# 201-400

Reasons 201-400

(201) The Santa Claus analogy

Most young children are presented the story of Santa Claus as a fact of reality. They tend to believe this myth until their critical thinking skills compel them to become skeptical.  The same thing happens when a Christian becomes an atheist, though  in this case it requires a greater depth of critical thinking.

The following is from:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/your-delusion.htm

It nicely shows how a belief in Santa Claus and a belief in Christianity are fundamentally one and the same:

Let’s imagine that I tell you the following story:

  • There is a man who lives at the North Pole.
  • He lives there with his wife and a bunch of elves.
  • During the year, he and the elves build toys.
  • Then, on Christmas Eve, he loads up a sack with all the toys.
  • He puts the sack in his sleigh.
  • He hitches up eight (or possibly nine) flying reindeer.
  • He then flies from house to house, landing on the rooftops of each one.
  • He gets out with his sack and climbs down the chimney.
  • He leaves toys for the children of the household.
  • He climbs back up the chimney, gets back in his sleigh, and flies to the next house.
  • He does this all around the world in one night.
  • Then he flies back to the North Pole to repeat the cycle next year.

This, of course, is the story of Santa Claus.

But let’s say that I am an adult, and I am your friend, and I reveal to you that I believe that this story is true. I believe it with all my heart. And I try to talk about it with you and convert you to believe it as I do.

Since you are my friend, you might try to help me realize that my belief in Santa is delusional. The way that you would try to shake me from my delusion is to ask me some questions. For example, you might say to me:

  • “But how can the sleigh carry enough toys for everyone in the world?” I say to you that the sleigh is magical. It has the ability to do this intrinsically.
  • “How does Santa get into houses and apartments that don’t have chimneys?” I say that Santa can make chimneys appear, as shown to all of us in the movie “The Santa Clause.”
  • “How does Santa get down the chimney if there’s a fire in the fireplace?”I say that Santa has a special flame-resistant suit, and it cleans itself too.
  • “Why doesn’t the security system detect Santa?” Santa is invisible to security systems.
  • “How can Santa travel fast enough to visit every child in one night?”Santa is timeless.
  • “How can Santa know whether every child has been bad or good?”Santa is omniscient.
  • “Why are the toys distributed so unevenly? Why does Santa deliver more toys to rich kids, even if they are bad, than he ever gives to poor kids?” There is no way for us to understand the mysteries of Santa because we are mere mortals, but Santa has his reasons. For example, perhaps poor children would be unable to handle a flood of expensive electronic toys. How would they afford the batteries? So Santa spares them this burden.

The answers given to justify a belief in Santa are very similar to those given for God.

(202) How belief in the resurrection originated

Almost everyone from the staunchest atheist to the evangelical Christian can agree that at some point during the 1st Century there was a group of people who came to believe that a man named Jesus rose from the dead after being crucified.  After that, there exists a widespread disagreement of how this belief came about.

There are many possibilities and it is an academic issue to assign a probability to each one.  The author attempted that effort below.  Here are the ways a resurrection belief could have originated:

Scenario 1: The entire story might have started with a single person writing a fictional story that later came to be believed as fact. This person could have simply made up a person named Jesus or else concocted a resurrection story about a real person named Jesus. Either way, the story could have spread virally and become a popular culture item that spawned additional writings from the gospel writers and Paul, the apostle, that could have fleshed out the story and added details that included fictional history about Jesus’s followers and the acts of the apostles.

Scenario 2: Jesus was nailed to the cross but taken down before he had died. This is the swoon theory. He lay in the tomb for about 36 hours and then regained consciousness on the morning of the third day. This theory has a few problems. First, it would be obvious to Jesus, who by virtue of this theory was not divine, that he would still be under a death warrant and that he would have to exit Jerusalem to ensure his personal safety. There is also an issue of how this story could have ended. It seems unlikely that if Jesus successfully left the area that he would have been able to cause people to believe that he was resurrected into heaven, unless he left unnoticed leaving only the empty tomb.  Nevertheless it is difficult to believe he would have simply vanished without notice.  If he had resurfaced somewhere and was identified, it would have been difficult to hide the humble details of his subsequent real death.

Scenario 3: After Jesus was crucified, the disciples and other followers of Jesus were severely dispirited and depressed. To assuage this situation, somebody (perhaps only a single person) who was sympathetic to Jesus’s mission broke into the tomb, removed Jesus’s body, and buried it in another location. This person then waited to see what would happen the next morning and perhaps acted as an angel to announce Jesus’s resurrection to the women who came to the tomb. This explanation fits both a plausible scenario and conforms to the scriptural descriptions of the event. Belief in his after-resurrection appearances could have been the result of dreams, hallucinations, or deliberately fabricated stories that later became believed as actual flesh and blood appearances.

Scenario 4:  Jesus was not given a burial at all.  In accordance with the Roman crucifixion tradition at the time, his body was left on the cross for several days and was chewed at by birds of prey as it decayed.  The Romans did this for maximum effect.  His body was then taken down and placed in a mass grave with other victims.  His disciples and other followers had visions and dreams of him, leading them to believe he had risen from the dead.  Some followers even made up stories as a means to give people hope that he had indeed conquered death and that his crucifixion was not the final story.

Scenario 5: Jesus was divine and rose from the dead as claimed by Christians.

As a subjective but learned guess as to which of these scenarios is most likely, considering both the details of each scenario and other facts related to the likelihood of each, here is the author’s assignment of probabilities:

Scenario 1- 25 %

Scenario 2- 10 %

Scenario 3- 35 %

Scenario 4- 30 %

Scenario 5- 0.0001 %

(203) God hardens Pharaoh’s heart so he can show off

In Exodus 9-11, God instructs Moses to tell the Egyptian Pharaoh to let the enslaved Hebrews go, but at the same time he deliberately ‘hardens’ the heart of Pharaoh to make it sure that he will refuse the request.

Exodus 10:1-2

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them,  and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”

After sending a series of plagues against the Egyptians, God’s final act is to kill all of the first born males of Egypt.

It is difficult to take this all in. God makes Pharaoh refuse the Israelite’s request for freedom, then kills the innocent children who had nothing to do with any of this nonsense.  And God admits that it is all to show off his powers.  This breathtaking barbaric insanity is in the Bible that Christians carry to church.  It is in the book that they revere as being the ultimate model of goodness, morality, and ethics.

Now, of course, this entire story is fiction. We now know that the Hebrews were never enslaved in Egypt.  But the fact that such a story made it into the Bible and is still retained in the Bible says a lot about the book and the current state of Judeo-Christianity.  The fact that this episode is not condemned by modern-day Christian leaders is a testament to their enslaved and imprisoned minds.

(204) Jesus’s apostles did not know anything about a virgin birth

There is considerable evidence that the alleged virgin birth of Jesus was not known to Jesus’s followers or to Jesus himself, but rather that it resulted from a merger of Jesus’s life with the pagan religious traditions of those who re-branded Christianity for the consumption of the Gentiles.

Richard Hagenston wrote the following at:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/09/29/8-things-your-pastor-will-never-tell-you-about-the-bible/

The earliest mention of the birth of Jesus to be written is not the nativity stories in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, but verses in Paul’s letter to the Romans. He wrote it after having met with Peter and others who had known in person not only Jesus but also his mother and brothers. Despite learning from them everything they could tell him about Jesus, Paul shows no sign of having heard of a virgin birth. Instead, he wrote that Jesus “was descended from David according to the flesh” and was declared to be the Son of God not through any special birth that Paul mentions but by his resurrection (Romans 1:3-4).

The nativity stories in Matthew and Luke, suggesting that Jesus had a virgin birth in Bethlehem (the birthplace of David), were composed later and even his own apostles showed no indication of knowing anything about it.

It is evident that the virgin birth of Jesus was a myth that was invented at least 40 years after his death.  This was most likely inserted into Christian doctrine because the prospective Gentile  followers were conditioned by their pagan beliefs to demand that a god-man or supernatural being can only come into existence as the product of a god inseminating a virgin woman.

(205) Changing the mission of John the Baptist

In the earlier-written gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, John the Baptist is seen offering his baptismal services and proclaiming that the forgiveness of sin is to be attained through repentance alone. But in the later-written Gospel of John, the message has changed: John 1:29-30:

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’…

Thus, instead of the practice of individual repentance as the means to forgive sin, it is now attained through the sacrifice of Jesus, who is serving as the ultimate sacrificial lamb.  This reflected a fundamental and unauthorized change to Christian doctrine, a change that would have been foreign to Jesus or his followers and anyone who follows the Jewish faith.  It was part of the process of taking Christianity out of the Jewish world and into the Roman world of pagan religious practice, a process that would eventually bring about a permanent severance of Christianity from Judaism.

(206) Jesus destroys Paul’s faith

If we are to believe the Bible, then Jesus appeared to Paul a few years after his death.  Consider 1 Corinthians 15:3-6:

    For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

It is evident that Paul believed that Jesus appeared to him and changed his skepticism into belief.  It is also documented in the Bible that Jesus appeared to many people after his resurrection, over 500, and that number applies only to adult males.  But Jesus allegedly said that a person is blessed if they believe without seeing.  So this blessing would be moot for all of those who saw him, including Paul.

Why would we today have to muster more faith than Paul to believe in Jesus’s resurrection?  Why doesn’t Jesus appear to anyone anymore, even in response to earnest prayer?  The most probable answer to this question is that Jesus did not rise from the dead and all of his post-crucifixion appearances are fictional.

(207) Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and is often cited by Christians as being a holy man dedicated to a belief in Jesus.  This is not correct. The following is taken from:

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

Jefferson wrote that “Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God.” He called the writers of the New Testament “ignorant, unlettered men” who produced “superstitions, fanaticisms, and fabrications.” He called the Apostle Paul the “first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.” He dismissed the concept of the Trinity as “mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.” He believed that the clergy used religion as a “mere contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves” and that “in every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.” And he wrote in a letter to John Adams that “the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”

Jefferson developed his own version of the New Testament by cutting out the references to the miracles and resurrection of Jesus, a compilation often referred to as the ‘Jefferson Bible.’ It provides much evidence that although he believed Jesus to be a great moral teacher, he did not believe him to be divine.  It is clear that Jefferson would not be considered a Christian by today’s standards.

What makes this significant is that he came to these beliefs at a time before there was a scientific explanation for human origins and before the full scope of the universe had been discovered, both of which weigh against the likelihood of the supernatural.  It is also significant because it destroys the claim the United States was founded on the Christian religion.

(208) Christianity fears…..yoga?

The following website explains why yoga and Christianity cannot mix:

http://www.evangelismtheology.com/why-yoga-and-christianity-cannot-mix-ever/#.VJn5ql47AKA

This might represent a minority opinion within the Christian community, but nevertheless it reveals a problem with the dogmatic nature of the faith.  It is clear that the mind-numbing, horizon-narrowing effect of believing in Christianity greatly diminishes a follower’s experience of life.  To think that yoga is a threat to Christianity opens a Pandora’s box of imagined bugbears, tending to make Christians suspicious of any activity that suggests a philosophical view independent of Christian theology, including poetry, much of art, many novels, and movies such as Star Wars.

A religion that pinches off much of life into a narrow focus of what is considered acceptable is likely not one that is divinely inspired.

(209) Sanitizing the gospel in newer versions

As new versions of the Bible are being being published, there is a quiet but concerted effort to remove or change features of the Bible that conflict with the evolving ethics of modern society.  The effort to make the Bible more palatable is also changing the meaning and intent of the original authors.  It is also negates the concept of the Bible being the direct and infallible word of God.

Many of the changes that were made from the King James version to the New International version can be seen here:

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Bible/NIV/should_we_trust.htm

One in particular is interesting to consider, Mark 6:11, where Jesus is instructing his disciples how to preach in different cities.  In the King James version it is:

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”

In the New International version(NIV), it is:

“And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

Notably, the NIV omits a noxious threat to people who are satisfied with their religion and don’t want to change their beliefs.  Why was it removed other than to make the Bible easier for modern people to digest?  But in so doing, it is also making Christianity less authentic and introducing a man-made component into what is supposed to be a purely divine product.  Of course, in reality, it is simply an admission that the Bible was written by Bronze age men who knew very little about the world outside of their tiny arena and who had no idea how society would evolve over the ensuing centuries.

The ongoing compelling need to sanitize the Bible is a revealing indication that it was not inspired by a god.

(210) Current-day urban legends foreshadow what happened in Biblical times

There are thousands of urban legends that are started by Christian groups to strengthen the apparent authenticity of their religious claims.  The fact that so many of these legends continue to convince a large percentage of the population even in our modern age shows that the same sorts of legends could have prospered even more successfully 2000 years ago when information was less accessible and people were less educated and more superstitious.  Here are some examples of current-day legends:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_cul4.htm

  • Charles Darwin’s deathbed confession
  • Charles Darwin confesses evolution is a hoax
  • The missing day of Joshua
  • Earthquakes are increasing
  • Vultures multiply in the valley of Armageddon
  • Discovery of Noah’s Ark
  • Mother Teresa’s divine light
  • Human and dinosaur footprints together
  • Bible codes
  • Garden of Eden found in Iraq
  • Halloween is a satanic holiday
  • English fisherman swallowed by fish, survived
  • Weighing the human soul
  • Man of faith walks on water
  • Message from God found in human DNA
  • Success of reparative therapy

These urban legends are started by a group of Christians, probably justifying their lies by claiming that the ends justifies the means. Then other Christians hear the stories and believe them without any critical analysis because they want to believe them as a means to fortify their faith.  This is exactly what happened in the First Century that resulted in the myths surrounding Jesus believed by billions today.

(211) Clergy committing the sin of silence

Most clergy, pastors, priests, and so on, have been educated at theological universities that have curricula that uncover and discuss many of the unsettling issues surrounding the formulation of Christianity and the historical basis of the Bible.  However, their congregations are not educated in this manner, and they tend to believe in the highly sanitized black and white world of rose-colored Christianity.

The clergy are almost universally not telling their congregants everything they know, but rather serve a watered down, highly conservative, version of the faith.  They do this because if they are brutally honest about what they know they will lose half of their congregation.  In other words, it affects their livelihood, and for most, that trumps the virtue of being true to themselves.

This issue is discussed at length here:

https://infidels.org/kiosk/article/the-sin-of-silence-723.html

If Christianity was true, there would not be a need to hide information from followers because it would all come together to uphold the authenticity of the faith.

(212) The missing empty tomb

If the resurrection of Jesus had occurred as claimed, the tomb from which Jesus arose from the dead would have become an instant holy site, revered, protected, and advertised to others by the early Christians. It would have been written about by Paul, Josephus, and other scribes and historians, and become a place of worship by holy travelers.  It would still be available today for Christian pilgrims.

In fact, there is no tomb that fits this description.  The two ones visited by contemporary pilgrims are just for fun.  The lack of a specific tomb safeguarded and revered over the centuries is evidence that Jesus did not rise from the dead.

(213) The Old Testament does not prophecize a crucified messiah

There was nothing in the world of Judaism, the religion that Jesus followed, to indicate that the promised messiah would be crucified. The prophecies in Isaiah 53, Psalm 22:16, Daniel 10, and Isaiah 9:6 have nothing to do with Jesus but rather refer to events occurring well before Jesus was born.

The references to these prophecies by the Gospel writers are out of context and completely mistaken.  In their zeal to legitimize the Christian faith, they cherry-picked whatever they could find to show that the messiah was supposed to be crucified.  Any Jew, then or now, even Jesus himself, did not believe that the messiah would be crucified as a common criminal, but rather he would overcome the powers of the world and establish a new Kingdom of Israel.

(214) John the Baptist declaration forgery

In John 1:29- 36, John the Baptist is alleged to have said upon his first sight of Jesus:

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I,’ for He existed before me. I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water. “

John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.  I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God. Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

Now, about 20 years before John’s gospel was written the following was documented in Matthew 11:2-3, quoting a statement by John the Baptist while he was in prison, in other words, at at time well after the scenario that was described in John:

Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples to ask Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”

There is a major disconnect here that can’t be explained without a lot of mental gymnastics. If John the Baptist said what is quoted in John, then he could not have said what is quoted in Matthew.  Given the chronology, it is obvious that the quote in Matthew is more authentic. Clearly, this reveals an evolving myth surrounding Jesus, with each successive iteration making him into more of a divine being.

(215) If you are not a Jew, you cannot be a follower of Jesus

Jesus was  a Jew and supported the Jewish laws and traditions, though he might have softened some of the more stringent rules. Nevertheless, if you do not observe the Halakha, the collective body of Jewish religious laws, you cannot consider yourself to be a follower of Jesus.  If you do not attend synagogue, you cannot be a follower of Jesus.  If you do not observe the Sabbath, from Friday evening to Saturday evening, you cannot be a follower of Jesus.  If you do not observe the requirement of circumcision, you cannot be a follower of Jesus.  If you do not observe the kosher dietary rules, you cannot be a follower of Jesus.

To summarize, you can consider yourself to be a Christian, but you are not a follower of Jesus.  If Jesus could observe your life, he would not consider you to be his disciple.  You are not a follower of the real Jesus. Instead, you are a follower of the fictional Jesus created by Paul, the Gospel authors, the Emperor Constantine, and all the popes and religious leaders over the past 20 centuries.

(216) Bibliolatry

Bibliolatry, or book worship, is standard practice among today’s Christians. The books of the Bible are seen as inviolate, perfect, and uncontestable, the work of a perfect creator. Whereas pagans worshipped talismans, today Christians worship the Bible books with the same measure of devotion.

What makes this sad and unfortunate is that these books were written by people who lived in a very different world than the present day. It was the Iron Age, a time filled with violence, early death, desperation, slavery, and copious measures of superstition. It was a time when women were considered lesser humans, when homosexuals were considered practically non-human, and when animals received no sympathy or rights. The authors of the Bible books had no idea that the Earth was spherical, that it didn’t occupy the center of the universe, or that diseases were caused by micro-organisms instead of evil spirits.

Yet, despite all of this, Christians are willing to let the words written by these unenlightened people rule the conduct of their lives. They have become slaves to ancient myths and superstitious beliefs. And it’s all because they fail to see that the Bible was written by people who had no supernatural assistance, people who knew far less than they do about the world, and people whose sense of ethics and morals would be considered abysmal by today’s standards.

(217) Women’s rights restricted by forged epistles

It is a consensus opinion among Biblical scholars that the books of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus were not written by Paul, as claimed by the authors, but rather by persons who used Paul’s name to give more authority to their views.  The style of writing and vocabulary used in these books are so different from Paul’s that they could not have been written by him.  Unfortunately, These pseudo authors were intent on restricting women’s rights, as in 1 Timothy 2:11-15:

A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

Clearly, these books should not have been placed in the Bible.  They are forgeries and they distort Paul’s otherwise respectful attitude toward women. It is tragic that they are still being used today to restrict women’s rights, not only in churches, but in the secular society as well.  This also exposes evidence that the selection of books to be placed in the Bible was not guided or inspired by the Christian concept of god.

(218) God’s diminishing power

The god that Christians worship seems to be losing power as time marches on.  Long ago he created the entire universe, then flooded the entire earth, then caused plagues, then walked on water,  then cured syphilis, and finally today he helps people find parking spaces or their keys.  Something here seems strange: why would an all-powerful god lose strength?

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/01/gods-diminishing-power-2/

What should be obvious to a critically-thinking person is that in a maturing, scientifically advancing world, where information flows faster and more freely, it becomes harder to make claims for the supernatural, so all that is left for religious claimants are trivial events that struggle to rise above the possibility of coincidence. This is solid evidence of a false religion.

(219) Jesus misunderstands the importance of washing hands

The following scripture in Matthew 15:1-2 and verse 11 points out a very telling limitation of Jesus’s knowledge:

Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”

“It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”

Most Christians will gloss over this point and miss the fact that it presents significant evidence against Jesus’s divinity. If Jesus was a god, he certainly would have known that diseases are caused by micro-organisms and that washing hands prior to eating is an important practice of hygiene. Not only did Jesus inexplicably not know this, but he went so far as to discourage the healthy practice that was already in place.  The damage to public health caused by Jesus’s ignorance and Christians reading this scripture has been incalculable, perhaps intensifying the many plagues that beset Christian countries over the ensuing centuries.

(220) Excuses

Christians are constantly fighting a battle against what is generally termed ‘cognitive dissonance,’ where the world that they see and experience is at odds with their cherished beliefs. So, they have devised a system of excuses in a desperate attempt to preserve their beliefs. Here are some examples:

-It wasn’t really slavery
-That’s just the Old Testament
-You’re reading it out of context
-It wasn’t really wine, just grape juice
-People send themselves to Hell
-A day could mean a billion years to God
-God works in mysterious ways
-You cannot test God
-If he revealed himself, there would be no room for faith
-My prayer went unanswered, so it was the will of God
-The Devil did it
-Scientists conspire against godly beliefs
-That’s not what’s really being said
-The Bible treats women as being equal to men
-You have to know how to interpret the Bible
-He was talking about the generation of the end times
-That’s not a contradiction, just two sides of the story
-You just have to have faith

It is unlikely that a true religion developed by a perfect deity would require so many excuses for followers to maintain their belief.

(221) God fails to enlighten the faithful about disease

For at least 1600 years after the time of Jesus, the official position of the church was that disease was caused either by sin or by demon possession.  Anyone espousing a different idea was considered a heretic.  For example, the Flemish scientist J. B. van Helmont (1577-1644) attacked these ideas, believing in the organic nature of disease. The Louvain medical faculty denounced him in 1623. Subsequently he was called before the Inquisition and imprisoned.

Visitors from Muslim countries were appalled at the primitive state of European medicine.   Throughout the Middle Ages and even into modern times, Christians continued to believe that diseases and their cures were connected to moral rectitude and religious faith. Today, Christian Scientists and Jehovah’s Witness still refuse various forms of medical treatment.

What should not be lost in this discussion is this: God had over 15 centuries to enlighten church leaders as to the nature of disease, or, if nothing else, to encourage them to be open-minded about scientific discoveries that were beginning to unravel the realities of disease processes.  Instead, the leaders of the church held stubbornly to their superstitious beliefs and retarded the advance of medicine, leading to the untimely deaths and miseries of untold millions of people.  This simply would not have happened if Christianity was true and God was inspiring the patriarchs of his church.

Go here to explore this topic in detail:

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/gg0_medicine.htm#sixteenth

(222) Conflicting resurrection stories

The paramount and indispensable event of Christianity is the alleged resurrection of Jesus.  If it could be proven that this did not happen, Christianity would collapse and become nothing more than a minor philosophical sect of perhaps a few thousand persons.

If the resurrection of Jesus was a true historical event, the story of this amazing miracle would have buzzed around Jerusalem in a matter of hours and then would have spread rapidly around the world.  The details would have needed no embellishment and the stories would have remained reasonably consistent.  If, on other hand, the resurrection was only a myth started by various people who had visions of some nature, then you would expect to see a slower propagation of the news, and a divergence of the story details that tended to change over a long period of time. Unfortunately for Christianity, the latter is what actually happened.

The following accounts from the Bible reflect this divergence in the description of the resurrection:

1 Corinthians 15

And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

John 20

And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst,

Luke 24

And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him. And he went in to tarry with them.And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.  And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

Matthew 28

And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him,they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them.

Mark 16

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

(223) The fabricated death stories of the apostles

Modern-day Christians admit that there is scant evidence for their beliefs, but one thing they routinely cite is the deaths of Jesus’s apostles.  The theory is that these men would not have suffered martyrdom if they had not directly witnessed the truth of Jesus’s resurrection.  Setting aside the fact the many people have gone to their deaths in allegiance to non-Christian faiths, the historical reality is that the alleged martyrdom of Jesus’s followers is mostly a fable.

There is evidence that most if not all of the death stories are myths constructed by holy men with varying degrees of motivation, the most prevalent being that a story of principled martyrdom is fertilizer for fostering faith among the followers.  These myths, once originated, propagated without resistance throughout a receptive and highly uncritical society of believers.  The following website presents details surrounding the mythical death stories of the apostles:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/apostles.html

(224) Christian researchers fail to authenticate their god

The following is a quote from Joseph Daleiden

To date, despite the efforts of millions of true believers to support this myth, there is no more evidence for the Judeo-Christian god than any of the gods on Mount Olympus.

These efforts have included a search for Noah’s Ark, astronomers trying to validate the Magi’s guiding star, biologists trying to refute evolution, biblical scholars trying to verify the Hebrew enslavement in Egypt and other Bible stories, and apologists trying to explain biblical contradictions.  The cumulative product of these efforts has been diddly.  Mr. Daleiden is correct, and given the sheer scope of these efforts, the lack of success is significant evidence against the Judeo-Christian god.

(225) The Christian god is an arbitrary selection by the Israelites

Most Christians don’t realize that the Jewish people had multiple gods at one point and also recognized the existence of gods supporting other peoples.  The following is from:

http://www.theweek.com/articles/486118/did-god-have-wife

After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 B.C., Israelite leaders emphasized strict monotheism in order to unite their different tribes. The idea, says theologian Aaron Brody, was that there’s “one god not only for Judah, but for all the nations.” Before that, polytheism — or the worship of a number of gods — was quite common. Several of the ancient Israelite gods, such as El, Baal, and Molek, were similarly cast aside in favor of Yahweh.

This should cause a concern for Christians, for if the God that they worship is the real and one and only god, why were the Israelites worshiping multiple gods for so long?  Does it not seem arbitrary that they selected one of them as their sole god only when it became exigent for them to do so?  Also, the worship of multiple gods would not occur if only one of them was real because the false gods would have no effect.

(226) The original followers of Jesus thought Paul’s doctrine was wrong

There is evidence in Paul’s epistles suggesting that the original followers of Jesus were in dispute with the doctrines that Paul, who never met Jesus, was preaching. This is highly significant because Paul’s version of the faith is the one that is being practiced today, meaning that contemporary Christians are following a faith that conflicts in some ways with that of the founding apostles.

Here, Richard Hagenston discusses this issue:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/09/29/8-things-your-pastor-will-never-tell-you-about-the-bible/

The Apostle Paul was a man under attack for his beliefs. In Galatians 1:6-9 he complains about those who thought that his gospel was wrong and were causing people to turn away from what he had taught them. Not wanting to give voice to the opposition, he doesn’t mention the issues in dispute. But he was not one to even consider that he may have been at fault, saying in that same Galatians passage that even any “angel from heaven” who dared disagree with him should be damned.

As for the identity of Paul’s opponents, in 2 Corinthians 11:13 he calls them “false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.” But who were they? In 2 Corinthians 11:5 he sarcastically calls them “super-apostles.” In that time, “super-apostles” could have meant only one thing: the original apostles.

This means that apostles who had known, walked with, and been taught by Jesus himself during his lifetime thought Paul was wrong about at least some of what he was teaching.

This leads to a question: Since Paul’s teachings became a basis of today’s Christian faith, would Jesus have approved of the religion that is today proclaimed in his name? Answering that question is the basis of my book Fabricating Faith.

This is a warning that anyone who wants to be a true follower of Jesus should probably look beyond Paul’s theology and try to ascertain the authentic message that Jesus preached to his apostles. That is, if Jesus was a real person to begin with.

(227) God’s inconsistent grace

Christians celebrate and revere God for many of the miracles he performed to save the Israelites from harm’s way, but have no concern about his failure to do likewise for the oppressed people of later times.  This is best explained by John W. Loftus at

http://infidels.org/library/modern/john_loftus/christianity.html#sci1

Christians believe that God freed the Israelites from slavery, yet allowed multitudes to be born into slavery and die as slaves in the antebellum American South. They believe that God parted the Red Sea, but refrained from holding back the waters when an Indonesian tsunami killed a quarter of a million people in 2004. God provided manna from Heaven, so the story goes, but does nothing to prevent the deaths of over 40,000 people around the world who starve every single day, nor anything to alleviate the hunger pains and malnutrition that the starving face throughout their short lives. God is said to have made an axe head to float, yet allowed the Titanic to sink. He is said to have added 15 years to King Hezekiah’s life, but does nothing for children whose lives are cut short by leukemia. God allegedly restored sanity to Nebuchadnezzar, but does nothing for those suffering from schizophrenia and dementia today. While alive Jesus is said to have healed the sick, but does nothing today to stop pandemics which have destroyed whole populations of people.

