# 1001-1200

(1001) All claims of external evidence are easily debunked

You will often hear Christians repeatedly say that “the evidence for Jesus’s existence is overwhelming and undeniable.” In actuality there are only 10 CLAIMS of Jesus, but they are all empty of any substance and all are easily shown to be invalid.

JEWISH TALMUD 400-1200 AD:

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

-Is written hundreds of years later than when Jesus supposedly died.

-The entire history of Jesus is completely inaccurate than the NT version.

-Couldn’t have accurately known anything about Jesus.

-Was sentenced to be stoned to death, but was hanged instead.

-Was sentenced for sorcery, not blasphemy.

-Was executed by Jews, not Romans.

-Wasn’t even written about depicted in the same century as the NT.

TITUS FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS 37-101 CE:

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

-Josephus didn’t believe in Jesus or Christianity and was simply referencing the religion and Hebrew scriptures.

-Josephus was an orthodox Jew, which went completely against the NT.

-This wasn’t written until 94 CE which was 61 years after Jesus supposedly died.

-Scholars have confirmed the Josephus Jesus references to have been forgeries that were inserted over 250 years later.

-Assumed to probably be Eusebius who did the forgeries.

-The specific Jesus references of THE Jesus should have been throughout all of Josephus’ works if Jesus existed.

-The evidence of Josephus’s work regarding Jesus being forged is overwhelming.

-If Josephus was writing about Jesus it doesn’t mean that he thought Jesus existed.

-Josephus didn’t know Jesus.

-Josephus’ father would have known about Jesus, but never wrote about him either.

-Josephus wrote about 20 other people named Joshua (Jesus) in detail.

CELSUS 177 CE:

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

-He’s only talking about the religion of Christianity and how he didn’t believe it and that he was offering what to him was a plausible and actual truth of what he claimed or thought REALLY happened, not what the religion claimed.

-This was over 130 years after Jesus’s supposed death was claimed to have happened.

-This is not an eyewitness account of anything.

-130 years later only claims that there were people named “Christians” but nothing else.

-Celsus was a Christianity critic and thought Christianity was ridiculous.

-This isn’t even within the 1st century.

PLINY THE YOUNGER 61-113 AD:

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

-He never wrote these letters until 110-112 CE. -This is 79 years later from when Jesus was claimed to have been killed.

-Not even in the 1st century.

-He wasn’t born until almost 30 years AFTER Jesus’s supposed death.

-Pliny was talking about CHRISTIANS!

-He’s not talking about Jesus.

-Pliny doesn’t mention “Jesus”. (Joshua, or Yeshua).

-When he mentions “Christ” he’s talking about the HEARSAY that was common knowledge that all Christians said.

-He doesn’t talk about Jesus the man that he knew because of evidence, or that he knew existed, just the “Christ”.

-He isn’t giving us details of Jesus’ life, or saying he was there when he died and saw anything supernatural like even a miracle Jesus was said to have done.

-Is possible that the letter entry about Jesus is a forgery anyway (though only a small possibility).

-Could even have been written in the 15th century (again this is a small theory).

-Pliny’s talking about what a bunch of foolish people Christians are and their foolish belief.

-Jesus was claimed to have died 30 years before Pliny was born and therefore everything he heard was only hearsay.

TACITUS 56-117 CE

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

-Even if Tacitus wrote it, he is still simply repeating what was just common Christian hearsay. (He probably did write it though).

-There is questionable suspicion with the church and how they interacted with Tacitus writings. (Which is why there is a possibility that it was forged).

-Even if the chapter were his actual words, it isn’t evidence because it’s only hearsay.

-There is evidence it could be a forgery even though it is still just common Christian hearsay. (Some evidence of inserted words on top of other words).

-There is evidence that Nero was simply looking for someone to blame and that they might not have even been the Jesus worshippers.

-He is not writing about Jesus the person that he knew or had knowledge of personal information, he is mentioning about Christus from hearsay.

-It’s just talking about early Christians and what they believed and there is nothing to show otherwise.

-The reference still wasn’t discovered until the 15th century.

-Still only the earliest copies made in the 11th century from Christians who had the other copies in their possession for that long.

-The books of Tacitus with the years 29-32 CE are missing while in the possession of the church, which indicates the church had the intent to deceive, hide, and mislead.

-Tacitus made no other references of “Christians” in all of his books.

-The earliest reference of “Christians” was in The Book of Acts in 90-100CE and before then the term didn’t exist.

-“Chrestos” was a very common name back then at that time and the name of a Jewish rebel leader.

-Nero had a reason to lie in order to protect himself, because as some historians state other than Tacitus, that Nero started the fires and simply needed someone to blame.

-Tacitus’s best friend was Pliny the younger who only knew what the Christians believed because he tortured some of them to find out and thought they were crazy and stupid and either Tacitus or Pliny would have exchanged info if one of them had some secret records that nobody mentions or references.

-Tacitus was born in 56 CE and was not an eyewitness to anything, even if Jesus did exist.

-Never wrote anything about Jesus’s life or anything he did, like miracles or coming back from the dead.

-Tacitus doesn’t cite any sources and there isn’t any evidence that he had any sources other than what was common knowledge from hearsay and he doesn’t say anything that is a history of Jesus’s life or anything Jesus supposedly did.

LUCIAN OF SAMOSATA 125-200 CE:

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

-Was written over a 100 years after Jesus’s supposed death.

-Was talking about Christians, not Jesus.

-Lucian wasn’t even born until 125 CE.

-Proves there were Christians 100 years after the date of Jesus’ supposed death but nothing else. (Big deal)

-There was proof of people who believed in Zeus, Odin, and Allah. Lucian was born several years after the time Jesus was supposed to be killed.

-92 years AFTER Jesus supposedly died.

-Lucian wasn’t there.

-Lucian never knew Jesus.

-Everything he knew about Jesus was simply hearsay that he heard from Christians over 130 years later, when he wrote the satire.

-Not only did Lucian think that Christians were idiots, but considered believing in Christianity “a sin against the Greek gods” in his satire.

MARA BAR-SERAPION (sometime written between 73 CE-200 CE):

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

-Doesn’t mention Jesus by name.

-Mentions Socrates and Pythagoras, but not Jesus.

-Was at least bare minimum 40 years later from when Jesus was supposedly killed.

-Cult leaders are not kings.

-The fact of the time frame of Socrates and Pythagoras are 5th century and 6th century BCE (which are in the same paragraph as the “wise Jewish king” reference.

-Even if he was referencing Jesus it would just be HEARSAY and nothing else.

-It could have been written anywhere from 73 CE-200 CE.

PHLEGON 2nd century CE:

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

-Written over 100 years after Jesus’s supposed death.

-Only requoted and rewritten by devout Christian followers.

THALLUS in 52 CE:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thallus_(historian)

-This blackening of the sky is the same as the dead walking into town and rising from the grave, they never happened.

-The gospel of John doesn’t mention the sky going black, but more importantly is the fact that Paul never mentions it either.

-Josephus never references either any of Thallus’ work or anything about the eclipse, or the walking dead.

-This record of the work of Thallus is nothing but a retelling done almost 200 years later of Sextus Julius Africanus.

-Even if there was an eclipse of some kind within a few years of 33 CE, is only evidence that there was an eclipse.

SUETONIUS 69-122 CE:

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

-“Chresto” not “Christo” which is what it should have been, simply meant “slaves”, or “useful”.

-I Claudius wasn’t written until 110 CE.

-Nero 16 in The Twelve Caesars wasn’t published until 121 CE.

-These are still written in 2nd century only and not the 1st.

-Still based entirely on Christian hearsay about what Christians believed (not based on evidence or anything that can be proven).

-Claudius reigned from 41-54 CE.

-Wasn’t emperor when Jesus was supposedly crucified.

-Even if Claudius happened to be alive at the time of Jesus death in 30-33 CE, Suetonius still only makes a reference to nothing that can be proven was a reference to Jesus, but of CHRISTIANS which Suetonius describes as lowly immoral vermin basically.

-64 years later this was written about the event and about a meaningless verse talking about a bunch of people that both Nero and Suetonius thought of as idiots and lowlifes (the Christians he referenced).

-80 years after Jesus supposedly died.

In summary,  nothing of any substance is given as evidence. This thoroughly debunks all claims of extra-biblical “evidence”. There should be pages and pages of collaborating evidence, but there is absolutely nothing. Once again, this shows that Christianity is almost undeniably a false religion.

(1002) Old Testament reveals unhealthy attitudes toward sexual matters

There are many examples in the Old Testament of unhealthy attitudes toward sexual matters that should embarrass any Christian apologist.  To wit, the apologist must explain why modern society has a healthier approach to these issues than God himself.  The following is taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2016/02/15-screwed-up-catholic-ideas-that-may.html

But theological debates aside, we’re talking about a story from a sexual dark age. In the Old Testament, a man can freely fuck his wife’s slave or keep a harem of his own, including girls he acquired as war booty. Israelite soldiers collect foreskins the way renegade soldiers collected trophy ears during the Vietnam War. Women who can’t get pregnant eat mandrake roots, like in Harry Potter. A guy gets his descendants permanently cursed by seeing the dick of his passed-out-drunk father. God is cool with a band of Semites deceiving and then killing all the men from another tribe because one is too interested in one of their sisters.

The Old Testament is a font of evidence alerting any clear-thinking person that the God created by the Jews is not a real entity, but just an imaginary deity who failed to transcend the limited depth of Iron Age knowledge, understanding, morality, ethics, and wisdom.

(1003) Matthew and Luke have different emphasis

When we compare Matthew’s version of the Sermon on the Mount with Luke’s version (on flat land, no less), we see a difference in their agenda.  Compare the following scriptures:

Matthew 5:3

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 6:20

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Luke 6:21

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.

Whereas Matthew is focusing on spiritual matters, Luke is focusing on physical needs. This is not a subtle difference and it can be certain that if Jesus actual made these statements, that he made them in either one of these ways, but not both.  What this comparison reveals is what many scholars have assumed- that the gospel writers inserted their own agendas into their accounts.  Therefore, the gospels are more a reflection of the author’s motivation than an objective factual history.

(1004) Modern technology versus Jesus’s miracles

What humans have achieved goes far beyond what Jesus accomplished despite his alleged inherent advantage of being the omnipotent supreme deity of the universe.  The following website lists some of these comparisons:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/02/jesus-magic-not-impressive-compared-to-what-technology-gives-us/?ref_widget=related&ref_blog=crossexamined&ref_post=10-reasons-the-crucifixion-story-makes-no-sense-2

In the New Testament, Jesus does lots of impressive miracles.

More precisely, they were impressive for the time. Today we surpass them with technology so regularly that we often don’t notice. Let’s compare the miracles of Jesus with what modern technology can do.

Jesus walked on water. We can’t walk on water, but we can travel on the water in a vast array of boats, both large and small, powered and wind driven. For example, an aircraft carrier can carry 5000 people, sail at 30+ knots, and operate for 20 years without refueling. We can travel under the water with submarines. We can fly above the water with airplanes. We have even gone to the moon.

Feeding of the 5000. We can’t feed people with magic, but we can still feed lots of people. Norman Borlaug has saved perhaps one billion lives from starvation because of improved strains of wheat, for which he won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. The Haber process, which turns nitrogen into ammonia, produces fertilizer that is estimated “to be responsible for sustaining one-third of the Earth’s population.”

Cursing the fig tree. Jesus was hungry, but it wasn’t the season for figs. Nevertheless, Jesus cursed a fig tree, and it withered. While we can’t destroy trees with magic, we’ve got the destruction thing figured out. We have herbicide that kills plants. We have chain saws and bulldozers. We have dynamite and hydrogen bombs.

Water to wine. If the point here is wine as a safe drink (ground water can be polluted, and the alcohol in wine reduces the chance of bacterial contamination), modern societies provide safe water and sewers for waste.

Miraculous catch of fish. We can’t catch fish with magic, but modern fishing trawlers do a good job at catching lots of fish. They do perhaps too good a job, andaquaculture now produces as much tonnage as wild capture to reduce humanity’s footprint.

Calming the storm. We can’t stop storms, but we have gotten pretty good at prediction. We’re able to minimize the loss of life from disasters like the 1900 Galveston hurricane. Technology can also warn of tornadoes and tsunamis.

Prophecies. Jesus predicted his death and his second coming, but pause for a moment to consider this quote from Shakespeare:

Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;

But will they come when you do call for them?

Jesus made prophecies, and so can any man, but do they actually come true? His predictions of a second coming within the lifetimes of some witnesses didn’t come to pass. His prediction of his death is part of a story that we have little reason to see as history.

Healing miracles. Jesus did many of these (I explored the healing miracles here). For example, he healed lepers. We don’t heal lepers with magic but with antibiotics. Leprosy is no longer much of a problem, as is the case for smallpox, bubonic plague, and polio.

Jesus cast out demons. We don’t, because we know they don’t cause disease. We can’t cure all illnesses, but we do a better job now that we’re focused on the actual causes.

Jesus restored sight and hearing. Here again, we can’t prevent all such cases or cure all that occur, but medicine has made remarkable improvements in health.

Jesus raised the dead. We don’t use magic, but modern medicine has returned thousands from conditions that just a century ago would be considered “dead.”

What Jesus didn’t do. Jesus didn’t do any miracles against which we can parallel civil engineering such as roads, bridges, and buildings. Or communication—telephones and the internet. Or the textile industry or the energy industry or the chemical industry or the transportation industry.

What Jesus did was party stunts. From helping God create the universe, he was reduced to doing magic for small audiences and today just appears in toast. Many of his tricks weren’t even all that new. For example, Greek mythology had the Oenotropae who could change water into wine. If Jesus were the real thing, unlike the claims of other religions, he could’ve created a supernova or terraformed Israel to replace deserts with farmland. Or maybe something that would’ve left a record that we could see today.

The miracles of Jesus are not impressive by today’s standards, but it is understandable that the people of the First Century could not imagine the world that would exist 20 centuries in the future, so when they made up stories about their imagined divine messiah, they rendered him to look rather mundane to modern eyes.

(1005) The Bible plagiarizes itself

Isaiah 37 and 2 Kings 19 are essentially identical. The Book of Isaiah was written between 701 BC and 681 BC, while the Book of 2 Kings was written between 562 BC and 538 BC.  Therefore, these two books were written by two different persons, so obviously the author of 2 Kings copied Isaiah.  Here is a sample of both chapters:

Isaiah 37:1-4

When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord.  He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.  They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them.  It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the Lord your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives.”

2 King 19:1-4

When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord.  He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.  They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them.  It may be that the Lord your God will hear all the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the Lord your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives.”

This is not a symptom of a book that is inspired by a god, but rather what would be expected of a book written by men, some of whom used unscrupulous means to flesh out their product.

(1006) Changing the Sabbath to align with pagan practice

A strong piece of evidence that Christianity was influenced and revised to resemble the existing pagan religions of its time is the fact that the Sabbath day, which was practiced by Jesus and all Jews from from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, was changed to Sunday by Christians in the early 2nd Century.  This was in violation of the 4th Commandment:

Exodus 20:8-11

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The following is taken from:

http://www.sabbathtruth.com/free-resources/article-library/id/916/catholic-church-admits-they-made-the-change

About 100 years before Christianity, Egyptian Mithraists introduced the festival of Sunday, dedicated to worshiping the sun, into the Roman Empire. Later, as Christianity grew, church leaders wished to increase the numbers of the church. In order to make the gospel more attractive to non-Christians, pagan customs were incorporated into the church’s ceremonies. The custom of Sunday worship was welcomed by Christians who desired to differentiate themselves from the Jews, whom they hated because of the Jews’ rejection of the Savior. The first day of the week began to be recognized as both a religious and civil holiday. By the end of the second century, Christians considered it sinful to work on Sunday.

This and other similar examples offer solid proof that Christianity is not the religion of Jesus, who would have been appalled that his future ‘followers’ were not correctly observing the Sabbath.

(1007) Most Christians don’t really believe in Hell

The consequences of being sent to Hell are enormous, and it can be especially frightening if a Christian fears that a loved one is slated to be sent there after death. But it doesn’t take much observation to realize that nearly all Christians don’t believe in Hell, even if they profess that they do.  Consider the following thoughts:

http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=1852

I was a Christian recently enough to remember what it felt like to really believe the Creator of the universe talked to me, to really believe I would go to heaven and unbelievers would go to hell, to really believe that prayer made a difference.

It sure felt like I really believed that stuff. And other Christians tell me they really believe that stuff, too.

But something’s not quite right with that.

Supposedly, my parents really believe that I am going to hell now that I’m an atheist. They believe their son, whom they love dearly, is going to be tortured forever. Literally.

And yet, they don’t seem very upset by this. Sure, they’re upset that their son has rejected most of the values and “truths” they tried to instill in me. They’re upset that I reject their way of life as both deluded and immoral. That’s a major blow for any caring parent to take.

But they don’t seem upset that their beloved son will be tortured forever in hell. And that seems odd.

If they really believed that, wouldn’t I see some serious mourning? Some pleading? Some great distress?

But it’s not just my parents. It’s Christians in general. I had these questions even when I was a Christian.

This is a case where actions speak louder than words.  Christians are aware of what Jesus allegedly said about Hell, and perhaps in a superficial way, they believe it.  But when the rubber meets the road, it becomes obvious that they can’t really accept that the god they worship could be so malicious.  In a visceral and perhaps subconscious sense, they know it cannot be true, and once that concession is acknowledged, it takes very little additional effort to realize that the entire pageant is a sham.

(1008) Christianity lacks orthodoxy

Orthodoxy is defined as a belief or a way of thinking that is accepted as true or correct.  In terms of religions, it means the precise faith as it was originated by the founder or founders.  By and large, there are no orthodox Christian religions left, save some very small sects. Virtually all Christians follow churches that have evolved away from the state of orthodoxy. The following was taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/be0_orthodoxy.htm#laterschisms

Of the surviving denominations, none has a clear claim to orthodoxy that anyone else considers convincing. If we take as a criterion the extent to which denominations have departed least from biblical teachings (or that least contradict biblical teachings), then we can discount all of the largest denominations, and must look to sects out of the mainstream. There are a few tiny sects that continue to honour the Sabbath rather than Sunday, practise poverty as well as preach it, avoid man-made images of any living thing, refuse to kill, and decline to swear oaths. If anyone has a claim to orthodoxy it seems to be minority groups like these.

The idea that there is a single straight trunk to the great tree of Christianity is untenable. All present day denominations represent branches, whether young or old, large or small. Generally, it is not difficult to trace back today’s offshoots through the older branches from which they grew. To take a simple example, Southern Baptists are an offshoot of the original Baptists, who developed from the Anabaptists, a group of nonconformist Protestant sects that had split off from the Roman Catholics. The Roman Catholic Church itself may be seen as a branch of the Orthodox Church, itself the successor of the Melkites, one of the many outgrowths that vied with each other during the Dark Ages, after the Pauline Christians had pruned back other boughs of the Christian tangle-tree.

It has been remarked that the success or failure of the various early Christian sects was determined not so much by comparative reasonableness or skill in argument (for they practically never converted each other), but by the differences in birth and death rates in the respective populations. Whether or not this is true, it is clear that what we call “orthodox” is not objectively orthodox, it is “orthodox” only by convention.

That famous fifth century definition of the one true Christian faith as that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all would be convincing if there were such a faith, but there is not, and apparently never has been. The definition was first formulated by an orthodox Roman Catholic monk attacking the novelties of St Augustine — novelties that have now become the pinnacle of orthodoxy in the West. The simple truth is that orthodox belief changes from place to place, from time to time, and from denomination to denomination.

What this means is that Christianity no longer exists as a unique faith.  Simply put, the religion of Jesus is gone from the world and today’s so-called Christians are worshiping not only a false image of who Jesus was and what he believed, but they are also following rules and dogma that would be foreign to him (assuming he actually existed). Pure Christianity is like Southern slave plantations – gone with the wind.

(1009) God failed to accomplish his plan

This is perhaps one of the most powerful reasons to reject Christianity- God failed to accomplish his plan when he sent his son Jesus to his chosen people.  It should be obvious by reading the gospels, especially Matthew, that Jesus was sent to minister to the Jews, not the Gentiles, so it can be assumed that God intended Jesus to be the Jewish messiah, not the Gentile savior.  That’s not the way it worked out.  The following was taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2013/03/jesus-was-failure.html

Tens of thousands of Jews must have been eyewitnesses to his sermons and miracles (if we are to believe the Bible). Yet, they were largely unconvinced. Many would have seen him turn water into wine, heal the sick, cast out demons, and resurrect the dead. Why didn’t the word travel like wildfire throughout the Jewish world of this miracle worker, a hero of their own, given all those eye witnesses?

Whatever the reasons, so few Jews bought into the Jesus-as-Messiah story that Paul decided to concentrate on spreading the “Good News” to the Gentiles instead. Of course, the Jews’ rejection of Jesus doesn’t prove he wasn’t the son of god, but it should raise a very large red flag. Something very strange is going on here. Think about it: The son of god was sent to god’s chosen people and they largely rejected him, so god didn’t get what he wanted? How can such a story make sense to anyone?

According to the words of the Bible, it seems pretty clear that Jesus not only failed to convert the Jews, largely, but he also failed to foresee that he would fail. Does this sound like the work of a god to you?

Why so many Christians gloss over this point is a mystery.  How could they think on such a superficial level and not see what is right before their eyes?  Christianity makes no logical sense and should be rejected by every thinking person.  When the plan formulated by the god you worship fails, it’s a good sign your god doesn’t exist.

(1010) Missing historical records

If Christianity or any other religion was true, then it would be undeniably true and not have missing holes and gaps.  There would be lots of undeniable evidence to back that particular religion, showing it to have a superior authentication.

When Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, he gave the power to Bishop Eusebius to preach Christianity.  The Catholic Church then became so powerful and at the same time so corrupt, that from then on and to this day, the Church used its influence to lie and mislead, with false propaganda mostly, but also to destroy any evidence that reveals Christianity to be wrong or untrue.

It’s coincidental that Senator Cornelius Tacitus, who was a well known and well documented historian, who wrote many books that described what was happening coincidental to the times and places of Jesus’s alleged ministry, had his volumes go missing- and specifically those that recorded the events occurring around 29-32AD.

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

In Dr. Richard Carrier’s book On The Historicity Of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason For Doubt (page 302) he says the following:

“For example, the Christian scholar Hippolytus in the early Third Century wrote his ‘Refuttation Of All Heresies’ in ten volumes. At the end of the first of them he says he will next explain the secret doctrines of the several mystery religions (which would have included the Passion Narratives of the different savior gods, including miraculous births, deaths and resurrections, and their sacred meals and baptisms: see Elements 11-14 and 31) and what they teach about the things in outer space (which would have included such material as in Elements 34-38), and then he would describe the teachings of the astrologers. But the second and third volumes are missing. The text skips directly to volume 4, which begins his discourse on astrology. This does not look like an accident. Some Christian or Christians decided to destroy those two volumes- for some reason fearing their contents. The resulting loss in our knowledge of the mystery religions is beyond considerable.”

Carrier writes about many other examples of Christians conveniently erasing history.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21964522-on-the-historicity-of-jesus

Regarding Tacitus, it is unfortunate that for 1100 years the only ones who would have had access to his works were Christians.  The fox was guarding the hen house.

(1011) The mathematics of embellishment

It is obvious while reading the gospels in the order of their creation, starting with Mark and ending with John, that there was a gradual trend to embellish the stories of Jesus- to make them more compelling and spectacular.  So that means that Mark is regarded as being the account that is closest to the truth.  But since Mark was written approximately 40 years after Jesus’s alleged crucifixion, it can be assumed that the rate of embellishment during that time (30 AD to 70 AD) was about the same as occurred in the period between Mark and John (70 AD to 100 AD).  So the amount of distortion that occurred before Mark was written was likely as much if not more than the distortion from Mark to John, implying, rather poignantly, that what was written in Mark is, in itself, a major embellishment of what really happened.  The following was taken from:

http://threeskeptics.blogspot.com/2011/05/literary-traditions-ten-reasons-gospels_02.html

The Gospels, in their proper chronological order, have signs of literary embellishment which move further and further away from the original source of Mark, which itself may purely be fictional. About Christ’s resurrection the Biblical historian James D. Tabor reminds us, the Gospel authors tendency is to tack on more grandiose, fabulous, or fantastic events or happenings, always taking the mundane framework of the stories themselves and building them up into marvelous tales of intrigue, that “What’s happening is that you get this embellishment of legend and a magnification of the theology.”[viii]

The same can be said with other details as well, such as who was at the tomb, was there no one, a boy perhaps, maybe an angel or two? How many animals did Jesus ride side-saddle into Jerusalem, was it one, or did he surf in on two? When Jesus rose on the third day did he hang around for forty days and sup with the remaining disciples, did an army of the undead rise and parade down the streets with him, or did he fly off into the sky like Superman? Up, up, and awayyyy! The point is, the pattern of embellishment always follows the progression of the mundane to the phantasmagorical. All this, of course, is the stamp of the literary imagination running wild—and the taller the tale gets the less certain we can be it ever had its roots in reality to begin with. The consequences being that if, for example, we know elements A, B, and C are each fabrications then what it to suggest that elements E, F, and G are not also? Therefore the whole NT becomes suspect.

On top of this there are other literary signs which strongly suggest the NT is unreliable. For example, the common census among Biblical scholars and historians is that only seven of the twenty-one Epistles in the NT are authentic. The remaining six are forgeries. The authorship of the remaining letters is also in question, as 1 and 2 Peter are considered forgeries as well, while the rest of the letters are pseudepigrapha. With so many known forgeries in the Bible we cannot have any confidence in the rest of the so-called historical documents of the NT.

In mathematical terms: John is to Mark as Mark is to the truth.  That is a major problem for Christianity, belying confidence in the reliability of any gospel account.

(1012)  Jesus’s true words lost to history

The following three problems exist in an effort to ascertain what Jesus actually said:

  1. Forty years went by where Jesus’s words were transmitted orally, typically a very unreliable means of maintaining fidelity.
  2.  Jesus spoke in Aramaic, but his words were written in Greek, implying that distortions in meaning occurred in the translation process.
  3. We don’t have the original Greek manuscripts, but just highly edited versions, implying more distortion from mistakes or deliberate insertions of personal agendas.

Concerning point #2, the following was taken from:

http://threeskeptics.blogspot.com/2011/05/literary-traditions-ten-reasons-gospels_02.html

What’s more, many of the self-reflexive elements also appear to be anachronistic reflections of the evangelist and not the original teachings or sayings of Jesus at all. The Gospels, which are about Jesus, did not appear until decades after his death, written by men in a foreign country who never even met Jesus or anybody acquainted with him! As Hector Avalos reminds us:

In the case of Jesus, the difficulty is magnified by the fact that any “original” sermons and discourses of Jesus are actually oral compositions. But not only are Jesus’ sermons originally oral compositions, they may also have been in Galilean Aramaic, the presumed language of Jesus. So even if we were to find the original Greek texts behind all the Greek manuscripts we now have, we would end up only finding a translation of Jesus’ words. And Greek translations, by definition, cannot be the “original” text of anything Jesus said in Aramaic.

What this means is that we do not know and never will know what Jesus, if he existed, actually said.  It is a question lost to history. But what it also means is that Christians should not be confident (to anywhere near the extent they are) that what they read in their Bibles is, in fact, the words of Jesus, or even anything remotely similar.

(1013) Mismatch of emphasis: kingdom versus eternal life

The Bible gives two ultimate outcomes of Jesus’s mission- the establishment of a kingdom of god and the reward of eternal life.  It is interesting to note that these two themes are not evenly distributed among the various books of the New Testament.  The following graphic was taken from:

https://bible.org/seriespage/2-major-differences-between-john-and-synoptic-gospels

John, Paul’s letters, and Revelation place more emphasis on ‘life’ while the other gospels are much more focused on the ‘kingdom.’   If there is to be a consistent message, an immutable truth, then this disparity should not be seen.  But if dogma is distorted by time and by personal biases and agendas, then this sort of asymmetry is to be expected.

(1014) Iron chariots are too powerful for God

In Judges 1: 17-19, we read:

Then the men of Judah went with the Simeonites their fellow Israelites and attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed the city. Therefore it was called Hormah. Judah also took Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron—each city with its territory.

The Lord was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron.

Christian apologists have tried to rationalize this awkward verse by saying that the first use of the word ‘they’ in the last sentence above refers to Judah, and not the Lord, implying that Judah was incapable of battling iron chariots, but not the Lord.  Where this argument falls apart is in the preface to the verse that says ‘the Lord was with the men of Judah,’ implying that whatever the Lord was capable of doing, Judah and his men should have been equally capable.

Now, clearly this is simply a loose regurgitation by the author as he was making up this fictional story, but it reveals something about the minds of Iron Age people who obviously could not conceive of modern-day weapons of war, and thought of iron as being an unbeatable substance, even for a supreme being.  Whatever caused this absurdity to find its way into the Bible, it offers solid proof that it is not the inspired word of an almighty deity.

(1015) Religion is not exclusively human

Christianity is informally based on the concept that religious belief is exclusively the province of humans and that other animals have no religious proclivity.   In addition, souls exist in humans, not in other animals, and only humans have a chance for an eternal life.  This tenet is now being challenged by recent observations. The following is taken from:

http://religiondispatches.org/what-if-animals-believe-in-god/

Chimpanzees believe in God. This news, widely reported last week, is only a slight exaggeration. Using hidden cameras, scientists have indeed captured footage of chimpanzee behavior that resembles religious ritual. In the footage below, groups of chimps can be seen throwing rocks into the crevices within trees:

The rocks pile up to create something resembling an altar. This “ritualized behavioral display” apparently has no evolutionary function, and instead resembles religious rituals from humanity’s archaeological past.

This isn’t the first discovery of animal behavior resembling religion. Elephants and dolphins, for example, have burial rituals for their dead.

More importantly, if animals were conclusively shown to have religion, this would represent yet another blow to the longstanding notion that humans are, somehow, fundamentally different from other animals.  Octopi use tools. Capuchin monkeys have symbolic language. Orcas have culture. Dolphins have self-awareness. Is religion, too, something that we share with beasts? If animals can in fact have religion how might this change our ethical obligations towards them?

If religious belief is the inevitable outcome of the evolution of minds, whether human or other, and not the result of intervention by a god or gods, it implies the likelihood that all religions are false.  The only other explanation is that God is starting to intervene in the lives of chimpanzees, and perhaps Jesus will become a chimp and die for the souls of all believing chimps.

(1016) Christianity is a death cult

The roots of Christianity lies in the glorification of suffering, torture, and death.  When Christians wear the symbol of an instrument of execution around their necks or erect it as a shrine inside and outside their churches, it is a good sign that they are not following a benign faith. The following was taken from:

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

Christianity is often criticized as a death cult, with its preoccupation with suffering, torture, death, relics (human remains) and hell. Its most central doctrines concern the torture and death of a man-god, and Roman Catholics still purport to eat his (real) flesh and drink his (real) blood. Its main emblem, the cross, worshiped like a holy saint, is an instrument of torture and death.

In churches around Europe you can find the miraculously preserved miracle-working relics of thousands of Christian martyrs and other saints. At least that is what devout Christians will tell you. According to many Christians, saints’ bodies do not decay like ordinary human bodies. They miraculous stay fresh and sweet indefinitely. One of the most curious aspects of this is that all of the remains shown off as “perfectly preserved” are at best mummified, and more often decomposed. Many of these “perfectly preserved” remains are skeletons with padded cloths, furnished with shoes, gloves and face masks.

Christianity is also a blood cult, asserting that the shedding of blood is necessary for the forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22), whether it be an animal or a human (Jesus) that is killed.  It is also focused on torture, and almost seems to relish the idea that apostates will be sent to a lake of fire with wailing and gnashing of teeth.  But mainly, it is preoccupied with death, by what will happen to you after you die, and how your life in this world counts for very little in comparison. This death cult,  as the un-brainwashed can clearly see, is the product of primitive human minds. It most assuredly is not the product of any being that would qualify as the magnificent creator of the universe.

(1017) Christianity can only exist in a world where it is false

If  you were to travel to some parallel universe where Christianity is true, this is what you would find:

  • The Bible contains a lot of scientific facts and explanations that were unknown at the time it was written, but were later confirmed by scientific discovery.
  • Science would have confirmed that the universe and life was created and did not evolve over time.
  • The Gospel books are in agreement on all details of Jesus’s life and ministry.
  • There are numerous accounts of Jesus written by contemporary historians that confirm his existence, miracles, and message.
  • In addition to the gospel books, there are a good number of eyewitness accounts of Jesus’s miracles.
  • Jesus, himself, wrote a creed that was passed on and preserved, and this creed is consistent with the gospel books.
  • The Jewish people, en masse, became followers of Jesus, that is, there is no separation between Judaism and Christianity.
  • Original documents of Jesus’s history were preserved and available for examination, such that editing mistakes and forgeries do not exist.
  • There is scientific evidence for demons, and a field of study exists for how to deal with them.
  • Scientific studies prove that prayer is an effective healing technique, even for paralysis and dementia, and all hospitals have faith healing wings.
  • All other religions have withered away, leaving Christianity as the only effectively viable faith.
  • There are no denominations of Christianity, it is one unified church to which all Christians belong.

This is a short list of what you would see, but what should be obvious is that in a world where Christianity is true, there would be no reasonable means for anyone to deny its truth, meaning there would be no apostasy, save for the mentally-challenged. But in that situation, there is no need for faith and no separation of the wheat from the chaff- therefore the whole concept of reward in heaven and punishment in hell falls apart.  So Christianity cannot exist in a world where it is true- it can only exist in a world where it is false, such as it does in our world.

(1018) No hide and seek game lasts this long

In the game ‘hide and seek,’one person hides while everyone else tries to find him or her.  Eventually, the hider is found.  But in Christianity, the hider, God himself, has not been found, and it’s been almost 2000 years after he went into hiding.

With all the science uncovering the secrets of nature and the universe, you would think something would have come up requiring some sort of supernatural explanation- it hasn’t happened yet.   The population explosion has given mankind many more eyes to observe the miracles that should be happening- but we haven’t seen them. The technology revolution has given us amazing means to monitor and video almost everything happening in the world, but God has remained hidden.

In the end, the invisible and the non-existent look remarkably similar.  If God, Jesus, and Christianity were real, it is impossible to believe that the truth of such a spectacular supernatural reality could have remained hidden for twenty centuries.  No hide and seek game lasts that long.

(1019) Jesus condemns everyone to Hell

Consider the following verses from Matthew 5: 17-20:

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

Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches [all of] 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.

In this passage, Jesus is saying that in order to get to Heaven you must faithfully observe the Law of the Prophets, which is the compendium of laws listed in the Old Testament.  There are 613 laws in the Old Testament, and Jesus is saying that you must observe all or at least 612 of them (see below) to make it to Heaven. Furthermore, he is saying that the Pharisees, who themselves were sticklers for the Law, were not righteous enough to merit Heaven, and therefore they will be sent to Hell.  Since the Pharisees observed almost all of the laws, it goes to reason that anyone today would have to be even more compliant.  To be fair, he does give a little wiggle room, allowing you to not observe one of the 613 laws, but then you will end up in a ‘lesser’ kingdom.

As defined by the Law, there are no Christians alive today that have righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees.  Note here that Jesus is not saying that you can forget all of those 613 laws as long as you believe in him or accept his ‘sacrifice’- in other words, the nonsense that Paul preached and which filtered into the Gospel of John.  No, Jesus is unmistakingly saying that Heaven can only be attained by following the entire suite of Old Testament laws.  This is not ambiguous or open to claims of context.  This verse confirms that every Christian alive today will be sent to Hell.

(1020) Does Christianity make sense?

Sometimes, it is good to step back and look at the big picture of the religion that is defined by the Bible.  To step outside the circle of indoctrination and look at it with fresh eyes and a clear mind.  When you do this, it all crumbles apart.  The following is taken from:

http://articles.exchristian.net/2009/07/does-this-make-sense-to-you-it-makes.html

You have two children. A son and a daughter. You place a bowl of candy in front of them and tell them not to touch it. You leave the room. They give in and eat the candy, you come in and not only punish them but their children as well who weren’t even involved.

Does this make sense to you? It makes sense to Christians!

Your children now have a large family and many of them disagree with you and refuse to live by your rules. You get angry and dig a series of large pits and throw many of these children into the pits and bury them alive.

Does this make sense to you? It makes sense to Christians!

You have an enemy who challenges one of your children’s belief in you. To prove yourself and your child’s belief you kill all the child’s offspring, destroy his property and make him sick with boils and suffer great agony all to prove a bet. On top of that this enemy can talk to you face to face, but your own creation can not because they once obeyed this enemy.

Does this make sense to you? It makes sense to Christians!

The idea the earth and the universe were created from gases the existed forever and exploded is false, yet the idea that a god who existed forever just spoke it all into existence is true.

Does this make sense to you? It makes sense to Christians!

God who is so powerful he not only spoke the universe into existence but can control the most absolute smallest particle and yet his solution for mans plight is to be born of a virgin so he can grow up and be killed by his own creation.

Does this make sense to you? It makes sense to Christians!

Instead of pushing man to better fulfillment and a brighter future, god instead pushes to end it all in a most horrible manner all because he lost control a long time ago.

Does this make sense to you? It makes sense to Christians!

God has a war with his worst enemy and yet he doesn’t destroy him nor locks him up in prison but instead he releases him to roam the galaxy freely so he can cause countless problems. But it’s ok, god will get him someday. (wolf, wolf)

Does this make sense to you? It makes sense to Christians!

You are not to think for yourselves or about what you believe, but rather just have faith in the Bible and what the preachers teach you without question.

Does this make sense to you? It makes sense to Christians!

You pray and ask god to answer even though he rarely answers you or anyone, but you are just to have faith and keep believing regardless of the lack of response from god.

Does this make sense to you? It makes sense to Christians!

When you really sit down and use your brain, Christianity does not make sense. We have a shot to build a better world, but god and his followers want it to end. It’s all senseless. I was once a Christian and believed all that above and yet somehow it made sense to me at the time.

Then I started to think…

The problem with most Christians is that they never think about these issues with an objective mind, but suffer from having their thoughts funnel through pathways that were laid down like hard wires during their childhood.  It takes a big effort to re-circuit your brain, but it can be done.

(1021) God makes people less moral

Christianity can be viewed as a two-story house, with the Old Testament making up the first floor and the New Testament the second floor. To get to the second floor, you must first access the first floor.  That’s where the problem lies. The Old Testament is full of awful, detestable, and disgusting things, and one more to add to the list is an occasion where God and his prophet caused his people to be less righteous than they would have been without any religion whatsoever.

Consider Numbers 31: 13-18:

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.

The following was taken from:

https://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/49qqwp/atheists_what_do_you_think_is_the_most_fucked_up/

Numbers 31, when Moses got super pissed because the Israelites didn’t wipe out the Midianites, instead leaving the women and children alive. He then explicitly gave them permission to take the virgin girls as sex slaves, after they had murdered their mothers, brothers, and sisters, of course. I particularly like this story because Christians love to claim their religion makes people moral, but here we have a story in their own book in which god and his prophet actually make his chosen people less moral, more evil and more vicious than they were naturally inclined to be.

It was verses like these (even though they are fictional) that released much mayhem and brutality throughout the Middle Ages, and it goes to emphasize the adage, ‘good people do good things, evil people do evil things, but it takes religion for a good person to do evil things.’

(1022) Carpet bombing Christianity

This site attacks Christianity one issue at time in modest detail and together the points paint a compelling basis for rejecting it outright. The following list of 28 bullet points offers a different approach but hits at another aspect of human psychology- being swamped with many quick hitting waves of doubt that have the potential to detour the regular pathways of neurological activity.  Reading this list quickly is good medicine for anyone hanging on to a thread of belief. It was taken from:

https://www.reddit.com/r/DebateAChristian/comments/49ks4p/no_amount_of_rational_thinking_will_lead_an/

  1. I don’t ever see God or hear the voice of God.
  2. Prayers don’t work.
  3. Tragedies are completely random and affect people of all faiths or none at the same rate.
  4. The Bible gets all of its science and most of its history wrong.
  5. The prophecies are not obviously real prophecies.
  6. The traditional prophecies pointing to the Messiah were not fulfilled by Jesus.
  7. No book in the NT was written by any eyewitnesses (unless you take Paul’s vision as an eyewitness).
  8. The stories conflict between the Gospels, and often get geography and more importantly: Jewish traditions, wrong.
  9. There’s no corroboration with extrabiblical sources to the NT stories (except the death of John the Baptizer).
  10. There’s doubt about whether Nazareth was more than a small town and couldn’t be a walled city.
  11. Mark relates a story wrapped within the context of Homers epics and midrashim from the OT.
  12. In Mark’s earliest versions there was not a post-resurrection appearance by Jesus, nor Ascension.
  13. The first attestations of Jesus influence (Josephus & I Corinthians 15), bear strong marks of later interpolation.
  14. Nobody knows exactly when Jesus was born (year, month, day), nor when he died (month, day).
  15. There is an extensive list of legendarymythic figures that did the same miracles that Jesus did.
  16. The largest indicator of a persons religious beliefs is geography and family.
  17. There’s been thousands of gods, all with people equally certain theirs were the only “True” ones.
  18. Religious belief goes back tens of thousands of years; eons before the events the Bible relates.
  19. Evolution Theory takes away much of what made God special.
  20. Science has really hurt God a lot. For every scientific explanation, we’ve never gone back to a supernatural one.
  21. There’s no evidence to support the idea of souls.
  22. There’s no compelling evidence that a person can die and come back after the brain is dead 20 minutes.
  23. NDE’s stories are not compelling and there’s no evidence for Heaven. NDE’s change according to geography and culture.
  24. Christians show no higher statistical morality than people of any other religion or no religion.
  25. Devout Christians line up on both sides of all major social issues and use the Bible to justify their positions.
  26. Moral structures like empathy and self-sacrifice are found in many social animals, not just humans.
  27. People are willing to die for many reasons (not just faith), and have no relation to the truth behind them.
  28. Jesus didn’t fulfill the traditional prophecies of the messiah.

