September 30, 2014

Museum of the Bible aims for timeless name, imagery

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RNS-BIBLE-MUSEUM a

WASHINGTON (RNS) Museum of the Bible.

The new Museum of the Bible logo. Photo courtesy of Museum of the Bible

The new Museum of the Bible logo. Photo courtesy of Museum of the Bible

That’s it.

The name of the museum under construction in Washington, D.C., is official.

“We don’t need more to tell people who and what we are,” the museum’s founder and funder, Steve Green, told Religion News Service.

But, as always with the Bible, nothing is ever simple.

The high-tech museum, set to open in fall 2017, is four blocks from the U.S. Capitol and three blocks from a global tourism mecca, the Air and Space Museum. The new museum will feature standing exhibits on the history and impact of the Bible as well as interactive features to bring viewers into Bible stories and characters.

The Museum of the Bible is located two blocks from the National Mall, at 300 D Street, SW. RNS map by Tiffany McCallen; Wikimedia Commons D.C. landmarks by Jarek Tuszynski, Ad Meskens, Diliff

The Museum of the Bible is located two blocks from the National Mall, at 300 D Street, SW. RNS map by Tiffany McCallen; Wikimedia Commons D.C. landmarks by Jarek Tuszynski, Ad Meskens, Diliff

It’s the passionate project of Green, the Hobby Lobby billionaire who would prefer to be known for his world-class Bible artifacts collection than for his victorious Supreme Court fight for exemption from the Affordable Care Act contraception mandate.

Exterior rendering of the Museum of the Bible, located three blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The eight-story, 430,000-square-foot museum is being designed by a team of consultants, including lead architect group Smith Group JJR. Photo courtesy of Smith Group JJR

Exterior rendering of the Museum of the Bible, located three blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The eight-story, 430,000-square-foot museum is being designed by a team of consultants, including lead architect group SmithGroupJJR. Photo courtesy of SmithGroupJJR

Religious freedom, he says, is a biblical concept. The Green family — generations of Pentecostals and Baptists — has long funded Bible scholarship, biblical archaeology and the drafting of a proposed public school curriculum on the Bible’s historic, cultural and artistic impact on the U.S. and the world.

All are controversial endeavors, particularly given Green’s personal commitment to spread the good word about the Good Book.

Yet, Green insists, this is not an $800 million monument to personal evangelism. Unlike Answers in Genesis, the ministry that launched the Creation Museum in Kentucky and an Ark Encounter park under construction, employees need not pass a Christians-only litmus test. Green said believers, skeptics and the “intellectually curious” alike can visit and learn, just as they might at a science museum.

“The Bible can speak for itself, explain itself.”

Blowback since the museum’s announcement in 2011 doesn’t bother him. “Anytime you do anything with the Bible, people respond with emotion — emotion for and against it. That people want to express their love or their hate is not surprising.”

To Green, the controversies simply prove the timeless intrigue of the Bible. “There really isn’t a barrier for this book.”

Museum of the Bible Board Chairman Steve Green, with one of the more than 44,000 rare biblical texts and artifacts his family began collecting in 2009. Green has assembled a team of academics, designers, technology professionals and other experts to create a museum dedicated to a scholarly and engaging presentation of the impact, history and narrative of the Bible. The museum is scheduled to open in Washington D.C., in Fall 2017. Photo courtesy of Museum of the Bible *EDS: Embargoed until Tuesday Sept. 30 at 6:00 am.

Museum of the Bible Board Chairman Steve Green, with one of the more than 44,000 rare biblical texts and artifacts his family began collecting in 2009. Green has assembled a team of academics, designers, technology professionals and other experts to create a museum dedicated to a scholarly and engaging presentation of the impact, history and narrative of the Bible. The museum is scheduled to open in Washington, D.C., in fall 2017. Photo courtesy of Museum of the Bible

Hence, the simple, symbolic and super modern logo featuring a B-as-in-Bible set on its side.

Or is it a lowercase ‘m’ for museum, underscored?

Or a set of archways leading toward the path of your own choosing?

Or the tablets of the Ten Commandments?

Or the curled open pages of a book?

All the above, said Jonathan Alger, one of the founding partners of C&G Partners, the design firm that created the logo and brand imagery.

Like the Bible, the logo is “a vessel for what you pour into it.”

“When you are making an identity to reflect a museum about the Bible, it has to be simple and respectful,” Alger said.

His firm aimed for something “stylish, international, unexpected and very modern,” so even the typography mattered. Choice of the font was critical.

The museum signage and logo are in a European font known as DIN, “originally invented to make roadway signs in Europe more visible and safe. It was designed for clarity, to help people find their way.”

How very biblical.

YS/MG END GROSSMAN

  • Jon

    What are the odds that this evangelical structure will be honest about the bloodthirsty and depraved content of the Bibles? Will it show dead infants floating in the floodwaters of Genesis, piles of innocent firstborn killed by God to “show his glory” in Exodus, the basketful of severed children’s heads ordered by God in 2Kngs 10, Jesus ordering the killing for those who rejected him in the story in Luke and many, many more? Somehow, I doubt it – my guess would be that the Bibles will continue to be sugarcoated, as they usually are.

  • Wyman

    Jon,

    Since one of the ostensible aims of the museum is to get more people to read the Bible, and since the episodes you have cited are all in the Bible (though your particular interpretation of them may or may not be in the Bible), I assume the Green’s assume that people can read and interpret for themselves. If the Bible is as self-evidently depraved as you seem to think it is, you should applaud this effort since it will expose more people to the pernicious evils of the book as you see them.

    I do hope, though, that you approach the Bible with better interpretive skills than you have shown in your profoundly wrong-headed interpretation of the eschatological conclusion of the parable of Christ in Luke 19. I mean, wow. Just wow!

  • Jon

    Wyman, I don’t think there is much interpretation to killing people in these verses. Seriously, are you saying that it is sometimes OK to order the killing of innocent people? What in these situations makes that OK in your eyes?

    After being raised in Christian churches and finally leaving around age 20, I’ve been to literally hundreds of church services. I must have heard the “ye though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil” and other similar sections of the Catholic Bible at least dozens of times, the “basketful of kid’s heads” story was never read. When some horrific part (like the exodus) is mentioned, it’s glossed over. So, Wyman, after seeing this hundreds of times, I don’t expect the museum to actually ecourage reading the whole Bible. I expect it to encourage selective reading, with occaisional sugarcoating, as is normally the case.

    As far as Luke 19 goes, who do you think that King is supposed to be?

    Thank you-

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  • Wyman Richardson

    Jon, I’m sorry you have been to churches that cherry pick passages. There are many churches, however, the preach through whole books systematically without avoiding challenging passages.

    I think it may help you to consider the distinction between descriptive and prescriptive of passages, which is a fairly rudimentary hermeneutical distinction but it’s vitally important. Also, there are many reasons why an omnipotent and omniscient God might might order the killing of somebody or some group at a particular place and time. Perhaps you would at least agree that theoretically a God who sees all and knows the future might have reasons to make decisions that we with limited knowledge and a limited view of reality might consider hard to understand or even repugnant.

    What is abundantly evident in Scripture, however, is that you find certain historical situations in which God ordered killing in certain locales. You never see a general prescription for such among his people as a principal.

    I repeat what I said about Jesus in the parable in Luke. It is a parable. It concludes with an eschatological vision of the final judgment, which, in the parable, is depicted as the killing of the wicked. But that is clearly a parabolic pointer to the reality of final judgment. In other words, that is the larger reality that the particular detail in the story is pointing to.