This point should not be lightly dismissed because it points out the fact that if the Biblical accounts are true, then God must be callously insensitive to human suffering and quite inconsistent in the way he bestows his grace.  And that inconsistency applies to the Israelites themselves who suffered enormous hardships and tragedies after the times that are described in the Bible.  It should be obvious that the most likely explanation for this disconnect is to question the truth of the Biblical stories.

(228) God’s concept of personhood does not equal that of evangelical Christians

Christians are often stating that life begins at conception and that a fertilized egg should benefit from the rights and privileges afforded people under the constitution. They believe that God controls the fertilization process and so each conception is a work of God that should not be messed with.  And they believe that God has a ‘plan’ for each of these ‘persons.’

Given this, it is hard to imagine what God is thinking.  Well over half of these conceptions end up in spontaneous abortions, miscarriages, and still births-  that is they never even see the light of day.  Is this a wonderful plan for these ‘people?’ Why would God allow a conception that he knows will not result in a successful birth?  It is much more believable to assume that no supernatural force is guiding the conceptions and that nature is weeding out the less viable ones as a natural process of life.

(229)  The Bible endorses torture

In the Bible, a constant thread weaves it way throughout supporting the use of torture for a variety of purposes including, a curse of pain in childbirth, as a test of loyalty, as a show of strength, as a means of correction, as vengeance, for persuasion, as a way to punish disbelief, and ultimately as the only way to achieve redemption.

What can be gleaned from this is that the god of Christianity is a gleeful dispenser of pain and suffering for almost anything he wishes to achieve.  A thoughtful, critically-thinking person can easily see that a god with these tendencies is most certainly a product of human creation.

The following website explores this topic in greater detail:

http://new.exchristian.net/2015/01/who-when-why-10-times-bible-says.html

(230) The Bible is not pro-child

The following excerpt from the cited website exposes a nasty truth about the Bible- it is decidedly anti-child:

http://freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/Abortion_and_the_Bible

The bible is not pro-child. Why did God set a bear upon 42 children just for teasing a prophet (2 Kings 2:23-24)? Far from demonstrating a “pro-life” attitude, the bible decimates innocent babies and pregnant women in passage after gory passage, starting with the flood and the wanton destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, progressing to the murder of the firstborn child of every household in Egypt (Ex. 12:29), and the New Testament threats of annihilation.

Space permits only a small sampling of biblical commandments or threats to kill children:

  • Numbers 31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones.
  • Deuteronomy 2:34 utterly destroyed the men and the women and the little ones.
  • Deuteronomy 28:53 And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters.
  • I Samuel 15:3 slay both man and woman, infant and suckling.
  • 2 Kings 8:12 dash their children, and rip up their women with child.
  • 2 Kings 15:16 all the women therein that were with child he ripped up.
  • Isaiah 13:16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled and their wives ravished.
  • Isaiah 13:18 They shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children.
  • Psalms 137:9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.
  • Lamentations 2:20 Shall the women eat their fruit, and children.
  • Ezekiel 9:6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children.
  • Hosea 9:14 give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
  • Hosea 13:16 their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

Although these atrocities occur only in the Old Testament, they were still done by the Christian God, and Jesus, who is God in most Christians’ minds, was directly responsible as well.  It doesn’t take a lot of intellectual power to realize that this barbarism could not be the work of a benevolent god.

(231) Bible content warning

The following sticker message has become popular:

WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Do NOT take it literally.

CONTENT ADVISORY: Contains verses descriptive of or advocating suicide, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, sexual activity in a violent context, murder, morbid violence, use of drugs or alcohol, homosexuality, voyeurism, revenge, undermining of authority figures, lawlessness, and human rights violations and atrocities.

EXPOSURE WARNING: Exposure to contents for extended periods of time or during formative years in children may cause delusions, hallucinations, decreased cognitive and object reasoning abilities, and, in extreme cases, pathological disorders, hatred, bigotry, and violence including, but not limited to fanaticism, murder and genocide.

This accurate description of the Bible’s contents should make it obvious that it is not the work of a supernatural deity, but rather the product of mortal and somewhat ignorant human beings.

(232) Lack of agreement among believers on social and moral issues

Christians claim the the Bible is the ultimate source of morality and that it provides an absolute guideline for what is right and wrong. However, good, faithful, Bible-believing Christians fall on both sides of almost every social issue, such as women’s rights, abortion rights, same-sex marriage, birth control, doctor-assisted suicide, stem cell research, gun control, war, climate issues, health insurance, welfare, corporal punishment, marijuana legalization, immigration, and capital punishment.

If God intended to present an absolute moral code to his flock either through scripture or by way of inspiration, he has failed miserably. The lack of agreement among Christians on moral issues creates a serious obstacle for a belief in their god.

(233) Lightning rods on Christ the Redeemer statue

One of the world’s most famous statues lies on top of Cordovaca Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  It is a 98-foot tall depiction of Jesus called Christ the Redeemer.  Along the top of the outstreched arms lightning rods are spaced a few feet apart.  The statue was damaged by lightning strikes in 2008 and 2014.

The question that must be asked is why is this statue, a symbol of the sincere faith of Brazilian Christians, vulnerable to the same insults as any other structure?  If God is all-powerful and therefore controls the landing points of every lightning strike, why wouldn’t this edifice be a subject for divine protection?  Why would lightning rods be needed at all?

This point might seem trivial, but it points out a weakness in the Christian concept of God.  It provides a certain measure of evidence that an unlimited god as proposed by Christianity does not exist.

(234) The myth of Roman persecution of Christians versus the truth of Christian persecution of non-believers

Christian leaders have created a myth that the early Christians were heavily persecuted by the Romans, with images of Christians being thrown to the lions in the Coliseums for the sporting pleasure of the pagan heretics. This is laughably inaccurate.  Most of the Roman leaders in the first through the third centuries knew little to nothing of the fledgling Christian population, which at most comprised about 5% of the population in the eastern provinces.  And those that did showed remarkable restraint and respect for the Christian followers.

The only well documented persecution of Christians lasted but 12 years and only became an issue as the Roman Empire began to unravel.  At this time, Christian dissidents were seen as a threat to the Empire, not so much because of their theology, but because of their resistance to the loyal service of Rome.  Finally, all persecution of Christians came to an end when the Emperor Constantine converted.

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/persecutions.html

Contrast the Romans bending over backwards to tolerate the Christians with the nearly 2000-year ‘Christian Empire’  persecution of the unbelivers.  It is like comparing a grenade with a nuclear bomb.  The amount of torture and death imposed by Christians on those who didn’t share their beliefs is legendary in its scope, and it leads a thoughtful person to conclude that no religion created by an actual god would have inspired people to act in such a heinous manner.

(235) Christian belief based on a false premise and an innate bias

There are two assumptions at play that create a false sense of certainty among Christian believers- that the books of the Bible are divinely inspired and a tendency to believe what is written down.

The first assumption is that the books of the Bible enjoy a completely unique status from anything else ever written in the course of human history.  Somehow, the books that were selected by a committee of Roman authorities to be placed in the Bible are ALL directly inspired by God (as if written by God himself) and all other books EVER written are strictly the work of human minds only. Further, the selected books are all in a maintained state the retains their divine imprimatur.

The second assumption is a natural human bias to believe the written word, as compared to skepticism that often relates to what is spoken orally.  If someone believes that God wrote something and additionally has a bias to accept as truth something that is written in a book, it is a recipe for suspending any critical analysis and simply buying wholesale stories that would otherwise engender a healthy measure of incredulity.  These two forces at play explain why a lot of intelligent people believe Biblical stories that are undoubtedly fictional.

(236) Christianity’s immune system

Christianity is a faith that considers itself to possess the one and only truth about the world and the only way for a person to achieve a favorable eternal outcome.  This dogmatic posture is fortified for each believer by a set of rules to prevent them from straying off course.  These rules include:

  • Doubt is a sign of weakness or temptation by Satan, the father of lies.
  • False teachers, whose theology differs, should be cast out.
  • Believers should not be unequally yoked, meaning partnered, with non-believers.
  • Non-believers have no basis for morality, so their motives should be suspect.
  • If a Christian acts badly, the flaw is in the person, not the religion.

These rules prevent most Christians from abandoning their faith by forming a shield that protects their minds from conflicting information.  The only reason these rules are needed is because there is considerable information suggesting that Christianity is not true, and without following these rules, most Christians would become atheists.

(237) God is manifestly present until 100 AD, then vanishes

In the Bible, God is a strong and ever-present actor in the world of human affairs.  He talks audibly, he inscribes on stone, he firebombs villages, he send his angels around, he turns people to stone, he stops the sun, he makes a new star, he creates new languages, he sends scourges and plagues, he kills people, he sends his son and gets him killed- all of this up to around 100 AD.  Then something happens- or more accurately, nothing happens-  God exits the stage, he goes completely silent, does nothing whatsoever.

To any person possessing a logical mind, this is a red herring.  Why would an interventionist god suddenly become impotent?  And remain so for 19 highly momentous centuries?  The effort needed to answer these questions is like trying to pick an apple hanging 5 feet off the ground- the god described in the Bible is fictional.

(238) The Paul of Acts vs. the Paul of the Epistles

Paul is one of the most important figures in Christianity and much of modern-day Christian theology is based on his writings.  All that is known about Paul is from the Bible, specifically, the Book of Acts, written by the same author who penned the Gospel of Luke and who was a traveling companion of Paul, and the epistles, or letters that Paul allegedly wrote to many of the fledgling Christian churches.

The problem occurs when these two sources are compared with each other.  In the Book of Acts, Paul is seen as a subservient missionary who is frequently being sent by the original apostles to various cities to preach the Gospel of Jesus. He is never called an apostle and is not seen as a preeminent emissary of the faith.  But in the Epistles, Paul is the one in charge and he is neither managed nor intimidated by the church elders, who he repeatedly chastises for falling away for the true Gospel. He refers to himself as an apostle no less legitimate than the original followers of Jesus.

This disconnect is significant.  It means that the history surrounding one of the founding fathers of Christianity is suspect, meaning that the doctrines that emanated from his alleged writings are also suspect.

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/saul-paul.htm

(239) The evolving and implausible story of Jesus’s interment

Navigating through the gospel stories in the sequence they were written reveals an evolving story about the burial of Jesus, the obvious fabrications that were used in the telling, and the attempts to correct previous mistakes.

At the heart is the implausibility of a man, Joseph of Arimathea (a town with no evidence of its place in history),  a member of the Sanhedrin, who secretly was a follower of Jesus, but for some reason, said nothing at the trial.  He happened to have an empty tomb that was closer to the city than any of the other tombs around Jerusalem, and that was conveniently located just a few feet away from the site where Jesus was crucified.  Somehow, he was able to get an audience from Pilate and received permission to take possession of the body of Jesus and place it in his tomb.

As the gospel stories line up in chronological order, each author attempts to explain or correct mistakes made in the previous versions.  Eventually, Joseph is made into a wealthy man to explain his possession of a centrally-sited tomb and he attains a helper, Nicodemus, to explain how this all could have been accomplished prior to sundown.

For any person who wants to understand how Bible myths originate and grow, this is a case study in the art of deception, fabrication, and outright fraud. The details are explained here:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/tombs.html

(240) Serving up the big lie- eternal life

Almost every religion that’s ever existed has promised its followers a chance at an eternal life, and usually in a very desirable setting. Christianity is no exception.

An eternity is a very long time and it is almost impossible to imagine what it might be like.  The universe itself is expected to experience a heat death in about 10Λ100 years, at which time there will be nothing left, no stars, no planets, no solid matter.  The purveyors of eternal life did not understand the non-permanence of matter and energy, or that the universe itself will die.  But Christianity claims that heaven and the occupants therein will live on.

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

As mentioned earlier, an eternal life would eventually become extremely boring.  Being with loved ones would be a pleasant situation, but one must realize that most everyone would be approximately the same ‘age,’ meaning that you would be same age as your great grandfather and your great grandson, hardly the same chronological texture that gives meaning to the family relationships of our earthly lives.

Finally, it should be understood why Christianity and other religions MUST offer eternal life to be viable. Suppose it didn’t. What could it offer its followers?  It would have to be something in this life, such as increased health or wealth, but that would require testable results. If the results didn’t materialize, the faith would be shown to be a fraud.  In fact, that’s exactly what would happen.  When you are selling an invisible god who does nothing, it is hard to expect that prayers will be answered or that believers will enjoy any advantages over non-believers. Thus, religion must offer eternal life- the perfect lie- a remarkably sweet carrot that cannot be tested in this life.

(241) Relationship between the synoptic gospels

One of the ways to test the historical accuracy of the gospels is to analyze them for textual independence.  By studying the words and phases of each book, it is possible to determine which content was copied from a previously written book as opposed to being an independent account of the same events.  If the writing varies in a measurable way but describes a tightly consistent narrative nonetheless, it offers some improvement of the probability that it is a valid historical story.

The gospels fail to provide any such confidence.  It is clear that the first gospel, Mark, was copied extensively by the authors of Matthew and Luke. This raises the distinct possibility that Mark simply made up stories that were then copied by Luke and Matthew without any authenticating corroboration.  Indeed, only 3% of the Gospel of Mark was not copied in either Luke or Matthew or both. Thus, a tremendous amount of what is written about Jesus is dependent on the legitimacy of a single author writing about Jesus at least 30 years after his death.  This situation greatly reduces the confidence that historians can offer for the content of the gospels as being an accurate account of the life of Jesus.

File:Relationship between synoptic gospels.png

As can be seen in the diagram, there is also a large amount of material that was copied from the Gospel of Matthew to the Gospel of Luke.  It should be obvious that we would be much more certain of the historical details of Jesus’s life if there had been multiple, independent accounts written by eyewitnesses in the first few years after the events occurred.  This did not happen; therefore a huge cloud of uncertainty dominates Christian history.

(242) Luke’s fictional tale about a risen Christ

In Luke Chapter 24 there is a 20-verse story about the newly resurrected Jesus walking with two previously unmentioned men to a destination outside of Jerusalem.  The two men do not recognize Jesus even though they are walking together and talking about the recent events surrounding the crucifixion.   Only after Jesus mentions some pertinent scriptures, breaks bread, and disappears do the men realize that it was Jesus all along.  They walk back and tell the disciples about what happened.

There are many problems with this story, the first being that it is only told in the gospel of Luke, the chronologically third of the four gospels in the Bible.  An event of this significance should have been in all four gospels.  Second, it is highly unlikely that Jesus would have changed his appearance so much as to be unrecognizable, rendering the distinct possibility that this man was not Jesus but an impostor or else just an innocent bystander, assuming that the story was not completely made up.

The next problem involves geography.  Luke states that the town that the two men walked to was called Emmaus, and gives a distance of threescore (60) furlongs (about 7.5 miles).  There have been many fruitless attempts to identify this village over the past 2000 years with no certain success.  However, there is a clue from the writings of Josephus, which predate the Luke gospel.  Josephus stated that Caesar stationed 800 men in a town called Emmaus and also stated that it was 60 furlongs from Jerusalem.  Historical records indicate the actual name of the place where this event occurred was Colonia, but it was only 30 furlongs distant.  It is evident that Josephus’ distance error was copied by Luke in his gospel.

Only one of the two men were named, Cleopus, and he is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. Luke probably made up this name to prevent refutations of his tale. When the two men returned to tell the other disciples of their experience, the impact of their discovery was immediately rendered meaningless, as Jesus appeared amongst all of them.

Most Biblical scholars agree that Luke made up this story to flesh out the concept that would inform future evangelical preachers- that the scriptures foretold the crucifixion and resurrection of the messiah. It is yet another example of Gospel writers playing fast and loose with facts and reality in their documentation of history.

More details about this story can be found here:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/emmaus.htm

(243) Apollonius of Tyana

If anyone thinks there is no way that the story of Jesus could have developed as it did if Jesus was not the divine being as claimed by Christianity, they only need to look at the mythical story that materialized around  a certain Apollonius of Tyana.  He lived from approximately AD 15 to AD 100, so he was about 15 when Jesus was allegedly crucified.

Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman wrote this about Apollonius:

Even before he was born, it was known that he would be someone special. A supernatural being informed mother the child she was to conceive would not be a mere mortal but would be divine. He was born miraculously, and he became an unusually precocious young man. As an adult he left home and went on an itinerant preaching ministry, urging his listeners to live, not for the material things of this world, but for what is spiritual. He gathered a number of disciples around him, who became convinced that his teachings were divinely inspired, in no small part because he himself was divine. He proved it to them by doing many miracles, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. But at the end of his life he roused opposition, and his enemies delivered him over to the Roman authorities for judgment. Still, after he left this world, he returned to meet his followers in order to convince them that he was not really dead but lived on in the heavenly realm. Later some of his followers wrote books about him.

Apollonius came very close to becoming the central religious figure of the Western world, but the selection by the Emperor Constantine of Christianity was a decisive factor.  There is no question that Apollonius existed and that his followers believed that Jesus was a fraud.  The Roman aristocrat Sossianus Hierocles argued in the 3rd century that the doctrines and the life of Apollonius were more valuable than those of Christ, a viewpoint reportedly held by both Voltaire and Charles Blount during the Age of Enlightenment.

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

Here is another good site comparing Apollonius to Jesus:

http://www.truthbeknown.com/apollonius.html

The story of Apollonius provides direct proof that a mortal human living in the First Century could be elevated to the status of the divine by way of the pervasive myth and superstition that existed in those times.  It shows that the Christian story could have developed along similar lines and that Jesus of Nazareth was very likely as much a regular human being as Apollonius of Tyana.

(244) Gospel of John disputes virgin birth stories of Luke and Matthew

The Gospel of Mark, the first of the four gospels to be written did not mention the birth of Jesus.  The next two gospels, Matthew and Luke, both described a virgin birth story, though with major contradictions. But what is most telling is that the Gospel of John, written at least 10 and probably 20 years after Matthew and Luke, did not mention the virgin birth either. This is despite the fact that the author of this gospel must have been aware of the birth stories in the earlier two gospels.

In fact, the author of John in two instances, John 1:45 and 6:42 describes Jesus as being the son of Joseph.  The best explanation for this is that the author of John did not credit the conflicting birth stories in Matthew and Luke as being authentic and decided to omit them from his book, even though including such a story would have made his claim that Jesus was God much more convincing.  He must have realized that the virgin birth was a made-up myth.  One thing should be clear- almost nobody alive at the time of the writing of the gospels was a direct witness of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, which happened at least 60 years before the first gospel, Mark, was written, and at least 70 years before the stories of the virgin birth were first documented in Matthew and Luke.

This evidence shows convincingly that fiction, myth, and made-up stories had no problem being added to Christian scripture.

(245) Crucifixion fiction

The gospels tell the story that Jesus was afforded a trial before he was sentenced to death. This is highly unlikely because the Romans did not hold trials before sentencing persons to the cross.  A valid historian, Philo of Alexandria was living in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’s alleged crucifixion.  He referred to Pontius Pilate’s “continual murders of people untried and uncondemned.”

The gospels state that Jesus was taken down from the cross shortly after he died and within the same afternoon. Again, this is not how the Romans did crucifixion. The whole intent of the execution process was to make a public display and to leave it up for as long as possible to dissuade others from making the same mistake. Typically, bodies would be left on the cross for several days and they would be eaten at by vultures and other birds of prey.

It is quite unlikely that Roman crucifixion practices were suspended for Jesus, but much more likely that the gospel writers made up the stories to embellish their accounts for its intended purpose.  The fictional trial added to the drama of the tale. and fleshed out Jesus’s self-proclaimed godly status. And clearly, having Jesus’s body torn apart by vultures did not suit the image of a divine being.

(246) Anachronism in Mark

In Mark 8:34, we read:

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

Essentially the same words can be found in Matthew 16:4 and Luke 9:23.  What makes this significant is that this is a clear example of the gospel authors putting words in Jesus’s mouth. The Christian term “take up your cross” did not become a meme until after the crucifixion.  It would have been meaningless to Jesus’s disciples.

(247) The missing original gospel manuscripts

Whatever happened to the original manuscripts of the gospels, we do not have them today.  This is evidence that they were not revered at the time as divinely inspired documents.  Otherwise, they would have been safeguarded and would likely still be in readable condition today.

There are many reasons for this.  When first written, they were competing against many other gospel books that ultimately never made it into the Bible.  It wasn’t until several centuries later that people came to believe that the four books selected for inclusion in the Bible had a supernatural pedigree.  Only at that time was a major effort made to safeguard the oldest existing documents.  The oldest gospel in our possession is a fragment of the Gospel of John, written around 125 AD, or about 100 years after Jesus was allegedly crucified.

It is impossible to believe that God would have allowed his climactic message to mankind to suffer such an uncertain path to its final form, defiled by editing errors and deliberate fabrications as well as the loss of all of the originals.

(248) The Virgin Mary and rape

Throughout the history of pagan religions, heroes or god-like figures were conceived by the forceful abduction of a young woman by a god, such as Zeus on Danae. resulting in the birth of Perseus.

http://www.alternet.org/belief/why-rape-origin-most-religion?akid=12596.1922605.TPdvdy&rd=1&src=newsletter1028953&t=6

Christianity fell into a similar pattern, as documented in Luke 1:30-32:

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

Mary was not given a choice in this matter- it was simply announced that she was to be impregnated and that she would carry this child. Being made pregnant without prior consent is rape. To make matters worse, she was engaged to Joseph, and become pregnant out of wedlock and without the services of her fiancee.

Obviously, this is a fictional story, but many Christians believe it literally, and see nothing wrong with it.   And Christianity loses a measure of credibility by copying the insemination myths of prior pagan religions.

(249) The illogic of prayer

Christianity painted itself into a corner by claiming that God was all-knowing and all-good while at the same time advocating that followers submit their prayer requests to him.  The following is from:

 http://www.futilitycloset.com/2014/10/21/wasted-words/

If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and perfectly good, why do we pray to him to intercede in our lives? A human father is finite and fallible — he may not know that his child needs help; he may be unable to give it; or, conceivably, he may not care enough to make the effort. But an omnipotent, omniscient, infinitely good god is incapable of these failings. We’re already certain that he’s aware of our problems, that he cares about us infinitely, and that he’s able to help us if he chooses. So why do we pray?

“That the believer desires divine assistance in various situations is perfectly understandable,” writes Roberts Wesleyan College philosopher David Basinger. “But that a believer would feel the need to request such assistance from a being who is more knowledgeable, concerned and powerful than he or she is not.”

It is likely that every Christian has at one time thought about this problem and wondered how they would know of some personal need of which God would not be simultaneously aware.

(250) Current belief in Noah’s Ark is a modern-day reflection of how early Christians accepted the Jesus story

An ABC News poll taken in 2004 revealed that 60% of Americans believed that the story of Noah and the flood was literally true. Since then, the percentage has likely dropped though it certainly remains high.  As stated in this website, these beliefs are unfathomable considering the facts:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/07/the-leaky-noahs-ark-tale/

  • The ark was 137 meters long, making it the largest wooden ship ever built. It would’ve taken tens of thousands of big trees. Where did the wood come from? Could four men (Noah and his sons) have built such a craft by hand in less than 100 years?
  • Consider how the square-cube law applies to the ark (discussed more thoroughly at Skeptoid). When you double the size of a ship, you double it in three dimensions. That’s also true for every piece of timber. Take a beam, 6 feet long, with a 4-inch-by-4-inch cross section. Now double it to 12′×8″×8″. The volume has gone up 8-fold, but the cross section has only increased by a factor of 4. It’s 8 times heavier but only 4 times stronger. This means that if you take a small boat and double every dimension, you have a much more fragile boat. To make it seaworthy, you’d have to use much thicker timber. How much cargo space would’ve been available given the massive beams the ark would’ve needed?
  • What did the carnivores eat? There were a few extra kosher animals and birds for sacrificing and perhaps for Noah’s own table, but what’s left for the lions and tigers and bears?
  • What did the herbivores eat? Hay could store well, but what about the birds and bats that eat fruit? Most fruit won’t last for the many months of the journey. Did Noah’s sons collect fresh Chinese bamboo for the pandas? How did they provide nectar for the hummingbirds?
  • What did the insects eat? Biologists today would probably be unable to provide the right kind of food and living environments to ensure 100% survival for all known insects, but we’re to imagine that Noah and his sons had no problem?
  • How did the fish survive? With the earth covered by a single body of water, the freshwater and the saltwater fish couldn’t have both been happy.
  • How did animals get from far-away places and then get back home afterwards? How did the penguins and polar bears get to Mesopotamia and stay comfortably cool during the trip? How did the kangaroos and koala bears get to Australia afterwards?
  • What did the carnivores eat after they were released? Remember that eating even a single rabbit or zebra would’ve made that species extinct.
  • Could all of today’s plants have survived months of immersion in salt water to recolonize the land?
  • Some Bible literalists try to bypass the problem of finding space on the ark for millions of species by arguing that by “kinds,” the Bible isn’t referring to species but genera (the next-higher taxonomic level). But this forces them to imagine rapid speciation in the 6000 years after the flood, which is hard for the evolution deniers among them to do.

Consider the fact that we live in a scientific age with easy access to information at the drop of a mouse click, and yet so many regular people, not necessarily the dimmest, believe in something that is obviously untrue.  Now, contrast that with the 1st Century, where most people were illiterate and had no understanding of science. This comparison makes it easy to understand that the early Christians were very gullible and had no resistance to accepting the spectacular claims of the faith, lessening the likelihood that their convictions lend any credence to them.

(251) The silence of the dames

In the Bible, only 93 women have speaking parts, and cumulatively, they utter only 14,056 words.  This comprises 1.1% of the total, i.e. men speak the other 98.9% , or about 1,150,000 words.  This disparity is a reflection of the society that existed at the times of biblical authorship. It was a time when women were subjugated to subservient roles in society, mostly in the areas of care giving and housekeeping.

So the silence of women in the Bible is not unexpected if one assumes that it’s a snapshot of the then-existing societal climate. However, if one assumes that the Bible is inspired by God and was intended to be a timeless document, then the muting of women becomes much more problematic and dubious.  Why would God have settled for such a conventional document that failed to transcend the backward attitudes of the time?  Wouldn’t a god have tried to elevate women to a position of equality knowing full well that the civilizations of the future would strive to reach this ideal? The fact that the Bible is so decidedly male-centered is evidence that it was written by men without divine inspiration.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/04/bible-women-words_n_6608282.html

(252) Christianity suppresses secular education

Throughout the 2000-year history of Christianity, church leaders have discouraged or even attempted to eliminate secular education. Instead, education was emphasized for monks living in monasteries to master languages and the art of transcribing the Bible and other writings by church fathers.  Priests received special training as well and they were often the only literate persons in their parishes.

As a result, illiteracy was rampant in Europe throughout most of the Middle Ages.  In 1800, approximately 90% of Christian Europe was illiterate. The historian Thomas MacCaulay (1800-1859), in his book History of England (1845) had this to say about the Catholic Church’s attitude towards education and intellectualism:

During the last three centuries to stunt the growth of the human mind was her chief object. Throughout Christendom, whatever advance had been made in knowledge, in freedom, in wealth, and in the arts of life, had been made in spite of her, and has everywhere been in inverse proportions to her power. The loveliest and most fertile provinces of Europe have, under her rule, been sunk in poverty, in political servitude and in intellectual torpor.