After the first 7 or 8 items all of the soldiers are down on the battlefield and then it becomes an exercise of bayoneting the wounded.  This rapid-fire carpet bombing of Christianity is very effective and should, under normal circumstances, silence any further debate.

(1023) World more peaceful as it becomes more secular

There is a saying that if you worship a cruel god, you tend to be more cruel yourself, and there’s plenty of evidence that the Christian god is quite cruel.  People who escape religion tend to be more peaceful as is discussed in this excerpt from this article:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/06/peace-on-earth-atheism

A Pew poll from 2009, well before the Senate released its devastating torture report last month, asked whether torturing suspected terrorists could be justified found that the non-religious were most opposed to torture, with a combined 55% saying that it could rarely or never be justified. Gallup has also found that people with no religious preference are less supportive of the death penalty than any group of Christians. The non-religious are also among the most likely to say the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. The religiously unaffiliated are also less likely than Christians to believe that the US is superior to all other countries in the world, a hyper-patriotic attitude that’s hardly conducive to careful reflection about the use of American military power.

Religion’s violent tendencies also tend to be reflected in its adherents’ personal lives. The social scientists Christopher Ellison and Darren Sherkat found that conservative Protestants disproportionately support the use of corporal punishment, such as spanking or whipping, for children. The researchers speculate that this stems from theology: Christians who promote a literal interpretation of the Bible tend to believe that human nature is inherently evil, and that sin demands severe punishment. What’s more, the Bible itself (among itsmany other bloody verses) specifically calls for beating children in verses such asProverbs 13:24. (By contrast, freethinkers like the famous American orator Robert Ingersoll recognized the cruelty of corporal punishment as early as 1877.)

As long as humanity was in thrall to the violent morality of religious texts, our societies were warlike and cruel. As the American revolutionary Thomas Paine said, belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man. It’s only in the last few decades, as we’ve begun to cast these beliefs off, that we’re making real moral progress.

The influence of the non-religious shows is also evident on an international scale. The nonprofit group Vision of Humanity publishes an annual Global Peace Index, which ranks countries on a broad spectrum of indicators, including violent crime, incarceration rates, weapon ownership, and military spending. Sociologist Phil Zuckerman summarizes their results in his new book Living the Secular Life:

…according to their most recent rankings, among the top ten most peaceful nations on earth, all are among the least God-believing – in fact, eight of the ten are specifically among the least theistic nations on earth. Conversely, of the bottom ten – the least peaceful nations – most of them are extremely religious.

Why is that those who follow the “Prince of Peace” are the least peaceful?  The effect of religion on peoples’ attitudes and actions provides significant evidence that they are following fictional gods, imbued with the same hostility as the people who invented them.

(1024) Censoring the Bible

Christian authorities have traditionally kept their congregations from hearing about the many atrocities described in the Bible, particularly those in the Old  Testament.  There is not a strong push to encourage the reading of the Bible either, but rather an effort to spoon feed the feel-good verses, mainly from the New Testament. Many  Christians are not aware of many of the uncomfortable biblical stories.  This trend is accelerating as society becomes more sensitive and ethical.  The following is taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/cb0_selecting.htm

In recent years some New Testament stories have been taken off the annual reading rota as well. Churchgoers do not hear nearly as much as they used to about people burning in Hell for eternity, nor about St Paul blinding people , nor about the sudden deaths of those who failed to live up to St Peter’s expectations.

In effect, Christianity is evolving into a religion that is based on an ever-diminishing view of the Bible.  The Old Testament has been virtually jettisoned and now the same is happening with many parts of the New Testament, particularly verses that denigrate women and homosexuals, or hint at the virtues of separating from family members to follow the Lord, or suggest that Jesus did not come to establish peace.  It should be evident that a religious book inspired by an actual god would not need to be censored.

(1025) Zoroaster was the actual inventor of Christianity

Christians assume that Jesus was the inventor of Christianity, or perhaps some of the more educated theologians believe that Paul was the actual founder of the faith. But, in a larger sense, Christianity began with a man who lived 600 years prior to these two men, Zoroaster.

Zoroaster (628 to 551 BCE) created a religion that would become the forerunner of both Christianity and Islam, with its sharp divide between good and evil and between rewards and punishments after death.

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

The following was taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2016/03/what-were-you-doing.html

Real lives ended as a result of the belief that only fantasy after-death lives have meaning. So many years after 9/11, this belief is still justifying killings. When will they ever learn? Their dogmas originated not from Mohammed or Jesus, but from a Persian prophet who lived 2600 years ago.

Ever since Zoroaster invented his versions of reality, Islam and Christianity have subscribed to them. He created a monotheist god. He saw everything in terms of absolute good and evil, a.k.a., the powers of darkness and light. He taught that humans needed to constantly make the right choices between these two absolutes or suffer the consequences. He interpreted nature as a linear progression going from the beginning of the world to its destruction, climaxing with a final judgement of punishments or rewards on the choices they made. Christian and Islam clerics ever since have created their own variations-on-a-theme theologies using his basic recipe, with Christianity inserting an easy-out clause to evildoers via believing. Therefore, condemnation and rewards are decided not because of actions, but belief or non-belief.

When believers speak of God and Satan, they’re mouthing Zoroaster. When the author of Revelations writes of the End Times, he’s perpetuating the dogmas of this Persian, Zoroaster, who predated Jesus and Paul by 600 years. Christians say they believe in the end of the world/judgement because their Jesus preached it was imminent; right around the comer. Believers have been known to abandon their possessions every time the “end of the world” is prophesied and taken seriously. Don’t expect the spokesmen for Islam and Christianity to give credit where credit is due: to Zoroaster, any more than they do to the other religions they stole from. As far as is known, Zoroaster wasn’t challenged about his dogmas in his day (or his challengers were eliminated), anymore than clerics are today. But he (they) ought to have been. After all, in 150 years the theory of Evolution is continually proven to be fact, and yet it’s challenged by superstitious believers who also maintain their claims are beyond challenging after thousands of years without proof.

If it had not been for Zoroaster, it is likely that Christianity and Islam would never have existed.   Religion is an evolutionary process and the limb of Christianity is connected to the trunk of Zoroastrianism.

(1026) Christian claim of monotheism is meaningless

Christianity has long claimed that their faith is monotheistic even though there are three personages within the godhead- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is specious wordplay to nonbelievers.  And if you consider the religions that Christians disparage as being polytheistic, there is no reason they can’t play the same game.  The following was taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/ch0_language.htm

Like so much Christian doctrine the concept of the Trinity seems to be unintelligible to anyone who does not already believe in it (and indeed it seems to be unintelligible to many who do). It is not at all clear what it can possibly mean for the Trinity to represent a single godhead. The statement that God has one substance but three persons looks superficially like a meaningful statement, but until someone succeeds in expounding this meaning we have no reason to suppose that it signifies any more than the assertion that invisible green ideas sleep furiously.

It is as though there are really three separate gods, but in order to maintain a fiction of monotheism, they are said to represent a single godhead. By analogy it would be possible to contend that the gods of, say, ancient Greece were really representations of a single deity. The fact that each so-called god had a separate manifestation, a separate role, and a separate intelligence, would be of no consequence. They would be, as the argument might run, simply different aspects of a single natural universal force, in other words different facets of the same god. Clearly it would be possible to apply a similar argument to any religion and prove it to be monotheistic. Indeed some ancient Greek philosophers did argue that their religion was monotheistic, despite its extensive pantheon. Some modern Hindus make similar claims for their religion, again despite its extensive pantheon. Such arguments would be as satisfactory, or unsatisfactory, as the one presented to support Christianity’s claim to monotheism, at least so far as the Trinity is concerned.

Of course Christianity is polytheistic.  If it wasn’t, Jesus would not be praying to his father, or saying that he was less than the father, or that only the father was good.

(1027) Jesus failed to write anything

It is inconceivable that Jesus would come to visit Earth to deliver a critically important message and then carelessly allow non-eyewitnesses to document his words and messages, imbued with numerous contradictions, some 40+ years after his death- that is, if he knew that the world would continue in a normal fashion for another 2000 years.

The following is a quote from Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899):

“You must remember, also, one other thing. Christ never wrote a solitary word of the New Testament — not one word. There is an account that he once stooped and wrote something in the sand, but that has not been preserved. He never said: “Matthew, remember this. Mark, do not forget to put that down. Luke, be sure that in your gospel you have this. John, do not forget it.” Not one word. And it has always seemed to me that a being coming from another world, with a message of infinite importance to mankind, should at least have verified that message by his own signature. Is it not strange that not one word was written by Christ? Is it not strange that he gave no orders to have his words preserved — words upon which hung the salvation of a world? Why was nothing written? I will tell you.

In my judgment they expected the end of the world in a few days. That generation was not to pass away until the heavens should be rolled up as a scroll, and until the earth should melt with fervent heat. That was their belief. They believed that the world was to be destroyed, and that there was to be another coming, and that the saints were then to govern the earth. And they even went so far among the apostles, as we frequently do now before election, as to divide out the offices in advance. This Testament, as it now is, was not written for hundreds of years after the apostles were dust. Many of the pretended facts depended upon the inaccuracy of legend, and for centuries these doctrines and stories were blown about by the inconstant winds. And when reduced to writing, some gentleman would write by the side of the passage his idea of it, and the next copyist would put that in as a part of the text. And, when it was mostly written, and the church got into trouble, and wanted a passage to help it out, one was interpolated to order. So that now it is among the easiest things in the world to pick out at least one hundred interpolations in the Testament. And I will pick some of them out before I get through.”

This is a huge problem for Christianity’s credibility.  There is no way God would allow the eternal fate of people to rest on the vagaries of human authors who never met Jesus, and whose writings were subject to editing errors and deliberate interpolations.  No, if Christianity was real, we would have the Book of Jesus.

(1028) God has watched every child molestation

One of the problems with Christian dogma is that it assumes that God is all-seeing and all-powerful, making it all too easy to point out that this doesn’t make any sense.  For instance, millions of children are sexually abused worldwide every year.  God must be watching this happen, and given that he has the power to stop it, it makes him to be much less noble, principled, or moral than the average human. The following was taken from:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/

If you say God has good reasons for allowing this child abuse, then his reasons must be beneficial for the very children who were molested. His reasons for allowing this to happen cannot merely be to teach the rest of us lessons. Otherwise the victims are being used as fodder for what God wants to teach us. So let’s talk again about why a perfectly good God allows such things. Why? Given the amount of child abuse his reasons must be discernible to us enough to conclude they are good ones. Otherwise, an all knowledgeable God would know that because of his inaction many people would not believe in him.

There is no easy solution to this conundrum.  Either God is not all-seeing or he is a monster…. or he doesn’t exist.

(1029) Christian mind control

Christianity has conditioned its followers to surrender their critical thinking skills and to see every event as a confirmation of their beliefs.  This is a form of mind control and most Christians are unaware that they have been captured in this manner. The following is taken from:

http://blog.atheistsurvivalguide.org/ten-reasons-christianity-makes-sense/

Got what you prayed for? He answered your prayers. Praise Jesus! Didn’t get it? He has another plan. Praise Jesus! Don’t have the answers? You’re not meant to. Praise Jesus! Figured out the answer? He chose you. Praise Jesus! Sad about the deaths of your loved ones? They’re in a better place. Praise Jesus! Sad about how much your life sucks? You’ll be happy once you’re dead. Praise Jesus! Honestly, when the answer to every question is exactly the thing that makes you feel best / most comforted / least in need of using your own intellect, should that not send up a huge red flag that maybe you’re not being completely objective?

These are not overtly intellectual, clever, or even particularly insightful observations, nor am I the first person to make them. But as someone who has lived an entire life without religion, the exercises of engaging apologists, philosophizing, or running ontological obstacle courses seem – perhaps naively, but seem nonetheless – to be almost beside the point when the most basic premises of religious belief are so deeply flawed. These irreconcilable contradictions explain a lot about why religious indoctrination is necessary at a very young age, and sadly, they explain a lot about why the world is in the sorry state it is: Because they make people adept at rationalizing the irrational, believing the unlikely, and justifying the immoral.

As Sam Harris once said, this is like playing tennis without the net.  It explains why Christians often become more religious after suffering through a natural disaster or a serious illness- they have been conditioned to see everything, no matter how good or bad, as a fulfillment of their belief system.  This, of course, is a very effective tool for the Church to maintain its flock of mindless sheep, knowing that even without a fence, they will not stray away.

(1030) Too much reward for too little effort

Christianity offers a infinite reward for a doing next to nothing- all you have to do is to believe something without being given sufficient evidence to do so.  And if you are a dying fetus or child, you don’t even have to do that.  There is no requirement to do anything, it’s just a matter of sacrificing your intellect and accepting a certain belief- something that can be accomplished in a minute at a prayer service, and, of course, once saved, always saved, so you can go on sinning afterwards.  This is insane, it would be like selling a beautiful house for 1$.

It is well known that children will take better care of things that they have earned through hard work than what they are presented as mere gifts.  There is a certain integrity that results from achieving a goal through concerted effort and, on the other hand, a degree of embarrassment for receiving that which is undeserved.

This is where Christianity fails. An eternal life in paradise is something that should require a major effort of selfless sacrifice for others and the greater good of mankind. But, of course, if Christianity had set this high standard for being saved, it would never have been able to become the dominant world religion.  And this is a good reason to conclude that Christianity is false- a real god would demand extraordinary effort for such a spectacular reward. Ridiculously, for so many of these amazing philanthropists who should deserve an eternal reward, the Christian god sends them to Hell, while at the same time accepting to Heaven those who have lived failed lives, accomplishing nothing of merit other than a mere belief.

(1031) Virgin birth myth created a contradiction

The Gospel of Mark, being the earliest written gospel, did not include  a story of Jesus’s birth.  Two (contradictory) versions of Jesus’s (virginal) birth are found in Matthew and Luke.  When these birth stories were added it created a conflict with the following passage from the Gospel of Mark:

Mark 3:20-34

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

If Jesus’s birth was announced by an angel and a special star and accompanied by wise men bearing gifts as documented in Luke and Matthew, it would seem that it would have been obvious to Jesus’s mother, father, and brothers that he was not just a human being subject to psychological disorders. No, whatever he did would be seen as divine action.

What Mark wrote in this verse made sense if you only read his gospel.  But if you continue to read Matthew and Luke, it becomes highly problematic. This shows that an evolving myth can cause retroactive contradictions, as is the case here.

(1032) Gentiles, unlike Jews, took the Bible literally

The Bible was not written to be an historical document, but rather allegorical to present a theological message.  The Jews understood this, but when the Gentiles took full control of the Christian movement, they began to take the gospel stories as literal truth. The following is taken from:

http://www.amazon.com/Biblical-Literalism-Gentile-Christianity-Matthews/dp/0062362305

A global and pioneering leader of progressive Christianity and the bestselling author of Why Christianity Must Change or Die and Eternal Life explains why a literal reading of the Gospels is actually heretical, and how this mistaken notion only entered the church once Gentiles had pushed out all the Jewish followers of Jesus.

A man who has consciously and deliberately walked the path of Christ, John Shelby Spong has lived his entire life inside the Christian Church. In this profound and considered work, he offers a radical new way to look at the gospels today as he shows just how deeply Jewish the Christian Gospels are and how much they reflect the Jewish scriptures, history, and patterns of worship. Pulling back the layers of a long-standing Gentile ignorance, he reveals how the church’s literal reading of the Bible is so far removed from these original Jewish authors’ intent that it is an act of heresy.

Using the Gospel of Matthew as a guide, Spong explores the Bible’s literary and liturgical roots—its grounding in Jewish culture, symbols, icons, and storytelling tradition—to explain how the events of Jesus’ life, including the virgin birth, the miracles, the details of the passion story, and the resurrection and ascension, would have been understood by both the Jewish authors of the various gospels and by the Jewish audiences for which they were originally written. Spong makes clear that it was only after the church became fully Gentile that readers of the Gospels took these stories to be factual, distorting their original meaning.

In Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy, Spong illuminates the gospels as never before and provides a better blueprint for the future than where the church’s leaden and heretical reading of the story of Jesus has led us—one that allows the faithful to live inside the Christian story in the modern world.

Something similar could have happened if a group of people had begun to take the Iliad and the Odyssey as literal truth.  What should be gleaned from this is that the Bible was written by Jews who were comfortable with fictionalizing their written stories to present a certain message.  Understanding this tendency is important in evaluating the literal truth of the gospels and other books of the Bible.

(1033) Bible admits it’s not inerrant

The author of  Revelation made a statement that reveals that tampering of scripture was an issue of significant concern at the time of its writing.  The following was taken from:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Biblical_literalism

While there is no Biblical suggestion that the Bible as it was revealed contained errors, there is explicit mention made of the potential for man to add to or take from God’s words, or at least his words in the book of Revelation (see also above). Revelation 22:18-19 read:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

If these are part of the original, divinely inspired text, then they indicate that man could potentially alter the Bible; if they are not, they indicate that man did alter the Bible at some point.

Most likely, the author of Revelation was aware of other holy texts that had been amended and was concerned that his would suffer the same fate.  This constitutes evidence internal to the Bible that this was a problem of the time, and it provides additional corroboration to the many apparent interpolations found throughout the New Testament.

(1034) No Roman records of Jesus

The evidence outside of the Bible for Jesus is extremely thin- if not non-existent if one accepts the theory that what does exist are forgeries.  But what should be most troubling to any Christian is that the Romans, who were meticulous record keepers, did not document anything about Jesus.  The following is a quote from Bart Ehrman in his book Forged:

“One of the striking and, to many people, surprising facts about the first century is that we don’t have any Roman records, of any kind, that attest to the existence of Jesus. We have no birth certificate, no references to his works or deeds, no accounts of his trial, no description of his death – no reference to him whatsoever in any way, shape, or form. Jesus’s name is not even mentioned in any Roman source of the first century.7 […] But as with the vast majority of all persons who lived and died in the first century, he does not appear in the records of the Roman people.

Why this is a significant piece of evidence is that Jesus, as he is depicted in the gospels, was not an ordinary Jewish citizen.  He was commanding large crowds of adoring followers and rumors of his miracles should have been filtering all around Judea.  His last weekend in Jerusalem should have made a big impact on Roman historians with the temple uproar and the unusual circumstances of his damnation by public acclamation, the trial, and the crucifixion, not to mention his resurrection- something that also should have been noted by the Roman scribes.  For sure, this was too much drama to be ignored, and this casts considerable doubt on the historicity of the gospels.

(1035) Nothing new in Jesus’s deeds or words

If God became human, you would expect him to do and say many things that had not been done or said before, whether they be factual or fictional elements of pre-Christian culture.  Such is not the case with Jesus. The following was taken from:

http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/christianity_nojesus.html

Elements common to all types of the Christian religion that were common in previous Pagan mystery religions include much of the religious content of Christianity. All elements of Jesus’ life such as the events around hisbirth, death and ministry were already parts of the myths surrounding other god-men of the time. Peripheral elements such as there being twelve disciples were similarly present in other more ancient religions and sometimes with an astonishing amount of duplication. First century critics of Christianity voiced accusations that Christianity was nothing but another copy of common religions.

All the actual sayings and teachings of Jesus were also not new, and much of the time speeches attributed to Jesus are more like collections of Jewish and Pagan sayings. Even distinctive texts like the Sermon on the Mount are not unique. If we remove all the content that Jesus could not have heard and repeated himself, there is nothing else left. If we remove the supernatural elements of Christianity that are copies of already existing thought and religion, there is nothing left which is unique! Even many of the sayings of subsequent Christians are not unique; Jesus appears to not have taught anyone anything that was not already present in the common culture of the time. This shows us that not only did Christianity follow on, as expected, from previous thought in history but that we do not even need to believe in God or supernatural events in order to account for the history of Christianity.

The gospel Jesus did not introduce anything new to the world, just a regurgitation of what already existed.  This is damning evidence against a divine Jesus.

(1036) Christianity is a reflection of early sun worship

One of the universal stimulants of world religion is the sun, seen and felt by all, and certainly a majestic and mysterious object to pre-scientific civilizations.  Much of the Jesus myth is a translation of prior sun worship. The following was taken from:

The reason why all these narratives are so similar, with a godman who is crucified and resurrected, who does miracles and has 12 disciples, is that these stories were based on the movements of the sun through the heavens, an astrotheological development that can be found throughout the planet because the sun and the 12 zodiac signs can be observed around the globe. In other words, Jesus Christ and all the others upon whom this character is predicated are personifications of the sun, and the Gospel fable is merely a rehash of a mythological formula (the “Mythos,” as mentioned above) revolving around the movements of the sun through the heavens.

For instance, many of the world’s crucified godmen have their traditional birthday on December 25th. This is because the ancients recognized that (from an earthcentric perspective) the sun makes an annual descent southward until December 21st or 22nd, the winter solstice, when it stops moving southerly for three days and then starts to move northward again. During this time, the ancients declared that “God’s sun” had “died” for three days and was “born again” on December 25th. The ancients realized quite abundantly that they needed the sun to return every day and that they would be in big trouble if the sun continued to move southward and did not stop and reverse its direction. Thus, these many different cultures celebrated the “sun of God’s” birthday on December 25th. The following are the characteristics of the “sun of God”:

  • The sun “dies” for three days on December 22nd, the winter solstice, when it stops in its movement south, to be born again or resurrected on December 25th, when it resumes its movement north.
  • In some areas, the calendar originally began in the constellation of Virgo, and the sun would therefore be “born of a Virgin.”
  • The sun is the “Light of the World.”
  • The sun “cometh on clouds, and every eye shall see him.”
  • The sun rising in the morning is the “Savior of mankind.”
  • The sun wears a corona, “crown of thorns” or halo.
  • The sun “walks on water.”
  • The sun’s “followers,” “helpers” or “disciples” are the 12 months and the 12 signs of the zodiac or constellations, through which the sun must pass.
  • The sun at 12 noon is in the house or temple of the “Most High”; thus, “he” begins “his Father’s work” at “age” 12.
  • The sun enters into each sign of the zodiac at 30°; hence, the “Sun of God” begins his ministry at “age” 30.
  • The sun is hung on a cross or “crucified,” which represents its passing through the equinoxes, the vernal equinox being Easter, at which time it is then resurrected.

The parallel symbolism is impressive. It is not surprising that Christianity, along with most other religions, owes much of the its mythology to the common thread woven by the early sun worshipers.

(1037) Christianity is a perversion of the human psyche

Psyche is defined as the human mind, soul, or spirit, and it is a product of evolution as humans became smarter and learned from their past history.  In other words, it keeps improving, or at least it should.  But Christianity is stuck in the past, before many of those improvements occurred.  As such it is now seen as a perversion of what we would now see as a healthy psyche. The following Louis Cypher quote perfectly sums up this problem:

Christianity remains a disgusting perversion of the human psyche, a vile middle eastern blood cult born of human sacrifice with sacraments of vampirism and cannibalism and whose highest icon is the image of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture. Christianity replaces human ethics and morality with the absurd concept that wrong doing, guilt and the common faults all people share can be transferred like loose change to a third party, the reanimated corpse of the faux sacrifice, and that entry to the cosmic amusement park can be gained and damnation to an eternal torture chamber avoided by the expedient of planting ones lips on the celestial buttocks, often, and with gusto, (optional ball squeeze depending on denomination).

The aforementioned ass kissing supplants the need to actually be a good human being, as the book assures us is impossible at any rate. This vapid superstition writ large has as it’s endgame the horrible death of 3/4 of the human race followed by the pitiful remnants crawling from the rubble only to be ruled over by an undead Hebrew revanant, the remains of that long ago ‘sacrifice’.

The human psyche has evolved to a level much higher than what Christianity represents, revealing that it is highly unlikely that a god was involved in its development.

(1038) God is either not omniscient or there’s no free will

Refer to the following algorithm:

http://hardgodquestions.com/

This presents an important dilemma. Most Christians will fall to the lower left hand block and be forced to admit that God does not know the future.  The other alternative is severe- God knows the future and humans have no free will and are pre-ordained by God to act in a certain way and therefore are pre-ordained at birth to either be sent to Heaven or Hell.

This is what is termed a ‘forced concession,’ meaning that Christians are not allowed what they would prefer to believe- that God is omniscient and knows the future and that humans have free will. When forced into such a corner, an enlightened Christian will realize that there is a problem with the underlying theology.  The easiest way out is to admit that God is not omniscient with respect to future events, though this uncovers another layer of theological turmoil- because it is hard to square Christianity with the concept of a limited god.

(1039) Virgins and volcanoes

Throughout the Bible, including the New Testament, the Christian god requires a blood sacrifice to calm himself down and hold back his lust for retribution.  This makes him no more virtuous than the ancient gods who would quell a volcano only so long as a virgin was tossed into the magma.  The following was taken from:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/if-god-needed-a-blood-sacrifice-for-sin-god-is-not-holy/?ref_widget=popular&ref_blog=exploringourmatrix&ref_post=ken-ham-is-a-liar

Throughout history there are countless understandings of the gods being angry and needing a human sacrifice in order to calm them down. There were those who sacrificed babies to Moloch, the Aztecs believing that the sun god needed human blood for appeasement, ancient Hawaiians who sacrificed humans to the god of war, the Incas, the Mayans… there are all kinds of gods throughout history who needed human blood sacrificed to appease them.

If holy had an antonym it would be “same” or “similar.” And, if God needed the blood sacrifice of an innocent human, he sure is similar to primitive versions of god.

Thus, let us be clear about what we are doing when we describe the cross of Calvary in this way: when we say that God’s anger at sin necessitated the blood sacrifice of an innocent human in order to calm his wrath, we are not describing a god who is fundamentally different and holy– we are simply describing another version of an angry god who needs a virgin thrown into the volcano. 

Here is where the canary dies in the mine.  It is absolutely certain that a real god would not fall in line with the false gods of so many primitive cultures who thought that angry gods could only be appeased by killing something of value, whether animal or human. The god of Christianity cannot be real.

(1040) Universe’s immense size dwarfs Christianity

Everyone is familiar with how fast light travels.  In our everyday world we don’t consider it as anything but instantaneous. When we see something happening 1000 feet away, we assume we are seeing what is happening at that instant, but if a hammer strike occurs, we are aware that there is a one-second delay in hearing the sound from that distance.

So, if someone had flashed a light beam at one end of the Milky Way galaxy and aimed at the Earth at the instant of Jesus’s death on the cross, how far would that light have traveled by now?  The answer is not even far enough to reach the Earth. In fact, it would only have traveled about 1/12 of the way so far, meaning it will not reach the Earth until the year 24,000 AD.  This, despite the fact it is traveling at 186,000 miles per second (per second- not per hour), or fast enough to circumnavigate the Earth at the equator about 7 times every second.

If the Milky Way is too large to fathom, then consider the Andromeda galaxy which is predicted to collide with the Milky Way in about 4 billion years.  It is about twice as wide as the Milky Way- approximately 220,000 light years across.

When we consider the world of Judeo-Christianity in this setting, it is like focusing on a single water molecule in the Pacific Ocean and considering that molecule to be all that matters.  The following is a quote from Ignots Pistachio:

In the world of religion, the gods always appear tiny compared to the universe of science. The Judeo-Christian war-god resembles a crude, jealous, hormone driven entity, very much in the image of the Bronze-Age people who created him, whereas science reveals the grander and solemnity of an immense universe, far beyond the comprehension of monotheists and their flat, dimensionless world. And if the quantum theorists prove correct, even a creation god universe pails in comparison to the multi-universes created by unintelligent chance within the sub-atomic structure of spacetime.

Our discovery of the immensity of the universe has resulted in the diminution of the Middle East-focused god of Christianity.  It has opened our eyes to understand that the limited knowledge of our ancestors should no longer confine our view of reality.

(1041) Why are Jesus’s disciples revered?

Most Christians view Jesus’s disciples as being special and deserving of great praise.  This despite the fact that one of them allegedly betrayed him (Judas), one denied him (Peter), and one doubted him (Thomas).  And though Christians today are told that they are being measured by the amount of faith they have in Jesus, the disciples needed no faith themselves. Supposedly, they saw all of the miracles of Jesus including the grandest miracle of all- the resurrection and ascension (actually watching Jesus physically fly into the sky).

The disciples who were the closest eyewitnesses to Jesus’s ministry did not write any accounts of it, at least any that have been preserved for posterity.  All of the books of the New Testament ascribed to them were written by someone else falsely claiming their identity.

These men were nothing special- they just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  Perhaps they went to martyrs’ deaths, though these stories could just as easily have been made up, like so many other stories both inside and outside of the Bible.

The question that should be asked is why did these 12 men get selected to have a front-row seat to the show while the same God withholds even a back row seat in the rafters for anyone alive today? Today’s Christians are standing outside the theater and simply told to have faith that the show inside is really great and that they must believe it or else.

The bottom line is that any god worth his salt would give every earnest truth-seeking person the same amount of evidence he gave his disciples.  The fact that this is not happening is evidence that he is just an imaginary being.

(1042) Passover nonsense

Christians are generally unaware of many of the stories in the Old Testament, and that is no accident- Christian clergy avoid most of it like the plague because they know it will reveal many uncomfortable facts about the god that they worship.  One of those discarded stories is the Passover, which became a highly celebrated Jewish holiday.  According to scripture, while the Jews were enslaved in Egypt, God decided to kill the first born of all of the locals as a punishment for Pharaoh’s refusal to let the Israelites go free.  But he needed some help in figuring out which children to murder.  He ordered his people to slaughter some animals and place the blood on their doorframes.

Exodus 12:12-13

“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

Other than the absolute ungodly barbarism of slaughtering children, God is somehow unable to distinguish between Egyptian and Jewish children unless he sees the tell tale blood on the doorframes.  This story is obviously fictional as is the entire Egyptian enslavement drama, but it must be accepted as truth by Christians or else they must agree that Jesus was mistaken by his belief in it.  Furthermore, it must be noted that God’s assumed omniscience is contradicted by the author’s inadvertently sloppy narrative.

(1043) If God died, how would we know?

Christians are conditioned to believe that God is an immortal being, but what if that is not true- that God, like every living thing is destined to die?  Supposing that to be the case, how would we know when his death occurs?  The following is taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2013/10/if-god-died-how-would-we-know.html

As atheists, agnostics, and other non-Christians, perhaps we are not qualified to answer the question of whether god is dead. After all, we spend most of our time ignoring gods. Still, we would like to know, wouldn’t we? So, perhaps one of the Christians who regularly lurk around this site could perform a great service and answer this question for us: If God died, how would we know?

  • Would there suddenly be thousands of Christian (and other) children in Africa dying every day because god doesn’t provide for them enough to eat?
  • Would little children around the world be getting cancer and dying slow, painful deaths?
  • Would the fervent, tear-soaked prayers of little boys being raped by clergy go unanswered?
  • Would once respected clergy be discovered to be child rapists, and the church’s leadership more concerned with the church’s reputation than keeping children safe from these sexual predators?
  • Would Jesus no longer appear to us to calm our fears and heal people with a touch?

I’ve puzzled over this question, quite seriously, for some time, but never found an answer. There just seems to be no way of knowing if god died. Would some Christian please step up and answer this question for us? Please note that I am not asking why there is evil in the world, that’s a different question for a different day. What I’m asking is, if god died, how would we know, how could we tell? What test could we use?

Now, here’s the whole point of this exercise, the bottom line, where the rubber meets the road, the inescapable conclusion: if there is no way to tell whether a god’s influence has left the world, then there is no way to tell whether a god’s influence was ever in the world. And your challenge is to show me how I’m wrong.

This is a compelling argument for Christian apologists to tackle.  If nothing changes because of God’s death, it means one of two things- he either is not intervening in our affairs or he doesn’t exist.

(1044) Why science and religion are incompatible

Christians are often heard to say that science and religion can co-exist and support each other. They are usually the ones who say they believe that God used evolution to create humans, never quite realizing the immense inhumane suffering that this entailed.

But what about the overall concept- that religion and science are compatible?  Here is the reason that they are not.  The science in the United States is the same as the science in Iraq, the same as the science in Tibet, and the same as the science in India, etc. However, the religion in the United States is different from the religion in Iraq, different from the religion in Tibet, and different from the religion in India. Science has an absolute and universal standard, whereas religion does not.  So if someone says that science is compatible with religion, it must be asked, “which religion, which denomination.”

Science and religion are incompatible and it is incumbent on everyone to choose one or the other as the means of finding truth- to juggle them both as co-equals is not legitimate.

(1045) Happiest countries are the least religious

The World Happiness Index for 2016 has revealed that the top five happiest countries are all among the least religious- Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Finland.  The following graphic was taken from:

http://www.sciencealert.com/the-world-happiness-index-2016-just-ranked-the-happiest-countries-on-earth

happiness-rankings

If God was real, it would seem that separating oneself from him would lead to difficulties that would inevitably result in reduced happiness.  However, if God is not real, then focusing on the merits of reality rather than being bogged down in guilt and the suppression of desire could result in greater happiness.  The happiness/religion correlation may not be fully causal, but it is significant.

(1046) No one wrote anything against Jesus

If Jesus was performing miracles and irritating the Jewish authorities (Sadducees and Pharisees) with his modification of the Jewish laws, why didn’t anybody write anything against his mission? This is to say nothing of the Romans who were observing this phenomenon which must have been amusing to them.  The following was taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2012/03/mysteries-of-gospels-game.html

Why are there no writings of the period arguing AGAINST Jesus’ theories and miracles, not even by Orthodox Jews who did not accept that he was the Messiah? (Thanks to Carl S. for this one.) Could it be that Jesus was just a small time preacher who gained little attention during his lifetime, but had legendary feats grow up around him with the telling and retelling of his story, until someone finally wrote the Gospels 35+ years later?

The missing negative press means one of two things- either Jesus is a mythical figure or he was not nearly as famous or as influential as he is made out to be by the gospels.

(1047) Uniqueness test

When evaluating the veracity of the world religions, it is assumed that the one associated with an actual supernatural power would stand out and be substantially different from the others. This assumes that a god would not re-use worn out man-made theistic themes when he decided to develop his one true faith. He would be unique in almost all respects.

Christianity fails this test miserably.  It uses themes, stories, rituals, and tableaus from scores of previous religions and presents almost no new material.  This is an indication of a religion developed by and only by people, not a celestial deity.

(1048) No true believers according to the Bible

In the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 16, there are 12 verses (9-20) at the end that were not part of the original authorship.  This is an undisputed truth that sullies any declarations of biblical inerrancy.

But looked at in another way, it is possible for a Christian to insist that these verses were approved by God. The theory would be that God was involved in the editing, duplication, and selection process that resulted in the modern-day Bible.  That is to say, if God didn’t want these stray verses to exist at the end of Mark, he would have arranged affairs to keep them out.

So, in that light, lets take a look at what four of these added verses say:

Mark 16:15-18

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 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.”

The gospel has been preached more or less to all creation, so that command has been met.  But then problems develop.  To be saved, it states that you must not only believe but be baptized.  Adding baptism as a requirement for salvation has been a major sticking point for theologians trying to determine the eternal fate of babies who die at birth without being baptized.  It then goes on to say that whoever does not believe will be condemned, presumably to Hell, despite that they might have lived an otherwise exemplary life. Right there, we have determined that God is neither loving, nor fair.

The next verses drive into more trouble. They list the signs that will accompany those who believe.  Presumably, these signs can be used to identify the true believers who will be going to Heaven (assuming that they also get baptized).

It then says they will drive out demons. This causes an immediate problem, as most sane people now understand that demons don’t exist.  So this is a meaningless sign in our modern world.

Next is that they will speak in new tongues (languages).  It is now understood that evangelicals who speak in tongues are just spouting gibberish, not any identifiable language, and that it can be done by anybody, whether they believe this nonsense of not, or whether or not they believe they are under the spell of the Holy Spirit.

Next we come to the snake handlers. The verse implies that believers can handle poisonous snakes with being hurt.  This is disproved time and time again by the Appalachian snake handlers dying from bites at their services.

The next verse is laughably false- that they can drink poison with no deleterious effect.  This did not work with the members of Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple in Guyana, where in 1978, 918 ‘believers’ died after drinking cyanide-laced grape flavor aid.

So this leaves us with the conclusion that there are no true believers as nobody is meeting the requirements set out by Jesus.  Christians have no easy out- they either must admit that they are failing to show the signs of true believers, or that their Bibles are contaminated with verses that should not be there.

(1049) The fallibility of memory

Much of the authenticity of the gospels depends on the reliability of people’s memories, both those who may have witnessed some of the important events and those who heard and relayed stories from these people. The following was taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2011/11/flying-saucers-and-gospels.html

 On the TV show, they took 6 people to a similar area for what they called a short nature walk. They fitted each with a helmet containing a camera. The experiment, designed by a psychologist who specialized in human memory, was intended to compare what the people later said they saw with what they actually saw, as verified by the cameras.

During their 20 minute walk through hilly, desert scrub terrain, they walked past a scene created by the designers of the experiment. In the scene, there was a uniformed soldier with a rifle walking around an area of wreckage, with standard yellow police tape cordoning off the area. The leader of the nature walk group explained very briefly to the 6 experimental subjects that something had crashed and the military was protecting the evidence and telling people to just pass quickly and pay it no attention.

A month later, the psychologist gathered the subjects together again and asked them to describe what they had seen on their nature walk. One woman said she had seen 2 soldiers who pointed their rifles at the party as they neared the wreckage. She said she was quite frightened. She was asked to rate her confidence that the story she related was factual on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 signifying little confidence and 5 signifying certainty. She chose 5.

When the experimenters examined the film from that woman’s helmet cam, they found that she had actually never seen any soldiers, and there actually was only one at the site anyway. Obviously, she couldn’t have seen 2 soldiers point rifles at the party since she never saw a soldier at all.

The key here, as the psychologist explained, is that the woman absolutely believed the story she told. She was not lying. She knew she had worn a helmet cam so that her story could be verified, yet she related that she was certain of the facts of her story.

Our memories do not work like computer memories. Each time we call up a memory, it is changed at least slightly, before we put it away again. Also, anything we have learned from others relating to a memory can change that memory, and we are prone to accepting suggestions, unconsciously, from others concerning that memory. Over time, the memory deteriorates more and more until, in some cases, as in the case of this woman, the memory bears little or no resemblance to what actually happened. There is no doubt that we all carry around thousands of false memories in our heads. This has been proved repeatedly in court cases, of child abuse especially. During interrogations, the suggestions implied in the questions can begin to get integrated into the memory.

In the case of the experiment described above. It appears that the subjects discussed with each other, if only briefly, what they had seen, perhaps suggesting to each other further details of what they might or might not have seen – or even what they expected to see. These discussions, and the witnesses repeated retellings of their stories over the month, led to major changes in the memories of the subjects.

I read of an interesting incident by a memory researcher illustrating how much a memory can be changed. He said he was talking with his brother one day about some of their childhood experiences and mentioned when his bicycle had been stolen. His brother corrected him. It was the brother’s bicycle which had been stolen. Apparently, in telling and retelling the story over the years, his memory of it had been dramatically altered.

Another illustration of the lack of accuracy of our memories concerns viewpoint. As you recall some past incident in your mind’s eye, notice that you see it as if you were watching yourself in the recreated scene from some distance away, and often from above, as though you were watching a movie of it. This is obviously not at all what you actually saw through your eyes as the event was taking place. You could not have seen yourself in the actual event because your eyes were not on yourself, but on the other actors and scenery of the event.

So what does all this have to do with the Gospels? Well, consider first how that woman in the TV experiment had her memory altered considerably while believing that she remembered perfectly. Now consider how that change in her memory was over just one month’s time. Now recall that the earliest Gospel is believed to date from at least 30 years after the death of Jesus (if there ever was a real Jesus), even by Christian scholars. If 30 days can do that much to a memory, what do you suppose 30 years can do? And recall that the Gospel authors must have been hearing many stories concerning Jesus’ life and retelling those stories over a 30 year span. Now, even if they had witnessed some of the events of Jesus’ life, their memories would doubtless have been drastically changed by the time they wrote down their stories. And, after 30 years of thousands of people telling and retelling the stories, there would be many different versions in the air by the time they were written down, much the same as there are many versions of popular urban legends today.

The only way out of this problem is to claim that God supernaturally reconstructed the memories of those who contributed to the development of the gospels.  But if this was true, why are there so many contradictions?

(1050) Bible used to justify burning heretics

In Matthew 7:15-20, we read:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

These and similar verses in Luke and John were used for centuries to justify burning at the stake persons who didn’t believe that Jesus was the son of god.  The number of people burned for heresy is unknown but the following website produces an estimated number during a period of intense burning:

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

 Estimates of how many were executed on behest of the Spanish Inquisition have been offered from early on; historian Hernando del Pulgar (1436 – c. 1492) estimated that 2,000 people were burned at the stake between 1478 and 1490. Estimates range from 30,000 to 50,000 burnt at the stake (alive or not) at the behest of the Spanish Inquisition during its 300 years of activity have previously been given and are still to be found in popular books.

Christian apologists will try to explain this atrocity on the idea that these executioners were not ‘real Christians.’   But when your sacred scripture has your lord and savior making statement like the one above and also condemning non-believers to eternal hell-fire, can you blame these vigilantes for carrying out what to them was a sacred mission?

It’s hard to believe that a real god would stand by as his followers torture non-believers, or for that matter, say things or else allow unscrupulous authors to put words in his mouth that incite the act of burning people alive.

