4 preacher who does not know what he is talking about. Some denominations have higher standards than others, but mark you, thousands of ministers have had no college education.
Many take non-accredited home study courses of required reading, designed to make them full fledged shouting robots. Some of these non-schooled clergymen when not too lazy to stick their noses in books do pick up a degree of culture and if they possess either literary or oratorical ability are able to put on a good show. Ministers of the literary type produce some brilliant essays. These essays if stripped of meaningless pious phrases would be worth listening to. Many of these men are creative and original. It is too bad they are confined to a mental cage. They should be on the lecture platform speaking their wisdom secularly. In my humble opinion all the good that is done in the name of religion could be done just as well if not better secularly. For diversion I attend the movies once a week. I have perhaps learned more good moral lessons from selected movies than from any other source in life. You do not need to go to church if you are a sincere seeker after that which is good. You can find it in books, in plays, in forums, in lectures, in night schools, in art galleries and music academies. You can waste your time in church. On Sundays both radio and television offer their best educational programs. Relax and listen to them. Improve yourself. The people in the pews are often fooled by the gift of gab of their pseudo-educated pastors who are nothing but ventriloquists’ dummies speaking their pieces. Some of the pulpiteers in the nicer sections of the city dispense discourses that are polished with a little more veneer than the emotional sermons of the shouting ranting revivalists more often found in the poorer sections of town. This is how many people are fooled. The better class of trade must be taken care of.
It is no coincidence that wherever people attain a well-balanced education that includes an unbiased view of science that they become less religious. And when such people hear unscientific ideas in their church sermons, they tend to leave and never come back. This is what is happening to modern Christianity- the people in the pews have become more intellectual than their preachers, and given that Christianity thrives better on straight-jacketed dogma rather than critical analytical thinking, the recipe is in place for its eventual demise. For centuries, Christianity succeeded in keeping their followers uneducated so that their spokespersons could funnel their minds into believing the accepted dogma, but those days are gone, and the correlation of education to unbelief hints rather strongly that Christianity as a whole is a myth.
(934) Christianity is Flavian vanity
Independent thinkers have long wondered how a religion born in a region of Jewish civilization that was occupied by the brutal and supremely hated Romans could have so many features that are neutral or complimentary of the Romans. There is literally nothing in Christianity that reflects any animosity toward the Romans except the generally ubiquitous dislike of the tax collectors. Even when Herod massacres babies in the Gospel of Matthew, we never see Jesus or the authors themselves condemning such a heinous act. Herod is innocent of Jesus’s death, the Roman centurion has more faith than any Jew, and Jesus implores people to pay their taxes to Rome. The answer to this quandary is perhaps answered by the theory that Christianity was primarly the invention of the Roman Flavian family. The following is taken from:
In Caesar’s Messiah, Joseph Atwill showed that the Flavian Caesars, Vespasian and Titus, invented Christianity, more or less in the form we know it today. Remarkably, the emperors left behind a veiled confession (or boast) of their work, embedded in the Gospels and the works of Josephus. The religion was invented as wartime propaganda, primarily targeted at Hellenistic Jews of the Diaspora, and also at the Gentiles (who were being approached by Jewish evangelists.) This covert act of psychological warfare was successful beyond the Romans’ wildest dreams: even today, the dominant view is that Christianity arose in humble circumstances, and grew to massive proportions while being driven by a variety of philosophical and religious trends, if not by God himself. However, as Atwill pointed out:
… as Christianity describes its origins, it was not only supernatural but also historically illogical. Christianity, a movement that encouraged pacifism and obedience to Rome, claims to have emerged from a nation engaged in a century-long struggle with Rome. An analogy to Christianity’s purported origins might be a cult established by Polish Jews during World War II that set up its headquarters in Berlin and encouraged its members to pay taxes to the Third Reich (29).
When Atwill published Caesar’s Messiah, he was concerned that his work not be seen as anti-Christian, but rather that it would help Christians as well as others to see how Christianity was manipulated by its elite creators for their own benefits. However, Atwill would be horrified if his work should ever be misused as a tool for those who would perpetuate the cycle of religious hate and revenge perpetrated by some of the various sects of Christianity as well as other religions. On the contrary, his hope is that humanity, by understanding the origins of these ancient wounds and ancient hatreds, can learn to overcome them — and that the people (regardless of their ethnic background or religious beliefs) can achieve the benefits of a more functional democracy that transcends the cycle of violence and genocide.
Although Atwill’s work is often (and rightly) seen as strikingly original, it should also be seen within the context of the theory of the Roman origins of the New Testament, which has much deeper roots. Bruno Bauer suggested as early as the 1840‘s that the New Testament is characteristically Hellenistic and Roman, rather than Judean. Abelard Reuchlin[ii] and Cliff Carrington[iii] speculated that the Flavian emperors (Vespasian, Titus and Domitian) might have been specifically responsible.
Atwill’s contribution to the Flavian Origins theory was his discovery of a carefully constructed literary subtext that links the New Testament and the works of Josephus into a comic typological and theological system. Within this system, the Biblical Jesus is seen as both prophesying and foreshadowing the true arrival of the messianic “Son of Man” in the military campaign of the Emperor Titus and his destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Atwill was baffled as to why this subtext had gone un-noticed for so long, even though, as he pointed out, “the works that reveal their satire—the New Testament and the histories of Josephus—are perhaps the most scrutinized books in literature” (10).
Modern scholarship is beginning to uncover the truth that Christianity, at least how it came to be presented to the world after the Jewish-Roman wars of circa 70 AD, is primarily a modification of the previous Roman pagan religions, recast for consumption by the balance of the empire’s subjects. Jewish Christianity is dead, Roman Christianity is all that remains.
(935) Christianity is the ultimate conspiracy theory
Michael Coren, a Toronto Sun columnist, a radio and Christian Television talk show host, and a British-Canadian convert to Catholicism, stated that non-theists are buying into a great conspiracy theory about the naturalistic origins of Christianity. But this argument can be turned on its head. In reality, Christianity has spawned the world’s most elaborate conspiracy of all time. The following rebuttal by Philip Kucher to Coren’s argument is taken from:
But clearly something has gone very wrong with Coren’s argument, since Christianity is itself the ultimate wild conspiracy theory. Just look at the ingredients of Christian theism: There are invisible, spiritual agents, such as God, Satan, and their minions, who control or sustain everything that happens in the universe. There’s a war between absolute good and evil, but the primary actors in this struggle are hidden from outsiders such as mere creatures on Earth. God operates from his vantage in heaven, while Satan plots from his smoke-filled layer in hell, conspiring with his fellow overreaching rebels to rule the world. Some people are blessed by God and guided by guardian angels, while others are possessed by demons. These angels and demons themselves are undetectable, and there’s no piece of evidence which could possibly show that there are no such spiritual forces. Reason, science, and all the tools of rational discourse are too limited, so a special mode of knowledge, called faith, is needed to discern the truth. Denying that the spirit world exists is a sign either of weak faith or of having been tricked by evil spirits into thinking that only nature exists. But there is some evidence in support of this fantastic narrative! Behold, parchments written thousands of years ago tell of the spirit world, some people hear voices in their head, and everything is obviously designed for a purpose.
The Christian belief system is evidently motivated by the most colossal conspiracy theory ever to have been imagined and swallowed whole by great masses of gullible humanity. Coren rants about secular conspiracy theories, and fails to see that his own religion–supposedly the cure for conspiratorial thinking–is itself based on the granddaddy of all conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theorists learn to compartmentalize their beliefs, to swaddle their worldview in self-perpetuating delusions, to think in terms of loose associations, and to mistake coincidences for revelations, from the example of religious faith. Since Christianity shares some of its wild assumptions with theism more broadly construed, including the belief in a personal, supernatural creator of the universe, Coren fails to appreciate that most people ever born, being theists of one sort or another, have thereby been shameless conspiracy theorists. But let’s focus on Christianity and on Coren’s particular blind spot.
When asked why aliens abduct not famous people, but only obscure farmers out in the middle of nowhere, the conspiracy theorist’s reply is that aliens work in mysterious ways. Likewise, when asked why God helps a football player score a touchdown, rather than a starving child find a morsel to eat, the Christian’s answer is that it’s rude even to suppose anyone could fathom God’s plan. The conspiracy theorist thinks in a connect-the-dots fashion, pouncing on an assortment of facts such as the sundry affiliations of powerful persons, and weaving a farfetched story of what could just possibly explain the pattern. Likewise, the early Christian sought to explain Jesus’s execution, by reading the tea leaves of scripture, pointing to passages with some imagined prophetic relevance, and telling an elaborate, comforting story: Jesus was really God, you see, and he wanted to be crucified; this was all part of God’s grand design. It was all foretold by the prophets, so it’s not so strange to think that the creator of the universe had a human child who had to be sacrificed so that God’s wrath could be spent on himself, and God could then overlook everyone’s sins and welcome some rational animals he made into his home after they die. It’s realistic to assume that the creator of the laws of quantum mechanics, of laws which are so alien to human thinking that the mathematical formulations of them can’t even be adequately translated into any natural language, could fit perfectly well into a human laborer from Galilee. It’s not farfetched to think that God, the primary cause of everything in the universe, had special control over the writing of a handful of books or that even after a person’s body dies, the person’s essence lives on in some other dimension. There’s no fantasy involved in affirming that the ultimate source of black holes and of dark matter shares human ideals or that Mother Mary’s egg was fertilized by a ghost. None of this is “infantile nonsense.”
A conspiracy theory can be defined as a theory that explains an event or situation as the result of a secret plan by usually powerful people or groups. In the case of Christianity, the powerful people were the Romans and the event that was explained and turned into a colossal world-shaping religion was the alleged execution of an obscure itinerant Jewish preacher.
(936) Why would God command worship from angels and humans?
Christianity rests on the illusive theory that an all-powerful god created angels as well as humans and expects, no actually demands, that these creatures worship him, supposedly to bathe his vulnerable ego. But when you think about this, it would be like creating a virtual person on a computer and programming it to praise yourself. How much gratification could this actually bring? The following is taken from:
If you are mean-spirited or just plain skeptical, you might ask this question: “Why would an infinite God desire adoration from a being that He himself created?” These beings, whether angelic or human, are infinitesimal when compared to God. Would a human being want a bacterium to worship him? Of course not; that’s ridiculous. Would a human being be offended if a bacterium didn’t believe in humans? I wouldn’t be offended, but that’s just me. Bear in mind that the difference between Man and God is infinite, while the difference between Man and a bacterium is large, but finite.
Once again, we are faced with a logical fallacy-infusing a god with a human emotion, the desire to be praised, but not understanding the fact that such praise would be meaningless in the context of Christianity. The assumption of an omniscient and all-powerful god leads to a logical dead end, to nonsensical situations, and a lot of head-scratching rationalizations. Christianity would make much more sense if it had conceded that its god was not unlimited. At the very least, that would have allowed for much of the evil and suffering in the world to make some logical sense. And then God would not know in advance whether the people he was making would ultimately worship him- at least that would make it a more ‘sporting’ adventure for him.
(937) Bible explains how animals got stripes
The Bible doesn’t give out much scientific information, but at least in one area, the origin of striped animals, it relieves the burden of scientists and tells us exactly how this happened.
Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches. Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink, they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted.
This is a lesson for any couple planning to have sex to avoid doing so in the presence of striped curtains or speckled wallpaper. Seriously, this is in the Bible that otherwise intelligent people carry around and revere as being the most perfect and insightful book ever written. But over and over, it reveals itself as a primitive Iron Age document written by people who had no clue about the world in which they lived. If it’s really the word of God, then God must be pretty stupid.
(938) Skeptics outperform believers in evaluating arguments, logic tests and vocabulary tests
A recent study at the University of Chicago has shown that people of the same background who believe in psychic phenomena scored lower than skeptics when it comes to analytical and logical capabilities. The study controlled for years of education and academic performance.
The psychologists concluded: “Our cognitive testing showed that there were no consistent group differences on tasks of episodic memory distortion, autobiographical memory distortion, or working memory capacity, but skeptics consistently outperformed believers on several tasks tapping analytical or logical thinking as well as vocabulary.”
Although this study was looking specifically at belief in psychic powers, it is undeniable that it relates as well to religious belief since both involve paranormal activity and departures from the nominal physical laws of the universe. What this study infers, confirming what has been anecdotally assumed, is that Christians may be just as smart as atheists but they are lacking several attributes involving the ability to analyze and coalesce disparate sources of information, to study and evaluate arguments, and to think logically. One other is also obvious- they lack the same degree of curiosity about how their beliefs came about.
(939) Did the women tell anyone about the empty tomb?
There is a glaring discrepancy in the gospels concerning the actions of the women who first identify that Jesus’s tomb is empty. It is described at this website:
When viewed from a historical-critical perspective, there are numerous other examples of such apparent alterations in the gospel, reflecting the particular motives of the authors within the context of the early church. This is likely the case in the very next verse:
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid (Mark 16:8).
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples(Matthew 24:8).
It is generally recognized (even by the conservative translators of the New International Version) that the second half of Mark 16 (after verse 8) constitutes a much later scribal addition to the original text. So “They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid” is how it all ends according to Mark, who may have been explaining why no one had yet heard of the empty tomb up until the time of Mark’s writing. Notice how Matthew skips on from the word afraid in Mark, fleshing it out into a positive account that is at odds with Mark’s: “afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” Matthew, writing later than Mark, after the story has had more time to spread and progress, turns Mark’s abrupt ending into a full-fledged Resurrection account.
Mark’s abrupt ending at 16:8 and the fact that he says that the women did not tell anyone about the empty tomb is an historically significant flag that there is something strange about the resurrection belief. Mark wrote the original gospel and it is rather inconceivable that he would have left out any references to Jesus’s post-resurrection appearances or the disciples reaction to the empty tomb. By saying the women told no one, it leaves open an explanation for what at that time might have been an absence of belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus.
Long before Mark wrote his gospel, Paul had written many letters that seem to point to Jesus’s resurrection as being spiritual in nature, including his appearances afterwards that were in the context of visions. Putting these two facts together suggests that Jesus did not actually resurrect in his physical body and that the empty tomb was not a part of the doctrine of the earliest Christians (though Mark was then trying to introduce it with a plausible explanation for why it hadn’t become conventional knowledge).
(940) Biblical unity requires no supernatural explanation
Christians often claim that the Bible shows evidence that is was guided by God because despite the many hundreds of years over which it was written it still maintains a distinct unity of message and purpose. This is an easily disputable fact, but even if it is conceded, it is equally easy to explain it without resort to the supernatural. The following is taken from:
As a Christian I often heard one variant or another of the following argument in favor of biblical inspiration:
By any standards, the Bible is a remarkable document. It was written over the course of many years by dozens of men from diverse walks of life—men in different countries and educated at various levels. Yet, despite all these differences, the Bible presents a consistent message from beginning to end. Why? Christians believe it is because the authors wrote the Bible as they were led by God. This amazing consistency is evidence the Bible is of a supernatural nature (Howse 2005, 191).
However, given the long, convoluted, and nonunanimous process by which the scriptural canon was selected, any unity to be found among its composite books does not demand a supernatural explanation. Despite evangelical scholar F. F. Bruce’s insistence to the contrary (“There is a unity that binds the whole together. An anthology is compiled by an anthologist, but no anthologist compiled the Bible” (Howse 2005, 191)), the Bible as we currently know it was in fact compiled by men.
It was not compiled by a single person on a single occasion. In fact, no one denies that its individual books were carefully considered for inclusion in the canon by various groups of men who debated the matter over a period of several hundred years. Nor does anyone deny that there were disagreements among various Christian scholars about which books to include or exclude. The books that now constitute our Protestant Bible were successively weeded out from a much larger corpus of religious material. Books that had not reached a certain level of prominence within the religious community or whose teachings diverged significantly from established theology were simply ignored. Others that were only marginally at odds with the orthodoxy of the day were hotly debated, some becoming part of the deuterocanonical or apocryphal literature.
The claim that the Bible displays supernatural unity fails for the following reasons: (a) the sixty-six books of the Protestant Bible were not the only Jewish books written in their time; (b) each successive writer generally drew from earlier accepted writings and traditions; and (c) a human selection process existed to guarantee some degree of unity among the selected texts. (The differing canons of the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches alone should give pause to those who hold to the perfect unity of the Bible. Which Bible is the truly unified one?)
What is more, the level of unity of the biblical text assumed in this claim cannot be taken for granted; indeed, it appears to depend on the eye of the beholder. Muslims will tell us it is not a unified book, as will liberal Christians, atheists, and Hindus—virtually anyone who is not a conservative Christian. Even the latter will acknowledge there are differences in the teachings of various books of the Bible but will insist they are a unified whole when understood using the correct hermeneutic.
(941) Embellished stories propagate faster
Imagine you are telling a story about how you witnessed a helicopter make a hard landing, but that it was not heavily damaged and all aboard were safe and uninjured. How much would anyone repeat your story to others? Not much. But let’s suppose a few years later you tell the story with a little more drama, and you say you saw a helicopter on fire that turned a somersault and crashed and all aboard were killed except a tiny baby that crawled out of the wreckage and miraculously survived. Now that story will get some legs!