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

There was an obvious reason for Christianity’s displeasure with secular education- it tended to make people less compliant with church rules and less obsequious in accepting its doctrines. It also allowed church members to read the Bible for themselves, often interpreting it in ways that were contrary to conventional dogma.

Even today, churches encourage religious families to home school in an effort to water down some of the more unsettling scientific concepts, most notably evolution and cosmology.  They elect anti-science persons to school boards for the same purpose, including the manipulation of textbook selection and teaching curricula.

Why would a religion created by the universal deity have to shelter itself from the ongoing advances of general education?  This can only mean that there is something about the theology that is incorrect; otherwise everything that is learned would ultimately point out its authenticity.

(253) Children raised in secular families fare better than children raised in religious families

A longitudinal study conducted by Vern Bengston, a USC professor of gerontology and sociology, found that children who are raised in godless as opposed to religious families are more proficient at rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independence of thought, tolerance, and empathy. They even possessed a stronger sense of ethics and were less likely to be racist, homophobic, or misogynistic.  In short, children raised without religion become better people on average than children raised with religion.

http://jezebel.com/godless-parents-are-doing-a-better-job-1682844001

What this means is that religion, including  Christianity, fails to improve the integrity, rectitude, and graciousness of people, and in some cases may cause a reduction of these virtues. This is evidence that belies the existence of a personal god who cares about and enlightens individual believers.

(254) The bipolar Christian God

Christians who take time to read their Bibles are faced with a dilemma- what is the manner of the god that they worship?  He is presented as being both peaceful and violent, caring and cold, kind and cruel, graceful and legalistic, patient and intolerant, forgiving and vengeful, ambivalent and jealous, creative and destructive, good and bad.

When reflection exceeds a superficial level, it becomes evident that the Bible does not describe a unique deity, but rather the opinions of what many authors think a god should be. So we end up with a tapestry of possible god attributes, but when it’s viewed cumulatively, it creates a being that is neither believable nor realistic.

(255) How Yahweh evolved to be the god of the universe

The history of Yahweh is an amazing story. The following is taken from:

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

Early worship of Yahweh likely originated in southern Canaan during the Late Bronze Age. It is probable that Yahu or Yahweh was worshiped in southern Canaan from the 14th century BC, and that this cult was transmitted northwards due to the Kenites. This “Kenite hypothesis” was originally suggested by Cornelius Tiele in 1872 and remains the standard view among modern scholars.

In its classical form suggested by Tiele, the “Kenite hypothesis” assumes that Moses was a historical Midianite who brought the cult of Yahweh north to Israel. This idea is based on an old tradition (recorded in Judges 1:16, 4:11) that Moses’ father-in-law was a Midianite priest of Yahweh, as it were preserving a memory of the Midianite origin of the god. According to Exodus 2, however, Moses was not a Midianite himself, but a Hebrew from the tribe of Levi. While the role of the Kenites in the transmission of the cult is widely accepted, the historical role of Moses finds less support in modern scholarship.

There are several interesting points here.  Yahweh was being worshiped for over five centuries before fundamentalist Christians believe that God created the universe.  He didn’t even originate with his ‘chosen’ people in the promised land, but was borrowed from a Canaanite tribe far to the south.  It should be remembered that Yahweh was just one of the gods that the Israelites worshiped until they decided to discard the others.  Also, Yahweh was originally thought to be the war god of the Hebrews, and they recognized that other tribes had their own war gods. It was only much later that he became the one and only god, the creator of the entire universe.

Finally, the evolving Yahweh was adopted by the Christians, who did their own job of remodeling.  On first blush, the Christian god looks great, kind of like admiring an attractive car….. until you look under the hood.

(256) Proof that Jesus was not God

If Jesus was God he would have known the future, his crucifixion, the slow and ragged development of Christianity, and the violence that ultimately would be performed in his name. The following quote by Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899) asks some meaningful questions:

Why did he fail to speak? Why did he not tell his disciples, and through them the world: “You shall not burn, imprison and torture in my name. You shall not persecute your fellow-men.

Why did he not plainly say: “I am the Son of God,” or, “I am God?” Why did he not explain the Trinity? Why did he not tell the mode of baptism that was pleasing to him? Why did he not write a creed? Why did he not break the chains of slaves? Why did he not say that the Old Testament was or was not the inspired word of God? Why did he not write the New Testament himself? Why did he leave his words to ignorance, hypocrisy and chance? Why did he not say something positive, definite and satisfactory about another world? Why did he not turn the tear-stained hope of heaven into the glad knowledge of another life? Why did he not tell us something of the rights of man, of the liberty of hand and brain?

Why did he go dumbly to his death, leaving the world to misery and to doubt?

I will tell you why. He was a man, and did not know.

This is a critical point. If Jesus was God, he would have seen the possible future and established a very clear doctrine to avoid the embarrassing confusion that exists in modern Christianity. He also would have established clear rules for his followers to abide by, making sure that atrocities such as the Inquisition would never happen.  On the other hand, if he was simply a human, he would have done exactly as he did.

(257) Jesus’s serious flaw

In a 1927 book, “Why I am not a Christian,” British philosopher Bertrand Russel made the following point about Jesus:

There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment. Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels did believe in everlasting punishment, and one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those people who would not listen to His preaching — an attitude which is not uncommon with preachers, but which does somewhat detract from superlative excellence. You do not, for instance find that attitude in Socrates. You find him quite bland and urbane toward the people who would not listen to him; and it is, to my mind, far more worthy of a sage to take that line than to take the line of indignation.

This is an important analysis for it helps to determine the likelihood whether Jesus was a divine figure.  Both his acceptance of the idea of endless punishment for temporal sins and his revengeful attitude toward those who rejected his message indicate a mortal man with human tendencies fully trapped in his own time and place.

(258) Jesus needs swords

In Luke 22:36-38, there is a discussion between Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper:

And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. “For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.”They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”

There are many problems with this.  Jesus, who emphatically instructed us to ‘turn the other cheek’ and ‘do not resist evil with evil’ now feels the need for a small arsenal of weapons. Jesus, who is God, should not have any need for a sword.  Jesus, who is God, would have known that two swords were available and thus would not have made this order in the first place.

Regarding the fulfillment of what is written, Jesus is referring to Isaiah 53.  In this scripture, Isaiah, by using the term ‘suffering servant,’ is referring to the Nation of Israel and specifically speaking to the leaders of other nations who will be amazed and apologetic when God restores the Kingdom of Israel and makes it the shining example to the world.  The leaders will supposedly be sorry that they had mistreated the Jews.

Christians have co-opted this scripture to assume it refers to Jesus. This is emphatically refuted at the following website:

http://www.aish.com/sp/ph/Isaiah_53_The_Suffering_Servant.html

Keep in mind that Isaiah was predicting the imminent restoration of the Jewish Kingdom though a miraculous act of God. This obviously did not happen with Jesus.  The Jews continued to be enslaved and to suffer persecution for many centuries. To think that Isaiah 53 is predicting a Jewish preacher who gets crucified while nothing changes for the Jews is a miserable, self-serving, and completely illogical distortion of scripture.

It’s very unlikely that Jesus referred to Isaiah.  It is more likely that the author of Luke was doing what all of the gospel authors were doing-  trying to prove that the Old Testament predicted Jesus’s messiahship. On this and many other occasions, they misinterpreted or took scripture out of context.

But what is possible is that Jesus actually did feel a need for swords at this moment in time, realizing that he may soon be arrested by the Romans.  He might have felt a need for some personal protection. When something troubling or inconsistent is documented in the gospels, that is, something that runs counter to the overall theme, it is likely that it describes something that actually happened.  And Jesus wanting his disciples to have swords is evidence he was not the Son of God, but just a frightened and very human preacher.

(259) The missing city of Nazareth

In the gospels, Jesus is described as growing up in Nazareth, a city in Galilee.  The problem with this is that there is precisely no evidence that a city, town, village, or hamlet of this name existed in the early First Century.  It is only mentioned in the gospels, not in any other biblical or non-biblical source.   There is no archaeological evidence for its existence.

It appears likely that Jesus was referred to as “Jesus the Nazarene,” originating from the term ‘Nazara’ meaning ‘truth.’  Needing to situate a location for Jesus’s home city, the gospel authors made up the name of Nazareth.  What this suggests is that they either did not know where Jesus lived or they made up a place that was fictional to avoid being exposed by the residents of any place that actually existed.  Certainly, the fact that Nazareth did not exist in Jesus’s time is evidence that he was a mythical figure.  It would have been risky to place a fictional person in a definite location where the local residents could have exposed the fraud.

Many more details about this topic can be found here:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/nazareth.html

(260) The fading uniqueness of humans

It was thought by almost every Christian who ever lived that God made humans to be creatures unlike any of the other forms of animal life. This stark separation of attributes from the other animals was used as evidence that god had made humans to be his special creation and as a means to showcase them as the focal point of the entire universe.

As science has probed the animal kingdom, this wall of separation has begun to crumble.  Chimpanzees and other primates and dolphins have been proven to have self-awareness.  Many animals have been discovered to use sophisticated language skills, to cry when they are sad, to feel lonely, and to express joy and happiness. Dolphins and whales, as well as higher primates have much higher intelligence that what was previously thought.

Although many Christians believe that morality is a gift from God to humans, many animals are found to be even more moral than humans.  Pair bonding and love shared between animals has been shown in many cases to be more faithful and consistent that what is seen in humans.

Animals have been found to farm various resources, to manufacture and use tools, and to form communities with partitioned responsibilities.

In summary, humans are not unique with respect to the most important attributes of life.  This provides evidence against the idea that God made them for some special purpose or imbued them with an immaterial soul.  It instead provides evidence that humans are the product of a long-term evolutionary process and share the earth integrally with the other forms of life.  It dissolves the idea that humans are eternal beings whilst all of the other animals just die.

(261) Difference in male/female sexual response undermines Christian belief that God designed sexes for monogamous relationships

Christianity would have us believe that God designed men and women with the purpose of promoting monogamous marital relationships, ala Adam and Eve.  It takes 20 minutes for a woman to achieve orgasm, but only 2 minutes for a man.  If God had planned for one man/one woman marriages, he would not have made these times roughly equal.

No, this situation clearly shows an evolutionary tendency for multiple men to have sex with a single woman, one after the other. Added to this, men tend to become disinterested in further sexual activity after orgasm (more so than women), giving way to the next man.  Further, most of the sperm created by the male functions not to impregnate the female, but to fight off or kill other men’s sperm. The ridge near the tip of the penis, the frenulum, functions to remove the semen of other men during the sex act so as to improve the chances of fertilization.

This demonstrates that God did not design males and females to be monogamous marital partners and further did not guide evolution for that purpose.  Instead it suggests that human males and females evolved without any divine guidance.

(262) Three hours of darkness that nobody noticed

In Luke 23:44-45, the author describes an event that happened at the hour Jesus died on the cross:

And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

Some scientifically-minded people might think that this would have been the result of a solar eclipse.  Astronomers have ruled out the occurrence of such an eclipse in this area at anywhere near to the time associated with Jesus’s death- around 30 AD+/-.  Also, since according to the Bible the crucifixion was staged during the Passover, this would correspond to a time when the moon was full. A solar eclipse can only happen during a new moon, where the moon is not visible from the earth.  And of course, a solar eclipse affects only a small part of the earth and lasts at most 7 minutes, not 3 hours.

Additionally, no historian or scientist living in the area of Jerusalem or anywhere else on Earth recorded a period of unexpected darkness corresponding to this time in history.  What this means is that we have irrefutable evidence that the author of Luke made up a story to add artificial significance to Jesus’s death.  This is but another example for why the gospels cannot be taken as factual historical accounts.

(263) Gospel authors used techniques of fiction writers

In the gospels, there are numerous accounts of Jesus’s actions and words when he was alone, that is, when there were no witnesses who could recite what they had heard to others.  There are also references to Jesus’s thoughts, betraying an unlikely scenario that Jesus would have relayed such to his disciples.  Additionally, everything is written in the third person.

What this suggests is that the authors of the gospels used poetic license when constructing their narratives.  What they wrote is similar to a fictional novel written about a past historical figure where no source material exists.  For example, a story about Christopher Columbus with complete dialogue and introspective details.

(264) The empty promise of heaven

Christianity holds out its ultimate reward, eternal life in heaven, like an apple on a stick and claims that it and only it can provide this treat to you.  It is a poisoned apple. Consider the possibilities.

http://new.exchristian.net/2015/02/my-three-hours-in-heaven.html

In heaven, there will be no imperfections, nothing to fix, nothing to improve, nothing to strive for. There will be no comeback stories, no falling in love, no making up after breaking up.  There will be no hunger, no one in danger, no one in need, so there will be no satisfaction of helping someone.  There will be nothing to tear down, nothing to maintain, and nothing to build.  There will be no need to exercise and no need for food or drinks, your spiritual body will be able to exist without them.

There will be no golf courses, no bowling alleys, no baseball or NFL. There will be no movies, no pornography, no gambling, no practical jokes, no white lies, and no raucous comedians.

There will be nothing to complain about, no tragedies, no death, no disease, no injuries, and no dirty messes. There will be no jobs, no money to manage, no elections, no judges, no courts, no marriages, no wedding cakes, and no funerals.

There will be no aging, everyone will be the same age and in generally the same healthy dimensions, and it will seem strange that your grandfather and your grandson seem more like your brothers. There will be no shopping, no investing, no job interviews, no planning for the future.  In fact, the future will be meaningless since nothing really changes.

There will be no pills to take, no vitamins, no doctors to see, and no need to even sleep.  Those things are just a remnant of our nasty earthly existence.

And since Jesus confirmed in Luke 20:34-36 that there will be no marriage in heaven, it is a safe bet that there will be no sex there as well.

So for 1,000,000,000,000,000 years and beyond, what will you do? Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, year after year, forever and ever, you will sit in a church praising your  jealous and ego-centered god, who made you and specifically selected you to be his devotion slave.  Think about it.

(265) Encouragement of war and famine

In Mark 13:7-8, and repeated in the other two synoptic gospels, we read what Jesus allegedly said about the signs of the end times:

And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

Here, Jesus is explaining what to look for when it comes time to anticipate his return to earth.  Apparently, Jesus failed to realize the damage the world would suffer from his prediction.  The followers of Jesus have been hoping for his return for nearly 2000 years, so, when armed with this verse, they have been reluctant to prevent, curtail, or end wars, for by being peacemakers they would be stalling Jesus’s return.  Also, it has led to them being nonchalant about preventing or alleviating famines for the same reason.  Adding to this concern in the Book of Revelation that speaks of a final battle of Armageddon, leading Christian world leaders to the thought of nuclear war.

Almost certainty, the author of Mark put these words in Jesus’s mouth, not realizing the effect it might have on future civilizations. But a god inspiring the author would have.

(266) Christians as vampires

In mythology, a vampire drinks the blood of its victims to attain immortality.  In Christianity, the faithful drink the blood of Jesus, either symbolically (Protestants) or literally (Catholics) so that they can live forever in heaven.  So, in effect, they are vampires.  The point to be made is that when a religion aligns itself so closely to a conspicuously mythological practice, it is very likely to be mythological itself.

(267) Repudiation of family values

In Luke 12:51-53, Jesus allegedly said:

“Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Why would a god come to earth and make such a statement? How can Jesus be considered the ‘prince of peace?’  How can Christians claim that the Bible promotes family values when their savior promotes discord among members of the same family?  Wouldn’t a religion based on a real god promote unity among families, and discourage conflict among family members even if for some reason they might disagree on matters of faith?

This scripture has been used by evangelical parents to mistreat, disown, and dis-inherit children who leave their faith. It is a disgrace to the Christian religion, and it emphatically reveals that it is not the product of a supernatural deity.

(268) Jesus acknowledges the existence of slavery but says nothing about abolishing it

In Luke 12:43-47, Jesus is alleged to have said:

“Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk;the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes.”

In this discussion, Jesus is using the then-existing institution of slavery to construct a parable about his second coming.  In so doing, he is acknowledging that slavery is currently being practiced and that slaves are commonly beat or lashed when they fail to follow their master’s orders.

The following is a quote from Morton Smith:

There were innumerable slaves of the emperor and of the Roman State; the Jerusalem Temple owned slaves; the High Priest owned slaves (one of them lost an ear in Jesus’ arrest); all of the rich and almost all of the middle class owned slaves. So far as we are told, Jesus never attacked this practice. He took the state of affairs for granted and shaped his parables accordingly. As Jesus presents things, the main problem for the slaves is not to get free, but to win their master’s praise. There seem to have been slave revolts in Palestine and Jordan in Jesus’ youth (Josephus, Bellum, 2:55-65); a miracle-working leader of such a revolt would have attracted a large following. If Jesus had denounced slavery or promised liberation, we should almost certainly have heard of his doing it. We hear nothing, so the most likely supposition is that he said nothing.

This is significant.  If Jesus was god and he came to the earth at a time when slavery was being practiced, would it not be expected that he would have forbidden it in the harshest of terms?  Wouldn’t a god have known that slavery is immoral and instructed his followers and the future generations of Christians to stop this horrible desecration of human dignity? Yet, nowhere in the gospels do we find any mention of Jesus making a statement on this subject. This represents significant evidence that Jesus was not God, but just a man mired in the primitive cultural milieu of his day.

(269) Jesus shows temper and violence unbecoming a god

In John 2:13-16, Jesus becomes violent in the Jewish temple:

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”

Variants of this same text appear in Mark, Luke, and Matthew, meaning that is is one of the few events in Jesus’s life that appears in all four of the gospels.  Given that it presents Jesus in an unflattering light, it is likely that it wasn’t something that was made up but rather something that actually happened (assuming that Jesus was a real person).

Jesus’s anger and violent actions betray that he was not aware that sellers and money changers were in the temple, indicating that he was not a god, but just a clueless man.  And if he was a god, it is unlikely that he would have reacted in such a human way, but instead would have maintained perfect composure.

If we think of this event in a modern day setting, it would be as if a man entered a church where a bake sale was taking place, and then proceeded to turn over tables and throw things around.  In that case, he would be arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The behavior of Jesus in this episode is evidence that he was not a divine being.

(270) The Bible ends with a failed prophecy

The last verse in the Bible is Revelation 22:20:

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.…

This verse is purported to be a promise from Jesus that he is coming (back) quickly.  In terms of what the people of this time understood, the term ‘quickly’ meant within their lifetimes.  This idea was reinforced by the gospel references to Jesus promising to come back while some standing before him remained alive.  It has been 2000 years, and Jesus has not returned.  He did not come quickly.  The Bible has a mistake or else Jesus lied or else he is not a god.

(271) The invention of Purgatory

Theologians were perplexed by the issue of babies and older persons who died before being baptized as to their eternal fate.  The problem was created by a scripture in the Gospel of John (3:4-6):

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Because it was assumed that everyone is born with the stain of original sin, dating back to Adam and Eve, then anybody who was not baptized to remove this sin was sentenced to Hell.  This did not sit well with people who lost babies before they could be baptized.

To the rescue, some people began to conceive of a ‘way station’ that was between Hell and Heaven where souls could be purified before entering heaven.  This concept was not converted into formal doctrine until the councils of Florence in the 1400’s and Trent in the 1500’s.  It has no scriptural basis. It was supposedly based on a revelation from God, although it was uncertain why God did not make this clear in the scriptures in the first place.

Another problem with the concept involves the relative time one must spend in Purgatory before entering heaven.  Whether it is a few years or a few million years, the percentage of that time compared to an eternity in heaven is essentially zero.  Which seems to indicate that baptism really doesn’t matter at all.

The need to invent Purgatory reflects a fatal problem with Christian doctrine that stems all of the way back to Paul’s distortion of Jesus’s ministry.  When he saw the crucifixion as the ultimate blood sacrifice, it set up the condition where God could not be both fair and compassionate.  Instead of judging individuals by their actions and character, it replaced that with a legalistic technicality that required removal of sin through baptism and belief in Jesus. This left helpless babies and those living in areas where Christianity was not practiced in the cold.

The need to invent Purgatory is a sign that the original doctrine of the Bible is not one inspired by a perfect deity.

(272) The creation of the Devil

The concept that Christianity is based on superstition and myth is cemented by the widespread belief in the Devil, or Lucifer.  The following is taken from:

http://www.integralworld.net/harris24.html

One of the most useful tools of the literalist Christians was the creation of the Devil. The Devil, some will be surprised to know, does not actually appear in the Old Testament, at least, not as a fully formed character. In a forthcoming book, ‘A Biography of the Devil’, professor Henry Kelly points out that in the Old Testament the work of the Devil is actually the work of several angels working on God’s behalf to test people’s faith.

The Christian concept of the Devil was a creation of the literalists, beginning with Justin Martyr who confused the Gnostic/Zoroastrian concept of a negative force with the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

As the literalists waged their war on paganism and heresy the Devil began to take form. He began to be represented as a distorted Pan-like figure. As the theology of the Devil began to grow it became a useful tool to use to frighten and intimidate people. Christianity used a carrot and stick approach, with some Christians preferring the stick approach. Thus Christianity began to become obsessed with the Devil and to see his work everywhere. This created a Satanic hysteria that led to the truly brutal period of the Inquisition and the Witch trials.

Here is another good resource for understanding the truth about the Devil:

Debunking the Devil

Every open-minded, un-brainwashed person can understand that the Devil is a creature who was invented by Bronze Age minds living in a world where almost everything that happened caused fear and confusion. And further, it became a very efficient tool for corralling people into a new belief system that provided protection from this imaginary creature.  Once you realize that the Devil is not real, the next domino that falls is God.

(273) The many faces of Jesus

If you ask any two Christians to describe Jesus, you will most likely get two different answers, and possibly two widely divergent answers. The following is taken from:

http://www.integralworld.net/harris24.html

There is not one Jesus, but thousands. There is the liberal, social activist Jesus; the mystical Jesus; the cute Jesus as the lamb of God and Shepard of little children; the saccharine Baby Jesus; there is the violent Jesus of the End Times, wielding a sword and ready to toss millions into the fiery pits of Hell; there is the philosophical Jesus; the healing Jesus; the tortured Jesus (the Mel Gibson Jesus); the homoerotic Jesus; the thanatoerotic Jesus; the Aryan Jesus; the Semitic Jesus; the black Jesus; the personal Jesus who answers your most trivial prayers; and the selfish Jesus who favours particular celebrities and sports stars so they can win over their competition (I’d like to thank my mom and Jesus, who made it all possible) – you name it, it’s all there.

The question must be asked- why is it so hard to define Jesus?  Why would God allow so much ambiguity to accrue regarding the central figure of Christianity?   He easily could have provided much more information that would have coalesced into a unifying agreement about his nature.  To be clear, that could have been accomplished by Jesus himself writing the Book of Jesus.

(274) The Holy Spirit fails to align the beliefs of evangelical Christians

Christian doctrine assumes that true Christians are being inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit, 1/3 of the trinitarian god.  That should mean that they would more or less come to the same conclusions about doctrinal issues.  This is not the case.  From this site, 12 examples are given that disprove any relevant activity by the Holy Spirit:

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/DebunkingChristians/Page24.htm

1)  Some Christians believe that the Sabbath Day should be on Saturday like it was in the Old Testament, while others believe it should be on Sunday as mentioned in verses such as 1 Corinthians 16:2 to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday.  And still others say it doesn’t matter just as long as it’s one day a week.

2)  Some Christians believe that water baptism is a requirement of salvation, while others say that it is only a sign or outward reflection of it, and not part of the actual salvation itself.  These latter folks see such a concept as blasphemous and analogous to a salvation of works rather than of grace and faith.

3)  Some Christians believe that speaking in tongues is a sign of salvation and occurs after you’re saved, as the believers did in the book of Acts.  However, others believe that speaking in tongues today is a work of the devil, and violated Revelation 22:18.

4)  Some Christians believe that the prophecies in the book of Revelation are to be taken literally, (eg. the antichrist and the beast are political figures and the number 666 will be a literal mark on people’s heads.)  Others believe that the prophecies in Revelation should be taken symbolically, (eg. the events are spiritual events, not physical events, and the antichrist is Satan in spiritual warfare.)  Still, others believe in interpretations that lie in between.

5)  Some Christians believe that the rapture of believers will occur right before the seven year tribulation in Revelation.  Others believe that it occurs after the tribulation.  Still others believe it occurs during the tribulation.

6)  Some Christians believe, based on Revelation 20, that after the Armageddon happens there will be a thousand year millennial reign with Christ on Earth before heaven and hell are finalized.  Others say that the thousand year millennial reign is a symbolic representation of the fellowship of Christians on Earth from the New Testament era up to now.

7)  Some Christians believe that Babylon the Great Harlot in the book of Revelation represents the material secular world.  Others say that it represents the Roman Catholic Church.  The first century Christians believed that it represented the Roman Empire.

8)  Some Christians believe that you can’t lose your salvation, once saved always saved.  Others say you can lose your salvation if you fall away and start to go back to your old lifestyle again.

9)  Catholics believe the transubstination which occurs during their communion ritual represents the genuine body of Christ, and that taking part in that sacrament is required for salvation, while Protestants believe that such a sacrament is blasphemy, and that communion is only a symbolic representation of Christ.

10)  Catholics believe that praying to the Virgin Mary is a good thing and that she answers prayer and helps people.  However, Protestants think that is blasphemy and worshipping false gods.

11)  Some Christians believe that the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is the most accurate one we have, while others prefer the New International Version (NIV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), etc.  Why can’t the Holy Spirit lead people to the most accurate translation?

12)  Some Christians believe that salvation is a matter of free will and that God lets it be up to the individual to decide whether they want to become a believer or not.  Others believe in the Calvinistic doctrine of election and predestination, which says that only those who were chosen beforehand will come to God for salvation, because without God drawing people, no one would come to God.  There is ample scriptural evidence to support both these sides.

The failure of the Holy Spirit to align Christian beliefs is a strong piece of evidence that it doesn’t exist.

(275) Unveiling the real Jesus

At this website, Valerie Tarico makes the point that if Jesus was an actual person, the conventional picture of him is all wrong:

http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-things-you-think-you-know-about-jesus-are-probably-wrong

  • Jesus was almost certainly married, probably to Mary Magdalene
  • He almost certainly had short hair
  • He was likely crucified on a pole, not a cross
  • He was like others of the time, short, about 5 feet tall
  • He was born in a house, not a stable
  • His actual name was Joshua, not Jesus
  • The number of disciples was probably not 12
  • The prophecies about him were recalled, not fulfilled
  • Many quotes in the gospel were not spoken by him

The mythical Jesus created over the centuries has so distorted the man that, if Christians could get a look at him as he really was, they would be shocked and almost certainly abandon their faith.

(276) The agenda-laden fictional story of Ananias and Sapphira

In Acts 5:1-10  we hear of the story of a couple who sell a piece of land to give money to the apostles:

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

The author of Acts made up this story strictly for the purpose of scaring people to give everything to the church to thereby enrich the church at their expense.  This tactic is still being used today. But what is ironic about this scripture passage is that it precisely describes what all Christians do today- they give some of their money to the church and keep some of it for themselves.  Yet, God does not kill them.

Christian apologists claim the the couple were slain because they lied about the situation, but that is troublesome in its own right- why would God want to kill someone who was doing a good deed, even if they felt a need to retain some money for their own livelihood?  This reveals how scripture was used to enrich the church and specifically those individuals who got rich in the process.

(277)  Fatal flaws in the ascension story

If anything in the Christian scriptures needs to be consistent, it is the description of the ascension of Jesus into heaven.  This is a seminal moment in the faith, when Jesus allegedly left the earth and floated up to heaven.  To Christianity’s embarrassment, different books in the Bible place this event in different places.