    There are difficult parts of the Bible that challenge us. The Bible also points us to Jesus, whose vision of reality and whose cross and empty tomb have such astounding explanatory power that it has certainly change my life forever, and the lives of countless others who are seeking to follow him and live like him. I’m sorry that your experience has not been the same. Sounds like you’ve been in some churches that have really done a disservice in their handling of the word and their presentation of the Gospel.

    Finally, I will point out to you that you, Jon, are able to read the Bible and see things you find objectionable and think for yourself. Other people can do the same, even when, believe it or not, they disagree with your interpretation or what you think the implications of a particular historical act are for the character of God. This Bible museum, as I understand it, is not a brainwashing center for the already convinced. It’s a museum about the Bible. And, again, you should applaud that more people will read this book, be as intelligent as yourself, and be able to see what’s in it.

    I would be stunned if the bookstore in this museum were selling Bibles with these passages you mentioned excised.

    I’m off to catch a plane. I’ve enjoyed talking with you. I wish you all the best.

    Wyman

  • Josh Bishop

    That serif on the m’s in “museum” looks like a missed opportunity to me.

  • Jon

    It is a constant source of amazement for me to see how thoroughly religion can prevent a person from seeing real harm, or worse, to make excuses for clearly vicious acts – real or imagined.

    For instance, if I were to say that someone who killed innocent people may be omniscient, and as such, may have reasons for the killing that we can’t know – but that I don’t have any evidence for, you’d rightly reject by excuse making as just that – an excuse. Maybe the killings by Ted Bundy were ordered by an omniscient Zeus, so we should let him go?

    But here, you write:
    ** there are many reasons why an omnipotent and omniscient God might might order the killing of somebody or some group at a particular place and time. Perhaps you would at least agree that theoretically a God who sees all and knows the future might have reasons to make decisions that we with limited knowledge and a limited view of reality might consider hard to understand or even repugnant.**

    No, Wyatt – evil is evil, and any mental gymnastics that allow a person to turn a blind eye toward it is evidence of a harmful belief system. We are talking here about the intentional killing of innocent people, often children.

    **you find certain historical situations in which God ordered killing in certain locales. **

    Which makes them OK? No. Evil is evil. Period.

    **you find certain historical situations in which God ordered killing in certain locales. **

    **…..Jesus in the parable in Luke. It is a parable. It concludes with an eschatological vision of the final judgment, which, in the parable, is depicted as the killing of the wicked. **

    Um, you are adding words to your scripture, showing that you don’t respect it after all. The word “wicked” is not in there. Those people were killed because they refused Jesus as their King – in other words, they refused to be Christian. That’s killing people for not converting, which is the same thing ISIL is doing. I condemn that, regardless of the religion involved, and I hope you do too. Anyone who condemns ISIL yet has no problem with Luke 19 seems to me to be a hypocrite.

    **There are difficult parts of the Bible that challenge us.**

    To me, it feels more honest to say “there are harmful parts of the Bible that are clearly the work of humans.” Did you read Jonathon Merritt’s interview here yesterday of Peter Enns, who points out that it’s time for himself and other Christians to stop trying to defend the Bible?

    I’m glad that you have been happy with you experience. However, I have to wonder if a belief system that causes one to consider evil acts to be good, and to add words to texts to be a fully helpful belief system, regardless of how good it makes one feel.

    I think we both expect that the museum will include some places were certain verses are on display, in large print, etc. I will be surprised if that includes 2Kngs 10, Luke 19:27, Ps 137:9, Ex 32:28, and dozens of other similarly inexcusable acts of barbarity. Worse, if any are shown (for instance, Ex 12:29 is less often hidden), I would expect that they will be excused using the same excuses in your post above. It’s sad to see when morality is so easily tossed aside.

  • Larry

    As long as public money isn’t going into this thing, Steve Green can erect whatever monuments to his vanity he wants to spend the money for.

  • Frank

    Since God is who defines morality and good and bad, not you, I’ll stick with Gods judgements, not in your limited and fallible ones.

  • Larry

    No, God does not define morality for you or anyone. You just want to outsource moral thinking to authority figures to avoid thinking for yourself or to excuse antisocial conduct.

    If you need God to tell you that maliciously harming people is bad, you are probably psychotic. You lack the basic connection to humanity that most are born with.

    People should stay far away from you.

    RUN

    RUN FAR FROM YOU!

  • Larry

    About the same as the chances the depiction of the Bible will be friendly to any religious views other than Evangelical Protestant. About zero.

  • frank

    Ahh Larry, how cute! That’s what happens when you lose arguments over and over by people who are smarter than you. You get cute,

  • Larry

    Its no laughing matter.

    Your statement depends entirely on admissions that you are a psychopath on a divine leash. Its not a very flattering portrait of religious believers.

  • Frank

    Clueless as usual.

  • Like your god’s judgement that it’s ok for his holy men to rape children?
    that’s mighty white of you.

  • LeAnn

    My guess is that this museum will be much like the Passages exhibit that is currently touring the country, which is also run by the Green family and from which most of the museum’s collection will be taken. My husband and I have season passes to it while its in town, and MSU takes religious studies students to it because it’s from a historical point of view, not a theological point of view.

    It’s actually friendlier to the CATHOLIC viewpoint than anything else.

    But really, it’s very balanced and academic, not really religious at all. There are copies of the Dead Sea scrolls, including a small, actual fragment. There are pieces of ancient writing from Sumeria, in cuneiform, including a legal document from ancient Iraq, as they believe that a brief understanding of the history of writing itself is essential, especially looking at documents from other cultures from around the time the Old Testament was written.

    It’s far more from an academic standpoint than a theological one, and if the museum is anything like the Passages exhibit, then the museum will be more academic in nature, as well.

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  • @Wyman Richardson,

    “There are many churches, however, the preach through whole books systematically without avoiding challenging passages.”

    Like this one?

    GOD SAYS – CUT OFF YOUR WIFE’S HAND
    IF SHE TOUCHES ANOTHER MAN’S PENIS.

    “If men get into a fight with one another, and the wife of one intervenes to rescue her husband from the grip of his opponent by reaching out and SEIZING HIS GENITALS, you shall cut off her hand; show no pity.”
    (DEUT. 25:11)

    Cut off your wife’s hand?
    Show no pity?

    Jesus agrees. (JOHN 1:17), (Mark 10:19)

    My conscience tells me this is disgusting and loveless. If God once commanded it – God has apparently changed his mind since then because nobody has kept this rule – not even Jews.

    Good thing my wife didn’t have a husband like that before she met me! Otherwise she would have been very handless indeed. And do I like her hands.

  • @Wyman,

    “It concludes with an eschatological vision of the final judgment, which, in the parable, is depicted as the killing of the wicked.”

    Let me help.

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their king and execute them in front of me.” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    Jesus is saying
    He will return (as the Nobleman) and when he does, he will line up the bad servants who did not obey their orders and have THE GOOD SERVANTS do the killing.

    Now, if you open up your Q’uran or your Torah you will find similar verses which punish those who refuse – or are incapable of – following orders.

    Remember this:

    Morality is doing what is right no matter what you are told.
    Religion is doing what you are told no matter what is right.

    Be afraid of religion. It is a nightmare of nonsense.

  • @Jon,

    The Bible museum will need to be X rated. Nobody under 21. So maybe it is a good idea.

    Especially if there are pictures:

    “There she lusted after her lovers, whose Penises were like those of donkeys and whose sexual emission was like that of horses.”
    (Ezekiel 23:20)

  • “If men get into a fight with one another, and the wife of one intervenes to rescue her husband from the grip of his opponent by reaching out and SEIZING HIS GENITALS, you shall cut off her hand; show no pity.”
    (DEUT. 25:11)

    This passage is the topic of my next podcast. I’ll let you know when it is up.