(1051) Humans devise better set of commandments than God

Many Christians revere the Ten Commandments as being the pinnacle of moral instruction.  They insist that they be displayed in many places, including public property.   But what if a human was able to devise a better set of commandments?  Valeria Tarico did just that:

http://new.exchristian.net/2014/07/ten-commandments-that-would-have.html

  1. This above all shall ye take as my first command: Thou shalt treat living beings as they want to be treated. And the second commandment is like unto it:
  2. In as much as be possible, thou shalt avoid afflicting pain or sorrow, which shall be unto thee my signs of ill and evil.
  3. Thou shalt honor and protect all of creation, for I the LORD have created it that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
  4. Thou shalt have sexual relations with neither human nor beast who chooseth not freely what pleasures thou mayest offer.
  5. Thou shalt not beat the child, but by admonition and instruction with kindness shall teach both wisdom and skill.
  6. Thou shalt do unto members of other religions and tribes as thou dost unto thine own.
  7. I, the LORD your God, forbid thee to own other persons be they woman, man or child; neither shall ye subject any gender nor race one to another, but shall honor my image in all.
  8. Thou shalt not destroy the lands of thine enemies, nor poison their well, nor salt their earth, neither shalt thou cut their shade tree nor burn their vineyard, nor wantonly slaughter the beast of their field.
  9. Thou shalt wash thy hands before eating and shalt boil the drinking water that has been defiled by man or beast.
  10. Thou shalt ask the questions that can show thee wrong, so that through the toil of many, from generation unto generation, ye may come to discover the great I AM.

This list of Ten Commandments would have changed the course of history. Think Crusades, or the Inquisition, or Salem, or the American Holocaust, or the slave trade, or Northern Ireland, or the Iraq War.

Yes, if we could go back in time and substitute these commandments in the Bible, the world today would be a much more humane, peaceful, and moral place. If humans can outdo God and outdo him by a large margin, it highly suggests that the biblical Ten Commandments were not constructed by the creator of the universe.

(1052) Attitudes about women from church leaders 

Christianity supposedly gains its insights and moral compass from a supernatural god of limitless knowledge and power.  As such a gift to humanity, it would be expected that it would inspire its leaders to promote the highest ideals of human love, understanding, and fairness.  But what we see is something different, and one of the ways this is displayed is in the historical attitude of church leaders toward women. The following was taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2013/07/twenty-vile-quotes-against-women-by.html

In past centuries, men who were hailed as Church Fathers, Patriarchs, Doctors, and even Saints boldly expressed their view that females are inferior and loathsome; and they explained at length why God shared their perspective. Lest we fall into the conservative trap of thinking that the past was somehow better than the nasty messes we face today, it’s worth pondering some of the lovely tidbits that the Church has thought fit to preserve and promote in the centuries since Christianity was founded. Here are some of the most savory. They come from three waves of religious leaders: “Fathers” of the Catholic Church, Protestant Reformers, and American patriarchs who inherited the mantle of both.

Church Doctors and Fathers

  • [Women’s]very consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame.Saint Clement of Alexandria, Christian theologian (c150-215) Pedagogues II, 33, 2)
  • In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell. Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity” (c160-225)
  • Woman is a temple built over a sewer.Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity” (c160-225)
  • Woman does not possess the image of God in herself but only when taken together with the male who is her head, so that the whole substance is one image. But when she is assigned the role as helpmate, a function that pertains to her alone, then she is not the image of God. But as far as the man is concerned, he is by himself alone the image of God just as fully and completely as when he and the woman are joined together into one. –Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354-430)
  • What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman… I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children. –Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354 – 430)
  • Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. … Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good. Saint Albertus Magnus, Dominican theologian, 13th century
  • As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence. –Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, 13th century

Protestant Reformers

  • The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes. –Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)
  • No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise. –Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)
  • Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children. –Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)
  • Thus the woman, who had perversely exceeded her proper bounds, is forced back to her own position. She had, indeed, previously been subject to her husband, but that was a liberal and gentle subjection; now, however, she is cast into servitude.John Calvin, Reformer (1509-1564)
  • Do not any longer contend for mastery, for power, money, or praise. Be content to be a private, insignificant person, known and loved by God and me. . . . of what importance is your character to mankind, if you was buried just now Or if you had never lived, what loss would it be to the cause of God. –John Wesley, founder of Methodist movement (1703-1791), letter to his wife, July 15, 1774

Even the media’s most unabashed misogynists are tame compared to their ideological ancestors, which include some of the biggest names in Christian history.American Patriarchs (Puritan, Mormon, Baptist, Evangelical)

  • Even as the church must fear Christ Jesus, so must the wives also fear their husbands. And this inward fear must be shewed by an outward meekness and lowliness in her speeches and carriage to her husband. . . . For if there be not fear and reverence in the inferior, there can be no sound nor constant honor yielded to the superior. –John Dod, A Plaine and Familiar Exposition of the Ten Commandements,Puritan guidebook first published in 1603
  • The second duty of the wife is constant obedience and subjection. –John Dod, A Plaine and Familiar Exposition of the Ten Commandements, Puritan guidebook first published in 1603
  • The root of masculine is stronger, and of feminine weaker. The sun is a governing planet to certain planets, while the moon borrows her light from the sun, and is less or weaker. –Joseph Smith, founder of LDS movement (1805-1844)
  • Women are made to be led, and counseled, and directed. . . . And if I am not a good man, I have no just right in this Church to a wife or wives, or the power to propagate my species. What then should be done with me? Make a eunuch of me, and stop my propagation. –Heber C. Kimball, venerated early LDS apostle (1801-1868)
  • A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband, even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. –Official statement of Southern Baptist Convention, Summer 1998, (15.7 million members)
  • The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians. — Pat Robertson, Southern Baptist leader (1930-)
  • The Holiness of God is not evidenced in women when they are brash, brassy, boisterous, brazen, head-strong, strong-willed, loud-mouthed, overly-talkative, having to have the last word, challenging, controlling, manipulative, critical, conceited, arrogant, aggressive, assertive, strident, interruptive, undisciplined, insubordinate, disruptive, dominating, domineering, or clamoring for power. Rather, women accept God’s holy order and character by being humbly and unobtrusively respectful and receptive in functional subordination to God, church leadership, and husbands. –James Fowler, Women in the Church, 1999.
  • Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. Ladies, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up it is because you are fighting your role in the scripture. Mark Driscoll, founder of Mars Hill nondenominational mega-church franchise.(1970-)

So God failed to communicate either through his word or his ability to teach and inspire his followers that women should be considered as equals to men, an ideal that modern society has mostly adopted. If Christianity was real, Jesus would have said something to the effect, ‘ do not consider the man over the woman, or the woman over the man, but see them as being equal in the eyes of God.’

(1053) Jesus’s unanswered prayer

In John 17:20-23, Jesus is offering a prayer for his disciples and for those people who will later become followers:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

By any objective analysis, this prayer has gone unanswered.  There is no way that 33,000 Christian denominations, most of which have conflicting doctrines, can be characterized as ‘complete unity.’  If a prayer uttered by Jesus goes unanswered, how can any Christian expect his or her prayer to be honored?

(1054) Amputees are not healed by prayer

No one argues the fact that Christian prayers have consistently failed to result in the grow-back of amputated limbs.   There is no reputable report of this ever happening.  Given this universal agreement, the challenge is to explain why.

For an atheist, the explanation is simple- the human body is not capable to regenerate limbs, other than a few minor items like fingertips. This ability was lost long ago in our evolutionary  past. Our distant cousins, starfish and salamanders, have retained this capability.

For the Christian, the explanation becomes more problematic, especially in the wake of scriptures like this:

John 14:13

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

The stock apologetic answer is that God does not want to perform acts that would not leave doubters a way to remain in their doubt, or remove the need for believers to have faith.  So the only prayers he will answer are those that appear to be the result of natural processes.  Therefore, the scripture above should be corrected to say:

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so long as it appears that it might have happened anyway without my help.”

This is the god of Christianity- an invisible, inaudible entity that doesn’t do anything that can’t otherwise be explained by assuming his non-existence.  This hardly seems like a limitless god, and until he heals his first amputee, a person with sound mind should reserve any measure of awe or reverence.

(1055) James, not Peter, led early Christians

The gospels state that Jesus assigned Peter to lead the faithful after Jesus left the Earth.  This is almost certainly false. The evidence points to Jesus’s brother, James, taking that role.  Peter was the only disciple known to travel to Rome, so it is likely that his presence there was the reason that the gospels were forged to make him the prominent disciple.  The following was taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/bb0_paul.htm#nazarenes

There is some evidence that after his own death, Jesus intended his brother James to take over his ministry and lead the remaining Jewish followers. Josephus refers to James taking over, and appears to refer to James as Christ, though the passage is ambiguous*. The Gospel of St Thomas refers to Jesus naming James as the disciples” leader after his own departure*. In theSecret Book of James, James occupies the dominant role sometimes attributed to Peter in canonical writings*. Church Fathers were aware that James had taken over the leadership of the apostles, and he was acknowledged to have been the first Bishop of Jerusalem*. Furthermore it is clear from the New Testament that James (recognised by the Church as James the Just) enjoyed primacy over the other disciples*. For example James alone makes the final decision about the dietary laws (Acts 15:13-20). A passage in Galatians gives James’s name before Peter’s , indicating relative rank (Galatians 2:9). Another makes it clear that Peter felt himself subject to James (Galatians 2:11-12).

From the little that the Bible tells us it is apparent that after Jesus” death the disciples continued to live communally. They visited the Temple together every day, gave generously, and were generally well respected (Acts 2:44-7). With the exception of Peter, there is no reason to suppose that any of them left the vicinity of Jerusalem. Nor is there any reason to suppose that they abandoned their Jewish faith*. Had this Jewish line survived there is little doubt that it would have had the strongest claim to represent Jesus” intentions. James was executed at the instigation of the Sadducees, in circumstances similar to those surrounding the death of his brother Jesus*. James was succeeded by another close relation, a cousin called Simeon (or Symeon)*, though this succession seems to have caused dissent and schism*.

This succession substitution is another example of how the Romans influenced and distorted early Christianity for their purposes.  It lends another reason to doubt the authenticity of the New Testament scriptures.

(1056) God is a dictator

Often in an exchange of ad hominem attacks, Christians will claim that the worst dictators, Stalin, Hitler, and Pol Pot, were all atheists, and that therefore this demonstrates the superiority of Christianity as a moral guide. But what they fail to recognize is that the god they worship mimics these same dictators in disturbing ways. The following was taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2010/06/gods-existence-doesnt-matter.html

 Imagine a dictator who tells the citizens of his country to support him and do what he says, or else he will torture them mercilessly. Furthermore imagine this dictator as promoting himself as a fatherly figure, a guide for the nation, a loving dad for all the citizens.

I would now like to direct your attention to two people, ‘Uncle Joe’ Stalin, also known as the ‘Little Father of the Peoples’ or ‘Papa Stalin’; and to God.

Do we condone Stalin’s acts, claiming that he had no choice but to initiate the Great Purge to demonstrate his love for the USSR? Do we claim that he is nothing but a wonderful man, and that anybody he has tortured, maimed, or killed deserved it, because they didn’t support Papa Stalin and love all that he loved, and shun all that he shunned?

For me, there was never any point debating God’s existence. I do not care whether God exists or not.

Even if he did exist, I would not even bow my head to him, he does not deserve an inkling of respect from little ol’ me. Why do Christians fail to notice the irony and hypocrisy of their criticizing dictators such as Stalin, Hitler, Sadam Hussein, Kim Jong-Il or Hu Jintao? Why do they claim these people are evil and ruthless and must be killed, and then retreat to their churches to pray to their Big Dictator in the Sky? Surely we, that is to say, society as a whole, should be condemning this invisible menace with his hate-filled slander and clear lies, claiming to be a great fatherly figure then throwing people to Hell for not adoring him and claiming it was their own fault?

Ah, but I forget, this is religion, and any wrong condoned by religion is automatically a right, no explanation or questions needed, or wanted if you value your soul.

In a sense, God is a more heinous dictator than these evil men because he fails to honestly reveal himself and threatens a punishment much worse than death itself to those who can’t muster the faith to believe.  This is where Christianity fails any test of righteousness.  It is obvious to the free-minded, but obscured from those with minds enslaved by religion.

(1057) Fewer people are praying

One of the best ways to evaluate the effectiveness of a product is to determine how many people are using it, and whether the usage rate is increasing or declining.  When it comes to prayer, the results are in, and it is a fatal knock on Christianity.  The following was taken from:

http://newscenter.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/news_story.aspx?sid=76091

The percentage of Americans who prayed or believed in God reached an all-time low in 2014, according to new research led by San Diego State University psychology professor Jean M. Twenge.

A research team that included Ryne Sherman from Florida Atlantic University and Julie J. Exline and Joshua B. Grubbs from Case Western Reserve University analyzed data from 58,893 respondents to the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults administered between 1972 and 2014. Five times as many Americans in 2014 reported that they never prayed as did Americans in the early 1980s, and nearly twice as many said they did not believe in God.

Americans in recent years were less likely to engage in a wide variety of religious practices, including attending religious services, describing oneself as a religious person, and believing that the Bible is divinely inspired, with the biggest declines seen among 18- to 29-year-old respondents. The results were published today in the journal Sage Open.

“Most previous studies concluded that fewer Americans were publicly affiliating with a religion, but that Americans were just as religious in private ways. That’s no longer the case, especially in the last few years,” said Twenge, who is also the author of the book, “Generation Me.” “The large declines in religious practice among young adults are also further evidence that Millennials are the least religious generation in memory, and possibly in American history.”

This decline in religious practice has not been accompanied by a rise in spirituality, which, according to Twenge, suggests that, rather than spirituality replacing religion, Americans are becoming more secular. The one exception to the decline in religious beliefs was a slight increase in belief in the afterlife.

If Christianity was true, then prayer would be effective. If prayer was effective, then more and more people would be praying. Fewer people are praying: therefore, Christianity is untrue.

(1058) Problems with Jesus’s arrest

The arrest of Jesus, assuming it actually occurred, happened in only one way, so it would be expected that the four gospel accounts would be practically identical.  They are not. The following are the four accounts:

Mark 14:43-51

Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him. Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

“Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Then everyone deserted him and fled.

A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

Matthew 26:47-56

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”d

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Luke 22:47-54

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.

John 18:1-14

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”a

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

The most generous critique is that there are some similarities, but the crucial problem is that there is no way to construct a single, consistent account while incorporating all the information in the four gospels.  Doing so creates irreconcilable contradictions.

  • In Mark and Matthew, Judas kisses Jesus to identify him. In Luke, Judas approaches to kiss but is challenged by Jesus before the kiss is made, while in John Judas plays no role in identifying Jesus, as Jesus identifies himself.
  • In Mark, Jesus says nothing before arrested, while in Matthew and Luke, he makes different statements. In John, Jesus has a long conversation with the soldiers before being arrested.
  • In Mark, Matthew, and Luke, there is no mention of the soldiers following to the ground, as is written in John.
  • All four accounts mention that one of Jesus’s followers cut the ear off of one of the soldiers, but only in Luke does Jesus heal the ear.
  • In Mark, Matthew, and Luke, the person cutting off the ear is one of Jesus’s companions, while in John, it is Peter, the principal disciple.  Also, only in John is the victim’s name mentioned (Malchus).
  • Only in Matthew does Jesus admonish the use of swords and make a boastful statement that he could easily resist the arrest by calling on angels.
  • In Mark and Matthew, all of the disciples fled after Jesus was arrested, but in Luke no mention was made of this, in fact, it states that Peter followed behind as Jesus was led away. In John, there is also no mention of disciples fleeing.
  • Only in John does Jesus demand that his disciples should be let go.
  • What Jesus says throughout this scene is different in all four of the gospels- there is no consistent thread.

If a movie was made to simulate this scene, it would be impossible to coherently and without contradiction include all of the details from these four accounts.  No two are alike, in the action sequence or in Jesus’s dialogue, meaning that at most only one could be totally accurate. This births the following question: If the same Holy Spirit was inspiring these four authors, why are their stories so different?

(1059) The New Testament is selective propaganda

The New Testament is not a compilation of all that was written about Jesus in the First Century.  There were about 60 gospels, or gospel-like writings, during that period and only 4 were selected for inclusion in the Bible.  Many of those excluded were contradictory and delivered a different message, and some even discounted Jesus’s resurrection.

This would be similar to a book that compiled articles about the development of living things, but only included those that supported the idea of creationism or intelligent design.  Such a book would exclude about 99% of everything written on this subject.  However, if a person read this book to the exclusion of any others, he would conclude that scientific evolution was false.

So it is with the New Testament.  Believers are left with a book that the Romans specifically designed to promote their brand of Christianity. Most Christians do not read any of the books that were rejected by the Romans, and therefore, like the people reading the creationist book, they are left with a skewed view of reality.

(1060) Jesus’s death was strictly for God’s benefit

Once a person’s mind becomes free of Christian dogma, discerning the purpose for the death of Jesus becomes an exercise in searching for hidden logic. To a Christian, it makes sense that Jesus took their deserved punishment as long as they ‘accept’ the so-called ‘sacrifice.’ To an atheist, it is total nonsense. The following is taken from:

http://articles.exchristian.net/2008/02/religion-no-thanks-ill-just-continue-in.html

If God is in fact the father of Jesus, what possible benefit did having him murdered provide? Was this for God’s benefit? Let me see if I understand this: God, the judge and jury as well as the father of the defendant decides that killing his own son to satisfy the judge (himself) will somehow make the following generations liberated from a condition they never created in the first place? Do Christians ever bother to read this? Doesn’t this strike you as the most idiotic logic you ever heard?

This would be similar to a judge in handing down a sentence to a convicted defendant, said ‘you have two choices, either being sentenced to death, or you can be set free if you meet a certain condition.  I am having my son killed and anyone in my court who will accept my son’s death will be considered absolved of their guilt.’

Jesus’s death was superfluous. God could much more easily have forgiven sins through earnest prayer.  The killing of Jesus appears to have been simply for God’s benefit.

(1061) Hell doctrine is crippling Christianity

The problem with basing a religion on a book that cannot be revised is that its dogma can eventually run afoul of evolving cultural mores. That is happening today with the doctrine of Hell.  It no longer plays in polite company, but Christianity is scripturally bound to support it or else surrender forever the primacy of the Bible. The following was taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2014/09/has-christian-doctrine-of-hell-become.html

The appeal of hell as a part of the faith package appears to be in decline, even among Evangelicals. According to a 2011 survey, while 92% of Americans claimed some sort of belief in God, only 75% believed in hell. A 2013 Harris poll put belief in the devil and hell at 58 percent. As one theology professor, Mike Wittmer, put it: “In a pluralistic, post-modern world, students are having a more difficult time with (the idea of) people going to hell forever because they didn’t believe the right thing.”

The decline in hell-belief may be due to the same factors that seem to be causing the decline in Bible belief more broadly—globalization and the internet. It gets harder to imagine oneself blissfully indifferent to the eternal torture of Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and atheists when those people have names and faces and are (Facebook) friends.

When people realize that they are more humane, forgiving, and merciful than the god they worship, it becomes much harder to worship that god or even to believe that he exists.

(1062) God informs how to deal with an unsolved murder

The Bible is a miraculous source of wisdom straight from the creator of the universe, and we are lucky that this God has given us knowledge for what to do in the case of a murder that cannot be solved:

Deuteronomy 21:1-9

If someone is found slain, lying in a field in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who the killer was, your elders and judges shall go out and measure the distance from the body to the neighboring towns. Then the elders of the town nearest the body shall take a heifer that has never been worked and has never worn a yoke and lead it down to a valley that has not been plowed or planted and where there is a flowing stream. There in the valley they are to break the heifer’s neck. The Levitical priests shall step forward, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister and to pronounce blessings in the name of the Lord and to decide all cases of dispute and assault. Then all the elders of the town nearest the body shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, and they shall declare: “Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done. Accept this atonement for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, Lord, and do not hold your people guilty of the blood of an innocent person.” Then the bloodshed will be atoned for, and you will have purged from yourselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood, since you have done what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

According to this scripture, if the guilty person cannot be identified, then killing a heifer is sufficient to satisfy God that justice has been done.  This utter nonsense is another example of Iron Age mythology that obviously did not come from a god.  Christians will argue ‘Oh, but this is in the Old Testament’ while carrying Bibles that still incorporates the Old Testament- the very part of their Bibles that contain the prophecies that they claim legitimizes their faith in Jesus.  They can’t have it both ways- either the Old Testament should be accepted, meaning their god can’t really be real, or the prophecies of Jesus are not legitimate.

(1063) Morality is a natural consequence of evolution

Many Christian apologists cite human morality as evidence that a supreme being has implanted this virtue, because, if left to natural impulses, humans would be demonstrably immoral.  A corollary is that if we did not have the instructions in the Bible, then morality would be relative and would necessarily degenerate into a chaotic mess. But a counterargument to this claim is easy to make. The following was taken from:

http://thegemsbok.com/art-reviews-and-articles/philosophy-articles-friday-phil-functionally-objective-morality/

Two of the loudest objections levied against a person who claims that morals evolved in humans are that morality would not be evolutionarily beneficial, and that any account of how morals might be evolutionarily beneficial still fails to provide an explanation for humankind’s apparent sense of moral obligation. Now, that first claim is so demonstrably false that it would hardly need to be refuted (and there is ample information in the first article linked above to refute that claim), but in responding at greater length to that first objection, a response to the second will become clear as well.

In order to see this, one must step back from evolution as the natural selection of individuals by their environment, and look at the emergence of an entire species evolving as a community of individuals. From this perspective, one will be able to observe that although morality, both for the individual and for society, might not be literally objective, this does not mean that it must be purely subjective; it may be functionally objective. Certain basic moral strictures, as twentieth century moral philosopher James Rachels points out, are necessary for a society to go on existing:

Suppose people were free to kill other people at will, and no one thought there was anything wrong with it. In such a “society,” no one could feel secure. Everyone would have to be constantly on guard. People who wanted to survive would have to avoid other people as much as possible. This would inevitably result in individuals trying to become as self-sufficient as possible—after all, associating with others would be dangerous. Society on any large scale would collapse. Of course, people might band together in smaller groups with others that they could trust not to harm them. But notice what this means: they would be forming smaller societies that did acknowledge a rule against murder. The prohibition of murder, then, is a necessary feature of all societies.

There is a general theoretical point here, namely, that there are some moral rules that all societies will have in common, because those rules are necessary for society to exist. (Rachels 157)

One could attempt to imagine such a community of only murderers, or else a society of only dishonest individuals or only thieves, but that society would inevitably self-destruct. For any individual and community of individuals to exist now and to go on existing, they must behave in a way that is conducive to the existence of a society.

Thus, morality can be expected to evolve in a godless world just as it has on Earth.  This removes a basis for believing in a god. It also provides a measure of evidence against the Christian god who ‘inspired’ a book that failed to match the morality that would be expected to happen (and apparently did happen) in his absence.

(1064) NIV translators fraudulently removed a contradiction

The team of translators who developed the New International Version of the  Bible, now the most popular, played some tricks to remove some of the contradictions inherent to the Bible.  The following website discusses one of them:

http://articles.exchristian.net/2007/10/rightly-dividing-word.html

I’ve also found a few deliberately mistranslated passages in the NIV (New International Version), believe it or not. Some might claim the accusation is tantamount to calling them liars and that it would be hard to prove but here is one example of a deliberately mistranslated verse. I’ll explain why it is deliberate as well.

I will give five (of probably 40 or more I could cite) different translations of Jeremiah 7:22-23 and then one more which has a noticeable difference. See if you can catch the difference. (One of these things is NOT like the other.)

NAS:

22″For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices.

23″But this is what I commanded them, saying, Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.’

KJV:

22For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:

23But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.

21st Century KJV:

22For I spoke not unto your fathers nor commanded them, in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.

23But this thing commanded I them, saying, “Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be My people; and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.”

ASV:

22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or sacrifices:

23 but this thing I commanded them, saying, Hearken unto my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; and walk ye in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.

Young’s Literal Translation:

22For I did not speak with your fathers, Nor did I command them in the day of My bringing them out of the land of Egypt, Concerning the matters of burnt-offering and sacrifice,

23But this thing I commanded them, saying: Hearken to My voice, And I have been to you for God, And ye — ye are to Me for a people, And have walked in all the way that I command you, So that it is well for you.

Now, see what looks different in the NIV.

NIV:

22 For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.

Such a small change but it completely changed the meaning AND removed a contradiction from the Bible (one of the goals of the NIV team). Every translation I’ve seen for the above says that God didn’t speak to the Israelites about burnt offerings after they left Egypt.

Exodus 20:22-24:

22And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

23Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.

24An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.

OOPS

There are probably hundreds of other passages I could post here showing that God did speak to them about burnt offerings and sacrifices but regardless of what Jeremiah 22 claims, God spoke to Moses and the Israelites on many occasions post-exodus about burnt offerings and how to perform them. In fact, the entire sacrificial system was instituted by God. So the NIV team decided they’d throw in the little word “just” to sort of smooth out the problem. The problem is that the word just is not in the Hebrew text at all and the only reason the NIB team inserted it was to remove a contradiction from the inerrant word of God.

This provides solid proof against any claim of biblical inerrancy, and it also spawns doubt of its overall authenticity.

(1065) Settings for Mark and John are different

In the Gospel of Mark, the first and most reliably historic of the synoptic gospels, Jesus spends most of his time in Galilee and only enters Jerusalem at the end of his one-year ministry, in fact he spends only one week there leading up to the crucifixion.  By contrast, in the Gospel of John, Jesus spends most of his time in Jerusalem during his three-year ministry.  In fact he spends three Passovers in Jerusalem before being crucified during the third.

These two stories cannot be talking about the same person.   This once again highlights a major problem with the New Testament- it contains a gospel book that is inconsistent with the other three. There can be no doubt that the canonical inclusion of the Gospel of John was a mistake. If it was to be removed, many of the contradictions surrounding the life of Jesus would not exist. Unfortunately for Christianity, the Gospel of John has been the principal gospel source used to establish the doctrine of Jesus’s divinity. So, either way, Christianity is screwed.

(1066) No Gethsemane anguish in the Gospel of John

In the gospels of Mark, Luke, and Matthew, Jesus is portrayed as being in anguish while he huddles with his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to his arrest. He is shown to be unsure and asking the Father to rescue him from the torture that he knows awaits him.  He is dismayed that that the disciples are falling asleep instead of praying with him.  In Luke, he is even seen to be sweating blood. None of this seems to be the behavior of an all-powerful god, but it’s consistent with a man who realizes that he is in big trouble.

To the rescue comes the last gospel (John), in which there is no indication of weakness or fear on the part of Jesus.  All of the drama in the garden from Mark, Matthew, and Luke is left out of the narrative and Jesus is seem to be in complete control of the situation- even during his arrest when the arresting soldiers fall to the ground.

This is part of a continuing theme as Jesus became more and more godlike as his legend grew.  The author of John thought it was untoward to have Jesus vacillating, frightened, and frustrated in his moment of stress, so he simply redacted all of the uncomfortable details.  This points to the fact that the gospel authors were not historians, but rather story tellers promoting their personal agendas.

(1067) Gospel accounts subject to memory dysfunction

Critics of Christianity often point out that the gospel accounts were not written by eyewitnesses, but because memories are so malleable and subject to distortion, even if the writers were eyewitnesses, they were producing these books 40-60 years after the fact, and it is well known that long-term memories change over time to where they are quite different from reality.  Bart Ehrman wrote about this phenomenon at this site:

http://churchandstate.org.uk/2016/03/why-the-biblical-stories-about-the-last-days-and-hours-of-jesus-are-probably-not-true/

How then did the later Gospel writers acquire their materials? How did they know about the Triumphal Entry, the cleansing of the Temple, the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, the trial before Pilate, and the rest? The scholarly answer: they knew these stories the way virtually all ancient Christians knew them. Someone told them.

Before our Gospel writers composed their accounts, the stories about Jesus were passed along by word of mouth not just for days and months, but for years and decades. What happens to stories that are told from one person to the next, and then to the next, for forty years? Does a person who hears a story remember it accurately, down to its minute details, and retell it exactly in the same way? Do stories ever remain intact? If not in our times, what about back then? Was it different in ancient oral cultures? Did people in those days have better memories? Would the existence of eyewitnesses (somewhere in the world) have guaranteed that the stories remained the same? Would the authors of the Gospels have done their homework to make sure that the stories they told were historically accurate? We now have better answers to these questions.

In recent years scholars of the New Testament have come to realize that there are other fields of study that can contribute to our understanding of the stories of Jesus’ death – as well as of his life – as they circulated by word of mouth in the decades prior to the writing of the Gospels. Psychologists have intensely studied human memory and have written a massive literature on how we remember, forget, and invent memories – all the time. Sociologists have explored how the social groups we belong to collectively shape, alter, and even create our memories. Anthropologists have examined predominantly oral cultures to see how they pass along their cherished traditions with limited (or no) access to written materials.

Among other things, these studies have shown that – contrary to what we may unreflectively think – eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable, whether describing a crime scene, a spectacular event, or a casual encounter. Were the Gospel reports based on eyewitness reports? It’s an open question. If they were, would that in itself make them reliable?

Studies have also shown how frail individual memory is – both memories of our own personal experiences and recollections of experiences told to us by others. We often forget, reshape, and transform our memories. Even more striking, we regularly create memories of things that did not occur at all. It happens all the time.

Moreover, our social interactions – with our families, friends, or religious communities – not only affect what we remember as a group, sometimes they lead us to remember the past differently from how it happened, or even to recall things that did not happen at all. This is normal human behavior.

Finally, even though many of us have been told that oral cultures preserve their traditions accurately – since they obviously have no written records to appeal to – this, as it turns out, is simply not true. In oral cultures, traditions are supposed to change with each and every retelling, depending on the story-tellers’ audience, their context, and their reasons for telling the stories in the first place.

These findings have deep and profound implications for our understanding of the Gospel stories of Jesus’ life and, especially, his death. The accounts we read in the Gospels are based on oral traditions, some of them going back to the time of Jesus. But these traditions had been in circulation by word of mouth from one person to the next year after year after year – for decades. All of the persons telling, remembering, and retelling the stories had faulty memories (since we all do). And living in oral cultures, they felt at ease changing their stories at each retelling, as the situation required.

Eventually, after 40-60 years, the stories were written down. That’s what we read today. These stories may indeed serve as foundational memories for faithful Christians committed to understanding the importance of Jesus. But they were also subject to the same processes of memory that have affected every other oral tradition that has circulated, from time immemorial, among interested listeners and speakers. The fascinating and disturbing thing about memories – all of our memories – is that is that they are malleable, as much then as now.

Imagine the difficulty of trying to write about an experience that you directly witnessed several decades ago, and reconstructing the dialogue of those present.  It would be a daunting task, but that is even beyond what the gospel writers encountered, as they were definitely not eyewitnesses.  It is not even known if they talked to eyewitnesses. It is more likely they conversed with people who knew some eyewitnesses who were then dead.  What we have learned about the fidelity of human memory has made us much less confident of anything written in the gospels.

Christians will claim that this doesn’t matter because the Holy Spirit reconstructed the true facts while inspiring the authors, but this is an exercise in presuppositionalism, meaning that if you ascribe to this theory then all analytical thinking of the issue is dismissed. And it misses the inconvenient detail that the Holy Spirit gave different ‘absolute true facts’ to the four different authors.

(1068) Emperor Theodosius promoted Christian hegemony

It is often understood that Christianity went from a fledgling and declining faith to supreme influence after Emperor Constantine converted in 312 AD. But it was actually another emperor, Theodosius, that ‘sealed the deal’ by issuing injunctions against the practice of competing religions.  The following is taken from:

http://churchandstate.org.uk/2016/03/christianitys-lies-laws-and-legacy/

If you encounter a Christian defending her faith purely based on its popularity, you would do well to inform her that Christianity was a very minor cult in the fourth century, while “pagan” religions, especially Mithraism, were much more popular in the Empire—and the Jesus cult would have faded into oblivion if not for an imperial decree.

From No Meek Messiah:

It is 391 CE now as Roman Emperor Theodosius elevates Jesus (posthumously) to divinity, declaring Christianity the only “legitimate” religion of the world, under penalty of death. The ancient myth is rendered law. This decision by Theodosius is possibly the worst ever made in human history: what followed were century after century of torture and murder in the name of this false, faked, folkloric “prophesied savior” of fictional virgin mother. Within a year after the decree by Theodosius, crazed Christian monks of Nitria destroy the majestic Alexandrian Library largely because philosophy and science are taught there—not the Bible. In Alexandria these are times of the highest of intellectual pursuits, all quashed by superstitious and ignorant Christians of the most godly and murderous variety: they had the “Holy Bible” on their side.

Emperor Theodosius I could have had no idea how much harm this blunder would cause humanity over the centuries that followed. Christianity was made the only legal cult of the empire, and for the next 1500 years, good Christians would murder all non-Christians they could find by the tens of millions.

More on Theodosius’s campaign against pagan faiths is found here:

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

The Christian persecution of Roman religion under Theodosius I began in 381, after the first couple of years of his reign in the Eastern Roman Empire. In the 380s, Theodosius I reiterated Constantine’s ban on former customs of Roman religion, prohibited haruspicy on pain of death, pioneered the criminalization of magistrates who did not enforce laws against polytheism, broke up some pagan associations and tolerated attacks on Roman temples.

Between 389–392 he promulgated the “Theodosian decrees” (instituting a major change in his religious policies),which removed non-Nicene Christians from church office and abolished the last remaining expressions of Roman religion by making its holidays into workdays, banned blood sacrifices, closed Roman temples, and disbanded the Vestal Virgins. The practices of taking auspices and witchcraft were punished. Theodosius refused to restore the Altar of Victory in the Senate House, as asked by non-Christian senators.

In 392 he became sole emperor (the last one to claim sole and effective rule over an empire including the western provinces). From this moment till the end of his reign in 395, while non-Christians continued to request toleration, he ordered, authorized, or at least failed to punish, the closure or destruction of many temples, holy sites, images and objects of piety throughout the empire.

In 393 he issued a comprehensive law that prohibited any public non-Christian religious customs, and was particularly oppressive to Manicheans. He is likely to have disbanded the ancient Olympic Games, whose last record of celebration was in 393, though archeological evidence indicates that some games were still held after this date.

Christianity was unable to compete with other religions on its own merit, but required the assistance of Roman leaders to supplant the opposition.  In so doing, it unleashed a reign of terror and an outright assault on learning, science, and basic education.  None of this would have been required of, or would have accompanied, a religion created by an almighty deity.

(1069) Jesus disqualifies himself as a god

This is one of those cases where if Jesus said what is written in the gospels, then he is not God, and if he didn’t say it, then the gospels are unreliable.  In this instance, Jesus appeared to believe in a magical pole that Moses built that could cure snake bite infections by merely looking at it.  The following scripture in John refers to the scripture in Numbers:

John 3:13-15

No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

Numbers 21:4-9

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea,c to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

Some Christian apologists (the liberal ones who don’t hold to biblical inerrancy) will claim that Jesus knew this was mythological but used it anyway to create his intended analogy.  This is possible, but unlikely.  If Jesus actually knew that the Old Testament was filled with fiction, he would have instructed his ‘chosen people’ to understand what was and what wasn’t true about their heritage. There is no hint of such an effort in the gospels.

(1070) Onward Christian soldiers

The song Onward Christian Soldiers does not refer to warfare, but to proselytizing converts.  However, given the history of Christianity, it might as well be taken literally.  The number of wars spawned by Christian interests is staggering.  The following was taken from:

http://churchandstate.org.uk/2016/03/christianitys-lies-laws-and-legacy/

Christianity has a violent “holy book” as its authority, granting followers supremacy over the entire earth (e.g. Gen 1:28) which they used to justify land grabs, genocide and holy conflicts. The following wars were perpetrated by Christians in the name of their savior:

1. War against the Donatists, 317

2. Roman-Persian War of 441

3. Roman-Persian War of 572-591

4. Charlemagne’s War against the Saxons, 8th century

5. Spanish Christian-Muslim War of 912-928

6. Spanish Christian-Muslim War of 977-997

7. Spanish Christian-Muslim War of 1001-1031

8. First Crusade, 1096

9. Jerusalem Massacre, 1099

10. Second Crusade, 1145-1149

11. Spanish Christian-Muslim War, 1172-1212

12. Third Crusade, 1189

13. War against the Livonians, 1198-1212

14. Wars against the Curonians and Semigallians, 1201-90

15. Fourth Crusade, 1202-04

16. Wars against Saaremaa, 1206-61

17. War against the Estonians, 1208-1224

18. War against the Latgallians and Selonians, 1208-1224

19. Children’s Crusade, 1212

20. Fifth Crusade, 1213

21. Sixth Crusade, 1228 War against the Livonians, 1198-1212

22. Spanish Christian-Muslim War, 1230-1248

23. Seventh Crusade, 1248

24. Eighth Crusade, 1270

25. Ninth Crusade, 1271-1272

26. The Inquisitions

27. War against the Cathars, 1209-1229 and onward

28. War against the Stedingers of Friesland, 1233

29. Spanish Christian-Muslim War, 1481-1492

30. Four Years War of 1521-26

31. Count’s War of 1534-36

32. Schmalkaldic War, 1546

33. Anglo-Scottish War of 1559-1560

34. First War of Religion,1562

35. Second War of Religion, 1567-68

36. Third War of Religion, 1568-70

37. Fourth War of Religion, 1572-73

38. Fifth War of Religion, 1574-76

39. Sixth War of Religion, 1576-77

40. Seventh War of Religion, 1579-80

41. Eighth War of Religion, 1585-98

42. War of the Three Henrys, 1588

43. Ninth War of Religion, 1589-1598

44. Ottoman-Habsburg wars, 15th to 16th century

45. War against the German Farmers (“peasants”), 16th Century

46. The French Wars of Religion, 16th Century

47. Shimabara Revolt, 1637

48. Covenanters’ Rebellion of 1666

49. Covenanters’ Rebellion of 1679

50. Covenanters’ Rebellion of 1685

51. The Thirty Years War, 17th Century

52. The Irish rebellion of 1641

53. Spanish Christian extermination of South American natives

54. Manifest Destiny

55. War of the Sonderbund, 1847

56. Crimean War, 1853-1856

57. Tukulor-French War, 1854-1864

58. Taiping Rebellion, 1851 and 1864

59. Serbo-Turkish War, 1876-78

60. Russo-Turkish War, 1877-1878

61. Russian Revolution killing of the Jews, late 19th century

62. First Sudanese Civil War, 1955-1972

63. Nigerian Civil War, 1967

64. Lebanese Civil War, 1975

65. Sabra and Shatila massacre, 1982

66. Second Sudanese Civil War, 1983

67. 2004 Yelwa Massacre

68. Bosnian War

A relatively unknown contrivance occurred in the thirteenth century when Pope Innocent III ordered a genocidal attack against the entire region of Languedoc France. The pope depicted the Cathars as witches; of being cannibals; desecrating the cross; and having “sexual orgies.”

Yet malefic sounds of sibilance emanated only from the Vatican, and not from its contrived enemies living peaceably in France with their pure and righteous ways. The Church murdered over a million innocent Cathars over the period of 35 years—men, women, children. Christian forces wiped them from the face of the planet. At the height of the siege, Christian forces were burning hundreds at the stake at a time. The Christian colossus exterminated them, then annexed much of Languedoc—some for the Church, some from northern French nobles. The extravagant Palais de la Berbie (construction began in 1228) and the Catholic fortress-cathedral Sainte Cécile (began 1282) are just two examples that remain to this day.

The problem for a Christian is to explain how all of this violence and bloodshed could have been administered by followers of the ‘Prince of Peace.’ Even if it is conceded that these people were ‘not real Christians.’ then it is still hard to explain why God allowed these atrocities to be done in his name.

(1071) Christianity is in its death throes

It may not have penetrated the consciousness of most modern-day Christians, but the writing is on the wall- Christianity is in its final days of enjoying worldwide domination.  The machinery is in place, the information revealing its mythology is universally available, and the scholars (the first wave of deconversion) are lining up and forming a broad consensus that Christianity is fundamentally a fraud.  It starts with a cavalcade of contemporary authors who should have but didn’t document events in Jesus’s life, to its plagiaristic use of pagan theology, to its survival dependency on political bootstrapping, and to the unraveling of the authenticity of the gospels.  The king is dying, long live the new king- science. The following is taken from:

http://churchandstate.org.uk/2016/03/christianitys-lies-laws-and-legacy/

When I consider those 126 writers, all of whom should have heard of Jesus but did not, and Paul and Marcion and Athenagoras and Matthew with a tetralogy of opposing Christs, the silence from Qumran and Nazareth and Bethlehem, conflicting Bible stories, and so many other mysteries and omissions, I must conclude this “Jesus Christ” is a mythical character. “Jesus of Nazareth” was nothing more than urban (or desert) legend, likely an agglomeration of several evangelic and deluded rabbis who might have existed.

The “Jesus mythicist” position is regarded by Christians as a fringe group. But after my research I tend to side with Remsburg—and Frank Zindler, John M. Allegro, Thomas Paine, Godfrey Higgins, Robert M. Price, Charles Bradlaugh, Gerald Massey, Joseph McCabe, Abner Kneeland, Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Harold Leidner, Peter Jensen, Salomon Reinach, Samuel Lublinski, Charles-François Dupuis, Rudolf Steck, Arthur Drews, Prosper Alfaric, Georges Ory, Tom Harpur, Michael Martin, John Mackinnon Robertson, Alvar Ellegård, David Fitzgerald, Richard Carrier, René Salm, Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy, Barbara Walker, Thomas Brodie, Earl Doherty, Bruno Bauer and others—heretics and iconoclasts and freethinking dunces all, according to “mainstream” Bible scholars.