In Mark 19:20, the ascension occurs in room where the disciples were gathered (relined at table per verse 14):

So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

In Luke 24:50, the ascension occurs outdoors in the town of Bethany, a few miles outside Jerusalem:

And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

In Acts 1:10-12, the ascension takes place on the Mount of Olives:

And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

In Matthew and John, there is no mention at all of the ascension. This is a remarkable omission.  There are four events in Jesus’s life that require a consistent narrative- his birth, his death, his resurrection, and his ascension.  None of these events are described consistently, and this fact definitively reveals the Bible’s lack of authenticity.  It also strongly hints that none of the accounts of these events is accurate- that they were all simply made up.

(278) The double failure of Matthew 2:23

This scripture states:

“and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

First, as mentioned elsewhere, there is no evidence that the city of Nazareth existed during the time of Jesus’s life, while there is compelling evidence that it did not.

Second, there is no prophecy in the Old Testament or any of the apocrypha texts that states the messiah would be called a Nazarene. It appears to be completely made up ‘fulfilled’ prophecy.

These two issues cannot be dismissed as anything but a distortion of the truth.  This is like the canary in the coal mine, it reveals the scarcity of the gospel’s authenticity.

(279) Christian missionaries condemn more people than they save

Christians agree that it would not be right for God to send people to Hell if they never heard about Jesus.  It just wouldn’t be fair, and Christians like to believe that their god is fair and just.  These people, they assert, will get a chance after death to accept Christ.  Given the particulars of this situation, the acceptance rate should be close to 100%.

But the problem comes when Christian missionaries invade a part of the world that has not been exposed to Christianity.  By telling people about Jesus, it removes their amnesty and forces them to either accept Jesus or face eternal torment.  Since the conversion rate is typically well below 100%, it follows that more people are being sentenced to Hell than if the missionaries just stayed home.

(280) The case of Cassie Bernall

Cassie was one of the 13 fatality victims of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.  Purportedly, one of the shooters asked her if she believed in God.  She said “yes” and then was shot dead.  Her parents penned the book “Cassie Said Yes” which became a best seller and Cassie became a prototype Christian martyr for her generation.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPcap/1999-10/14/026r-101499-idx.html

The problem with this story is that it is false.  Investigators determined that another girl, Valerie Schnurr, was the one who received the question about belief in a god.  The question was delivered after she was shot and she survived.  The witnesses who heard the question were near where Schnurr was shot, not close to Cassie’s location.  The case was sealed by testimony from Cassie’s closest friend, who was next to her when she was shot, heard about the book, and asked why were they saying something that wasn’t true. That is, she knew definitively that Cassie was never asked that question.

Despite the certain evidence that the story is false, the book continued to be sold, and thousands of people continued to believe the story and deny all of the evidence to the contrary.  Initially, the claim could have been perceived as an honest mistake, but repeating it after the truth behind the incident became known to the public is dishonest. They were so enamored of their martrydom story that they could not allow it to be shattered.  Their faith trumped the evidence. To this day, evangelical Christians will claim that Cassie said yes to this iconic question and was killed as a consequence.

This is a perfect example how Christian martyrdom stories originated and were perpetuated.  Once a story captured the imagination of the faithful, no amount of evidence could dissuade them from believing it was true.  Keep in mind this Columbine myth occurred in the presence of video and sound tapes, and intensive eyewitness testimony.  The Christian myths occurred in a much less exacting milieu.  Despite that difference, the Columbine myth survived the definitive proof that it was false.

(281) Martin Luther tacitly admits Christianity is on shaky ground

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was the father of Protestantism, a lineage that currently expresses the religion of approximately 800 million Christians.  Two of his quotes say much more than the words themselves and exposes evidence of Christianity’s conflict with reality:

“Reason is the Devil’s harlot, who can do nought but slander and harm whatever God says and does.”

“What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church … a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.”

What should be obvious is that if Christianity is true, neither of these comments would have been useful, in fact, they both would be damaging to the image of the faith.  But if Christianity is false, then these ideas would be important for maintaining its credibility and popularity.  Encouraging the telling of lies and the suspension of reason is the Rosetta Stone for determining the authenticity of a belief system, and in this case, a belief system that cannot stand on its own.

(282) Heaven is populated mostly with embryos and infants

Most Christians believe that life begins at conception and that embryos or infants that die before reaching an age of accountability are given automatic passage into heaven. This idea results in a rather bizarre description of what heaven would look like.

The following is taken from:

http://new.exchristian.net/2015/02/10-reasons-popular-versions-of.html

Ninety eight percent of Heaven’s occupants are embryos and toddlers. Human reproduction is designed as a big funnel. Most fertilized eggs die before implanting, followed by embryos and fetuses that self-abort, followed by babies and then little kids. A serious but startling statistical analysis by researcher Greg S. Paul suggests that if we include the unborn, more than 98 percent of Heaven’s inhabitants, some 350 billion, would be those who died before maturing to the point that they could voluntarily “accept the gift of salvation.” The vast majority of the heavenly host would be moral automatons or robots, meaning they never had moral autonomy and never chose to be there. Christian believers, ironically, would be a 1 to 2 percent minority even if all 30,000+ denominations of believers actually made it in.

This exposes a fatal flaw in the Christian concept of personhood.  It also points to the illogic of the entire Christian doctrine of heaven and hell – that is, it just doesn’t fit the world that we inhabit.

(283) Paul embellishes his vision story

In Acts 9:3-6, Paul tells the story of his vision on the road to Damascus:

As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.

In Acts 22:6-10, he tells a similar story.  But in Acts 26:12-18, the story changes dramatically:

“While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’“And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.  But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

Originally, Paul is instructed simply to go to Damascus.  But in the latter case, God delivers a sermon of sorts and a holy assignment for Paul to fulfill.  This is a classic example of how myths are created and tend to grow in significance over time.  Even if the Book of Acts is mostly fictional, as believed by many Biblical scholars, it still reveals an instance where the Bible is internally inconsistent.  Only one of these accounts at most can be factual.

(284) The pagan influence on Christianity

The religion of Jesus was the antithesis of paganism and idolatry, but the Christian religion became infused with a shower of pagan symbols, beliefs, and architecture.  Here are some examples:

  • fish symbol
  • candles
  • wreaths
  • crown of thorns
  • processions
  • church buildings
  • clerical vestments
  • vow of silence
  • hymns and carols
  • bells and bell ringing
  • Easter season
  • Christmas season
  • wedding customs
  • baptism
  • speaking in tongues
  • seven sacraments
  • ceremonial eating of bread and wine
  • virgin birth

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa1.htm

The pagan influence became prominent in the first few centuries after Jesus’s ministry, especially as the religion became the official faith of the Roman Empire.  However, a religion that purports to be the creation of the one true god should have been free from these influences.  The large pagan intrusion into Christianity is solid evidence that it is a man-made religion.

(285) Major Christian faith groups deny the trinity

Mainline Christianity proposes that God is composed of three entities- the father, the son, and the holy spirit.  This doctrine was constructed over several centuries of ecclesiastic debates and was generally accepted despite a lack of support in the Bible.

The following website lists 9 Christian faiths, among many not mentioned, that reject the doctrine of the trinity:

http://christianity.about.com/od/christiandoctrines/tp/denytrinity.htm

The list includes the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christian Science.  These major Christian faith groups disagree with one of the central tenets of conventional Christianity.  This highlights one of the critical problems with Christian doctrine- it is very poorly defined.  Something as important as the nature of the god that is the focus of worship should be clearly laid out without need for interpretation or space for disagreement.  This is clearly not a work of God, but instead the work of man.

(286) Jesus’s prophecy about the temple destruction is not fulfilled

In Mark 13:1-2, Jesus is alleged to have foreseen the destruction of the Jerusalem temple:

As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

This prophecy was not fulfilled as the destruction of the temple in AD 70 left many stones upon each other including the Wailing Wall, which is a focus of contemporary pilgrims.

(287) Author of Luke makes Jesus look insensitive to elevate the church above family

In one of the gospel verses that is conveniently ignored by most Christians, Jesus is approached by a man who wants to follow him, but makes a sensible request to alert his family members of his impending absence.  Luke 9:61-62:

Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

The biggest question is how did this get written into the gospel?  It makes little sense and it would not be anything that a priest or pastor today would tell a congregant who is deciding to devote his life to church service.  Also, it appears unseemly for a god to be so insensitive to personal feelings, both of the man himself and his family members.

Now, many apologists will claim that this is a parable and is not be taken literally- that is, Jesus did not actually say this.  The problem with that argument is that parables are clearly designated in the scriptures.  This one is not.  Also, if disguised parables are presented as actual events, what other stories that appear to be actual events are instead parables?

The motivation of the author to include this exchange was likely to reinforce the idea that devotion to the church should take precedence over family, an idea that served the church leaders handsomely, both in growing the faith and in gathering goods, services, and money.

(288) The obvious fiction of Herod’s death

In Acts 12:19-23, a story is told of the death of King Herod.  It is clearly fictional based on its absurdity and the lack of any corroborating Roman historical document.

Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply. On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

If this occurred it would have generated a plethora of documentation, especially in the writings of the meticulous Roman scribes.  It didn’t.  Also, the idea of an angel striking down a person and then having worms immediately eating him is the stuff of fairy tales, to be generous. Why this is significant is that Christians often use stories in the Book of Acts to justify their argument that the disciples died for their beliefs as martyrs.  The blatant fiction of Herod’s death casts aspersions on the authenticity of the martyrdom stories.

(289) Jesus gives an answer not in accord with modern Christianity

In Matthew 19:16-21, Jesus is asked by a man what he must do to attain eternal life.  His answer does not comply with the Christian concept of atonement- that the only way to heaven is to accept the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross:

And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

If Jesus believed the same as modern Christianity, his answer would have been:

Believe thou with all thy heart that I have come to cleanse the multitudes of their sins with my blood. He that believeth in my atonement shall have eternal life.  He that believeth not shall be damned for eternity.

There is no stronger evidence that Jesus was not a Christian by today’s standards.  The answer he gave to the man is not the answer that would be given by any conventional Christian today.  It is obvious that the religion of Jesus is not the religion of Christianity, but rather Christianity is the religion of Paul.

Whether Jesus ever had this exchange or not, it is evident that what he is alleged to have said was the understanding of the author of Matthew at the time (around 75 AD) and was most likely the most accurate description of the core beliefs of the Jesus followers of that time.

(290) The Wizard of Oz analogy

In the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her companions come face to face with the Great Oz who speaks to them in a dramatic and threatening voice. They are quite scared.  But Toto, Dorothy’s dog, notices a bustle behind a curtain and exposes a man who is pulling levers and speaking into a microphone.  He is clearly running the show and everyone immediately realizes that the Great Oz is just a fantasy.  It is hard to believe that the author of the book, L. Frank Baum, was not thinking of The Great Oz as being a metaphor for the Christian god.

Over the past 2000 years there have been hundreds of thousands of men standing behind the proverbial curtain, pulling levers and voicing the Great Yahweh, giving him a commanding and menacing demeanor, one that causes fear and respect from Christian followers.  But as in Oz, time after time, the man behind the curtain is unveiled, and we see that what we had believed was a great work by this great god was actually just a simple mechanism of the natural world.  The Great Yahweh is revealed to be impotent, not really doing anything, and only continuing to exist because of a stubborn refusal, in the face of mounting evidence, to part with a cherished dream-  a dream of an ultimate purpose and an ultimate reward.

(291) Devastating contradiction for how to attain eternal life

In Matthew 25:31-46, we have Jesus telling the parable of the sheep and the goats:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

In John 3:16, we have Jesus saying this:

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

It is clear that the people condemned in Matthew 25 believed in Jesus, but were denied heaven because they didn’t do enough to help the poor.  Modern Christianity has completely abrogated what Jesus said in Matthew 25 and has instead adopted what Jesus said in John 3, claiming that salvation depends only on accepting Jesus and is not a reward for doing good works.  But what is certainly true is that Matthew was written well before John and therefore is more likely to reflect that true philosophy of Jesus.  What Paul and the author of John wrote were later revisions of Christian doctrine that were given prominence when the Nicea conference selected the books for the Bible and developed the orthodox Christian creed. This is profound evidence that Christianity is not the faith of Jesus.

Furthermore, Christians living today in the United States by and large ignore the parable of the sheep and goats.  They tend to vote for Republicans who do everything they can to curtail programs for the poor, including supplemental food assistance, early education, unemployment insurance, social security, affordable health care, and public housing assistance.  This is directly opposite of what Jesus said in Matthew 25.  Some of them will rationalize that they don’t think government should be involved in helping the poor but rather that churches and charities should be the primary caregivers. The problem with this is that 90% of the money going into government programs goes directly to the poor, while less than 10% of the money going to churches ends up helping them, the bulk going to pay for the building, maintenance, the paid staff, and programs that benefit the comfortable parishioners at the expense of people who are more in need.

(292) The center of Christianity

Jesus concentrated his ministry in and around Jerusalem.   It was where he was crucified and where he supposedly ascended into heaven. It was the Jews in Judea who were the focus of preaching. Meanwhile, the Romans were the reviled occupiers of his native land and the deliverers of his death sentence.

Given these facts, why is the center of Christianity located in Rome instead of Jerusalem? Why is the Vatican not located in Jerusalem? Why is Jerusalem not populated with a Christian majority?  The answer is self-evident:  Christianity is a manufactured religion.

(293) God had to know in advance which books would be selected for the Bible

Over the times that Judeo-Christian authors were busy, approximately 600 BC to about 150 AD, there were several hundred books written about the pertinent events of the Jews and early Christians.  Alone, there were 60 gospels written about the life and times of Jesus.  Out of these, only 66 books, including only 4 gospels, were selected for inclusion in the Bible.

Christians believe that the selected books, and only those books, were inspired by God.  The other books were simply the work of human minds.  This would mean that God would have to have known in advance which books were destined to be selected so he could make sure not to inspire any of the others.

To be fair, Christians will claim that the Holy Spirit inspired the committee that selected the books for inclusion.  This might seem plausible, if one is inclined to believe in such a thing, but a look at the history of the selection process and the conflicts and disagreements that ensued, not to mention the fact that even to this day there remains not one, but several versions of the books in the holy scriptures, suggests that the Holy Spirit did a very lousy job if indeed this reflects its work.

It should seem strange that God, looking down at these writers, would chose to inspire the words of only a  few of them and allow the others to document what is now considered apocryphal, or fictitious, accounts that would only cause confusion and lead people away from the truth.

(294) Jesus could not have claimed to be God AND had 12 disciples and a multitude of followers

In John 10:30, Jesus is alleged to have stated “I and the Father are one.”  Those hearing this statement picked up stones to throw at him because they interpreted this as being  blasphemous.  In John 10:38 Jesus goes on to say “the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

There is a serious disconnect here.  On one hand the gospel is stating that Jesus claimed to be God and on the other hand it is asserting that he had 12 disciples- men who left their livelihoods to do his bidding for several years, as well as a multitude of ancillary followers who adored him and placed palm fronds on his path to Jerusalem.   This is an impossibility, for if Jesus claimed to be God he would most certainly have had zero disciples and zero followers and would have been immediately rejected by the Jews as a heretic.  For a man to claim equality with God would have been anathema to any Jew living at that time, including Peter, John, and James.

It is clear that if Jesus was an actual historical figure and possessed the followers as described in the gospels, then he must never have claimed to be god.  And this is what is seen in the first three gospels- Mark, Matthew, and Luke.  Only in the Book of John is Jesus seen to be making this claim- and it is clearly a deliberate distortion of the true history that was made by later theologians, most notably Paul and his followers who transformed Christianity into a faith that was acceptable to the pagans and the gentiles.

(295) Jesus’s flawed moral character

Bertrand Russell made a valid point in his 1927 essay “Why I am Not a Christian” concerning the moral character of Jesus:

There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment. Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels did believe in everlasting punishment, and one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those people who would not listen to His preaching — an attitude which is not uncommon with preachers, but which does somewhat detract from superlative excellence. You do not, for instance find that attitude in Socrates. You find him [Socrates] quite bland and urbane toward the people who would not listen to him; and it is, to my mind, far more worthy of a sage to take that line than to take the line of indignation.

This is perhaps one of the strongest pieces of evidence that Jesus was not the god of the universe- that he supported the idea of everlasting punishment for finite sins.  It brings up a crucial conundrum for Christianity, which likes to hold two truths at once- that Jesus was God, and that God is good.  This is an impossibility. Either Jesus was not God, and God is good, or Jesus was God, and God is not good. [or both are not good or there is no God].  The other possibility is that Jesus never mentioned Hell and it was just an invention by the authors of the gospels to frighten people into submission. But if that is the case, then the gospels have no authenticity and should be discarded.

(296) The three stages of God’s barbarity

Christopher Hitchens made the following observation about the stages of God’s punishment plan:

The god of Moses would call for other tribes, including his favorite one, to suffer massacre and plague and even extirpation, but when the grave closed over his victims he was essentially finished with them unless he remembered to curse their succeeding progeny. Not until the advent of the Prince of Peace do we hear of the ghastly idea of further punishing and torturing the dead.

As one steps through the books of the Bible,  there is a progression of the ways that God punishes the people he has made:

Stage 1:  Genocide, massacres, exterminations, plagues, etc. killing the people he dislikes, but leaving them dead in their graves and being done with them.

Stage 2:  Cursing the progeny of the miscreants, so that the sons and daughters suffer for the sins of their ancestors.

Stage 3:  Not being satisfied with just killing people, but continued, if not everlasting, post-death punishment in a lake of fire stoked by the devil and his demons.

It can be seen by anyone possessing logical faculties that this is not the footprint of a celestial deity but rather the handiwork of men bent on controlling people by instilling fear and trepidation.  The God of the Bible is clearly an invention of primitive, superstitious, and tyrannical human minds.

(297) Inconsistency in identifying which books to place in the Bible

It is a historical fact that different faith groups have determined a different selection of books that are considered scriptural- that is, those considered to be divinely inspired versus those that are only of human creation.  This problem was created because the Bible does not enumerate its own component parts.  As seen in the table below, the number of books also differs, resulting in the absence of a an absolute definition of what the Bible contains.  This inconsistency is a hallmark of a human endeavor, not one being controlled by a perfect deity.

Religion Accepted canon
Judaism Hebrew canon (24 books)
Samaritanism Samaritan canon (5 books)
Roman Catholicism Catholic canon (73 books)
Protestantism Protestant canon (66 books)
Eastern Orthodox Churches Eastern Orthodox canon (78 books)
Ethiopian Orthodox Church Orthodox Tewahedo canon (81 books, variable)

(298) Forgery to legitimize the doctrine of the trinity

In the King James version of the Bible, 1 John 5:6-8 reads as follows:

This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

This is the most unambiguous description of the trinity doctrine in the Bible, which is the idea that God consists of three beings-the Father, the Son (Word is a metaphor), and the Holy Ghost (or more commonly, the Holy Spirit).  However, the general consensus of Biblical scholars is that this passage is a Latin corruption that entered the Greek manuscript tradition in subsequent copies. In other words, it is a forgery inserted with the obvious intent to provide support for the trinity doctrine, which otherwise is not scriptural.

Because of its specious origin, the underlined phrase above has been removed from most modern versions of the Bible. However, it remains a revealing reminder that Biblical scripture underwent many revisions, edits, and forgeries from the original manuscripts to the oldest ones available for contemporary research.  Many of these alterations, unlike this one, were undoubtedly undetectable and continue to enjoy an undeserved authenticity.

(299) Cleaning up embarrassing issues

As Christian theology evolved, there were certain textual issues that came into conflict with the revised theology.  As these conflicts grew, Christian authors took to editing out the embarrassing aspects in later texts.  One of the best examples of this process involves the story of Jesus’s baptism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_criticism#New_Testament

The evolution of the depiction of the Baptism of Jesus exhibits the criterion of embarrassment. In the Gospel of the Hebrews, Jesus is but a man submitting to another man for the forgiveness of the “sin of ignorance” (a lesser sin, but sin nonetheless). Matthew’s description of the Baptism adds John’s statement to Jesus: “I should be baptized by you”, attempting to do away with the embarrassment of John baptising Jesus, implying John’s seniority. Similarly, it resolves the embarrassment of Jesus undergoing baptism “for the forgiveness of sin”, the purpose of John’s baptising in Mark, by omitting this phrase from John’s proclamations. The Gospel of Luke says only that Jesus was baptized, without explicitly asserting that John performed the baptism. The Gosple of John goes further and simply omits the whole story of the Baptism. This might show a progression of the Evangelists attempting to explain, and then suppress, a story that was seen as embarrassing to the early church.

It is inevitable that when a textual work is produced while the doctrine is still evolving that there will be instances where the older text no longer supports the updated doctrine.  This is what happened during the development of Christianity.  It is why the messages, stories, and doctrines of the Christian Bible are not consistent, but rather show a gradual change over the time of authorship.  It is why the Gospel of John differs so dramatically from the other three gospels.

The fact that Christian doctrine evolved so dramatically over the first several decades following Jesus’s ministry provides evidence that it is a construct more of human than divine minds.

(300) Jesus lies about his location after death

In Matthew 12:40, Jesus states:

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

This refers to the elapsed time after he was to die on the cross and before his resurrection.

But in Luke 23:42-43, the following exchange occurs between Jesus and a criminal being crucified next to him:

And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He [Jesus] said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

These statements cannot both be true, unless Jesus went to heaven immediately after death in a spiritual sense only, then returned to his physical body three days later.  One is left to pick between a clear contradiction or a highly implausible explanation.

(301) Early Christians did not distinguish between what the earthly Jesus spoke and what the risen Jesus spoke through his prophets

To the 1st Century Christians, after the Ascension, Jesus was still alive and still speaking through his living prophets. To them, it didn’t matter whether he said something in person or spoke through one of his disciples- it was still a message from Jesus either way.  So when the gospels were written, some of the ‘messages’ sent to his followers were included as if they were statements made by the earthly Jesus.  It is easy to see how such a system can be corrupted. But it is also easier to explain how the gospel writers could claim to be so precise in what Jesus said, that is, if he just said it a few days ago to them in person.

The following is a quote from John C Meagher’s book, The Five Gospels:

The New Testament contains unreliable surmises…Let me cite one fairly typical and significant example, from the opening page of the first chapter of Norman Perrin’s important and influential book, Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus. Perrin gives his reasons why teaching ascribed to Jesus is likely to be rather a teaching that stems from the early Church, not from Jesus himself. I quote the first three reasons, “The early Church made no attempt to distinguish between the words the earthly Jesus had spoken and those spoken by the risen Lord through a prophet in the community…” “The early Church absolutely and completely identified the risen Lord of her experience with the earthly Jesus of Nazareth…” “Further, the gospel form was created to serve the purposes of the early Church, but historical reminiscence was not one of those purposes”. (John C. Meagher, The Five Gospels, 1989, p. 9)

This method of documenting the life of a historical figure would be emphatically rejected today.  It would be similar to someone writing a biography of John F.  Kennedy and including some quotes he received telepathically from the deceased president.

(302) Rape as a pathway to marriage

In Deuteronomy 22:28-29, we are graced with the following instruction from the almighty deity:

If a man encounters a young woman, a virgin who is not engaged, takes hold of her and rapes her, and they are discovered, the man who raped her must give the young woman’s father 50 silver shekels, and she must become his wife because he violated her. He cannot divorce her as long as he lives.

This is in the Bible that every Christian carries, and its absurdity, cruelty, and atrociousness should alert any thinking person that this is not the word of a god.  It is rather the word of man to justify rape by offering a feeble recompense that in no way relieves the aggrieved woman of her terror, but rather subjects her to continued terror.

What is written above is part of Jewish Law.  Keep in mind what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19:

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore, Jesus states that the law of the raped woman must remain in effect until heaven and earth pass away, and that anyone who attempts to annul it is the least in the kingdom of heaven.  This alone should be enough for anyone to realize that Jesus, at least as he is depicted in the gospels, is not a god- for he endorsed a disgusting rule that could not have been made by a celestial deity.

(303) The pathologies of Christianity

As a belief system Christianity has spawned many harmful effects, such as:

  • shame for being homosexual or masturbation
  • proscribing sex before marriage, leading many young people to marry too early and for the wrong reasons, resulting in unstable relationships and broken homes
  • stunting children’s education by isolating them from conventional scientific knowledge to protect a religious world view
  • building a bedrock on which to relegate women to second tier status
  • desensitizing followers to environmental issues by foisting the empty promise of an imminent return of Jesus
  • providing a basis for beating children

These unfavorable effects are not part and parcel of what should be expected of a belief system designed by an infinitely intelligent being, or even for that matter, intelligent humans.

(304) Brian Williams

The NBC News anchor from 2004 to 2015 was placed on administrative leave after it was confirmed that he had embellished several details of his reporting exploits, both war and weather related.  This was a person in the public spotlight whose position requires an unwavering commitment to objective truth.  And yet he told some things that were not true.

This is a modern-day example of what happened in the First Century after Jesus was crucified.  Unlike modern-day public figures held under the microscope of constant scrutiny and fact checking, the influential people of that time were much less held accountable to objective truth, and they were highly motivated to tell and write stories that captured people’s imagination. So for about 30 years this process continued until the first words were placed on papyrus about the life of Jesus. This is the most compelling reason to doubt the accuracy of the gospel stories.

(305) Universe lacks features of a designer

Whenever architects and engineers design a building that’s subsequently built, it has the look of a finished and  well-polished product, absent of mismatched or astray features.  This is what we would expect of a divine creator.

Christianity claims that God created the universe.  But what we see of the universe does not have the appearance of something that was designed by an intelligent being.  There are stars that are exploding, galaxies colliding, and asteroids and comets bombarding planets and moons. One example is the recently photographed Mimas, a moon of Saturn. Its pockmarked surface testifies to thousands of impacts over its history:

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141021.html

It’s hard to look at this image and imagine that it is a product designed by an infinitely intelligent being.

The lack of symmetry and order in the universe is evidence that it is not the product of a divine creator.

(306) Extinction of species

Of all the species of animals that ever lived on the Earth, only 0.2% of them remain alive today.  Humans themselves were almost made extinct 70,000  years ago following a gigantic volcanic eruption in Sumatra.  At this time, only about 2000 humans remained alive on the planet.  It was a very close call.  Had humans died at this point, the chimpanzees of today would be the masters of the environment.

What this shows with unmistakable certainty is that there was no supernatural designer of the Earth’s biosphere or any deity managing the process of evolution.  It screams loud and clear that the Christian view of a god overseeing and governing the world is completely false.

(307) Asteroid impacts

Much of Earth’s biological history has been overwritten by a series of large asteroid impacts,  most famously the Chicxulub impact 65 million years ago that led to the demise of the dinosaurs and rise of the mammals ultimately leading to the emergence of humans.

The 10 largest impact craters that have been identified are discussed here:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130214-biggest-asteroid-impacts-meteorites-space-2012da14/

These craters range in age from 2 billion to 35 million years old and many of them mark the boundaries between various eras and periods of the Earth’s history.  Why this refutes Christianity is that a designer god fully in control of cosmic occurrences would not likely use asteroid impacts as a means to further his favored direction of evolution.  It suggests that if a god exists, it has no control over how heavenly bodies interact.  This does not mesh with the Christian concept of an all-powerful god.

(308) Universe from nothing

Christians often use the existence of the universe as proof that a god must exist.  Until recently, science had little to say on this matter.  However, our expanding understanding of quantum physics has led to an explanation of how the universe could have originated from nothing- no time, no space, no matter, no energy.

An excerpt from this Scientific American article (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2014/05/22/is-all-the-universe-from-nothing/) explains how this could happen:

According to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, quantum fluctuations in the metastable false vacuum – a state absent of space, time or matter – can give rise to virtual particle pairs. Ordinarily these pairs self-annihilate almost instantly, but if these virtual particles separate immediately, they can avoid annihilation, creating a true vacuum bubble. The Wuhan team’s equations show that such a bubble has the potential to expand exponentially, causing a new universe to appear.