    “Viva Cristo Rey!!”
    DHS

  • frank

    Come back when you have an idea of what you are talking about.

  • Jack

    Note how none of the nay sayers responded to LeAnn’s informative post, which offers an intelligent guess on what the museum will actually be like.

  • Jack

    The problem, Max, is that atheism’s most notorious political expression — Communism — is responsible for more horrors committed in one century — the last century — than all the horrors of prior centuries combined. Mao, Pol Pot, Lenin, Stalin, Castro — the sickening parade of atheist Communist butchers goes on and on and on. In China alone, 70 million human beings were put to death. Stalin triggered a famine in the Ukraine which killed over 20 million people. And everyone knows about Cambodia’s killing fields. Modern terrorism is inescapably linked to godless totalitarianism, principally Communism, with the complete obliteration of any distinctions between combatants and noncombatants. Even today’s violent Islamists can trace their ideological origins to modern totalitarianism and its justifications for genocide.

  • Jack

    Larry, with all due respect, if I or a loved one needed immediate help in a life-or-death situation with zero time to lose and I had to make an instant choice who to reach out to, you or Frank, I would choose Frank without any hesitation. You atheists are great at criticizing the beliefs of others, but in the end, you’re all about yourselves. When the poorest of the poor need help, when AIDs or Ebola patients are dying, when human beings live in the worst conditions imaginable, the people who are there for them are disproportionately people who believe in the same Bible you vilify.

  • Jan

    Yowzah!

  • Jan

    Please don’t confuse God with the Bible. Trying to define God by using the Bible is like trying to define the Universe by using a kaleidoscope.

  • Anthony Puccetti

    To the atheists and skeptics here,

    Many of the texts of the Old Testament that speak of violence are prophecies of what will happen to Hebrews who reject obedience to God and to pagans,not commands of God to do violence. And as for the texts where God commands violent punishment,he did so because the Hebrews were to remain a pure and holy people and strictly disciplined,and their enemies were to be destroyed for their abominations – idolatry,homosexuality,ritual prostitution,human sacrifice and cannibalism. When God commanded violence,it was not morally evil on his part.
    He is the creator of all persons,and everyone is his property. He gives life to persons and so it was not wrong for him to command the Hebrews to destroy life. There is no higher moral authority than God. Our moral conscience comes from the God of the bible. It is not something that we have independently of him,so it is futile to accuse him or the writers of scripture of advocating evil. Actions are morally evil when they are offensive to God,not when they merely harm people and cause them pain. Authentic morality is not based on feelings,but on God’s commandments and natural law,which he has written into the human conscience.

  • Larry

    Nice try but completely untrue. Exodus speaks of the Hebrews engaging in genocide as they retook Canaan. God destroyed the entire world and started over because he was dissatisfied with how his creation turned out.

    Old Testament “heroes” were not meant to be paragons of morality. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Moses and Joshua certainly were not. It wasn’t until Christianity came by to try to scrub the Bible “clean” that such notions would even be considered.

    Authentic morality does not come from religion. Far from it. Religious based morality seems to always have more exceptions and opt-outs than it has rules which are taken seriously. Any malicious/harmful act can be excused if one is acting on behalf of the Lord. If anything religion allows one to outsource moral thinking and avoid it in favor of self-interest (worrying about
    divine punishment/reward). Of course it also brings up the old dilemma. Is something moral because God commands it or moral in of itself. One posits God’s command to harm others can be moral. The other posits God as unnecessary for moral thinking.*

    *Natural law is a self-reflexive nonsense term to make stipulations and declarations that one’s view is the right one.

  • Larry

    Jack, all you are showing me is how passive-aggressive Christians really are. Behind all the talk of loving thy neighbor, they are just a spiteful small minded bunch,

    Christians are great at hurling criticism and insults at other beliefs but lack the intestinal fortitude to take it in kind. They are great for patting themselves on the back but never reliable for honest self-evaluation.

    There are plenty of Christians doing great things for other people. You don’t strike me as one of them. You can’t glom off their works just because you have read the same book.

  • Anthony Puccetti

    @Wyman,

    “It concludes with an eschatological vision of the final judgment, which, in the parable, is depicted as the killing of the wicked.”

    Let me help.

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their king and execute them in front of me.” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    Jesus is saying
    He will return (as the Nobleman) and when he does, he will line up the bad servants who did not obey their orders and have THE GOOD SERVANTS do the killing. >

    The parable is not an exact comparison of what will happen at the last judgement. God will not have those who rejected him killed,he will throw them into hell,which is like death in the sense that it is isolation from God. And the servants of the parable signify his angels.

    Morality is doing God’s will. Religion is binding to God through worship,doctrine and ritual practices. There is no nonsense in the Catholic religion.

  • Larry

    Except Communism is hardly atheist. Anti-clerical yes. But it seeks to replace official faith with a state version of it. Same irrational process and methods, same form of belief, same reliance on faith. Every Totalitarian leader learned their lessons from organized religion and those who ruled with “divine right”.

    Thank you for admitting the culpability of religion for the worst the world had to offer.

  • Jack

    After America was attacked on 9/11, someone wisely wrote that our enemies hate us for the good, not the evil, we do.

    The same may be said for those who hate the Bible.

    They don’t hate it for its standards being too low. They hate it for its standards being too high.

    They hate it because they want to do what they want, when they want, for any reason they want, with no ultimate accountability to anyone.

    They think that by ridiculing the Bible, they can magically kill God. That’s about as big a fantasy as thinking you can erase the sun from the sky by closing your eyes.

  • Jack

    All rhetoric, Larry, especially that limp little sentence at the end against natural law.

  • Jack

    Larry, Communism is avowedly atheist. And it is atheism taken to its absurd political conclusion. It is inexplicable and impossible without the atheistic premise that there are no absolutes and thus no human rights and that rule of man trumps rule of law.

  • Jack

    No, Larry, I’m simply telling it like it is. You’ve called people sociopaths simply because they believe in God and the Bible and I’m responding by saying the opposite. Atheism does not produce a Mother Theresa or the myriads of nameless people who risk everything including their lives to help people in the most miserable of conditions. The people who minister to fellow human beings in the most dire straits are way more likely to be Bible-believing theists than any competing category in the world, including atheists.

  • Jack

    The real problem people have with the Bible is that it makes moral and ethical demands that they are not willing to obey and it states the crystal-clear consequences for flouting them.

    People hate the Bible not because its standards are too low; they hate the Bible because its standards are too high….and because there is a God behind those standards who is ready, willing, and able to hold people accountable to them.

    Not one of the haters would take the time to ransack the Bible for supposed flaws were it not for those standards. What makes the ransacking process so delicious for these haters is precisely the fact that they want a chance to throw these standards back in God’s face by citing instances in the Bible where those standards are supposedly contradicted.

    It’s the same thing with human representatives of the Bible. The reason why haters love to go after preachers who don’t practice the high standards they preach is precisely because they hate the high standards. They think that by unveiling hypocrisy concerning those standards, that somehow invalidates them. The goal is to get out from under the high standards.

  • Larry

    Such a flower of intellectual discussion Jack. Such an intelligent and well articulated opinion and rebuttal…If you were a 3rd grader.

    “Natural law” is a catch all for whatever the speaker feels like justifying. by claiming it is God’s will. Its use in modern discussion is a sign of laziness on the part of the speaker.

  • Larry

    I called people sociopaths because they need a book to tell them its wrong to harm others. Something which is ingrained and natural to every sane human being on the planet no matter what culture, religion or belief system they have,

    The argument posed that religion is the source of morality assumes the speaker is a sociopath so lacking in empathy and connection to humanity they have to be told something which should come naturally. Its an argument which is overused, ignorant, makes religious belief look insane, and reflects badly on the speaker. Its one of many which denote more of a party line than an original thought.