This is what happened with the stories surrounding Jesus. And a good example of one such embellishment is described at this website:
In his book The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, Robert Price goes beyond simply listing discrepancies in the text (as I have done above) and seeks to uncover the reasons for the variants and the processes by which they arose. In taking this approach, we gain glimpses into the theological agenda of the authors and of the communities in which they wrote. These fascinating glimpses are unfortunately off the table for conservative scholarship because of an unwillingness to countenance any personal human agenda or evolving theology on the part of the authors. Take, for example:
Similarly, when the later gospel has a seemingly more theologically sophisticated version of a saying or story than its source and predecessor, we may conclude that the later version is the creation of the evangelist … Take the important story of Peter’s confession of Jesus’ messianic identity at Caesarea Philippi. Our earliest version has Jesus solicit Peter’s opinion, “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29). Luke modifies the title accorded Jesus: “You are the Christ of God” (9:20), a simple clarification: the anointed of God. Matthew wants a beefier Christology, so his Peter says a mouthful: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (16:16). Merely “the Christ” is no longer good enough. Matthew piles on the theology: Jesus is also Son of God, and not just of some pagan Gentile god but “the living God,” the God of Israel … Whatever is going on here, we can be sure of one thing: in the original circumstance, Peter did not say something like, “You are the Christ, the Holy One and Son of the Living God,” with each evangelist picking and choosing whatever verbal fragments he liked best … There is a clear development from a “lower” Christology to a “higher” one. Thus, if any version is most likely to be historical, it is surely the earliest and simplest, the least theologized (Price 2003, 12-13).
The principle that stories generally grow in the telling is not one that Price or his critical allies invented for the purpose of casting doubt on the objectivity of the biblical authors. It is a well-established phenomenon that we can observe time and again throughout history and in contemporary experience. A story that is a little more adorned than the original, all else being equal, stands a better chance of being noticed and propagated than one that reports the bare facts. And traditions are more likely to acquire new features over time than to lose them.
This is a parallel to evolution’s ‘survival of the fittest,’ except here we are dealing with ‘survival of the most dramatic.’ The Bible is a compilation of the more dramatized stories that survived countless re-tellings.
(942) What should be true if Christianity is false
Perhaps the best way to evaluate the truth of any assertion is to examine what we would expect to see if it is false. The following website give as good list of these expectations as they pertain to Christianity:
If you have reservations about your faith but lack confidence to act on your doubts, I would encourage you to start by placing your toe in what from the outside looks like an icy pool of disbelief. Ask yourself, “What if the Christian gospel is untrue? What would the world be like?” Start a checklist like the following and surprise yourself with how many items you can check off. I found all of these things to be true during my deconversion process, helping to confirm I was onto something. As you stick your toe in that icy water, see whether these hold true for you as well; you might find the water to be strangely warmer than expected. If the Christian faith is untrue, then:
- It will make no difference whether or not I pray to be healthy, to be safe, or to find a lost item, despite Jesus’ unconditional promise to grant me what I ask when I pray in his name (John 14:13-14). If I stop praying, good and bad things will happen to me on average at the same rate as when I prayed.
- If I renounce my faith, I will not be subject to “swift destruction” as 2 Peter 2:1 threatens. (Note: if this biblical threat is baseless in this life for millions of apostates like me, we ought have no fear of the biblical threats of hellfire in the next life!)
- I will find it no more difficult to control my passions as a skeptic than as a believer.
- I will begin to notice a similar mix of goodness and depravity in unbelievers as I observe in Christians. Believers and unbelievers will appear to have the same basic nature, with no apparent supernatural ability to be good conferred to the faithful.
- I will observe no appreciable difference between the fortune and misfortune that befall Christians and non-Christians having a similar culture, work ethic, and lifestyle. Evangelicals will experience no better health or safety on the road than Mormons, even though evangelicals believe Mormons pray to a false god.
- I will come to recognize that if Christianity is not divinely ordained, the following musthold true (note: this is not to say that these prove Christianity untrue, but only that they must be true if Christianity is untrue, which should at least temper our faith):
- No miracles would be publicly or scientifically verifiable or reproducible on demand when calling on Jesus. (And believers would make up excuses as to why this should be the case, while placing the blame on the skeptics who call attention to this.)
- The books of the Bible would have to have been written, selected and compiled by men, not written in the stars, for example, where they would have been immune from forgery. (And believers would offer arbitrary reasons for this situation, like, “God works through humans to accomplish his will”; or “God doesn’t want to be too pushy or hit us over the head.”)
- The biblical manuscripts would have been subject to copyist errors like all other handwritten human manuscripts and would not have been kept from alteration over time. There would be multiple divergent copies, and it would be difficult to determine which ones are most faithful to the original. (Note: what is the point of making inerrant originals if they are not to be kept inerrant for later recipients?)
- There would be significant differences of opinion on various topics among the biblical authors (whether or not they could be made by later apologists to agree).
- There would be no unmistakable signs of supernatural inspiration in the Bible: no clear or detailed prophecies whose fulfillment can be positively ascertained to have happened without fabrication or whose fulfillment we can witness in our time, and no scientific insight ahead of its time (for example, that germs, rather than demons, cause disease; or that the earth revolves around the sun, which is an ordinary star; or that the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old).
- Believers who rely on guidance for their future based on the Bible or the Holy Spirit would be no less prone to making mistakes as nonbelievers who carefully but humanely weigh their options before making decisions.
- Believers would be no less likely to perish in an airplane crash than their fellow unbelieving passengers, despite the many promises of protection in the Psalms, and despite the New Testament doctrine of guardian angels.
- Those who curse God would be no more likely to face a premature death than those who don’t, contrary to the supposition of Job’s wife, who enjoined her suffering husband to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9).
- I would come to understand that in a natural universe, the following facts would have to be true, and the evidence would confirm each fact:
- The universe would have to be enormous enough and contain enough stars and planets to allow at least one planet (the earth, and possibly many others) to have the right conditions to support conscious life. If ours were the only planet, and it just happened to have all the right conditions to support life, this would demand an explanation. As it is, the fortuitous placement of the earth at just the right distance from our star (the sun), for example, requires no explanation other than that there are billions of other planets in the universe, boosting the chances that at least one (the earth) should find itself if the right position. Note that until the 1990’s it was an open question whether there existed other planets outside our solar system. This was a naturalistic presumption that has been recently borne out by the evidence; under theism, there was no reason to presume that other solar systems and planets should exist. (Using this as an analogy, could the same be true of multiple universes to explain the fine-tuning of our physical laws? It’s difficult to say, but it certainly has not been ruled out.)
- The universe would have to be old enough to have allowed life to evolve, not over thousands of years, but over billions of years. As it is, evidence from the IMAP satellite has pegged the age of the universe at about 13.7 billion years. We have witnessed supernova explosions up to 10 billion light years away, meaning they occurred some 10 billion years ago.
- If conscious life developed naturalistically, it would have to be bound to a physical frame and a physical brain following physical laws. This could be true under theism, but we could also just as well be spirits without the need to eat and eliminate waste. Our minds could be spiritual, but as it is, all our mental faculties are traceable to particular regions of our physical brain, just as naturalism would demand.
In short, ask yourself the following questions as you place your toe in the water (which should be getting increasingly warm and comfortable): Is there any empirically verifiable difference between the world we observe and the world we would expect if the Christian god did not exist? And is there any satisfactory apologetic rejoinder to this state of affairs other than the suggestion that God doesn’t want the evidence to be too obvious for fear that we would forfeit the free will he wishes us to enjoy (an approach that could at the same time validate all other religions, no matter how far removed from reality)? Does the apologist not have a better strategy than to heap blame and guilt on the doubter for failing to appreciate the evidence that the apologist finds satisfactory (but which looks for all the world like empty salesmanship to the doubter)?
(943) Book of Revelation pollutes the New Testament
Christians will often defend their faith against the ubiquitous brutality in the Old Testament by saying that all of that doesn’t count anymore because Jesus came to the earth and offered a new covenant with mankind. That’s a feeble argument, but even if it is accepted, they still have to defend the Book of Revelation, the final book in the New Testament, which contains some of the most repugnant, inhumane, and malicious passages in the Bible, even when compared with the Old Testament. The following was taken from:
This brings us, then, to perhaps the most insidious feature of this text [in Revelation]–the nauseatingly sadistic ill-will that pervades the entire book. Here “do to others as you would have them do to you” appears to have been replaced by ‘do to others as they have done to you’–and double it (18:6) whilst “love your neighbor” gives way to ‘avoid your neighbor’ (2:14-15) and “love for enemies” has been supplanted by an expectation of the very worst for one’s enemies. Those without the “seal of God” on their foreheads are, John enthusiastically informs us, to be tortured by the above-mentioned scorpion-like locusts for five months–the merciful release of death to be kept just out of reach (9:3-6, 10)–whilst those who “worship the beast” (surely a reference to emperor worshipers) are to be “tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb” (14:10-11). Elsewhere, we find this author well-nigh salivating over the idea that these unfortunate souls will soon be gnawing their tongues in agony (16:10) as they are scorched with fire (16:8) and ravaged by hungry birds (19:21) before finally being thrown alive into the lake of fire and sulphur (19:20) where, we are told, torments continue “day and night forever and ever” (20:10). This “lake” is, of course, the eventual fate not just of the devil, the beast, and the false prophet, but (according to John) anyone whose name is absent from “the book of life”–and this appears to include all those guilty of such monstrous crimes as cowardice, unbelief, fornication and lying (21:8).
Again, what makes all this so very pernicious is the fact that Christianity has elevated John’s Revelation into a “sacred text” by including it in the New Testament canon. This has afforded divine legitimation to the cruelties contained within it, frequently cultivating a callous indifference towards (and often an outright enthusiasm for) the sufferings of “out-group” members everywhere whilst lumbering us with a tyrannical warrior god–a powerful “record keeper” desirous of unceasing worship. As John Sweet notes in his 1979 study, “there is a spirit in Revelation which is at home in the Old Testament but hardly in the New; what can be found in small deposits elsewhere in the New Testament crops up here in lethal concentration. These excesses might be excused as the product of the author’s personal situation and psychology–an outburst, as Jung put it, in one striving for perfection. But the picture of God in Revelation cannot so easily be excused if it endorses and propagates such a spirit.”
This all points out the colossal mistake of including this book in the New Testament. It belongs nowhere but in a volume of sadistic Iron Age porn. It essentially repudiates all that Jesus was supposedly trying to teach.
(944) Speaking in tongues is just gibberish
Pentecostal Christians take two Biblical verses to heart and apply them to their worship services, practicing one of the ‘gifts of the spirit:’ – ‘speaking in tongues.’
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
The following is taken from:
Speaking in tongues known in psychological jargon as glossolalia is an ancient practice, mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 2:1-4), and recurring in Christian revivals through the ages. Modern analysis, however shows that it is actually “linguistic nonsense.” A professor of anthropology and linguistics at the University of Toronto, William T. Samarin, conducted an exhaustive five-year study of the phenomenon on several continents and concluded:
Glossolalia consists of strings of meaningless syllables made up of sounds taken from those familiar to the speaker and put together more or less haphazardly. The speaker controls the rhythm, volume, speed and inflection of his speech so that the sounds emerge as pseudolanguage in the form of words and sentences.
Glossolalia is language-like because the speaker unconsciously wants it to be language-like. Yet in spite of superficial similarities, glossolalia fundamentally is not language.
Samarin also noted that according to more than half of the glossolalists he studied, it was easier to speak in tongues than in ordinary language. “You don’t have to think just let the words flow. One minister said he could ‘go on forever: it’s just like drumming.'”
(945) The evolutionary tree of religion
At the following website, a map is shown charting the evolution of the world’s religions over approximately the past 50,000 years:
It would be illuminating for every religious person to study this chart and see how their faith fits in and how tiny a portion of the whole it occupies. It should be sobering to realize that at least all but one of these branches is purely made up nonsense following a false god or supernatural being. Indeed, at most, one is true. But for Christians, their presumptive true religion doesn’t even begin until about 3,000 years ago, long after hundreds of other religions were already flourishing. When seen in this light, the argument that Christianity is the one true religion becomes a much harder sale.
(946) The Bible does not mention the brain
One way to decipher if the Bible is a product of an all-knowing god is to examine its catalog of knowledge to see if it contains any information that would have been otherwise unknown to the people of the time. One of those pieces of information that was generally unknown was that the human mind resides in the brain. Most people of the time thought that the heart was the seat of the mind, and many considered the brain to be nothing more than a heat exchanger. The following was taken from:
Does the Bible or the witless Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz mention the brain more frequently? If your answer was the scarecrow, you are right. The Bible mentions a number of key human organs, such as the heart, blood, bowels, liver, and kidneys, but never mentions the most important organ of all, the brain. This is not unusual, of course, unless you happen to view the Bible as an inspired scientific textbook, in which case it would appear to be missing a bit of vital information.
Of course, it is easy to see how a merely human observer could overlook the brain. It lies hidden behind a hard bony shell and, even when exposed, maintains a noiseless, placid appearance. Compare the heart, which beats faster in reaction to anger, love, joy, physical exertion, etc. Add to this the fact that the heart lies near the center of the body and you arrive at the ancient conception that it was the primary seat of one’s emotions, moral direction (or misdirection), and according to some, our decision making ability. Indeed, how could early human observers have avoided being impressed by the pounding heart and racing blood?
“Science” in biblical times was based on apparent , not literal, truths. The earth appeared to be the flat, firm foundation of creation. The heavens appeared to be stretched out above the earth like a tent or canopy. The heart, bowels, and kidneys (and not the brain) appeared to be intimately linked with one’s emotions, morality, and decision-making processes. Even ancient creation accounts (Egyptian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Hebrew, etc.) reflected this attitude toward “science.” They thought that God (or the gods) had created all of the animals and plants as they then appeared and that their offspring would not appear any different no matter how many generations should pass. Thus, for the ancient Hebrews, crude “scientific” theories, based on superficial appearances, dictated the Hebrew view of reality and their subsequent figures of speech.
If the scriptures had been inspired by a limitless god, it would be expected to have positively identified the brain as the seat of emotions, knowledge, thinking, and consciousness. It’s failure to do so makes it look like a human created project.
(947) Christian apologists agree that Jesus made a mistake
Skeptics have long pointed out that Jesus was mistaken when he promised those within the sound of his voice that he would return for the final judgement within the lifetime of those same people (their generation). However, it is another thing for Christian apologists to agree on this matter. The following is taken from:
C. S. Lewis, the evangelical Christian apologist, agreed that Jesus made a mistake in predicting that his generation would live to see the coming of the Son of Man in final judgment:
The answer of the theologians is that the God-Man was omniscient as God, and ignorant as Man. This, no doubt, is true, though it cannot be imagined. Nor indeed can the unconsciousness of Christ in sleep be imagined, not the twilight of reason in his infancy; still less his merely organic life in his mother’s womb. 
Christian theologian, Dewey M. Beegle, reached the same conclusion as Johnson and Lewis:
Most conservatives reject the plain meaning of the passage, “This generation shall not pass away until all these things take place,” because it means admitting that Jesus was mistaken about the time. The issue is intensified because Jesus added, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” [Mat 24:35; Mk 13:31; Lk 21:33]. All attempts to reinterpret “generation” are armchair approaches to solve our difficulty in understanding the passage. As [previously] noted, the clear-cut testimony of the rest of the New Testament is that the disciples, Paul, and the early church understood Jesus literally. If Jesus really referred to events more than 2000 years in the future, then he was playing word games with his disciples. When we look at the problem honestly there are two basic options: either Jesus was leading his disciples to think something different from what he had in mind, or he was mistaken. The latter is far more preferable because it was done in innocence and shows his true humanity. 
Of course if we admit Jesus to have been in error on a very important factual and doctrinal claim like the near end of the world, then we must at least potentially think twice about his other teachings. Matthew Tindal (1657?-1733) was a famous deist who published at the age of seventy-three the first volume of a critique of Christianity that took note of many of the same passages we have examined above. We may estimate the impact of Volume One from the 150 replies that sought to counter it, including those from Bishops Butler and Berkeley. Tindal’s conclusion concerning this particular matter merits repeating:
If Jesus and his apostles, for whatever motives, were mistaken in a matter of this consequence, how could I be certain that any one of them may not be mistaken in any other matter? If they were not inspired in what they said in their writings concerning the then coming of Christ; how could they be inspired in those arguments they built on a foundation far from being so?
This is a critical problem for Christianity. Either Jesus, who was supposedly God himself, made a mistake or else was deliberating misleading us, or the authors of the Bible made mistakes even though Christians believe they were essentially dictating words directly from God.
The only other explanation is that God changed his mind and decided to let things go on for another 2,000 years at least, or God died, became distratcted, or became incapacitated in some manner. None of these scenarios bode well for Christianity.
(948) Moses mistakes human biology
In Numbers Chapter 31 God instructs Moses to take vengeance on the pagan MIdianites. Moses then makes the following command to his army after they have killed all of the Midianite men:
Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.
“Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.
It is apparent that Moses, despite his direct association with the almighty God, has the mistaken idea that men’s semen contains the entire blueprint for making a child. He didn’t realize that the use of the Midianite women as brood mares will result in children with 50% pagan genetic inheritance. Therefore, God’s command to take vengeance on the Midianites will not be completely accomplished, as much Midianite blood will remain and contaminate the ethnicity of his ‘chosen’ people. This is another example of the Bible reflecting the ignorance of its time rather than the brilliance of an all-knowing supernatural god.
(949) Kissing Hank’s Ass
Sometimes the easiest way to see the absurdity of Christianity is to see it as a story that is relatable to our regular world. The following story at the website does just that:
[the video version is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vy7JaQWwhF8&app=desktop]
This is a quite well known story that doesn’t seem to have had much attention here – it’s been referred to a couple of times for sure, but I thought it deserved a thread of its own, to go ‘on the record’ as it were.Kissing Hank’s Ass
This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple. The man spoke first:
John: “Hi! I’m John, and this is Mary.”
Mary: “Hi! We’re here to invite you to come kiss Hank’s ass with us.”
Me: “Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who’s Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?”
John: “If you kiss Hank’s ass, He’ll give you a million dollars; and if you don’t, He’ll kick the shit out of you.”
Me: “What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?”
John: “Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can’t until you kiss His ass.”
Me: “That doesn’t make any sense. Why…”
Mary: “Who are you to question Hank’s gift? Don’t you want a million dollars? Isn’t it worth a little kiss on the ass?”
Me: “Well maybe, if it’s legit, but…”
John: “Then come kiss Hank’s ass with us.”