An update to this theory, using the newly developed mathematics of doubly special relativity, can be found here:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/612340/Origin-of-the-universe-riddle-solved-by-Canadian-physicists-and-er-it-wasn-t-God?_ga=1.138781043.1362311029.1446751641

The fact that God is not needed to explain the creation of the universe, or any of the events that have since occurred, is a strong piece of evidence against Christianity and any other religion proclaiming the existence of a supernatural being.

(309) God waits an infinite period of time before creating the universe

Christians assume that God was not created but rather that he has always existed.  If the universe is 13.8  billion years old, as scientists have calculated, and that God created it at this time, then it must be asked why did God wait for trillions and trillions of years (in total nothingness) before setting off the Big Bang?

Even if it assumed that he has been creating universes continuously and that ours is just the latest one,  then at some point, you would still come to the same question.  That is unless you assume that the universes also go back infinitely in time, in which case a god is not needed to create them.

To be clear, in order for God to be the creator of the universe, or universes if you want to go back even further, then God must have existed before the first universe was created.  Given this, he must have waited an infinite amount of time before creating the first universe. The only way around this is to say that God himself was created at some point, but then he would have had to have a creator as well, and the conundrum remains unsolved.

(310) God is not a part of the universe

Suppose there is a spacecraft that can go anywhere in the universe within a few hours, exploring every galaxy, every star, every planet, every moon, every asteroid, and every comet.  Would it be possible to locate and find God and take a picture of him?  Would it be possible to find heaven? or hell?  Most Christians will agree that you could not find God or heaven or hell in this manner.  They will agree that God does not have a material presence in the universe, but will claim, for example, that he exists in some other dimension, or is purely a spirit that cannot be seen.

This is another way of saying that God is not a part of our universe. But Christians will claim that Jesus was a flesh and blood human who ascended bodily into heaven.  So when he rose from the earth, he had a material body but at some point during the ascent phase, he turned back into a spirit, or burrowed into another dimension.

It is certainly possible that supernatural beings exist in the universe, entities capable of manipulating the physical laws at will, but it is also very likely that any such beings would be made up of the same stuff that the rest of universe consists of- atoms and molecules.  And they would have a specific location in space and could be photographed and have their voice recorded.  Having a specific location would limit their ability to see what was happening light years away, so they could not be all powerful.

The God conceived by Christianity would follow a very different script and would somehow have to exist in a non-material state at all points in the universe and have a brain that worked without any central network of neurons or computer chips, but would somehow operate in a vacuum.  It is exceedingly unlikely that there can be any reality to such a being.  It doesn’t make sense in the world that we live.  A being residing in a different dimension would not interact with our universe.  The Christian concept of God is seriously flawed.

(311) Irreducible complexity

Christians often claim as evidence for their faith that the human eye could not have come into existence on its own because it would have required the previous existence of less complex structures that would have had no evolutionary advantage. This idea has been forcefully refuted by scientific studies that mark the gradual evolution of human and other animal eyes, showing how each step gave a biological advantage that would be selected by natural forces.

Ironically, the argument of irreducible complexity is actually the best argument for atheism.  The Christian god is a spectacularly complex being, more complex that anything humans have built or imagined.  But somehow it came into existence from nothing- no designer created this god, it just came into being.  The idea of it always being in existence is addressed in the previous point, but this argument scarcely solves the problem.  It just make the situation seem all the more improbable.

It is far easier to imagine the big bang occurring from a singularity than a god popping into existence from nothing, who is able to read minds, answer prayers, and guide events throughout the universe.

(312) Earth placed in an insignificant corner of the universe

We are to believe, listening to Christians, that the Earth is the most special creation of God, and that it and man were the reasons that God made the universe in the first place.  But if this is so, why did God position the earth in such an unnoteworthy location?

The earth is one of 8 planets orbiting an ordinary star, that itself is in an ordinary spiral arm of one of approximately 200,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe.  This clearly makes no sense.  Why would a perfect designer place his prized piece of creation in such an obscure location?  It would be like a Super Bowl MVP placing his trophy in a dark, dusty corner of his attic.

(313) God was killed by the Big Bang

There exists a solution to satisfy both the people who claim that the universe had to have had a creator and the people who claim that there is no evidence of a supernatural force in the universe, as follows:

God set off the Big Bang, but the force of the explosion overwhelmed him and he died, similar to a bomb maker whose device prematurely explodes in his face.  This tidy theory explains why we have a universe and also why the universe lacks the appearance of being designed and why prayers don’t get answered.

(314) The existence of science

The study of science requires that experimental observations must be uniformly repeatable by multiple observers before a theory or law of science can be established.  But if the world is populated by demons, devils, angels, and gods as claimed by Christianity, with prayers being answered requiring in many cases the suspension of the natural order, there would be many situations where these observations would be inconsistent.  Scientists would have no explanation for why their observations were not consistent, nor have the ability to predict when they might behave oddly.

In this world science would be a frustrating dead end.  But what has happened has been the opposite.  Scientific observations and experiments have produced consistently perfect repeatability, indicating beyond doubt that there are no supernatural agents acting behind the scenes to disturb the physical laws of the universe.

(315) Existence of multiple civilizations in the universe would require multiple simultaneous incarnations of the Son of God (Jesus)

Professor Christian Weidemann of Germany calculated that for Jesus to save beings living on all of the universe’s planets possessing advanced civilizations, he would have to be on 250 planets simultaneously at all times, based on a 30-year mission per planet. This calculation was based on the number of galaxies, 125 billion, the average number of stars per galaxy, about 100 billion, and an estimate of the number of planets that can support life, with a certain percentage of those developing into advanced civilizations.

This would mean that at all times that Jesus was on Earth from 0 to 30 AD, he was also simultaneously on 249 other planets doing much the same thing.  This implies that he was dying on a cross or otherwise being executed in some other manner approximately 8 times per year, or about every 45 days. Either that, or he had no interest outside of the Earth and simply allowed other intelligent beings to die and be gone.

This is an academic exercise, but it points to the limited scope of the Christian belief system, which was developed by men who had no idea of the scale and breadth of the universe.

http://www.space.com/13152-aliens-religion-impacts-extraterrestrial-christianity.html

(316) List of scientific disciplines that provide evidence contradicting elements of Christianity

The following fields of science have made discoveries that contradict stories and assertions made in the Bible or doctrine that has been established by the churches:

  • anthropology
  • archaeology
  • astronomy
  • astrophysics
  • biology
  • botany
  • chemistry
  • cosmology
  • ecology
  • embryology
  • entomology
  • evolution
  • genetics
  • geology
  • herpetology
  • mathematics
  • paleontology
  • plate tectonics
  • radiometric dating
  • zoology

It is a clear case that when a supernatural claim is made that later fails to stand up to scientific scrutiny, that that claim is false.  If Christianity was true, all of the science of the past 2000 years would have converged on the veracity of the faith and church leaders would have embraced, advertised, and financially supported scientific studies across the centuries.  Instead, we have witnessed the complete opposite.

(317) Dinosaurs

For 160 million years, approximately 225 to 65 million years ago, the Earth was a dinosaur planet.  There was no question who ruled at the top of the food chain.  But Christianity suggests that God created the Earth so he could have a place for his ultimate creation- human beings.  If this is so, does it make any sense that he allowed the dinosaurs so much time, given that they had no significance in the eternal matters of his theology?

The answer to the question is ‘no,’ it makes no sense whatsoever. Modern humans have existed for at most 200,000  years, or 1/800th of the reign of the dinosaurs.  The history of dinosaurs on this planet is significant evidence that the Earth was not created for humans and that there was no god directing the script.

(318) Speed of Light

If God has a location somewhere in the universe, then it can be proposed that his limit of vision is restricted by the speed of light, a universal constant that prevents information from being sent at any speeds that are faster.  In this case, unless God is very near to us, it would be impossible for him to answer prayers with any degree of punctuality.  If he was near the star Vega, he would only now be aware of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

The Christian response to this point is that God is everywhere, literally, even inside your body.  This implies that the whole universe, including the human population, is God, which is actually a pantheistic concept.  This also would mean that God has vision and hearing in every square inch of the universe, even in the near vacuum of space.  It is hard to swallow that a supreme intelligence can operate in such a medium.

When the Bible was written, the concept of light speed and information transfer was not developed, so this problem would not have concerned the people of that time, but with our advanced science, we have discovered a reason to suspect that an all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing supernatural being cannot exist in our universe.

(319) Extrasolar planets

Christianity was based on the Jewish tradition of a god who made the earth as a unique and special arena for his experiment to test mortal humans made in his image to see if they would chose righteousness or wickedness.  At the time that every book in the Bible was written, every person on earth considered themselves to be at the center of the universe with everything in the sky making circles around them.

This view was destroyed by science that began to take hold around 500 years ago with the theory that the earth was a planet that orbited the sun like the other observable planets.  This idea was soon to become scientific fact, along with the discovery that the stars were suns in themselves and that all of the stars we could see were part of only one of several hundred billion galaxies.

But one possibility remained to save some part of the Christian world view- perhaps our solar system was special, maybe God had placed planets around our sun and only around our sun as it was unnecessary to do so elsewhere.  This final bastion of ‘specialness’ was defeated in 1992 with the first confirmed discovery of a planet that revolved around a different sun.  As of February 2015, we have discovered approximately 1900 planets orbiting approximately 1200 other suns in our galaxy.  It is obvious that planetary systems have formed around most of the stars in the universe.  Finally, we can state unequivocally, we live in an ordinary part of the universe with nothing suggesting that our solar system was constructed for any specific purpose by a higher power.

(320) Quantum Mechanics suggests the impossibility of an all-knowing god

Quantum mechanics describes the weird properties of matter at a sub-atomic level.  There are wave forms that only collapse when they are observed, there are dead/live cats in a box, there is “action at a distance,”there are particles that appear to travel backward in time, and there are particles that don’t possess a definite position in space.  Particles possess an inherent uncertainty with respect to their position and momentum.  In this world, it is impossible for an unlimited, all-powerful god to control the world at his whim. And there is no certain way to either predict or control the future, for to do so would require the knowledge of each particles’ location and momentum.

What this means is that an unlimited god cannot exist in our universe, and a god with limits does not comply with Christian doctrine.  There was obviously no way for early Christian theologians to be aware of this problem, so an all-powerful god made sense to them.

(321) Epicurus

The philosopher Epicurus composed a pithy, poetic aphorism that presents a conundrum for a believer, as follows:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?  Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing?  Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing? Then whence come evil?

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

The problem for a Christian is that one of these four possibilities must be correct, and according to standard doctrine, God is all-powerful and therefore “able” in every sense of the word.  This eliminates the first and fourth statements.

The third statement must also be eliminated because it implies that God has the power to stop evil and that he wants to stop it, but it happens anyway. This is a non sequitur.

So the only  possibility for the Christian is the second statement, that God is able but not willing to stop evil. This results in the conclusion that God is malevolent.  The only way out of this is for the Christian to rationalize and say that God allows evil for some purpose, that his ways are mysterious and unknowable.

This approach might work well until the believer himself becomes a victim of evil and realizes that God is watching it happen, has the power to stop it, but lets it happen.  Keep in mind that if the person’s best friend was there, he would make a supreme effort to help.

The presence of unmitigated evil in the world is a strong indicator that an all-powerful god does not exist.

(322) Smallpox- Godless scientists care more about humans than God

Smallpox was one of most vicious, hideous diseases ever to strike the human population. It originated in about 10,000 BC.  During the 20th Century alone, smallpox killed almost half a billion people and also was the major cause of blindness and scarring.  About 80% of children who contracted smallpox died. As late as 1967, 2 million people died of the disease that year.

All of the prayers to God went unanswered, in complete and total contradiction of the Christian scriptures.  John 14:13-14:

“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”

The prayers did no good, God didn’t care to lift a finger to relieve the massive unbearable suffering of the smallpox victims.

Enter the mostly non-believing scientists who developed a vaccine for the disease and traveled at great personal risk into smallpox-ridden areas of the planet.  Their efforts led to the historic eradication of smallpox in 1979.  It is quite ironic that God didn’t think it was such a big deal, and it was left to the godless scientists to ultimately answer the peoples’ prayers.

The history of smallpox decisively destroys the Christian concept of all-powerful, benevolent, and caring god.

(323) Galileo

Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer who first popularized the concept of heliocentrism, that the sun is at the center of the solar system and about which the earth and the other planets revolve.  In 1615 he became a victim of the Inquisition authorities for proclaiming this concept, which they considered an heretical idea, contrary to Biblical scripture.  He spent the remainder of his life under house arrest.

This example is but one of many where church authorities persecuted scientists who published theories that later proved to be true.  But this presents a logical problem.  If the church authorities, including the Pope, the very head of the universal Christian church at that time,  were truly being guided and enlightened by an all-powerful, all-knowing god, why would they not have understood the veracity of the claim?  Why would God have allowed them to embarrass and discredit his church  by sticking to an old idea that was predestined to be completely and universally abandoned?

Another example is the topic of evolution. There remains an ongoing but diminishing resistance to this well-proven theory that religious leaders today continue to deny.  Like heliocentrism, evolution will be universally accepted within several decades and will once again shine a light on the failure of the Christian Church to perceive reality in the face of their own biases. Such is not the earmark of a movement that is connected to a supernatural deity, but rather to a man-made dogma developed by unscientific minds.

(324) Human body design flaws

Many Christians claim that God designed the human body either by a one-step creation process or by way of guided evolution.  Either way, this hypothesis can be tested by examining the human body construction to see if it has the features of a perfect designer.  It does not.  The following design flaws are present:

http://io9.com/the-most-unfortunate-design-flaws-in-the-human-body-1518242787

– dual function of the pharynx, ingestion of food and air through the same opening has resulted in millions of deaths

– inability to synthesize Vitamin C and other vitamins, leading to many cases of malnourishment and depressed immune function

– poor routing of the male urinary tract through the prostate gland, resulting in disturbed urinary function

– proximity of genitals to the rectum, resulting in frequent infection

– multi-functional genitals, resulting in urinary tract infections and more

– too narrow birth canal, resulting in failed deliveries, death in childbirth, frequent need for C-sections

– strained lower backs, stacked vertebrae in a vertical position versus being more horizontal in most vertibrates, results in ubiquitous lower back  pain

– overloaded knees and hips, designed to carry 1/2 of our weight, but being bipedal, now carry all the weight, resulting in frequent injury

– overly complicated human foot, comprising 26 bones, prone to plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, and broken ankles

– inefficient sinuses, some of which drain upwards against gravity, resulting in frequent infection

– blind spot in eyes, caused by poor routing of the optic nerve

– single set of adult teeth, with teeth too vulnerable to decay and infection

In addition to the design flaws, there are many vestigial organs in the body that no longer serve a function.  If God designed the human body, it is unlikely that he would not have removed those organs that have a function in lower animals but no function in humans. These include the appendix,  the coccyx, wisdom teeth, the sinuses, arrector pili,  tonsils, and male nipples, among others.

The fact that the human body does not represent a product designed by an outside intelligent agency suggests that the Christian concept of God creating man in his own image is flawed, and thus provides evidence against the the theology of Christianity.

(325) Vestigial organs

The human body exhibits many reduced or eliminated functions related to its structures.  This illustrates the slow process of evolution.  For theists, this presents a problem- if one believes in creationism or intelligent design, then the vestigial organs indicate a poor designer.  If one believes that God guided the process of evolution to make humans, then he failed to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion.  The following discussion is from:

https://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090609061908AA84qzQ

Vestigial structures are those that have lost their primary or main function through the evolutionary process, although they may still maintain some kind of function. One of the best clues to whether a structure is vestigial is the presence of similar, functional structures in other organisms. The technical definition of vestigial organs is an organ for which the function does not confer enough of a survival advantage to be retained via evolution, as compared to the random effect of mutation.

For instance, canines and felines have the ability to make endogenous (self-produced) vitamin C; this ability is coded in the form of a series of functional genes within their DNA. Primates, including humans, have lost the ability to make the vitamin endogenously, although they retain a non-functional copy of the gene within their DNA. This broken gene is a vestigial structure: it was functional at one time but has since lost that quality.

Each of the structures that you describe above has functional analogues in other parts of the animal kingdom, but humans have lost the primary function in each case.

The coccyx is the remnant of what would be the bones of the tail; it still serves as a point of muscular attachment, but obviously no longer functions as a tail.

Many animals have the ability to move their ears to more closely determine the direction of incoming sounds (e.g., felines, canines, deer, and horses). Humans retain those muscles, but they are mostly nonfunctional; even in people who can move their ears, this ability has a negligible effect on hearing.

In animals that have significant amounts of fur, the ability to move it (termed piloerection) has a significant effect on heat retention. Humans have lost essentially all of their body hair, but do retain the muscles of piloerection; erection of hair can still be achieved but has little effect.

Similarly, the muscles that move the big toe are responsible for grip and stability in tree-dwelling primates. Obviously, this ability has little significance for humans today.

The wisdom teeth were useful when humans ate diets consisting primarily of plant matter; large, flat teeth are useful for grinding down plant tissue, which was essential when human diets were plant-heavy. We lack the ability to efficiently digest cellulose, which could be compensated for to some extent by the increased mastication resulting from wisdom teeth. Since then, we have also changed diets to de-emphasize plant matter with a corresponding increase in protein. As such, wisdom teeth have little purpose today; for many people, the jaw has also regressed to the point where the wisdom teeth do not fit within the bone and must be removed surgically.

The appendix is a remnant of part of the cecum, which in herbivores is more developed and responsible for the digestion of cellulose from plants. Humans have since switched to a more protein-heavy diet, and the function of the cecum in digestion of plant matter has since become much less important.

The existence of vestigiality  in humans is compelling evidence against the idea that a god made humans as a special creation.

(326) Transgender people

Christians are heavily invested in a rigid concept of gender identity- ‘God made them male and female.’ They also claim that God  does not make mistakes.  But mistakes occur regularly as babies identified as one sex at birth present as the other sex later in life. Some of these babies are born with both male and female genetalia. This fact is strong evidence that the Christian God is not meeting the claims of Christians.

(327) Alzheimer’s, ticks, mosquitoes, intestinal parasites

These and other diseases and pests serve no purpose other than to inflict misery on humans, not to mention other animals.  Their existence is consistent with an unguided evolutionary process that has no particular preference for humans.  However, they are not consistent with what most Christians assert, that God guided evolution to create humans.

Why would God bring so much pain and misery into people’s lives if the only purpose for our existence is to serve and worship him and to be judged and sent to Heaven or Hell?  An apologist will claim that God created these things to instill character, but when a beloved parent loses the ability to recognize their spouse and children, it is difficult to square that with an education in integrity.

Clearly, the presence of so many diseases and insidious organisms that inflict pain and misery is evidence that evolution is unguided. Unguided evolution is evidence that there is no god.

The following is a good summary of the disconnect between mosquitoes and the concept of intelligent design:

http://new.exchristian.net/2015/01/the-mosquito-intelligent-design.html

(328) Events in New Testament copied from Old Testament

There are several examples of Biblical authors borrowing events from the Old Testament to embellish their stories:

  • The guiding stars involved in the births of Abraham, Isaac, Moses and Jesus
  • The local rulers ordering that Jewish babies be killed, placing both Moses and Jesus at risk
  • The temple experiences of Samuel and Jesus
  • The feeding of 100 men by Elisha and Jesus’ feeding of 5000 men plus women and children
  • Both Elijah and Jesus bringing dead people back to life.
  • The ascension of both Elijah and Jesus towards heaven.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_intec.htm

This provides a clue that the Gospel authors took stories from the Old Testament as guidelines for fashioning some of the fictional elements of their writings.  That they used the Old Testament scriptures as a guide is further buttressed by their repeated references to the prophecies therein.  This should be a warning to anyone who considers the New Testament books to be a strictly historical account.

(329) Evolution

The evolution of life on our planet is a story of many starts and stops, many catastrophes that resulted in mass extinctions, and the incredible suffering of animals up and down the food chain.  This simply does not jibe with the Christian story of a god whose principal interest was to create beings in his own image and test them for future rewards and punishments.

Evolution has been proven beyond any doubt based on substantial fossil discoveries and analysis of the DNA relationships among all living matter, pointing to a 3.8 billion year process of natural selection of beneficial mutations.

Here are some good resources:

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

http://ideonexus.com/2012/02/12/101-reasons-why-evolution-is-true/

Our discovery of evolution is perhaps the single most important piece of evidence that Christianity is false.  It is not possible to combine evolution and Christianity into a unified coherent theory. They do not mix. Christians who assert that they believe God used evolution to create mankind are not thinking on anything other than a superficial level.

(330) Christians revise the words of Jesus

In a desperate attempt to keep Christianity in step with the progressing ethics of society, many Christians have taken to re-interpreting, or downright changing, the words of Jesus as written in the Gospels concerning hell.  The Bible clearly has Jesus promoting the concept of hell as a place of conscious and eternal torment, but now many Christians are claiming that hell is merely a place of separation from God or just simple annihilation.

http://new.exchristian.net/2015/02/what-hell-christians-trying-to-revise.html

At the time the Bible was written, a permanent state of suffering in hell was considered a just punishment for unrighteousness, and it was also a time when slavery was being practiced and other barbaric forms of punishment were thought to be okay.  But times have changed, and now Christians want us to think that God himself has changed into a kinder and nicer being.  The problem for Christianity, is that skeptics can read and can see that the scriptures continue to portray hell in the same horrible way.  The effort by Christians to clean up this part of their doctrine is a good sign that their doctrine is fundamentally flawed.

(331)  Christians claim that some scriptures should not be taken literally

When scriptures talk of killing homosexuals, for women to remain silent and be subject to their husbands, and a host of other injunctions that no longer conform to modern standards of ethics, Christians will claim that these scriptures should be taken figuratively. That is, that they don’t really mean exactly what they say.

The following discussion is from:

https://richarddawkins.net/2015/03/no-youre-not-taking-those-verses-out-of-context/

When confronted with these facts, apologists will often respond by saying these texts should not be read “literally”—a concern that is certainly well-founded considering their contents. They know how terrible these books would sound if they weren’t liberally “interpreted” (read: distorted, sanitized), or read the way one would read any other book. When the literal word of a deity requires repeated, long-winded explanations from his human followers simply to prevent it being interpreted to mean what it actually says, it doesn’t make a great case for divine authorship. If anything can mean anything, the whole thing becomes meaningless.

A book written by a god would be very different.

(332) Red Letter Bibles

Red Letter bibles are standard bibles that have the words that Jesus spoke in a red font. This is to distinguish his statements from that of any other person or the comments of the author.  The theory behind this is that what Jesus spoke most accurately depicts the true Christian doctrine, which was potentially contaminated by the extraneous details and comments added by Paul and the authors of the other epistles and the gospels. Christians who use these bibles are often called Red Letter Christians, who tend to be more liberal and socially conscious than other Christians.

However, there are problems with this approach.  For one, the existent ancient manuscripts do not contain quotation marks, so it is somewhat ambiguous and open to interpretation in certain texts whether a statement is being made by Jesus or is simply a comment being made by the author.  Also, it is obvious that Jesus did not have a scribe writing down his every word, so when the gospels were written 30+ years later, it is highly dubious that his words could have been reproduced accurately.  So what is commonly claimed to be the words of Jesus are more likely contemporary political and religious discourses put into his mouth.  For this reason, the base upon which Christianity stands is very wobbly.

(333) Stigmata

Throughout Christian history and still today, followers have incurred wounds that mimic the ones that Jesus supposedly suffered on the cross.  In most cases, the wounds appear on the palms and back of the hands, though sometimes in the stomach area and feet.  They are alleged to be miraculous acts of God for some holy purpose.

Almost all of the cases of stigmata are self-inflicted.  The following is taken from:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Stigmata

Stigmatics may inflict the wounds on themselves, or otherwise fake them, in a bid for attention, acceptance or fame. This has proven to be the case in numerous examples. One remorseful sixteenth-century stigmatic confessed to faking her stigmata. Another stigmatic was caught painting fake wounds on herself. When modern stigmatics have submitted themselves to observation from skeptics, it has often been noted that their wounds only start to bleed after times they have been alone, as if something had occurred that needed to be kept hidden from view. Padre Pio, the twentieth century’s most famous stigmatic, canonised by the catholic Church, is now widely believed to have faked his stigmata, possibly with the use of acid.

Although the stigmata often appear on the palms, historians have determined that the Romans drove nails through the victims’ wrists, not the hands.  Thus, the stigmata are appearing in the wrong location.

The fraud perpetrated by stigmatics is another indication of the tendency of fervent Christians to manufacture evidence to support their beliefs.  And it provides another reason to exercise extreme caution when evaluating the miracles that are portrayed in the Bible.

(334) The evolution of Yahweh

When the Hebrews selected their war god, Yahweh, among their other gods, to be the only one that actually exists, Yahweh was not yet the infinite, unlimited God that would later become the god of Judaism and Christianity.  In fact, he had many man-like attributes, such as having regret, experiencing grief, being angry, forgetting things, holding grudges, and needing rest.  But most of all, being a god of war, he had a blood lust, and had an affinity for killing people, women and children included, as well as animals.  And he required his followers to ritually kill their livestock in order to forgive their sins.

But as time went on and the Christians adopted the Jewish war god as their god, they had to compete with the other gods that were being worshiped by the pagans.  So, to make sure that the pagans could not claim that their god was better than the Christian god, Yahweh had to be made into what he is now assumed to be.

The following is taken from :

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

The National Catholic Almanac (1968) gives a total of 22 attributes of God; God is:

almighty, eternal, holy, immortal, immense, immutable, incomprehensible, ineffable, infinite, invisible, just, loving, merciful, most high, most wise, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, patient, perfect, provident, supreme, true.

This is an inevitable outcome of the evolution of human-made gods. They become all-knowing and limitless in a kind of survival of the fittest competition.

Christians should be concerned that the god that Jesus worshiped and called his Father was originally a limited, human-like war god, and he was among many others that the Jews originally worshiped. What he has become today is very different from his ‘birth.’

Atheists can generally accept the idea that a limited being possessing what we would call ‘supernatural’ powers might exist somewhere in the universe.  But the god of the 22 attributes above cannot possibly exist, because some of the attributes are internally inconsistent.  Additionally, we have already proven above that he is not immutable (never changing).

(335) The failure of unambiguous prayers

Many prayers expressed by Christians are superimposed on the exercise of natural remedies, such as a prayer to be cured of cancer while undergoing chemotherapy.  If the cancer remits, it is uncertain if it was because of the prayer or the medical treatment.

A true test of the effectiveness of prayer occurs when it is done in an unambiguous situation, as described in this excerpt from the following website:

http://godisimaginary.com/i9.htm

  • Pray to God to levitate a car and hold it floating in the air for ten minutes. It will not happen, even if you are praying to levitate the car because a drunk driver has run over a college freshman and she is currently pinned under one of the wheels.
  • Pray to God to let you fly through the air like Superman. It will not happen, even if you are praying to fly like superman so that you can rise up to a tenth story window and save two children from their burning apartment.
  • Pray to God to fill your basement with $100 million in small unmarked bills. It will not happen, even if you plan to donate the $100 million that God gives you to a worthy and deserving charity.
  • Pray to God to restore the amputated limbs of a deserving, penitent believer. It will not happen, no matter how sincere you are in your prayer.

Prayers for rain are another example, but only when rain is not in the forecast.  A better example is a prayer to clean up some part of the environment.  In each case, the prayer will fail. It reveals definitively that the god of Christianity either does not exist or is failing to deliver on his promises.