    Btw Mother Theresa is a perfect example of the immoral type of person who hides behind religious trappings. She supported dictators, encouraged unnecessary suffering and was a blatant PR hound. I would hope Atheism doesn’t produce monsters like her.

    Again, there are plenty of Christians who help people and contribute to the betterment of humanity. You just don’t strike me as one of them. You have virtually nothing in common with them other than reading the same book.

    Atheists are just as likely to be those people who help others and to do so without strings attached (unlike many religious works of charity). Religion is more likely to muddy the waters with rank sectarianism, bigotry and ignorance.

  • Larry

    Yet every communist government was willing to drop anti-clerical attitudes when it suited them. Not really atheist, just competing for power. The USSR reopened churches during WWII, China lets mainstream religious groups operate, North Korea and Pol Pot’s Cambodia extol religious worship of the leader.

    Religion, especially state sponsored religion, is usually reactionary. They tend to support older style totalitarian governments. Fascism depended on Christianity for its support in Germany, Spain, Italy and Croatia.

    Communism merely took religious belief and redirected it to the state. Claiming it is linked to atheism is akin to claiming religion is directly related to fascist, monarchist and fundamentalist dictatorships. Therefore, your argument is utter crap.

    “the atheistic premise that there are no absolutes and thus no human rights and that rule of man trumps rule of law.”

    That is not atheism. That'[s just your psychotic/ignorant view of morality. Stop making up crap or listening to know-nothing preachers on the subject. Try looking up Humanism
    http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_III

    “Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.”

    Sounds like an appreciation of human rights to me.

  • @Jack,

    “all the horrors of prior centuries ….Mao, Pol Pot, Lenin, Stalin, Castro”

    That is a slander against Atheism.

    You apparently don’t know what the word ‘religion’ means.
    All Dictatorships are Theocracies – meaning FAITH BASED.

    Stalin, an Orthodox Christian Seminarian, seizing the RELIGIOUS title of ‘CZAR’ force people at gunpoint to comply with the supposed miraculous agrarian science of Lysenko! That is not Atheism – it is FAITH-BASED.

    The most religious country in the world today is North Korea.
    Its Dear leader claims to be a god and at his birth the birds sang in Korean! – This is not Atheism, it is faith-based nonsense.

    You cannot name a single dictatorship in history (most of which were murderous) which was not faith-based! Hitler’s Third Reich God on Earth “God With US” Catholic Aryan Race being the among the most obvious.

    Americas founders hated Theocracy for that reason and most of them hated religion itself. John Jay was the only openly Christian founder of The United States.

    If you live in America you live in the ONLY NON-FAITH BASED Constitiution ever written.

    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion”
    That is ATHEISTIC GOVERNMENT.

    Like it or not, that is why America remains free. Its Constitution is Atheistic – it actively practices a REJECTION of commitment to the claims of any god.

    The Establishment Clause of the constitution is a short-circuit tripwire against Theocracy – And the Founders put it there for that reason.

  • @Jon,

    “if a belief system that causes one to consider evil acts to be good…”

    Exactly.
    That is the problem with religion. It claims all sorts of things for itself – and if you don’t believe the claims you are evil somehow. This goes for the evil claims too!

    “have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thessalonian 3:14)

    Childish, horrible, divisive garbage.

  • Jack

    Communism sprung historically from atheism. Communism logically has no grounding apart from atheism. Marx was an atheist. Communist leaders have proclaimed themselves atheist. Communist regimes are officially atheist. No regimes in human history have been more overtly hostile to religion than Communist ones. The only concessions Communist regimes have ever made to religion have been to move from banning 100% of all religious expression to allowing some religious expression in return for total state control, meaning zero independence for religious bodies and draconian restrictions.

    Your argument that Communism doesn’t embrace atheism is just laughable. A precocious child can refute it….by simply repeating the Occam’s Razor formula:

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.

  • @Jack,

    “Your argument that Communism doesn’t embrace atheism is just laughable.”

    No it isn’t.
    Forcing FAITH ONTO a population IS exactly the problem!

    Soviet Communism was a religion with strict enforcement. Stalin was a self-appointed intermediary (CZAR) between God and the religion of the state. He demanded FAITH in that religion including the miracles of Lysenko, or death. That is not Atheism – it is FAITH.

    Mao and Stalin did not kill people to force Atheism!
    And they didn’t kill BECAUSE of their own personal Atheism.

    They killed to force Stalinism and Maoism on everyone in their respective countries.

    Just as 700 years of The Spanish Inquisition….forcing FAITH ONTO the population IS exactly the problem – NOT Atheism.

    You cannot force people to ‘NOT believe in god.”

    Today, Stalin is a saint
    in the Russian Orthodox Church and there are Icons
    of him with HALOS in most churches there. How is that Atheism???

    The fact that Stalin’s own beliefs wobbled from Christian to Agnostic and back again at the end of his life is not the important point.


    The SOVIET population was fully credulous, gullible and infected with religion and superstition for centuries thanks to the early spread of the Orthodox Church and its CZAR at the top of the chain.

    An uneducated, gullible, credulous, superstitious population
    soaked in the nonsense of religion – is the most vulnerable to dictatorship.


    Shame on those who preach what cannot be shown to be true!

    As for Stalin, a Russian Orthodox Seminarian, his anti-semitism was a tactic in seizing the wide network of Orthodox Churches under his thumb as he seized the position of “CZAR” (a religious position for centuries) and lorded over the destruction of millions of people.

    Vladimir Putin is doing the same thing today! Using the Russian Orthodox Church to rise to power – a carbon copy of Stalin’s method.

    Of Putin, Bush said,
    “I looked into his heart, he told me about the crucifix his grandmother gave him and I know his heart is good.” – George W. Bush

    YEAH, BUSH. What a fool.

    Religion is a demand to worship a God:

    Allah demanded worship of Allah
    Jesus demanded worship of Jesus.
    Yahweh demanded worship of Yahweh
    Mao demanded worship of Mao.

    Stalin demanded worship of Stalin.
    Kim il Sun demanded worship of Kim il Sun.

    Atheism is just a non-belief of any Gods.
    None of the above is Atheism.

    ATHEISM IS:
    The US Constitution contains an explicit disregard of Gods,
    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion.”

    The USA is Atheism. And still the only Constitution which is AGNOSTIC on the question of religion – and the only constitution like it in the world.

    The brilliant US Constitution – it is almost worthy of worship.

  • Frank

    Well said Jack!

  • Mary

    People who don’t want to believe will not–no matter what evidence is given. They alone have to make the choice between belief and rejection. Let me just say there are smarter skeptics out there who have tried to disprove the Bible and have ended up as it’s greatest advocate–C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel, David Limbaugh, to name a few. As several people have pointed out, people in general have a problem with the Bible because the standard is so high and there is a Higher Being who enforces that standard. It is the Original Sin–pride in ourselves and rebellion against anybody or anything that challenges our imagined place as head of the universe. We don’t want to admit that God made things to operate in a certain fashion and when we deviate from the operating manual, the engine performance suffers. If the deviation turns into out and out sabotage, the results may be fatal. We see this in our personal lives quite easily but it also occurs in nations, as well. So…what does it look like when the people of a nation become so depraved that there is little hope for repentance for the nation as a whole?

    On another note, the conversation has deviated totally from the topic.. I’m glad the Greens are taking this project on and I hope to be able to go to the museum myself at some point in the future.