If all this evidence and non-evidence including 126 silent writers cannot convince, I’ll wager we will uncover much more. Yet this is but a tiny tip of the mythical Jesus iceberg: nothing adds up for the fable of the Christ. In the Conclusion of No Meek Messiah I summarize the madcap cult of Jesus worship that has plagued the world for centuries. It should be clear to even the most devout and inculcated reader that it is all up for Christianity, and in fact has been so for centuries. Its roots and foundation and rituals are borrowed from ancient cults: there is nothing magical or “God-inspired” about them. The “virgin birth prophecy” as well as the immaculate conception claims are fakeries, the former due to an erroneous translation of the Tanakh, the latter a nineteenth century Catholic apologetic contrivance, a desperate retrofitting.

Jesus was no perfect man, no meek or wise messiah: in fact his philosophies were and are largely immoral, often violent, as well as shallow and irrational. There have been many proposed sons of god, and this Jesus person is no more valid or profound than his priestly precursors. In fact, his contemporary Apollonius was unquestionably the superior logician and philosopher.

Christianity was a very minor and inconsequential cult founded late in the first century and then—while still quite minor—forced upon all the people of the Empire, and all rival kingdoms in the fourth century and beyond, as enforceable law with papal sanction. Christianity has caused more terror and torture and murder than any similar phenomenon. With its tyrannical preachments and directives for sightless and mindless obedience, the Bible is a violent and utterly useless volume, full of lies and immoral edicts and invented histories, no matter which of the many “versions” you may choose to read—including Thomas Jefferson’s radical if gallant abridgment.

The time to stop teaching the tall tales and nonsense to children, frightening them with eternal torture administered by God’s minions, has long ago passed. Parents who do so are likely deluded, and most surely are guilty of child abuse of the worst sort …

The cult of Christianity has an incalculable amount of blood on its hands. And the “Jesus” tale seems to have been nothing more than oral legend, with plenty of hoax and fraud perpetrated along the ages. It is my hope that mankind will someday grow up and relegate the Jesus tales to the same stewing pile that contains Zeus and his son Hercules, roiling away in their justifiable status as mere myth.

In terms of history this century will be known as the time that humans finally woke up from thousands of years of being deluded by superstition and myth, and began to face reality square in the face.

(1072) Critical thinking turned off in religious minds

New scientific research has demonstrated that the parts of the brain that are associated with critical thinking are suppressed in religious persons.  This indicates that religion does not stand up well in an analytical mind, but otherwise thrives in a mind that is more focused on feelings and intuition.

This implies two things- that human minds are predisposed to be either religious or not, meaning that the reward/punishment scheme of Christianity is potentially unfair, and that Christian belief does not stand up well to analytical thinking, making it less likely to be true based on the supposition that truth is more likely to be discovered by analysis rather than by feelings.

The following is taken from:

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/critical-thinking-suppressed-brains-people-who-believe-supernatural-1551233

The opposition between religious beliefs and scientific evidence can be explained by difference in brain structures and cognitive activity. Scientists have found critical thinking is suppressed in the brains of people who believe in the supernatural.

Published in PLOS One, their study examines how the parts of the brain responsible for empathy and analytical reasoning are linked to faith and spiritual thinking. It suggests religious beliefs and scientific thinking clash because different brain areas are involved in both cognitive processes. People who believe in the supernatural appear to suppress areas associated with critical thinking.

“From what we understand about the brain, the leap of faith to belief in the supernatural amounts to pushing aside the critical/analytical way of thinking…”, says lead author Tony Jack, a professor of philosophy at Case Western Reserve.

In previous research, Jack and colleagues had identified, thanks to fMRI scans, two networks of neurones that competed with each other to let individuals see the the world either in religious or in scientific terms. They say the brain has an analytical network of neurons which triggered critical thinking and a social network which enabled empathy towards other and spiritual thinking.

Participants who went through the scans were presented with a physical or ethical problem. To solve it, the brain appeared to boost activity in one of the two networks, while suppressing the other.

For the latest study, the scientists conducted a series of eight experiments, involving between 159 and 527 adults. Their purpose was to compare belief in God with measures of analytic thinking and moral concern.

In each experiment, the researchers found that both spiritual belief and empathic concern were positively associated with frequent religious practice. The more a person was religious, the more he or she is likely to suppress the analytical network in the brain, and to show empathy.

Scientists say that when an individual is conflicted between a scientific or religious view of the world, his brain structures will determine how he will address this opposition between beliefs and science.

The more we learn about the human brain the less sense Christianity makes- because whether we believe it or not depends largely on the structure of the brains we are born with.

(1073) Why was the tomb open?

In all of the gospel accounts, the women who visited Jesus’s tomb found that the stone covering the entrance had been rolled back, meaning that the tomb was open.  But why would the tomb need to be open if Jesus was capable of walking through solid objects.  That ability was demonstrated in John 20:19-20:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

On the other hand, if the body had been stolen, then it would be expected that the stone would have been rolled back as it was found to be.  In other words, the gospel authors made a mistake.  If they had described the tomb as still being closed and sealed with a Roman guard present (as described in Matthew), but with Jesus out and walking about, it would have nullified the rumor of someone stealing the body.  Thus, the most likely explanation for the early belief in the resurrection, that the body was stolen, remains consistent with the gospel accounts.

Christians will complain that leaving the tomb closed in the narrative would have generated a rumor that Jesus’s body was still interred within and that the  resurrected ‘Jesus’ was an impostor. However, the gospel authors could have solved that problem by having the guards open the tomb, in response to rumors that Jesus has risen, and finding it empty. In other words, the sequence of tomb closed, Jesus appears, tomb is opened, tomb is found to be empty would have satisfactorily addressed the stolen body rumors.

As is, the Christian theory is that Jesus woke up, walked to the entrance of the tomb, broke the seal, and physically rolled back the stone.  By contrast, when he visited the disciples huddled together, he didn’t bother to open the locked door.

(1074) Jesus before Pilate

During Jesus’s arrest scenario, he was questioned by Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea.  It is enlightening to compare the description of this encounter in the Gospel of Mark and compare it to the Gospel of John (Jesus’s words are in red).

Mark 15:1-5

Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.

“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.

You have said so,” Jesus replied.

The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”

But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.

John 18:28-38

Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

“If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, or did others talk to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.

In Mark, written about AD 70, Jesus did not answer the question if he was the King of the Jews, but in John, written about 100 AD, he gives a relatively loquacious answer.  In Mark, it specifically says that Jesus gave no answer to the question other than “You have said so.” This is directly contradicted by John.

If it assumed that Mark is accurate, then John made up a bunch of words that Jesus never said.  If it is assumed that John is accurate, then Mark made a false statement.  Either way, confidence in the gospels as an historical record is diminished.

(1075) Clement, the first Pope, didn’t believe in Jesus the man

One of the most damning pieces of evidence that Christianity is false is the fact that Christianity’s first pope didn’t believe Jesus was a real person. Clement is only basing his writings in the letters of Paul and nothing of what he writes indicates that he had even so much as read the 4 gospels (which didn’t even have names attached to them yet).

Read more about Pope Clement here:

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

And Clement’s 1st epistle (2nd epistle was forged so it doesn’t apply):

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

The facts we can’t ignore are that Pope Clement lived around the time of the Gospels, dying in 99AD, so logically he should have talked about Jesus as a man if he actually was a man and not just the celestial deity that Philo of Alexandria believed and also Paul in his epistles, who writes as if Jesus were only a celestial deity:

  • The fact that everything Pope Clement wrote about Jesus was only metaphorical.
  • The fact that Pope Clement never implied that he ever read any of the Gospels (as if he had no knowledge they even existed).
  • The fact that Clement bases everything he says off of the writings of Paul, who as just mentioned, never mentions a real flesh and blood Jesus either. Paul never knew Jesus, he only claimed to have had a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus and that Jesus telepathically communicated to Paul when Paul was reading the Old Testament.
  • The fact that this proves the point again that there were early Christian believers who only believed in Jesus as a celestial deity called “The Logos” who coincidentally was named Jesus (Yeshua). because they based his name off of Old Testament writings such as Zechariah 6:11-13.
  • The FACT that the Catholic Church in the 17th Century knew about this little bit of evidence of someone who should have (if anyone were to mention) mentioned a real life Jesus, but did not. They then had the 1st epistle of Clement removed.

As told here about Clement and his first Epistle:

https://onefold.wordpress.com/early-church-evidence-refutes-real-presence/

“Clement comes nowhere close to supporting the real presence doctrine, and indeed utterly denies it through his instruction. Clement explicitly states that Jesus was speaking metaphorically when He said “eat My flesh and drink My blood.” Jesus told His disciples, “I have meat to eat you know not of …My meat is to do the will of Him who sent me, and finish His work.” Likewise, we desire the pure food of Christ as our nourishment and source for well-being and growth. Clement wonderfully instructs those younger in the faith on this intimate relationship between Christ and His church, things the carnal mind just can’t grasp.

The before mentioned apologist from StayCatholic.com also presented a bit of a disclaimer. He said, “The Church would have a problem with him [Clement] if he denied the “Real Presence.” And he hasn’t done that.”

Clement indeed does deny the real presence in his writings and the Catholic Church does have a problem with him. From the time the Catholic Church began to honor saints and martyrs with feast days until the 17th century, Clement was venerated as a saint. But Pope Clement VIII revised the Roman Martyrology and was persuaded to drop Clement of Alexandria from the calendar by Cardinal Baronius. Later in the 18th century, during the reign of Benedict XIV, a protest against the act emerged. But Benedict agreed with the removal of Clement from the martyrology on the grounds that Clement’s life was not well known and some of his doctrines were erroneous.

So what are the Catholic Church’s issues with Clement? According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Clement had faulty interpretations. What does that mean? According to a quote used by the encyclopedia from Tixeront (a 20th century Catholic scholar), it means (at least in part) that Clement “used allegory everywhere.” (Catholic Encyclopedia: Clement of Alexandria) In a nutshell, the Catholic Church has a problem with Clement’s use of metaphors and symbols.

The Catholic Church is in quite a predicament when it comes to Clement. They cannot accept his metaphorical teachings, and they cannot deny the evidence showing that he was orthodox. As previously mentioned, Clement was highly admired and praised as a great Christian teacher by prominent figures in the early church. If Clement’s teaching that the bread of life discourse was to be understood metaphorically was erroneous, why do we not find any protest against him by the ecclesiastical writers of the third and fourth centuries? What we do find is praise for his skill of teaching and his knowledge of Scripture.”

So as stated above, Christianity has a predicament. One which it tried to cover up and bury, but can only be hidden from people who refuse to look at it.  If the very first Pope didn’t believe in a flesh and blood Jesus, then this is significant evidence that Christianity is a false religion.

(1076) The extinction of mythical creatures

The Bible discusses many creatures that no longer exist today, meaning that they either became extinct, or they never really existed.  The following list was taken from:

https://www.reddit.com/r/DebateAChristian/comments/4bs3sw/why_does_the_bible_have_so_many_mythical_creatures/

Sea monsters/leviathans (Job 3:8, Amos 9:3, Psalm 74:13–23, Psalm 104:26, Isaiah 27:1)

Dragons (Job 40:15-24, Revelation 12)

Giants (Genesis 6:4)

Cockatrice (Isaiah 11:8, 14:29, 59:5; Jeremiah 8:17; Proverbs 23:32)

Satyr (Isaiah 13:21)

Talking Donkey (Numbers 22)

Unicorns (Numbers 23:22, 24:8; Deuteronomy 33:17; Job 39:9-10; Psalm 22:21, 29:6; Isaiah 34:7)

Even a zombie apocalypse (Matthew 27:51-53)!

And, of course, to lead things off, we have the talking snake in the Garden of Eden.  Newer translations have attempted to cover up this embarrassment in a desperate attempt to make the Bible seem more historical.  But, in fact, these mentions of imaginary life forms is a powerful hint that the Bible is mostly fictional.

(1077) Jesus made mistakes about scripture

If Jesus was God and if the gospels are accurate accounts of his words, it would be expected that Jesus would be impeccable with his understanding of Old Testament scripture.  Clearly, at least one of these conditions was not met as Jesus is seen to make mistakes about scripture.  The following is taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/fe0_practical.htm#infallibility

Sometimes Jesus made mistakes about the scriptures. He said that no one except the son of man has ever ascended into Heaven (John 3:13). He has apparently forgotten Elijah who did exactly that (2 Kings 2:11). This error led some Christians to deduce that Jesus was Elijah come back to life. He said that no one had seen God (John 1:18), but the scriptures say otherwise. Abraham saw him (Genesis 18:1-2), Moses saw him (Exodus 33:9-11) and so did Aaron and seventy elders.

As an especial honor Moses was also permitted to see God’s back parts (Exodus 33:23). The author of Psalm 63 (see verse 2) also saw God, as did Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1), Jacob (Genesis 32:30), and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:1). Again, Jesus said that David and others took shewbread to eat in the time of Abiathar the high priest (Mark 2:25-26), but this incident happened not in the time of Abiathar, but of Ahimelech (1 Samuel 21:1-6). He also seems to have accepted the traditionally ascribed authorship of the scriptures, which are now known to be bogus. For example he ascribed a psalm to David, although it is now known to have been written much later (Mark 12:36 referring to Psalm 110:1 ). He also quoted scripture that does not exist, for example in John 7:38 he cites the passage “out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”, which occurs nowhere in the Old Testament. He even misquoted the Ten Commandments, thinking that one of them was “Defraud not” (Mark 10:19).

Any mistakes or inconsistencies in Jesus’s documented use of scripture is compounding evidence that something is amiss in Christian theology.  If Jesus was God, his knowledge of scripture would be perfect. If instead, it is assumed that the gospel authors made these mistakes, then the fidelity of all scripture is called into question.

(1078) Tower of Babel myth

In the Book of Genesis, an explanation is offered for why there are so many languages spoken in the world:

Genesis 11:1-9

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel —because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

This is a typical example of how primitive Bronze Age people constructed stories to explain what they were observing.  The existence of multiple languages was a mystery and they needed to create some rational reason or answer for why it was so.  A more scientific analysis is shown in the image below:

What makes this even more ridiculous is that the Bible contradicts itself on this matter. One chapter earlier, it suggest that there were multiple languages even before the tower was built:

Genesis 10:1-5

This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.

The sons of Japheth:

Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.

The sons of Gomer:

Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.

The sons of Javan:

Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites. (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.)

Why this is important to Christianity is that it casts doubt on the reality of the Jewish God, Yahweh, because it:

  • paints this God as a vindictive jerk who was afraid that a tower would somehow impede his glory
  • indicates God is worried that the people will do other things that threaten him
  • shows God as creating chaos and eliminating unity among his people
  • gives a primitive and erroneous explanation for the evolution of languages

If the Jewish God is mythical, then it leaves Christianity in a very difficult position, and, in fact, renders it false by default. The story of Babel goes a long way to demonstrating that Yahweh, is, in fact, mythical.

(1079) Lazarus from Luke to John

There is an interesting connection between a parable in Luke and a story in John that reveals a disagreement between the two authors and another reason to view the gospels as literary fiction. First, here is Jesus’s parable in Luke:

Luke 16:19-31

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

“ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”

The important thing to note is that Jesus is saying that even if Lazarus is raised from the dead, it will not convince anyone.

Now, here is the story of Lazarus in John (this story does not appear in the other three gospels):

John 11:38-44

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

Here, Jesus is saying the exact opposite of what he said in Luke- that raising Lazarus will help to convince people, that they may believe that he is the Son of God.

It is probable the the author of John was concerned that Luke’s parable could be construed to mean that even Jesus’s resurrection from the dead would not be sufficient to convince doubters.  So he made up a story to correct this thought and by using the same name that Luke used, Lazarus, he is signally that this is being done deliberately.  Biblical scholars have long questioned why such a spectacular raising of the dead was not discussed in the earlier three gospels, and this theory explains it perfectly.

(1080) The wrong universe

If you were trying to throw 10 die and have them all come up 6’s, you would likely need to do millions of trials before it would happen.  But if you had supernatural powers, you could do it on the first try. Likewise, if you were a god and designed a universe to place a special creature upon, you would need to make only one planet.

But, in a universe without a god, that nevertheless somehow produced this same special creature, you would expect there to be innumerable planets of all sizes and orientations, most of which were completely inhospitable for life- in other words, a universe that, like throwing the die, had millions and millions of trials to produce life.  And this is what we see.

The universe is the best advertisement for atheism because it is precisely what a godless universe should look like and exactly not how we would expect a ‘god-ed’ universe to appear.

(1081) Massaging scripture to prove Jesus died

In the decades after Jesus’s death there were many skeptics who rumored that Jesus never really died, and that he simply revived after spending 6 hours on the cross.  Most people lived for several days after being placed on a cross, and therefore the short time that Jesus spent there was a point of suspicion. The author of the Gospel of John, the latest of the four gospels, decided to add something to his narrative to quell the rumors:

John 19:33-37

But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”c and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

None of the first three gospels mention a soldier piercing Jesus’s side, so this immediately makes this event appear non-historical. But what adds even more doubt are the lines that follow-  that the man who saw it (is this the author?) is telling the truth and that he ‘knows’ he tells the truth.  This is an exercise in over-compensation- protesting innocence a little too loudly, as if to realize that very few people will believe it.  It is almost certain that when John was written, at least 60 years after Jesus’s death, there were very few eyewitnesses who could have refuted the piercing story.

In all probability, the author made up this story to convince readers that Jesus actually died on the cross, thereby making his resurrection a miracle.  It is an example of gospel authors using fictional stories to make theological points, and further evidence that they were not classical historians.

(1082) Gay conversion therapy

Many Christians believe that homosexuality is a choice and either support or tolerate programs that attempt to convert gays and lesbians to a heterosexual lifestyle,  This despite the dismal success record of such efforts.  The following is taken from:

http://www.nclrights.org/press-room/press-release/worlds-largest-psychiatric-association-condemns-conversion-therapy/

Today, the world’s largest organization of mental health professionals—representing more than 200,000 people in 118 countries—called for an end to the discredited practice of “conversion therapy,” which is linked to serious harms, including depression, substance abuse, and suicide.

In a statement issued today, the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) says: “WPA believes strongly in evidence-based treatment. There is no sound scientific evidence that innate sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality can create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish, and they can be potentially harmful. The provision of any intervention purporting to “treat” something that is not a disorder is wholly unethical… Psychiatrists have a social responsibility to advocate for a reduction in social inequalities for all individuals, including inequalities related to gender identity and sexual orientation.”

But what must be asked is this: If Christianity is true, why don’t these programs work?  If homosexuality is a defect and a condition that is abhorrent to God, why wouldn’t prayer and therapy be capable of changing these people? Does God make ‘defective’ people and then refuse to ‘heal’ them?  Or is homosexuality a natural occurrence of evolution no more defective than being left-handed? The evidence strongly suggest the latter, and that there isn’t any god involved in this equation.

(1083) The asymmetry of sin avoidance

Jesus is often quoted as saying to someone he has healed for them to ‘go and sin no more.’ The Bible is full of commandments to avoid sin and that the wages of sin is death.  Paul, in his letters, warns that those who commit certain sins will not inherent the kingdom of God. So this leads to the question- is everyone equally equipped to avoid sin?

Even if we avoid the concept of genetics, where our brains might work differently in response to temptations, there are many socio-economic  issues that affect our ability to live righteous lives, such as:

  • we are heavily influenced by our family, which might or might not model honest behaviors
  • if we are especially poor, we will be more inclined to steal
  • if we are physically attractive, we will experience more temptations to cheat on our spouses and partners
  • if we are sickly with low energy, we will be less able to help others in need
  • if we are an only child, we will be less likely to be humble and considerate of others’ needs
  • depending on our family situation, it might be easy or difficult to honor our father and mother
  • we might or might not inherit genes that predispose us to alcoholism and the shameful trappings associated with that condition

So the point of this is that all humans are not equally equipped to satisfy God’s commandments to avoid sin.  Now, Christians will protest this issue by saying that faith in Jesus will erase all sins, so the number and magnitude of one’s sins has no bearing on the final judgment in the afterlife.  This makes sense when looking at some, but not all, scriptures, and even this ideal assumes that all persons are equally equipped to have faith in Jesus- which is far from the truth. So, however you look at the situation, Christianity is an patently unfair system of reward and punishment- a system unbecoming of a just god.

(1084) Jesus and animal sacrifice

The Old Testament scriptures contain many rules and commands for the ritual sacrifice of animals for the propitiation of sins.  In fact, this was the one of the major activities performed at Jewish temples. And although Jesus apparently did not practice this custom, he also did not speak out against it or somehow communicate that it would be superseded by his own blood sacrifice.

It would seem that if God’s plan was to end the practice of animal sacrifice with the crucifixion that Jesus would have stated this in some fashion, such as saying:

“You have faithfully followed the law by suffering the burning of beast and fowl at the altar of god for the forgiveness of sins.  But I have come to you as a final offering, a final dispensation for purification through faith, that my forthcoming suffering and spilling of blood will replace the temple rituals and provide salvation though a sincere acceptance of the sacrifice of the Son of Man.”

If this was the primary purpose of Jesus’s visit to our planet, then why didn’t he plainly say it?  Although the concept of Jesus’s blood atonement is widely promulgated by Paul, Jesus is strangely silent on this matter in the gospels.  Although some of this is hinted at in the Gospel of John, it is completely absent from the synoptic gospels- which are much more likely to be accurate.  An objective analysis of these facts indicates that the idea that Jesus’s death was designed to end animal sacrifice is the unique invention of the ‘apostle’ Paul and was never a concept promoted by Jesus.

(1085) Rise in education correlates to decrease in religious belief

As the percentage of people in the United States obtaining bachelor’s degrees has increased over the past 50 years, the percentage of people who are religious has declined in like manner over the same time period.  Correlation does not necessarily imply causation, but it’s very clear that most of the decline in religious belief is happening with the younger generation, and it is this same generation that has become far more educated than their parents. Compare the following graphs:

A correlation is best supported when the data is co-linear and when there is a reasonable mechanism to explain the causation.  The linearity is well established and there is a good reason for why college educated people would be better equipped to evaluate their religious beliefs in an objective manner.  In simple terms, students learn black and white in high school, and become introduced to the many shades of gray in college.  It is within this more sophisticated understanding of reality that higher education results in a re-appraisal of one’s religious tradition.  This supports a reasonable basis for causation and suggests rather strongly that Christianity withers, not thrives, as people become better educated.

(1086) Jesus is not the ‘Prince of Peace’

Christians often refer to Jesus as being the Prince of Peace, usually in reference to this allegedly prophetic scripture in Isaiah:

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

However, Jesus’s own words in the gospels appear to contradict this title:

Luke 12:51

“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”

Matthew 10:34

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

This seems to invalidate the Isaiah prophecy along with the fact that Jesus never headed a government and never was called the Everlasting Father.  These gospel scriptures are rarely read in church because they don’t fit the reconstructed modern-day image of Jesus.

(1087) Bible missing real-time writings

During the one to three year mission of Jesus on Earth, if one is to believe the gospels, Jesus performed dozens of unmistakable miracles and impressed many people with his words of wisdom. During this same time and in the same area, there were many people who had the ability to write, if not articles, then at least simple letters to associates, friends, and family.  If they were unable to write themselves, they could employ others to compose these letters.

There should have been thousands of these written articles being passed around starting at least by AD 30 and probably extending for 10 or more years later as the demand for more information about Jesus arose among those who never saw him but wanted to know more about him.  In the Bible, there should be a compilation of at least hundreds of these eyewitness letters, perhaps packed in a bundle integrated within or placed after the gospels.  In fact, there are NONE.  This is a serious charge against the modern-day Christian view of Jesus.   The lack of anything written by eyewitnesses about Jesus during the period from AD 30 (his crucifixion) until AD 51, the first letter written by Paul, is alarming – if one ascribes to a conventional view of Jesus.

Here is an example of the type of written document that should exist:

John, this is your brother Anias. I was in Jerusalem selling pigeons over the Passover.  It was an exciting time.  A rabbi named Jesus was in town and causing quite a lot of commotion. Eventually he was taken up by the Romans and was put to death.  A few days later there was much excitement in town as some people were saying that he was still alive.  I was confused because I actually saw him being crucified and he seemed to be dead.  However, I did see a man who looked very much like Jesus along with hundreds of others the day after Passover.  He claimed to be the same Jesus.  I have heard that he is no longer here, but I’m not sure where he went.  There are a lot of people who are talking about this and there seems to be new group forming to follow this man and his teachings.

It might be that letters like this existed but have been lost, but given the magnitude of Jesus’s exploits, and the number of documents it should have engendered, it is hard to believe that all of them are lost to the ages.

(1088) Response to Mosaic Law

This is a thought experiment designed for a Christian.  You are placed in a time machine and you travel back to 400 BC, where you are a Jew living in Judea. You are familiar with this scripture:

Leviticus 20:13

“‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

 

You come across two men having sex. You can quickly assemble men with rocks to stone the two men.  Do you arrange for the death of these men or do you let it go?

There are three possible responses to this thought experiment:

  1. You find the law is from God but that it is morally abhorrent and you do nothing.
  2. You assemble the men and have the gay men stoned.
  3. You assume that this law is not from god.

If #1 is chosen, then the Christian believes that he is morally superior to God, or at least morally superior to what God was 2000+ years ago, thereby showing that this god does not exist or else is evil.

If #2 is chosen, the Christian must conclude that God has changed, because he would (supposedly) not kill gay men if he came back to the current time.

If #3 is chosen, the Christian must conclude that the authenticity of the  Old Testament is questionable, meaning that the underlying foundation of Christianity is partially destroyed.

The fact that there is no successful way for a Christian to respond to this scenario illustrates that Christianity is most likely untrue.

(1089) Jesus was not a admirable person

Non-Christians will often concede that Jesus was a great teacher and moral guide even though they don’t believe he was divine or that he rose from the dead. This position is a surrender to the conventional wisdom about this man that Christians have foisted upon the world for centuries.  It takes nothing more than a honest look at the gospels to realize that Jesus (as portrayed therein) was not a good person and certainly not the kind of individual we would currently admire in light of modern-day ethics.  The following website lists 50 reasons to conclude just that:

http://churchandstate.org.uk/2016/03/50-reasons-to-be-ashamed-and-not-a-fan-of-jesus/

  1. He told his followers to hate their families.
  2. He came to break apart families.
  3. He insisted that his followers love him more than anyone else (including their families).
  4. He encouraged people to abandon their home and family for his name’s sake.
  5. He was rude to his own family.
  6. He was dismissive of other people’s feelings toward their families.
  7. He discouraged marriage.
  8. He was a hypocrite.
  9. He encouraged his followers to mutilate themselves to avoid hell.
  10. He encouraged men to castrate themselves.
  11. He approved of God’s killings in the Bible.
  12. He believed in the Old Testament’s stories.
  13. He accepted Old Testament laws.
  14. He criticized the Pharisees for not killing parent-cursing children.
  15. He and his dad plan to torture billions of people forever after they die.
  16. He implied that all Jews are going to hell.
  17. He was a false prophet.
  18. He was a warmonger.
  19. He was a megalomaniac.
  20. He condemned cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn’t care for his preaching.
  21. He called an entire generation perverse, evil, adulterous vipers.
  22. He invented George W. Bush’s false dichotomy.
  23. He approved of torture.
  24. He inspired the Republican Tea Party.
  25. He believed in an unforgivable sin.
  26. He spoke in parables to confuse people so he could send them to hell.
  27. He believed in a God (himself?) who had his enemies slaughtered in front of him.
  28. He believed in devils, evil eyes, and unclean spirits.
  29. He was a bit of a racist.
  30. He condemned people to hell for things that their ancestors supposedly did.
  31. He got kind of gross sometimes.
  32. He approved of slavery (or at least didn’t object to it) and said that God is like a slave owner who beats his slaves and sells families to pay for debts.
  33. Someday he’ll fight against people with a sword sticking out of his mouth.
  34. He threatens to kill children (with death).
  35. He’s going to kill billions of people with his sickle.
  36. He unnecessarily killed 2000 pigs.
  37. He killed a fig tree by cursing it. (Because it didn’t have any fruit that he could eat.)
  38. He didn’t know much about Biology.
  39. He lied about prayer.
  40. He said some stupid things.
  41. He talked complete nonsense about the end of the world.
  42. He said that everyone who lived before him was a thief and a robber.
  43. His neighbors rejected him.
  44. Many that saw him up close and personal thought he was mad and possessed by a devil.
  45. His family didn’t believe in him.
  46. His friends thought he was insane.
  47. He said that his true followers would cast out devils, speak in tongues, handle snakes, and drink poisons.
  48. He said that disbelievers will be tormented forever in hell.
  49. He dresses kind of funny.
  50. He is the living dead with keys to hell and death.

Each of these points is backed up by scripture.  It is time to let go of the inculcated memes and see Jesus for what he actually was (assuming he was a real person): a flawed man whose knowledge and morality was mired in the ethos and mindset of his own time.

(1090) Bias affects historians’ view of Jesus

One of the reasons that most historians have expressed a sustained belief in an historical Jesus is the preconditioning of their minds to accept preferentially the mystical elements of Christianity while summarily dismissing those of other faiths.  This is a fallacy of the human mind- to accept improbable stories as fact as long as they are ingrained early and often in life, but at the same time reject anything far-fetched attached to any other belief system.  This bias has allowed claims for Jesus’s reality to exceed the evidence supporting them.

The following excerpt refers to Richard Carrier’s new book, On The Historicity Of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason For Doubt:

http://www.macleans.ca/society/life/did-jesus-really-exist-2/

Carrier’s book on the case for Christ as a mythical construct rather than an actual human being is something of a breakthrough on the mythicist front. He gives credit to earlier writers, especially Canadian Earl Doherty, but Carrier’s rigorously argued discussion—made all the more compelling for the way it bends over backwards to give the historicist case an even chance—is the first peer-reviewed historical work on mythicism. He’s relatively restrained in his summation of the absences in Paul’s letters. “That’s all simply bizarre. And bizarre means unexpected, which means infrequent, which means improbable.” Historicists have no real response to it. Ehrman simply says, “It’s hard to know what to make of Paul’s non-interest; perhaps he just doesn’t care about Jesus before his resurrection.” Other historians extend that lack-of-curiosity explanation to early Christians in general, which is not only contrary to the usual pattern of human nature, but seems to condemn the Gospels as fiction: if Christians couldn’t have cared less about the details of Jesus’s life and ministry, they wouldn’t have preserved them, and the evangelists would have been forced to make up everything.

Paul is a puzzle for historicists because they are committed to the reality of Jesus, a commitment that’s a result of their own social memories, as far as Carrier is concerned. “If this was Osiris we were talking about,” he says in reference to the Egyptian god who displays close parallels to Jesus in his life, death and resurrection, “most historians would have moved to the mythicist position long ago.” But Jesus Christ is sunk deep in the Western world’s psychic and cultural DNA; viewing the Gospel as a mix of fact and metaphor is perfectly acceptable in a post-religious world, but outright rejection isn’t, not least for those whose careers depend upon the former. Modern Christians can smile at the extra-Biblical accounts of Jesus’s wonder-working, like his taming of two dragons in the Protoevangelium of James, and know it as myth, says Ehrman, but they scarcely notice the contradictions between the Gospels. And they find the recasting of those Gospels as complete myth deeply troubling.

It is this unavoidable bias that makes the case for Jesus less probable than it is made out to be. Historians like Richard Carrier have approached the question from a purely objective angle and have established a sound, reasonable basis for concluding that Jesus is a mythical figure, perhaps loosely based on some actual Jewish preachers of the First Century, but not the singular wonder-working resurrecting deity as depicted in the gospels.

(1091) Rational theology

In place of Christianity and all other religions, those who are skeptics must construct a rational theology based on probabilities conditioned on science, evidence, and reasonable guesses.  Such an effort would conclude that most likely one of the following scenarios is true:

  1. The universe came about without the assistance of any supernatural being.
  2. A god created the universe but died immediately or soon after and all that has happened since has been the result of natural forces.
  3. A god created the universe and has survived, but is limited and is unaware of the existence of the Earth.
  4. A god created the universe and is aware of the happenings on the Earth, but only at a 30,000 foot level and has no knowledge of or interactions with people.
  5. A god created the universe and has knowledge of each person, but does not interfere in their lives.
  6. A god created the universe and has knowledge of everyone and interacts with some of them, but has no plan to provide for an eternal afterlife.
  7. A god created the universe and has a plan to provide an afterlife for those who are good, but no plan for afterlife punishment.
  8. A god created the universe and has a plan to provide an afterlife for those who are good, and punish those who are bad.
  9. A god created the universe and is associated with any god other than Yahweh, and has a plan consistent with those other faiths.
  10. God is Yahweh and the Christian religion is true.

It is somewhat likely that one of these scenarios is true.  The author assigns the following probabilities to each based on a best estimate considering all available evidence:

  1. 75%
  2. 5%
  3. 15%
  4. 5%
  5. 0.001%
  6. 0.0005%
  7. 0.0001%
  8. 0.00005%
  9. 0.00001%
  10. 0.000005%

A true religion should be based on this type of theology, admitting we don’t know the entire truth, but we can estimate the probabilities of each scenario, and we can remain open to new evidence to adjust the probabilities accordingly.

(1092) Bible scholars become more liberal over time

Most people who undertake studies in Bible scholarship start out as devout Christians wanting to know more about their faith. Very few of them find that their faith is strengthened by this effort.  The following was written by Ed Babinski:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2010/08/if-nothing-else-look-at-trend-from.html

Many professional scholars whose entire scholarly careers have consisted of studying and researching the Bible and whose careers began with a devout love of Scripture in a conservative Christian sense later abandoned their formerly conservative views after gaining knowledge of the full range of questions involved, and hence they changed from being religious conservatives to either more moderate or liberal or even agnostic standpoints. In fact entire seminaries founded originally as seminaries for conservative Christian denominations have changed over time into liberal arts colleges, and now entertain moderate to liberal to agnostic professors and views. (For instance the seminary founded by John Calvin later became filled with Deists. While in America, Yale was founded due to the “liberal theological excesses” of Harvard.)

Even in our day look what happened to Fuller Seminary, or look at some of the professors and graduates of Wheaton College, Billy Graham’s young-earth creationist and inerrantist alma mater. They seem to be stretching all sorts of boundaries these days, headed away from such conservatism and toward moderation, but not taking radical or huge steps all at once which would lose too many conservative donors. (Dr. Bart Ehrman, the agnostic Biblical scholar and bestselling theological author, graduated from Wheaton with extremely high honors.)

Others who left the conservative fold of their youth after majoring in Biblical studies include well known and prolific biblical writers: Crossan, Goulder, Lüdemann, Borg, Cupitt, Bullock, Larson, Cunningham, Salisbury, Dever, Armstrong, and others listed at Steve Locks’s Leaving Christianity website. Neither their stories, nor the stories of the host of seminaries founded as bastions of conservatism that grew more moderate and liberal, will be found in books sold at Evangelical Protestant or Catholic bookstores, nor highlighted on TV networks owned by those churches.

The question that must be asked is why do people become less convinced of the truth of Christianity the farther they dig into the ‘sacred’ scriptures?  It should be the other way around, that is, if these scriptures were actually sacred and the virtually mouthpiece of an almighty deity.

(1093) Saint Bernadette Soubirous

St Bernadette (1844-1879) is renowned in the Catholic Church as being chosen to see visions of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France. Her experience is often used as evidence of the truth of Christianity. However, the versions of this story have been significantly sanitized, making the alleged supernatural aspects highly unlikely. The following is taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/cb0_selecting.htm

It is often repeated that Bernadette Soubirous (the Lourdes visionary) miraculously discovered a spring, but not so many accounts mention the fact that this spring was already well known to local people. The spectacular failure of expected healing miracles is also edited out of most accounts. So is the rather bizarre incident when Bernadette started eating mud and grass.

Accounts of the visions at La Salette in 1846 tend to minimise the odder parts of the story as it was later reported — for example that the visionaries (two shepherd children) initially mistook a beautiful transparent lady in medieval court dress, bathed in light and sporting a halo, for a local woman escaping her family. Neither is it mentioned that the Vision might not have been quite as beautiful, transparent, lady-like or awe-inspiring as claimed in these accounts, since it is known that a deranged local woman liked to dress up like the Virgin Mary and parade around the hills. Neither do the faithful hear much about Mary’s promises that stones and rocks would turn into wheat, or that the fields would sow themselves with potatoes.

Again, the fact that one of the La Salette visionaries (Mélanie Calvat) subsequently abandoned her vocation as a nun is underplayed, and so is the fact that she went on to receive many more exciting visions and revelations. Neither do the faithful often hear that the other visionary, Maximin Giraud, failed to become a priest, went on to market a liqueur called “Salette”, and subsequently admitted that the whole thing had been a fraud.

This is significant to the assessment of the validity of Christianity as a whole because Bernadette’s supposed vision of Mary might well be analogous to the reported sightings of Jesus post crucifixion.  In like manner, those reports were likely filtered and sanitized to make them seem more believable, with the result that they were eventually accepted as being historically true.

(1094) God is remorseful

Any person who is knowledgeable of the Bible knows that God is portrayed as a mean and brutal disciplinarian in the Old Testament. Despite efforts by many Christians to dismiss the OT, it is still talking about the same god that they worship. But what is also obvious is that we are not seeing the same degree of cruelty and barbarity playing out today with the same sort of people that God previously punished.

To be short, something has changed. Perhaps God has become more humane and regrets his actions of the past.  The Bible even hints at this explanation when God states that he will never again flood the Earth and drown all living things.  The following piece of satire illustrates this point:

http://www.theonion.com/article/god-admits-he-way-less-strict-last-few-billion-chi-52678

Saying He was a very rigid and domineering Father in the years immediately following the Creation of Man, the Lord God Almighty admitted Monday He has been far less strict with His last few billion children. “I was kind of a stickler back then, to be honest, and I could be pretty harsh when I punished my children for doing something wrong or disobeying me,” said God, who remarked that He has mellowed out quite a bit over the millennia and that it has been a long time since He has sent forth floodwaters to cover the face of the earth or cast any of His children into a lake of fire. “Back then, I was still learning how to be a good Father of all Mankind. I can see that now. And I used a more disciplinarian approach, sending down a plague, slaughtering all the firstborn and livestock—things like that. After a while, though, you realize you just have to let your children live their lives and make their own mistakes.” The Lord added, however, that He has perhaps been too lenient with His children of late, and the minor disciplinary measure of an earthquake next week that will kill 300,000 should be enough to set them straight.

Most Christians bristle at the idea that God could feel a need to improve or to become more righteous, but the proof is in the pudding, and it is very difficult to explain why things have changed so much.  Of course, there is an alternate explanation- that God is imaginary and tends to take on the mores and ethics of a changing civilization- thus appearing to become more noble and honorable as time goes on.

(1095) Passover events not claimed by other faiths

The gospels state that several miraculous events occurred at the time surrounding Jesus’s death on the cross, including:

  • an earthquake at the time of death
  • three hours of mid-day darkness
  • temple veil torn in half
  • dead people rising from their graves and greeting bystanders
  • a second earthquake on Easter morning

These are spectacular happenings occurring around a popular holiday weekend with a city overrun by large crowds. They should have been noticed by all of the faith groups in the area, including the Roman pagan religions, the Essenes, the Jews, and others.  If they had actually happened, these other religious groups would certainly have interpreted them within their own theological framework, and we would have evidence of this today.  However, only Christianity claims these events as being omens specific to their faith. This is strong evidence that these events are fictional.

(1096) The school fire analogy

The following tale compares the reaction of a school official to a fire with God’s actions regarding humanity.  The message is devastating for Christianity:

http://new.exchristian.net/2012/02/pretty-simple-choice-right.html

You are the principal of a school.

You find out that one of the fryers in the cafeteria burst into flames, spreading quickly, and the fire department is ten minutes out. It’s unclear why the smoke alarms aren’t working in the school, but they aren’t. The fire is likely to get out of control fast.

Do you:

A. Pull the fire alarm, alerting all students that they are required to evacuate immediately.

B. Get on the PA system and make an announcement, giving the students the option to evacuate if they are afraid that the fire may harm them, and advising them to do so.

C. After 5 or so minutes, go into a nearby classroom and alert the teacher and her students that they have the option to leave because there is a fire in the building, and tell them it is imperative that they alert the rest of the school, and leave.

Seems like a pretty simple choice, right?

Let’s say you are God of the universe.

You have known since the dawn of time that humanity is headed down a path into eternal damnation. You watched them eat from the tree that started it all. Justice will eventually demand that they suffer forever for their sinful actions. It’s unclear how they ever got into this position since they were created perfect, but, they are. It’s likely to go downhill fast.

Do you:

A. Use your omnipotence to cleanse their sick, perverted bodies of the sin nature they have fallen into and restore them all to their full, original potential.

B. Proclaim to the world through a supernatural event that transcends time, speaking to all generations across history, that they are a fallen people, and give them the option of salvation and healing.

C. A few thousand years after sin first entered the world, go to a very small country in the Middle East, and explain to a handful of people in confusing parables that they have the option to be saved, and that it is imperative that they alert the rest of the world, and then leave.

A loving and caring god would not have left so many people in the dark when their eternal fate was in the balance.  It is undeniable that if this god exists, he is not good.

(1097) God’s uneven forgiveness

If you rape a woman, molest a child, steal from the poor, cheat on your taxes, have an affair, or murder someone, God will forgive you if you earnest pray for absolution.  But if you worship the wrong god (or no god) or love the wrong person, it’s off to the pit of eternal fire.