(336) Sports results

Most Christians do not believe that God influences the results of sporting events, though they would claim that he has the power to do so.  The fact that this belief mostly does not exist is a testament to the fact that there is no evidence to support it.  The greatest players in each sport, such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods in golf, Wayne Gretzky in hockey, Michael Jordan in basketball, and Joe Montana in football, as examples, did not use their celebrity status to promote a religious viewpoint, whether they were religious or not.  Although some athletes give praise to God after being victorious, most people see that as being hypocritical and tacitly condemning the loser as being out of favor with God.

Although this is not a strong argument, it nevertheless provides some evidence that the Christian god does not exist. Such a deity would have an incentive for the most fervent and vocal Christian athletes to perform at the peak of their talents, gain celebrity, and then witness their faith as part of the extra media time they would command.  Further, it should be expected that God would reward the prayers of his followers to allow them to play at the highest level possible, meaning that teams from religious schools should routinely outperform the secular, party-type, schools in various forms of competition.  This is not seen, in fact, the reverse is mostly true.

(337) God’s uneven blessings

The Doxology is a song sung by Christians that has the lyric, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”  It is phase often used when something favorable happens to a Christian.  But the question must be asked, why are God’s blessings so unevenly and so inconsistently delivered?  Atheist Bill Gates is worth $84 billion, but many Christian children live in poverty and are dying of malnutrition or starvation.  Why doesn’t God do something to even out the distribution of his blessings?

The following website explores this question further:

http://godisimaginary.com/i23.htm

The obvious answer is that there is no god meeting out blessings and the poor distribution is the consequence of flaws in the world’s economic systems.

(338) Christians stole the Winter Solstice holiday

Despite no scriptural evidence, Christians came to claim December 25 as Jesus’s birthday.  This was a flagrant and disingenuous act to usurp the pre-existing pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. Meanwhile, most Biblical historians who believe Jesus to be a historical figure concur that his birth occurred in the springtime.

The following is taken from:

http://nobeliefs.com/facts.htm

Christians celebrate the Nativity, or the birth of the alleged Jesus every December 25. Contrary to belief, there exists no evidence for a Jesus born on a December. Not a single shred of Biblical text declares this date, nor gives a hint of a winter season birth for a Jesus “the Christ.” In fact, there occurs not a tad of evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus!

The Christmas that we celebrate today derived from pre-Christian Germanic, Roman, and Celtic people who celebrated the winter solstice. The use of holly, mistletoe, yule logs, wassail bowls, and decorating a tree derived from early pagan customs. Many European countries still call this celebration “Yule-tide” meaning “wheel time,” the cycles of time. None of these derive from Christian origin.

The Persian Mithras cult spread during the 3rd and 4th centuries B.C.E. and predates Christian ceremonies and rites such as: baptism, communion wafer, and Sunday rest. On December 25, the sacrifice of a bull celebrated the Sol invictus (the invincible sun) and signaled the birth of a young sun god who sprang from a rock or a cave in the form of a newborn infant.

The Romans celebrated the Winter Solstice on December 25th as a renewing of the sun every year. Also the Romans celebrated the festival of the Saturnalia from December 17th to the 24th to honor Saturn, the god of grain and agriculture. The festival consisted of a period of goodwill, devoted to visiting friends and the giving of gifts.

At the beginning of the first century, Christianity emerged as a fledgling religion but not until the 4th century did Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. The motive behind the introduction of this celebration aimed at subverting the practice of pagan rituals such as Mithra and Saturnalia. Pope Liberus introduced the Nativity on December 25th 354 C.E.. By the 5th century, the event became so customary that it began to mark the beginning of the ceremonial year.

The fact that Christians felt a need to steal a holiday by making a false claim indicates the fragile state that it was in at the time.  Also, the many pagan symbols that were retained within the Christmas tradition are an example of the myriad pagan theological elements that were ultimately incorporated into the core tenets of the faith. This external contamination polluted and distorted any semblance of the authentic elements of the historical Jesus.

(339) Christianity produces sexual misery

Starting in adolescence, Christianity warns that masturbation is sinful, so the sexual urges of teenagers are unrequited or else acted upon, creating shame and depression.  Of course, pre-marital sex is prohibited, leading many young people to marry earlier than they normally would and often with partners with whom they are not sexually compatible.  Many churches discourage the use of contraceptives making sex a less frequent exercise. They also discourage any type of sexual adventure, such as BDSM.  They discourage the use of pornography which can be a powerful aphrodisiac for some couples.  Once married, there can be no sex with any other people, no matter whether both partners agree, and even thoughts of straying sexually are considered sinful.

For homosexuals, the story is even harsher.  They are either taught that they are inherently sinful, or that its okay for them to be gay as long as they don’t act upon it.  Imagine if a heterosexual person was given the same edict.

Much of this nonsense is based on the core Christian belief that the flesh is inherently sinful and that sex is fundamentally about procreation and not to be used in any recreational sense.  If one is to believe that God made humans with the sexual urges they possess and then imposed these restrictive rules on the exercise of these urges, then it must be considered that this god is very cruel.  Or much more likely that this god does not exist and that the doctrine of sexual suppression was a human invention that served to instill guilt and shame in people so that they could more easily be controlled.

(340) Birth defects

In the United States, approximately 150,000 children are born each year suffering from one or more birth defects.  The most common types are congenital heart defects, Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, cleft lip and cleft palate, cerebral palsy, club foot, and Turner Syndrome.  Some defects are more serious and often result in immediate death, such as anencephaly- the missing of the brain.

The Christian concept of God is that he has the ability to view and control any situation, and therefore he has the power to oversee and manage a woman’s pregnancy- or at least to answer the many prayers presented for a healthy child.  If this was true, there should be close to zero defects as newborn babies enter the world.  It is hard to conceive of a purpose for a child born without a brain, for instance.  However, in the absence of such a god, the rate of defects is exactly what would be expected.

(341) The absurdity of a god watching all that happens

Suppose we agree that god is all-seeing and all powerful, that is, he sees things happen in real time, hears prayers in real time, and has the power to manipulate any situation to his desires or in accordance with the prayers of his faithful followers.  Then consider this scenario:

God is watching a woman being raped, slashed, and murdered.  She prays to God for help.  But god decides to do nothing.  In Northern Africa, parents are grieving over their sick children dying day by day and praying for help.  God sees this but decides to let it happen.  A man is wracked with pain from stomach cancer and asks god for relief, but God just watches and lets it happen.

Now imagine that you are witnessing these events and you have the power to tackle the rapist, give nutrients and medicine to the dying  children, or pain relievers to the cancer victim.  Would you do it?  Of course you would.

Here is a quote from Tracy Harris of The Atheist Experience TV show:

“You either have a God who sends child rapists to rape children or you have a God who simply watches it and says, ‘When you’re done, I’m going to punish you.’ If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would. That’s the difference between me and your God.”

Now imagine Rachel who is scheduled for a date with a new boyfriend, but she has a pimple of her chin.  She asks God to remove it and lo and behold it is gone the next morning. She praises God for his goodness and mercy.

The final analysis of this story is that the god of Christianity, assuming he has the powers that Christians claim, is so deranged and unethical that he does not deserve worship, but rather derision.

(342) Reading the Bible

Christians claim that the Bible is the most perfect book ever written, authored by a supernaturally intelligent being, with instructions and insights to guide mankind for centuries and millennia into the future. What would you expect to be in this book?  First you would expect a book that sounds as if it was written by just one person.  The book would have no contradictions.  The book would correct many of the the unfavorable policies of its time, such as slavery, sexism, torture, killing for minor offenses, and persecution of homosexuals. It would leave a reader in awe and there would be no subsequent books that could compare with it.

Instead, we get something very different.  The discussion at this website is a devastating evisceration of the Bible’s moral and ethical authority.  Any Christian who reads this should be awakened to see a hint of reality:

http://godisimaginary.com/i5.htm

To allege that the Bible is a good book is to disregard a large percentage of its contents.  If not protected by its religious pedigree, it would be banned as hate speech from most libraries.

(343) The improbability of the ascension

There are three accounts of Jesus’s ascension into heaven:

Luke 24:50-51

And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

Mark 16:19

So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

Acts 1:10-12

And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

The three accounts contradict- in Luke and Acts he ascends from the outdoors, but in different locations, and in Mark from inside a room. But what is more dubious and implausible is the manner in which it happened.  Supposedly, Jesus resurrected in his flesh and blood body- he even ate something to prove he wasn’t a ghost.  So the scene is set.  Jesus is talking to his disciples and then suddenly, apparently without warning, he either begins to disintegrate (Star Trek style) or he begins to float into the air gaining elevation until he is out of sight.  It seems that his body would have to change from material to spirit at some time during the ascent, but then you must ask where did he go?  Did he suddenly lose the property of being in a specific location and dissolve into the entire universe- something that would be necessary to hear and answer prayers worldwide?

The stories of Jesus’s ascension are strong markers for what  appears to be an unmitigated exercise of mythmaking.

(344) The faith of the Roman centurion

In Matthew 8:5-13, there is the following story describing how Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion:

And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.”Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.“For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment.

This is a nice story but it raises a question.  Why would Jesus reward the centurion so promptly while ignoring the same exact requests of people today?  Jesus said he rewarded the centurion because of his faith, but a modern-day person needs even more faith than the centurion, who was able to see Jesus and witness some of his miracles.  Why Jesus no longer rewards faith in same way as when he was on earth is evidence that he no longer exists.

(345) God fails to give a definite sign of his existence

People often ask God for a sign to allow them to be sure of his existence.  Sometimes it’s only a vague request that might coincidentally result in something perceived as a positive response. For example, a person prays for a sign and the the next day they get a raise or a promotion. They perceive this as a sign of God’s existence, though it easily could have just been a coincidence.

When a more unambiguous sign is requested, there is never a response.  For example, if one asks for a pencil to be levitated, or for all 10 die to roll 6’s, or for a blemish to instantly disappear, God never responds.  Christians will claim that God sees and understands the request, but declines to react to it because he wants people to come to him by faith and not by a demonstration of assurance.  This despite the fact that Jesus provided numerous signs of his divinity to his disciples and followers during his earthy ministry.

The fact that God fails to respond to earnest requests by sincere supplicants to show his existence is circumstantial evidence of his non-existence.  However, it is positive evidence that if he exists, and has the attributes claimed by Christians, that he purposefully wants to keep people in the dark and unsure about his existence.  God would be playing a game of cat and mouse, and demonstrating a lack of honesty and forthrightness that he otherwise demands in his followers.

(346) Martin Luther laid the groundwork for the Holocaust

Martin Luther, the father of Christian Protestantism, was an anti-Semite who led the revolutionary break from the Roman Catholic Church.  The following is taken from:

http://www.nobeliefs.com/DarkBible/darkbible2.htm

In the early 1500’s the German heretic, Martin Luther, almost single handedly caused the final split from the Roman Catholic church and created the beginnings of the Protestant revolution. This split still influences violence to this day. He translated the Bible into German which further spread Protestantism. Luther also helped spread anti-Jewish sentiments with his preaching and books such as his “The Jews and their lies,” all supported through his interpretation of the Bible. One should not forget that Hitler (a Christian and great admirer of Luther) and his holocaust probably could not have occurred without his influence and the support of Bible believing German Christians.

There are currently about 800 million Protestants and it is enlightening to realize that the forerunner of their faith would find Jesus, a Jew, to be a member of a despicable ethnic group.  It is likely that Hitler’s pogrom against the Jews could not have gained popular support without the anti-Jewish rhetoric propagated though Luther’s ministry.  The irony of all of this is that a pivotal movement of a revered Christian leader eventually led to the demise of 6 million of God’s ‘chosen’ people.

(347) Inversion of news and commentary

In modern media discourse we have come to expect that a news story will be published, and then afterwards, several pundits will pen a commentary on the implications of the news event.

This sequence did not occur in the writings of the New Testament. The gospels are administratively placed as the first books in this testament, but they were written several decades after the letters of Paul and the Book of Acts, neither of which discuss anything relevant to the life of Jesus other than his crucifixion and resurrection.  Thus, the commentary proceeded the news accounts. This inversion is troubling if one is to assume that the gospels are factual accounts of history.  When the commentary drives the news, it results in distortions and fabrications.

(348) The significance of the “Q” document and what it omitted

The consensus of Biblical scholars is that the authors of the gospels of Matthew and Luke borrowed heavily from the material in Mark. But they also determined that they copied material from another source, which they have termed “Q.”  There are no existing copies of this document.  However, based on the disparate accounts of the passion story in Matthew and Luke, it is apparent that the the author of Q had no knowledge of the passion, crucifixion, resurrection, or ascension of Jesus.  The following is taken from:

http://listverse.com/2014/09/08/10-theories-about-who-really-wrote-the-bible/

Q is largely a collection of sayings, not a narrative. Matthew and Luke put the sayings in a narrative context, and they used different styles. For example, Matthew incorporated the Beatitudes into Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, while Luke chose to break up the same sermon and scatter it throughout his story.

The recovery of Q led researchers to a strange conclusion. Since Q does not contain any Passion story, whoever first wrote the document must have regarded Jesus as a teacher of wisdom and nothing more. Jesus’s death held no salvific significance for that writer.

As Q was an early account of the life of Jesus, it is illuminating that it did not mention any of  the miraculous elements of Jesus’s life.  This provides evidence that a mythical interpretation of Jesus’s life evolved over time.

(349) Jesus never moved a mountain

In Matthew 17:20, Jesus is alleged to have made this statement:

And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

Considering the ease at which Jesus made this feat appear, it is telling that he never performed this magical act himself.  He could have done this and left behind scientific evidence proving that it actually happened.  This evidence would have been compelling to all of the world’s inhabitants as well as the generally skeptical scientific community.  Instead, Jesus left us with no evidence that he ever performed any acts in defiance of the natural laws of nature.

Also, as discussed previously, the gospels don’t have Jesus providing any information not available at the time he existed.  For instance, he could have talked about the value of pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.  He could have let us know that the stars were distant suns.  He could have told us of the existence of North and South America.

This lack of external evidence or insights from a man alleged to be God himself is troubling if we are to believe the Christian claim. Instead, it provides evidence that Jesus was just a man of his times.

(350) Jesus did no charity work and glorified poverty

Although Jesus healed the infirmaries of people he came across and sometimes fed those who came to hear him speak, he did not, at least according to the scriptures, do anything to help the impoverished citizens of his time.  In fact, he spoke of poverty as a virtue and an asset for anyone seeking to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Luke 6:20

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Matthew 26:11

For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.

He also railed against the rich.

Matthew 19:24

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

This philosophy is exactly counter to what modern society finds to be moral. Poverty is seen as an evil, something to be stamped out. Being wealthy is seen as a reward for hard work and good management.

Jesus’s words have given cover to those who would deny the moral imperative to alleviate poverty in the world.  One good example is the Republican Party in the United States.   All they have to do is say that Jesus proclaimed that there will always be poor people, so any attempt to contradict that statement is heretical.

There are two possibilities here.  Either Jesus really thought that being poor was the best way to live a life, meaning he couldn’t see into the future and was most likely not divine, or the scriptures were written with a political motive to mollify the poor and keep them content with their lot.  The latter being a good segue to quote Seneca the Younger: “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”

(351) The life cycle of gods

In ancient Egypt, the gods were so believed and revered that the great pyramids were constructed.  In Roman times, temples were constructed for their gods.  In Central America, the Aztecs built temples to worship their gods,  And in the age of the Vikings, the gods Thor and Wotan were object of worship.  In each of these cases, the belief in these gods originated, grew to become very intense, then waned, and finally was completely discarded.   The major reason for the ‘death’ of these gods was the lack of evidence for their existence and their failure to meet expectations.

The Christian god is undergoing the same life cycle and is now well past the peak, which occurred around the year 1800.  As before, this god is suffering the same two problems- lack of evidence for existence and failure to deliver the scriptural promises (prayer effectiveness and return of Jesus).  But the Christian god is facing even heavier head winds than the previous gods- the explosive growth of science and the information age.  All of this is eroding belief in the Christian god, who will soon be delivered to the dust heap of history just like Zeus and Thor.

(352) God allows his spokespeople to say awful things

Today, unlike Biblical times, God is completely silent.  So we have to hear from him through his spokespeople- priests, pastors, evangelists, etc.   Even overlooking the inconsistencies in what these people are saying, the more disturbing issue is the atrocious statements they make.  Just a few examples:

  • God hates fags
  • Thank God for dead soldiers
  • The earthquake in Haiti was because they made a pact with the Devil
  • 9/11 happened because of pornography, homosexuality, the ACLU
  • Gay marriage is like bestiality
  • Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for abortion
  • If you don’t send me $8 million to build a hospital, God will slay me

If God existed and was concerned about maintaining the integrity of the Christian religion, he would silence these embarrassing representatives of the faith.  If God doesn’t exist, it would be expected that there would  be many Christian salespersons spreading contradictory and deplorable messages- just what we see.

(353) Peronism

Eva Peron was the highly revered First Lady of Argentina from 1946 to 1952.  After her death, a cult arose that turned her into a demigod saint.  The following is taken from :

http://listverse.com/2014/10/03/10-real-people-who-were-mistaken-for-gods/

As first lady of a determinedly populist president, Eva Peron was referred to as “the mother of Argentina” and even got the official title “Spiritual Leader of the Nation” (a post that she technically still holds). Her commitment to charity and workers’ rights saw her practically worshiped in her home country. Then came her death from cancer at 33, and the “practically” part went out the window.

A week after her death, one of Argentina’s biggest unions wrote to the Vatican demanding that Evita be beatified. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of families set up shrines to her memory. Others reported that their dead first lady was literally working miracles.

Decades years after her death, the Evita cult was alive and well across the slums of Buenos Aires, despite a succession of military juntas trying to stamp out Peronism. Even today, shrines to her memory litter the country, a testament to her role as “the uncanonized saint of the poor.”

This is a mirror to how Christianity began, although set in a modern age where myths have a much more difficult time propagating and gaining strength.  Just as in Christianity’s case, the first adherents of Peronism were poor, illiterate people viewed as being delusional by the learned upper class.  Attempts to snuff it out were unsuccessful in both cases.  For Christianity, it was saved from the dust heap of history by a Roman Emperor.  For Peronism, it will probably die out unless some influential people sign on. The problem, of course, is that Catholicism is well established in Argentina and probably cannot be displaced.

(354) God fails to respond to challenges, tests, or requests for a sign

Sometimes people will ask God for a sign that he exists, then something unusual or particularly positive happens, and the person interprets that as a legitimate sign.  That is not what is being discussed here.  Something definite and unambiguous that would have no possible natural explanation is what is being asked.

The author conducted such a test, placing a remote control on a bed and telling God that if he moved it two inches to the right in the next two minutes, he would take down this website.  The remote control did not move.  All tests of this nature fail.  Why is that?  Christians believe that God heard the challenge and had that ability to move the remote control, but elected not to. Why?  It would have removed a website that is misleading people away from the truth and potentially sending some people to Hell who otherwise would have avoided that fate- but God thought it more important to hide his presence and not give an atheist some evidence that he exists.

Christians will claim that you should not test God, that he will not give a sign to those who are unsure, although Jesus did just that on countless occasions. Despite these protestations, the failure of God to provide positive evidence of his existence is circumstantial evidence that he does not exist.

(355) Blame shifting and a ridiculous deduction to sanction the subservience of women

In 1 Timothy 2:11-14, we read:

A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

The author of this scripture was purportedly Paul, but most scholars conjecture that it was written by somebody else who claimed Pauline authorship.  Nevertheless, it became part of the New Testament, and no Christian alive today, save a minor few, follow its message.

For one, the idea that the Genesis story absolves Adam of responsibility for eating from the Tree of Knowledge is a travesty. No parent or legal scholar would support the idea that Eve was any more responsible for disobeying God than Adam.  But even putting that aside, it still makes no sense that one woman’s sin should condemn all future women to be second-class citizens.

This scripture is clearly not the words of an almighty god, but for sure the words of a male chauvinist with poor logical skills. The fact that it is in the Bible is evidence that the Bible is not a supernaturally constructed book.

(356) God admits he is one of many gods

In Exodus 20: 2-3, we read this:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before[a] me.”

This passage, written by a man who didn’t realize that the Jewish enslavement was fictional, nevertheless wrote a passage that seems to acknowledge that the god of the Jews was merely one of many gods in existence.  The Book of Exodus was probably written in the 6th Century BC and at a time before the modern concept of monotheism had developed as a Jewish theological doctrine. Originally the Jews considered that each tribe or civilization had their own gods and so it was imperative for Jews to refrain from worshiping any of the other gods.

Modern Christians will try to explain this away by saying the other gods in this instance refers to idols, money, possession, or something similar.  However, if only one god existed and was influencing the writing of this passage it would much more likely have read, “I am the only god, worship me, and acknowledge all other gods are false.”

The fact that Judeo-Christianity has roots in a polytheistic environment attests to its manipulation and evolution guided by human involvement.  One guided by God would have established this most important theological fact at the outset.

(357) The Bible’s attitude to sex reveals it was written by primitive tribesmen, not a god

The way the Bible treats sex is a valuable clue as to its origins.  The following list is taken from:

https://wisesloth.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/disproving-the-bible-with-sex/

  • If you have a wet dream you have to leave your camp for a fortnight until you’re “clean.”
  • When a woman is having her menstrual cycle she’s “unclean,” and if a man touches anything she’s touched during her menstrual cycle he’ll become unclean as well and have to purify himself before God.
  • Yahweh killed Onan for “spilling his seed”
  • Lot’s daughter’s got him drunk and raped him, and this was okay.
  • Lot let an angry mob gang rape his daughters, and this pleased Yahweh.
  • Several Biblical characters married their cousins.
  • Fathers sold their daughters, and Yahweh wrote specific instructions for how to do this.
  • Yahweh wrote specific instructions for how a rapists is supposed to buy the women he rapes.
  • Yahweh lists women as property not to be coveted.
  • Yahweh told Paul that women should obey their husbands, be silent in church and not wear expensive jewelry.
  • Jesus said it’s better to rush into a lifelong marriage than to the have casual sex (probably because Yahweh said to stone adulteresses to death).

It is revealing that the sexual ethics in the Bible are consistent with the prevailing morality of the times in which it was written, but pathetically primitive when compared to modern times. Why would this be so if the Bible was the word of an all-knowing god who should have been aware of the future evolution of civilization?   Why are modern-day sexual ethics superior to those God allegedly prescribed a few thousand years ago?  Both of these questions can be answered by acknowledging that the Bible was written by men, mired in their own primitive times, and without ANY supernatural inspiration.

(358) Author of Mark did not view Jesus as being God

Mark’s gospel was written in approximately AD 70, or about 40 years after Jesus was crucified.  One passage makes it clear that the author of this book did not equate Jesus with God.  It describes Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane anticipating his capture by Roman soldiers.

Mark 14:36

And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”

If Jesus was god, the second person of the trinity, he would have understood that his crucifixion was the most critical element of his mission to the Earth.  In fact, it can be said that everything else he did was somewhat trivial to the need to die on the cross to forgive sins.  So, given this, how could Jesus even entertain the idea of being delivered from this fate?  Furthermore, why would he ask the Father for this reprieve when he, being God himself, could do it himself?

None of this makes sense. But what we can tell from this is that the idea of Jesus being equal with God had not fully jelled by the 40th year following his death on the cross.

(359) The cult of Asclepius

The Greek god Asclepius became a competitor to Jesus in early Christian times, and it appears that Christians ascribed some elements of Asclepius’s myth to Jesus as a means to advance their chances in that competition.  The following is taken from:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/surfeit.htm

Asclepius. Believed by the Greeks to have once lived as a man and raised to a god after death. He was fathered by a god – Apollo – but with a human mother (Coronis, a beautiful maiden of Thessaly). He was raised by the centaur Chiron in a cave and from him learned the art of healing. But Asclepius committed the unpardonable sin of raising a man from the dead, enraging Hades for cheating him of dead souls. Zeus, afraid that Asclepius might render all men immortal, slew him with a thunderbolt. Apollo interceded on behalf of his son and persuaded Zeus to make Asclepius the god of medicine. As an immortal, Asclepius was able to cure the sick from the realm of the gods.

Certainly, for centuries, sick people went to the temples dedicated to Asclepius hoping for a cure. It was said that those who came to Asclepius on crutches went away dancing happily. Famous temples of the god were at Pergamum, Epidaurus, Cos and Rome. Full participation in the healing program involved sleeping inside the temple compound – in effect, the first hospitals – where ‘holistic’ treatment involved massage, baths and dream interpretation. Fortunate individuals did indeed experience a “healing miracle” and gave testimony to the cure effected by this Greek god.

The early Christians attacked the cult of Asclepius with great venom, indicating a close rivalry between the two cults and a certain embarrassment among Christians repeatedly being told that Asclepius had already done all of Jesus’ tricks – and had done them better.

This provides another example of how the myth of Jesus grew as the years clicked off after his death.  To compete with Asclepius and other pagan gods, the Christians added a virgin birth, impregnated by a god, and the raising of dead people, for example.  It is easy to see how competition with pagan religions forced Christians to add more miraculous elements to their figure of worship.  But it also is obvious to a skeptic to understand how this process eroded the authenticity of the faith.

(360) Made-up saints

There is nothing better to demonstrate the myth making that formed the basis of Christian beliefs than to consider the many saints that came to be revered and even prayed to by the faithful. Many of these saintly figures did not exist and others that were real persons were given attributes and deeds that were completely fictional.  It is illuminating to study this history and understand how the same process of myth creation was applied to Jesus.  This website describes 10 saints whose claimed biographies have little or nothing to do with reality:

http://listverse.com/2014/05/17/10-beloved-saints-with-fictitious-biographies/

(361) The Bible commands the faithful to kill non-believers

In Deuteronomy 17:2-5, we read the following commandment from God:

“If there is found in your midst, in any of your towns, which the LORD your God is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, by transgressing His covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, which I have not commanded, and if it is told you and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire thoroughly. Behold, if it is true and the thing certain that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then you shall bring out that man or that woman who has done this evil deed to your gates, that is, the man or the woman, and you shall stone them to death.”

Christians will claim that this commandment no longer applies because it is in the Old Testament, though they will also claim that God never changes.  Also, they will conveniently forget Matthew 5:18, where Jesus says:

“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

If Jesus believed in this law and declared that it was not to be abolished, then why don’t modern Christians obey it?

(362) The spread of early Christianity was very slow and was on life support as late as the 4th Century

Christians and the Bible itself present the idea that Christianity spread rapidly after the death of Jesus, easily displacing the predominant pagan religion, Mithraism, in the wake of its advance. This patently untrue.  The following is taken from:

Historians have estimated that by the year 200, less than one percent of the population of the central provinces of the Roman Empire were Christians.  And these were almost all confined to dwellers in the cities and town. The rural folk held so strongly to their old beliefs that the Latin term for peasants, pagani, became for Christians the generic term for adherents of the old religions.

When Christianity came under imperial favor under Constantine in the early fourth century, the Christians amounted to no more than five to ten percent of the population of the Roman Empire. Even after the conversion of Constantine the growth of the religion was by no means rapid. In Antioch, certainly one of the most important and oldest centers of Christianity, during the reign of Emperor Theodosius (emperor from 379-395), Christians made up no more than twenty percent of the population which numbered about half a million.  These considerations show that Christianity did not spread like wildfire with its self-evident truths compelling people to immediately embrace the religion.

In fact, it is a historical fact that by the beginning of the fourth century the Christian church was already on its death throes; partly due to the persecution by the Emperor Diocletian (245-313) and due to the intense competition for converts by the rival religion, Mithraism.

If there is one historical figure who contributed more than anybody else to the actual growth of Christianity it was, not Jesus, not Paul, but the Roman Emperor Constantine (c274-337). Had Christianity not found favor with Constantine, and his successors, who eventually suppressed Mithraism, this ancient Persian Sun-cult could well had become the predominant religion in Europe.