  • @Jack,

    Thank you for sharing the high standards of being a Muslim:

    “The real problem people have with the Q’URAN is that it makes moral and ethical demands that they are not willing to obey and it states the crystal-clear consequences for flouting them.

    “People hate the Q’URAN not because its standards are too low; they hate the Q’URAN because its standards are too high….and because there is a God behind those standards who is ready, willing, and able to hold people accountable to them.

    “Not one of the haters would take the time to ransack the Q’URAN for supposed flaws were it not for those standards. What makes the ransacking process so delicious for these haters is precisely the fact that they want a chance to throw these standards back in ALLAH’S face by citing instances in the Q’URAN where those standards are supposedly contradicted.

    “It’s the same thing with human representatives of the Q’URAN. The reason why haters love to go after IMAMS who don’t practice the high standards they preach is precisely because they hate the high standards. They think that by unveiling hypocrisy concerning those standards, that somehow invalidates them. The goal is to get out from under the high standards.”

    __

    “Slay the infidels wherever you find them” – Surah (Q’uran)
    “Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (luke 19:27)
    “Kill the unbelievers in the daylight” – Yahweh, (Torah, Deuteronomy)

    I hope you will think before you recommend these religions.

  • Larry

    Wow, could possibly you stroke your own ego any more!

    First you frame the issue in the least reputable terms with talk of evidence to disprove the Bible. The problem with that is it is mere self satisfied assumption the Bible to be correct in all things and claims. For a rational point of view the evidence has to be given for the claims made in the first place. You must prove the Bible true first before someone needs to rebut it.

    Second, you make the statement in boastful pride of your own righteousness. You follow the “high standards” of the Bible, therefore are a better person. Again, self-satisfying and missing the real point. Nobody criticizes the Bible for having standards that are “too high” they criticize it for having standards which are arbitrary, capricious or represent a mode of thinking which is at odds with modern existence.

    But such statements like yours are designed to boost one’s feeling of their faith and belittle those who do not share it. Hardly a statement of moral thinking. More tooting your own horn and rationalizing for its own sake.

  • @Mary,

    Christianity:

    The belief that God turned into his own son
    Had him shot up with the first century’s version of an AK-47, had him tortured and forced him to spill his blood on the soil – as a remedy for God’s first mistake of ensuring Original Sin. All of this to save mankind from the eternal Hell God created for humanity in the first place.

    That is not all….if you don’t believe this story of God’s accomplishment he will do the same thing to you that he did to his son – only worse because it will be eternal and never ending.

    This is not a believable myth. It is not even a good story.

  • @Jack,
    “When America was attacked on 9/11, someone wisely wrote that our enemies hate us for the good, not the evil, we do.”

    Good grief. What is ‘wise’ about such nonsense? Faith is what attacked us on 9/11. Religion attacked us!

    “Slay the infidels wherever you find them” – Allah (Surah, Q’uran)

    You endorse Faith as if it is legitimate and in the same breath condemn those who attack us while they used FAITH as THEIR argument?

    Can you imagine what Mohammed Atta must have been thinking to himself on the plane? What must have gone though his head as creeping doubt snuck up on him?

    “I just have to BELIEVE !” – Mohammed Atta
    (pilot of the plane that hit the World Trade Center 9/11)

    Religion is FAITH for no reason.
    It is nothing to be proud of.

    Shame on you.

  • Larry

    Your grasp of history is non-existent. Communism sprang from autocratic monarchies with state sponsored religion. It was a reaction to people who rule with “divine right” like the Czar and Kaiser, who had churches in their employ to pretend the social order was inspired by God.

    Religious expression in those countries was as restrictive under their monarchs as it was under the Communists. Germany and Russia had long histories of sectarian discrimination. The difference is they had a state sponsored religion which they allowed to the exclusion of others.

    Every Communist government was willing to bring back religion when it suited their needs. Once it no longer suited the old guard/counter-revolutionary movements and tamed by the new state.
    North Korea and Cambodian regimes were not even atheist, they created new religions to supplant the old. Vietnam’s communists even recruited religious groups (Buddhists) to their cause when fighting the French and Americans.

    Every one of those governments adopted religious trappings to the state. Turning that restrictive prior oppressive state sponsored religion into restrictive oppressive religion of the state. What this has to do with atheism is strictly coincidental.

    You should learn more about atheists than what your preacher tells you. You have are just demonstrating how little you know of history and how well you can recite a canned argument.

  • Anthony Puccetti

    What did I write that is untrue?

    The Canaanites and some other pagan nations practiced ritual prostitution,homosexuality,human sacrifice and cannibalism. And they were enemies of the Hebrews,who were God’s chosen people. The Old Testament heroes not always acted morally,but they were loyal servants of God and they repented of their sins and God made them suffer for them and learn humility and obedience. So they were justified in God’s eyes. The writers of scripture did not condone their sins,and the Jews and early Christians did not see them as impeccable.

    Authentic morality comes from God’s commandments and natural law,and these are taught through religion,especially the Jewish and Christian religions,and most perfectly by the Catholic Church.

    It is not a belief among Jews and Christians that any malicious or harmful acts can be excused if one is acting on behalf of God. The violent acts that were approved by the Jews were limited to what was known to have been commanded or permitted by God through the prophets and the Mosaic Law.
    But people were not free to do violence on behalf of God that was not already commanded or permitted by him through the prophets and the law. If you don’t believe that God doesn’t exist or that he has ever spoken to men,that is another matter. It is not a basis for accusing religion of advocating evil. If the Creator who is the source of all good orders or permits violence in certain instances,there is no higher plane of morality to judge against him.

    It is not outsourcing morality to God when religion point to what God has commanded and permitted. And it is not only out of self-intrest that people obey the commandments of God,it is also out of love for God and neighbor. And it is,firstly,God’s desire to save us for eternal life with him in glory and fulfillment of our desire. He gave his commandments as the way of salvation.

    Actions are moral because God commands them and they are moral in and of themselves because they are in accordance with God’s will.

    Even if actions are considered moral in and of themselves,it does not follow that God is unnecessary for moral thinking. If our moral thought is to be authentic and not led astray by concession to sin or weakness or pragmatism or relativism,then we must always be mindful of God’s commandments and natural law,and we should also pray for grace and wisdom and right judgement.

    Natural law is the moral code that God has written on the human conscience. It goes with human reason.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c3a1.htm

    Romans 2,14-16

    For when the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people’s hidden works through Christ Jesus.

  • Jack

    Max, nobody is saying that the attackers weren’t being driven by their beliefs. Of course they were. But within their belief system was a hatred of free societies.

  • Jack

    Larry, there wasn’t a hint of egoism in Mary’s post but nice try at projection. Rather than addressing her posts, you’ve tried to make her the issue. Nice try, but no go.

  • Jack

    All opinion on your part, Max. You’re just venting. You’ve chosen to turn an article about a museum on the Bible into an occasion to throw your umpteenth temper tantrum against a book which you obviously fear.

  • Tim Oliver

    Your commits show your lack of Bible understanding. This is obvious. I will not waste time trying to convert you, but here are some questions.

    What are the differences between the Old Covenant (old testament) and the New Covenant? — We now get our marching orders from the New Covenant.

    Do you think that the God of the Bible, always approved of all the Recorded History in the Old Covenant? what I mean is, “is it possible that many things done in the Old Covenant were Not done by God but by man. Do you believe your history defines you today? — Christians have their history, all their past sins washed away by the shed Blood of Christ. We are made a new man in Christ. Even if someone throws my history back in my face, all I can say is I am not that man any longer, I have been changed. Change is possible.

    Even God has changed his commands to mankind between the old and new Covenants. Yes some things did not change. But mankind committing any genocide will not be held guiltless in the New Covenant. This genocide we see now by ISIS is condemned by the God of the New Covenant.