Me: “Do you kiss Hank’s ass often?”
Mary: “Oh yes, all the time…”
Me: “And has He given you a million dollars?”
John: “Well no. You don’t actually get the money until you leave town.”
Me: “So why don’t you just leave town now?”
Mary: “You can’t leave until Hank tells you to, or you don’t get the money, and He kicks the shit out of you.”
Me: “Do you know anyone who kissed Hank’s ass, left town, and got the million dollars?”
John: “My mother kissed Hank’s ass for years. She left town last year, and I’m sure she got the money.”
Me: “Haven’t you talked to her since then?”
John: “Of course not, Hank doesn’t allow it.”
Me: “So what makes you think He’ll actually give you the money if you’ve never talked to anyone who got the money?”
Mary: “Well, He gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you’ll get a raise, maybe you’ll win a small lotto, maybe you’ll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street.”
Me: “What’s that got to do with Hank?”
John: “Hank has certain ‘connections.'”
Me: “I’m sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game.”
John: “But it’s a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don’t kiss Hank’s ass He’ll kick the shit out of you.”
Me: “Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him…”
Mary: “No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank.”
Me: “Then how do you kiss His ass?”
John: “Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl’s ass, and he passes it on.”
Me: “Who’s Karl?”
Mary: “A friend of ours. He’s the one who taught us all about kissing Hank’s ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times.”
Me: “And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?”
John: “Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here’s a copy; see for yourself.”
- From the Desk of Karl
- 01 Kiss Hank’s ass and He’ll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
- 02 Use alcohol in moderation.
- 03 Kick the shit out of people who aren’t like you.
- 04 Eat right.
- 05 Hank dictated this list Himself.
- 06 The moon is made of green cheese.
- 07 Everything Hank says is right.
- 08 Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
- 09 Don’t use alcohol.
- 10 Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
- 11 Kiss Hank’s ass or He’ll kick the shit out of you.
Me: “This appears to be written on Karl’s letterhead.”
Mary: “Hank didn’t have any paper.”
Me: “I have a hunch that if we checked we’d find this is Karl’s handwriting.”
John: “Of course, Hank dictated it.”
Me: “I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?”
Mary: “Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people.”
Me: “I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the shit out of people just because they’re different?”
Mary: “It’s what Hank wants, and Hank’s always right.”
Me: “How do you figure that?”
Mary: “Item 7 says ‘Everything Hank says is right.’ That’s good enough for me!”
Me: “Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up.”
John: “No way! Item 5 says ‘Hank dictated this list himself.’ Besides, item 2 says ‘Use alcohol in moderation,’ Item 4 says ‘Eat right,’ and item 8 says ‘Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.’ Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too.”
Me: “But 9 says ‘Don’t use alcohol.’ which doesn’t quite go with item 2, and 6 says ‘The moon is made of green cheese,’ which is just plain wrong.”
John: “There’s no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you’ve never been to the moon, so you can’t say for sure.”
Me: “Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock…”
Mary: “But they don’t know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese.”
Me: “I’m not really an expert, but I think the theory that the Moon was somehow ‘captured’ by the Earth has been discounted. Besides, not knowing where the rock came from doesn’t make it cheese.”
John: “Ha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!”
Me: “We do?”
Mary: “Of course we do, Item 7 says so.”
Me: “You’re saying Hank’s always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That’s circular logic, no different than saying ‘Hank’s right because He says He’s right.'”
John: “Now you’re getting it! It’s so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank’s way of thinking.”
Me: “But…oh, never mind. What’s the deal with wieners?”
Mary: She blushes.
John: “Wieners, in buns, no condiments. It’s Hank’s way. Anything else is wrong.”
Me: “What if I don’t have a bun?”
John: “No bun, no wiener. A wiener without a bun is wrong.”
Me: “No relish? No Mustard?”
Mary: She looks positively stricken.
John: He’s shouting. “There’s no need for such language! Condiments of any kind are wrong!”
Me: “So a big pile of sauerkraut with some wieners chopped up in it would be out of the question?”
Mary: Sticks her fingers in her ears.”I am not listening to this. La la la, la la, la la la.”
John: “That’s disgusting. Only some sort of evil deviant would eat that…”
Me: “It’s good! I eat it all the time.”
Mary: She faints.
John: He catches Mary. “Well, if I’d known you were one of those I wouldn’t have wasted my time. When Hank kicks the shit out of you I’ll be there, counting my money and laughing. I’ll kiss Hank’s ass for you, you bunless cut-wienered kraut-eater.”
With this, John dragged Mary to their waiting car, and sped off.
This is not so much about the 2000-year delay in Jesus’s return, in a crucial contradiction of his own promise, but it is more about looking into the future. What we can assume is that if Jesus fails to return for the next one million years, and assuming humans can survive that time frame, it is doubtful that there will be Christians alive then expecting Jesus to return at any moment. In fact, there probably wouldn’t be any Christians left at that time.
What this means is that each day that passes lessens the likelihood of Jesus’s return. Time is on the side of the skeptics, and they enjoy an ever growing confidence that they have the correct model of reality.
(951) Book of Jonah foists three myths
The Bible is full of fables, but the Book of Jonah gets extra credit for dishing out three whoppers. The following is taken from:
The book of Jonah in the Bible tells the story of a prophet who was commanded by the Hebrew god Yahweh to go to the city of Nineveh and preach so that the people there might be saved. Jonah, however, did not feel they deserved salvation and boarded a ship going in the other direction. When a huge storm came up, he admitted it was caused by his disobedience to Yahweh. The crew threw Jonah into the sea, where a great fish swallowed him. The fish spat him onto land three days later, and Jonah went to Nineveh.
After hearing Jonah preach, the king of Nineveh ordered his subjects to repent, causing Yahweh to spare them. Because Jonah was angry that Yahweh had saved so many wicked people, he left the city, hoping it would be destroyed. Yahweh decided to teach Jonah a lesson. First he caused a plant to grow to shade Jonah from the sun during the day; later he sent a worm to eat it. When Jonah expressed regret at losing the plant, Yahweh scolded him for taking pity on a plant that he did not make grow, while feeling no sorrow for thousands of people in Nineveh. Jonah is usually portrayed in art with the great fish or resting in the shade of the plant.
The following is taken from:
In the Book of Jonah, we find that Jonah got the people of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh to repent of their sins. This remarkable event is not confirmed anywhere else in the Bible, nor in the chronicles and libraries of Nineveh or any neighboring city.
So, we have the fish myth, the plant myth, and the myth that he was able to convert the city of Nineveh. This book is a good template for understanding that the Old Testament is almost entirely a fictional tale, no more historical than Homer’s The Iliad and the Odyssey.
(952) Christian god false on four counts
If the Christian god exists, then (1) the original composition of the Bible should have been inerrant, (2) the translations of the Bible should have been inerrant, (3) the Bible should be clear and unambiguous, and (4) there should be objective evidence that the Bible is the true word of God to the exclusion of other holy texts. The Christian god fails on all four counts. The following is taken from:
We have now arrived at a brief albeit illuminating analysis of how the theoretical analysis above can be used to prove that the Christian god cannot possibly exist. As the reader knows by now, the basis for this argument is that the qualities ascribed to the Christian god assist us in determining what kind of written revelation he would bring about and compare it to the Bible. If it can be demonstrated that the Bible violates any of the basic demands on a divine revelation, then the Christian god cannot exist. If we do not succeed in demonstrating this, this still does not mean that the Christian god exists, but that other methods (aside from the epistemological one of this essay) shall have to be used if we are to disprove his existence. However, we boldly assert that the following demonstration is indeed sufficient to prove the Christian god’s non-existence. There will be one point corresponding to each argument above.
- Argument: The original document of the Bible is inerrant. Counter-argument: There is a problem with the verification of this claim, and that is that we are not in possession of the original document of the Bible. But let us continue to investigate the argument, using available translations (e.g., the KJV, the NIV, the NASB, the RSV, the Darby, and the YLT). In combination, they use the available documents, including the Masoretic Hebrew text, the Septuagint, and the Dead-Sea Scrolls. Hence, our method brings us as close as we can possibly get to the original text. We will look at three Bible passages: Acts 13:17-22, 1 Chron. 29:27-28 and 1 Kings 6:1. The first two in conjunction inform us that Solomon’s reign began at least 530 years after the Hebrews left Egypt. But 1 Kings 6:1 claims that Solomon’s reign began 476 years after the Hebrews left Egypt – a discrepancy of at least 54 years. Hence, the original manuscript of the Bible contained at least one error (no matter if the Septuagint is correct with reference to 1 Kings 6:1 or if all the other translations mentioned above are correct), which means that the Christian god cannot possibly exist.
- Argument: Any Bible translation is inerrant. Counter-argument: One example which disproves the just-made argument will be provided from the King James Version (the same error is provided in the RSV, the Darby, and the YLT). 2 Chron. 9:25 says, “And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen…” while 1 Kings 4:26 says, “And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.” This contradiction is de facto in place in the KJV, which renders that translation imperfect. Hence, the Christian god – omnipotent and perfect – cannot possibly exist. (It is to be noted that the Masoretic Hebrew text contains this contradiction, but some Septuagint manuscripts do not. Thus, it is possible that this contradiction is not in the original text, although we do not know that; but it is certainly in most Bible translations.)
- Argument: The Bible is clear and unambiguous. Counter-argument: To claim this is quite stark, because history tells us that Christian unity on doctrinal issues, even fundamental ones, as well as convincing anti-Christian challenges, have been abundantly present. This is one of the issues debated between Michael Martin and John Frame (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ michael_martin/), and Martin convincingly states, “Let us recall that there are differences among Christians over, among other things, the morality of the death penalty, war, abortion, premarital sex, homosexuality, private property, social drinking, and gambling. Most of these differences are based on different interpretations of Christian revelation. To suppose that there is a rational way to reconcile these controversies by appealing to revelation stretches credibility to the breaking point.” And the list of intra-Christian controversies could be made much longer: suffice it to mention the papacy, the doctrine regarding Mary, the trinity, baptism, speaking in tongues (where, interestingly, Fundamentalist Baptists and Fundamentalist Pentecostals disagree), the issue of creationism, predestination, purgatory, consciousness after death, and so on. Since the Christian god is perfect and omnipotent, could he have produced the Bible, on which perfect agreement cannot be reached by humans? No. In addition, these type of unclear matters give anti-theists plenty of ammunition, which god surely would have prevented, should he have existed. In all, it is clear that he cannot exist.
- Argument: There is an objective way of determining which document is the written revelation of god. Counter-argument: There is no such objective way of determining whether the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavadgita, the Book of Mormon, the Edda, or Homer are true divine revelations. It is often possible to prove that a certain document is not a true revelation of a certain god (which is what this essay is doing with reference to the Bible and the Christian god), but to prove that a document is truly divine in an objective manner, one would need some type of additional revelation from god, which in itself must be unambiguous. However, if this god can provide such an unambiguous revelation, the question is why he did not produce such absolute clarity in the first place. Without such self-contained evidence, one could never be certain that a document is truly divine. (As an aside, necessary but certainly not sufficient conditions for true divine inspiration are complete logical consistency and inerrancy with regard to all facts external to the document itself.) And since such evidence is not in existence, the Christian god cannot possibly exist. Any one of these points is, in itself, sufficient for us to understand that the Christian god cannot exist. Taken together, they constitute overwhelming evidence to this effect.
This argument comes very close to proving that the Christian god cannot exist in the sense that most Christians imagine him to be. At the very least, he would have to be limited in many important ways, but that has never been a digestible option for most Christians.
(953) Liberal view of Genesis fails nevertheless
Many Christians naively rationalize that the timeline of the creation story in Genesis should not be taken literally, in that a day in God’s eyes might be a million or a billion years to us. The problem with this concept is that, even if this point is conceded, the sequence of creation events cannot be reconciled with the scientific evidence. The following is taken from:
According to most astrophysicists, the Universe began with a Big Bang which happened 15,000 million years ago. It was an event filling all of space, with all the particles of the embryonic Universe rushing away from one another. Approximately 10,400 million years later (ie., 4600 million years ago), the solar system — which included the Sun, our Earth, and the Moon, among other planets — was formed. The table below highlights some of the more important astronomical and paleontological events pertinent to our current study.
|Big Bang||15,000 million years ago|
|Birth of the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon||4600 million years ago|
|Emergence of Life (Pre-cellular Life)||3800 million years ago|
|Inorganic Release of Trace Amount of Oxygen||3700 million years ago|
|Origin of Photo-synthetic Bacteria||3200 million years ago|
|Advent of Oxygen-rich Atmosphere||2000 million years ago|
|Development of Sexual Reproduction||1100 million years ago|
|Spread of Jawless Fishes||505 million years ago|
|First Amphibians||408 million years ago|
|First Reptiles||360 million years ago|
|First Dinosaurs and Mammal-like Reptiles; Origin of Mammals||248 million years ago|
|First Birds||213 million years ago|
|Australopithecus||4 million years ago|
|Homo Habilis||2.2 million years ago|
|Homo Erectus||1.5 million years ago|
|Homo Sapiens||200 thousand years ago|
|Modern Humans||35 thousand years ago|
On the other hand, if we now construct a table on the Creation of the Universe and of life on Earth, based on Genesis 1:1 to 2:3 and the Liberal Interpretation thereof, then it would display the following results:
|Creation of Day and Night||“Epoch” 1|
|Creation of Heaven||“Epoch” 2|
|Creation of the Earth, the Seas, and the Plants||“Epoch” 3|
|Creation of the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars||“Epoch” 4|
|Creation of Fishes and Birds and hence the Beginning of Sexual Reproduction||“Epoch” 5|
|Creation of Land Animals (Cattle, Insects, Reptiles, the Beasts of the Earth, and Man)||“Epoch” 6|
|No Further Emergence of Life Forms on Earth||“Epoch” 7|
What do the two tables tell us? They tell us that the order and time of appearance of things in one table is incompatible with that in the other. And since the tables mutually disagree, either one or even both of them must be false. But the adherents of the Liberal Interpretation do not regard as false the revelations of astronomy, geology, and evolution; they merely re-define, as a concession, the Scriptural “day” so that the Creation narrative does not clash with science. This, then, plainly means that their new definition is wrong! In other words, if they accept the scientific results as summarised in our first table, they must then, by logical necessity, renounce the religious conclusions as outlined in the second table.There is no way for the Genesis account of Creation to fit in with what we know from science.
(954) Gospel of John reassured Christians for Jesus’s failure to return
Early in Christian history a sense of disappointment developed because Jesus did not return in the time frame that was understood to be true, specifically in the lifetime of the disciples. The first three gospels, Mark, Matthew, and Luke, all presented the idea that Jesus would return quite shortly, and many Christians thought it would happen very quickly. It was at this time, around 90-100 AD, that the author of John wrote his gospel. The following is taken from:
The Hellenization of Jesus is complete in John. Jesus’ eschatalogical, or end of the world, message is removed and Jesus instead comforts those who have vigilently awaited his second coming:
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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.(5)
John’s Jesus relieves the tension that filled the early Christians; the long overdue wait and the tardiness of the apocalypse which never came has been explained at last. By the beginning of the second century, when it was realized that Jesus was not coming as promised, John comforts his fellow Christians and allows them the luxury to carry on in life as normal. John’s Jesus is preparing their proper place and it is on his timetable, not theirs, and in due course he will let them know when it is ready. Nearly two thousand years later, we are still waiting for John’s mansions to materialize.
The fact that such a dramatic course correction was needed in the scriptures to explain something that was not expected is not a good indication for Christianity. If it was true, it would have delivered a consistent message from the start to the finish.
(955) The human brain is evidence for atheism
Dr. Richard Carrier presented a compelling argument that the structure of the human brain provides evidence for atheism and against the Christian god. The following is taken from:
As a more specific example, consider the size of the human brain. If God exists, then it necessarily follows that a fully functional mind can exist without a body—and if that is true, God would have no reason to give us brains. We would not need them. For being minds like him, being “made in his image,” our souls could do all the work, and control our thoughts and bodies directly. At most a very minimal brain would be needed to provide interaction between the senses, nerves, and soul. A brain no larger than that of a monkey would be sufficient, since a monkey can see, hear, smell, and do pretty much everything we can, and its tiny brain is apparently adequate to the task. And had God done that—had he given us real souls that actually perform all the tasks of consciousness (seeing, feeling, thinking)—that would indeed count as evidence for his existence, and against mere atheism.
In contrast, if a mind can only be produced by a comparably complex machine, then obviously there can be no God, and the human brain would have to be very large—large enough to contain and produce a complex machine like a mind. Lo and behold, the human brain is indeed large—so large that it kills many mothers during labor (without modern medicine, the rate of mortality varies around 10% per child). This huge brain also consumes a large amount of oxygen and other resources, and it is very delicate and easily damaged. Moreover, damage to the brain profoundly harms a human’s ability to perceive and think. So our large brain is a considerable handicap, the cause of needless misery and death and pointless inefficiency—which is not anything a loving engineer would give us, nor anything a good or talented engineer with godlike resources would ever settle on.
But this enormous, problematic brain is necessarily the only way conscious beings can exist if there is no God nor any other supernatural powers in the universe. If we didn’t need a brain, and thus did not have one, we would be many times more efficient. All that oxygen, energy, and other materials could be saved or diverted to other functions. We would also be far less vulnerable to fatal or debilitating injury, we would be immune to brain damage and defects that impair judgment or distort perception (like schizophrenia or retardation), and we wouldn’t have killed one in every ten of our mothers before the rise of modern medicine. In short, the fact that we have such large, vulnerable brains is the only way we could exist if there is no God, but is quite improbable if there is a God who loves us and wants us to do well and have a fair chance in life. Once again, atheism predicts the universe we find ourselves in. The Christian theory does not.