This is an important consideration because if Christianity was the one true divinely-inspired faith, it would be expected to sweep over the world like a firestorm.  Instead, it languished for 300 years before it was saved for posterity, not for any theological reason, but rather a political one.

(363) The story of Lot and the value of women

In Genesis 19, there is a story about two angels who came to visit a man named Lot living in a city named Sodom which was populated by a large number of gay men.  Later, a number of gay men asked Lot to allow them to have sex with the angels.  Instead of offering the angels, Lot gives them his virgin daughters and says they can do whatever they want with them.

The following is taken from:

https://wisesloth.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/10-scriptures-that-reveal-the-bible-is-mythology/

Nobody has ever seen an angel since the invention of photography, yet two walked into Sodom in the flesh and ate human food. And Lot, the only righteous person in Sodom offered up his virgin daughters to be gang raped by a mob. This is how much the human writers of the Bible valued women. Letting virgin girls be gang raped wasn’t outside their ethical framework, because they believed women were property. If the Bible is the word of God then women are property worthy to be gang raped at their father’s whim. But the Bible isn’t the word of God, and all people were created equal. You don’t have to be a prophet to know that. You can arrive at that conclusion through reason.

This story is in the book that fathers carry to church in the company of their teenage daughters.  It is in the book that so many Christians claim is the ultimate standard for discerning right from wrong.  It decisively reveals the human derivation of the Bible, complete with its Bronze Age sense of ethics.  There is no possible way that this insane vulgarity has anything to do with a supernatural creator of the universe.

(364) Christian de-conversions should fail

If Christianity is true, then when a Christian gives up his faith and becomes an agnostic or atheist or perhaps a follower of a different faith, there should be a discernible difference in this person’s life.  In terms of health, profession, finances, and personal protection, something should change and it should not go unnoticed.  After all, this person is unplugging from a divine assistant and provider of requests unmatched by any earthly source and just going it alone or else is now praying to the wrong god.

Although there have been no studies to chart the success of Christian de-conversions, anecdotally, there is much evidence to suggest that very few people who leave the faith ever return.  If Christianity is true, every person would personally know many people who left the faith, encountered a downturn in their lives, and then returned.  In fact, the opposite is true- most people who leave Christianity report a marked improvement in their lives.  The Christian apologist will likely explain this away by saying that the Devil leaves you alone once you stop believing.  This explanation is perhaps one of the best reasons to conclude that some Christians are seriously delusional.

(365) The harrowing of Hell

Despite scant scriptural evidence, most Christian denominations believe that Jesus made a trip to Hell after he died on the cross and before his resurrection, approximately 36 hours later.  This despite the fact that Jesus is alleged to have told one of the men crucified next to him “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)  The belief in this doctrine is so strong that it is included in the creeds that most Christians recite every time they attend a church service.

The purpose of Jesus’s day and a half visit to Hell was to preach to the people who had died and who were languishing there since their earthly deaths.  Since modern humans have existed for at least 100,000 years, some of these people had a very long wait.  Evidently, some of these people accepted Jesus’s crucifixion on the cross and were directly transferred to heaven and became its first inhabitants.

The reason for creating this myth is that it didn’t make sense to early Christians that people who died before Jesus’s time could not attain eternal life in Heaven, but it also made no sense that they could get a free ticket there without the effort needed by those who lived afterwards.  Included in this concern were the parents and grandparents of the early Christians who had died some time before Jesus’s ministry- there had to be some accommodation to get them into Heaven.

The history of this faith tradition is a prime example of how religions develop.  It starts with a central thesis that inevitably creates problems with logic and consistency, requiring the development of another doctrine to correct the problem.  There is nothing in the story of Jesus’s trip to Hell that fails to strain credulity.  It is a good piece of evidence that Christianity as whole is a myth.

(366) Fictional crucifixion story

In Mark 15:32, there is a quote about people mocking Jesus as he was affixed to the cross:

“Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.

Mark, being the oldest of the four gospels was used as source material for Matthew and Luke. In Matthew 27:43-44, we read something very similar:

“HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words.

Matthew is widely believed to be the second gospel that was written, followed closely by Luke.  But in Luke 23:39-43 , a totally different story is conveyed:

One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?“And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

It is clear that such an encounter with one of the robbers being crucified alongside Jesus wouldn’t have gone unreported in the earliest gospels or in the Q gospel which provided source material to both Matthew and Luke.  It is definitely a contradiction with the other two gospels and is most certainly fictional, for it exposes a doctrinal problem as well.  If Jesus made this claim to be going to paradise on this very day, it contradicts his claim to be in the belly of the earth for 3 days.  It also contradicts the Christian dogma that Jesus went into Hell to preach to the souls of those who had already died with no access to salvation.

It seems that Luke made up this story (he was also known to make up the story of the census to get Jesus to Bethlehem for his birth) to convey the idea that salvation was available even up the very end of life, no matter how bad a person had been up to that point.  It is another example showing that the gospel authors were not historians, but rather story tellers who used tales to flesh out their concept of theological truths.

(367) Jesus reveals lack of divinity by cursing a fig tree

In one of the most enigmatic scriptures in the Bible, Jesus curses a fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season.

Mark 11:12-14:

On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.

Later, the disciples find that the fig tree is dead.  A similar story is told in the gospel of Matthew, except in that version the fig tree withers immediately.

The question that must be asked is how did this story end up in the gospels?  It is not a flattering representation of Jesus, showing him having  a temper tantrum over something that was scientifically predictable.  How could Jesus, supposedly being God, have such a pedestrian display of emotion when what he was observing was fully consistent with nature?

It is likely that there is some truth to this story if Jesus was a real person, as it is hard to believe that the author would make up a story such as this when the overall goal was to make Jesus look good.   It provides a window into the real historical Jesus, as being a mortal man with raw emotion and disappointment that he couldn’t find food to assuage his hunger.  It represents a piece of evidence that Jesus was not a divine being, but rather a man with regular human emotions and frailties.

(368) The Gospel of Thomas reveals Jesus’s potential mental condition

The Gospel of Thomas is a book listing 114 alleged sayings of Jesus.  It was discovered in Egypt in 1945, and is considered to have been written as early as 50 AD, though there are some historians who believe it was written in the 2nd Century.

The unusual feature of this book is that it is a confusing mix of quotes that are consistent with the Biblical gospels and sayings that make little sense or that are wholly inconsistent.  Here are some examples:

Simon Peter said to them, “Make Mary leave us, for females don’t deserve life.” Jesus said, “Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

His disciples said to him, “is circumcision useful or not?” He said to them, “If it were useful, their father would produce children already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become profitable in every respect.”

His disciples said, “When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?” Jesus said, “When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample then, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid.”

Jesus said, “Where there are three deities, they are divine. Where there are two or one, I am with that one.”

“If you do not fast from the world, you will not find the (Father’s) domain. If you do not observe the sabbath as a sabbath you will not see the Father.”

Jesus said, “I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I’m guarding it until it blazes.”

Jesus said, “Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human.”

Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will rule over all.”

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/maps/primary/gthomas.html

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

It appears likely that the authors of the Biblical gospels used the Gospel of Thomas as source material, but filtered out the nonsensical sayings.  The fact that traditional statements of Jesus are mixed so thoroughly with the puzzling ones gives some evidence that Jesus had schizophrenia or something similar that produced unclear and confused thinking.  It is unlikely that oral traditions of what Jesus said would have become contaminated with such unusual sayings if there was not a kernel of truth to them.  This is evidence against the concept of Jesus as a divine being, or being a real person at all.

(369) Mother Teresa’s doubt

Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was a Roman Catholic sister and missionary who lived principally in India. She and her associates ran hospices and homes for persons with AIDS and other life threatening diseases.  She was beatified by the Catholic Church, though critics noted that she diverted most of the donations she received to causes other than palliative care and glorified the sanctity of suffering versus the aim of recovery and cure.

Although she remained faithful in her ostensible activities, letters she wrote told a very different story.  She complained that she had lost her faith in God and that she could no longer feel his presence. Her associates claimed that her faith crisis was a blessing from God to allow her to feel the same type of agony that Jesus felt on the cross. This speaks to the non-falsifiable of Christianity- feeling the presence of God and not feeling it are both seen as evidence for God’s existence.

What is important in this case is to realize that one of God’s most famous and esteemed followers, devoting her life to sectarian and charitable causes, lost her faith in his very existence.  If Mother Teresa could lose her faith, it suggests with reasonable assurance that a God of the nature claimed by Christians does not exist.  If he did, his presence would be a supernaturally potent force that could not be unfelt.

(370) The Book of Acts is a piece of historical fiction

Dr. Richard Carrier has accumulated an impressive amount of evidence suggesting that the Book of Acts (written by the same author of the Gospel of Luke) is  a work of historical fiction.  Among other points, he lists some of the parallels between Acts and other works of historical fiction that were written in approximately the same time period:

  • All promote a particular god or religion
  • All are travel narratives
  • All involve amazing or miraculous events
  • All include encounters with fabulous or exotic peoples
  • All feature chaste couples separated and then reunited
  • All involve exciting captivities and escapes and excited crowds
  • Divine revelations are always integral to the plot
  • Often include themes of persecution and divine rescues

It has been firmly established that the author of Luke and Acts  made up a fictitious tale about Jesus’s birth, describing a non-historical and illogical census as a reason to compel the travel of a 9-month pregnant Mary to Bethlehem.  So it is not unreasonable to expect that this same person made up many other stories to fit the concept of his preferred narrative.

The reason this is significant is that many Christians cite events documented in the Book of Acts as important justifications for their faith.  It is often along the lines of “who would give their life for a lie?” referring to the descriptions of martyrdom included in the book. If, as Dr. Carrier meticulously demonstrates, Acts is nothing but fiction,  then the foundation of faith for many Christians would be seriously undermined.

(371) The Bible was influenced by other religions

The following website lists 10 influences that other religions had on the construction of the Bible:

http://listverse.com/2013/06/30/ten-influences-on-the-bible/

Among the uncontroversial influences are the tie between the flood myth and the legend of Gilgamesh, the Garden of Eden with Zoroastrianism, the Book of Proverbs and the Instruction of Amenemope,  the 10 Commandments and the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Biblical angels and demons and and heaven and hell the same figures and places in Zoroastrianism, and the Trinity and numerous pagan religions.

The fact that the Bible reflects the traditions of pre-Biblical pagan traditions is an indication that it is more a plagiarized work than a revelation of a god.  It would certainly be expected that there would be a larger separation between man-made religions and the one and only one that was true.

(372) Non-religious people show more empathy and compassion than religious people

A study published in the July 2012 issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science concluded that non-religious people are more driven by compassion to help others than religious people.  Christianity was the major religion sampled by the study.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/01/religious-compassion-atheists-agnostics_n_1468006.html

It speculates that religious people are more motivated by doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns. That is, religion tends to divide people’s opinion of others into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ categories as compared to non-religious people who are much less judgmental. For example, an atheist never sees a person’s misfortune as punishment from a divine being.

What is ironic is that this study showed that non-religious people more accurately mimic the traits of Jesus as described in the gospels than Jesus’s proclaimed followers.  It points out that Christianity fails to change persons’ hearts as claimed so often by preachers and evangelists, but rather tends to make them more callous.  This, in its own right, speaks to the likelihood that Christianity is not a divine product.

(373) Christianity exploits a pervasive human frailty

Christianity, and to be fair all religions, takes advantage of a human bias to accept information that reinforces a prior belief while rejecting everything else.  This is what frustrates those who have taken the effort to view all of the evidence pro and con in an objective manner.  It often puzzles non-theists that something so obvious from the outside is not so obvious by those on the inside.

Because of this tendency, belief in Christianity can remain strong even in the wake of thousands of scientific, historic, scriptural, and archaeological discoveries that call its authenticity into question.  As an example, a person who believes in the literal story of creation will ignore, dismiss, and not read an article that might flash before him describing a newly discovered dinosaur that lived 100 million years ago.

The reason Christianity and many other religions have thrived despite of a paucity of supporting evidence is the inculcation of children who have no or little capacity to filter information into the bins of true, false, or possible.  Thus, they develop a wall of protection against contravening evidence that can only be broken down through a difficult, self-initiated de-conversion process.

As a result, belief in Christianity is far more pervasive that what can justified by the evidence of its authenticity, and the strength in numbers argument for its truth is unconvincing.

(374) Six letters allegedly written by Paul in the New Testament are forged

Bart Erhman, in his book Forged: Writing in the Name of God, presents compelling evidence that six of the letters in the New Testament, purportedly authored by the Apostle Paul, were actually written by somebody else. The theory of forged authorship is widely accepted among Biblical scholars, and it also extends to the gospels, indicating that it was a common practice in the First Century.

http://books.google.com/books/about/Forged.html?id=MtOMO8i4GLoC

The forged Pauline letters are Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus.  These letters vary significantly in terms of themes, theology, and writing style from the other letters of Paul which are considered authentic.  As the authorship of these letters is unknown and because they present contradictory theological information, Christians should remove them from their Bibles.  Of course, this will not happen and apologists will claim that whoever wrote these letters were likewise under the umbrella of God’s inspiration, while not explaining why God’s voice and penmanship should exhibit the look of multiple authors with contradictory and competing ideas.  It also would mean that God somehow knew that the committees that would eventually assemble the Bible would be fooled into thinking Paul had actually written these letters, and so God decided to inspire them as well.

The inclusion of forged letters and books in the Bible shows how unreliable it is as a historical document and as a message from God.

The case can be made that half of the New Testament is forged, as discussed in this article:

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/13/half-of-new-testament-forged-bible-scholar-says/

(375) Comparison of Gospels to the works of historian Tacitus

Tacitus (AD 56 – after 117) was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors (AD 69). In other words, he was a contemporary historian to the authors of the Gospels.  The following, taken from this website, compare the pedigree of Tacitus’s work to the gospel authors:

https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/why-scholars-doubt-the-traditional-authors-of-the-gospels/

Does the attribution clearly identify the author, rather than use a grammatical construction that only reports a tradition?

Tacitus

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Yes

No

No

No

No

Did the attributed author likely have sufficient literary training to author the work in question?

Tacitus

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Yes

No

Plausible

Plausible

No

Does what we know of the author’s biography align with the internal evidence within the text?

Tacitus

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Yes

No

No

No

No

Do authors who attribute the work outside of the text show signs of speculating over the author?

Tacitus

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Was there a prevailing context of mis-attribution, forgery, and canonical disputes surrounding the text that would increase the likelihood of its mis-attribution?

Tacitus

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Biblical scholars have determined that author names were not attached to the four gospels until approximately 100 years after they were written.  What must be understood is that this didn’t have to happen.  If Jesus was who Christians believe he was it is beyond certain that reputable historians, both followers and detractors, would have documented his life within the accepted standards of historical scholarship.

Instead, what is left for current day theologians and followers of Jesus is this: The mainstream scholarly view is that the Gospels are anonymous works, written in a different language than that of Jesus, in distant lands, after a substantial gap of time, by unknown persons, compiling, redacting, and inventing various traditions in order to provide a narrative of Christianity’s central figure, Jesus Christ, to confirm the faith of their communities.

(376) The forgery of John Chapter 21

The final verses of John Chapter 20 are as follows:

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

This is an author’s unmistakable ending to his narrative.  But there is an extra chapter 21 that continues to tell of more post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.  As described at this website, there is scriptural evidence that the original book of John ended at Chapter 20:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_21

In 2006, one 4th century Sahidic papyrus manuscript (Bodleian MS. Copt.e.150(P)) came to light that may end at 20:31. One side of this single-leaf fragment consists of John 20:30-31 with a large space under it, having no subscription.

It appears that another author added this extra chapter to explain why Jesus had not returned as soon as expected by referencing a beloved disciple who would possibly live to see the second coming, but then dismissing the certainty of that event.  Evidently there was a general consensus that Jesus would return before his beloved disciple would die.  The extra chapter was added to put into scripture that his death should not be viewed as a reason to lose faith in Jesus’s return.

Another purpose of the forgery was to support Peter as the historical first head or ‘rock’ of the church, by adding a heartfelt conversation between Jesus and Peter.  It also added, after the fact, a description of the way Peter would die.  This was a common practice of Biblical writers- to insert a prophecy of something that had already happened, but make it look as if it was predictive.

It is reasonable to assume that the contents of John 21 are fictional, similar to the forged ending of the Book of Mark. It provides another reflection of  the overall unreliability of the Bible as a historical document.

(377) Christian scriptures were not kept in public libraries

The reliable historical accounts from the times surrounding the 1st Century were protected from distortion and contamination by the use of public libraries and the professional storage and copying services they provided. The Biblical scriptures were not afforded this advantage. The following is taken from:

https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/why-scholars-doubt-the-traditional-authors-of-the-gospels/

Christian scriptures like the canonical Gospels were neither kept in public libraries nor copied by professional book dealers in the 1st century CE. As such, they would not have been subjected to the same editorial provisions that works like Tacitus’Histories, which was professionally published in Rome, would have been subjected to. Instead of circulating in public libraries, Christian scriptures like the Gospels circulated in early church communities, in which they would have been recited anonymously. Likewise, there would have been considerably less professional scribes available in these church communities than in public libraries, and thus there would have also been a considerably higher degree of interpolation and textual redactions during the process of making manuscript copies.

This fact underscores the reason why the Bible should not be taken literally.  It most certainly was manipulated by many people for various purposes, taking a highly fictionalized original text and then making additions and redactions at will.

(378) More easily accessed information results in a decline in Christian belief

To use New Zealand as an example, it can be seen that once the internet allowed people to easily and cheaply access information, belief in Christianity plunged:

The increase of the proportion of the New Zealand population recorded as having ‘no religion’ over the last five censuses.

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

New Zealand is not an outlier, and it is difficult to assume that factors other than the internet had as much to do with the dramatic decline in religious belief.  Before the internet, people of no faith had very little inter-communication and were at a distinct disadvantage to religious people who had churches and an infrastructure to advance their strength in numbers and fervor.  The internet created virtual ‘atheist churches’ and leveled the playing field.

The fact that a more informed and connected public has led to a decline in Christian belief is evidence that Christianity is untrue.  If it was true, shining more light on it should only increase its stronghold.

(379) Other messiahs are mentioned in extra-biblical texts from the 1st Century, but there is no mention of Jesus

Biblical scholar Bart Erhman made the following statment:

“In the entire first Christian century Jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman historian, religion scholar, politician, philosopher or poet. His name never occurs in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence. Zero! Zip references!”

The only references that might meet this criteria are two mentions in the historical accounts penned by Josephus, but these have been determined by most scholars to have been added by later editors.

What makes this particularly problematic for Christianity is that many other preachers and messiahs from the same time period are discussed in numerous Roman and Greek historical accounts.  These other messiahs were purportedly not performing the types of miracles ascribed to Jesus and were not as famous.  This evidence presents the possibility that Jesus was fundamentally a product of mythmaking.

http://theimmoralminority.blogspot.com/2015/04/its-easter-so-lets-talk-about-another.html

The following text from this website completes this discussion:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3018471/Jesus-MYTH-Christ-stories-appeared-decades-death-probably-people-just-one-writer-claims.html?ito=social-facebook#newcomment

Historical researcher Michael Paulkovich has claimed that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist after being unable to find any verifiable mention of Christ in historical texts by 126 writers during the ‘time of Jesus’ from the first to third centuries.

He claims that he is a fictional character invented by followers of Christianity to create a figure to worship.

He says this is surprising despite his ‘global miracles and alleged worldwide fame.’

The 126 texts he studied were all written in the period during or soon after the supposed existence of Jesus, when Paulkovich says they would surely have heard of someone as famous as Jesus – but none mention him.

‘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 Qumram and Nazareth and Bethlehem, conflicting Bible stories, and so many other mysteries and omissions – I must conclude that Christ is a mythical character,’ he writes.

‘”Jesus of Nazareth” was nothing more than urban (or desert) legend, likely an agglomeration of several evangelic and deluded rabbis who might have existed.’

(380) Numerous councils to determine doctrinal issues

Throughout the history of Christianity, church leaders have convened in formal councils to discuss, argue, and eventually vote on important doctrinal issues.  Some of the more prominent controversies involved which books to place in the Bible, whether graven images were forbidden, what happens to babies dying prior to baptism, whether the Pope was infallible, whether or not there was a trinity and whether there was a hierarchy of the three, and whether faith alone was sufficient for salvation.

The Top 10 councils are discussed here:

 http://listverse.com/2015/01/12/10-of-the-most-important-councils-that-defined-the-catholic-religion/

The fact that so many doctrinal issues were left unresolved by the allegedly god-inspired authors of the Biblical books indicates, rather strongly, that we are looking at a man-made enterprise.  A divine being ‘dictating’ to human writers would almost certainly have done a better job of establishing a clear and well understood doctrine that would not require human interpreters to quarrel over it for the next twenty centuries.

(381) The ultimate fate of Christianity was decided on October 28, 312 at the Milvian Bridge in Rome

It was at this location on this date that the Emperor Constantine defeated his rival Maxentius to take control of the Roman Empire. Although both rivals worshiped pagan gods at the time, Constantine supposedly had a vision of the Christian god and decided to daub the first two letters of Christ’s name on their shields prior to the battle. Maxentius made a huge tactical error by crossing the Tiber River and leaving no room for a retreat behind him.  He had already partially destroyed the Milvian Bridge in preparation for a siege and used a pontoon bridge to cross the Tiber River.  In a desperate attempt to retreat, the portable bridge collapsed, and Maxentius drowned trying to swim back to the other side.  As a result of the battle, Constantine took control of Rome and became the uncontested Roman Emperor.

In a handshake with superstition, Constantine converted to Christianity and the significance of this fact is as follows:

Paul K. Davis writes, “Constantine’s victory gave him total control of the Western Roman Empire paving the way for Christianity to become the dominant religion for the Roman Empire and ultimately for Europe.”[26] The following year, 313, Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan, which made Christianity an officially recognized and tolerated religion in the Roman Empire.

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

It can be argued that if this battle had turned out differently, that is, if Maxentius had remained on his side of the Tiber and withstood a siege for which he was prepared, the predominant religion today in Europe and North and South America would not be Christianity. And for this reason, billions of Christians owe their faith to the chancy outcome of a single one-day battle waged 1700 years ago.

(382) God lags behind humans in promoting human rights and progressive values

It should seem obvious that an omnipotent God would have demonstrated an understanding of basic human rights and progressive values long before we humans got around to realizing, for instance, that slavery is wrong, that racism should not be tolerated, that homosexuals deserve equal treatment, that children should not be beaten, that women should be viewed as being equal to men, that accommodations should be made available for impaired individuals, that animals should be treated humanely, and that the environment deserves concerted stewardship.  God had thousands of years to dictate these values to his “inspired” writers, but he utterly failed to do so.  Any objective person should see this for what it is- an indictment of a non-existent god.

(383) The missing letter of Paul to the Corinthians

There is scriptural evidence that what is termed 1 Corinthians in the Bible is actually the second letter that Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 5:9 reads as follows:

When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin.

Most Biblical scholars have concluded that 2 Corinthians was not written by Paul and is a forgery.  Thus, we have the unfortunate situation where one of Paul’s legitimate letters to Corinth is missing in history and one of the forged letters found its way into the New Testament.  Assuming divine guidance of this process, a god who is essentially dictating to his inspired authors, how could this have happened?  What was in the first letter that might have been significant to Christian doctrine and what is in the third letter that contaminates it?

This points out the arbitrary nature of the birth of Christian scripture, and it tells a story that looks much more like a human enterprise than one that is being controlled by the creator of the universe.

(384) God opts out of the criminal justice system

Although God is very committed to sentencing every person after death to either heaven or hell, he seems just as uncommitted to ensuring the integrity of the earthy criminal justice system.  Based on DNA testing, it has been confirmed that many of those accused and given harsh punishments, including long prison terms and even execution, were innocent of the crimes.  On the other hand, many guilty people go unpunished.  This is all happening under the watchful eye of a God who otherwise supposedly answers prayers of people seeking a parking spot.

If God is so loose and detached from earthly justice, how can he be trusted to do a competent job after we die?

(385) The prologue to the Gospel of John is a forgery

The first 18 verses of John display themes and a writing style that are completely different from the remainder of the book.  Verse 19 shows an abrupt break in the text signifying that it was the original opening statement, as can be seen below:

John 1-3, 18:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being…..No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

John 1:19-20:

This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.

It is evident that somebody added the first 18 verses to promote the evolving concept that Jesus was more than just a prophet, but was actually God himself.  The term “Word” is a metaphor for Jesus.  This embodiment of forged scripture is an indication that Christianity is based not only on mistakes made in the copying process of the original texts, but also deliberate edits made to advance a preferred agenda.  It lays to rest any idea that the scriptures are inerrant.

(386) Christians take Jewish scripture literally while Jews regard it as myth

The following it taken from:

http://www.integralworld.net/harris24.html

Most Jews recognize that their tradition is a mixture of real history and myth, even orthodox Jews recognize this. It is therefore somewhat bizarre that Christian fundamentalists take the Bible so literally. There are Jewish literalists, but Jewish orthodoxy is more related to how strictly you observe Jewish religious law. However, recent archaeological discoveries have challenged some of the most cherished parts of Jewish history; Moses and the Passover, the conquest of Canaan by Joshua (the walls of Jericho), the rule of King Solomon and even the rule of King David. Archaeological research however has supported other aspects of the Bible.

This is an impressive point, that the very scriptures that most Christians take as being a literal account of history are to the ‘owners’ of those same scriptures just a mixture of truth and myth. If anything, this situation should be reversed.  It certainly highlights a weakness in Christian doctrine- to make literal what the stakeholders admit is figurative.

(387) Literal truth versus allegory

The foundation of Christianity rests on the assumption that every word in the Bible is a transmission from the mind of God, and is not something that humans simply made up.  There are many fundamentalists who use this assumption to assert that the Bible is inerrant and that everything presented is a literal truth, including, for example, the Garden of Eden and the worldwide flood.  The problem with this view is that science has convincingly debunked these and other stories, leaving these fundamentalists looking rather childish in holding onto their wishful ideas.

After science began to erode the authenticity of many Biblical stories, some Christians tried to have their cake and eat it to, by asserting that some stories in the Bible are not meant to be taken literally and are instead figurative tales meant to convey a spiritual truth.  This opens up another big problem, for how is anyone to know what is literal and what is figurative?  If one concedes the Tower of Babel or Jonah and the fish, then how are we to be assured that there really was an earthquake when Jesus died and that dead people rose out of their graves?  But even more disturbing, how are we to know whether eternal life in heaven or suffering in Hell are also just figurative topics.

Once the concept of inerrancy is abandoned, something that modern science has made inevitable, then trying to discover what is literal truth is left to the discordant views of thousands of disagreeing human minds.  This leads to something that should be obvious- an almighty god who desired to create a book to pass on to humanity would have written a literal history and would not have allowed his book to be subject to interpretation.  This is the best evidence that the Bible is not the work of a god.

(388) Christian church demonized pagan knowledge

The rise of Christianity resulted in a distrust, suspicion, and rejection of many forms of pagan knowledge and technology, and much of this was based on the idea that human intelligence was a tool of Satan and an affront to the preeminence of God.  As a consequence, human progress in science and engineering was stifled for many centuries.