    Yes God, himself not man, will destroy all evil in the last days.
    I pray that you are on His side in the coming days. Ask God to forgive you of all your past sins and wash you clean with the blood of Jesus, his Son.

  • Jack

    Communism did not spring from “autocratic monarchies.” Communism overthrew them and then took entire populations from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. Jews, evangelicals, and others who could get out of the early Soviet Union told stories of how they thought the Czar was bad until they lived under the Soviet commissars who made the Czarist monarchy look tame. They took serious issue with your claim that religious expression was no more restrictive under Communism. It was exceedingly worse. People who absolutely hated the Czar said so. You’re making an impossible argument. You might as well argue that elephants can fly.

    And to deny that the regime of North Korea and Pol Pot’s Cambodia were not atheist is beyond absurd. Tell that to believers of any kind who managed to escape to freedom. The fact that NK, for example, has created a personality cult around the ruling family actually supports the obvious. When people deny the existence of any deity, they make themselves into gods. That’s actually the whole point of atheism if you’re going to be honest. It’s to sweep God out of the way so man (meaning some men) can act on earth as absolute gods.

    The fact that atheist despotisms will make alliances with just about anything that walks, good or evil, when it suits their purpose doesn’t make them any less atheistic. It means they will do whatever it takes to keep power. How that contradicts their atheism is anyone’s guess.

    You can either learn actual history or get it from fanatical anti-religious hate sites with ideological axes to grind. I prefer the former; you are obviously attracted to the latter.

  • Jack

    Max, your entire post rests on the premise that all religions are the same and that I believe that, too. Wrong on both counts. What you’re asserting is logically impossible, for the simple reason that religions often contradict each other regarding key truth claims. And applying the law of non-contradiction, two religions can’t both be correct on a matter if they are saying opposites things. Thus if Christians say Jesus died on a cross and Islam says He didn’t, they can’t both be right on the question of whether Jesus died on a cross.

  • Jack

    Interesting how you are drawn to certain verses and not others, Max.

  • Jack

    Larry, it takes two to tango, and it’s been fairly obvious from the get-go that either you’re unwilling or are unable to engage in serious, mutually respectful exploration and debate of issues where the rules of fair play are obeyed. You prefer to throw mud pies in a sandbox and to harangue people who either dodge your projectiles or throw them back. You can dish it out, but you cry foul when others dish back.

  • Jack

    Very well said and comprehensive as well, Anthony. I especially liked your contending against the view that we call something right solely because the Bible says it’s right. As you said, it is equally the case that the Bible says something is right because it is inherently right. That is where we get into natural law, common grace, or general revelation.

    Or to put it a different way, what justice affirms, the Bible confirms.

  • Jack

    Thanks Frank.

  • Jack

    In Larry-speak, “evangelical Protestant” means anyone who believes the Bible is not a book of fairy tales. That would include not just evangelicals, but most mainline Protestants, Catholics, and Jews.

  • Jack

    I’ve never seen someone get as high as a kite on such sophistry as you do, Max. The fact that Communism was forced on populations hardly disproves that it was about atheism, unless you accept the baseless premise that by their own internal logic, atheism has to reject force while theism has to demand it. There is nothing inherent in atheism that bans the use of force — nor is there anything inherent in theism that demands it.

  • Jack

    Larry, people can believe anything they wish, but the question at hand is what are their grounds for believing.

    Thus, atheists can surely be for human rights — plenty of them are. But philosophically, they have an impossible task justifying that belief in terms of their atheism. Put another way, their ethical sensibilities are rising above their atheistic philosophy.

    Such individuals are commendable, all the more so because there is something in them that knows in their gut that human rights are real and must be defended, even though their atheism knocks out the very premises that provide the logical grounds for believing in human rights.

    Human rights — the idea that every person in every country and culture has certain rights that no country or culture can deny — go completely against the moral and cultural relativism that emerges from atheism. Human rights presuppose moral and ethical absolutes which transcend time and place. While religion has frequently been the enemy of rights, it is equally true that historically, the idea of rights is inseparable from belief in a deity who is their author. If atheism is true, there are no logical grounds for telling any country or culture what to do or how to treat their people. If an atheist tells a dictator to stop mistreating his people and the dictator asks “why should I listen to you?” the atheist ultimately has no answer.

    But even beyond the conflict between human rights and the cultural relativism of atheism is the problem of rights being exclusively or even predominantly human. If it’s right to enslave a horse, why is it wrong to enslave a human being? If it’s right to put a collar and leash on a dog after it’s born and make it into a pet, why is it wrong to likewise to an infant?

    Unless we believe in a philosophy that leads to the view that human beings are on a completely different level from other forms of life, we have no answer.

  • @Jack,

    “force — nor is there anything inherent in theism that demands it.”

    Wrong. And this is not sophistry.

    Notice yourself.
    You won’t allow me reject your philosophy. And you don’t like me warning against it. Christianity is not just some philosophy in your mind open to debate. That is your absolutist theism talking. That is your faith.

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King and execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    The entire lesson of the Parable of the Minas is Obedience and Fear.
    BELIEVE and DO THE WORK OF THE LORD, OR ELSE

    Islam has it too.
    The Law of Ayat al Faqih grants the Clerics of Iran total OWNERSHIP of the people. It is completely totalitarian. There is no way out.
    To argue with the State of Iran is a death sentence of heresy because to do so is to argue against the religion of Islam.

    “The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” – George Orwell

    “A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened.”
    ― George Orwell,
    Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters
    of George Orwell
    Volume 2, My Country Right or Left 1940 – 1943

    Ownership of the people by the state is always a religious decree – it is granted by a God or a faith.

    These are the tenets of:

    The Soviet Union under Stalin
    China under Mao (and now)
    Cambodia under Pol Pot
    North Korea under the Dear Leader
    Iran under the Mullahs
    Saudi Arabia under the House of Saud
    etc.

    Religion shouldn’t only be rejected.
    It should creep people out.

    The Establishment Clause of the Constitution is the only protection we have from these dangers coming to America.
    “Congress shall make no Law establishing a religion”

  • Interesting how there are so many bad verses, Jack.
    If your God is 100% good and right – why are 80% of his verses utter garbage?

  • Josh

    I have a question. If not for God, where does morality come from? What I mean is, where do you develop the sense of right and wrong? If (according to atheist) we developed through evolution from a branch of primates, where did we “learn” to be moral? Are animals moral? If so, what are some examples of morality seen in the animal kingdom?

  • Jack

    Max, both theocracy and totalitarianism are absolute despotisms — equally bad. But it would be a mistake to say they are the same thing.

    They are not. They are equally bad, but opposite ends of a pole.

    The best way to understand this is through the establishment and free exercise clauses of the Constitution. The establishment clause stands against theocracy by seeking to stop any one religious sect from monopolizing the public square and excluding all other views, religious or non-religious. The free exercise clause stands against totalitarianism by seeking to stop the government from itself dominating the public square by excluding all religious views.

    The constitutional view of religion and state therefore is this:

    Let the public square be a free marketplace of ideas that fully includes all ideas, beliefs, and religions, as well as secular beliefs. The only caveat is no incitement to violence.

    In other words, it goes against both atheistic totalitarian tyranny, which seeks to exclude religion as well as all competing political ideas, and theocratic tyranny, which seeks to exclude all competing religions besides the one being enthroned, as well as all competing political ideas.

  • @Josh,

    Morality is just a sense of fairness. That is all it is.
    Most animals are born with it.
    It is extremely basic evolutionary biology.

    We would not have survived hundreds of thousands of years without it.