To repeat, “atheism predicts the universe we find ourselves in. The Christian theory does not.” This is a crucial point, and it is the underlying theme of most of the reasons posted on this website. Over and over in so many ways, the world looks like a world without a god. The human brain is another signpost on the path to understanding the truth.
(956) Sabbatai Zevi
There is a tendency for people to create rationalizations and far-fetched theories in order to maintain their cherished beliefs. One example of this phenomenon involved a Jewish figure from the 17th Century. The following was taken from:
As I looked into the different scholarly opinions for what may have given rise to these earliest of Christian beliefs and traditions, there seemed to me to be plausible alternatives to the gospel accounts. For example, one idea that has been around for several decades which accounts for the rise of the resurrection belief is the psychological phenomenon of “cognitive dissonance reduction.” Cognitive dissonance reduction refers to the human tendency to rationalize a discontinuity between reality and one’s current beliefs in such a way that current beliefs are modified or added to instead of being rejected. This can result in extremely radical rationalizations when unexpected things happen, especially in a religious context. For example, in the seventeenth century, a man named Sabbatai Zevi was widely thought to be the long-awaited Jewish messiah. His followers reached a fevered pitch thinking their highest hopes had been realized.
Then came the bombshell—Zevi converted to Islam. Incredibly, and against all common sense, instead of killing the movement, some of his followers rationalized that his conversion was part of an intentional strategy to assume evil’s form and then kill it from within. The movement continued through Zevi’s death a decade later and continues to have followers even today. The late Gershom Scholem, an expert on Sabbatai Zevi and President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities observes, “When discussing the Sabbatian paradox by means of which cruel disappointment was turned into a positive affirmation of faith, the analogy with early Christianity almost obtrudes itself.” In a similar way, the beliefs that Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead may have been a way for Jesus’ followers to reconcile in their minds his death with their previous hope that he was the messiah.
If Jesus was a real person, then this is probably the best explanation for the resurrection belief. So many people were sure that he was the messiah that they invented stories about him to salvage that belief in the wake of his unexpected death. It was also a salve for their extreme disappointment and depression that followed the crucifixion.
(957) Fine tuning is an argument for atheism
Christian apologists often use the argument that the physical constants of the universe are finely tuned to produce life and that this is evidence for a divine being who selected the values of these constants. This argument can just as easily be turned around and used as evidence for atheism. The following is taken from:
Some philosophers have noted that the fine tuning argument is not a vastly good argument for the existence of God but rather a vastly good argument for the non-existence of God. Largely the argument itself hinges on the narrow range of properties for the universe to develop to allow for life. But, this narrow range is precisely the required range needed for life in this universe to occur naturally if there were no God.
“a universe that produced us by chance would have to be enormously vast in size and enormously old, so as to have all the room to mix countless chemicals countless times in countless places so as to have any chance of accidentally kicking up something as complex as life. And that’s exactly the universe we see: one enormously vast in size and age. A godless universe would also only produce life rarely and sparingly, and that’s also what we see: by far most of the universe is lethal to life (being a deadly radiation filled vacuum) and by far most of the matter in the universe is lethal to life (constituting stars and black holes on which no life can ever live).“
If there were a God, rather than needing 70 sextillion stars and 13.75 billion years, there would only be need of one planet. Rather than having more planets than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth. The only reason this universe needs to be this vast and this old is if life occurs randomly without any intelligent design. If life occurs only by happenstance, then any life that exists should exist in a amazingly vast universe just to allow the chemicals needed to kick up life enough chances to happen to kick up something as complex as life.
If somebody claims to be psychic and they win the lottery three times in a row. That seems to be good evidence. However, if they bought every possible combination of numbers for each of those lotteries. That feat requires no psychic abilities at all.
Only upon the assumption of atheism do we really need these exact values. For only these values allow the formation of life to occur without God and without any outside influences.
The fine-tuning argument is actually therefore a great argument for atheism. Which theists are wrongly claiming as evidence for God.
“The universe looks exactly as it should look if there is no God. How amazing is that exactness? Therefore God exists.” — If the universe looked as if it couldn’t exist only by chance, theists would and do claim God exists in that case as well. The universe either cannot happen naturally and therefore God did it, or the universe can happen naturally and what an amazing feat that is and therefore God did it. This results in a Brian’s Paradox.
Therefore, a large, old universe is evidence against theism, whereas a small, new universe would be evidence for a god. As far the physical constants are concerned, we don’t even know if they could possess different values, much less if different forms of life could have evolved if they had. We also know that if there are multiple universes, each with its own scrambled sets of constants, that only some will harbor life, and only in those universes would there be intelligent beings questioning why the constants are so finely tuned for their existence.
(959) The moral argument for atheism
There are certain moral absolutes that all people can agree on, and this is independent of any belief in a religion or any other specific dogma. When it can be shown that the Christian god violated five of these absolutes, it becomes obvious that this god does not exist. The following is taken from:
Here, now, are a few examples of moral principles that I take to be paradigms of objective moral truths:
P1: It is morally wrong to deliberately and mercilessly slaughter men, women, and children who are innocent of any serious wrongdoing.
A particularly gross violation of this principle is to be found in the genocidal policies of the Nazi SS who, following the orders of Hitler, slaughtered 6 million Jews, together with countless Gypsies, homosexuals, and other so-called “undesirables.” It is no excuse, as I see it, that they believed themselves to be cutting out a cancer from society, or that they were, as Hitler explained in 1933, merely doing to the Jews what Christians had been preaching for 2000 years. Another, more recent, violation of this principle is to be found in the genocidal practices of Milosevic and his henchman for whom it is no excuse to say that they are merely redressing past injustices or, by ethnic cleansing, laying the foundations for a more stable society.
P2. It is morally wrong to provide one’s troops with young women captives with the prospect of their being used as sex-slaves.
This principle, or something like it, lies behind our moral revulsion at the policies of the German and Japanese High Commands who selected sexually attractive young women, especially virgins, to give so-called “comfort” to their soldiers. It is irrelevant, I want to say, that most societies, historically, have regarded such comforts as among the accepted spoils of war.
P3. It is morally wrong to make people cannibalize their friends and family.
Perhaps we can imagine situations–such as the plane crash in the Andes–in which cannibalistic acts might be exonerated. But making people eat their own family members–as many Polynesian tribes are reputed to have done–in order to punish them, or to horrify and strike fear into the hearts of their enemies, is unconscionable.
P4. It is morally wrong to practise human sacrifice, by burning or otherwise.
To be sure, human sacrifice was widely accepted by the tribes against whom the children of Israel fought, and–on the other side of the Atlantic–by the Aztecs and Incas. But this–I hope you’ll agree–doesn’t make the practice acceptable, even if it was done to appease the gods in whom they believed.
P5. It is morally wrong to torture people endlessly for their beliefs.
Perhaps we can think of situations in which it would be permissible to torture someone who is himself a torturer so as to obtain information as to the whereabouts of prisoners who will otherwise die from the injuries he has inflicted on them. But cases like that of Pope Pius V who watched the Roman Inquisition burn a nonconforming religious scholar in about 1570, fall beyond the moral pale; he can’t be exonerated on the grounds that he thought he was thereby saving the dissident’s soul from the eternal fires of Hell.
On all of these examples, I would like to think, theists and other morally enlightened persons will agree with me. And I would like to think, further, that theists would agree with me in holding that anyone who committed, caused, commanded, or condoned, acts in violation of any of these principles–the five that I will refer to hereafter as “our” principles–is not only evil but should be regarded with abhorrence.
But now comes the linch-pin of my moral argument against theism. For, as I shall now show, the theist God–as he supposedly reveals himself in the Jewish and Christian Bibles–either himself commits, commands others to commit, or condones, acts which violate every one of our five principles.
In violation of P1, for instance, God himself drowned the whole human race except Noah and his family [Gen. 7:23]; he punished King David for carrying out a census that he himself had ordered and then complied with David’s request that others be punished instead of him by sending a plague to kill 70,000 people [II Sam. 24:1-15]; and he commanded Joshua to kill old and young, little children, maidens, and women (the inhabitants of some 31 kingdoms) while pursuing his genocidal practices of ethnic cleansing in the lands that orthodox Jews still regard as part of Greater Israel [see Josh., chapter 10 in particular]. These are just three out of hundreds of examples of God’s violations of P1.
In violation of P2, after commanding soldiers to slaughter all the Midianite men, women, and young boys without mercy, God permitted the soldiers to use the 32,000 surviving virgins for themselves. [Num. 31:17-18].
In violation of P3, God repeatedly says he has made, or will make, people cannibalize their own children, husbands, wives, parents, and friends because they haven’t obeyed him. [Lev. 26:29, Deut. 28:53-58, Jer. 19:9, Ezek. 5:10]
In violation of P4, God condoned Jephthah’s act in sacrificing his only child as a burnt offering to God [Judg. 11:30-39].
Finally, in violation of P5, God’s own sacrificial “Lamb,” Jesus, will watch as he tortures most members of the human race for ever and ever, mainly because they haven’t believed in him. The book of Revelation tells us that “everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain” [Rev. 13:8] will go to Hell where they “will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever: and they have no rest day or night” [Rev. 14:10-11].
When a god violates principles that all humans can agree are moral absolutes, then it should be concluded that either this god does not exist, or that he is real, but evil. The former is the more likely reality.
It is enlightening to study the deception that Christian apologists use to scam people into believing that a divine creator made the world with them in mind. Ray Comfort is a New Zealand-born minister and evangelist who has used the banana as a proof that God exists because the banana is shaped and designed perfectly for human consumption. Here is a video of him making this claim:
This claim is laughably absurd and all anyone has to do is to look at the following picture of a retail banana versus a wild banana:
The banana that ‘God gave us’ was not very sweet, very tough, and full of seeds. It was only through human-driven selective cultivation that we have the bananas we eat today. The fact that a notable Christian apologist has to use such a fraudulent and misleading claim to buttress his and other’s religious faith is evidence of the paucity of any good evidence for what they believe.
(960) To God, only certain lives matter
In Old Testament days, only Israelite lives mattered to God as they were the only ones to receive any guidance and assistance, while at the same time he directed the slaughter of neighboring non-Israelite men, women, children, as well as their livestock.
The lives of people living outside of Judea and all across the globe didn’t matter to God either as he chose to ignore them and allow them to wallow in their unfounded superstitions.
Then Jesus came to Earth and once again he focused only on the Jews- to him all other lives didn’t matter. He even referred to the Syrophoenician woman as a dog (Mark 7:24-27).
What also doesn’t matter to God are the 17,000 children who painfully die every day from disease and hunger. But, he answers the woman’s prayer to heal her bunion.
Finally, Christians, mostly charismatic fundamentalist types, but also some in the mainstream, rapturously await a trumpeted exaltation to a glorious promised land while everyone else suffers in anguishing tribulation. So, in the end, only Christian lives matter.
(961) Out-of-body experiences are an in-body phenomenon
Out-of-body experiences have been cited as evidence for humans having a soul or at least that some aspects of being a person involves some sort of non-material substance or spirit. Unfortunately, science is squashing this idea and showing that these experiences have a good explanation dealing only with the activity within the brain. The following is taken from:
For centuries, people have documented “Out of Body Experiences” or Astral Projections; you know, when the spirit is said to leave the body and float above it on another plane. We’ve never really understood what could be responsible for these moments, but scientists at the University of Ottawa think they’ve finally figured it out.
The researchers tracked down a woman who is able to enter this “out of body experience” (or OOBE) state at will, and hooked her up to a brain scanner. According to their paper, published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience, the woman saw herself floating in the air above herself, watching herself move while feeling completely unaware of her physical body.
While she was getting her float on, the MRI showed a deactivation of her visual cortex, while the part of her brain responsible for imagining body movement lit up. This particular portion of the brain is responsible for “kinesthetic imagery,” the thing that allows you understand how your body relates to the world around it. It seems that this particular combination of brain function allowed the woman to feel as though she was floating outside of her physical body.
With this new information on-hand, the researchers are saying that OOBEs are basically a very specific type of hallucination triggered by a certain neurological mechanism. While this woman can activate it by choice, other people who have claimed to have OOBEs have suffered from traumatic brain injuries, sensory deprivation, near-death experiences, dehydration, and other occurrences that could have potentially altered what goes on in their brains.
Sadly, this means your soul is likely staying firmly planted in your body for the time being, Astral Projectors. Better luck next time.
Here is an interesting video on this subject by Thomas Westbrook:
This is yet another example where advances in science have extinguished an alleged manifestation of a religious or spiritual experience. This trend is making it much easier for atheists to feel comfortable with their beliefs.
(962) God, the mind reader
Imagine there are two people who attend the same church. They both attend the services and volunteer in the same fashion. They both profess a belief in Jesus as their personal savior, witness to others, and study the Bible. In other words, there is no external way to separate them on matters of faith. However, Person A is a true believer, while Person B is just going through the motions, doesn’t really believe any of it is true, but is doing it to maintain peace in the family, and ensuring success in the family business. No human could discern that Person B is not just as much a believer as Person A.
Ah, but God has the ability to read the minds of these two persons and can detect that Person B is really just a charlatan. Even though scientific brain scans could never show the difference in the thoughts of the two, God somehow has this ability. So Person A goes to heaven, while Person B goes to hell. Person C is a friend of both and is astonished to see that Person B was sent to hell while Person A is with him in heaven.
What this shows is that for Christianity to have any validity, God must not only be able to see what you do and what you say throughout your life, but he must be able to read your mind and know what you are really thinking and what you really believe, and he must know this information precisely at the moment of your death so he can accurately assign you to heaven or hell. And unless God engineers the timing of each person’s death, he must be continuously scanning the brains of everyone. The idea of a god who runs the entire universe but still has time to scan the brains of 7 billion persons every minute is well beyond any measure of plausibility.
(963) The five-fold challenge
In 1995, Robby Berry issued a challenge to anyone who could provide contemporary, reliable, unambiguous, and independent evidence supporting the historical accuracy of five Bible miracles. He selected miracles that would have been observed by large numbers of person if not the entire world, such that they should have been documented in many and various ways. The following is taken from:
Fundamentalist Christians claim that the Bible is a historically accurate work in every detail. They delight in showing how “modern archaeology” has verified this little biblical detail or that minor biblical event. But something they don’t talk about much is the failure of modern archaeology to confirm some major events in the Bible.
Specifically, there are five major miraculous events in the Bible which are completely unconfirmed by modern archaeology. These miracles are:
The parting of the sea by Moses (Exodus 14:21-31)
The stopping of the sun by Joshua (Joshua 10:12-14)
The reversal of the sun’s course by Isaiah (Isaiah 38:7-8)
The resurrection of the saints, and their subsequent appearance to many (Matthew 27:52-53)
The Argument From Silence
When skeptics point out that some event in the Bible is unconfirmed by non-biblical records, fundamentalists usually respond by claiming that this is an argument from silence, and that just because nobody else confirms it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Sometimes, this is a legitimate response– the argument from silence is not always valid. If the event is an ordinary event which attracted little attention, or a private event not witnessed by others, than the argument from silence cannot be used to show the event never happened.
But in the case of the above five miracles, the argument from silence is perfectly valid. All five of these miracles were allegedly witnessed by thousands of people– indeed, two of these miracles would have been visible worldwide. Hence, fundamentalists cannot claim that the events were simply not noticed by others. Furthermore, all five of these events were of an extraordinary nature. They are the most impressive miracles in the Bible, more impressive than even the resurrection of Jesus. It would be absurd to claim that other people could have witnessed a change in the sun’s course, or the resurrection of a large number of long dead people, without having been amazed by it. Such events would have attracted widespread attention and generated dozens of documents concerning them. Take the resurrection of the saints, for instance. Other first-century Christians would have used this event as further proof of Jesus’ divinity– Paul and the other gospels would certainly have mentioned it, for instance. Or how about the sun turning backwards? This would have been visible worldwide, and thus other cultures active at the time would have noticed the event and offered their own explanations, in keeping with their own cultural and religious beliefs. And so forth. Hence, the argument from silence is valid in the case of these miracles. If no other evidence can be found to support them, we are justified in concluding that they never happened, and thus that the Bible is wrong in at least five points.
No one has provided evidence for these alleged miracles. It is nearly certain that they never happened, and what this implies is that the Bible is full of fictional stories, most of which cannot be proven false because of their smaller scale. But the presence of any fiction evidenced as above by the ‘argument from silence’ destroys the idea that God wrote the Bible; rather it convincingly shows that it was written by ordinary humans.
(964) Curiosity + Investigation = Atheism
This formula is a tried and true statement of how one graduates from an indoctrinated child to an atheist adult. Both curiosity and investigation are necessary elements to make the transition.
For most Christians, a lack of curiosity is the reason that they live out their lives as believers. They simply never bother to entertain the idea that what they believe might be wrong. For others, they may be curious of the fact that what they believe is a chance occurrence conditioned mostly on the religion of their parents, but they never bother to study the evidence for other faiths, or evidence for no faith at all.
This is not an indictment of the intellectual ability of Christians because many of them make a conscious decision not to investigate this issue too finely because the loss of faith could have disastrous consequences for their marriage, the relationship with their children and parents, their anticipated inheritance, their workplace or business success, and the psychological comfort they receive from believing a celestial father figure is looking out for them and preparing a special place for them to spend eternity. To examine one’s faith puts all of these things in peril.
This in part explains the persistence of religious belief despite the mounting evidence that it is based almost entirely on myth. For most people (in matters of faith) curiosity + investigation = a world of trouble that they desperately desire to avoid. Just ignore the doubts and hope they go away.
(965) Few Americans know their luminaries said these things
In the United States, and other nations as well, there remains to this day a taboo on the expression of religious doubt. For that reason, few Americans know that many of their famous luminaries expressed doubt about theological claims. The following is taken from:
Few Americans know that Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to John Adams:
“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”
Or that Albert Einstein wrote in The New York Times in 1930:
“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own–a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.”
Or that Mark Twain wrote in his journal:
“I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious–unless he purposely shut the eyes of his mind & keep them shut by force.”