This is where Christianity loses all credibility.  The person who murders, steals, or rapes KNOWS they are doing something that is wrong, but the person who worships another god or no god at all has no concept that what they are doing is wrong.  Why is it that God forgives people who consciously sin but fails to forgive people who unknowingly ‘sin’ ?  There is a big difference between someone who knows what they are doing is wrong versus someone who mistakenly thinks what they are doing is right.  Why is it that humans can understand this truth, but God can’t?  Why are humans better than God?

(1098) God’s delay in worship gratification

The Bible portrays God as being somewhat insecure, a guy who is upset if his people are not worshiping him properly, and someone who is especially upset if they are worshiping another god.  It seems that God has a psychological need to be worshiped.

This brings up an interesting issue. If God created the universe to satisfy his desire to be worshiped, why did he set things up to cause this situation to be so significantly delayed?  Following the Big Bang, it took approximately 350,000 years before the first atoms formed, and these were just simple hydrogen and helium atoms unsuitable for the formation of life.  It took about 200 million years beyond that before the first suns (stars) formed.

It was in these stellar furnaces that hydrogen atoms fused to form carbon, oxygen, and other elements essential to life.  Then supernovas appeared that would fertilize hydrogen clouds that would later coalesce into rocky planets.  It is possible that an Earthlike planet capable of supporting life formed about a billion years after the Big  Bang.  However, it would have taken at least another billion years for life to develop and evolve to the point of having intelligence sufficient to worship a god.  On Earth, this process actually took 4.5 billion years, but could have happened earlier given a different sequences of events.

Nevertheless, even if we assume that God is being worshiped by intelligent beings on planets other than the Earth, it would have taken at least 2 billion years after creating the universe before God would have enjoyed the satisfaction of being worshiped.  This does not match the personality of the god portrayed in the Bible- a deity who craves worship, who has the power to make any anything happen, but who waits at least 2 billion years in a boring universe before he receives any adulation from his devotees.

(1099) Following the Bible is either criminal or insane

Richard Dawkins made this famous quote:

If a man would follow today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly, the teachings of the new, he would be insane.

There should be little argument about the truth of this saying except for those whose minds are enslaved by religious inculcation.  A person following the Old Testament would give no pause to murdering homosexuals, disobedient children, and those who work on the Sabbath. Surely, such a person would very soon find himself in prison for life or being lethally injected.

A person following (strictly) the New Testament would do nothing to protect his belongings, allowing anyone to take from him what they wished, would let others strike him without providing any personal defense (turning the other cheek), would give away all of his possessions and take no thought for the morrow, and would gouge out his eye if it was causing him to sin.  Such a person would be viewed as being insane.

When following your holy scripture causes you to be either insane or a criminal, it is a good clue that it is not the product of a supernatural deity.

(1100) Prayer is logically unworkable

Christians are encouraged by scripture and their preachers to pray to God to provide things that they need or desire.  They rely on scriptures such as:

John 14:13

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

These same people will claim that God has a plan for everybody, so mathematically speaking, answering a prayer will usually involve a change to God’s plan (otherwise, nothing changes and the prayer is superfluous). But this is not just a local affect, that is, just changing the plan to the person praying- no, it must also involve a change to the plans of others, and by extension, the entire world.

Suppose your prayer is to be accepted to Harvard, something that God had not pre-planned for your life.  If God answers your prayer, he must also change the plan for somebody else who will now not be accepted.  That person will now instead attend Yale, once again displacing another person who otherwise would have been accepted there.  This chain reaction will eventually affect the lives of everybody on the planet.

Another example is a prayer to survive cancer, such that without God’s help you would die and create an opening at your company. With the prayer being answered and you surviving, the person who would otherwise have taken your job must look elsewhere.

So any prayer is effectively asking God to change the lives of everybody on the planet.  It makes no sense and illustrates that prayer is nothing more than a silly superstition.

(1101) Belief should not be rewarded, nor non-belief punished

Belief should not be rewarded, neither should non-belief be punished.  This is because belief is not a choice. It is purely a function of the way our individual brains operate given the specifics of our environment and the information that we are exposed to.  Whether or not someone believes in Jesus is not a sign of character or righteousness, it is simply a stochastic outcome of many trials. In a sense we are predestined to be believers or non-believers.

Christianity holds that non-believers are in big trouble.  Depending on the denomination, this can mean anything from eternal demise, to eternal separation, to eternal punishment, to eternal torture. None of these outcomes are pleasant.

Assuming any of these fates are true, the question is: who is at fault? It can be argued that the fault lies predominantly with God himself. He has supplied us with only a sliver of evidence of his existence, not even enough to differentiate his reality beyond that of many other gods that humans have worshiped.  Although this evidence has been sufficient to convince some gullible people, generally those who are not deep, critical thinkers, that he is real, it is woefully short of being enough to convince people with more skeptical, scientifically-inclined minds.  This is not the fault of theirs, no, the fault lies with God for not offering convincing signs of his existence.

In short, Christianity, assuming it is true, is not fair to people who, through no fault of their own, have logical, analytical, critical-thinking brains.  It places them on an unequal footing when compared to more simple-minded people.  This is another indication that Christianity is most likely not the product of an all-wise, benevolent god.

(1102) The second coming is unnecessary

Why does Jesus need to return to the Earth?  Christians will say that he must return to judge the living and the dead, but everyone alive today will eventually die and therefore they could be judged just the same as everyone else who has died in the past 2000 years.  So what is the point of coming back and ending the world as it now exists?

There is no intrinsic purpose for Jesus to come again, The system of assigning people to heaven or hell can easily continue for eternity or as long as humans exist.  This system has worked fine for two millennia.  Why the need for an abrupt stoppage to the human era- preventing the potential lives that could exist in the future?

A second coming would be incredibly disruptive, including cutting short the potential lives of children and the unborn,  Imagine the disappointment of a young woman who was one week from her wedding,-all the planning, all the excitement, all the hopes of having a loving family- dashed by an impatient god who wants to put an end to everything.

Of course there will never be a second coming because there never was a first coming.  The myth of the second coming was invented to create a sense of urgency in the minds of early Christians, to make them more willing to give up their time, money, and effort for the benefit of the church.  But, although it afforded a short-term benefit, it soon became a growing liability as Jesus did not appear as promised, and, as the centuries have rolled by, the embarrassment has mushroomed- ergo, the dogma of the second coming was a mistake and it is evidence of Christianity’s man-made origin.

(1103) Defenses of Christians’ bad behavior are lame

It doesn’t take a lot of research to conclude that the history of Christianity contains a lot of ugly atrocities that hardly mesh with modern standards of ethics and morality.  Even most Christians will agree, but the attempts at defending these breaches of virtue all fail to absolve the responsibility of Christianity itself.  The following was taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/gj0_defenses.htm

In the previous sections we have seen this pattern repeated many times: with respect to a dozen major social issues, to legal abuses, to concepts of justice and equality before the law, to freedoms and liberties, to attitudes to sex, to medical practices, and to numerous examples of mistreating minorities and killing innocent people. There would appear to be a serious problem for the traditional Christian position on morality. Why does Christianity have such a bad record by its own current standards?

Some possible explanations are:

The problem for Christianity is two-fold:  a religion spawned by a true god should engender improved behaviors as compared to the godless contemporaries, and a living god should be continually shaping and refining the behaviors of his followers.  Neither of these have happened with Christianity, implying rather significantly that it is just another man-made religion.

(1104) The folly of a personal relationship with Jesus

Many Christians will claim that they are not following a religion but rather that they are having a ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus.  The problem with this so-called relationship is that it has no elements making it different from a child who talks to an imaginary friend. The following was taken from:

http://churchandstate.org.uk/2016/04/10-more-reasons-christianity-makes-no-sense/

How do you have a “personal relationship” with a man who has been dead for 2,000 years? When you say you “love” Jesus, what emotion is it that you are experiencing given that you have never seen him, spoken with him, or even read his own words? Stranger still, what exactly are you feeling when you say that he loves you back? How is a personal relationship with Jesus different from a personal relationship with Elvis? At least I can look at photographs and films of Elvis and listen to his voice; I can objectively and scientifically prove that he existed, view artifacts that he owned or created, read things that he wrote, and talk to people who knew him when he was alive. From this perspective, a personal relationship with him is by far the more rational one.

So, now the reality of this situation is this: If Christianity was a true faith, then followers would be having a personal relationship with Jesus- that is, Jesus would be a palpable, tangible reality who legitimately communicates and delivers a consistent message.  It would be expected that he would communicate in an audible language and even show himself visually, but even dismissing those signs of positive existence, just giving everybody who prays the same answers would go a long way to legitimizing these ‘relationships.’  But no, the ‘messages’ are all over the map, indicating that each supplicant is merely hearing words formed in their own brains.

(1105) Abolition of Mosaic Laws not communicated

If Christianity is true, then God had to have selected the Jews as his chosen people and provided them with very specific rules and laws, as documented throughout the Old Testament. The presentation of these laws was done in dramatic fashion and there was never any indication that the rules would someday be superseded by another covenant.   Christians eventually came to assume that the laws no longer apply, so their abolition should have been pronounced by God in a manner as explicit as the original promulgation- but this did not happen, not even close. The following is quote from Edward Gibbon, speaking of the first Jewish followers who rejected the doctrine of Paul:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/quotes/

They affirmed that if the Being who is the same through all eternity had designed to abolish those sacred rites which had served to distinguish his chosen people, the repeal of them would have been no less clear and solemn than their first promulgation; that, instead of those frequent declarations which either suppose or assert the perpetuity of the Mosaic religion, it would have been represented as a provisionary scheme intended to last only till the coming of the Messiah, who should instruct mankind in a more perfect mode of faith and of worship; that the Messiah himself, and his disciples who conversed with him on earth, instead of authorising by their example the most minute observances of the Mosaic law, would have published to the world the abolition of those useless and obsolete ceremonies without suffering Christianity to remain during so many years obscurely confounded among the sects of the Jewish church.

In the early church, Jewish Christian sects continued to follow the Mosaic Laws, while the sects influenced by Paul did not.  The point is that if God had decided that the laws no longer applied, he would have made a major pronouncement of the same, just like when they were first issued. Instead, it was nothing more than just a political decision made by Paul and his acolytes- that the laws were defunct. Why would God so informally have discarded the laws he once saw as being so important? He wouldn’t, and Christianity is left holding a dead rat.

(1106) Morality: Atheists vs. Christians

Conventional wisdom states that Christianity gives people a moral compass, and that without such a religious belief people would be morally corrupt and perform all sorts of heinous acts.  But when we compare one important statistic, this argument evaporates.

During the Middle Ages, Christian mobs were notoriously hunting down people who expressed doubts or disbelief about Jesus, whether they be agnostics or atheists.  Many of these people were punished severely, tortured, and killed. Even today, atheists are punished in many non-physical ways, such as job and housing discrimination. This is all being done in the name of Christianity.

Now, on the other hand, how many atheist mobs have tracked down and killed Christians?  Obviously, atheists have committed crimes, but the conduct of those crimes has rarely if ever been done in the name of atheism.

If a belief in God causes people to act immorally and a disbelief never pushes a person in that direction, it suggests that God belief is not a redemptive character trait, and that the focus of such belief is centered on a nonentity.

(1107) Jericho was in ruins at the time of Joshua

The methods used by some Christians to defend their faith illustrates the futility of trying to convince them that that their faith is inconsistent with the facts. One of those examples is the story of Joshua conquering Jericho (Joshua 5:13 – 6:27). The following was taken from:

https://thechurchoftruth.org/the-bible-is-so-wrong-about-joshua-and-jerico/

The account of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan is inconsistent with the archaeological evidence. Cities supposedly conquered by Joshua in the 14th century BCE were destroyed long before he came on the scene. Some, such as Ai and Arad, had been ruins for a 1000 years.

Amazingly, a devout Christian, Dr. Gerald Aardsma (Ph. D., Nuclear Physics) believes the bible to be literally true yet he acknowledges that Jericho was in ruins before Joshua allegedly conquered it. See “Biblical Chronologist, Jericho“. So how can he believe the bible to be literally true and yet, acknowledge the archaeological evidence that proves Jericho was in ruins at the time of Joshua? Simple. He merely ascribes a transcription error; to wit…

In 1990, Dr. Gerald Aardsma proposed a major adjustment to traditional biblical chronology. He proposed that the “480” of 1 Kings 6:1 was originally “1,480” but the Hebrew letters corresponding to the “one thousand” were lost at an early stage of copying. The new biblical date for the Exodus becomes ca. 2450 B.C., and prior biblical events are similarly shifted to earlier times, by exactly 1000 years relative to traditional biblical chronology.

See? That’s how you make something out of nothing. Just fiddle with the dates.

The contortions made by Christian apologists to explain problems in the Bible illuminate the fact that truth does not require apology, it simply exists and speaks for itself.  When obvious deceptions are needed to patch a defective product, it is a good indication that the product was not produced by a supernatural deity.

(1108) Jesus flunks astronomy

In the following passage, Jesus describes the events that will precede his return to judge the living the dead:

Mark 13:24-25

“But in those days, following that distress, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”

It is obvious that Jesus, or at least the author of this passage, believed that the moon delivered its own independent source of light and that the stars were small objects that could fall from the sky and hit the Earth.  Less obvious, but still problematic is the statement that the sun will be darkened and that the heavenly bodies will be shaken.  None of this seems realistic from a current-day astronomical perspective, though it fits quite well with what was known at the time.  This is an indictment of the concept that Jesus was a god because he should not have been limited by the knowledge of his day.

This silly and totally unrealistic prophecy is a good indication that it was the product of an Iron Age mind and not the god of the universe, and it is doubtful that any well-educated Christians believe that these events will ever take place.

(1109) Belief in Hell vs. Heaven

Love and marriage go together as a horse and carriage- as does Heaven and Hell in the world of conventional Christianity, you can’t have one without the other.  And yet, in 2014, the Pew Research Center found that only 70% of U.S. Christian adults believed in Hell, whereas 85% believed in Heaven.  This implies that there are approximately 30 million U.S.. citizens who believe in Heaven, but not in Hell.

Belief in Heaven and Hell Among U.S. Adults, 2014

There must be a psychological reason for this disparity.  The Bible’s New Testament does much more than hint at the reality of Hell- it is cited by some of Jesus’s most declarative statements about the afterlife.  The fact that so many Christians dismiss Hell is a tacit admission that they can’t believe that God could be so vicious.  It is an unconscious surrender to any foundational basis for believing that Jesus, at least as depicted in the gospels, could have been God.

(1110) The cryonics conundrum

Cryonics is the science of using ultra-cold temperature to  preserve human life with the intent of restoring good health when technology becomes available to do so. So far, about 300 people have been cryonically frozen and about 1500 are planning to do so when their lives become precariously close to death.

The problem for Christianity develops when you consider what happens to the soul of these people when they are frozen.  Does the soul remain in the body or does it leave and travel somewhere else? If the person is warmed up and re-animated, does the soul return? What happens if the person is never warmed up?  If the soul remains in the body, when does it leave, since the person is never actually dead, and if after a very long time, the soul finally leaves and goes to heaven, does it return to the body later if, eventually, the body is warmed up?  This seems to open up the possibility of someone returning to mortal life after spending time in heaven.

In science this is known as a boundary-condition problem, where a hypothesis fails to function at the perimeter of the landscape it is describing.  The soul hypothesis fails when people are placed in a space between life and death, with no time limit and no assurance that they will proceed to death or life in the future.

(1111) Gospels are written like a play

If when you read the gospels, and you feel as though you are in a play, you are anyway.  The gospels are written in the style of theatrical plays.  Take the Gospel of Mark as an example with its overt use of irony (See #773), the abrupt scene changes, the total lack of any character development, and emphasis strictly on action and dialogue.

One of the best examples of play-like action is at Mark 14:40-42:

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

This kind of simplified, stilted, and dramatic dialogue is typical of stage plays, as the performers must be heard throughout the theater and need to be understood without using linguistic subtleties that might obscure the major message.

A historically-oriented account of Jesus’s arrest would look more like this:

Jesus found his disciples sleeping and was once again frustrated that they could not stay awake to pray with him.  In the distance, the commotion of an approaching crowd of soldiers and chief priests could be heard.  At this time,  Jesus realized that his arrest was at hand.  He instructed his disciples to rise and said, “I am to be arrested, offer no resistance.”

A more historical account would also have started with an explanation of Jesus as a person, his appearance, his voice, his personality, and his background with a description of his parents, his siblings, where and how he was raised, and what he did for a living before he began his ministry. It would also have included background information on his disciples.

The lack of a true historical account of Jesus lends much doubt on who he was and even whether he truly existed as a real human being.  Modern Christians make the mistake by taking the gospels as literal history- they were never meant as such, but rather an attempt so to convey  a theological message.

(1112) Luke distorts Jesus’s baptism

The synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke) each portray the baptism of Jesus as the event that signaled the beginning of his ministry.  In Mark and Matthew, it is made very clear that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.  However, in Luke, this fact is obscured. Consider Luke 3:15-22:

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Notice that Luke does not specifically state that Jesus was baptized by John, and the reference to Jesus’s baptism is placed after the statement that John had been locked up in prison.  This tempts the reader into thinking that perhaps Jesus was baptized by somebody else.

The reason for this subterfuge is obvious.  At at the time of his authorship, Luke was concerned that there were still many people following the sect of John the Baptist.  In fact, in the Book of Acts, which he also authored, he mentions an episode where followers of John were converted to become followers of Jesus.  Therefore, Luke rewrote how Jesus’s baptism was described in Mark, his primary source material, to make it seem as though John did not baptize Jesus, and therefore John did not merit any sense of superiority over Jesus.

This use of a personal agenda to distort what should have been a clearly written historical account is a clue for understanding that the gospels are not precise accounts of history, but rather a description of what the authors wanted others to believe.

(1113) Church councils were contradictory

In the history of Christianity, there were numerous councils convened where church administrators met to establish doctrine. Each time, the driving force for the councils was a disagreement among various factions of Christians about critical elements of tenets and dogma.  Here is a short list:

  • First Council of Nicaea (325)
  • First Council of Constantinople (381)
  • First Council of Ephesus (431)
  • Council of Chalcedon (451)
  • Second Council of Constantinople (553)
  • Third Council of Constantinople (680–681)
  • Second Council of Nicaea (787)

Voltaire (1694-1778) was particularly critical of this part of church history and stated:

But why, it will be asked, have so many councils contradicted each other?  Roman Catholics now believe only in councils approved by the Vatican; and the Greek Catholics believe only in those approved in Constantinople. Protestants deride them both.

Why would God have allowed these important meetings to deliver such contradictory results when the outcome had such a large impact on the splintering of Christianity into numerous factions?  If God is actually monitoring events on Earth, would not this have been something he would have been especially focused on, making sure to influence the attendees to get the right doctrine each and every time?  If this was true, the councils would have delivered a consistent overall message, eliminating the disagreements that eventually tore Christianity into shreds of acrimonious sects.

On the other hand, if Christianity was something that humans devised, then the results of the councils are fully understood.

(1114) Christianity could not have been God’s plan

An omniscient god would have known that the implementation of Christianity would result in a terrible setback for humankind, in almost all aspects of life, including personal rights, warfare, and civil and scientific progress.  Such a god, if it existed, would have created a religion that brought peace and respect for human rights, along with insights to guide people to a more just and prosperous future.

The following is a quote from Percy Bysshe Shelley in his book A Refutation of Deism, 1814:

It is sufficiently evident that an omniscient being never conceived the design of reforming the world by Christianity. Omniscience would surely have foreseen the inefficacy of that system, which experience demonstrates not only to have been utterly impotent in restraining, but to have been most active in exhaling the malevolent propensities of men. During the period which elapsed between the removal of the seat of empire to Constantinople in 328, and its capture by the Turks in 1453, what salutary influence did Christianity exercise upon that world which it was intended to enlighten? Never before was Europe the theatre of such ceaseless and sanguinary wars: never were the people so brutalised by ignorance and debased by slavery.

Any religion worthy enough to be considered the product a god would have abolished slavery and protected the rights of all people, including women, homosexuals, and the physically and mentally handicapped.  It would have encouraged investigation and exploration into the pursuits of science, and promoted a healthy stewardship of the planet and the ethical treatment of all forms of life.  It would also have prohibited the punishment of people based on their race, creed, color, religious beliefs, and sexual identity.  If a real god had actually established such a religion it would have dramatically changed the face of history. On the other hand, Christianity is most definitely a flawed product created by unenlightened humans.

(1115) Matthew fails to finish his lie

In Matthew 27:50-53, it is asserted that at the time of Jesus’s death, a good number of dead people rose out of their graves and greeted many of their former neighbors:

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. [nothing more in mentioned about the resurrected people]

This story does not appear in any other gospel and is obviously untrue.  But what is remarkable is that Matthew failed to explain what happened to these zombies.  He did nothing to make his lie seem even remotely plausible. The following is a quote from Thomas Paine (1737-1809) in his book The Age of Reason, Part II:

It is an easy thing to tell a lie, but it is difficult to support the lie after it is told. The writer of the book of Matthew should have told us who the saints were that came to life again, and went into the city, and what became of them afterward, and who it was that saw them – for he is not hardy enough to say he saw them himself; whether they came out naked, and all in natural buff, he-saints and she-saints; or whether they came full dressed, and where they got their dresses, whether they went to their former habitations, and reclaimed their wives, their husbands, and their property, and how they were received; whether they entered ejectments for the recovery of their possessions, or brought actions of crim. con. [adultery] against the rival interlopers; whether they remained on earth, and followed their former occupation of preaching or working; or whether they died again, or went back to their graves alive, and buried themselves.

Strange, indeed, that an army of saints should return to life, and nobody know who they were, nor who it was that saw them, and that not a word more should be said upon the subject, nor these saints have anything to tell us! Had it been the prophets who (as we are told) had formerly prophesied of these things, they must have had a great deal to say. They could have told us everything and we should have had posthumous prophecies, with notes and commentaries upon the first, a little better at least than we have now. Had it been Moses and Aaron and Joshua and Samuel and David, not an unconverted Jew had remained in all Jerusalem. Had it been John the Baptist, and the saints of the time then present, everybody would have known them, and they would have out-preached and out-famed all the other apostles. But, instead of this, these saints were made to pop up, like Jonah’s gourd in the night, for no purpose at all but to wither in the morning. Thus much for this part of the story.

The fact that Matthew inserted a fictitious event of such spectacular consequence but then failed to finish the story indicates that he was a terrible historian, or more accurately, a terrible fictional writer.

(1116) The double edged sword of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is perhaps the most insidious affliction of all, much worse than cancer, heart disease, or even death itself.  It appears to have no redeeming qualities, such as might be claimed for cancer, which offers a playing field for the virtues of fortitude, strength, and perseverance to be expressed.  Nobody says that Alzheimer’s gave their life a new definition or that it made them a better person. And its effects are even more disastrous for the family and friends of the afflicted, shoving them into a living hell of anguish and the eventual ignominy of not even being recognized as the loving spouse, child, or friend of the victim. Although Christians are fond of saying that everything happens for a reason, the reason for Alzheimer’s simply does not exist- there can be no purpose for it, even if one concedes that God’s ways are mysterious.  Alzheimer’s is the best reason for concluding that a merciful, loving god of the power and ubiquity claimed by Christianity does not exist.

The other edge of the sword is that Alzheimer’s proves that there is no human soul, no element of our consciousness that escapes the vagaries of insults to the brain. The existence of a human soul would always permit a brain-damaged person to retain his innate personality and ability to recognize those persons most special to his life.  Alzheimer’s proves that every aspect of our self-consciousness is tied up in the material structure of our brains.

The Alzheimer’s sword is therefore complete- one edge demonstrates that there is no all-powerful god, the other that there is no afterlife.  But, in a way, it is also a gift to the living, to help us understand that this is the only life we will ever have and to live each day to the fullest.

(1117) Gods do not pray

Conventional Christianity holds that God is a trinity of figures- a Father, a Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that these three are mysteriously just one god.  Most Christians do not believe that there is a hierarchy among these figures, rather that they are co-equal, and they pray to all three of them.  But where this logically breaks down is the fact that Jesus prayed to the Father, while, conversely, it is certainly safe to assume that the Father never prayed to the Son. Consider Matthew 26: 36-44:

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Here we see Jesus praying to the Father.  But if Jesus was God himself, why would he pray to anyone?  Does the Father pray?  At the least, this implies that Jesus is subservient to the Father, not co-equal, and therefore not God himself.  These verses are incompatible with current Christian doctrine.  It doesn’t make sense that Christians pray to Jesus, who himself prayed to the Father. Rather they should pray only to the Father (just like Jesus did) and admit that Jesus was not a god.

(1118) The time traveler dilemma

Imagine that you are a time traveler and find yourself back in First Century Judea.  One of the first things you would notice is that about half of all children fail to survive to adulthood because of contaminated water, meat, and milk.  The three biggest killers of children and adults at that time were malaria, typhoid, and tuberculosis.  You would be the only person around who knew that all of these diseases could be alleviated by taking simple sanitation steps, such as washing hands, heating milk, sterilizing needles, and warding off mosquitoes with nets and draining puddles.

Now, you are in the same position of Jesus (as alleged by Christians), being the only one who had knowledge that could greatly eliminate human suffering.  What would you do?  Would you do what Jesus did- nothing? Or would you alert everyone of the methods to reduce disease? If you choose the latter, you are admitting that you are more compassionate and righteous than Jesus.  This is perhaps the best evidence we have that Jesus was not a supernatural being, but was just as limited in his knowledge of disease as any other person in his immediate world.

Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the gospels make no mention of Jesus healing anyone with malaria, tuberculosis, or typhoid.  This is most likely because, as a faith healer, he could only perform ‘parlor’ healings based on suggestion and placebo effects.   He knew not to take on the big killers of his day because it would have shown him to be impotent.

(1119) Does God know everything?

Christian doctrine demands that God is all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful.  To possess these qualities implies an awareness of everything at all times, even at a micro scale, because macro events are nothing more than the cumulative effect of billions and billions of micro ones.  If God is not aware of everything at the minutest level, then he would be unable to manipulate anything with any degree of certainty.  At the following website, the author explains why the assertion that God knows everything is absurd:

http://articles.exchristian.net/2009/07/more-on-pauls-jesus-and-christianitys.html

In the same vein, Christians say that god knows everything. Now let’s think this through. Right now, there are billions of chemical reactions going on in the bodies of billions of people across the planet. Does god know the exact position of every electron, proton, neutron, or quark of every atom, of every molecule at every 1/1000th of a second, during this second and the one before (and the one after), in my body and in every one of us? And did I leave out other forms of life? Does god know that about them, too? Does god know the exact and multiple pressures at this very milli-second in the left ventricle of my heart, and at every milli-second during and between my heart beats, in every position in that left ventricle– and the right ventricle and left and right atrium and the pulmonary arteries and the capillaries at every position on my skin and at the far reaches of my fingertips? Is it on the tip of his tongue right now?

Does god know, right this second and tomorrow, the micro- or millimoles of Acetyl Choline, Dopamine, and Serotonin pausing at the junction of every synapse of every neuron in my brain and body? Does he know where, precisely, in all my cells, every ribosome is resting? And which direction every nucleotide of every codon of DNA and RNA is facing and what course the transfer RNA is taking? Please, give me the vectors and coordinates. That’s only a minuscule fraction of what there is to know. And if god doesn’t know it, then, no, god doesn’t know everything. There will be a pop quiz, let me assure him, when I lean on the pearly gate and knock with every foot-pound of pressure I can (or, if he works in the metric system, every 1.3558179483314004 joules, or– see, I’m not dogmatic, we can talk in kilocalories of force– every 0.000323832 calories, because I’m not sure what units of measure he was using when he wrote the King James bible). Does he know that I’m that incorrigible kid who refuses to be afraid of him and I will require these answers of a god before I believe?

This concept stretches the credibility of Christianity to a breaking point. The only way out is to surrender to mystery and magic, offering little separation from a belief in Santa.

(1120) What Christianity does to people

A true religion should be liberating and instill love and acceptance of all people, a broad-minded perspective of humanity, and a mind-set that attracts emulation.  What is not expected is when these attributes flourish when a Christian becomes an atheist. Anecdotally, this happens all the time.  The following was taken from:

https://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/4erhc0/asked_my_friend_about_his_theist_to_atheist/

The greatest liberation of my life was replacing faith with reason. I now consider myself a secular humanist. I am an atheist, but that describes what I do not believe. I don’t believe in gods or the supernatural. Humanism is what I do believe in. I believe in the progress of humankind.  I believe in tolerance, acceptance, and justice for all people. Ironically, these are all things I opposed as a Christian.

Christianity is a funneling philosophy that contracts a person’s horizon into a strict, linear, black and white tunnel of what is good or bad, what is okay or unacceptable, and who is worthy of their acquaintance.  Often, ideas like the following are instilled:

  • The Jews are not complete, they don’t believe in Jesus
  • I dislike Muslims
  • I never met a man I wanted to marry
  • Homosexuality is a sinful choice
  • The man is the head of the household
  • The Mormons are not Christians
  • He skipped church the past few weeks
  • He went to an R-rated movie
  • Abortion is murder
  • Her dress is too short
  • He’s not giving a full tithe
  • Spare the rod, spoil the child
  • That music is satanic
  • Harry Potter is anti-Christian
  • Yoga is Hindu
  • He used a bad word

Christianity does not make people better, it actually makes them worse in most cases, and this is a troubling indicator of its truth.

(1121) Jesus did not take the sinner’s punishment

Orthodox Christianity asserts that the wages of sin is death and that anyone who dies with sin on their ledger, including and exclusively those who failed to accept Jesus as their savior, will be sent to Hell for all eternity.  Depending on the denomination, Hell is either a mournful separation from God and loved ones, or a place that includes some form of physical punishment, even all the way up to full-scale torture.

Saved Christians claim that Jesus took the punishment that was due to them, that he served their sentence, and that this was some form of a ‘sacrifice.’  But, let’s examine what punishment Jesus actually incurred-  a brutal whipping, being nailed to a cross, and dying in 6 hours.  Over the next 36 hours, perhaps, he went to Hell to preach to the dead, although the scriptural basis for this is vague, and few Christians agree on this point- but one thing is certain, it did not include physical punishment.  Then he arose, spent anywhere from one afternoon to 40 days hanging out with the disciples before ascending into Heaven, right back where he had spent at least the past 14 billion years before embarking on his 33-year trip to the Earth.

The problem comes down to this.  If Jesus took the punishment that was due to a sinner, then that implies a ‘lost’ person at death should be physically punished for about 6 hours or so, then spend a day and a half in Hell, which would be something like a half-way house, and then go directly to Heaven- just like Jesus did.  This is where Christianity makes no sense.  If Jesus actually accepted the sinner’s punishment (as prescribed in the Bible), he should have gone to Hell and remained there for all eternity, being punished for all of our sins- now, that would have been a true sacrifice!

(1122) John the Baptist died in 36 CE

The gospels indicate that John the Baptist died while Jesus was still preaching.  Based on the biblical accounts, Jesus is supposed to have been born between 6 and 4 BC, during the reign of King Herod. Luke 3:23 also states that Jesus was about 30 years old when he started his ministry, placing that event between 24 and 26 CE. The Gospel of John states that Jesus’s ministry lasted three years (the other gospels suggest only one year), placing his death at 29 CE at the latest. However, the best historical evidence is that John the Baptist was executed in 36 CE, or at least 7 years after the death of Jesus.

The following is taken from:

http://www.josephus.org/JohnTBaptist.htm

Having said that, it does appear that Josephus is giving John’s death as occurring in 36 CE, which is at least 6 years later than what is expected from the New Testament, and after the crucifixion of Jesus. This date is seen as follows. Herod’s battle with Aretas appears to have broken out soon after Herod’s first wife, Aretas’s daughter, left him. If so, then John did not have much time between the moment people were aware Herod was remarrying and the start of the battle with Aretas, for John was already dead before the battle. Josephus gives several indications that the battle occurred in 36 CE:

  •  He states that the quarrel with Aretas sprang up “about the time” (Ant. 18.5.1. 109) that Herod’s brother Philip died in 34 CE (Ant. 18.4.6 106).
  •  During this time Herod’s brother Agrippa had gone to Rome “a year before the death of Tiberius” (Ant18.5.3 126), which places Agrippas’s departure in 36 CE.
  • Soon after the battle, the Syrian commander Vitellius was ordered by Tiberius to attack Aretas, whereupon Vitellius marched through Judea with his army, pausing in Jerusalem to placate the Jews and to sacrifice at a festival (probably Passover). On the fourth day of his stay in Jerusalem he learned of the death of Tiberius, which had occurred on March 16 37 CE (and it could have taken up to a month for Jerusalem to get the news). This puts the battle in the winter of 36/37 CE.
  •  Vitellius’ action against Aretas must have occurred between his action against the Parthians, under Tiberius’ orders, and the death of Tiberius. The Parthian war occurred in 35 and 36 CE, as indicated both by Josephus and by the Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius. (Herod the Tetrarch assisted Vitellius in negotiations between Tiberius and the Parthian king.)

The only question, then, is whether Josephus is misleading when he implies that the battle with Aretas came immediately after Herod separated from  Aretas’ daughter.

So when did Herod marry Herodias? The only hint Josephus gives is that the pair first met when Herod was on his way to Rome, but unfortunately the only such journey we know about was when Herod visited Augustus to receive his inheritance in 6 CE. This is not very helpful. So the evidence of Josephus is that John the Baptist was executed in 36 CE, well after the time indicated by the gospels – but, it should be noted, still within the governorship of Pontius Pilate.

So, what this implies is that mistakes were made by the gospel authors in the chronology of Jesus’s life, something that might be expected when concocting stories 40 years after the events and in an era with little reliable documentation.  A deliberate effort to place John the Baptist’s death before Jesus’s crucifixion was likely done to de-emphasize John, who had a healthy following in the late First Century, that was in direct competition with the followers of Jesus. It is also interesting to note the there is much more extra-biblical historical evidence for John the Baptist than Jesus.

(1123) The metaphor of the sacrifice of the Passover lamb 

It is next to certain that Jesus was not crucified during the Passover, and the fact that the gospels made this claim can be explained as a metaphorical allusion to the sacrifice of the Passover lamb.  The following was taken from:

http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesus_myth_history.htm#1

According to the Gospels, Jesus was crucified on either the first day of Passover or the day before Passover, depending on the Gospel. The synoptics have Jesus crucified on the day of Passover, while John puts the crucifixion on the day before. This itself defies reason, as Passover is considered one of the holiest of Jewish holidays, and this holiday not only took considerable preparation, but was a time of forgiveness and celebration. It is also when the Jews made public sacrifices to their god. That the Jewish authorities would have held a public execution of someone at this time is itself pretty well beyond belief.

Not only this, but the arrest and (very short) trial of Jesus supposedly took place at night on Passover eve. That the Sanhedrin (the Jewish body of judges) would have assembled in the middle of the night on Passover eve to pass a quick judgment on anyone defies reason, but when you add to this the fact that in the story the members of the council slap Jesus and spit in his face the implausible borders on the impossible. To say that the Sanhedrin slapped and spit on someone in a trial is like saying that the justices of the Supreme Court would slap and spit on defendants. Yes, these were ancient times, but the institutions being talked about here were formal institutions that didn’t just convene on a whim and they didn’t act like savages, much less on Passover eve.

Here are rules of the Sanhedrin that were in place at the time according to the Jewish Mishnah:

  • 1) No criminal session was allowed at night.
  • 2) No Sanhedrin trial could be heard at any place other than the Temple precincts.
  • 3) No capital crime could be tried in a one-day sitting.
  • 4) No criminal trial could be held on the eve of a Sabbath or festival.
  • 5) No one could be found guilty on his own confession.
  • 6) No blasphemy charge could be sustained unless the accused pronounced the name of God in front of witnesses.
  • 7) The Sanhedrin were allowed to execute people on their own and did not need the Romans to do so for them.

The trial of Jesus according to the Gospels violated all of these rules.

More information on the laws of the Sanhedrin can be found here: The Sanhedrin

So, the story of Jesus’ arrest and execution seems quite implausible at the outset, but when one considers the symbolism of the story it becomes apparent that the basis for this story is theological, not historical.

On Passover, at the time that this story is supposedly taking place, the Jews provided many sacrifices, most of them as burnt offerings, meaning animals that were slaughtered and then burned on a fire. In addition to these sacrifices there was a special sacrifice of a lamb which was not burnt, but was instead eaten.

Josephus tells us of this tradition:

The feast of unleavened bread succeeds that of the Passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month, and continues seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread; on every one of which days two bulls are killed, and one ram, and seven lambs. Now these lambs are entirely burnt, besides the ewe lamb which is added to all the rest, for sins; for it is intended as a feast for the priest on every one of those days.
Antiquity of the Jews, Josephus

This special lamb is a sacrifice specifically for the forgiveness of sins.

The crucifixion of Jesus on Passover is a metaphor for this sacrificial lamb. This symbolism was, perhaps, one of the earliest and most developed parts of Jesus Christ theology among the early followers of the Christ mythos among the Jews. The idea of Jesus Christ as a sacrificial lamb is first recorded in the letters of Paul from 1 Corinthians 5, where Paul associates immoral people with yeast and urges his correspondents to expel an immoral man from among their group:

1 Corinthians 5: 7

Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians was probably written some time between 50 and 60 CE. We will specifically address the works of Paul later, but here we can see that the symbolism of Christ as a sacrificial Passover lamb was a part of the Christian tradition prior to the writing of the Gospels.

So after Paul equated Jesus’s death to the sacrifice of a lamb at the Passover, Jesus came to be known as such, and the first gospel writer, Mark, placed Jesus’s crucifixion at the Passover, perhaps not understanding the illogicality of that situation. Then the other gospels writers copied Mark and repeated the same chronology. This illuminates why the gospels cannot be considered as expressing actual history.

(1124) The star of Bethlehem

The author of the Gospel of Matthew wrote about a magical star that guided the Magi to the birthplace of Jesus.  Despite supplying another detailed birth story, the author of Luke made no mention of this star, and the authors of Mark and John did not even mention anything about Jesus’s birth.  So the star is the testimony of just one man:

Matthew 2: 1-12

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler

who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

In the following excerpt, the concept of this star being a reality is summarily dismissed:

http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesus_myth_history.htm#1

The supposed star in the passage in Matthew is apparently traveling and stopping over a location, things which hardly seem realistic and can hardly be correlated to comets, supernova, or even planetary alignments, as various people have suggested. In the story the magi said that they knew the child was born in Bethlehem because of a prophecy, so they didn’t need a star to direct them to the town, this star directed them precisely to the house of the child.

The fact is that we do have significant astronomical records from various groups of people that cover this time-span and none of these people record anything that could resemble the “Star of Bethlehem”. We have records from the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Jews, and the Chinese for starters, and many celestial events were even recorded by different groups in the Americas, Australia, and Africa, as well as various other tribes throughout Europe and Asia. In all this data nobody records anything resembling this star and nobody else in the Bible even mentions it. The closest possible record that could be correlated to this star is a small nova event that was recorded by the Chinese in 5 BCE, but they state that the light was faint and hardly noticeable. Novas are not seen differently from different locations, so it wouldn’t have been any more noticeable around Bethlehem, and if it was then we would expect someone else from the region to have recorded it.

In order to salvage the historical accuracy of the Gospel of Matthew, apologists must admit that the star in question was not an actual star, but rather a low altitude light that magically floated along the route to Bethlehem and then hovered over the nativity scene.  This is an all-too typical ploy.  Whenever something makes no sense, simply insert a little magic to make the problem go away.

(1125) The miracle of the clothes

It is well established that victims of Roman crucifixion were executed naked. Afterwards, the gospels state that Jesus’s body was wrapped in strips of linen , as described in John 19:40

Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

Now consider the following two scriptures describing what the disciples discovered inside the empty tomb after Jesus had presumably resurrected:

Luke 24:9-12

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

John 20:6-7

Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.

The gospels definitely make the point that the linens used to wrap Jesus’s body were still in the tomb after Jesus had exited.  This raises the question- what was Jesus wearing when he left the tomb? Clearly, it was nothing he had on while inside the tomb.  The possibilities are:

  1. He emerged nude and embarrassed but quickly found some discarded clothes nearby.
  2. He emerged nude and remained nude throughout the ascension.
  3. He magically created clothes after resurrecting.
  4. It is meaningless, as this is a made-up story.

Almost any Christian would choose #3 as being the most plausible, and any skeptic would chose #4.  But what this means is that Christianity has an extra miracle that most Christians have overlooked- that Jesus created out of thin air some clothes to wear as he emerged from the tomb.  To all others, this adds one more implausibility to the holy mountain of implausibilities.

(1126) John deletes nonsensical aspects of Jesus’s death

In the first three gospels, Mark, Matthew, and Luke, there are a number of extraordinary phenomena that accompany the death of Jesus on the cross:

  • three hours of darkness (Mark, Matthew, Luke)
  • temple curtain torn in two (Mark, Matthew, Luke)
  • sun stopped shining (Luke)
  • earthquake (Matthew)
  • tombs opened, dead people rose and walked into the city (Matthew)

None of these miraculous events were included in John’s gospel which was written at least one decade after the other three.  It is certain that the author of John was aware of the contents of the other three gospels.  So why did he decide to eliminate all of the supernatural aspects of Jesus’s death? If he believed that these things had happened, it is certain that he would have included them in his narrative.  The fact that he didn’t indicates that he considered them to be fictional.  Any objective person today would agree.

(1127) Contradiction proves disciples didn’t write the gospels

An examination of the gospel narratives describing Jesus’s post-resurrection activities proves beyond doubt that Jesus’s disciples did not the gospels, nor did they dictate them to any scribes.  The following is taken from:

http://www.ushistory.org/paine/reason/reason32.htm

The writer of the book of Matthew relates, that the angel that was sitting on the stone at the mouth of the sepulchre, said to the two Marys, chap. xxviii., ver. 7, “Behold Christ has gone before you into Galilee, there shall ye see him; lo, I have told you.” And the same writer at the next two verses (8, 9), makes Christ himself to speak to the same purpose to these women immediately after the angel had told it to them, and that they ran quickly to tell it to the disciples; and at the 16th verse it is said, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them; and when they saw him, they worshiped him.”