    If you see something unfair, you react.
    Simple as that. The Golden Rule (Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to yourself) is the oldest moral rule in history and it predates religion.
    How do we know this? Because the sense of fairness had to have been there before our species was capable of communication.

    As I said, we would not have been able to survive without it.

  • Jack

    Larry, you don’t understand the meaning of the word, “sociopath.” It not only means someone without a conscience; it also means someone without any real fear — either of getting caught or of being punished. While you’re describing someone who obeys out of fear or compulsion, sociopaths don’t obey, period…..they don’t obey anything or anybody. Their only guide is their own feelings and whims.

    So you are completely misusing the word, “sociopath.”

    You are also displaying a real confusion between the philosophy or theology and the psychology of morality. Nearly all normal people internalize morality. When people say that God or religion is the source for morality, they are not denying this internalization. What they are saying is that there is no philosophical basis for moral absolutes — for example, the view that murder is wrong, regardless of what any culture says — without there being a God. That doesn’t mean atheists can’t behave morally. Of course they can and do. What it does mean is that atheism provides no philosophical grounds for the view that morality is a real thing that is objective and absolute. Most atheists, like most theists, would never murder anyone and find it abhorrent. But while theists can explain that internalized abhorrence in terms of it being baked into the cake of life, atheists can do no such thing, because they reject the very philosophical grounds that allow us to make such an argument.

    The argument posed that religion is the source of morality assumes the speaker is a sociopath so lacking in empathy and connection to humanity they have to be told something which should come naturally. Its an argument which is overused, ignorant, makes religious belief look insane, and reflects badly on the speaker. Its one of many which denote more of a party line than an original thought.

    Btw Mother Theresa is a perfect example of the immoral type of person who hides behind religious trappings. She supported dictators, encouraged unnecessary suffering and was a blatant PR hound. I would hope Atheism doesn’t produce monsters like her.

    Again, there are plenty of Christians who help people and contribute to the betterment of humanity. You just don’t strike me as one of them. You have virtually nothing in common with them other than reading the same book.

    Atheists are just as likely to be those people who help others and to do so without strings attached (unlike many religious works of charity). Religion is more likely to muddy the waters with rank sectarianism, bigotry and ignorance.

  • Jack

    Sorry, I copied Larry’s words about Mother Theresa into my email so I could read them easily and respond accurately. Instead of deleting them, I left them in there by mistake.

    The rest of the post isn’t me, either. Again, they are Larry’s words which I had copied there temporarily so I could respond accurately to them.

    I was not criticizing Mother Theresa at all. I thought the world of her and still do. How many of us would give up our lives and minister to lepers? She was an amazing woman who obeyed God in spite of her much-publicized doubts and fears. And that makes her all the more remarkable.

  • @Jack,

    “within their belief system was a hatred of free societies.”

    Wrong.
    You have not read “The Looming Tower” by Tom Ricks.
    Or the Q’uran.

    The hatred is in all religion. It is hatred of ‘the other.’ It is written into Islam as well as Christianity.
    Holy books are built on claims of staying with the tribe and shunning the ‘other’ with withering hatred:

    “”It is not right to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. — Jesus, Matthew 15:26)

    I HAVE ONLY COME FOR THE JEWS – JESUS

    “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” — Jesus, (Matthew 15:24)

    “Avoid Them” (Romans 16:17)
    “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed!” (1 Corinthians 16:22)
    “Don’t waste….on the people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!” – JESUS (Matthew 7:6)

    With nuclear weaponry at the ready,
    we are facing an international emergency.

    From the Q’uran:

    Infidels are those who declare: “God is the Christ, the son of Mary.” (Sura 5:17)

    1. Infidels are those who say ‘God is one of three in a Trinity.” (Sura 5:73)
    2. Make war on the infidels who dwell around you. (Sura 9:123)
    3. The infidels are your sworn enemies. (Sura 4:101)
    4. When you meet the enemy in the battlefield, strike off their heads. (Sura 47:4)
    5. Mohammed is Allah’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to infidels. (Sura 48:29)
    6. Prophet, make war on the infidel. (Sura 66:9)
    7. Kill the disbelievers wherever we find them. (Sura 2:191)
    8. Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. (Sura 5:51)
    9. Believers, do not make friends with those who have incurred the wrath of Allah. (Sura 60:13)
    10. Never be a helper to the disbelievers. (Sura 28:86)
    11. Fight those who believe not in Allah. (Sura 9:29)
    12. The only reward of those who make war on Allah and His messenger….will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off. (Sura 5:33)

    The world must abandon religion. The price is too high. No peace is possible with this nonsense.

  • Jack

    Max, you know better than that. If 80% of the Bible’s verses were “utter garbage,” nobody would read them.

    I would challenge anyone to open a Bible randomly for 100 times and see what the percentages are. Max, even based on your own biased views, you would not come up with an 80% figure or anything close to it.

  • @Jack,

    “When you meet the enemy in the battlefield, strike off their heads.” – (Sura 47:4)

    The enemy is not Muslims. Nor is it Christians. Nor is it Jews.

    The enemy is the idea that ‘faith’ in a holy book is all you need.
    Faith is the enemy. Religion must be abandoned.

    The price is too high for modern people to indulge in these ancient fantasies which are very likely not true anyway. So there is no God. So what? Why all this clutching to this nonsense?

  • “all their past sins washed away by the shed Blood of Christ.”

    Immoral gibberish. Have you no decency?

  • @Tim Oliver,

    “Ask God to forgive you of all your past sins and wash you clean with the blood of Jesus, his Son.”

    There is absolutely no reason to believe – or even to want – such a dastardly murder/suicide to be true.

    What sense does it make that God would arrange to have himself turned into his own son only to torture and execute himself and force him to spill his own blood only to save humanity from a Hell which he created exclusively for us in the first place!?
    And further, to threaten us with the same horrors he visited on his son – FOR ETERNITY – for simply finding this story utterly ridiculous?

    We must have more respect for ourselves than this!

  • @Mary,

    “…no matter what evidence is given.”

    I have seen no evidence at all. And if you point me to the Bible I will point you to the Q’uran and ask how they can both be true.
    And if you disregard the Q’uran I will ask you why you accept the Bible.

    And that is when you will need much more evidence that ‘the Bible’.
    What evidence did you offer?

  • You dismiss the Q’uran as worthless, yet billions read it.

    If books were validated by the numbers of people who paid attention to them we would all believe in UFOs and think that Elvis Presley is still alive and works in a CVS store in Memphis.

  • Shirley Edmonds

    It takes Faith. – And. Simple knowledge to read the whole story- then. With The Holy Spirit, You can start to acknowledge – The Amazing Love Story of God becoming man. And paying the price for our sins, eg.Selfishness. Indulgence. Neglect. Yes he did that. For you and for me and everyone. Then showed us how to live. Eg.love your neighbour as you love yourself. Wow be really Blessed Max. Examine. This with all your inner strength. Enjoy this wonderful journey.

  • Golly G

    Note how Jack is missing the A$$ from his name….

  • “It takes Faith”

    …Said Mohammed Atta as he steered the plane into the World Trade Towers.

    If you grant faith as a method, you validate the same method for every other horrible religion on earth. Including Christianity:

    “Execute them” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

  • Golly G

    Oh boy, Atheist Max, talk about taking things out of context…

  • charlie

    The problem with delusional people (which by the dictionary description of delusion, all religious people are) is that they cannot be reasoned with. It’s a losing battle. Most were indoctrinated with their particular religion as children, before their brains had developed enough for critical thinking.

    What a sad commentary on religion, that it must prey on the minds of innocent children in order to keep their delusions alive. If they were really sure of their beliefs, they would wait until a person had reached the age of 25 before attempting to poison their minds.