Or that Emily Bronte wrote in 1846:
“Vain are the thousand creeds that move men’s hearts, unutterably vain, worthless as wither’d weeds.”
Or that Sigmund Freud wrote, in a letter to a friend:
“Neither in my private life nor in my writings, have I ever made a secret of being an out-and-out unbeliever.”
Or that Thomas Paine wrote in The Age of Reason:
“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”
Or that Thomas Edison told The New York Times in 1910:
“I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul…. No, all this talk of an existence for us, as individuals, beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life–our desire to go on living–our dread of coming to an end.”
Or that Voltaire wrote, in a letter to Frederick the Great:
“Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.”
Or that Beethoven shunned religion and scorned the clergy.
Or that Abraham Lincoln never joined a church, and once wrote a skeptical treatise, which friends burned in a stove, to save him from wrecking his political career.
Or that the motto of Margaret Sanger’s birth-control newsletter was: “No gods, no masters.”
Or that Clarence Darrow said, in a 1930 speech in Toronto:
“I don’t believe in God because I don’t believe in Mother Goose.”
Or that President William Howard Taft said, in a letter declining the presidency of Yale University: “I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe.”
Or that Luther Burbank told a newspaper interviewer in 1926:
“As a scientist, I cannot help feeling that all religions are on a tottering foundation…. I am an infidel today. I do not believe what has been served to me to believe. I am a doubter, a questioner, a skeptic. When it can be proved to me that there is immortality, that there is resurrection beyond the gates of death, then I will believe. Until then, no.”
Or that Bertrand Russell wrote in 1930:
“My own view of religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race.”
Or that George Bernard Shaw wrote, in the preface to one of his plays:
“At present there is not a single credible established religion in the world.”
Or that Leo Tolstoy wrote, in response to his excommunication by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church:
“To regard Christ as God, and to pray to him, are to my mind the greatest possible sacrilege.”
Or that Charles Darwin said:
“The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us, and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.”
Or that Kurt Vonnegut said:
“Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.”
Or that Gloria Steinem said:
“By the year 2000, we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God.”
Many, perhaps most, of the world’s outstanding thinkers, scientists, writers, reformers–people who changed Western life–have been religious skeptics. But this fact is little known in America. Why?
Because our nation has one last taboo, one unmentionable topic: religious doubt.
Christians have established a societal firewall that protects their beliefs at the expense of those who fail to accept them. Questioning their faith is seen as a personal attack while they routinely feel free to disparage freethinkers. For this reason, atheists often remain in the ‘closet’ and sequester their true feelings. But they admire the famous people named above who were brave enough to honor the adage ‘to thine own self be true.’
(966) Jesus was immoral and a psychopath
So many Christians extol the life of Jesus as being the most perfect ‘human’ life ever lived, and they wear bracelets saying WWJD (What would Jesus do). But when you critically examine the Jesus of the gospels, a very different picture emerges. The following was taken from:
Jesus, if he existed, was an absolute psychopath. He condemned people to hell for not receiving his word:
“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned [to hell]… But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not … it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! … And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.”
Condoned all the atrocities from the Old Testament:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Was racist (And was willing to allow a child to die because of his racism):
“A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.’ Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’ The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said. He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.'”
Was a thief:
“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.'”
Encouraged dismemberment as a solution to sin:
“Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”
Threw temper tantrums:
“On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.”
Wanted to tear families apart:
“I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household… The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”
Was a self-proclaimed war-mongerer:
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword… And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”
Refuses to forgive blasphemy:
“Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men … whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
Blamed children for the actions of their ancestors (And condemned them to hell. He liked doing that):
Ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. … Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? … Upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Condoned the right to own and beat slaves:
“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes… The kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.”
Was cruel to animals for no reason:
“And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.”
He was also cruel to plants (because it had no fruit for him to eat)
“When he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.”
He explicitly states that nonbelievers will be damned:
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
And was nonsensically contradictory:
“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.”
I cannot think of a worse person to model your life after. How can anyone believe that this obviously insane man was divine, or at least why would you want to?
Despite some of the good things he did, it cannot be denied that there have been many non-divine humans who have displayed a higher degree of morality and ethics than Jesus. Of course, all of this might simply be mythical and that would explain why Jesus is portrayed with so many mortal imperfections- he was a reflection of the people who invented him.
(967) Prayer is redundant and ineffective
Here is a scenario: Three people are involved in an accident and each one has incurred internal bleeding from a major blood vessel. Person A enters a hospital room filled with the best medical team available. Person B enters a room filled with Christian evangelicals who pray for his recovery. Person C enters a room with the best medical team available and also in the room is a group of Christian evangelicals praying for his recovery.
What is the outcome of this scenario? Persons A and C recover fully and go on living their lives. Person B dies. The fact that Person B dies is proof that prayer is ineffective, or at least it was in that case. The fact that Person A fares just as well as Person C proves that prayer is redundant, as the prayers for Person C did not provide any advantage.
This thought experiment is not some far-fetched tale- it is exactly what everybody would expect to happen, even almost all Christians. But if Christianity is true, and the words of Jesus are taken literally, Person B should have survived and possibly with a shorter recovery time. What this exposes is the fact that we simply do not live in the world described by Christianity.
(968) Evolution of the earliest writings about Jesus
Burton Mack is a former professor of the New Testament at the School of Theology at Claremont, California. He has written several books about the origins of Christianity including A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins and Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth. He has distilled the evolution of the earliest writings of the story of Jesus and partitioned it into three periods (Q1, Q2, and Q3) showing how the Jesus myth evolved over time. The following is taken from:
My interpretation: Q1 (the bold) is what Biblical scholars are putting as the very earliest writings of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. As can be seen from this collection, the original members of this following did not view Jesus as a Christ or a Messiah, and definitely not as the celestially begotten Son of God. These people saw Jesus as a very wise teacher. A cynic/sage, teaching a morality and practicality that suited the people of that day. Mr. Mack puts Q1 in the mid 50’s of the first century of the common era, though at least some of the sayings had more than likely been handed down directly from Jesus.
Q2 (normal text) makes up more than half of the Q collection of sayings and parables. Jesus has passed on from sage/cynic to child of wisdom. Clearly we can see an evolution in the thought process of these people. They had encountered rejections and had made some advances. They had encountered some difficulty with the Pharisees and with lawyers. We see the introduction of John the Baptist in this collection. John had apparently had his own cult following at the time and there was some interaction between the two groups. We also see the introduction of an apocolyptic vision that was not evident in Q1. An impending “Judgement Day” looms large in tone. Mr. Mack puts Q2 in the late 60’s or early 70’s.
Q3 (the italic) is by far the smallest source in Q. Jerusalem has fallen, and the tone here is one of a reproach of the ones who refused to listen. Jesus has evolved one more time from child of wisdom to son of God. This would be the vision of Jesus that would last and be the strongest influence on Mark, Matthew and Luke. Mythology has completely taken over here, and only a glimpse of who Jesus actually was is left here. Mr. Mack puts Q3 in the mid 80’s of the first century.
By visiting the website listed above, it is enlightening to read the text as it relates to the periods Q1, Q2, and Q3, to see how the characterization of Jesus changed over time. There is nothing unusual or sinister about what happened, as it is human nature to add enhancing details to any story that is heard and retold countless times. But this sequence does tell us one thing- if Jesus was a real person, then Q1 is the most reliable statement of his nature and that does not bode well for the conventional believers of modern-day Christianity.
(969) Animal sacrifice
The Bible is full of references to animal sacrifice in response to God commanding this practice, usually to absolve some sort of sinful behavior. But what is interesting is that animal sacrifice was a common ritual all over the globe prior to Biblical times. The following was taken from:
The incineration of animals to appease the anger of the gods was an ancient barbaric belief that seemed to be almost universal. We know from reading the Bible that animals were sacrificed to Yahweh with the understanding that this was something that he not only wanted but had specifically commanded under pain of severe penalties if his various sacrificial commands were disregarded. The nations around Israel–Babylonia, Persia, Assyria, Egypt, Greece, Rome–also practiced religions that required animal sacrifices. Cultures far removed from this region, such as the Meso-American tribes, also offered animal sacrifices to their gods.
The origin of the practice is probably forever lost in antiquity. Perhaps the idea began when the first humans lived together in one place and was then taken abroad as the adventurous ones migrated to other parts of the world, or perhaps the belief that gods could be appeased by burning animals in tribute to them was an idea that developed independently in cultures that were completely isolated from one another. Regardless of its origin, the sacrifice of animals in homage to the gods was an idea that obviously had wide acceptance.
(970) Jesus shows unseemly conceit
There is an image of Jesus that most Christians hold, seeing him as a wonderful counselor and wise teacher, the most perfect life ever lived. But these verses from the Gospel of Matthew show a different side:
And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.
So Jessica, a college freshman, and a Christian, is to avoid calling her father ‘father,’ nor is she to call her biology professor an ‘instructor.’ The scripture is very clear on this matter, though Christians will claim that it is being read ‘out of context’- the excuse used whenever scripture says something that is uncomfortable. If Jesus actually said this then he was conceited and unsympathetic.
(971) God’s belated retribution order
In 1 Samuel 15:1-3 we read:
Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ”
Take note of the phrase ‘for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt.’ This refers back to Exodus 17:8:
The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.
According to the Biblical timeline, this event occurred 380 years in the past. So God is punishing the men, women, children, infants, cattle, and sheep for what their ancestors did over a dozen generations removed. This would be like executing a person today because his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather killed a saint in the year 1636. And not only that, but executing his wife, his children, including his infant daughter, and their dog and cat, too. This obviously cannot be the action of a supernatural god.
(972) The argument from the Bible
If Christianity is true, then it follows that other religions must be essentially false. Therefore the holy text of Christianity should show attributes that make it stand out against the revered books of other religions. After all, it was written by God, not by men. The following website lists 10 facts that should be true concerning the Bible if Christianity is true:
(1) The Bible contains a large number of prophecies of future events which have been remarkably fulfilled.
(2) The Bible does not contain any unfulfilled prophecies.
(3) The only reasonable explanation for the above facts is that God used his foreknowledge to make the prophecies and inspired the authors of the Bible to record them.
(4) The Bible contains a convincing eye-witness account of the resurrection and subsequent appearances of Jesus of Nazareth.
(5) The only reasonable explanation for the above fact is that Jesus was and is a divine being, which shows the truth of the Bible and its gospel message.
(6) The Bible contains no contradictions.
(7) The Bible contains amazing facts about the planet earth, compatible with modern science, which were unknown in ancient times. Also, the Bible contains no conflicts with modern science or errors of a factual nature.
(8) The Bible contains a perfect morality, and no ethical defects.
(9) The only reasonable explanation for facts (6)-(8), above, is that the ultimate author of the Bible is God himself.
(10) Putting together results (3), (5), and (9), above, we may infer that the Bible is not a purely manmade work, but divinely inspired, which establishes the truth of Christianity and its gospel message.
On each of these counts, the Bible fails, and it fails pretty miserably. But what is illuminating is that the Bible fails to out-perform other holy books in these measures of authenticity, consistency, and foresight. Based on that fact alone, it can be concluded that Christianity is false.
(973) Babies born in heaven?
Whenever Jesus finally gets around to coming back and gathering his elect and delivering them to paradise, it is certain that there will be a lot of pregnant women in the fold. What will happen to these fetuses? Most Christians would probably state that the babies will be delivered in heaven and thus remain there for eternity, and although aging will certainly not occur in heaven, perhaps God will allow these newborns to age to some predetermined age or else magically age them once they emerge from the uterus. But they will never know life on Earth and never face the challenge of discerning and following the true religion. Which simply seems to imply that all fetuses at the trumpet call will get a free pass to heaven.
Will women experience pain when delivering babies in heaven? Will they need C-sections? Will there be miscarriages in heaven? Will there be stillbirths? The absurdities such as these surrounding the rapture or whatever Christians call this gathering of souls at the second coming goes to show how ridiculous is Christian theology. It is very poorly thought out and most Christians blindly believe it without thinking.
(974) Unfulfilled prophecies
One of the best ways to evaluate whether a book is inspired by a supernatural being is to test whether it makes accurate predictions. The Bible fails on most counts. Here is a list of 25 prophecies in the Bible that were never fulfilled, and is taken from:
1. According to Ge 2:17, Adam will die the same day that he eats the fruit, but that did not come about, since, according to Ge 5:5, Adam lived to age 930. [Note that the same Hebrew word for “die” is used as elsewhere in the Old Testament, standing for physical death.]
2. According to Ge 4:12,14, Cain will be a fugitive and a vagabond, and constantly subject to assassination, but that did not come about, for, according to Ge 4:16-17, Cain had a wife and family, and lived in the same area all his life, and built a city.
3. According to Jos 17:17-18, Ephraim and Manasseh will drive out the Canaanites, but according to Jg 1:27-29, they did not drive out the Canaanites.
4. Jer 34:5 prophesied that Zedekiah will die in peace, but according to 2Ki 25:7 and Jer 52:10-11, that did not happen. Instead, he saw his sons killed, was carried off in chains, blinded, and eventually died in prison.
5. Am 7:17 prophesied that Amaziah’s sons will die by the sword, but according to 2Ch 26:1,21, Amaziah’s son Uzziah died of leprosy.
6. According to Jon 3:4, Nineveh will be overthrown in 40 days, but then God changed his mind about having Nineveh overthrown. (See Jon 3:10.)
7. According to Mt 12:40, Christ will be buried for three nights, but he died on a Friday and by Sunday the tomb was empty. Between Friday and Sunday, there are just two nights, not three.
8. According to Mt 19:28 and Lu 22:30, all 12 disciples will sit on 12 thrones as judges. But actually, not all 12 disciples could reign, for Judas, who was one of them, was excluded. (See Mt 26:24-25.)
9. In Mt 26:34 and Lu 22:34, it is prophesied that before the cock crows, Peter will deny Jesus three times, but according to Mk 14:66-68, Peter denied Jesus only once before the cock crowed.
10. According to Lu 23:43, the thief will be with Christ in paradise on that very day. But Christ’s body was buried that day and, according to Ac 2:27,31, his soul went to hell, not to paradise.
More will be said about Biblical contradictions in Sections D.4 and D.5, below. Some other examples that are a little more like unfulfilled prophecies are the following.
11. According to Ge 15:18, 17:3,8, and Dt 1:7-8, Abraham’s descendants will own all the land between the Nile River and the Euphrates River, but it never happened: they never owned all that land. God broke his promise, as conceded in Ac 7:5 and Heb 11:13.
12. According to Ge 49:13, the tribe of Zebulun will dwell at a seashore, but, instead, as may be gathered from various later verses as well as extra-Biblical sources, they dwelled inland, not at any seashore.
13. According to Jos 8:28, the city of Ai will be destroyed forever. In actuality, Ai did have later inhabitants. (See Ezr 2:1,28 and Ne 7:32.)
But these still look a little bit like Biblical contradictions. I think the very best examples of unfulfilled prophecies are ones like the following.
14. According to Ex 3:8, the Israelites will live in a large land, flowing with milk and honey, and according to 2Sa 7:10, they will not be disturbed anymore, but as a matter of historical fact Israel (and vicinity) has been a relatively small and mostly barren land, and the Israelites have been continually harassed from all sides.
15. Many verses prophesy that the throne of David will endure forever and that there will never be a time without a man upon that throne. But in point of historical fact, the Davidic line of kings ended with Zedekiah. 450 yrs. later, the Maccabeans had a brief reign. But for 2000 years, there has been no Davidic king.
16. According to Isa 14:23, Babylon will become wet, but that never happened. According to Jer 51:36, Babylon will become totally dry, but that never happened either. According to other verses,  Babylon will never be inhabited by people again, but in fact Babylon has been continually inhabited by people since that time. [Note 1Pe 5:13.] It is now part of Iraq.
17. According to Isa 17:1, Damascus will be destroyed, but in fact Damascus is one of the few ancient cities that has never been destroyed. [The fact that so many were destroyed makes prophecies of the future destruction of ancient cities rather unremarkable.] If Isaiah had predicted that Damascus would never be destroyed, then that would have been remarkable.
18. According to Isa 19:5, Eze 30:12, and Zec 10:11, the Nile River will dry up, and according to Eze 29:9-12, Egypt will become desolate for 40 years, with no man or animal passing through it and with all Egyptians dispersed, but as a matter of fact the Nile River has never dried up and in the whole history of Egypt no such calamitous events have ever occurred.
19. According to Isa 19:18, five Egyptian cities will speak the language of Canaan, but linguists and archeologists assure us that no Egyptian cities have ever spoken the language of Canaan.
20. According to Isa 29:17, Lebanon will become a fruitful field, but that has never happened to Lebanon!
21. According to Isa 34:9-10, Edom (the land between the Dead Sea and Gulf of Aqaba) will become burning pitch: no one will ever pass through it again. But in truth that has never happened to Edom. People have passed through it for thousands of years.
22. According to Isa 52:1, the uncircumcised and unclean will never enter Jerusalem, but in fact such people have continually entered Jerusalem for thousands of years.
23. According to Jer 42:17, Jews who choose to live in Egypt will all die and leave no remnant. But history shows that Jews continued to live there for centuries, later establishing a cultural center at Alexandria.
24. Zep 3:13 prophesied that the remnant of Israel will not sin or lie or be afraid, but in truth they were never so moral nor so fearless.
25. Many verses  prophesy that Christ’s second coming will occur soon. Some of them specifically say that it will be within his listeners’ lifetime, i.e., before that generation (there with Jesus) passes away. But in truth more than 19 centuries have elapsed since then and the event still has not occurred. Of all the examples of unfulfilled prophecies, this one strikes me as the one that is clearest and most powerful.
The accuracy of prophecy is a litmus test for the claim that the Bible is the word of an eternal and all-knowing god. The failure of the Bible to pass this test provides conclusive evidence that it is not the inspired work of any god.