But the writer of the book of John tells us a story very different to this; for he says, chap. xx., ver. 19, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week [that is, the same day that Christ is said to have risen,] when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst of them.”

According to Matthew the eleven were marching to Galilee to meet Jesus in a mountain, by his own appointment, at the very time when, according to John, they were assembled in another place, and that not by appointment, but in secret, for fear of the Jews.

The writer of the book of Luke contradicts that of Matthew more pointedly than John does; for he says expressly that the meeting was in Jerusalem the evening of the same day that he [Christ] rose, and that the eleven were there. See Luke, chap. xxiv, ver. 13, 33.

Now, it is not possible, unless we admit these supposed disciples the right of willful lying, that the writer of those books could be any of the eleven persons called disciples; for if, according to Matthew, the eleven went into Galilee to meet Jesus in a mountain by his own appointment on the same day that he is said to have risen, Luke and John must have been two of that eleven; yet the writer of Luke says expressly, and John implies as much, that the meeting was that same day, in a house in Jerusalem; and, on the other hand, if, according to Luke and John, the eleven were assembled in a house in Jerusalem, Matthew must have been one of that eleven; yet Matthew says the meeting was in a mountain in Galilee, and consequently the evidence given in those books destroys each other.

This point is a significant because many Christian apologists have been reluctant to admit that the disciples were not the authors of the gospels, holding to that claim as a means to advertise the authenticity of these accounts. To explain away the problem above would take even more mental flexibility than a typical apologist can muster.

(1128) Implausibility of the guards’ report

In the Gospel of Matthew (and no other gospel), it is stated that a Roman guard was assigned to the tomb of Jesus, supposedly so that the body could not be stolen so as to create the illusion of a resurrection. Then, the following is alleged:

Matthew 28:2-4

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.  The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

Then, later on, the following describes what happened with the guard:

Matthew 28:11-15

While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Other than the fact that sleeping on duty would be punishable by death, the instruction given to the guards is nonsensical.  How could the guards know that the disciples stole the body if they were asleep at the time? Also, if the guards witnessed a miraculous resurrection, that would mean that Jesus was actually up and about again, so how could the chief priests believe that bribing the guards in this manner would succeed- given the strong possibility that Jesus himself would soon appear to the very people they wanted to convince that Jesus was still dead? And instead of dealing with this ridiculous bribe, the chief priests would be more focused on re-arresting Jesus, who now would be a much bigger problem for them than before.  The author of Matthew did not know how to make fiction plausible.

(1129) Religion importance versus national prosperity

If religion is based in reality, it would be expected that it would transcend all parameters of societal health and would be evenly distributed worldwide.  But if it is impotent and not real, then it would probably be most prevalent in areas of poor economies, where hope for a better future or afterlife would offer some solace. The latter is what is observed, as can be seen in the following survey conducted by the Pew Research Center;

What do you think about this statistics?

The above argument holds, but what is also evident is that having a population that places high emphasis on religion does not appear to translate into greater prosperity.  It is evident that God, if he exists, is not blessing the countries that worship him the most.

(1130) Actions of the first Christians

It would be expected that the earliest people who called themselves Christians would be the most correct and current in their understanding of the faith.  After all, they supposedly saw and heard Jesus or else they knew eyewitnesses who related the stories to them.   So, how they conducted their lives would be a strong indicator reflecting what Jesus was preaching. This creates a problem for Christianity because these people were unanimously thinking that the end was very near.  The following was taken from:

Among the first generation, expectations of Jesus’ quick return ran so high that those with property sold off what they had and Jesus’ followers lived communally. Writing to the newly converted, Paul advised slaves to remain slaves and the virgins and unmarried to remain single. Married men were to act as if they had no wife, for “the time allotted has become short.”It is likely that contempt for Christianity among the common people arose in part from believers divorcing their mates or denying them conjugal relations.

The asceticism provoked by the impending End resulted in “a household of brothers and sisters rather than husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.” According to the historian Eusebius, Origen, the church father of the 2nd cen-tury went so far as to castrate himself as a teenager, the action of an “im-mature mind” (frenoj…atelouj), yet praised as an act “of faith and self-con-trol” (pistewj…kai swfrosunhj). Justin Martyr applauded a young Alexan-drian convert who petitioned the Roman governor to give a surgeon permis-sion to castrate him.  Although permission was refused, “Justin’s apologetic use and evident approval of the effort itself are striking.”

For Christianity to be true, Jesus must have been a real person. If Jesus was a real person, he must have influenced people to believe that the end times were near, but if that is the case then Jesus could only have been a regular, mortal human being.  There is no pathway for Christianity to remain unscathed.

(1131) Post-resurrection reunion in Galilee

In the Gospel of Matthew, the disciples are instructed to journey from Jerusalem to Galilee to reunite with Jesus after he rose from the dead.

Matthew 28:5-7

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Matthew 28:16

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

The walking distance from Jerusalem to Galilee is 68 miles, meaning that the trip there would likely take about 4 days, and that is only after the 11 disciples could prepare and organize for such a journey- a task that would take at least one day.  So the initial meeting with Jesus would have taken place at least 5 days after the resurrection.

So the questions begin-what was Jesus doing, presumably alone, for those 5 days?  Why would Jesus develop a plan that would take so long to verify the truth of his resurrection to his disciples? Why do the other gospels, particularly Luke and John, indicate that the initial reunion took place in Jerusalem?  This is simply too much to believe- it’s another example where the author of Matthew made up a story that makes no plausible sense.

(1132) Satanic Temple tenets

While Christians revere the Ten Commandments, the followers of the Satanic Temple (they do not worship Satan) honor seven fundamental tenets.  A comparison of the two reveals something important:

The Ten Commandments:

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

The Seven Fundamental Tenets:

  • Strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
  • The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  • One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  • The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
  • Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
  • People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
  • Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

When Christians encounter members of the Satanic Temple, they often jeer and lambaste them; yet, when you compare the two sets of guiding principles, it is obvious that the Satanic Temple promotes a much more advanced and compassionate set of ideas, ethics, and morals. This is counter-intuitive, and it causes one to wonder how an infinite god could be outdone by mortal humans.

(1133) Natural versus supernatural explanations

It is instructive to look to the past to predict the future.  Whenever there has been a tussle between a scientific explanation of some phenomenon and a religious one, the scientific one has always eventually been accepted (reluctantly) by the religious authorities. This seems to indicate that the same outcome will likely happen with the current controversies over evolution, the origin of life, and the origin of the universe.  The following was taken from:

http://www.alternet.org/story/154774/the_top_10_reasons_i_don’t_believe_in_god

When you look at the history of what we know about the world, you see a noticeable pattern. Natural explanations of things have been replacing supernatural explanations of them. Like a steamroller. Why the Sun rises and sets. Where thunder and lightning come from. Why people get sick. Why people look like their parents. How the complexity of life came into being. I could go on and on.

All these things were once explained by religion. But as we understood the world better, and learned to observe it more carefully, the explanations based on religion were replaced by ones based on physical cause and effect. Consistently. Thoroughly. Like a steamroller. The number of times that a supernatural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a natural explanation? Thousands upon thousands upon thousands.

Now. The number of times that a natural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a supernatural one? The number of times humankind has said, “We used to think (X) was caused by physical cause and effect, but now we understand that it’s caused by God, or spirits, or demons, or the soul”?

Exactly zero.

Sure, people come up with new supernatural “explanations” for stuff all the time. But explanations with evidence? Replicable evidence? Carefully gathered, patiently tested, rigorously reviewed evidence? Internally consistent evidence? Large amounts of it, from many different sources? Again — exactly zero.

Given that this is true, what are the chances that any given phenomenon for which we currently don’t have a thorough explanation — human consciousness, for instance, or the origin of the Universe — will be best explained by the supernatural?

Given this pattern, it’s clear that the chances of this are essentially zero. So close to zero that they might as well be zero. And the hypothesis of the supernatural is therefore a hypothesis we can discard. It is a hypothesis we came up with when we didn’t understand the world as well as we do now… but that, on more careful examination, has never once been shown to be correct.

If I see any solid evidence to support God, or any supernatural explanation of any phenomenon, I’ll reconsider my disbelief. Until then, I’ll assume that the mind-bogglingly consistent pattern of natural explanations replacing supernatural ones is almost certain to continue.

(Oh — for the sake of brevity, I’m generally going to say “God” in this chapter when I mean “God, or the soul, or metaphysical energy, or any sort of supernatural being or substance.” I don’t feel like getting into discussions about, “Well, I don’t believe in an old man in the clouds with a white beard, but I believe…” It’s not just the man in the white beard that I don’t believe in. I don’t believe in any sort of religion, any sort of soul or spirit or metaphysical guiding force, anything that isn’t the physical world and its vast and astonishing manifestations.

When the score is Science 100, Religion 0, does it make sense to suppose that Religion will win the next game?

(1134) Adding to the Bible

Suppose somebody claimed that they had been inspired by the Holy Spirit, and that the letter that they wrote was not of their own creation, but was a divinely dictated document.  This person then claimed that it possessed the same imprimatur of Paul’s and others’ epistles and that therefore it should be added to the Bible.

The first response from most Christians would be that the Bible expressly forbids the addition of any material, quoting Revelation 22:18-19:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

The problem with citing this verse to back up their position is that the author refers specifically to ‘this scroll,’ meaning that the Book of Revelation should not be tampered with.  It says nothing about adding documents unrelated to this one book.

So the question is- Does God still inspire people, talk to people, and give them divine words to place in written products? This would seem to be important if Christianity is to remain a living faith, because as society has evolved there are emerging issues that we must struggle with that weren’t so important 2,000  years ago- such as abortion rights, women’s rights, the environmental problems, and issues related to advanced technology.  The Bible does not give sufficient guidance for us to know how God wants us to handle these issues.

But even if God decided to add new material to the Bible, how would we know it?  Surely if anyone made the claim discussed above, he would be immediately scorned and accused of blasphemy.  Even if some people accepted on faith that his letter was directly from God and deserving of being canonized, there would be many more people who would vociferously disagree.  And this is exactly what happened in the 4th Century when councils of men voted on the books to be included in the Bible. There was no exact science available to determine which books were from god and which were from man.

From this we can conclude that a real god would not leave these decisions to disagreeing men, but would positively identify what should be placed in his holy book, and further, that a true god would use this same definitive process to update the book as conditions changed over time.  The failure on both counts leaves the god of Christianity with a spotlight on his non-existence.

(1135) Mark didn’t anticipate miraculous birth stories

In Mark’s gospel we read a situation where Jesus’s family attempted to perform an intervention on Jesus, who was, to them, acting like a mad man.

Mark 3:20-21

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

Little did Mark know that about 10-20 years later, two other gospels, Matthew and Luke, would be written describing miraculous birth stories of Jesus- stories that could leave no doubt that Jesus’s family would be fully aware of his divine status.  Therefore, however Jesus behaved would be seen in that light and nothing would have caused them to attempt to take control of him or perceive him as being insane.  When a  story evolves under different authors, conflicts like this are unavoidable- unless, a divine influence is controlling the process.

(1136) Robbers to Rebels

In Mark 15:27, it is stated that Jesus was crucified along with two other men, specifically called out as robbers- or, at least that was the truth until some very recent translations.  Somehow the robbers became rebels, and this was done for a specific reason.  Here are the various translations of this verse:

New International Version
They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.

New Living Translation
Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

English Standard Version
And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.

Berean Study Bible
Along with Jesus, they crucified two robbers, one on His right and one on His left.

Berean Literal Bible
And with Him they crucify two robbers, one at the right hand, and one at His left.

New American Standard Bible
They crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left.

King James Bible
And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
They crucified two criminals with Him, one on His right and one on His left.

International Standard Version
They crucified two bandits with him, one on his right and the other on his left.

NET Bible
And they crucified two outlaws with him, one on his right and one on his left.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And they crucified two robbers with him, one at his right, and one at his left.

GOD’S WORD® Translation
They crucified two criminals with him, one on his right and the other on his left.

New American Standard 1977
And they crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And with him they crucified two thieves: the one on his right hand and the other on his left.

King James 2000 Bible
And with him they crucified two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.

American King James Version
And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.

American Standard Version
And with him they crucify two robbers; one on his right hand, and one on his left.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.

Darby Bible Translation
And with him they crucify two robbers, one on his right hand, and one on his left.

English Revised Version
And with him they crucify two robbers; one on his right hand, and one on his left.

Webster’s Bible Translation
And with him they crucify two thieves, the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.

Weymouth New Testament
And together with Jesus they crucified two robbers, one at His right hand and one at His left.

World English Bible
With him they crucified two robbers; one on his right hand, and one on his left.

Young’s Literal Translation
And with him they crucify two robbers, one on the right hand, and one on his left,

So why do the new translations identify these men as rebels or revolutionaries, instead of robbers or thieves?  Because scholarly research has discovered that the Romans of the First Century did not use crucifixion to execute thieves- crucifixion was reserved for enemies of the state (rebellious revolutionaries who threatened Roman authority) and run-away slaves.  Robbers were usually killed by beheading or some other means, if they were executed at all. Otherwise, they might have had a finger cut off.

The same situation as Mark 15:27 is true of Matthew 27:38.  In Luke, they are referred to as criminals. and in John, it is just ‘two others.’ What is important about this issue is that it points out another example of how the gospel authors were not knowledgeable of the details of Jesus’s life, Jewish customs, or even Roman procedures in Judea. It highlights the problems of writing a story in Rome or elsewhere about events that happened in Jerusalem 40-70 years in the past.

It also highlights the deceptiveness of Bible translators who surreptitiously tweak the scriptures to hide obvious errors.

(1137) The parent and the unattended stove

Christians have devised a way to explain away the horrors of Hell by stating that God does not send people there; rather, they send themselves by failing to accept Jesus as their savior.  This argument has been debunked in many ways, but one especially poignant analogy is the tale of the parent and the unattended stove.  The following is taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2010/05/hell-is-unattended-stove.html

I present the analogy of the Parent and the Unattended Stove. A small child toddles into the kitchen. In that kitchen is a stove with all the burners turned to ‘High’, and a ladder conveniently located right next to the stove. The child climbs the ladder, and falls off it onto the blazing stove.

Oh, and did I mention that the Parent is standing just footsteps away, washing dishes in the sink?

At this point, what Christian apologists would have us believe is that this is somehow all the fault of the child — Who is now on fire and screaming in agony. To you, ladies and gentlemen, I just have this to say:

What kind of parent would go to the stove, turn all the burners on, put a ladder beside the stove, watch their own child climb that ladder, allow the child to fall onto the stove, and then just stand there for eternity and let the child scream?

The person who doesn’t believe in Jesus (erroneously, for the sake of this analogy) is like the child who unknowingly climbs the ladder into the fire.  God is like the parent three feet away at the sink, declining to assert his presence and stop the child from climbing the ladder, then taking no action to stop the child’s fiery agony.

Of course Christians will complain that God has warned us and that the parent in the tale would also have warned the child to stay away from the stove.  OK, but having fairly warned the child to stay away, would the parent then let the child ignore the warning and suffer the consequences?  Definitely not.  He would stop the child and reinforce the warning by providing the child additional evidence by showing him the stove and letting him feel the heat.  In fact, the parent would never set the ladder near the stove in the first place. This is where the Christian argument breaks down and reveals the Christian god to be far less moral than the typical parent.  It is where Christianity exposes itself to be a fatally flawed, man-made method of worshiping an imaginary god.

(1138) Matthew the maverick

The author of Matthew is notorious for adding stories beyond those he copied from Mark and that appear in no other gospel; and most of them are somewhat or obviously implausible.  Here is a partial list:

  • a genealogy that conflicts with the one in Luke
  • story of Joseph accepting Mary’s pregnancy as divine
  • a star that guided the Magi to Jesus’s birthplace
  • Joseph, Mary, and Jesus fleeing to Egypt
  • King Herod killing infants under two years old
  • Judas hanging himself
  • Earthquake at Jesus’s death
  • Tombs opening and dead people walking out
  • Roman guard at the tomb of Jesus
  • Sealing the tomb’s capstone
  • Second earthquake at the resurrection
  • Soldiers bribed to say they saw nothing

All of these events were significant, if not spectacular, and they could not have escaped the attention of the authors of the other three gospels, whether one ascribes to the theory that the Holy Spirit inspired them or whether they obtained information from eyewitnesses.  In other words, none of these events happened as described; they were simply the creative inventions of the author.

The case can be made that the inclusion of the Gospel of Matthew in the Bible was a mistake. Christianity would have a better leg to stand on if there were only the other three gospels.

(1139) Misinterpreting blood

Blood plays a big role in the Bible. It is used by God as a means of forgiving sins, as he ordered his people to spill the blood of animals for that purpose.  He also used the spilled blood of Jesus to ‘permit’ himself to forgive the sins of believers.  So blood is a big deal to God. But even beyond the method of forgiveness, blood is portrayed in the Bible as having a magical life force such that it must not be mixed or shared with any other individual.  Consider the following verses:

Acts 15:20

Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

Genesis 9:4

“But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.

Leviticus 3:17

“‘This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood.'”

Leviticus 7:26

And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal.

Leviticus 17:10

“‘I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people.

Leviticus 17:14

because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.”

Leviticus 19:26

“‘Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. “‘Do not practice divination or seek omens.

Deuteronomy 12:16

But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.

Deuteronomy 12:23

But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat.

Deuteronomy 15:23

But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.

1 Samuel 14:33

Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that has blood in it.” “You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.”

Acts 15:29

You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

These biblical injunctions against the ingestion of blood are taken to the extreme by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who prohibit the use of blood transfusions even when it is needed to protect the health or life of a person.

So here’s the question: Where did this theory, that blood is the life force of each individual, originate? Was it God, as would be assumed from scriptural references, or was it humans, who had a pre-scientific understanding of human anatomy?  What we know now, but people of biblical times did not know, is that blood and the accompanying circulatory apparatus is nothing more than a mechanical system for transferring oxygen from the lungs to the cells of the body, and that oxygen is needed to sustain the chemical reactions in the cells necessary for their survival.  There is nothing mystical or magical about it.  Blood has no metaphysical or otherworldly properties and it does not have any kind of individual-specific uniqueness- that is, you can have a complete transfusion of a donor’s blood and you will remain exactly the same person in all respects.

So what does this mean?  It means that the people who wrote the Bible were under a false conception of the function and purpose of blood.  This is not something that would be expected if they were relaying the knowledge of a supernatural deity.

(1140) Clergy committing crimes cannot believe in God

Anyone who believes in Christianity must also believe that God is watching them at all times.  Surely, a clergyman is especially targeted for surveillance, given the importance of his role in promoting the faith.  But priests and pastors who abuse children cannot in good conscience believe that a god is watching them commit these horrendous crimes. The following is taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2016/03/how-do-they-dare.html

In our regular Sunday morning meetings of the “Church of the Angry Apostates,” Carl S. and I have found ourselves repeatedly coming back to an interesting question: how do clergy commit egregious crimes against humanity, if they really believe they are being watched and judged by an all-powerful god?

A few examples from the “Black Collar Crime Blotter” of the Freethought Today newspaper, published by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, will serve to set the stage.

Loan Pop, a Romanian Orthodox priest, was convicted and sentenced for sexual assaults on 8 young adult women between 1999 and 2013. One woman testified that she was molested after seeking help from Pop while her husband was in a coma after a car accident.

Henry L. McGee, lead pastor at first Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, is accused of committing sexual acts with a girl starting in 2014, when she was 13. The girl told detectives that McGee had sex with her more than 15 times, at various locations.

Alfred H. Zavala, pastor of Luz del Mundo Christian Church in Oaxaca, Mexico, was charged with raping 2 sisters more than 100 times in a church office, starting when they were 9 and 10. They’re now 13 and 14. He allegedly told the girls it was their duty as Christians to have sex with him.

Now, I once believed there was a god watching my every move and thought and any serious moral misstep on my part would result in punishment by that god, either in the here and now, or in the hereafter. Thus, I cannot imagine even considering doing what these three men are accused of. I would have been scared stiff to even think of doing what they did. If they truly believed severe and possibly never ending punishment was a virtual certainty, how did these men dare to commit such atrocities?

The priests and pastors who abuse children cannot actually believe that a god is watching them.  They are impostors and the sheer number of them illuminates a big problem for Christianity- its clergy ranks are filled with non-believers.  These are the ones who should know best as they have engaged in extensive studies of the Bible. And for every child-abusing non-believing clergy there are probably 50 non-believing clergy who have the decency to leave children alone.  All of these must see their profession as simply a job, but it is job selling an invisible product that they know is a fraud.

(1141) Jesus misappropriated Moses’s prophecy

In John 5:45-47, we read:

“But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

Jesus is claiming that Moses wrote about him.  A thorough scrub of the books that Moses allegedly wrote yields only one place where Moses might have been referring to Jesus:

Deuteronomy 18:15-22

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”

The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”

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

If we set aside the opinion of many biblical scholars that Moses was a fictional character, or that even if he was a real person, he did not write the Pentateuch (which included Deuteronomy), and assume that Moses actually wrote the words above, there are still problems.

  • Moses is saying the Lord will raise up a prophet like himself, meaning in this case a human, not a god.
  • He states the the Lord will place his words in the prophet’s mouth, which once again seems to refer to a human, not a god.
  • The Lord will command the prophet what to say, not consistent with one-third of the godhead.
  • The Lord threatens the prophet with death if the prophet speaks anything the Lord does not command- why would he say this if he was talking about his Son?
  • The Lord reveals that if the prophet predicts something that does not come true, it is not from the Lord- other than this being incredibly self-serving, it also brings to mind Jesus’s failed prophecy to return within the lifetime of those listening.

This was not a messianic prophecy.  Had it been, it would have read more like this:

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like himself, of his same holy substance, who will carry the sins of his people and bring light and salvation to the world.

To be fair, It is unlikely  that Jesus, assuming he was a real person, made the statement in John. It is far more likely that that author of John put these words in this mouth, in an effort to tie Jesus to Moses.

(1142) The implausibility of non-Christian Jews

If Jesus actually rose from the dead and appeared to 500 people in Jerusalem as Paul asserted, then word of his resurrection would have overtaken the city in a matter of hours.  It would have been very difficult for any Jew to deny that Jesus was at the very least a true prophet of God, deserving of the same adulation that was afforded to Abraham, Moses, and Elijah.

Further, the following section of scripture alleges that Jesus’s disciples were working astonishing miracles all around the area:

Acts 5:12-16

The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.

If these miracles were happening as alleged, there would have been very few Jews who would have rejected Jesus as being a true messiah, and Judaism would have incorporated Jesus within their theology.  But this didn’t happen.   Keep in mind that these were the same people who honored Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem by spreading palms fronds along his path into the city, with great chants of admiration and adulation.  So they were already predisposed to thinking of him as being a messiah.  Then, when hearing news of his resurrection from the dead and seeing with their own eyes everybody being healed in Jesus’s name, how on earth could they have then rejected him and gone along with their religion as if Jesus never existed? The Jews of Jerusalem are the tell-tale indicators that the Christian story of Jesus is a myth.

(1143) Raptured and left-behind fetuses

Many if not most Christians have some belief in a rapture, where Jesus will return and gather his elect into the clouds, while the remaining rejects suffer some kind of insufferable period on Earth before proceeding to be tortured in Hell.  So this raises the question- what happens to the fetuses alive at this moment?

A good Christian woman who is carrying a fetus will certainly be gathered up by Jesus, and presumably her fetus will go as well.  But then what happens?  Does the fetus continue to mature with a delivery in Heaven?  Does the baby never see the Earth, and is just born into Heaven?  So a 20 year old person who is destined for Hell would instead have lived in Heaven for eternity if only Jesus had come back 20.5 years earlier?  Seems kind of arbitrary!

And what about a pregnant woman who has not accepted Jesus as her savior?  Does her fetus remain in her body or does Jesus raise the fetus to Heaven without the mother?  It would seem cruel to consign the fetus to Hell just because it was unlucky to be conceived in a godless woman.  But if that did happen, we might see the following scenario- an 8-month pregnant woman is getting an ultrasound and looking at the image of her baby when, suddenly, the fetus disappears from the screen and her belly shrinks back.

When you consider a theological doctrine and map it onto reality and then find absurdities such as these, it is a good indication that the doctrine is absurd as well.

(1144) God’s inconsistent revelations

When God decided to intervene in human affairs for the first time, after watching humans evolve for over 100,000 years, he appeared only to the Israelites, his ‘chosen’ people.  But this was okay.  At that time he was planning to be the god of the Jews only and nobody else. His attention and divine provenance was to be shared strictly with his chosen people.

However, when Jesus came to the Earth, according to Christian scripture, God intended his message and blessings to be shared with all the peoples of the Earth. In other words, God’s chosen people supposedly became everyone- The Chinese, the Native Americans, the Aborigines, the Africans, etc. But, once again, God, in the form of Jesus, appeared only to the Jews.

This time, it was not okay.  How could God intend to send a message to the entire world and yet, once again, only make that revelation to his ‘former’ chosen people?  It would seem that Jesus-God did not really intend to go beyond the Jews, and rather it was his followers who, without sanction, co-opted his mission to deliver it to the Gentiles.  Actually, there are many verses in the New Testament that hint at this as well, seeing as how Jesus often sought to keep his ministry focused on the Jews only.  Christians might explain this away by saying that God intended to use human missionaries to spread the message worldwide, but that process was painfully inefficient and took over 1,000 years to complete. No god would have resorted to such an inept process.

So no, the god of Judeo-Christianity, by his actions, never intended for non-Jews to become his followers.  He is forever the god of the Jews, who remain his chosen people.  If you are not one of them, you are screwed.

(1145) Lack of evidence for Satan and demons

Christianity asserts that there is an army of evil beings that lurk in the shadows of human existence, causing bad things to happen, causing people to make the wrong choices, making people sick, and making them mentally unstable.  At least that is what Jesus believed. But even contemporary Christians, by and large, believe that Satan and his demons are a real presence in our world.

But this is where things get very nebulous.  Is Satan omni-present, like God?  Most Christians say no.  But if he is limited to one particular location, then what manner of harm can he do?  How many demons are there?- nobody knows or even can offer an estimate.  And what can a demon do to a person?  Does a demon enter a person’s brain and reroute the electrical impulses traveling along the neural pathways? If that’s true, then why do drugs rather than exorcisms solve these mental problems?

Satan was seen to offer Jesus some great rewards if Jesus would worship him (Matthew 4:1-11), including turning stones into bread and offering him all the kingdoms of the world.  But in this life, there is no evidence that anyone is receiving any special advantages courtesy or their worship of Satan.  We would expect that some Satan worshipers would be exhibiting all kinds of special abilities if Satan was a real character capable of doling them out.  But we see nothing of this.

The evidence is overwhelming that Satan and his demons are imaginary creatures, a product of pre-scientific, superstitious minds. But if any Christian today asserts that he believes in the central tenets of the faith while admitting that Satan and demons are not real, he is deluding himself.  You cannot be a follower of Jesus if you deny what he firmly believed in. If Satan and his demons do not exist, then Christianity is false.

(1146) Ancient historians did not meet modern standards

The authors who wrote the Bible and other documents of the time were not expected to meet what today is considered an acceptable standard of truth.  It was understood that much of what they wrote included fictional elements that were used to embellish the story or to emphasize an important belief or concept.  The Bible makes more sense when this is understood.  The following was taken from:

http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/rubicon.html

Finally, oral tradition wasn’t the only bugbear. It was typical for writers to invent speeches, too. Even when they wanted to try and capture what really was said, the rules were very flexible, and no one expected exact words to be written down. Thucydides was one of the most strict historians, yet even he said “my practice has been to make the speakers say what in my opinion was demanded of them by the various occasionsor what in my opinion they had to say on the various occasionsof course adhering as closely as possible to the general sense of what was really said,” insofar as he knew what that was (1.22.1). This is the strictest standard we know from the timeand yet it amounts to admitting he is often making things up, ultimately limiting himself only to what he thinks people “must have” said.

Few historians in antiquity were so strict, and in fact many complaints are heard from ancient authors about how much liberty numerous historians actually took in constructing speeches and even entire narratives. When we add the incentive to defend dogmas, the possibility of readily believing a claim of questionable origin, or simply fabricating a claim that someone knew “had” to be true but couldn’t find actual evidence of, we find ourselves in a very problematic position. We can’t rule any of this out because the authors give us no information to go on. This is universally true throughout the field of ancient history, not just in the study of Jesus. How much more this would have been the case for oral transmission, where there is no constraint to copy a written account faithfully, and no written account to check claims against.

What this means is that the gospels are four times removed from anything that can be counted as actual history:

  • The original stories were transmitted orally from person to person for at least 40 years.
  • The original authors used this highly questionable information to frame their narratives.
  • The original authors added additional material that they personally believed would enhance the story, including made-up speeches and events.
  • Whatever the original authors wrote was not accurately transmitted for posterity because scribes who copied the original as well as copies and copies of the original made mistakes or inserted deliberate interpolations.

So what should be asked is whether an all-powerful god who wanted to transmit a super-critical message to mankind would use such an ineffective method to do so.

(1147) The ascension reveals a primitive world view

The gospels of Mark and Luke, as well as the book of Acts describes the final scene of Jesus’s drama, where he floats upward into the sky. To understand why the authors described it in this manner, it is instructive to review the way they looked at the world:

If the universe was constructed as shown, then having Jesus ascend upward to Heaven makes sense.  And so it made sense to First Century Christians.  But when considering a more accurate cosmological model, it doesn’t make sense. Heaven is obviously not ‘up’ and in fact it cannot even be located anywhere in the observable universe. After all, very few Christians would agree that a spaceship could travel to Heaven and take pictures like was accomplished recently with Pluto.  If it exists, it is in a completely different dimension.

Therefore, the biblical story of the ascension is another example of the Bible revealing its primitive underpinnings.  If a god had inspired this portion of the scriptures, Jesus would have simply de-materialized and returned to his former omnipresent immaterial existence.  Clearly, Jesus had no further need for his earthly body anyway.  Plus, having a body and being omni-present are mutually exclusive.

(1148) Jesus’s garden anguish makes no sense

Jesus, while huddled with his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, is portrayed in the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke as being in anguish over his impending arrest.  He is seen to be praying to God to relieve him of the trial and crucifixion to come.  In consideration of how Christianity came to view Jesus, this story makes no sense. And perhaps the first person to realize this was the author of the Gospel of John- he deleted this entire scene from his gospel.

Matthew 26: 36-46

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?”he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

If Jesus was God, why would he try to get out of what was his central mission, the whole reason he came to our planet- to be killed for the sins of mankind?  The reason that this story appears in these three gospels is that the authors of Mark, Matthew, and Luke did not view Jesus as being a god.  The author of John did, so he could not include this scene and maintain any semblance of consistency.

However, one thing can be stated with some confidence- if Jesus was God as modern Christians claim, then the Garden of Gethsemane story must be false.  But if it is false, why would Mark and later Matthew and Luke add it to their accounts?  Christian apologists have two explanations – (1) The authors of Mark, Matthew, and Luke were unaware that Jesus was divine and used this story to add pathos to their passion narratives, or (2) Jesus, though divine, was also human, so in this one instance his human nature overcame his godly nature. Neither of these are very convincing, and, regardless, Christianity is stuck with a tradition that is direct conflict with its dogma.

For skeptics, this question is easily solved.  If, and that’s a major if, Jesus was a unique historical figure, being just a regular man who was aware of what happened to other similar preachers who threatened the rule of Rome, then it would be expected that he would experience dread prior to his imminent arrest.  That is, this scene may be historically accurate.  It might have actually happened. And for Christianity, it unfortunately did not get scrubbed in time to eliminate it from their holy scriptures.

(1149) Homosexuality confers an evolutionary advantage

Many Christians believe that God condemns homosexuals even to the point of ordering their execution.

Leviticus 20:13

“If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

What science has learned since the Bible was written has brought this concept under brutal scrutiny.  Not only is homosexuality observed in almost all animal species, but it has been determined that it confers an evolutionary advantage. The following was taken from:

http://www.newnownext.com/scientists-discover-evolutionary-advantage-to-homosexuality/05/2015/

A recent study on fruit flies has found that not only does same-sex sexual behavior seem to be heritable, but females with a genetic makeup that is associated with this trait actually display higher reproductive rates, which happens to be an evolutionary advantage.

Natural selection helps get rid of traits and behaviors that are detrimental to the reproductive success of an organism, which has scientists wondering why so many species (currently more than 1,500) exhibit same-sex sexual behavior (SSB).

The two main hypothesis for SSB are over dominance and sexual antagonism. IFL Science explains:

“The former proposes that SSB could persist in the population if genes for this behavior confer a harmonizing reproductive advantage in individuals only possessing one copy of the gene, or heterozygotes, as opposed to those in possession of two (homozygotes). The latter suggests that a gene that is detrimental to fitness in one sex could be maintained so long as it is beneficial to the other sex.”

Scientists used a combination of genetic and behavioral tests to try and determine which theory prevailed. Although data leaned slightly more to the over dominance hypothesis, they actually found that both options could be contributing to SSB in the gene pool.

Perhaps even more interesting, however, is the finding that males displaying high levels of SSB are producing female offspring with higher rates of reproduction. This suggests that genes associated with SSB, despite being reproductively harmful to males, could be persisting in nature because of the reproductive advantages they provide to females.

And more from this site:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26089486

The allele – or group of genes – that sometimes codes for homosexual orientation may at other times have a strong reproductive benefit. This would compensate for gay people’s lack of reproduction and ensure the continuation of the trait, as non-gay carriers of the gene pass it down.

There are two or more ways this might happen. One possibility is that the allele confers a psychological trait that makes straight men more attractive to women, or straight women more attractive to men. “We know that women tend to like more feminine behavioural features and facial features in their men, and that might be associated with things like good parenting skills or greater empathy,” says Qazi Rahman, co-author of Born Gay; The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation. Therefore, the theory goes, a low “dose” of these alleles enhances the carrier’s chances of reproductive success. Every now and then a family member receives a larger dose that affects his or her sexual orientation, but the allele still has an overall reproductive advantage.

Another way a “gay allele” might be able to compensate for a reproductive deficit is by having the converse effect in the opposite sex. For example, an allele which makes the bearer attracted to men has an obvious reproductive advantage to women. If it appears in a man’s genetic code it will code for same-sex attraction, but so long as this happens rarely the allele still has a net evolutionary benefit.

There is some evidence for this second theory. Andrea Camperio-Ciani, at the University of Padova in Italy, found that maternal female relatives of gay men have more children than maternal female relatives of straight men. The implication is that there is an unknown mechanism in the X chromosome of men’s genetic code which helps women in the family have more babies, but can lead to homosexuality in men. These results haven’t been replicated in some ethnic groups – but that doesn’t mean they are wrong with regards to the Italian population in Camperio-Ciani’s study.

It is inconceivable that a god would condemn behavior that is both a natural consequence of genetic sequencing but which also increases the fertility of the females who carry the gay-specific genes. Christianity’s condemnation of homosexuality is convincing evidence that it is a false religion.

(1150) God is not in control

Most Christians believe that God is all-seeing and all-powerful and is in control of every situation.  He oversees every event, and although he allows a good number of accidents and evil situations, it is all for a reason, though sometimes those reasons are mysterious for humans to understand. But there are some events that belie this claim, leading any clear-thinking person to conclude that God, if he exists, is not actually in control of what goes on.  A good example is a tragic event that happened on October 14, 1991 in Miami, Florida:

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1991-10-15/news/9102110384_1_bus-driver-bus-windshield-school-bus

Two children were killed instantly in a freak school bus accident on Monday after a tire broke loose from a passing truck and smashed through the bus windshield, crushing the children and pinning a teacher to her seat.

Witnesses said the tire bounced over a concrete median divider and crossed two lanes of traffic, hitting the museum-bound bus like a missile.

Terrified children were showered with glass while the injured driver struggled to keep control of the bus, packed with 47 fourth-graders from Tropical Elementary in southwest Dade.

“There was nothing the school bus driver could do to prevent the accident,“ said Gregory Romagosa, 24, a motorist driving several cars behind the bus. “Imagine, you are driving along, and a tire comes flying through the air and smashes in through your windshield.“

The victims were identified as Robert Houck, 9, and Alejandro Rodriguez, 9.

The boys had begged a teacher to let them sit in the front seat, a chaperon said. They died of massive head injuries when they were crushed by the flying 250-pound tire wheel and brake drum.

A Christian must state that God orchestrated or permitted this accident or else that he is not all-powerful.  Either choice is difficult. What is far easier to accept is that this accident was a circumstance of nature and that there was no overseeing supernatural being capable of preventing it.

(1151) Hell serves no purpose

If God created Hell, it should serve a divine purpose that at least somewhat mirrors the reasons for meting out punishments to criminals on Earth. The problem is – it doesn’t. The following was taken from:

My claim is that the doctrine surrounding eternal hell (if you’re annihilationist or universalist, carry on) claims that hell is the perfectly just punishment for sinners, and that this contradicts how we understand punishment. Punishment serves two functions, to better society (death penalty and life sentences, i.e. keeping bad people from doing more harm), or to correct behavior for the future (e.g. take a time out and think about what you’ve done, &c).

The existence of eternal hell has no affect on how society functions, so number one is out. Souls in hell never being able to return to Earth or heaven and live reformed lives rules out number two. Therefore, hell does not serve a punishing purpose. There must be some morally sufficient reason why God doesn’t just annihilate the souls for him to not be evil.

The apologist might claim that the purpose of Hell is to scare people into complying with Christian doctrine.  This might work if Hell was positively demonstrated to exist.  But it’s not.  In fact there are many Bible-believing Christians who either don’t believe in Hell or who don’t believe it involves the distribution of physical pain. So this purpose really doesn’t work.

Another attempt at a purpose for Hell would be to call it a reward for those in Heaven to see how much better off they are than the poor souls writhing in Hell.  Some Christian theologians have promoted this idea, including Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274):

“In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned. . .So that they may be urged the more to praise God. . .The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens. . .to the damned.”

So that’s what it is for. God designed Hell to eternally punish those who don’t worship him correctly for the expressed purpose of providing entertainment for those who do worship him correctly. This can only be the action of a sadistic monster.

(1152) Jesus avoided the big cities

A review of the gospels, assuming they present some semblance of a factual reality,  reveals an interesting fact about Jesus’s ministry- he avoided the large cities in the areas where he preached. Instead he stayed in the countryside most of the time and only entered the small hamlets, typical of the city where he grew up.  His only visit to a large city was when he entered Jerusalem shortly before being crucified. The following was taken from:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2016/04/robert-conner-christianitys-critics_29.html#more

The Jesus of primitive tradition cares not a whit for Gentiles—“Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news: the kingdom of heaven is almost here.”[1] “Jesus traveled through the small, often anonymous towns of Galilee, seemingly avoiding the major cities. Citizens of Sepphoris, Tiberius, the coastal plain and the Decapolis heard none of his sermons. When Jesus did enter the territory of cities in the Decapolis, he remained outside the walls (Mk 5:1; 7:31; 8:27).”[2] “Jesus’ preaching reflects the village”[3]—Jesus’ parables accordingly speak of sowers and fields,[4] shepherds and flocks,[5] and birds and flowers.[6]Before his fateful trip to Jerusalem, it ap-pears Jesus had little to do with any major city.

So Jesus avoided the big cities where people were better educated and could read and write, while focusing on the small cities where most of the people were illiterate farmers and fishermen.  This plan does not seem to be consistent with a divine human who is trying to present a critical message to humankind.  It is rather what would be expected of an illiterate mortal human who was intimidated by the learned class and who felt more comfortable restricting his travels to the regions resembling where he was raised.

(1153) Christians claim God made them the chosen people

Although Christianity is obligated to acknowledge that God originally selected the Jews as his ‘chosen people,’ they eventually claimed that God had changed his affections and now considered the Gentiles as his favored race.  This process took about 60 years after the alleged death of Jesus, and was made complete with the Gospel of John.  The following was taken from:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2016/04/robert-conner-christianitys-critics_29.html#more

By the time the gospel of John was composed (after 90 C.E.) the break with Judaism was complete: “Abraham is our father” is answered by “You are from your father the Devil and you are inclined to do your father’s desires.”[92] “Those of the synagogue of Satan,” who claim “they themselves are Jews” but are liars, will be forced by Jesus to their knees before the feet of Christians in order to know “that I loved you.”[93] Christians have replaced the Jews as God’s elect—the Christians are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.”[94] The Jews, on the other hand, have become the symbol of everything evil; the gospel of John, seeking to ingratiate Christians with Roman authority, “suppresses all traces of Roman initiative in Jesus’ execution.”[95] As Carroll points out, once “the embattled Jewish sect” morphed into the Gentile Church, “the structure of the foundational story was set, the ground of Christian memory, the longest lie.”[96]

This condemnation of the Jews culminates in John 8:34-47

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father. ”

“Abraham is our father,” they answered.

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.”

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

It was at this time, in the late First Century, that Christians stole the badge of the ‘chosen people’ from the Jews and then condemned the Jews as being followers of Satan.  To think that God would have changed his mind is such a way is a testament to the falsity of Christianity.