The following is taken from:

http://www.integralworld.net/harris24.html

The Greeks had already theorized that the earth was spherical, that it revolved around the sun and that humans had evolved from lower animals. The struggle of science to recover this lost knowledge is well known. It seems extraordinary that this struggle still goes on today. The architect Brunelleschi (1377-1446) had to rediscover how to build a dome. Indeed, as texts on Roman engineering were rediscovered and studied it has been understood how technically advanced they actually were. And why was this knowledge lost? Not, as many believe, because ‘barbarians’ destroyed Rome. The so-called barbarians consisted of waves of different Germanic tribes, many of whom absorbed Roman ways. The main cause seems to have been the contempt and suspicion with which the Church regarded pagan knowledge, considering much of it heretical and finally demonic. There was a devolutionary movement from Greco-Roman reason to a new ‘Christian’ mythos based on faith. The result was that the Greco-Roman world was thrown into a Dark Age. Fortunately a more enlightened Islam (which later descended into its own Dark Age) continued to foster Greco-Roman science and engineering until the Italian Renaissance and the European Enlightenment released the dynamic energy of the Classical tradition.

When social progress and scientific advancement occur in spite of a religious faith instead of because of it, it is a good indication that the religious faith is not an emanation from a celestial deity.

(389) Why are there four gospels?

Out of approximately 60 gospels detailing aspects of Jesus’s life, ministry, and sayings, 4 were selected for inclusion in the Bible. If we are to follow Christian dogma, this means that God inspired these 4 authors, while the other 56 were simply writing on their own.  But this raises a question- why would God want to produce four contrasting, and somewhat contradictory accounts to pass on to future generations of Christians?  Why wouldn’t he have arranged to have one complete and totally accurate account that would have made unnecessary the interpretations needed to resolve the inconsistencies in the four existing ones?  Beyond that, Jesus, being God himself with infinite capabilities- why didn’t he write anything? It could have resolved all of the doctrinal disputes of the past 2000 years.

The following is taken from:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/emergence.html

In the earliest Christian movement, there were actually many different writings circulated, and many traditions about the sayings of Jesus. Some of the leaders were concerned to say, “Well, which of these writings can be read in church? Which are the right ones? Which are the best ones?” And Irenaeus, the leader of a church in France in about the year 170, declared that “The heretics boast that they have many more gospels than there really are. But really they don’t have any gospels that aren’t full of blasphemy. There actually are only four authentic gospels. And this is obviously true because there are four corners of the universe and there are four principal winds, and therefore there can be only four gospels that are authentic. These, besides, are written by Jesus’ true followers.”

There is no other place in the Bible that contains multiple accounts of the same events other than the two contradictory creation stories in Genesis. The lack of any writings by Jesus, the lack of a single, unified, complete story that was pristinely preserved for posterity, and the evidence of an arbitrary, politically motivated selection of gospel books suggests rather strongly that this whole business was a human enterprise, not the workings of a supreme god.

(390) The Bible, as a purported work of God, fails a logical test

If, as Christians claim, the Bible is the work of God, then it should be able to pass a test to affirm this claim.  A book written by an infinitely intelligent being, who created the universe and is aware of all things past, present, and future, should have been able to write a book that would dwarf and overwhelm all things written by mere humans in terms of wisdom, insight, enlightenment, fairness, consistency, and scientific accuracy.  All other books claiming to be holy, but written with only human inspiration, should fail to gain any foothold in history and pale in significance and popularity against the one true book written by God.

The Bible fails this test in every imaginable way. It is loaded with inconsistencies and contradictions, has a multitude of disparate writing styles, contains evil and outdated morals, and has no understanding of science beyond the time it was written.  The Bible, however, passes a test that it was written by men, and solely by men, who were captives of their time and place in history.

(391) The Spanish Inquisition

From 1478 to 1834, Christians in Spain who were considered lapsed in their faith were hunted down, in many cases falsely accused, and burned to death in public.  Many of those targeted were recent converts from Judaism and Islam who had reverted to their former faith.  Over this time, approximately 31,000 people were killed.

Many were not ‘guilty’ of the accusations but they were successfully tortured into making confessions.  Accusations were not screened for evidence or for the integrity of the accusers.

The inquisition included the banishment of Jews from Spain beginning in 1492.  Given the choice of converting to Christianity or leaving the country, 150,000 chose exile, many of whom died in the process or were captured by pirates and forced into slavery.

The religious fervor also took its vengeance out on books; any of which conflicted with a Christian world view were burned.  Thus, while the remainder of Europe flourished in the Renaissance, Spain lagged behind.

This is on the list because it is implausible that the god Christians claim exists would have sat idly by and allowed these atrocities to happen in his name.  A god who can inspire people to write scripture can also inspire goodness and fairness in his followers.  His utter failure to do this over the 356-year span of this heinous inhumanity is reasonable proof that he does not exist.

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

(392) Jesus’s missing statement

The gospels should contain a verse similar to the following if modern Christianity was true:

And Jesus said,” I shall be sacrificed for the forgiveness of sins, as a final sacrifice, for no more shall offerings be taken in the Temple, for my sacrifice shall cover all of mankind, not just the chosen ones of Israel. Let all generations know that anyone who accepts my sacrifice shall have all of their sins forgiven and shall be welcomed into the Kingdom of  my Father.”

This declaration, or anything similar, is missing from the gospels, and it’s for a good reason- It was not a doctrine that Jesus promulgated. Rather, it was Paul who dreamed up this idea.  His influence is seen in the last gospel written, John, as capsulized in John 3:16:

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

The theory of atonement would have been too central to core Christian doctrine to be left out of the preceding three gospels, so it is highly probable that it was the later creation of the Apostle Paul. The fact that Christianity evolved away from the doctrine of Jesus is well established by the failure of the synoptic gospels to contain a verse similar to theoretical one shown above.

(393) The car analogy

If you know nothing about how a car works, you would think it’s pretty magical how you can just press the accelerator pedal and it goes.  All you see is the shiny exterior and the passenger cabin, but nothing else.  This is the situation with most Christians- they only see the shiny exterior of the faith. Here’s how to be that kind of Christian:

  • Do not study anything about church history
  • Read only select portions of the Bible, principally the more popular verses of the New Testament
  • Get most of your Christian education from your priest or pastor
  • Do not think too deeply or critically about your faith

To continue with the analogy, if you look under the hood of the car, examine the parts, and study the science behind how it works, it no longer seems magical. This is precisely what happens when an objective person “looks under the hood” of Christianity. It is so easy to see how it came about, plagiarized other traditions, evolved, devolved, changed, and became distorted over two millenia without any need to postulate the existence of a single miracle, or the presence of a god, a devil, angels, or demons.

Christianity exists today only because most of its followers are intellectually lazy and all too willing to accept a reassuring fable over a harsh but authentic reality.

(394) God would have created humans immediately

In the creation story told in the Bible, God made humans on the sixth day. This is consistent with the Christian idea that humans are the principal focus of creation, made in the very image of God.  This runs into major difficulty when we realize that the universe is almost 14 billion years old.  It makes no sense that God would wait that length of time before making his special life form.  The following cartoon brings this absurdity to life:

God's plan

(395) Failed end of world predictions

There have been consistently numerous predictions of the end of the world over the past 20 centuries based on Christian theological interpretations of scripture or revelation.   Most Christians contend that these failures are not evidence against their faith, often citing Mark 13:32 where Jesus allegedly says:

“But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

The problem with this dismissal is that many of the persons making these predictions are/were prominent Christian leaders supposedly under the inspiration of God.   So the issue that Jesus has not returned in the timeframe he promised (within the lifetime of some people alive at that time) is compounded by God allowing his ‘lieutenants’ to make false predictions that deceive his sincere followers, often to their severe detriment.  A god that exists would not allow this nonsense to go on and on for centuries.

Here is a more or less complete list of these predictions:

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

(396) If Jesus is the only way to salvation, why wasn’t his ‘gift’ given world wide?

Christianity has embraced the idea that salvation can only be attained by faith in Jesus, that he is the one and only way for a human to achieve an eternal life in heaven.  This dogma is supported by this verse in John 14:6:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

If this is the case, then Jesus appearing only to the Jews was a massively unethical dereliction of anything approaching a competent morality.  Delivering to the Earth the only viable means of deliverance from sin and death absolutely should have been offered to all people living on the planet at that time.  To have it trickle down circumstantially over many centuries while billions of people died without this knowledge is beyond unfair, beyond cruel, and beyond inexcusable.  Of course, it also is one the strongest pieces of evidence that this whole thing is complete nonsense.

(397) The dehumanizing effect of Christianity

Imperfect people lead imperfect lives, but what Christianity has done is to criminalize normal behaviors, with the express purpose of making followers see themselves in a negative light, as helpless sinners needing redemption from Jesus.  This creates subservience, a very useful commodity for the clergy.  The following Catholic confessional preparatory list of questions is taken from this site:

http://www.catholic-pages.com/penance/examine.asp

Preliminary

Besides telling the NATURE of our sins, we must also recollect, as far as possible, the NUMBER of times we have committed them, telling also (and only) those CIRCUMSTANCES which at times may either make a venial sin mortal or a mortal sin notably worse.

  1. Have I ever failed to confess a serious sin or disguised it?
  2. Have I been guilty of irreverence for this sacrament by failing to examine my conscience carefully?
  3. Have I failed to perform the penance given me by the confessor or disobeyed any of his directions?
  4. Have I neglected the Easter duty of receiving Holy Communion or failed to confess my sins within a year?
  5. Have I any HABITS of serious sin to confess first (impurity, drunkenness, etc.)?

First Commandment

  1. Am I ignorant of my catechism (Act of Contrition, Apostle’s Creed, Ten Commandments, Seven Sacraments, the Our Father)?
  2. Have I willfully doubted or denied any of the teachings of the Church (heresy)?
  3. Have I taken active part in any non-Catholic worship?
  4. Am I a member of any anti-Catholic or any secret society?
  5. Have I knowingly read any anti-Catholic literature?
  6. Have I practiced any superstitions (horoscopes, fortune tellers, etc.)?

Second Commandment

  1. Have I used God’s name in vain by way of profanity?
  2. Have I murmured or complained against God (blasphemy)?
  3. Have I maligned priests or others consecrated to God?
  4. Have I sworn by God’s name (oath) either falsely or rashly?
  5. Have I broken any private vow?

Third Commandment

  1. Have I missed Mass on Sundays or holydays through my own fault?
  2. Have I been late for Mass through my own negligence?
  3. Have I been inattentive at Mass or otherwise failed in reverence for the Most Blessed Sacrament?
  4. Have I done unnecessary servile work (physical labor) or shopping on Sunday?

Fourth Commandment

  1. Have I been disrespectful to my parents or neglected them?
  2. Have I failed in obedience or reverence to others in authority?
  3. Have I mistreated my wife or children?
  4. Have I been disobedient or disrespectful to my husband?
  5. Regarding my children:
    • Have I neglected their material needs?
    • Have I failed to care for their early Baptism or their proper religious instruction?
    • Have I allowed them to neglect their religious duties?
    • Have I otherwise failed to discipline them?
    • Have I given bad them example?
    • Have I interfered with their freedom to marry or follow a religious vocation?

Fifth & Eighth Commandments

  1. Have I quarreled with any one?
  2. Have I cursed anyone or otherwise wished evil on him?
  3. Have I taken pleasure in anyone’s misfortune?
  4. Is there anyone to whom I refuse to speak or be reconciled?
  5. Have I lied about anyone (calumny)?
  6. Have I rash judged anyone of a serious sin?
  7. Have I engaged in gossip (detraction) or spread scandal?
  8. Have I lent an ear to scandal about my neighbor?
  9. Have I been jealous or envious of anyone?

Sixth & Ninth

  1. Have I denied my spouse his or her marriage rights?
  2. Have I practiced birth control?
  3. Have I abused my marriage rights in any other way?
  4. Have I committed adultery or fornication?
  5. Have I touched or embraced another impurely?
  6. Have I sinned with others of the same sex?
  7. Have I committed masturbation or otherwise sinned impurely with myself?
  8. Have I harbored lustful desires for anyone?
  9. Have I indulged in other impure thoughts?
  10. Have I failed to dress modestly?
  11. Have I done anything to provoke or occasion impure thoughts in others?
  12. Have I read indecent literature or looked at indecent pictures?
  13. Have I watched suggestive films or programs?
  14. Have I permitted my children or others under my charge to do these things?
  15. Have I used indecent language or told indecent stories?
  16. Have I willingly listened to such stories?
  17. Have I boasted of my sins?
  18. Have I sinned against chastity in any other way?

Seventh & Tenth Commandments

  1. Have I stolen anything?
  2. Have I damaged anyone’s property through my own fault?
  3. Have I cheated or defrauded other?
  4. Have I refused or neglected to pay any debts?
  5. Have I neglected my duties or been slothful in my work?
  6. Have I refused or neglected to help anyone in urgent necessity?
  7. Have I failed to make restitution?

OTHER SINS

  1. Have I knowingly caused others to sin?
  2. Have I cooperated in the sins of others?
  3. Have I sinned by gluttony?
  4. Have I become intoxicated?
  5. Have I used narcotics?
  6. Have I been motivated by avarice?
  7. Have I indulged in boasting or vainglory?
  8. Have I received Holy Communion or another sacrament in the state of mortal sin?
  9. Is there any other sin I need to confess?

After reading through this list of questions, it should be obvious that it’s an inhuman way of saying that all of our frailties and natural desires are sinful, that we are inherently sinful,  and that we cannot possibly live up to God’s expected standards.  Impressing this guilt upon children is abuse and it is responsible for imbuing them with a negative self image.  Although this is a Catholic document, all denominations of Christianity are more or less guilty of the same guilt trips.

It seems quite unlikely that a compassionate God would put this onus on people who are just acting in the manner that comes natural to them.  The dehumanizing aspect of Christianity is evidence that it is a construct of human minds, not the makings of an infinitely intelligent being.

(398) The man who made Christianity a world-wide religion was a hideous butcher endorsed by the Christians of his time

Constantine was the Roman Emperor who opened up the entire empire to the unrestricted practice of Christianity, thus affording what was at that time a struggling religion to become the predominant world religion.  But he was a tyrant who set an example for the ruthless behavior of Christian leaders to follow.  The following is taken from:

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

Constantine’s behavior was to be a preview to subsequent behaviors of prominent Christians, once they had gained political power. To become the sole emperor, he strangled Lucius, the emperor of the eastern half of the Roman Empire, after promising to spare his life. When he became emperor, by then definitely a convinced Christian, Constantine put to death his son Crispus, a nephew and his wife Fausta. Through all this, it should be noted that the Christian church, rejoicing in its new found prominence, did not raise a single word of criticism against the emperor’s behavior.  To top it all up, Constantine was openly accepted by the Christians as the head of the Church on earth.  This then, was the man who called a general council in the year 325 to settle the dispute regrading Jesus’ divinity.

There is an irony to this situation.  Most Christians today owe their faith to a man who killed his son and his wife over what has been conjectured was a false accusation of sexual infidelity.  The fact that the Christians of Constantine’s time did not condemn him for this act, or remove him from his position as head of the church speaks volumes for how this developing religion was more focused on gaining power than following the precepts for their lord and savior.

What followed in the centuries to come was a continuation of brutality by Christians against any perceived enemy and an almost maniacal campaign, still present today, to ignore the teachings of Jesus in the Bible.

(399) Jesus was likely psychologically impaired

If Jesus was an actual person accurately portrayed in the gospel accounts, then an argument can be made that he suffered from many physical and psychological defects.  The following it taken from:

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

In the early years of the twentieth century some psychologists and psychiatrists such as Dr. Charles Binet-Sangle, Professor of Psychology at the University of Paris, Dr. J. Dagonet, a physician at St. Anne’s Hospital in Paris and Dr. B. Ball, Professor of Mental Pathology in the Faculty of Medicine in Paris made various diagnosis about Jesus. Given below is a summary of their findings:

  • Jesus suffered from theomania (excessive religious devotion) inherited through his parents’ devoutness. Theomaniacs studied at the mental hospital at Charenton believe that they are called by God, and that they cannot be harmed and that they will live forever. Mystic visions are also very common among theomaniacs. Jesus seeing the dove coming down on him during his baptism (Mark 1:10-11) is the classic example of the type mystic vision experienced by theomaniacs. Dr. Dagonet noted that theomaniacs get very easily irritated and will not permit contradiction of their utterances, as Jesus was in Mark 3:5. They often speak in tones of authority. Dr. Ball pointed out that the great religious innovators of history, such as Martin Luther and Muhammad, have always been psychologically abnormal.
  • Coupled with his theomania is his megalomania. After all, it is quite incompatible with a sound mind that Jesus would announce himself the future judge of the universe (John 5:27).
  • Jesus suffered from the hallucinatory syndrome. This is proven by the numerous visions he experienced throughout his ministry: on his baptism where he saw the Holy Spirit and heard the voice of God (Mark 1:10-11); during his fact in the desert where he saw Satan himself (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-12); and in Gethsemane where he saw angels (Luke 22:43). Surely if anyone today tells us he has heard the voice of God, spoken to the devil and has seen angels, we would be hard put not to pronounce him deranged.
  • He also suffered from dromomania (irrepressible wanderlust). This is evident from his frequent journeyings, from Nazareth to the banks of the Jordan, from there to the wilderness, then back to Nazareth, to Cana, to Capernaum, to Phoenicia, to Caesarea, to Samaria, to Judea etc.
  • A detailed analysis by the psychologists and psychiatrists of the sayings of Jesus showed that he was an egocentric maniac devoid of profundity of thought, incoherent and often amoral.
  • They also noted various physiological symptoms that point to an abnormal condition:
    • The sweat of blood at Gethsemane (Luke 22:44) shows a defect in his vaso-motor system and is in reality a facial hematidrosis.
    • The forty day fast in the desert (Matthew 4:2; Luke 4:2) shows that Jesus had problems with his digestive system. The forty day fast was actually an attack of sitiophobia.
    • The fact that Jesus was incapable of carrying the cross himself (Mark 15:21; Matthew 27:32; Luke 23:26) and the pleuro-tubercular effusion revealed by the lance-thrust (John 19:34) shows that Jesus had problems with his respiratory organs as well.
    • Jesus probably had problems with his genital organs as well. We get psychological hints from Jesus’ encouragement of castration (Matthew 19:12) and his glorification of sterility (Luke 23:29).
  • Jesus also suffered from Oedipism or a tendency to engage self-mutilation. This is evidenced from his advise to his to his followers to pluck their eyes and cut their hands to avoid sinning. (Matthew 5:29-30)
  • And finally we have the testimony from his family, his mother and brothers (Mark 3:21) and his enemies (Mark 3:22), who all thought that he was mad.

In short the psychologists and psychiatrists thought Jesus as a typical psychotic, a visionary, a paranoid and a megalomaniac. With diseases of the digestive system, the lungs and the genitals, he wasn’t too healthy either!

There has been much speculation about what kind of person Jesus was and who in modern times he might be compared to.  One that stands out is David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians cult that was decimated by fire in 1993, at least in terms of being a visionary with little contact with the subtleties of reality.  One thing that can be stated with certainty is that the Jesus of the gospels is a man imprisoned by the boundaries of his experience, education, and geographic isolation, with little to no knowledge of the world beyond Judea, or of the modern world to come, or even more accurately, that there would even be a world to speak of some 2000 years into the future.

(400) Absurdities in the Book of Acts dispel any notion that it represents a reliable historical account

The Book of Acts is relied upon by Christians to flesh out the early history of the church and to provide a context for the eventual development of Christianity into a worldwide religion.  But its contents belie any confidence in the truth of what it documents. Here are some examples of its highly dubious accounts:

  • While Jesus went up to heaven, two angels (men in white) stop by to tell the disciples that Jesus will return in the same way he just left them . (1:10-11)
  • A mighty wind comes, cloven tongues of fire sit on top of heads, everyone starts speaking in languages they don’t understand and act like they’re drunk. (2:2-13)
  • The sick were healed just by touching the shadow of Peter. (5:15-16)
  • Philip made “unclean spirits” scream as they left the bodies of the people they possessed. (8:7)
  • The Spirit caught Philip and transported him to a city miles away. (8:39-40)
  • Peter raises Tabitha from the dead. (9:36-40)
  • An angel magically breaks Peter out of prison. (12:7-10)
  • Paul and Silas were rescued by an earthquake that opened all the doors of the prison. (16:26)

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/abs/acts-eph.html

To a clear-thinking person, it is obvious that the Book of Acts is fantastical drama similar in many ways to the Iliad and the Odyssey. It has no connection to the real nuts and bolts of the world in which we live, and it rightfully should be discarded from the realm of true history.  This being the case fundamentally undermines the credentials of Christianity as a factual expression of reality.

Here is a good video to flesh out the issues with Acts,, followed by a transcript:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5MUUP4l6l4

Acts As Historical Fiction by Dr. Richard Carrier

Richard introduces three books that prove that Acts is fiction; The Mystery of Acts, Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?, and The Power of Parable.

He talks about the three primary gospels; Mark, Matthew, Luke-Acts.

Luke and Acts were written by the same guy and were intended to go together.

Luke and Acts are a response to Matthew.

Matthew is a response to Mark.

The basic thinking of Mark is that you do not have to become Jews or follow Jewish laws to be a Christian.

Matthew didn’t agree, so Matthew re-wrote Mark saying that you do have to follow Jewish laws to be a Christian until the end of the world when you get new bodies and then you won’t need to do that stuff anymore.

Luke did not like the fighting between Mark and Matthew’s groups. Luke wrote basically saying “Can’t we all just get along?” Acts specifically was designed to promote the idea that the church has always been unified and that everybody should get along. But, the subtext in Acts is still that you do not really have to be a jew. So Acts mostly agrees with Mark.

Luke knows about Matthew. An example of this is that Luke re-wrote Matthew’s nativity because he didn’t like it. This is a theory that goes against the alternative; that Luke did not know Matthew.

Richard says that he is going to be challenging the notion that “Luke was an outstanding historian.”- Maurice Casey

Richard says this quote is not even remotely correct.

Some examples of why Luke was not an outstanding historian, or even a good historian;

  • -he never identifies himself or his qualifications
  • -he never names or evaluates his sources
  • -he never discusses or reveals methodology
  • -his preface is fake: looks like a history book but omits key things a real preface or history would contain
  • -he espouses a lousy method (slavishly following his sources) and even lies about that (he changes everything.)
  • -he used Josephus as a reference

Acts as well as other Ancient Novels;

  • -all promote a particular god or religion
  • -all are travel narratives
  • -all involve miraculous or amazing events
  • -all include encounters with fabulous or exotic peoples
  • -all feature chaste couples separated and reunited
  • -all feature exciting captivates and escapes and excited crowds
  • -divine revelations are always integral to the plot
  • -often include themes of persecution and divine rescues

Richard says that Luke is a liar for these reasons;

  • -Paul himself tells us that he was still unknown by face in Judea for years after converting (Gal 1)
  • -Paul says he went to Arabia after converting, not to Damascus
  • -Paul innovated the Torah-free gospel and only reached an uneasy detente with Peter (Gal 2)
  • -Main character (Jesus) flies off into outer space (Acts 1)

In Acts, when hundreds of people are being converted;

  • -they are using the Septuagint in Jerusalem (mistakes and all)
  • -instant conversions without argument
  • -miraculous escapes from jail (twice)
  • -no one cares about an escaped convict? (Jesus, when people found out he was still alive)

Stephen Law defends the principle of contamination

-if you have a book full of ridiculous claims, then those claims contaminate the rest of the text

Lies + improbabilities + missing reliability markers + markers of ancient fiction = THE BOOK IS BUNK

Luke

  • -appears to have used other histories to crib color and background material for his story
  • -we can prove this is likely in Josephus because that history we actually have
  • -was probably a history of the Aegean as well, now lost, that Luke used for color detail in that region

Luke’s use of Josephus

  • -the census of Quirinius (goes out of his way for this changing the year of Christ’s birth)
  • -death of Herod Agrippa I, including the peculiar detail of wearing a fabulous robe
  • -associating Agrippa II with Berenice
  • -associating Felix with Drusilla
  • -mention of the obscure tetrarch Lysanias
  • -mention of the famine in the reign of Claudius
  • -adds details from Josephus’ account of the siege of Jerusalem
  • -repeats Josephus’ penchant for calling the Pharisees “the most precise school”
  • -refers to Pilate’s slaughter of Samaritans during a religious ceremony (confusing them with Galileans)
  • -includes the same rebels as Josephus
  • -Josephus calls rebels by Nationality and not their name and it is weird for Luke to do the same thing
  • -confuses followers of the Egyptian with Sicarii (knifers): yet Josephus mentions them in the same place
  • -confuses the Egyptian with other religious figures Josephus mentions in the same place as leading people into the desert
  • -Luke gets the facts wrong in ways that tell he is writing fiction
  • -When he does get facts right it is because he used a reference book
  • -None of the facts can be independently connected with the history of Christianity

Paul as Odysseus

  • -shipwrecked with same nautical images and vocabulary
  • -appearance of a divine being assuring safety
  • -the riding of planks on the sea
  • -hero lands on an island and meets hospitable strangers
  • -hero is mistaken for a god
  • -hero is sent on in a new ship

A shipwreck is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:25, so Luke saw this and decided to write in one of his own shipwrecks.

Peter’s vision:

  • -Acts 10 is a rewrite of Ezekiel 1,2,4,20
  • -both see the heavens open
  • -both are commanded to eat something in their vision
  • -both twice respond to God with the exact same phrase (“By no means, Lord!”)
  • -both are asked to eat unclean food
  • -both protest that they have never done that before
  • -Acts 15 puts peter in the role of Paul

Peter and Paul:

  • -each raises someone from the dead (Acts 9 & 20)
  • -each heals a paralytic (Acts 3 & 14)
  • -each heals by a magical extension of themselves (Acts 5 & 19)
  • -each defeats a sorcerer
  • -each miraculously escapes prison (Acts 12 & 16)
  • -Peter summoned by Cornelius in a vision to save him; Paul summoned by Macedonians in a vision to save them (Acts 12 & 16)

Paul and Christ:

  • -both walk the earth preaching ending at Jerusalem
  • -both are arrested over a disturbance in the temple (Acts 21)
  • -both are acquitted by a Herod and a Prefect (Acts 25, 26)
  • -both are plotted against by the jews (Acts 20, 23, 25) yet innocent (Acts 25, 26)
  • -both are interrogated and beaten by the Priests and Sanhedrin (Acts 21)
  • -both know their death is foreordained and prophecy tribulations in the church to come after (Acts 20)
  • -both die and rise from the dead (Acts 14)
  • -both are hailed a god
  • -Paul travels a much wider area, around a much larger sea
  • -Paul faces greater peril from a storm at sea
  • -Paul’s trial spans years rather than a night
  • -armies plan to assassinate Paul, and come to rescue Paul
  • -Jesus stirs violence in one Synagogue, Paul in two
  • -Paul wins new followers after his resurrection
  • -unlike Jesus, Paul delivers the gospel to Rome

Emmaus:

  • -Paul’s conversion narrative is a rewrite of Luke’s Emmaus narrative
  • -both on a road from Jerusalem to another city
  • -both feature a revelation of Christ
  • -Jesus rebukes the unbeliever and instructs them
  • -they are converted and go preach what they were told
  • -in both tails, the “chief priests” are named enemies of the church
  • -both stories feature a literal blindness that is then lifted
  • -Emmaus vision had God explain why Jesus had to suffer
  • -Damascus vision had Jesus explain why Paul had to suffer
  • -Emmaus visitation occurs on the third day, at which blindness is lifted
  • -Damascus visitation causes three days of blindness
  • -At Emmaus the blindness ends after a meal commences
  • -At Damascus a meal commences after the blindness ends
  • -Emmaus vs Ethiopian narrative; both feature a sacrament
  • -Both feature the miraculous vanishing of the interpreter in the middle of the sacrament they are performing

Acts is a fake history:

  • -Lacks key markers of being a real history
  • -Has all the markers of being a fictional novel
  • -Lies about historical facts/ makes key mistakes
  • -Narratives are historically implausible
  • -Invents stories according to literary needs
  • -Copies other fake stories (even his own)

Conclusion after adding all of these things up: Acts is fiction.

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