(975) Contradictions surrounding the resurrection
If Christianity is true and if the Bible was inspired by God, then for sure the stories surrounding the seminal event, the resurrection of Jesus, should be generally consistent, if not perfectly so. This is simply not the case. The following lists 29 contradictions with the resurrections stories told in the four gospels:
1. How many women went to Jesus’s tomb?
- One- John 20:1-18
- Two- Matthew 28:1-8
- Three- Mark 16:1-8
- Many- Luke 23:55 to 24:10
|2. Was it still dark out?||John 20:1||Mt 28:1; Mk 16:2|
|3. Did Mary Magdalene tell any men about the tomb?||Mt 28:8; Lu 24:9-10; John 20:2||Mk 16:8|
|4. Did she go back to the tomb with any of them?||John 20:2-11||Mt 28:1-10,16; Mk 16:8-14; Lu 24:9-12|
|5. Was there just one angel at Jesus’s tomb?||Mt 28:2-5; Mk 16:5-6||(There were two.) Lu 24:4-5; John 20:11-13|
|6. Were the angels inside the tomb?||Mk 16:5; John 20:11-12||(The one angel was outside.) Mt 28:2|
|7. Were there guards at the tomb?||Mt 27:62-66, 28:2-4,11-15||Mk 15:44-16:10; Lu 23:50-24:12; John 19:38-20:12|
|8. Did the angel(s) look like lightning?||Mt 28:2-4||(Humanlike) Mk 16:5; Lu 24:4|
|9. Did the angel(s) get to the tomb first?||Mk 16:5||Lu 24:2-4; John 20:1-12|
|10. Did Peter go alone?||Lu 24:12||John 20:2-6|
|11. Did Jesus appear first to Cephas (Peter)?||1Co 15:3-5||Mt 28:9; Mk 16:9; Lu 24:9-15; John 20:14|
|12. Did he appear at all to Mary Magdalene?||Mt 28:9; Mk 16:9 John 20:11-14||Lu 24:1-51; 1Co 15:3-8|
|13. Did he appear to her at the tomb afterthe disciples were told?||John 20:1-14||(Not at the tomb, and before they were told) Mt 28:1-9; Mk 16:1-10|
|14. Was she alone when Jesus appeared to her?||Mk 16:9-10; John 20:10-14||(The other Mary was with her.) Mt 28:1-9|
|15. Did she recognize him immediately?||Mt 28:9; Mk 16:9-10||John 20:14|
|16. Did Peter go to the tomb before the others were told about it?||(But he was not alone.) John 20:1-3,18||(It was after, and he went alone.) Lu 24:9-12|
|17. Did Jesus specially appear to twodisciples?||Mk 16:12; Lu 24:13-31||Mt 28:16-18; John 20:19-29|
|18. Did they recognize him immediately?||Mk 16:12-13||Lu 24:13-16|
|19. Did he later appear as they spoke to the others?||Lu 24:36||(It was after.) Mk 16:14|
|20. Did he scold the others for not believing them?||Mk 16:14||Lu 24:35-51|
|21. Did Jesus appear just once to the disciples?||Mk 16:14-19; Lu 24:36-51||(It was thrice.) John 20:19-26, 21:1-2,14|
|22. Was the 1st appearance to them in Galilee?||Mt 28:9-10,16-18||Lu 24:33-36,49-51; John 20:18-26; Ac 1:4|
|23. Did they all recognize him immediately?||Mk 16:14-20; John 20:19-20||Mt 28:16-17; Lu 24:36-41|
|24. Did he ascend to heaven immediately afterwards?||Mt 28:9-10,16-20; Mk 16:14-19; Lu 24:36-51||John 20:19-26, 21:1; Ac 1:1-9; 1Co 15:3-8|
|25. Did he appear to them twice, eight days apart?||John 20:19-26||Mt 28:9-20; Mk 16:14-19; Lu 24:36-51|
|26. Did he appear to the Twelve, to over 500, & then specially to James?||1Co 15:5-7||Mt 27, 28; Mk 16; Lu 24; John 20, 21|
|27. Did Jesus ascend to heaven from Bethany?||Lu 24:50-51||(From Mt. Olivet) Ac 1:9-12; (Jerusalem) Mk 16:14-19|
|28. Was Jesus the only one to ascend to heaven?||John 3:13||(Enoch and Elijah too) Heb 11:5; 2Ki 2:11|
|29. Did Paul’s companions hear Jesus’s voice?||Ac 9:7||Ac 22:9, 26:14|
How apologists deal with this information is an entertainment spectacle of its own right. It is like watching pretzels being made as they twist and turn and form contorted shapes. The fact of the matter is that the gospels should tell the same story- they don’t, and this is strong evidence that the resurrection never happened.
(976) Jesus was charged with sedition, not blasphemy
The gospels all report that Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate for the crime of blasphemy against God by proclaiming himself to be the son of God, or co-equal to God. But the penalty for this crime would have been stoning, not crucifixion (which the Romans reserved for the crime of sedition). The following is taken from:
The Bible claims that Jesus was first arrested by Jewish leaders after protesting the excess he observed on display in the Jewish temple during Jerusalem’s Passover. Matthew, Mark and Luke report that he was first tried before a Jewish Sanhedrin court in Judea. They agree he was charged with blasphemy, convicted and turned over to local Roman prefect Pontius Pilate for a subsequent Roman trial. Though the charge was related to Jesus’s behavior in the temple, scholars cannot verify how his actions constituted blasphemy under Jewish law — or even that the Sanhedrin trial really happened.
After the Sanhedrin trial, Jesus was tried before prefect Pontius Pilate. It is unclear what the charges against him may have been under Roman law. Still, scholars know that Jesus was executed for crimes against Rome, not God, because of the manner of his crucifixion on a cross. Crimes against Judaism would have been punished by stoning. Whatever the charges, it is established that they were serious since Rome reserved crucifixion for what it regarded as the worst criminals.
One possibility is that Jesus was a Jewish nationalist who was linked to violent political uprising against the Roman occupation led by the nationalist Zealot movement. The sign placed on his cross, which read “King of the Jews,” may support this interpretation. If Jesus were linked to violent insurrection, this would have resulted in charges of sedition and punishment by crucifixion. This perspective was advanced by Jesus’ brother James after his death.
More commentary from this site:
It even becomes an open question whether the Sanhedrin had any role in the trial and death of Jesus, simply because of the manner of execution. He was crucified, a Roman penalty inflicted on pirates, seditionists, and runaway slaves. A.N. Sherwin-White, though not an accomplished judge in the State of New York, was an authority on Roman law, and he argued in Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament that the Sanhedrin would have needed Pilate’s permission for Jesus to be executed, as the gospels say. Other scholars dispute Sherwin-White’s opinion. I am by no means in a position to take sides on the matter. But even if Sherwin-White is correct, the real difficulty remains unresolved: if Jesus were to be executed for blasphemy, why did Annas and Caiaphas not simply seek Pilate’s permission to have Jesus stoned to death, since stoning was the required penalty? That they did not raises the real possibility that the grounds for the execution were entirely different, perhaps political, as many scholars have held.
Therefore, there is a disconnect between the portrayal of the trial of Jesus and the manner in which he was executed. The simplest explanation is that the Jewish trial was a concocted story and that Jesus was arrested by the Romans and tried for sedition based on his intent to overthrow Roman authority and become the king of Judea. This, of course, assumes that the entire story of Jesus is not made up.
(977) Abortion nonsense
The Christian view of abortion has changed over time but rarely has it been supported by logical arguments. The following was taken from:
Abortion has been practiced almost universally since prehistoric times. The early Churches prohibited it, although there is no scriptural authority for such a prohibition. Indeed the Bible indicates that it is not a serious crime to cause an abortion. For example, if a pregnant woman is struck and suffers a miscarriage the offender should merely be fined, but if the woman herself is killed then the offender should die (Exodus 21:22-23). Evidently God accorded different values to the lives of the foetus and the mother.
Abortion can be seen as following the same general pattern as many other social issues, with the Churches arriving at a liberal conclusion in the conventional order. The liberal Churches have already joined the freethinkers” camp, and many others have started to move away from their original position. The Anglican Church has already arrived. There is, however, a twist since the Roman Catholic has made its initial move in the opposite direction. The Church’s traditional teaching, expounded by St Thomas Aquinas, was that a foetus is provided with its soul 40 days after conception if it is male and 80 days after conception if it is unlucky enough to be female*. Before it acquired a soul an embryo was regarded as inanimate (foetus inanimatus); it only became a foetus animatus, and thus human, after acquiring a soul. Up until this time the fetus was “unformed”. Medieval drawings show the soul entering a fetus, converting it from inanimate and “unformed” to animate and “formed”.
The Catholic Church law was very clear that it was not a crime to carry out an abortion if the fetus was still “unformed.” Pope Gregory XIII confirmed the traditional line in the sixteenth century: it cannot be homicide to kill an embryo of less than 40 days, because it is not yet human. Roman canon law maintained the distinction between a foetus animatus and a foetus inanimatusuntil 1869 , when it was suddenly abandoned. We do not hear much about it nowadays. Instead the Roman Catholic Church now claims that the human soul is implanted at conception, which provides an argument for banning all abortion. Without this shift the Church would have no argument for banning abortion before the 40th day of pregnancy for boys or the 80th day for girls.
This history points out the fact that God, or Jesus, or the people who wrote the Bible didn’t provide a definitive statement on the ethics of abortion. Much of what was believed was based on bad science.
Today’s conservative Christians state that life begins at conception and yet they don’t hold funerals for miscarriages or claim tax deductions for them either. Although they claim that abortion is murder, they don’t, by and large, call for murder convictions for women who abort their fetuses. And although millions of abortions take place every year, they don’t rise up in arms as they would if unwanted children were being dropped off at slaughter houses in the same numbers. So, inherently, they understand that there is a difference between a fetus and a living child.
All of this belies the adage that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Abortion is an ethical issue of extreme importance and yet God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible leave it to disagreeing people to figure out what is right. God’s absence on this important issue implies his absence in whole.
(978) Bible preaches acceptance of mistreatment
In modern society, governments have set up systems to protect people from being mistreated, whether it’s battered women, neglected children, or marginalized elderly. But the Bible seems to have a different view:
1 Peter 2:18-21
Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
What this is telling us, along with the clearly ungodly support of slavery, is that mistreatment is a blessing. If your husband beats you, then the suffering is commendable before God. It should be painfully obvious that this idea would not have originated with an almighty deity. It is a reflection of a backwards Bronze Age society that had no concept of modern-day morality. It is highly likely that some fundamentalists have used this scripture to justify the unmerited harsh treatment of vulnerable people. If God is telling slaves to submit themselves to harsh masters, then shouldn’t women submit themselves to wife-beating husbands?
(979) Christianity is callous toward poverty
Christianity has a poor record dealing with the social problem of poverty. Significantly, much of this apathy has resulted from this scripture:
The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.
The same verse appears in Matthew 26:11 and John 12:8. What it implies is that helping the poor takes a lower priority to worshiping God. It also is a prophecy saying that no matter what you do, you can never eliminate poverty. This has led many Christians over the past 20 centuries to think ‘why even try?’. The following is taken from:
The Churches considered it wrong to attempt to eliminate poverty, since Jesus himself had given an assurance that the poor would always be with us. Churches taught that poverty was something that had to be accepted with humility, as part of the divine plan. As one papal encyclical put it:
Let the poor, and all those who at this time are facing the hard trial of want of work and security of food — let them in a like spirit of penance suffer with greater resignation the privations imposed upon them by these hard times and the state of the society which Divine Providence, in an inscrutable but ever-loving plan, has assigned to them*
In Christian countries little effort has been made by the Churches to eliminate poverty (a blasphemous intention) or even to ameliorate it, since poverty was “natural”. In the Middle Ages senior clerics lived in luxury, and even ordinary monks ate up to three pounds of red meat each day. No one thought it odd that they should do so while homeless people starved to death nearby. Secular society now ensures that people no longer starve in the street, but otherwise things are not very different. With a few notable exceptions (such as the Salvation Army), the overwhelming majority of clerics are content for their churches to remain empty for six or seven days a week while the homeless sleep on the streets outside, occasionally dying of exposure.
Modern-day Christians have barely budged from this attitude as they consistently vote against programs designed to help the poor. It is highly unlikely that this is the result of a religion created by a real god.
(980) Hierarchy of gods
Most Christians will tell you that the trinity of gods in Christianity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are co-equal in status and power. However, the scriptures tell a different story:
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
When confronted with these scriptures, it becomes harder for Christians to assert that they worship only one god. If that was the case, all three of the manifestations of god should be co-equal. If one is superior to another, that implies a separation of consciousness, and thus a different deity. Christianity is poly-theistic and therefore is a pagan archetype.
(981) Christian war against gender fluidity
Christianity has promoted a vigorous defense of rigid gender roles for men and women and has punished those who dared to cross the line. The following is taken from:
The Church has traditionally held views on transvestism similar to those on homosexuality. In support it has been able to cite Deuteronomy 22:5:
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination to the Lord thy God.
So it was that one of the main accusations against Joan of Arc, which ensured her death at the stake, was that she insisted on wearing men’s clothes.
Transvestism was also one of the reasons the Church so disapproved of theatre. Having forced women off the stage acting troups had no choice but for men to play women’s parts, and right-thinking Christians found this nearly as bad as seeing real women on stage.
Women were prosecuted for obscenity in the early twentieth century for wearing trouser suits — their sentences were less severe, but only because the Church was no longer able to enforce its views as strictly as it could in the Middle Ages. Prosecutions were brought in the UK, USA and Europe within living memory.
This nonsense represents yet another social issue that Christianity got wrong. As civilization has evolved, the idea that everyone should have the freedom to express themselves as it comes naturally to them has gained virtually universal acceptance. That Christianity failed to lead this change is evidence of its human-generated attachment to the crude mores of the benighted past.
(982) The testimony of nature
It is generally accepted that one of two scenarios must be true for Christianity to be true- either God created the Earth’s life forms or he guided evolution to achieve his intended result. It is difficult to defend Christianity if evolution was outside of God’s control. What this implies, if we assume that Christianity is true, is that nature, the way that organisms interact, is the handiwork of God. Many Christians defend their belief in a creator in part because of the beauty of nature. But there is another side to this story. The following was taken from:
The point is a serious one. If we want to use nature as an indicator of God’s disposition, then we need to consider cats torturing their prey, parasitic wasps like the ichneumonidae feeding inside living animals, jackals eating their prey alive, unborn sharks eating their siblings alive, viruses, progressive terminal diseases, innocent animals dying long painful deaths through gangrene leaving their young to starve, and so on. Those who know most about nature tend to agree that it is thoroughly amoral. It therefore provides no evidence of a benign god of any sort.
Given the pain and agony so many animals have suffered, it becomes a difficult apologetic exercise for Christians to explain how their god could have designed such a torturous world, given the obvious truth (in their minds) that he could have made it all with much less misery. On the other hand, the unmitigated suffering endemic to nature is exactly what would be expected of godless evolution.
(983) Paul never read the gospels
Imagine that you meet a self-proclaimed Christian who states that he has never read the gospels, but instead has only read the Old Testament. You would find this odd, but this is the situation with the principal architect of Christianity, Paul. Paul wrote his letters between about 51 AD and 63 AD before dying around 68 AD. In none of his letters does Paul quote any gospel source, whether it became one of the four selected for the Bible or any of the others that were ultimately rejected. However, he does quote from the Old Testament.
It’s not that Paul neglected to read the gospels, it’s just that he died before they were composed. This creates two problems for Christianity- Paul was relying on visions and inner voices and the hearsay of others to form his image of Jesus, not a written source that would have received some degree of fact checking. Also, because the canonical gospels were written after his death, it is highly likely that they were written to conform to the content of Paul’s letters. This would imply that the gospels suffer from questionable authenticity since they were shoehorned into a doctrine consistent with Paul’s theology.
For Paul to have been a legitimate flag-bearer for Christianity, it would have been much better if (1) he had been one of Jesus’s disciples, or (2) he had been an eye-witness to the events in Jesus’s life, or (3) he had knowledge of the events in Jesus’s life though the gospels. Because none of these conditions existed, it is questionable if Paul can be relied upon to transmit any legitimate truths about Christianity. It is more probable that his effect was to distort the message of Jesus rather than to illuminate it.
(984) Christianity suppressed medical progress
In line with its false promise of faith healing, Christianity opposed and hindered progress in the medical field for many centuries, resulting in the avoidable suffering and death of millions of people. All of this was because of a false belief in the supernatural powers of an imaginary being. The following is taken from:
To sum up, the Church has opposed all manner of advance in medicine. It suppressed the rational medicine of the ancient world, destroyed medical books, and promoted its own pseudo-medicine based on supernaturalism. It burned medical researchers and other proto-scientists as heretics. It opposed anatomical research and taught that illness was caused by sin. It denied medical assistance to millions, including surgery, inoculation, anaesthetics and prophylaxis. It promoted a body of falsehoods about the medical consequences of various forms of sexual activity, and has been prepared to see people die rather than contravene the word of God by permitting medical assistance. Elsewhere (pages 357- 363) we have seen that it has a poor record in respect to the treatment of the sick, notably the mentally ill, the deaf, the physically handicapped, lepers, women in labour, indeed anyone who was unlucky enough to became ill or injured. In classical Rome life expectancy had been 50-60 years. After a thousand years of Christian hegemony it had halved to around 25-30 years.
For the 1,500 years that the Church dominated medicine it made virtually no advance whatsoever. Indeed, almost all major advances were made despite its efforts. They were made by heretics, by Muslims, by Jews, or were imported from non-believers outside Christendom. For centuries the only medical advances within Christendom were made by enemies of the Church like Paracelsus , or those who ignored its restrictions, like Leonardo da Vinci. The Enlightenment brought medicine to many who had been ignored or maltreated by the Church, notably the insane, the old, the blind, the deaf and the congenitally deformed. The Enlightenment also triggered an interest in public health, hygiene and infant mortality. The Church’s traditional position on many medical matters was challenged by freethinkers: first by humanists, then by deists, then by atheists. The greatest Christian contributions came from Quakers and from occasional maverick believers who were prepared to defy their Churches.