(1154) Jesus, compared to others, was not special

That God came to Earth in human form is an extraordinary claim that demands the existence of extraordinary evidence.  One such piece of evidence would be the demonstration that Jesus espoused wisdom, knowledge, and insights of a quality beyond that of any human past or present.  Evidence of this sort is lacking.  The following is a quote by Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899):

“Why should we place Christ at the top and summit of the human race? Was he kinder, more forgiving, more self-sacrificing than Buddha? Was he wiser, did he meet death with more perfect calmness, than Socrates? Was he more patient, more charitable, than Epictetus? Was he a greater philosopher, a deeper thinker, than Epicurus? In what respect was he the superior of Zoroaster? Was he gentler than Lao-tsze, more universal than Confucius? Were his ideas of human rights and duties superior to those of Zeno? Did he express grander truths than Cicero? Was his mind subtler than Spinoza’s? Was his brain equal to Kepler’s or Newton’s? Was he grander in death – a sublimer martyr than Bruno? Was he in intelligence, in the force and beauty of expression, in breadth and scope of thought, in wealth of illustration, in aptness of comparison, in knowledge of the human brain and heart, of all passions, hopes and fears, the equal of Shakespeare, the greatest of the human race?”

Simply put, Jesus, as described in the gospels, fails to separate himself from other influential humans, and, in fact, is surpassed by some of them in every field of human endeavor, be it philosophy, humanity, wisdom, transcendence, or judgment.  This would suggest that Jesus was a normal human or else was a figure invented by normal humans.

(1155) God sees death as too light of a punishment

Christianity has actually convinced people that God is loving and just, compassionate and merciful, etc.  But Christians who believe this have not read their Bibles.  In the final book of the New Testament, God shows his true colors, and makes sure that the worst human atrocities, such as the Holocaust, are no match for his vengeance.  The following verses from Revelation announce what God intends to do to non-believers at the end of times:

Revelation 9:1-6

The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

God tells his army of locusts not to kill the unbelievers, because that would presumably be too easy for them, no, he wants the locusts to torture the people, putting them in extreme agony and pain for five months.  If this is not the definition of an evil monster, nothing else can fit that definition.  Yet Christians happily go to church carrying their Bibles with these verses inside, and worship this brutal deity as if he is some paragon of morality and virtue.

(1156) Belief in Hell is not consistent with normal life

There is a bear in the middle of the living room of Christianity and everyone knows it’s there, but everyone tries to ignore it and pretend that it isn’t there.   Because it is a fatal problem with the faith and confronting it directly would lead to madness and insanity, as well as stress beyond anybody’s tolerance level.  Of course, the bear is the Christian doctrine of Hell.  The following is a quote from Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899):

“When the great ship containing the hopes and aspirations of the world, when the great ship freighted with mankind goes down in the night of death, chaos and disaster, I am willing to go down with the ship. I will not be guilty of the ineffable meanness of paddling away in some orthodox canoe. I will go down with the ship, with those who love me, and with those whom I have loved. If there is a God who will damn his children forever, I would rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous tyrant. I make my choice now. I despise that doctrine. It has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. It has polluted the hearts of children, and poisoned the imaginations of men. It has been a constant pain, a perpetual terror to every good man and woman and child. It has filled the good with horror and with fear; but it has had no effect upon the infamous and base. It has wrung the hearts of the tender; it has furrowed the cheeks of the good. This doctrine never should be preached again. What right have you, sir, Mr. clergyman, you, minister of the gospel, to stand at the portals of the tomb, at the vestibule of eternity, and fill the future with horror and with fear? I do not believe this doctrine: neither do you. If you did, you could not sleep one moment. Any man who believes it, and has within his breast a decent, throbbing heart, will go insane. A man who believes that doctrine and does not go insane has the heart of a snake and the conscience of a hyena.”

No person in this life can comfortably live and go about their normal activities if they truly believe that a deceased parent, sibling, child, or friend is suffering unending physical pain- and only because they didn’t believe the right thing, and to live with the guilt of not trying hard enough to make them believe the right thing before they died.

But Christians do go about their business and seem as carefree as any others.  This can only mean that they don’t really believe in Hell. And if that is the case, then the whole concept of Christianity is a charade- a game of words without the gravity of a substantive belief. To accept Heaven but reject Hell is not an available option- scripture does not allow for this.  So if a Christian doesn’t actually believe in Hell, they are unconsciously rejecting Heaven as well.

(1157) The Running People (the Tarahumara) and hunter gatherers

Something Christians constantly ask for is evidence that evolution, or even just human evolution, is real, even though there are over a hundred different types of evidence, many of which are backed up by numerous examples, as listed here:

http://ideonexus.com/2012/02/12/101-reasons-why-evolution-is-true/

One particular piece of undeniable evidence not listed above is the Tarahumara (the running people).

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

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FnwIKZhrdt4

The Tarahumara are evidence of when humans were hunter-gatherers (at least 10,000 years ago) and when they evolved sweat glands that allowed them to chase their prey down on foot for many kilometers until their prey eventually burned out and died from exhaustion. This was from 1.8 million years ago to 10,000 years ago.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter-gatherer

Humans in general have lost this ability due to evolutionary change from no longer being required to run 200 kilometres non-stop because society began to grow their own food and ride horses along with other factors that make long distance running redundant.

So what does this prove?

It proves that humans are many hundreds of thousands of years older than the Bible says. It proves that evolution is true by confirming ancient archaeology, transitional fossils, and how and why humans evolved sweat glands.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-naked-truth/?print=true

Science has thus proven that the earliest humans were hunter gatherers, while Adam and Eve and their immediate children were said to already be farming and growing livestock (often for living sacrifices) and harvesting planted crops. So this completely debunks Adam and Eve and their existence (without even mentioning that Moses was said to have written it and Moses is a confirmed fictional being as evaluated by the majority of historical scholars).

If this does in fact disprove Adam and Eve and creationism, then we can automatically dismiss half of the bible just on this alone due to any and all references of Adam and Eve or for that matter the entire Book of Genesis.

Since Christianity is based on the Bible being true and this evidence proves the Bible to not be true, then we can definitely prove that Christianity is FALSE.  Some apologists might try to limp along and concede that Genesis is a myth, but argue that Jesus was nevertheless divine, though then they would have to explain why Jesus believed in and referred to Genesis as being factual.

It is quite ironic when you see that the majority of the Tarahumara are Catholic, and then you step back and see that their very existence disproves their own religion.

(1158) Failed messages from God

Many Christians assert that God has told them to do something, such as apply for a job, attend a school, or move to a new location. Most of these claims are innocuous and hard to defend or refute, but there is a recent development in the United States that categorically proves that most, if not all, of these so-called ‘messages from God’ are nothing more than self-serving creations in peoples’ heads.

In the 2016 Republican presidential primary race, at least nine candidates stated that God told them to run for president or else that their relationship to God was involved in making the decision. As of May 4, 2016, all nine of these candidates have admitted defeat and suspended their campaigns.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/03/17/a-list-of-all-the-republican-presidential-candidates-who-thought-god-wanted-them-to-run-for-office/

It’s obvious that any candidate who failed to achieve the Republican nomination for president was not encouraged by God to run.  That is, assuming God is the all-powerful figure imagined by most Christians. What this proves beyond doubt is that what people perceive as God telling them something is actually just a contrivance of their own minds. This has a direct analogy to the biblical authors who believed that God was telling them what to write, but all the while making it up on their own.

(1159) Jesus should still be in Hell

Christians believe that Jesus accepted the punishment that they deserve for being less than perfect in God’s eyes.  The scriptures indicate that God’s ‘just’ punishment for anyone who dies with unabsolved sin is an eternity in the dungeon of Hell.  So, for Jesus to take on himself the punishment due his followers, he should have remained in Hell for eternity.  But all we have is a vague reference that he visited Hell or Sheol for less than a couple of days to preach to those who had previously died.  Then he resurrected back to life and ascended into Heaven.

This is a major inconsistency in Christian doctrine.  Taking the logic in reverse, it would seem that a person who dies without accepting the grace of Christ should be punished as follows- six hours of being whipped, six hours of excruciating pain, death, then a few days of unconsciousness- and that’s it.  They will then have paid the same price that Jesus did.  Their sins would then be forgiven and they would be accepted into Heaven.  Anyone outside the bubble of Christian indoctrination can easily see the logical inconsistency of the core Christian doctrine of substitutional redemption.

(1160) Evidence for Jesus is worse than for Julius Caesar 

A popular saying of Christian apologists is “that there is more evidence for the existence of Jesus than there is for Julius Caesar”. For the following reasons, this is completely untrue.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=udwMZeCR4kE

1) There is  no extra-biblical evidence for Jesus whatsoever:

– Nothing outside of the unsupported claims of the Bible

– The Gospels are copied from Mark

– Mark is plagiarized from the Old Testament and Homer

– Paul only writes about Jesus as a celestial deity, not as a man

2) The Bible proving the Bible is circular reasoning and the Bible is too historically unreliable and inaccurate to be taken seriously about anything that could be used as evidence for the existence of the historical Jesus.

http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=The_Bible_is_not_a_reliable_historical_source#cite_note-5

3) We have actual coins and inscriptions dating from Caesar’s time and the time of his contemporaries. None for Jesus.

4) We have actual eyewitnesses of Caesar, who wrote things about him, but none for Jesus, including:

  •  Cicero
  • Sallust
  • Pompey
  • Augustus (Caeser’s adopted son)
  • Livy
  • Virgil
  • Ovid
  • Catullus

(as listed by Dr. Richard Carrier who has a PhD in ancient history)

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/7862

5) People who should have and would have mentioned Jesus within the first century, but did not, are quite numerous.

– Christians destroyed any records that showed Jesus to be non-existent, or just a simple celestial deity.

– Tacitus has entire missing volumes of the years that Jesus was said to have been killed (the years 29-32 are missing).

– Even the very first Pope, Pope Clement never mentions Jesus as a man, only a celestial angel and only basing his words on Paul, not the Gospels (Clement writes as though he’s never heard of or read the gospels).

https://onefold.wordpress.com/early-church-evidence-refutes-real-presence/

6) Just because there are thousands more ancient writings of Jesus  than of Julius Caesar is irrelevant, as explained here by Matthew Ferguson:

https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/leveling-a-mountain-of-manuscripts-with-a-small-scoop-of-context/

 “if you have 10,000 early copies of the National Enquirer versus 1 late copy of the Wall Street Journal, which would be more factually accurate?”

 7) Caesar did not have billions of people child-indoctrinated throughout history to believe his existence, with a bias based on cognitive dissonance because of a conditioned promise of an afterlife. Or, as Dr. Carrier says it in softer terms:

 “But more importantly, this has nothing to do with historicity. We do not doubt the historicity of Jesus because his biographies have transcription errors in them (even deliberate ones). So that there are transcription errors in the biographies of Caesar isn’t relevant. Transcription errors (both accidental and deliberate: see my Drunk Bible Study video for examples) only matter if you wanted to treat the biographies of Caesar as guides to life, as the inviolate and inerrant Word of God. Rather than as a problematic lens granting only distorted knowledge of their subject in varying degrees of probability. Which is how historians treat those sources.”

 So, as shown, this claim of Jesus’ existence being believable, based on a misrepresentation and the dishonest assertions regarding facts, is just another reason that demonstrates how and why Christianity is a false religion.

(1161) Bipolar disorder

One of the ways to evaluate the truth of Christianity is to identify what should not exist if it is true, then find out if those things do exist. One of those unexpected conditions is bipolar disorder.

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

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental illness characterized by periods of depression and periods of elevated mood.[1][2] The elevated mood is significant and is known as mania or hypomania, depending on its severity, or whether symptoms of psychosis are present. During mania an individual behaves or feels abnormally energetic, happy or irritable.[1] Individuals often make poorly thought out decisions with little regard to the consequences. The need for sleep is usually reduced during manic phases as well.[2] During periods of depression there may be crying, a negative outlook on life, and poor eye contact with others.[1]The risk of suicide among those with the illness is high at greater than 6 percent over 20 years, while self-harm occurs in 30-40 percent.[1] Other mental health issues such as anxiety disorder and substance use disorder are commonly associated.

Christianity assumes that each individual possesses an immaterial soul that will continue to survive after death.  This soul is the essence of our identity.  So the question is why would brain chemistry cause people to become bipolar?  Wouldn’t the immaterial soul be capable of overriding any perturbations in the brain’s hardware?  The fact that it doesn’t is evidence that the soul does not exist and that humans, like all other animals, are simply the product of the physical workings of atoms and molecules.  The failure of humans to show any properties untethered to their material structure shows there is no intrinsic difference between them and other animals, and further provides convincing evidence against the existence of an eternal soul.

(1162) John the Baptist didn’t know his cousin of 30 years

In John 1:29-34, we read:

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.”

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

In these verses, John the Baptist is claiming twice that he didn’t know Jesus, but only identified him by seeing the spirit descending upon him.  This is curious, because in Luke 1:26-41, we read that Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, was pregnant with John at the same time that Mary was pregnant with Jesus, that Elizabeth and Mary were relatives, and that visiting with each other was apparently a frequent event:

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

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

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

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

This is clearly a case where the author of John failed to recognize that he was contradicting the Book of Luke.  It is inconceivable that John would not have known his cousin Jesus, even if they lived a good distance apart, unless we assume that Mary’s visit to Elizabeth in 4 BC was the last time they got together. Further, we have to assume that they never met during the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  Also, it’s hard to imagine John the Baptist jumping in the womb in delight for someone he would not see or think about for the next 30 years.  This is an unsolvable problem with the gospels.

(1163) Peter and the cock

In all four of the gospels there is a story about Jesus predicting that Peter will deny him before a cock crows.  There are a few inconsistencies in the stories, such as in Mark, the prediction was that the three denials would occur before the cock crew twice, whereas in the other three, the cock crew only once, and in Luke the cock actually crew at the same time as the third denial, and in John the prediction by Jesus occurs several days before the event while in the other three gospels, it occurs on the same day.

The difference between the cock crowing once or twice is not trivial- it corresponds to the times of midnight versus 6 am, as explained at this website:

http://biblehub.com/topical/c/cock-crowing.htm

In our Lord’s time the Jews had adopted the Greek and Roman division of the night into four watches, each consisting of three hours, the first beginning at six o’clock in the evening (Luke 12:38; Matthew 14:25; Mark 6:48). But the ancient division, known as the first and second cock-crowing, was still retained. The cock usually crows several times soon after midnight (this is the first crowing), and again at the dawn of day (and this is the second crowing).

We can even see the artifice of recent biblical translators who have tried to cover up this contradiction.  Here is the King James version of Matthew 26:34:

Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

Here is the same verse in New International Version:

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

Pretty much the same. But now, consider the King James version of Mark 14:68, which occurs immediately after Peter’s first denial:

But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.

Now, compare to the same verse in the New International Version:

But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.

That the cock crew after the first denial was removed from the New International Version because it was noted that Mark 14:68 was in direct conflict with Matthew 26:34 in the King James Bible- that is, according to Matthew, the cock should not have crewed until after the third denial.  This ‘correction’ has left the New International Version of Mark looking a little awkward as Mark 14:72 says “and then the cock crew a second time” without ever mentioning the first.

But what is more salient is the implausibility of the story itself. Peter’s denials of his association with Jesus occur immediately after Jesus’s arrest, but Peter was standing right next to Jesus when he was arrested by a band of soldiers and high priests.  If Peter was subject to arrest because of his relationship to Jesus, he would have been arrested at the same time.  Further, after Jesus was arrested and taken away, Peter followed behind, meaning he was not concerned that he would likewise be arrested.  This sets up the implausibility that he would have had a motivation to deny Jesus to passers-by who had no authority to arrest him, while he had just withstood arrest by those who did.

Some Christians, and especially apologists, claim that because this story appears in a mostly consistent manner if all four gospels, that it must have been an actual event.  However, the retort to this assertion is that it was really the invention of just one man, the author of Mark, and then the others simply copied it.  The author of Mark was known to be a master of irony (see Reason # 773), and to present Jesus’s principal disciple as the one who most egregiously denied him fits that theme perfectly.

(1164) Living long and prospering

The Bible states that some of the early patriarchs lived for extraordinary lengths of time.  It is delineated in Genesis 5:3-32:

When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.

When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died.

When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. After he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enosh lived a total of 905 years, and then he died.

When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. After he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Kenan lived a total of 910 years, and then he died.

When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. After he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years, and then he died.

When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died.

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. After he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.

When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. He named him Noahc and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.” After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Lamech lived a total of 777 years, and then he died.

After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Some scientifically-literate biblical non-literalists have proposed that perhaps the use of the term ‘years’ actually referred to lunar cycles. Since there are 12.38 lunar cycles per year, that would make Methuselah only 78 at the time of his death. But this theory runs into two insurmountable problems- the people of the time knew the difference between years and months, and, even if they made this egregious mistake, it would mean that Enoch fathered Methuselah at the tender age of 5.

Biblical literalists are stuck with having to justify exactly what the Bible says, and they have posited a lot of interesting ideas, such as theorizing that the water that was later used to flood the earth formed a shield that prevented ultraviolet radiation from aging people.  And, barring that piece of scientific nonsense, they can always just resort to the perennial cop-out- it was magic, God did it.

What objective science has determined is that the average life expectancy in the Bronze Age was approximately 26 years at birth and about 47 years if the child survived to the age of 10.

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

If people lived to just short of 1000 years during biblical times, there would be evidence of that in their fossilized remains.  It is near certain, for example, that there would be numerous skeletons with all of the teeth missing.  After all, what would you expect if a Methuselah born in the year 1047, before the Battle of Hastings, was still alive today?  Needless to say, Genesis Chapter 5 is a made-up myth, proving the Bible to be fallible.

(1165) Matthew’s blatant scriptural error

In Matthew 27:50-53 we read the following description of what happened when Jesus died on the cross:

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

The problem is that it states that the previously dead bodies came out of the tombs after the resurrection, instead of after the crucifixion.  Taken literally, this scripture implies that the tombs of the dead people opened at the instant of Jesus’s death, but that the bodies of the dead did not rise and leave the tombs until at least 36 hours later at the time of Jesus’s resurrection.

It would be quite unusual for the author of Matthew to conflate the opening of the tombs and the rising of the dead bodies into a single scene if they were not contemporaneous.  Rather, he would have saved the telling of this miraculous event for Chapter 28, when Jesus is alleged to have resurrected.  This obvious error is proof of the errancy of the Bible.  It shows, if nothing else, that the Holy Spirit is not perfect.

(1166) The Athanasian Creed

The Athanasian Creed is an important declaration of Christian doctrine, as described at this website:

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

The Athanasian Creed is a Christian statement of belief focused on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. The Latin name of the creed, Quicunque vult, is taken from the opening words, “Whosoever wishes”. The creed has been used by Christian churches since the sixth century. It is the first creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Trinity is explicitly stated. It differs from the Nicene-Constantinopolitan and Apostles’ Creeds in the inclusion of anathemas, or condemnations of those who disagree with the creed (like the original Nicene Creed).

Widely accepted among Western Christians, including the Roman Catholic Church and some Anglican churchesLutheran churches (it is considered part of the Lutheran confessions in the Book of Concord), and ancient, liturgical churches generally, the Athanasian Creed has been used in public worship less and less frequently, but part of it can be found as an “Authorized Affirmation of Faith” in the recent (2000) Common Worship liturgy of the Church of England.

The creed consists of 44 statements of faith that each Christian was expected to accept:

  • 1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;
  • 2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
  • 3. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
  • 4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.
  • 5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
  • 6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
  • 7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.
  • 8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.
  • 9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
  • 10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
  • 11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.
  • 12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
  • 13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.
  • 14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.
  • 15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;
  • 16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
  • 17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;
  • 18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.
  • 19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
  • 20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.
  • 21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
  • 22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.
  • 23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
  • 24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
  • 25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
  • 26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.
  • 27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
  • 28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
  • 29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
  • 31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.
  • 32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
  • 33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.
  • 34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.
  • 35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.
  • 36. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
  • 37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;
  • 38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;
  • 39. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;
  • 40. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
  • 41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
  • 42. and shall give account of their own works.
  • 43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
  • 44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

What should be gleaned from this 1500-year old document is that it has the appearance of a word salad, with each piece of lettuce being a cringe-worthy attempt to convince even the author himself to believe in something that is patently ridiculous.  There have been many attacks on the legitimacy of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, starting with the fact that it defies logic and has next to no scriptural basis, but it is this long-winded defense of that doctrine that best displays its absurdity.

(1167) The Beatitudes refute current Christian theology

Most Christians believe that accepting Jesus as their savior is the only pathway to Heaven, and that simply being a good person is not good enough; that is, a good person who does not accept Jesus will be sent to Hell.  However, when Jesus presented his famous beatitudes, he seemed to leave out that important criterion:

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

It is certainly true that atheists or followers of other religions can be poor in spirit, can mourn, can be meek, can hunger and thirst for righteousness, can be merciful, can be pure in heart, and can be peacemakers.  So, according to Jesus, they are entitled to enjoy all of the gifts that Jesus promised, including an afterlife in Heaven.  This is simply taking Jesus at his word.  Otherwise, Jesus would have said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, as long as they accept my sacrifice for the remission of their sins.

But he didn’t say this or anything like it in the gospels of Mark, Matthew, or Luke.  If anyone states that you must believe in Jesus to go to heaven, simply point out Matthew 5:3, and assert that the necessity of believing in Jesus was a man-made construct that evolved after Jesus departed.

(1168) Women’s bodies were not designed by a creator

A majority of Christians believe that God created men and women from scratch, or at least from dust and a rib.  However, when it comes to women’s bodies, holding this position makes the god they worship into either a very poor designer or a malicious sadist. The following was taken from:

http://faithlessfeminist.com/uncategorized/every-woman-knows-body-not-creation-intelligent-designer/

The reason for the pain in childbirth is understandable with a quick lesson in evolution. When our ancestors started to walk upright, the shape of the pelvis began to change to accommodate a walking gait. Specifically, a narrower pelvis developed. Over hundreds of thousands of years, human brains gradually became more complex and grew bigger to accommodate a higher level of intelligence. The coincidence of these two changes resulted in a baby with a larger head being delivered through a narrower pelvis. Pain, therefore, results as the mother pushes a bigger baby through a smaller opening. (Today, where a child cannot be delivered through this opening, a caesarean section must be performed.)

Women need not believe that they are being punished for original sin by being made to bear unbearable pain in childbirth. There is a logical explanation for what she experiences, and the “original sin” musings of ancient believers can be set aside in favor of a more rational explanation for pain in childbirth.

Evolution provides an elegant and plausible explanation for the troubled nature of human childbirth, and why it is so much more problematic than for any other animal on Earth.  Christians, and creationists in particular, though, have to accept the fact that either their god’s design was flawed, or that he did it on purpose to ‘unfairly’ punish all future women for the sin of Eve.  Either way, it paints an unflattering picture of the god that they worship.

(1169) Peter should be denied entry into Heaven

Jesus made it clear that only those who acknowledge him before others can enter Heaven.

Matthew 10:32-33

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

Peter, his most prominent disciple, failed to acknowledge Jesus in a most dramatic and repetitive fashion immediately after Jesus was arrested.

Matthew 26:69-74

Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.

But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”

Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”

What makes these denials even more significant is that they occur after Peter has just spent a full year with Jesus, supposedly witnessing his miracles and divine wisdom and after he had promised Jesus that he would never deny him.

Matthew 26:35

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

Before all of this drama occurred,  Jesus anointed Peter as his principal disciple.

Matthew 16:17-19

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

These three scriptures in the Book of Matthew constitute a contradiction that cannot be explained without a lot of hand waving. If Jesus meant what he said, Peter is now in Hell.

(1170) Better to marry than to burn

In 1 Corinthians 7:9, Paul advises his readers that it is better to remain single as he is, but if they can’t control their sexual urges, it is better for them to marry than to burn, or at least that is what the older biblical translations say.  The newer ones add the words “burn with passion” or “burn with lust” or something similar.  So there are two very different interpretations- in the first case, it would appear that Paul is referring to burning in Hell in the afterlife, and the latter seems to be offering a way to alleviate the urgency of sexual desire in this life.  Here are a good number of they ways this verse has been translated:

New International Version
But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

New Living Translation
But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.

English Standard Version
But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Berean Study Bible
But if they cannot control themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Berean Literal Bible
But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

New American Standard Bible
But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

King James Bible
But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But if they do not have self-control, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with desire.

International Standard Version
However, if they cannot control themselves, they should get married, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

NET Bible
But if they do not have self-control, let them get married. For it is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But if they do not endure, let them marry. It is beneficial for them to take a wife rather than to burn with lust.

GOD’S WORD® Translation
However, if you cannot control your desires, you should get married. It is better for you to marry than to burn [with sexual desire].

New American Standard 1977
But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.

Jubilee Bible 2000
But if they do not have the gift of continence, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn.

King James 2000 Bible
But if they cannot have self-control, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

American King James Version
But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

American Standard Version
But if they have not continency, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to be burnt.

Darby Bible Translation
But if they have not control over themselves, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.

English Revised Version
But if they have not continency, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Webster’s Bible Translation
But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Weymouth New Testament
If, however, they cannot maintain self-control, by all means let them marry; for marriage is better than the fever of passion.

World English Bible
But if they don’t have self-control, let them marry. For it’s better to marry than to burn.

Young’s Literal Translation
and if they have not continence — let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn;

One of the first observations that should be made about this verse is that it reveals Paul’s mistaken idea that the end times are very near and that to marry and have children doesn’t make a lot of sense. Right there, we can be certain that Paul had no direct communication link to God. But to understand the intent of the verse itself, we have to consider whether Paul was referring to Hell and being burned there, or simply to sexual desire.

If he was just talking about sexual desire, it would seem that marriage would not necessarily alleviate the problem, that is, lust could easily continue or perhaps even intensify after the consummation of a marriage.  So if burning with desire was all he was talking about, it wouldn’t make sense that he would consider marriage to be an antidote.  But if he was actually referring to the sin of fornication, a sin that he stated would send a person to Hell, then the reference to burning is clear.

In the previous chapter, Paul said this (1 Corinthians 6:9-10):

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Paul is saying here that the sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God, implying that they will burn in Hell.  Therefore, it can be concluded that Paul was referring to burning in Hell and not to burning in passion.  The newer translations of the Bible have softened and sanitized his words, and in so doing, they have completely changed the intent of his admonishment.  This should be a warning to anyone who trusts biblical translators.

(1171) The lack of a shared humanity

In the Bible, God issues the commandment “Do not kill.”  This seems righteous and good, but in the context of the whole of scripture, it becomes clear that the order to not kill applies only within the tribe of Israelites, the members of God’s ‘chosen people,’ and not humanity as a whole.  God kills or orders the killing of just about every other group of people, including women and children.  By some twisted logic, the same people who received the commandment to not kill are ordered by God on many occasions to do just that. The horrific death toll of this murderous god is spelled out in detail in Reason #5.

This should give pause to anyone who reveres the Ten Commandments.  They don’t apply to everyone, but rather just to the chosen people of God, and even to them, the abstention of killing did not apply to those outside of the tribe. The god of the Bible has thus failed a critical test of authenticity by not endorsing the ideal of a shared humanity of all of the world’s people. Rather, he has promoted an ‘us versus them’ theme that is unbecoming a celestial deity.

(1172) Adoptionism

Another contradiction regarding Christianity is the theological concept of “adoptionism”.

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

What this concept means:

“A form of Christianity which maintains that Jesus is divine only in the sense that God the Father adopted him, either at Jesus’ birth, or at his death, as opposed to the orthodox understanding of the nature of the Trinity.”

http://www.yourdictionary.com/adoptionism#wiktionary#YFzXXDs83HYXJZVo.99

So what we have here is a belief of Jesus within the first century, where Jesus was just some guy who God really liked and “adopted” to be his son. Interpret that as you want to, but that is what many Christians believed. Not that Jesus always existed and not that Jesus was born as the son of God, but that there was some full grown man who people believed that God changed from being human to being divine, all simply for the reason that ‘God liked him better than everyone else.’

The scholarly consensus is that the other three gospels all copied Mark, which first mentioned Jesus as a man at least 15 years after the last of Paul’s genuine epistles. Mark didn’t mention anything about Jesus’s life from infancy to 30 years old, and everything Paul wrote about Jesus can be interpreted allegorically.

In many early manuscripts, Mark 1:1 does not mention “son of God,” and all writings of Mark never say anything about Jesus’s virgin birth.

So either (1) Jesus was a celestial deity that 1st Century Jews believed in, who later was believed to be a real person when someone wrote the fictional book of Mark. or (2) he was just a guy living at the time of Mark’s writings, who claimed that God adopted him, or perhaps others claimed it and then people believed this, or (3) a synthesis of both of these – the imagined deity was wedded to the man adopted by God.

Christians can say the above paragraph is a false dichotomy, but those three options are all we have for Jesus, considering the evidence of Mark 1:1 and adding ‘adoptionism’ into it as a factor in general.

The idea that God adopted Jesus ‘the human’ to become his son, is something that today’s Christians would find very hard to swallow, but only because it goes against what they were child indoctrinated to believe.

All 3 options demonstrate Christianity to be a lie that’s based on nonsense and contradictions. If Mark originally wrote that God adopted Jesus and that this was the original belief, then this presents a strong case that Christianity is a false religion.

(1173) Paul’s epistles were edited

So much of Christian theology rests on the written products of a self-proclaimed prophet who never saw or met Jesus, Paul.  And to make matters even worse, we don’t have the original text of what he wrote and we have evidence that much of what he wrote was tampered with over the following few centuries.  This text was taken from:

http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesus_myth_history.htm#6

Many different letters were falsely attributed to Paul, which scholars over the past 500 years have attempted to weed out, though there is still not 100% certainty about all of the letters. In addition to falsely attributing letters to Paul, some editing of Paul’s letters took place as well, as happened with all of the works of the Bible. It is actually more difficult to detect changes that were made to the letters of Paul than it is to detect changes that were made to the Gospels because we have fewer copies of the letters of Paul. Though the letters of Paul are estimated to have been written around the middle of the 1st century, the earliest knowledge of these letters that we have comes from the 2nd century, and the earliest copies of these letters that we have comes from the 3rd and 4th centuries. In addition, we do know that different copies of these letters were in circulation.

The Gnostic leader Marcion had copies of the letters of Paul that he claimed were original and he wrote that his Catholic opponents had inserted statements into their copies to make them comply with their doctrine. Likewise, the Catholics charged that Marcion had deleted passages from his copies. We also know that there were at least three different copies of the letter to the Romans in circulation prior to the 4th century, a 14 chapter version, a 15 chapter version, and a 16 chapter version. A 16 chapter version is what we currently have in the Bible. There are also differences between quoted passages by early Church fathers and what we have now, as well as glaring omissions of quotes that we currently have in the works of Paul that could have been used to establish doctrinal points by early Church fathers. An excellent example of this is the passage from 1 Thessalonians 2, which states:

1 Thessalonians 2:

13 We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God’s wrath has overtaken them at last.

This passage is widely accepted by scholars as a later addition to the Pauline text for the purpose of establishing a later doctrine, for several reasons. One reason is that there is no evidence that these types of strong divisions between Jews and non-Jews existed among the early Christians. Another is that this is the only statement to this effect in all of the Pauline letters and it goes against many of his other statements about unity between Jews and Gentiles. It also breaks the continuity of the chapter, and if you take it out the chapter reads just fine without it. Yet another reason is that there were no “churches” in Judea at this time. Lastly, the statement that God’s wrath has overtaken the Jews makes sense referring to the destruction of Judea in 70 CE. There is no significant event that Paul could have been referring to here when he wrote around 50 CE.

There is also ample motive for later Roman Church fathers to have inserted such a passage when they were trying to establish these principles as a doctrine of the Church, which they did do. What else is important about this passage is that it is one of the passages in the letters of Paul that would seem to establish a historical view of Jesus, however, as mentioned, this is regarded as a later addition. This is important to understand for people who read the letters of Paul uncritically, because some of the passages, such as this one, which seem to put Jesus in a historical context, are actually later additions.

If the accuracy of Paul’s letters cannot be verified, then doctrines such as the atonement provided by Jesus’s death cannot be verified as well. The existing letters of Paul are three times removed from possessing a pedigree of authenticity- some of them were written by other people, Paul never met Jesus, and his letters are not original.

(1174) Brain structure determines beliefs and behavior 

Brain research has uncovered the mechanical processes governing almost every aspect of human behavior.  What this means is that whether you are a Christian, a Muslim, a HIndu, a Jew, an agnostic, or an atheist is mostly outside the realm of conscious control.  It is decided by brain structure and life experience.  The following is taken from:

https://www.edge.org/response-detail/26792

Every year, neuroscience reveals the anatomical and functional brain differences associated with expressing a given trait or tendency, whether psychopathy, altruism, extroversion, or conscientiousness. Researchers electrically stimulating one brain area cause a patient to experience a strong surge of motivation. Zapping a different area causes another patient to become less self-aware. Disease can disorient a patient’s moral compass or create illusions of agency. Environmental influences, from what we eat to who we see, provide inputs that interact with and shape our neural activity—the activity that instantiates all our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Finding by finding, the ghost in the machine is being unmasked as a native biological system—like a drawn-out ending of a scientific Scooby Doo.

To send people to Heaven or Hell based on whether they believe in a particular religion makes no sense in light of this reality. Any religion that claims to have the exclusive key to the post-life, assuming it exists, such as Christianity, is therefore illogical.  It would be almost like assigning everyone with brown hair to Heaven and those with blond or red hair to Hell.

(1175) Biblical notable absences

Much is made of things in the Bible that shouldn’t be there if it is actually the product of a perfect god, such as genocide, support for slavery, misogyny, child sacrifice, condemnation of homosexuality, etc. But, on the other side of the coin, there are many things that should be in the Bible, that aren’t. The following list of a few of these missing concepts was taken from:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/prooftexts/

  • Any criticism of pedophilia
  • Any criticism of defrauding gullible inadequates
  • The concept of equality
  • Anything recognizable as effective medicine
  • Mention of penguins, kangaroos, and other animals outside the Middle East
  • Support for questioning authority
  • Anything comparable to the advanced science and philosophy of (earlier) pagan Greeks
  • Any criticism of animal cruelty

To this list, we can add

  • Respect and stewardship of the physical environment
  • Accommodations for the physically impaired
  • Accurate description of the Earth and universe
  • Platinum Rule versus the Golden Rule
  • Emphasis on washing hands, germ avoidance
  • Effective dietary guidance
  • Guidelines for healthy gestation/maternity
  • Advanced agricultural tips
  • Water sanitation
  • Importance of physical exercise
  • Recognition of natural causes of homosexuality
  • Explanation of lightning, thunder, earthquakes
  • Discussion of civilizations in other parts of the world
  • Accurate explanation of human reproductive process
  • Introduction to presence of bacteria/viruses
  • Mention of extinct animals
  • Relationship of the sun to the stars
  • Comets are natural, not omens

The Bible contains a lot of things it shouldn’t and fails to contain a lot of things it should.  This one-two punch is enough to convince a thinking person that it is not the product of an infinite god, beyond any reasonable doubt.

(1176) Unmitigated nonsense

The following scripture should convince anyone that it is not a product of divine origin.  It discusses the occasion where the  Lord sends Moses back to Egypt to rescue his people. (For the record, there is no evidence outside of the Bible that the Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt.)

Exodus 4:19-26

Now the Lord had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead.” So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.

The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’ ”

At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. So the Lord let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)

Here’s why this is absurd:

  1. God decides to harden Pharoah’s heart so he can kill the firstborn sons of Egypt- a crime punishable by death in almost any civil society.
  2. As Moses was traveling to Egypt, God suddenly decides to kill him, for no discernible reason. (Moses was simply doing what God had commanded.)
  3. Zipporah performs a delicate and excruciatingly painful surgery without any sanitation precautions or anesthetic on her son- who, by all accounts of Jewish custom, should already have been circumcised.
  4. God changes his mind because a foreskin touched the feet of Moses.

This is perhaps one of the best examples demonstrating that the most effective way to turn a Christian into an atheist is to get him to read the Bible.  Even in the infinitesimally small chance that this passage is true, no decent person should worship this god.

(1177) God disqualifies himself as a god

Unless Christians admit that this passage from the Book of Exodus is unauthentic, they must admit that their god is not good:

Exodus 20:4-6

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

According to this scripture, the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of atheist Richard Dawkins should be punished.  How many Christians think this is fair?  How many Christians would agree that the state should punish the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Lee Harvey Oswald?  No? Is the state more moral than God?

(1178) The lies of fundamentalist Christianity

Christianity, like any religion, can be taken to an extreme.  The manifestations of extreme belief reveal a religion’s underlying truths that are often unseen in those who take the faith more causally.  In other words, those who take their faith more seriously are the ones who more accurately reflect the core dogma.  For Christianity, this is a dismal display of unenlightened attitudes. The following was taken from:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unfundamentalistchristians/2014/05/the-lies-christian-fundamentalism-taught-me/

I was raised a fundamentalist Christian. Here is some of what we were taught, both explicitly and in a million different little ways, every single day of our lives:

  • You are worthless.
  • God hates you, unless you love him.
  • Obedience is love.
  • Punishment is love.
  • The Bible is infallible and not to be questioned.
  • The pastor is infallible and not to be questioned.
  • Our interpretation of all Scripture is without error and not to be questioned.
  • Outside the church bubble waits evil.
  • Everyone who is different should be feared.
  • Bad things happen to you because God is trying to teach you a lesson.
  • Bad things happen to you because God let Satan tempt you.
  • Bad things happen to you as a punishment for disobedience.
  • Depression is a sign of sin in your life.
  • To resist what you are taught is to rebel against God.
  • Women have to cover themselves so as not to tempt men.
  • If a man lusts after a woman it’s her fault.
  • Women need to submit to male authority over them.
  • There are many things girls can’t do.
  • Men are more important than women.
  • A woman who is raped must forgive her rapist and not report it to the authorities, in order that the rapist, his family, and the church remain protected from outsiders.
  • Children are to be seen and not heard.
  • Children need to have their will broken through painful “child-training” and punishment.
  • A child who is not hit until he or she screams will not learn.
  • Our church is the only true church; all others churches are filled with Christians who are untrue and destined for hell.
  • Catholics aren’t Christians. They are idol worshippers.
  • You are so full of sin God can’t even look at you.
  • When the Communists take over America and force us to burn all of our Bibles, you’ll need to have memorized it so they can’t take away what is written on your heart.

Those are lies. And they are deeply damaging.

And if you are unfortunate enough to be raised a Christian fundamentalist, you have no choice but to believe those lies until, because you are very lucky and/or very strong, you break free from the controlling, brainwashing environment in which you and your family exist. Yours is a world in which not only all outsiders, but all television, music, movies and books are shunned. So what you are taught is literally the only truth you know.

Non-fundamentalist Christians share many of these beliefs, but they are usually less emphatic in expressing them.  But it is the tepid Christians who give cover to the fundamentalists, allowing them to seem less psychotic than they otherwise would appear.  And any religion that spawns the kind of attitudes listed above is almost surely not the handiwork of the creator of the universe.

(1179) Demons speaking

The credibility of Christianity rests on the reality of demons, which are discussed often in the Bible as agents of disease and psychosis, and as beings that Jesus believed in and against which he took forceful actions.  Belief in demons has diminished with the maturing of civilization and the growth of science. But what should be all the evidence needed to convince anyone that demons are imaginary is the fact that, in the gospels, these immaterial beings were reported to be able to see, process the visual field in their brains, hear, understand, and speak the local language, and then vocalize such that they could move air molecules to project their voices across a distance.  The following two scriptures demonstrate this alleged ability:

Matthew 8:28-32

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.

Luke 4:40-41

At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.

In order for a demon to ‘enter’ a person, it certainly cannot be a material thing constructed of atoms and molecules.  But to see, use language, have human-like brain activity, and to disturb air molecules in speech, demons would have to have some sort of material structure, with brains similar to humans, and a larynx, and a physical support system to boot.  This concept proves that the verses above are untrue.  They are obviously the imagined ideas of superstitious, pre-scientific minds.  Present-day mind should be able to see this for what it is- solid proof that the Bible contains a lot of fictional elements.

Apologists will counter that demons don’t need material bodies because they hijack their host and use the host’s eyes, brain, vocal cords, etc.  The improbability of this theory is beyond measurement- that something that’s invisible and has no mass can interrupt the normal physiological process of a human body.  If that is true, then the scientific fields of biology, physics, and chemistry would have to be overturned.

(1180) The illogic of praying for conversion

Christians often pray for the conversion of non-believers, both those in the orbit of their family and friends and those of prominence in the public eye. What is striking about this endeavor is not that it almost always fails, but that it points out the absurdity that a merciful god would have to ‘nudged’ to save a person from an eternity of torture in Hell. The following Q&A posted in the New York Times on December 15, 1895, provides an elucidation of this problem, with the witty retort from Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899):

http://www.theingersolltimes.com/volume-8#8-315

Question. How were you affected by the announcement that the united prayers of the Salvationists and Christian Endeavorers were to be offered for your conversion?

Answer. The announcement did not affect me to any great extent. I take it for granted that the people praying for me are sincere and that they have a real interest in my welfare. Of course, I thank them one and all. At the same time I can hardly account for what they did. Certainly they would not ask God to convert me unless they thought the prayer could be answered. And if their God can convert me of course he can convert everybody. Then the question arises why he does not do it. Why does he let millions go to hell when he can convert them all? Why did he not convert them all before the flood and take them all to heaven instead of drowning them and sending them all to hell?

Of course these questions can be answered by saying that God’s ways are not our ways. I am greatly obliged to these people. Still, I feel about the same, so that it would be impossible to get up a striking picture of “before and after.” It was good-natured on their part to pray for me, and that act alone leads me to believe that there is still hope for them. The trouble with the Christian Endeavorers is that they don’t give my arguments consideration. If they did they would agree with me. It seemed curious that they would advise divine wisdom what to do, or that they would ask infinite mercy to treat me with kindness.