The most curious thing of all is that senior churchmen seem always to have had at least an inkling about the efficacy of scientific medicine. During the many centuries that they were denying medical help to others, many bishops, cardinals and popes retained their own personal Jewish physicians.
If Christianity was true, then the opposition to making scientific progress in medical affairs would not have had any real consequence, as illness would have responded to prayer. But, because the actual consequences were severe, it convincingly reveals that Christianity is false.
(985) Evolution of Marian myths
A template for how religions develop, mature, and evolve is the doctrine involving Mary, the mother of Jesus. Although some Christian denominations considered her to be nothing more than a vessel for gestating Jesus, the Roman Catholic Church and others saw her in an expanding light, propelling her to within a whisker of being divine herself. Much of the mythology that surrounded her had the earmarks of pagan divinity. The following is taken from:
There is no suggestion in the Bible and no evidence anywhere else that Mary’s life ended in any way other than death. In early centuries there was no doubt about it: Mary had died like other human beings. St Augustine mentioned her death explicitly: “Mary, born of Adam, died because of sin”*. For almost 2,000 years Christian scholars have disputed the site of her grave. Some have favoured Jerusalem, others Ephesus. But there also arose a story that she had fallen asleep in some secret location, and was still hibernating in some hidden corner. This idea, that Mary had not died, seems to have arisen in the fourth century. The earliest, apocryphal, sources date from then. In any case the story became popular in the East and from it developed the doctrine of Mary’s Dormition, literally “Mary’s falling asleep”.
Late in the sixth century the Feast of the Dormition arrived in the West. Discarding the apocryphal sources, the real argument for Mary’s avoidance of death appears to have been based on St Augustine’s link between sex, sin and death. If Mary had been free of the taint of sex and sin, she would not have needed to die, because death is caused by sin. Slowly the story changed so that she was not asleep on Earth. Rather, she had ascended bodily into Heaven. Thus by the ninth century the Dormition was changing into the Assumption.
Protestants originally rejected the Assumption, but some have changed their minds. The feast of the Assumption was dropped from the Book of Common Prayer in 1549 but is observed locally by some Anglicans. That Mary ascended, body and soul into Heaven was defined as dogma for the Roman Church by Pius XII in his bull Munificentissimus deus in 1950. In the bull he referred to eighth century sources, but not the apocryphal writings on which they were based. His Holiness also omitted to explain how this dogma can be squared with the hundreds of miracle-working bones from Mary’s body, preserved in church reliquaries around Europe.
The Eastern Churches still refer to the Dormition, but the doctrine has never been well defined, and many Orthodox Christians now believe in Mary’s bodily Assumption into Heaven, though some promptly stopped believing in it when the Roman Church declared it to be dogma in 1950*. Many nonconformist sects regard the Assumption as an invention of the Roman Church formulated to support the cult of the Virgin.
(986) Philo of Alexandria
One man who stands out as disproving Christianity as much as anyone could is Philo of Alexandria. For several reasons:
1) Philo was born in 25BCE and lived until 50AD and never mentioned Jesus (the man) at all, and if anybody would have mentioned Jesus, it would have been Philo.
2) Philo believed in The Logos, which was essentially Christianity’s Jesus, but wasn’t Jesus the man. This was similar to the version of Jesus that Paul believed in, which was a spiritual, immaterial Jesus.
3) Like the version of Jesus that Paul believed in, The Logos existed in ‘the heavens.’
4) This belief of Philo as documented confirms the mythicist evidence that pre-Christian Jews already believed in a celestial deity that lived in outer space, which supports the current mainstream mythicist conclusion that Paul was only talking about Jesus as a celestial entity (basically an archangel of the Jewish god Yahweh).
5) Philo was a devout practicing Jew who based everything in his life on the Old Testament, or Septuagint (Greek translation) and considering who he was and his writings, he never mentioned Joshua (Jesus) as a man who walked the Earth.
In Dr. Richard Carrier’s book On The Historicity Of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason For Doubt (page 200, element 40)
“Element 40: In fact, the christian idea of a pre-existing spiritual son of God call the Logos, Who is God’s true high priest in heaven, was also not a novel idea but already held by some pre-Christian Jews; and the preexistence spiritual son of God had already been explicitly connected with a celestial Jesus figure in the OT (discussed in Element 6), and therefore some Jews already believed there was a supernatural son of God named Jesus– because Paul’s contemporary Philo interprets the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah 6.12 in just such a way. This is a prophecy about a high priest crowned king in heaven named ‘Jesus Rising’, God’s servant, who will ‘rise’ from below and be given godly authority and somehow be involved in cleansing the world of sin.
As discussed in Element 6, in Zechariah 6 we have a man named Jesus being crowned king, ‘rising’ from his place below, and building up God’s house, which is a feasible description of our Jesus; and this same Jesus appearing in Zechariah 6 also appears in Zechariah 3, where he is given supreme authority over God’s domain (just as our Jesus was), and somehow ends all sins in a single day (just as our Jesus does) and this same Jesus is in both passages called a high priest (as was our Jesus). Discussing this Jesus figure in Zechariah, Philo argues:
‘Behold the man named Rising!’ is a very novel appellation indeed, if you consider it as spoken of a man who is compounded of body and soul. But if you look upon it as applied to that incorporeal being who is none other than the divine image, you will then agree that the name of ‘Rising’ has been given to him with great felicity. For the father of the universe has caused him to rise up as the eldest son, whom, in another passage, he calls the firstborn. And he who is thus born, imitates the ways of his father.
In the same book, Philo says that even if no one is ‘worthy to be called a Son of God’, we should still ‘labor earnestly to be adorned according to his firstborn Logos, the eldest of his angels, the ruling archangel of many names’. Elsewhere Philo adds that ‘there are two Temples of God, and one is this cosmos, wherein the High Priest is his Firstborn Son, the divine Logos’ (whom Philo elsewhere identifies as the primordial ‘image of God’).”
So what we have here is a religion that nobody follows today, but that is strikingly similar to Christianity if you remove the Gospel stories about Jesus being human, having a family, a virgin birth, 12 disciples, Pontius Pilate, and everything else in the gospels.
What is important is that we have evidence of people believing in a celestial Jesus before the gospels and Paul’s letters were written. What they believed back then is identical to what Christians would believe today if they just read Paul’s letters and not the gospels.
This is a convincing demonstration that Christianity is a false religion and that what contemporary Christians believe is a mythical earthly history attached after the fact to a belief in a mythical spiritual being.
(987) God aggrandizes himself at the expense of mortals
In John 9:1-3, we read:
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
It is certain that most Christians reading this passage quickly gloss over it and fail to see what it implies- that God made a person blind from birth so that years later Jesus could show off his powers. At the very least, this is quite unethical. This would be like deliberately trapping somebody in a well and then freeing him to the accolades of admiring spectators.
(988) Jesus, the carpenter
It should seem obvious that if a god came to the Earth to deliver some message, he would do it in post haste. But the story of Jesus tells us that there was a 30-year delay after his arrival and the beginning of anything dealing with the reason why he came. What is even more unusual is the fact that he worked at least 18 years as a carpenter, or maybe just a day laborer. The following is taken from:
From age 12 to 30, Jesus worked in Nazareth as a carpenter. “Is not this the carpenter?” say the astonished crowds when he begins to preach.
The word used for Jesus’ profession in the original Greek is tekton. The traditional translation is “carpenter.” But most contemporary scholars say it’s more likely a general craftsman; some even translate it as “day laborer.”
A tekton would have made doors, tables, lamp stands and plows. But he probably also built stone walls and helped with house construction.
It was tough work that meant lugging tools, wood and stones all over Galilee. Jesus doesn’t simply stride onto the world stage after having dreamily examined a piece of wood when the mood suited him. For 18 years, he worked—and worked hard.
This might have been God’s way of doing things, but it seems unusual that so much time would transpire while Jesus was just doing a mundane job with no significance to his ultimate mission. On the other hand, if Jesus was just a regular human, then working as he did in his father’s business makes perfect sense.
(989) Book of Acts modified to make peace with Rome
The final quarter of the Book of Acts deals with Paul’s trial in Rome, but while the author (and generally everybody else) knew that Paul was executed by the Romans, the author bent over backwards to make it look like the Romans wanted to release him. This is a clear case of massaging history for a political purpose. It mirrors the fictional story of Pilate washing his hands before releasing Jesus to be crucified.
One of Acts’ overall concerns is to make clear that Christianity posed no threat to the authority of the Romans. Hence, although the author could not — against the obvious truth — conclude the book by having Paul set free from Roman captivity, he does his best to insinuate that this is what the Romans wanted. At 28:17-19 he goes so far as to make Paul say as much (‘the Romans, who, when they had examined me, desired to set me at liberty’) and to make him claim that he had to appeal to stand trial in Caesar’s court in Rome only in order to protect himself from hostile Jews in Judea. In his invaluable commentary on Acts — its seventh and final edition appeared in 1977, two years after the author’s death — Ernst Haenchen observes that even the account in earlier chapters of the book of Acts itself fails to bear this out; for only those Romans who do not have authority to decide Paul’s case are there represented as favouring his acquittal. Thus Claudius Lysias found him innocent (23:29), but, as a subordinate official, was obliged to send him to the governor Felix for trial. Later, Felix’ successor Festus declared him innocent (25:18. 25 and 26:31 1) only after the appeal to Rome had taken the case out of his hands. It is, then, clear what the author of Acts wants us to believe, and equally clear that he was not able to make the evidence add up to it. Moreover, Paul’s arrest and the proceedings against him are, for Acts, no minor matter, but occupy the whole of the final quarter of the book (chapters 21 to 28).
In the end, Christianity became Romanized because it’s only pathway to survival was through Rome. Although Jesus and his followers were inveterate Jews, what would eventually be built on his name became indistinguishable from a pagan religion.
(990) Giordano Bruno
Another person who demonstrates the sheer absurdity and irrelevancy of Christianity is Giordano Bruno.
For several reasons Giordano Bruno shows us that if Christianity were true then it wouldn’t have had to resort to such a despicable campaign to silence him, with methods that we recognize today as both evil and unjust.
As explained in Wikipedia:
“Giordano Bruno (Italian: [dʒorˈdano ˈbruno]; Latin: Iordanus Brunus Nolanus; 1548 – 17 February 1600), born Filippo Bruno, was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, and astrologer. He is celebrated for his cosmological theories, which went even further than the then novel Copernican model. He proposed that the stars were just distant suns surrounded by their own exoplanets and raised the possibility that these planets could even foster life of their own (a philosophical position known as cosmic pluralism). He also insisted that the universe is in fact infinite and could have no celestial body at its “center”.
Beginning in 1593, Bruno was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition on charges including denial of several core Catholic doctrines (including Eternal Damnation, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the virginity of Mary, and Transubstantiation). Bruno’s pantheism was also a matter of grave concern. The Inquisition found him guilty, and in 1600 he was burned at the stake in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori. After his death he gained considerable fame, being particularly celebrated by 19th- and early 20th-century commentators who regarded him as a martyr for science, although historians have debated the extent to which his heresy trial was a response to his astronomical views or to other aspects of his philosophy and theology. Bruno’s case is still considered a landmark in the history of free thought and the emerging sciences.”
So what does this tell us?:
1) Bruno was silenced for speaking about something that was true, while Christianity flexed its muscles to enforce lies.
– Christianity only exists today because it silences and punishes the truth.
2) Though he was tortured for many years and painfully put to death, Bruno professed his love for God and his faith right until the end.
– If Christianity and it’s predecessors didn’t destroy freethought and philosophical thinking for so many millennia then people would have figured out the truth a long time ago (that almost everything about Christianity is a lie).
– Bruno was so indoctrinated that he couldn’t just keep his mouth shut, and his faith blinded him to make stupid decisions, thinking that there was a magical sky deity that would look after him and that cared about him.
3) People are misguided to think that Christianity was created and lead by loving and caring people who followed the instruction of a loving, caring deity.
– There is nothing loving or caring about torturing people for using logic or scientific innovation and then burning them to death.
– Not only is this evidence that a divine loving deity doesn’t exist, but that if it did exist then it either doesn’t care or it enjoys human suffering.
4) Giordano Bruno proves to us that by speaking the truth to believers in religion only causes them to angrily express their cognitive dissonance.
– If believers weren’t conditioned to ignore evidence and have a psychological dependency on living a lie that has been heavily force-fed to them, then believers would be able to accept the truth.
5) As we know from science and evidence, the theories and envisioning of the cosmos that Bruno had, when proven later by science, proved Genesis in the Bible to be false.
– Genesis, like most everything else in the Bible, is shown to be scientifically and historically false.
6) If God is as Christians believe, then he watched all of this happening, knowing Bruno’s theories were correct, but did nothing to change the minds of his accusers.
– God was the witness sitting in the court room who had exculpatory evidence that would have set the criminal free, but simply sat there in silence as he watched the innocent person sent to the stake.
In conclusion, the history of Giordano Bruno proved:
(1) The Bible to be unscientific
(2) Christianity to be morally bankrupt
(3) A supreme moral and caring entity to be nonexistent
(991) Jesus story rehashed from prior myths
It was common among pagan religions to borrow themes from previous religions, owing to the fact that most people were pre-conditioned to assign certain quintessential characteristics to divine figures. So any new god would invariably take on the familiar elements or else he would be relegated to the dust heap of history. Of course, Christianity fell into this same regime. The following lists a few of these carry-overs:
- Asklepios healed the sick, raised the dead, and was known as the savior and redeemer.
- Hercules was born of a divine father and mortal mother and was known as the savior of the world. Prophets foretold his birth and claimed he would be a king, which started a search by a leader who wanted to kill him. He walked on water and told his mother, “Don’t cry, I’m going to heaven.” when he died. As he passed he said, “It is finished.”
- Dionysus was literally the “Son of God”, was born of a virgin mother, and was commonly depicted riding a donkey. He healed the sick and turned water to wine. He was killed but was resurrected and became immortal. His greatest accomplishment was his own death, which delivers humanity itself.
- Osiris did the same things. He was born of a virgin, was considered the first true king of the people, and when he died he rose from the grave and went to heaven.
- Osiris’s son, Horus, was known as the “light of the world”, “The good shepherd”, and “the lamb”. He was also referred to as, “The way, the truth, and the life.” His symbol was a cross.
- Mithra’s birthday was celebrated on the 25th of December, his birth was witnessed by local shepherds who brought him gifts, had 12 disciples, and when he was done on earth he had a final meal before going up to heaven. On judgment day he’ll return to pass judgment on the living and the dead. The good will go to heaven, and the evil will die in a giant fire. His holiday is on Sunday (he’s the Sun God). His followers called themselves “brothers”, and their leaders “fathers”. They had baptism and a meal ritual where symbolic flesh and blood were eaten. Heaven was in the sky, and hell was below with demons and sinners.
- Krishna had a miraculous conception that wise men were able to come to because they were guided by a star. After he was born an area ruler tried to have him found and killed. His parents were warned by a divine messenger, however, and they escaped and was met by shepherds. The boy grew up to be the mediator between God and man.
- Buddha’s mother was told by an angel that she’d give birth to a holy child destined to be a savior. As a child he teaches the priests in his temple about religion while his parents look for him. He starts his religious career at roughly 30 years of age and is said to have spoken to 12 disciples on his deathbed. One of the disciples is his favorite, and another is a traitor. He and his disciples abstain from wealth and travel around speaking in parables and metaphors. He called himself “the son of man” and was referred to as, “prophet”, “master”, and “Lord”. He healed the sick, cured the blind and deaf, and he walked on water. One of his disciples tried to walk on water as well but sunk because his faith wasn’t strong enough.
- Apollonius of Tyana (a contemporary of Jesus) performed countless miracles (healing sick and crippled, restored sight, casted out demons, etc.) His birth was of a virgin, foretold by an angel. He knew scripture really well as a child. He was crucified, rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples to prove his power before going to heaven to sit at the right hand of the father. He was known as, “The Son of God”.
These stories were in circulation hundreds if not thousands of years before Jesus. When Christianity migrated from Jerusalem to Rome over the first several centuries, it was inevitable that it would pick up the trademarks of the pre-existing pagan religions. It is also certain that this fact de-legitimizes Christianity as being a unique truth within a sea of otherwise mythical faiths.
(992) Gospel authors were unfamiliar with local geography
One way to evaluate the authenticity of an historical account is to check the accuracy of geographical references in the text. In the case of the gospels, this is a red flag. The following was taken from:
The Gospels were written, not by people from Galilee who knew Jesus, but by Greek authors living hundreds of miles away from where the purported events took place who were more concerned with the message of their story rather than getting basic history or geography right. Reading the Gospels we find that he Gospel authors were unfamiliar with the basic geography and history of the region, thus left out information a native Galilean would never have accidentally omitted.
As such, they wrote down their versions of these events (most likely) from hearsay and oral tradition, but themselves had not been witness to the events they purport to report, which explains why they get so many historical details wrong (such as setting the town of Nazareth in the wrong historical time-line, placing it in a time when it didn’t yet exist) or simply neglecting to mention pivotal historical locations (such as the aforementioned Sepphoris [this city was the crown jewel of Galilee but never mentioned in the gospels] or the second Jewish Temple in Egypt at Leontopolis).
This contradicts the popular conviction of the Christian apologist that the Gospels were written in such temporal and geographical proximity to the events they record that it would have been almost impossible to fabricate events. As we have seen throughout, the Gospel authors frequently employ literary methods of storytelling, such as remolding popular myths to fit their own religious messages and viewpoints, frequently write in third person narrative voice, use self-reflexive techniques which make the text appear self affirming, put their words into the mouth of Jesus, and all this goes a long way to suggest the Gospel authors were, in fact, writing undeniable works of fiction.
The failure of the gospels to mention Sepphoris is tantamount to penning a history of American presidents without mentioning Washington D.C. or a history of Hitler without mentioning Berlin. The geographical mistakes in the gospels are a sure sign that the authors were not only non-eyewitnesses, but also detached from access to reliable sources for their narratives.
(993) Gospels have no Hebrew or Aramaic sources
The gospels were written in Greek, not the language spoken by Jesus or his followers. But the gospel authors, realizing this problem, tried to authenticate their accounts by inserting Hebrew or Aramaic references- to disastrous results. The following it taken from:
Now it is well known that there is no Aramaic or Hebrew source for the synoptic tradition, something which Christians never seem to think twice about, but such a fact should cause us to pause. Without an original source written in the language of Jesus, we have little reason to assume any of the Gospels are authentic sayings. Even so, this has not prevented Christians from attempting to make the Gospels appear “authentic” by rewriting them to contain Hebrew or Aramaic grammar and vocabulary. Randel Helms outlines this showing how certain original Greek phrases in the Gospels were changed to Aramaic to sound more authentic, but then the Aramaic was changed to Hebrew as an apologetics ploy to avoid linguistic confusion which would arise through use of the Aramaic. In fact, this is such an important point in exposing the Gospels as works of fiction that I feel obliged to quote a large section of Randel Helms’ work since he explains things far more judiciously than I could. Again, we come back to the last words of Christ.
Mark presents these words in self-consciously realistic fashion, shifting from his usual Greek into the Aramaic of Jesus, transliterated into Greek letters: Eloi eloi lama sabachthanei (My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?—Mark 15:34). Mark gives us no hint that Jesus is “quoting” Psalm 22:1; we are clearly to believe that we are hearing the grieving outcry of a dying man. But the author of Matthew, who used Mark as one of his major written sources, is self-consciously “literary” in both this and yet another way: though using Mark as his major source for the passion story, Matthew is fully aware that Mark’s crucifixion narrative is based largely on the Twenty-second Psalm, fully aware, that is, that Mark’s Gospel is part of a literary tradition (this description would not be Matthew’s vocabulary, but his method is nonetheless literary).
Aware of the tradition, Matthew concerned himself with another kind of “realism” or verisimilitude. When the bystanders heard Jesus crying, according to Mark, to “Eloi,” they assumed that “he is calling Elijah [Eleian]” (Mark 15:35). But Matthew knew that no Aramaic speaker present at the Cross would mistake a cry to God (Eloi) for one to Elijah—the words are too dissimilar. So Matthew self-consciously evoked yet another literary tradition in the service both of verisimilitude and of greater faithfulness to the Scriptures: not the Aramaic of Psalm 22:1 but the Hebrew, which he too transliterated into Greek—Eli Eli(Matt. 27:46)—a cry which could more realistically be confused for “Eleian.”
Matthew self-consciously appeals both to literary tradition—a “purer” text of the Psalms—and to verisimilitude as he reshapes Mark, his literary source. The author of Mark was apparently unaware that his account of the last words was edifying fiction… but Matthew certainly knew that he was creating a linguistic fiction in his case (Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Hebrew), though just as clearly he felt justified in doing so, given his conviction that since Psalm 22 had “predicted” events in the crucifixion, it could be appealed to even in the literary sense of one vocabulary rather than another, as a more “valid” description of the Passion.
Continuing on, Helms identifies similar literary emendation in Luke, observing:
Luke is even more self-consciously literary and fictive than Matthew in his crucifixion scene. Though, as I have said, he knew perfectly well what Mark had written as the dying words of Jesus, he created new ones more suitable to his understanding of what the death of Jesus meant—an act with at least two critical implications: First, that he has thus implicitly declared Mark’s account a fiction; second, that he self-consciously presents his own as a fiction.
For like Matthew, Luke in 23:46 deliberately placed his own work in the literary tradition by quoting Psalm 30 (31):5 in the Septuagint as the dying speech of Jesus: “Into your hands I will commit my spirit” (eis cheiras sou parathesomai to pneuma mou), changing the verb from future to present (paratithemai) to suit the circumstances and leaving the rest of the quotation exact. This is self-conscious creation of literary fiction, creation of part of a narrative scene for religious and moral rather than historical purposes.[xvi]
What this analytical approach shows is that the basic grammar and vocabulary of the text has been manipulated in an attempt to try to make it appear historically valid. Yet the leftover discrepancies reveal a rather slapdash approach where one author is attempting to correct the mistakes of a previous author, proving that the Gospels were written, rewritten, and rewritten yet again only to be (in many cases) redacted by later evangelical authors before they were ever considered finalized. As such, we have no reason to believe that they are not literary fabrications.
Christianity would have been far better served if only one gospel had been placed in the Bible while declaring the others to be heretical. Placing all four in the canon results is what we see above- clear signs of manipulation and fabrication, showing that Christianity is built on a very unreliable foundation.
(994) Bible is self-reflective and completely insular
One of the problems with the Bible as presenting factual history is that it is embarrassingly self-confirming while at the same time lacking any external support. The following is taken from:
How do we know that the Gospel story is true? Because it confirms the prophecies of the Old Testament. But how do we know that the Old Testament prophecies are true? Because they are confirmed by the Gospel story. Evidence, so called, is bounced back and forth between the testaments like a tennis ball; and no other evidence is given us. The two testaments form a double mirror, each reflecting the other but neither the world outside.
Let’s compare the Bible to Dickens’ Great Expectations. Both tell an interesting story that successfully links up elements throughout, but both also lack any external corroborating support from disinterested parties. Of course, Dickens didn’t claim that his story was true, but that’s the point we are making with the Bible. It claims to tell of fantastic events that somehow escaped the notice of objective bystanders, all the while manufacturing dozens of obviously fake prophetic links. These fake links create an ersatz image of authenticity- an authenticity that withers due to the lack of any links to the outside world.
(995) Paul was a paranoid schitzotypal personality
If you read the letters of Paul (his genuine letters, not the others which were forgeries) you won’t see a wise man, or a rational man, but instead you will see someone that by today’s standards would be described as a ‘schitzotypal personality’.
If you read Paul’s letters you will read the words of a man who says that there are literally invisible demons and monsters all around us, manipulating us and playing mindgames and affecting our lives. This is not the mindset of a rational, or sane human being, but instead the words of someone who should not be taken seriously, or looked up to as someone of any authority, wisdom, or life path that people should be following.
As Richard Carrier explains in his book On The Historicity Of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason For Doubt (Element 15 pages 129-30):
“Accordingly, in antiquity, where schitzotypals would routinely be regarded as prophets and holy men (and not seen as insane, as they are in modern cultures), we can expect schitzotypals will actually gravitate into religious cults that socially integrate them, or even grant them influence and status. The availability of niches of strong social support for schitzotypals would explain why in antiquity there were few reported cases of psychosis (and why hallucination was not regarded as a major index of insanity except when wholly crippling or conjoined with fever), and why miracles and visions (not just Christian and Jewish, but pagan as well) were so frequently reported and widely believed to be genuine. Obviously schizotypals would prefer the company of people who take them seriously. As a result, they will tend to be found in religious movements that did not originate within the governing elite (where Greek ideals of scientific rationalism largely prevailed). In fact we should expect the leaders and originators of revelatory movements such as Christianity to have commonly been schitzotypal. Afterall, where else would we find them?
Paul says that Jesus talked to him through revelation (which is another way of saying his imaginary friend was telepathically sending him messages when reading a book).
Like 2 Corinthians 12:7
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”
2 Corinthians 2:11
“Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
So we have a man who thinks that magical forces are everywhere plotting against him and who has space entities telepathically communicating to him when he reads books.
One has to wonder who actually was crazier- was it Paul, was it David Koresh, or was it Charles Manson?
A religion created by a crazy person is not a religion that could be true, if everything that they are basing it on are voices in their head that talk to them and tell them what to do. And keep in mind, Christianity without Paul would be simply a minor faction within the broad Jewish faith spectrum.
(996) Mark plagiarizes Esther
The author of the first gospel (Mark) used material from the Old Testament to construct his narrative. In the following case it is clear that he plagiarized a passage in the Book of Esther. Note the similarities of the following:
Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.
The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet, and as they were drinking wine on the second day, the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”
In the case of Mark, the drunken offer resulted in the beheading of John the Baptist. In the case of Esther, the drunken offer resulted in the impaling of Haman. This is unlikely to be a coincidence and it is another reminder that the gospels are fabricated histories.
(997) Christian racketeering
Racketeering is when organized groups run illegal businesses, known as “rackets,” or when an organized crime ring uses legitimate organizations to embezzle funds. Such activities can have devastating consequences for both public and private institutions. Christianity perfected the use of racketeering to enrich the priestly caste at the expense of the common good. The following is taken from:
The rackets which scandalized medieval Christendom involved much more than the annual tithe, that is, ten per cent of income or produce. Vast tracts of land had been claimed for the Church, accumulated through centuries by death-bed bequests and regal sweeteners or simply stolen from witches and heretics. Not merely peasant farmers but whole towns and cities were subjected to fierce church rents and levies. Newly cleared-land was tithed, as was cut wood and slaughtered livestock. So venal was the clerical system that it extended its grasping hand into every aspect of life.
In an age of endemic violence and early death, payments for marriage, funeral rites, burial and tombs came high and often. Commonly, the largest building in a village, after the church itself, was the barn that held the tithes. Ceremonies throughout the year obligated generous gifts to the clergy. The church hierarchy might dictate – in time of war, pestilence, coronation, etc. – special prayers for which again payments were required. Thus, in 1188, an obligatory levy in England and much of France, was the Saladin tithe, raised to finance the warrior monks off on the Third Crusade. Those who had no wealth to give gave instead their labour, toiling away in fields and vineyards or slaving as kitchen hands or personal servants.
Christian racketeering continues today with pastors and especially televangelists milking vulnerable people of their wealth so that they can live an opulent lifestyle. In essence, Christianity itself is a racket, designed to empower and enrich the people at the top. The believers are unconsciously being mind controlled to believe in something that any unharnessed brain could easily see is false. A true religion would empower, not enslave, minds.
(998) John the Baptist- the Rosetta Stone
One of the keys to unlock the truth about Jesus is to examine the history of John the Baptist, a figure who arguably is much more likely to have been a real person than Jesus. One of the reasons for believing this is that the historian Josephus (37AD to 100 AD) wrote more about John the Baptist than he did about Jesus, and his references to John appear authentic while the references to Jesus appear to be forgeries.
It is interesting that Jesus is portrayed in the gospels as seeking out the baptism of John the Baptist in the River Jordan. This scene is discussed in every gospel except John. Because baptism is a subservient act, it has led many scholars to opine that Jesus started out as a disciple of John’s. This would explain the conundrum of John not following Jesus but continuing his ministry as a separate initiative.
The gospels attempt to paint John the Baptist as being subservient to Jesus in some of the supposed declarations made by John, such as:
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
John 1: 29-31
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
Though later, after his arrest, John is seen to be unsure of Jesus’s status.
When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?'”
Historians suspect that John actually had a larger following than Jesus, and the Book of Acts states that there were still followers of John the Baptist long after his beheading and even after Jesus’s crucifixion.
Acts 19: 1-7
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit whena you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.
In fact, there are still followers of John the Baptist today, under the title of Mandaeans.
If Christianity is to be believed, then John the Baptist would have to had become a disciple of Jesus (not the other way around), and the followers of John should have instantly become disciples of Jesus- after all, they supposedly heard their leader proclaim Jesus as the one for which he was preparing the groundwork. How could anyone have continued to follow John after he declared that Jesus was the one he had been sent to reveal?
The fact that John the Baptist continued to minister, continued to have disciples, and to supposedly later question Jesus’s status is reliable proof that Jesus was not who Christians believe he was. It is instead evidence that the relationship between Jesus and John was fraudulently contorted to make Jesus out to be the supreme prophet. This would be similar to a history being written today about Hitler, but making Himmler the supreme commander of the Third Reich.
(999) Sanitizing Pontius Pilate
Christian mythology made over one of the most brutal tyrants of history, Pontius Pilate, who was the fifth prefect of the Roman province of Judaea from AD 26–36. He served under Emperor Tiberius, and is best known from the biblical account of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. But the gospels, written with the intent to assure Rome that it was not a threat to the empire, made Pilate into a cautious, careful, timid, and conscientious ‘teddy bear.’ To the contrary, Josephus documents that Pilate was ordered back to Rome because he was being too brutal- being too brutal for a Roman prefect is saying an awful lot! The following was taken from:
“Mark virtually invents a new Pilate – a well-meaning weakling solicitous of justice but, as Mark depicts him, intimidated by the chief priests, within his own council chamber and by crowds shouting outside, so that he executes a man he suspects may be innocent.”
– Elaine Pagels (The Origin of Satan, p10)
The ‘weak’ Pilate of Mark grows increasingly more mellow in successive gospels. In Mark 15.14 Pilate appeals to the obdurate Jews not to ‘demand’ the execution of an innocent man. “Why, what evil has he done?” he pleas.
Matthew’s embellished version has the governor “wondering greatly” and receiving advice from his wife who has been enlightened by a dream (!) –
“Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much over him today in a dream”. – 27.19
Matthew has Pilate literally “wash his hands” of the execution (Matthew 27.24), establishing his (and Rome’s) innocence.
Luke’s more protracted ‘trial’ has a vexed Pilate calling for a second opinion from Herod Antipas – who happens to be somewhere across town! He has Pilate even more determined to release JC:
“I find no crime in this man … A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise him and release him.” (Luke 23.4 – 23.22)
John’s Pilate is actually “afraid.” His treatment of the character has the Jews threatening to overrule him!
“Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.” (John 19.12 )
It doesn’t end there. In time, Jesus scribes succeeded in turning Pilate into a Christian (Origen, Hom., in Mat., 35) and – in the case of the Ethiopian Church – a Saint! A supposed ‘letter’ from Pilate to Emperor Tiberius almost converts the old debauchee to Christ (apparently he doesn’t for “fear of the Senate”!
None of this fantastic drama bears the slightest historical scrutiny. Both Josephus and Philo recorded something of the real character of Pontius Pilate:
Philo describes Pilate as a man of “inflexible, stubborn, and cruel disposition” whose administration was characterised by “greed, violence, robbery, assault, abusive behaviour, frequent executions without trial, and endless savage ferocity.”(Embassy to Gaius, 301-2)
Josephus confirms Philo’s judgment, recording several episodes of Pilate’s brutality and contempt for the Jews. In Judea “a great number” were slain protesting an aqueduct. In Samaria, “a great band of horsemen and foot-men … fell upon those that were gotten together”, an incident which provoked protests to Vitellius, Roman Legate of Syria.
Vitellius, rather more sensitive to geopolitical considerations, removed the Prefect who had plundered the province of Judea for a decade.
Pilate returned to obscure retirement in Rome – blissfully unaware of the fame and infamy that awaited him.
Not only was Pilate made to be somebody he was not, but he was caste to play a role in the completely bogus tradition of a Passover prisoner release in response to popular acclamation. The scale of fiction placed on Pilate is breathtaking, and it provides positive evidence that Christianity is a contrived invention of Bronze Age minds.
(1000) Sacrifice of Jesus was plagiarized
Something that non-believers tell Christians often is that Jesus is plagiarized from other religions, or fables and their characters. There are of course multiple examples that demonstrate the plagiarism and it is shocking that they routinely deny it.
What Christians will say in defense of this is “that Jesus and his sacrifice are unique and no one else through history has done such a feat.”
This is completely incorrect and the whole ‘mythical character sacrificing themselves for others’ concept was not anything new. We have multiple examples of this throughout history.
As Dr. Richard Carrier explains in his book On The Historicity Of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason For Doubt (Element 43 page 209-210)
“Even more importantly, ‘substituitionary sacrifice’ was also a well-known religious concept within both pagan and Jewish theology. The idea of a hero standing in for his nation or people (and thus ‘substituting’ for it or them) and voluntarily exchanging his death for their salvation (he dies so they may live) was a common motif in Greco-Roman culture. A prominent example in Roman patriotic history was the legendary general Publius Decius Mus, who fulfilled a formal religious ritual in Roman culture called the devotio, in which a hero is anointed to sacrifice himself in a battle in exchange for the victory of his army (and hence in consequence, the victory, liberty and survival of the Roman people collectively), which is basically what Jesus does (or was understood to have done).
Decius gave his life ‘as though sent from heaven as an expiatory offering for all the wrath of the gods, who would avert the disaster from his own troops and take it to the enemy’. Ancient Greek myth had its equivalent: Codrus, King of Athens, voluntarily gave his life to ensure the salvation of his people in fulfillment of prophecy that if he gave his life, they would be saved: and ‘so the Athenians, by the power of a leader offering himself to death for the salvation of the fatherland, were freed from war’. The Jews embraced the same value system– the Maccabean literature, for example, includes a tale of the seven martyrs who, by giving their lives, save the land, literally atoning for the sins of Israel, and thus becoming a ‘ransom for the sin if our nation’. In fact, Jewish use of human sacrifice as atonement magic appears several times in the OT.”
So there is nothing new about sacrifice in the stories of Jewish tradition and many other religions, but Christians do not believe in many of those stories. However, the ones in the Old Testament demonstrate that the Bible is plagiarizing itself from itself.
An example Carrier gives in his book is King David in 2 Samuel 21:1-14.
2 Samuel 21:8-9
“But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite: And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.”
So the concept of human sacrifice in the gospels is not original. It is another example of plagiarism and another demonstration of how Christianity is an evil, sadistic religion (in this case because it condones human sacrifice) and most definitely demonstrating how Christianity is a false religion.
Follow this link to #1001