If there be a God, of course he knows what ought to be done, and will do it without any hints from ignorant human beings. Still, the Endeavorers and the Salvation people may know more about God than I do. For all I know, this God may need a little urging. He may be powerful but a little slow; intelligent but sometimes a little drowsy, and it may do good now and then to call his attention to the facts. The prayers did not, so far as I know, do me the least injury or the least good. I was glad to see that the Christians are getting civilized. A few years ago they would have burned me. Now they pray for me.

Suppose God should answer the prayers and convert me, how would he bring the conversion about? In the first place, he would have to change my brain and give me more credulity—that is, he would be obliged to lessen my reasoning power. Then I would believe not only without evidence, but in spite of evidence. All the miracles would appear perfectly natural. It would then seem as easy to raise the dead as to waken the sleeping. In addition to this, God would so change my mind that I would hold all reason in contempt and put entire confidence in faith. I would then regard science as the enemy of human happiness, and ignorance as the soil in which virtues grow. Then I would throw away Darwin and Humboldt, and rely on the sermons of orthodox preachers. In other words, I would become a little child and amuse myself with a religious rattle and a Gabriel horn. Then I would rely on a man who has been dead for nearly two thousand years to secure me a seat in Paradise.

After conversion, it is not pretended that I will be any better so far as my actions are concerned; no more charitable, no more honest, no more generous. The great difference will be that I will believe more and think less.

After all, the converted people do not seem to be better than the sinners. I never heard of a poor wretch clad in rags, limping into a town and asking for the house of a Christian.

I think that I had better remain as I am. I had better follow the light of my reason, be true to myself, express my honest thoughts, and do the little I can for the destruction of superstition, the little I can for the development of the brain, for the increase of intellectual hospitality and the happiness of my fellow-beings. One world at a time.

God, if he is as Christians claim, is more merciful and compassionate than any person, and has the ability at the drop of a hat to convert anyone, but chooses not to. So why would a Christian attempt it? Why would an all-seeing God need to be reminded to stop a man from falling off of a cliff?  The inanity is too thick to slice.

(1181) Moses was mistaken about a thousand things

Let’s assume for now that Moses was a real person (probably not) and that he wrote the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible (even if he existed he probably wrote little or none of it).  Then we can say that Moses mistaken about a thousand things.  The following was taken from:

http://www.theingersolltimes.com/volume-2/#2-79

Let us admit what we know to be true; that Moses was mistaken about a thousand things; that the story of creation is not true; that the Garden of Eden is a myth; that the serpent and the tree of knowledge, and the fall of man are but fragments of old mythologies lost and dead; that woman was not made out of a rib; that serpents never had the power of speech; that the sons of God did not marry the daughters of men; that the story of the flood and ark is not exactly true; that the tower of Babel is a mistake; that the confusion of tongues is a childish thing; that the origin of the rainbow is a foolish fancy;

that Methuselah did not live nine hundred and sixty-nine years; that Enoch did not leave this world, taking with him his flesh and bones; that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is somewhat improbable; that burning brimstone never fell like rain; that Lot’s wife was not changed into chloride of sodium; that Jacob did not, in fact, put his hip out of joint wrestling with God; that the history of Tamar might just as well have been left out; that a belief in Pharaoh’s dreams is not essential to salvation; that it makes but little difference whether the rod of Aaron was changed to a serpent or not; that of all the wonders said to have been performed in Egypt, the greatest is, that anybody ever believed the absurd account;

that God did not torment the innocent cattle on account of the sins of their owners; that he did not kill the first born of the poor maid behind the mill because of Pharaoh’s crimes; that flies and frogs were not ministers of God’s wrath; that lice and locusts were not the executors of his will; that seventy people did not, in two hundred and fifteen years, increase to three million; that three priests could not eat six hundred pigeons in a day; that gazing at a brass serpent could not extract poison from the blood; that God did not go in partnership with hornets; that he did not murder people simply because they asked for something to eat;

that he did not declare the making of hair oil and ointment an offence to be punished with death; that he did not miraculously preserve cloth and leather; that he was not afraid of wild beasts; that he did not punish heresy with sword and fire; that he was not jealous, revengeful, and unjust; that he knew all about the sun, moon, and stars; that he did not threaten to kill people for eating the fat of an ox; that he never told Aaron to draw cuts to see which of two goats should be killed; that he never objected to clothes made of woolen mixed with linen; that if he objected to dwarfs, people with flat noses and too many fingers, he ought not to have created such folks;

that he did not demand human sacrifices as set forth in the last chapter of Leviticus; that he did not object to the raising of horses; that he never commanded widows to spit in the faces of their brothers-in-law; that several contradictory accounts of the same transaction cannot all be true; that God did not talk to Abraham as one man talks to another; that angels were not in the habit of walking about the earth eating veal dressed with milk and butter, and making bargains about the destruction of cities; that God never turned himself into a flame of fire, and lived in a bush;

that he never met Moses in a hotel and tried to kill him; that it was absurd to perform miracles to induce a king to act in a certain way and then harden his heart so that he would refuse; that God was not kept from killing the Jews by the fear that the Egyptians would laugh at him; that he did not secretly bury a man and then allow the corpse to write an account of the funeral; that he never believed the firmament to be solid; that he knew slavery was and always would be a frightful crime; that polygamy is but stench and filth; that the brave soldier will always spare an unarmed foe;

that only cruel cowards slay the conquered and the helpless; that no language can describe the murderer of a smiling babe; that God did not want the blood of doves and lambs; that he did not love the smell of burning flesh; that he did not want his altars daubed with blood; that he did not pretend that the sins of a people could be transferred to a goat; that he did not believe in witches, wizards, spooks, and devils; that he did not test the virtue of woman with dirty water; that he did not suppose that rabbits chewed the cud;

that he never thought there were any four-footed birds; that he did not boast for several hundred years that he had vanquished an Egyptian king; that a dry stick did not bud, blossom, and bear almonds in one night; that manna did not shrink and swell, so that each man could gather only just one omer; that it was never wrong to “countenance the poor man in his cause;” that God never told a people not to live in peace with their neighbors; that he did not spend forty days with Moses on Mount Sinai giving him patterns for making clothes, tongs, basins, and snuffers; that maternity is not a sin;

that physical deformity is not a crime; that an atonement cannot be made for the soul by shedding innocent blood; that killing a dove over running water will not make its blood a medicine; that a god who demands love knows nothing of the human heart; that one who frightens savages with loud noises is unworthy the love of civilized men; that one who destroys children on account of the sins of their fathers is a monster; that an infinite god never threatened to give people the itch; that he never sent wild beasts to devour babes; that he never ordered the violation of maidens; that he never regarded patriotism as a crime;

that he never ordered the destruction of unborn children; that he never opened the earth and swallowed wives and babes because husbands and fathers had displeased him; that he never demanded that men should kill their sons and brothers, for the purpose of sanctifying themselves; that we cannot please God by believing the improbable; that credulity is not a virtue; that investigation is not a crime; that every mind should be free; that all religious persecution is infamous in God, as well as man; that without liberty, virtue is impossible;

that without freedom, even love cannot exist; that every man should be allowed to think and to express his thoughts; that woman is the equal of man; that children should be governed by love and reason; that the family relation is sacred; that war is a hideous crime; that all intolerance is born of ignorance and hate; that the freedom of today is the hope of to-morrow; that the enlightened present ought not to fall upon its knees and blindly worship the barbaric past; and that every free, brave and enlightened man should publicly declare that all the ignorant, infamous, heartless, hideous things recorded in the “inspired” Pentateuch are not the words of God, but simply “Some Mistakes of Moses.”

What is a Christian to make of this?  Could Moses have really made up all of these stories?  If he did, then Christianity is almost surely false.  If he didn’t, then Christianity is almost surely false.

(1182) Fatal problem with the story of Noah’s Ark

In this case, we are not referring to the lack of any geological evidence for a worldwide flood, nor the implausibility of Noah building such a large vessel without modern-day technology, nor the impossibility of collecting, feeding, caring for, and redistributing representatives of all of the earth’s animal species.  No, here the issue is two-fold:

  1. Assuming God is perfect, how did his own creation result in a situation that he found so disappointing that he had to ‘start all over.’ The excuse that he gave man free will and that man screwed up is nonsensical because God could and should have made people who were capable of making better use of their free will.
  2. If God was angry at his human creations, why didn’t he just kill the offending humans instead of turning the Earth into a water world?  Why did he have to kill all of the ‘innocent’ animals, trees, and plants along with the people- i.e.,the only ones he truly had problems with?  After all, God showed his ability to kill instantly and effectively when he murdered the first born sons of Egypt (Exodus 12:29).

Now, many liberal Christians will dismiss this point, acknowledging that the story of Noah and perhaps the filial slaughter in Egypt are myths.  This, of course, opens the door to suspecting many other biblical stories are myths.  But one area where even liberal Christians give no ground is the historicity of Jesus.  And what traps them in an unavoidable checkmate is that Jesus believed in the story of Noah:

Luke 17:26-27

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.”

Now, the last escape route is to concede that the verses above were added by the author of Luke and were not the words of Jesus.  But jettisoning Exodus and now part of Luke is tantamount to admitting that your faith is founded on a fatally flawed textbook.

(1183) Christians don’t know what scholars know

There is a saying that ignorance is bliss, and most Christians are blissfully ignorant of much of the findings of biblical scholarship. If every Christian became fully knowledgeable of what has been learned about the development of the Bible, Christianity would collapse, churches would close, and clergy would be greeting you at Walmart. In the following excerpt, Robert Ingersoll is in mock discussion with a Dr. Briggs, who is a scholar hanging on to a belief despite what he knows to be true:

http://www.theingersolltimes.com/volume-8/#8-258

He knows, if he knows anything, that the Mosaic Code, so-called, was, and is, exceedingly barbarous and not adapted to do justice between man and man, or between nation and nation. He knows that the Jewish people pursued a course adapted to destroy themselves; that they refused to make friends with their neighbors; that they had not the slightest idea of the rights of other people; that they really supposed that the earth was theirs, and that their God was the greatest God in the heavens. He also knows that there are many thousands of mistakes in the Old Testament as translated. He knows that the book of Isaiah is made up of several books. He knows the same thing in regard to the New Testament. He also knows that there were many other books that were once considered sacred that have been thrown away, and that nobody knows who wrote a solitary line of the New Testament.

Besides all this, Dr. Briggs knows that the Old and New Testaments are filled with interpolations, and he knows that the passages of Scripture which have been taken as the foundation stones for creeds, were written hundreds of years after the death of Christ. He knows well enough that Christ never said: “I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” He knows that the same being never said: “Thou art Peter, and on this rock will I build my church.” He knows, too, that Christ never said: “Whosoever believes shall be saved, and whosoever believes not shall be damned.” He knows that these were interpolations. He knows that the sin against the Holy Ghost is another interpolation. He knows, if he knows anything, that the gospel according to John was written long after the rest, and that nearly all of the poison and superstition of orthodoxy is in that book. He knows also, if he knows anything, that St. Paul never read one of the four gospels.

The Bible is full of fabricated stories, myths, magical tales, and exaggerated history, and the sayings of Jesus are mostly made up by persons unknown, but who had the idea that it would be nice and convenient for their purposes if Jesus actually said them.  Jesus would not recognize himself if he had the chance today to read the gospels.

Almost all of this information has failed to infiltrate the pews, which are filled by persons who are over-trained and under-educated when it comes to the Bible.  They are like babies being spoon fed mush while the scholars in the back room struggle with the sinewy meat.

(1184) God makes it hard to believe

If Christianity is true, it is not a controversial statement to say that God has set up a sub-optimal system for saving souls.  He is playing a game of hide and seek, and goading people to believe in things they can’t see and for which evidence is scant.  And to make matters worse, he has given us big brains that tend to demand good evidence for our beliefs. The deck is stacked against us and God doesn’t care. The following is taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2016/05/the-absurdities-of-god.html

Imagine this perfect intelligence, this ultimate source of knowledge, this being from whom all reality spills forth—imagine him erecting a system by which belief was the only way his love could be known. Imagine this God’s decision to exclude everything else about what makes a person a person, preferring instead to base an individual’s chance at eternal life solely on what that person chose to believe theologically while he or she was alive. Now, imagine that this God would tailor reality to make it as hard as possible for a person to believe. What would you think about this God’s intentions, to say nothing of his methods?

“He doesn’t make it hard for people to believe,” the Christian might reply.

Doesn’t he? Consider the system your God has established. First of all, the “belief” in question doesn’t just involve whether or not you accept the existence of this God. No, you must accept, by faith, a miracle that ostensibly took place two thousand years ago. You must accept that the Jesus character spoken of in the Bible was indeed the one and only Son of God. You must believe that this Jesus died for the sins of humanity. And you must believe that this Jesus rose from the dead after three days. In spite of these mandates, your God has not provided sufficient reasons for you to believe all of these things. Instead, he asks you to go out on a limb. He asks you to accept, without evidence, an event that cannot be verified, even though each and every other single piece of quantifiable evidence at your disposal literally begs you to disbelieve. Moreover, the only reason you even know that this may have happened is that God has allegedly provided a written account of it. But this written account seems like a shabby means to induce belief. The writers disagree. There is evidence of tampering. The account is vague in the places where it needs to be precise. And there is nothing outside of this written account to corroborate it.

But the difficulties are only beginning to mount at this point. After all, those who do believe in these things have created a worldwide community that does little to inspire. This worldwide community claims to be different, to have been set apart, and yet absolutely nothing about them suggests even remotely that they have any access to anything life-changing or supernatural. And then there are these promises that God has allegedly given to us, again to be found in this written account. Promises that prayer will be answered. That strength will come to those who possess faith. That all things can be accomplished through belief in Jesus. And yet the world shows absolutely no signs that any of this is even close to being true. And finally, there is the invisible nature of this God. He doesn’t show up. He doesn’t make himself known. He doesn’t answer when a question is asked. And he doesn’t save those who cry out for rescue.

Yet still you say that your God hasn’t made it difficult to believe? On the contrary, he has made damn near impossible to believe.

It is almost impossible to believe that a god would base his judgment more on what a person believes than on his actions, and then it is even more impossible to believe that this same god would then hide the evidence so convincingly to allow only the most dull, uneducated, and incurious people to believe, while allowing the most insightful, studious, and  conscientious people to wallow in what can only be described as justifiable disbelief.  This is too much to swallow- The god of Christianity either does not exist or is a fundamentally flawed deity.

(1185) If God came today

Suppose God waited a little longer before he made contact with humans- that is, instead of waiting 100,000 years after modern humans evolved, he waited 103,000 years, i.e., until today.  Would he:

  • still pick one small group of people as his ‘chosen ones’?
  • still inspire the writing of a 6-day creation story?
  • still inspire a worldwide flood story?
  • still  make working on the Sabbath punishable by death?
  • still make rules for and advocate slavery?
  • still command his chosen people to slaughter its enemies, including their women and children?
  • still demand the stoning of non-virgin brides?
  • still call homosexuality an abomination?
  • still send a part of himself to be slaughtered for sin forgiveness?
  • still promote the concept that women must submit to their husbands?

This list could go on forever, but however these questions are answered, it is troubling for Christianity. If the the answer is yes, then it becomes obvious that God would destroy much of the social progress mankind has made over the past several centuries, leading one to conclude that humans are more moral than God. If the answer is no, then we must assume that God is not consistent and begs the question why he didn’t instill higher order ethics when he ‘actually’ came.

To the skeptic, this is an easy problem to solve.  Whenever people make up a god, the god will have the same ethics and morals of those same people. This is exactly what happened in Judea over biblical times.

(1186) The commission of Peter is a myth

In the Gospel of Matthew (and only in this gospel), Jesus commissions the disciple Peter to be his chief representative on Earth. There is good evidence to conclude that this was added after the fact to the original gospel for the purpose of establishing a church tradition. The following is taken from:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Bible_interpolation#Take_up_the_cross_.28Mark_10:21.29

Matthew 16:18-19 reads, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This evidence of Peter’s leadership role among the apostles does not appear in the parallel gospel accounts and interrupts the natural flow of the passage. It is doubtful Jesus would have used “church” to refer to Christianity, since it did not yet exist, and in fact the only other verse in the gospels where the word is used is in Matthew 18:17, itself a likely interpolation. Additionally, the phrase “gates of hell” appears nowhere else in the Bible.

The motivation for adding this text to the gospel was to establish the authority of church clergy to absolve sins, i.e., give them power, and to set a tradition for the papacy (lineage of Popes)-by tying the succession of Popes to one of Jesus’s disciples.  Thus, we have both historical evidence and a putative motive to expose this as an illegitimate tampering with the Gospel of Matthew.  For every obvious interpolation like this one, there are likely ten more that are not as easy to decipher.

(1187) Corrupting Paul’s letter

In the following excerpt from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, take note of the bolded portion:

1 Corinthians 14:29-40

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.  And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.  For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.  The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.  For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

Note that, in the second paragraph, prohibiting women from speaking in church breaks the natural progression of the letter, that is, the letter reads perfectly well if these two sentences are taken out.  Also, note that Paul is nowhere else shown to be misogynistic, and in fact, was always accommodating to women in his attitudes to service and leadership.  Also, note in the last paragraph that ‘sisters’ are told to be eager to prophesy, meaning, in no uncertain terms, they were expected to speak in church.

So what to make of this obvious interpolation?  It serves as a warning to anyone who takes the Bible literally. Largely because of this unauthorized insertion into Paul’s letter, many women for the past 2000 years have been relegated in Christian service, with many of them muzzled into silence. So, the question is this: If God actually inspired the words that Paul wrote, why would he have allowed this to happen- why would he be so careful as to dictate exactly what he wanted Paul to write, only to have a scribe pollute the letter and cause so much damage to women’s rights, esteem, and authority? The answer- he wouldn’t have… if he actually existed.

(1188) Lot’s wife

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus, when discussing the ‘end times,’ made a reference to the unfortunate fate of Lot’s wife as she was fleeing God’s firebombing of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Here are the relevant verses from Luke and Genesis.

Luke 17:28-33

“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.  On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything.  Remember Lot’s wife!  Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.

Genesis 19: 23-26

By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

It is a daunting task to point out everything that is wrong with this silliness:

  • Why would a god who governs the entire universe murder a woman who commits the ‘crime’ of looking back at a flaming inferno as she flees for her safety? Is it likely that some of those fleeing the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001 might have looked back to see if the advancing wave of dust and smoke was gaining ground on them? Or the same is true for those fleeing a tsunami or a volcano. Any god who would do this is not worthy of worship.
  • Although not shown in the verses displayed above, there is nothing in the Genesis account that indicated that Lot or his daughters were the least inconvenienced or in grief over the loss of their mother. Or mad at God for killing her.
  • What happened to the pillar statue- why is it not mentioned ever again?
  • Because Jesus mentioned Lot’s wife as an example of his depiction of the final days, this indicates that he believed that it actually happened and that it was a just deed that God, or he?, did to this women.
  • Many if not most Christians today accept that the story of Lot’s wife is mythical, but if they do, then they must reconcile the evidence that Jesus believed in it. Of course, the easiest way around this problem is to assert that the author of Luke erroneously put these words in Jesus’s mouth- that Jesus never said this.  If that’s true, then they are admitting that the Bible is not completely factual and also, by inference, that Jesus understood that the Old Testament was not completely accurate.

As can be seen, there is no clean escape for Christianity – unless the fundamentalist position of biblical inerrancy is taken. Then, it can be claimed that the Bible is consistent, that Jesus knew that Lot’s wife was actually turned into a pillar of salt, and that it was a good example to give people who will someday have to flee the Lord’s vengeful destruction of the Earth.  But, even in that case, one problem remains- an asshole God who would have done such a thing in the first place.

(1189) There are two New Testaments

The synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke) cannot be reconciled with the Gospel of John.  For the gospels to be consistent, either the synoptics or John should be deleted.  Given the estimated time period of authorship, it is most certain that the Gospel of John should be taken out of the Bible, as it was written at least a few decades later.  But once that is done, the letters of Paul will be seen to conflict with the synoptics, especially on the terms of salvation (works versus faith). There is no good solution to this problem other than taking everything out of the New Testament except Mark, Matthew, Luke, and the Epistle of James (which also supports salvation as a reward for good works, not faith).  The following table highlights the differences between John and the synoptic gospels:

https://thechurchoftruth.org/gospels-refute-one-another/

Item Matthew, Mark, Luke John
First event mentioned Jesus’ birth (baptism in Mark) Creation of the world
Authors: according to conservative Christians Apostle Matthew; Mark and Luke, co-workers of Paul Apostle John
Authors: according to liberal Christians Unknown authors 2 or more unknown authors
Virgin birth Mentioned in Matt, Luke Some interpret John 1:45 as denying the virgin birth
Jesus as Son of God… From the time of his birth or baptism From the time that the universe was created
Description of Jesus Jesus’ humanity emphasized Jesus’ deity emphasized
Jesus baptism Described Not mentioned
Preaching style Brief one-liners; parables Essay format
Jesus teaches as: A sage A philosopher and mystic
Exorcism A main function of his ministry None performed
True parables Many None
Theme of his teaching: Kingdom of God Jesus himself. Kingdom of God is a background theme.
Jesus’ theology Deviated little from 1st century CE liberal Judaism. Similar
to beliefs taught by Hillel.
Largely independent of Judaism and in opposition to much of its
teaching.
Response expected from the reader Respond to God’s will as expressed in the Mosaic law Respond to Jesus as the definitive expression of God’s will
or revelation
Exorcism of demons Many None
Involvement with the poor and suffering Focus of his ministry Rarely mentioned
Involvement with Scribes (Jewish teachers) 26 references to scribes, who are puzzled and angered by
Jesus’ teachings
No references at all.
Miracles performed by Jesus Many “nature miracles,” healings, and exorcisms Few; all “nature miracles”
Jesus references to himself Rare Focus of the gospel, including the many “I am” sayings
****** BASIS OF PERSONAL SALVATION  ****** Good works, helping the poor, sick, imprisoned, and needy Belief in Jesus as the Son of God
*** DURATION OF MINISTRY *** 1 year 3 years
*** LOCATION OF MINISTRY *** Mainly Galilee Mainly Judea, near Jerusalem
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT COMMITTED IN THE TEMPLE COURTYARD Near the end of his ministry Near the start of his ministry
*** DATE OF THE LAST SUPPER *** Passover eve Night before Passover eve
Ceremonial event at the Last Supper: Communal meal Foot washing
Who carried the cross? Simon Jesus
Visitors to the tomb on Sunday with Mary Magdalene? One or more additional women None; Mary Magdalene went alone
Who was present in the tomb? One angel or two men Two angels
Burial shroud A single piece of cloth Multiple pieces of cloth, as was the Jewish practice at the
time. (John 20:5-7)
Jesus’ first appearance to disciples At Emmaus or Galilee Jerusalem

So, in the end, we actually have two New Testaments:

  1. Mark, Matthew, Luke, Epistle of James
  2. John, Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon

Colossians, Ephesians, 2 Thessalonians, and the “pastoral epistles” of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus should be deleted because they are forgeries posing as letters of Paul.  1,2 Peter, 1,2,3 John, and Jude should be deleted as forgeries, as well. Revelation should be deleted because of its sheer lunacy.

After this editing, you would have two fairly consistent New Testaments, differing most significantly on the terms of personal salvation- which, of course, is what Christianity is all about.  If the New Testament was composed only of the four books in #1, the history of the past 2000 years would have been much more benign and humane, with every person striving to be kind, generous, and loving, realizing that their evil or selfish actions could not be erased by some magical belief.

(1190) Misplaced star

In the Gospel of Matthew, a story is told of a star that guided the Magi to the scene of Jesus’s birth:

Matthew 2:1-2

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

The Magi were from Persia, which lies to the east of Bethlehem, so the star must have appeared in the western skies from their vantage point.  However, the original Greek clearly places the star in the east. This would be the sighting direction of someone to the west of Bethlehem in the direction of the Mediterranean Sea or surrounding countries. This embarrassing mistake was noted by biblical  translators- note that ‘east’ was removed from the NIV and NLV  as well as few other newer translations:

New International Version
and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

New Living Translation
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

English Standard Version
saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Berean Study Bible
asking, “Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

Berean Literal Bible
saying, “Where is the One having been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

New American Standard Bible
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

King James Bible
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

International Standard Version
and asked, “Where is the one who was born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

NET Bible
saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And they were saying, “Where is The King of the Judaeans who has been born?” For we have seen his star in The East and we have come to worship him.

GOD’S WORD® Translation
They asked, “Where is the one who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star rising and have come to worship him.”

New American Standard 1977
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? We have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.

King James 2000 Bible
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

American King James Version
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

American Standard Version
Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we saw his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him.

Darby Bible Translation
Where is the king of the Jews that has been born? for we have seen his star in the east, and have come to do him homage.

English Revised Version
saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we saw his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Webster’s Bible Translation
Saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him.

Weymouth New Testament
inquiring, “Where is the newly born king of the Jews? For we have seen his Star in the east, and have come here to do him homage.”

World English Bible
“Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him.”

Young’s Literal Translation
saying, ‘Where is he who was born king of the Jews? for we saw his star in the east, and we came to bow to him.’

The author of Matthew (and no other gospel author) inserted the star myth to mirror the birth stories of pagan gods, but made an obvious mistake in locating the star in the sky.  Instead of maintaining the most accurate translation of his allegedly ‘inspired’ writing, we have translators who have taken it upon themselves to ‘correct’ the holy scriptures.  Christians with NIV bibles would never know the difference.

(1191) Yahweh’s wife

Very few Christians know that the Jews worshiped both Yahweh and his wife Asherah up until almost the time of Jesus. Asherah was a goddess who vanished like thousands of other gods for the reason that people stopped believing in them. The following was taken from:

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

Between the 10th century BC and the beginning of their exile in 586 BC, polytheism was normal throughout Israel;[9] it was only after the exile that worship of Yahweh alone became established, and possibly only as late as the time of the Maccabees (2nd century BC) that monotheism became universal among Jews.[10][11] Some biblical scholars believe that Asherah at one time was worshiped as the consort of Yahweh, the national God of Israel.[10][12][13] There are references to the worship of numerous gods throughout Kings, Solomon builds temples to many gods and Josiah is reported as cutting down the statues of Asherah in the temple Solomon built for Yahweh. Josiah’s grandfather Manasseh had erected this statue. (2 Kings 21:7) Further evidence includes, for example, an 8th-century combination of iconography and inscriptions discovered at Kuntillet Ajrud in the northern Sinai desert[14] where a storage jar shows three anthropomorphic figures and an inscription that refers to “Yahweh … and his Asherah”.[15][16] The inscriptions found invoke not only Yahweh but El and Baal, and two include the phrases “Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah” and “Yahweh of Teman and his Asherah.”[17]

There is general agreement that Yahweh is being invoked in connection with Samaria (capital of the kingdom of Israel) and Teman (in Edom); this suggests that Yahweh had a temple in Samaria, and raises a question over the relationship between Yahweh and Kaus, the national god of Edom.[18] The “Asherah” is most likely a cultic object, although the relationship of this object (a stylised tree perhaps) to Yahweh and to the goddess Asherah, consort of El, is unclear.[19] It has been suggested that the Israelites might consider Asherah as a consort of Baal due to the anti-Asherah ideology which was influenced by the Deuteronomistic History at the later period of Monarchy.[20] In another inscription called “Yahweh and his Asherah”, there appears a cow feeding its calf.[21]:163If Asherah is to be associated with Hathor/Qudshu, it can then be assumed that the cow is what’s being referred to as Asherah.

William Dever’s book Did God Have a Wife? adduces further archaeological evidence—for instance, many female figurines unearthed in ancient Israel—as supporting the view that in Israelite folk religion of the monarchal period, Asherah functioned as a goddess and consort of Yahweh and was worshiped as the Queen of Heaven, for whose festival the Hebrews baked small cakes.

This creates a monumental problem for Christianity because if the Jews made up a false goddess, isn’t it likely that the god they worshiped alongside her is made up as well?

(1192) How many women were at the tomb?

Since the holy scriptures are supposedly all inspired by God, we would expect them to be consistent, especially when discussing the most important event of all- the resurrection of Jesus.  In one aspect, though, the accounts are all over the map- and that detail is the number of women who were at the tomb and witnessed either its empty state, or an angel, or Jesus himself.  Here are the accounts and the wavering number:

See also: https://thechurchoftruth.org/the-bible-is-wrong-about-the-resurrection/

More than 4 women

Luke 24:9-10

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.

3 women

Mark 16:1

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

2 women

Matthew 28:1

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

1 woman

John 20:1

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

No women (at the tomb)

1 Corinthians 15:4-8

 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.

This is more than a trivial discrepancy because the number and identity of witnesses of the resurrection tableau play a large part in determining its authenticity.  These five accounts should tell the same story and provide a degree of consistency in enumerating the eyewitnesses to this supernatural event.  Even if it is conceded that the gospel authors decided to leave out details or somehow didn’t see women witnesses as being reliable and therefore not meriting an exact accounting, we should assume that the Holy Spirit would have inspired all of them to present the same details.  This, the number of women at the tomb, is but one of many inconsistencies told of a story that underpins the entire Christian religion. It lends considerable doubt that it actually happened.

(1193)  John makes huge anachronistic mistake

The author of the Gospel of John wrote his account in approximately 90-100 CE, or about 60-70 years after Jesus was killed.  He was aware that in approximately 85 CE, Christians were expelled from the Jewish synagogues. Up until that time, they regularly attended, but Jewish leaders finally put their foot down when it became apparent that Christianity was drifting away from its monotheistic roots. However, when composing his narrative about the ministry of Jesus, John made the howling mistake of presenting the Christian synagogue banishment as something that happened while Jesus was still alive. There are two instances:

John 9:20-23

“We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

John 12:42-43

Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

This type of historical error is known as an anachronism, and it happens frequently when an author is writing about events in the past.  (A more recent example is Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, who, when writing in the 1800’s about a Jewish tribe living in the Central America from 2500 BCE to 250 BCE, included many animals and industries known not to exist in America at that time, such as horses, elephants, goats, silk, steel, and iron.) John’s mistake is on the same level as Joseph’s. This is a good example of why the gospels are not reliable accounts of history.

(1194) Palm Sunday is a myth

Christians celebrate Palm Sunday the weekend before Easter in celebration of the accounts in the gospels of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem shortly before he was crucified.  It is called Palm Sunday because the celebrants allegedly placed palm fronds on the ground ahead of Jesus as he made his way into the city. However, the use of palm fronds was not documented until about 70 years after this event, in the Gospel of John, and the previous gospels told a different story. The following was taken from:

http://www.skeptically.org/bible/id2.html

Jesus’ much celebrated triumphal entry into Jerusalem, also known as Palm Sunday, took place five days before the Jewish celebration of Passover (Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-40). Passover begins on the 14th and 15th of the month of Nisan (late March or early April in the Christian calendar). Therefore, the triumphal entry had to have taken place somewhere between mid-March and the first of April. Mark, the oldest of the four canonical gospels, tells us in 11:8 that this event was accompanied by the spreading of “leafy branches that they cut from the fields” (NSRV). This poses a serious problem, “Where did the people get those leafy branches?” It’s much too early in the year for them. Is this a hint that the so-called triumphal entry, as important as it is to the Jesus story, is in reality something less than historical?

The writer of Matthew, who drew liberally from Mark, makes a small but important change. Recognizing Mark’s goof, Matthew’s writer simply omits any reference to leaves. This means that the people cut and waved bare branches (21:8). A branch without leaves might better be called a stick, and sticks are not normally thought of as instruments that can be spread or waved. It is the leaves that provide the cover on the ground on which the procession can move. It is the leaves that flutter when the branches are waved. So, we become more skeptical.

Turning next to Luke, whose writer also had Mark before him as he composed his gospel, we discover another interesting clue. Luke’s rendition of this story omits any reference whatsoever to the waving of the branches leafy or otherwise. According the writer of Luke the people only lay down their clothes (v. 36). Was the writer of Luke, like that of Matthew, suggesting that Mark’s version didn’t add up?

In the version given in the Gospel of John (12:12-19) we are dealing with a different situation altogether. The writer(s) of John tells us that the people were not waving tree branches. They were waving Palm fronds. Since Palms are evergreen the season problem is solved. However, this version does present a serious contradiction with Mark’s and Matthew’s versions leaving us to wonder just which, if any, is correct.

In the fall of the year, the Jews celebrated the harvest festival, Sukkoth, also called the Feast of the Tabernacles or Booths. It drew pilgrims from far and wide who proceeded to march in procession round the Temple waving something called a “lulab,” a bundle of leafy branches bound together and made up of myrtle, willow and palm. As they marched they recited Psalm 118 and cried out “Hosanna” (Lord, save us). There is little question that the Palm Sunday story is based largely on Sukkoth, the traditional Israelite harvest festival.

Add to this the fact that the apostle Paul appears to have been totally unaware of any “triumphal entry” as were the important first century Jewish historians, Philo Judaeus and Flavius Josephus, and there is ample reason to question the validity of this entire story.

The story of Palm Sunday is another example of a story that grew with time to become something it never was in the beginning.  It is most likely that the author of Mark made up the story to show that Jesus was famous and revered, and then the subsequent gospel authors made ‘improvements’ to the tale. That is, it is most likely the invention of one man’s imagination.

(1195) When did Jesus start his ministry?

In the oldest of the gospels, Mark, it clearly states that Jesus did not start his ministry or begin to collect disciples until after John the Baptist was put in prison:

Mark 1:14-18

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

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.

But in the newest gospel, John, it is clear that  Jesus has started his ministry, is performing baptisms, and has already collected his disciples while John the Baptist is still free and preaching himself:

John 3:22-30

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

To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”

So why did the author of John contradict the author of Mark?  The answer is quite obvious.  At the turn of the First Century, there remained a cult of people following John the Baptist as the messiah in lieu of Jesus.  They were able to substantiate their claim by citing the conventional wisdom that Jesus had presented himself to John for baptism, indicating John’s superiority. They also could point to Mark’s gospel to claim that Jesus must have been a disciple of John’s because Jesus only began to preach after John had been imprisoned. In other words, Jesus was merely a successor to John, carrying on his mission.  So, to fix this problem, it became necessary to document that Jesus immediately proceeded from his baptism with John to begin his ministry, and further, to put words in John’s mouth to the effect that he was simply a forerunner to Jesus.  This is what we see Matthew and Luke and then culminating in great detail in the Gospel of John.

If Jesus and John the Baptist were historical figures, it is nearly certain that Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist and began his own movement only after John was placed in prison, just as the oldest gospel attests.  Then the editing shenanigans of the later gospels elevated Jesus at the expense of John the Baptist, and eventually the followers of John disappeared.

(1196) Jews were entrapped by God

God had to use the Jews to turn against Jesus so that Jesus could be presented to the Romans as a crucifixion candidate.  But in so doing, he condemned them to Hell. The following was taken from:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2016/05/timothy-mcgrews-sermon-response-to-me.html#more

Take for example the Jews of Jesus’ day. They believed in Yahweh, that he performed miracles, and they knew their Old Testament prophecies. Yet the overwhelming majority of them did not believe Jesus was raised from the dead by Yahweh. Since these Jews were there and didn’t believe, why should we? No, really. Why should we? Why should anyone? The usual answer is that these Jews didn’t want to believe because Jesus was not their kind of Messiah, a king who would throw off Roman rule. But then, where did they get that idea in the first place? They got it from their own scriptures. And who supposedly penned them? Yahweh.

Christians will also claim God needed the Jews to crucify Jesus to atone for our sins, just as he needed Judas to betray him. So God needed to mislead them about the nature of the Messiah too. But look at the result. Because he did this, Christians have also been given a reason to persecute, torture, and kill Jews throughout the centuries for their alleged crime (the Romans are actually the guilty ones). Not only this, but the overwhelming majority of Jews will go to hell (however conceived), where Judas is right now. Does this sound fair for a righteous, omniscient judge? It smells exactly like entrapment, pure and simple. [From How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist, p. 250.]

The problem of the Jews rejecting Jesus has dogged Christianity since its inception. It simply doesn’t make sense that the followers of Yahweh would fail to acknowledge their long-awaited messiah.  Also, it makes no sense that God would fail to enlighten his ‘chosen people’ to see the same.  And to make matters worse, it appears that God not only failed to enlighten his people, but he actually shrouded their vision so as to reject Jesus, thus reserving their date with post-life suffering.

(1197) God’s final act of genocide

Located within the book that Christians revere as the word of god, the same book they hold up when they scream at gay people, are the following verses that prophesize the terrifying dimensions of God’s final act of genocide:

Revelation 14:14-20

I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.

Enough information has been given here to approximate the number of people that God will crush in the winepress.  The following is taken from:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Examples_of_God_personally_killing_people

Let’s assume that 1600 stadia (320 kilometres = 320,000 metres) is the diameter of the lake of blood. Therefore the radius is 800 stadia or 160km. Let’s also assume that a horse’s bridle is approximately 1.5 metres from the ground, giving us its depth.

We can then calculate the volume of blood using the formula: V = πr2h. Using biblical value of π = 3 we get the formula:

3 × 160,000 × 160,000 × 1.5 = 115200000000 = 1.152×1011 cubic metres of blood.

1 cubic metre = 1000 litres

115200000000 × 1000 = 115200000000000 = 1.152×1014 litres of blood

If we divide this number by the average amount of blood in a human body, 5.5 litres:

115,200,000,000,000 ÷ 5.5 = 20,945,454,545,500

So we find that according to scripture, at a bare minimum according to one interpretation, God will kill approximately 20,945,454,545,500 people. That’s in the trillions.

However, since it says flows and not pools, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that a river was formed. Assuming they measured the the blood-flow using actual horses, and a horse is 1 metre across.

320,000 × 1 × 1.5 = 480,000 cubic metres of blood.

480,000 × 1000 = 480,000,000

480,000,000 ÷ 5.5 = 87,272,727

So, in another interpretation, God will kill a minimum of 87,272,727 to produce a horse bridle high blood-flow.

Either way, that’s a lot of people that God intends to kill and in a manner that is sure to be painful, if not excruciating.  So the question that needs to be asked of any Christian is this: Why do you revere a book, supposedly written by the god you worship, that contains this barbaric prediction, while at the same time adhering to Jesus’s admonishment to love your enemies?

(1198) Jesus threatens to kill children

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus addresses seven churches that are spread out over Asia Minor in present day Western Turkey. One of those churches was located in a city named Thyatira, which has since been renamed Akhisar.  Here is what Jesus spoke to that city (Revelation 2:18-23):

“To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:

These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

In this tirade, an angry Jesus lashes out against Jezebel, a self-styled prophetess that Jesus sees as having loose morals and promoting false teachings. Displaying rage is rather ungodly, but Jesus takes it one step further by threatening to kill Jezebel’s children.  Any god who would kill the innocent children of a person, evil or not, is evil itself and not deserving of worship.

Moderate Christians will try to get around this problem by stating that Revelation should not be taken literally, but they can’t get around the fact that their bibles contain this dastardly piece of inhumanity.  If any president, prime minister, or dictator threatened to kill the innocent children of a guilty party, the United Nations would deliver a stern warning to desist or face sanctions.

(1199) Luke’s howling contradiction

It is almost unanimously agreed among biblical scholars that the same person wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.  Luke was written about 20 or more years before Acts, but nevertheless it was the same person who wrote it, or so it seems.  But assuming this to be true, there is a contradiction that cannot be reconciled by any Christian apologist- in Luke, Jesus ascends to Heaven on the same day as the resurrection, but in Acts he stays around for 40 days.

The following is taken from:

https://thechurchoftruth.org/the-bible-is-wrong-about-jesus-ascension/

Luke, who is the alleged author of the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts, can’t get his act together. In the gospel under his name, Luke, he writes that Jesus ascended on the first day (see top of page). In the Book of Acts, which all agree was written by Luke, he says he was seen forty days and then ascended. How can this be possible? Two different stories from the same author whose writings were subjected to edit by the Editor-of-editors, the Holy Spirit? How could the Holy Spirit allow such a monumental error slip through into the inviolate Holy Bible? Anyone? Anyone?

In Luke, Chapter 24, the story is told of the empty tomb, the two disciples who were joined by Jesus later that afternoon on the road to Emmaus, then how he appeared before all of the disciples later that evening when the two had returned, and then an immediate ascension into the heavens.  All of this action clearly takes place in a single day.

In Acts 1:3, a very different story is told:

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.

It should be clear that if Jesus actually remained with the disciples for 40 days after his resurrection that there would have been much written in the gospels about that fact and the many teachings and instructions that would have been imparted.  It likely would have taken up the bulk of the gospel text. That the same author could contradict his previous writings so blatantly is almost unbelievable.

The only out for an apologist would be to say that Luke was unaware of Jesus’s long stay until after he wrote his gospel, but became aware of it later and, thus, corrected his previous account. But this concession explodes the myth that the Holy Spirit was inspiring him while writing his gospel.  He would have made a human mistake based on receiving inaccurate information, meaning his gospel was simply a human-generated product.

(1200) God promotes abortion as a form of punishment

Christians, almost universally, believe that abortion is morally wrong, if not equivalent to murder.  But most of them don’t realize that the god they worship has a different view.  In the following ‘holy’ text, God delivers the following threat to a people who have disappointed him:

Hosea 13:16

“The people of Samaria must bear their guilt,

because they have rebelled against their God.

They will fall by the sword;

their little ones will be dashed to the ground,

their pregnant women ripped open.”

Anyone carrying a Bible while protesting at a women’s health clinic that offers abortion services should be aware that their book contains this scripture, and they should ask themselves if they believe that ripping open a pregnant woman’s belly is a just punishment for failing to meet God’s demands.

The form of abortion that God is indicating here is even more repugnant than a typical abortion because it forces the ‘procedure’ on unwilling women. Yet, they still worship this god and state that the Bible is the ultimate guide to morality?

Follow this link to #1201