  • charlie

    Oh B.S.!! Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and at least two dozen other atheists have chosen to leave their billions to charity. Look it up!

  • @Jack,

    STOP! You don’t know JACK about Atheists!

    “When the poorest of the poor need help, when AIDs or Ebola patients are dying, when human beings live in the worst conditions imaginable, the people who are there for them are disproportionately people who believe in the same Bible you vilify.”

    NOT TRUE AT ALL!!!

    “DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS”
    has been in Africa since last December ever since the first outbreak of Ebola! NO GOD NEEDED – it is a NON-RELIGIOUS organization!
    22,000 volunteers working around the clock for almost an entire year!

    YET YOU IGNORE THE ATHEISTS!

    Look at the world of Atheists. Why are they so good? :

    95% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences are Atheists.
 That is about 3,000 people!


    40% of the doctors working for Doctors Without Borders are reported to be Atheists (22,000 members worldwide working for free every day)


    100% of American Association of Atheists (50,000) has the lowest crime statistics of any group in the country!

    If morality comes from Jesus, God or Allah,
    one would expect these Atheists to be stealing, raping, murdering and deeply unwelcome everywhere.

    Instead, ATHEISTS are the most stable, peaceful, productive, generous individuals in society.

    Atheist Billionaires are among the most generous people
    in our society:

    Warren Buffett

    Bill Gates
    
Jeff Bezos
    
Carl Icahn

    Meanwhile, The Religious billionaires are power crazed self-centered maniacs! :
    The Koch Brothers

    Rupert Murdoch
    Sheldon Adelson

    FURTHERMORE.
    Atheists are almost never arrested.

    Their numbers in prison are so small that it is statistically zero (Pew)


    Atheists almost never end up in jail.

    Atheists (non-believers) make up 8% of the American population.
But they cause almost none of the crime.

    Less than .03% of the prison population is Atheist.
    
The huge majority in prison are Christian, Muslim and
 other religions.
    To whom shall will you credit their immorality?

    Atheists are not only good without god. They are statistically the best behaving members of society.


    Norway, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand are simultaneously the most peaceful, successful
and most Atheistic countries in the world.

    Meanwhile, where Religion is strong….
    
you find dramatic INEQUALITY of wealth (Latin America, IRAN, Pakistan, North America),
    High tolerance for FASCISM
 (Italy, Greece, Spain, Texas)
    High of repression of women’s rights (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Texas, Pakistan)

    
And high use of the Death penalty. (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Texas, Pakistan)

    Morality is IN FACT better handled by Atheists!

  • @JACK,

    EVER HEAR OF “SCHINDLER’S LIST”?
    Yeah? Well…OSKAR SCHINDLER WAS AN ATHEIST!

    EVER HEAR OF ‘NEWMAN’S OWN’ THE CHARITY FOUNDED BY ATHEIST PAUL NEWMAN? IT RAISED $370 MILLION FOR POOR CHILDREN!

    EVER HEAR OF “THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS?”
    IT WAS WRITTEN BY DR. SEUSS – AN ATHEIST!!

    EVER HEAR OF “CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS” ?
    IT WAS WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY CHARLES SCHULTZ – AN ATHEIST!

    EVER HEAR OF “WHITE CHRISTMAS”?
    IT WAS WRITTEN BY ATHEIST, IRVING BERLIN

    EVER HEAR OF MAX VON SYDOW WHO PLAYED JESUS IN THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD?
    YUP – HE’S AN ATHEIST TOO!

    STOP SLAMMING ATHEISTS!
    YOU WOULDN’T HAVE CHRISTMAS WITHOUT THEM!

    YOU are unaware apparently that
    The Good Samaritan was very likely an ATHEIST?
    We know he wasn’t Jewish or Christian since it is Jesus who is telling the story!

    MY FELLOW AMERICAN, you would be ENSLAVED, IN JAIL, SICK or DEAD without the power of Atheism to protect you EVERY DAY – don’t forget it!

    THE AWE INSPIRING WONDERS OF ATHEISM:

    FIRST – Why are Atheists so good? Less than HALF of each Religious dollar goes to anything useful. Talk about waste!

    What do Atheists contribute?
    While Religion wastes billions of dollars building houses of superstition and holy books full of hatreds against other religions and loathing of humanity ….

    These ATHEIST organizations – as in connected to NO churches – are saving the world:

    Doctors Without Borders,
    The Foundation Beyond Belief
    Newman’s Own
    Goodwill Industries,
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
    Warren Buffet Foundation,
    Oxfam International,
    Rotary International,
    American Red Cross,
    SEED foundation, United Children’s Fund,
    Sierra Fund, National Campaign to prevent Teen Pregnancy,
    Treatment Action Campaign, Women’s Defense League
    US Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers,
    Plan USA, Tanzanian Children’s Fund
    National Academy of Science,
    The ACLU….etc.

    Atheists spend BILLIONS on saving lives EVERY YEAR!

    SECOND – We Atheists go further to promote education and culture to enhance quality of life.

    Atheists have done MORE for humanity than any other group:

    While religious people pray for cures – Atheists create medicine.
    While religious people pray for food – Atheists improve agriculture
    While religious people burn witches – Atheists promote reason.
    While religious people ban condoms – Atheists distribute millions saving countless lives from AIDS.
    While religious people burn books – Atheists develop the internet and social media
    While religion oppresses women and creates poverty – Atheists have emancipated women and lessened poverty.

    While religious people kill over imaginary Gods…
    Atheists create Church/State separation!

    ONLY THE THOROUGH SUMMARY REJECTION OF RELIGION such as that from Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin was the religious freedom you enjoy under the Constitution of the United States ever possible. It still remains the ONLY ATHEISTIC constitution in the world and IT PROTECTS YOUR FREEDOM TO WORSHIP.

    The Scientists working to understand climate change are almost entirely Atheist.

    While Christians and Muslims fill the prisons,
    the Atheist population in prison is statistically ZERO.

    What does Religion do?
    It feeds a few thousand poor people while spending billions of dollars apologizing for an invisible God who never shows up to save the 17 MILLION CHILDREN who will starve THIS YEAR ALONE !

    While ATHEISTIC Science does the heavy lifting of saving lives and making this world better….

    Monks, Priests and Imams live in the dark corners and argue against science and work to PREVENT THE TRUTH FROM REACHING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE!

    THESE ATHEISTS
    HAVE NEVER DONE ANYTHING GOOD?

    Vincent Van Gogh
    Theo Van Gogh
    Paul Newman (his charity, ‘Newman’s Own’ has raised $370 Million)
    The Beatles: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr
    Warren Buffet – Billionaire philanthropist
    Jonas Salk (discoverer of the Polio vaccine)
    Congressman Barney Frank
    Nehru
    Max Von Sydow (played Jesus in Greatest Story Ever Told)
    James Randi
    Langston Hughs
    Steven Hawking
    Anton Chekhov
    Jules Feiffer
    Barney Frank
    Claude Monet
    Dick Cavett
    Alfred Nobel
    Henri Matisse
    Richard Dreyfuss
    Mikhail Gorbachev
    David Niven
    Ted Turner
    Arthur Miller
    Berk Breathed
    Francis Crick
    James Watson
    Alan Alda
    Charlie Parker
    Oliver Sacks
    Camille Paglia
    Dave Barry
    Andy Rooney (60 Minutes)
    Tom Lehrer
    Bradley Manning
    Pat Tillman (Atheist in a foxhole)
    Thomas Edison
    Steven Wozniak
    James Lipton
    David Lynch
    Studs Terkel
    Guillermo del Toro
    Moshe Dyan
    MaMarcel Duchamp
    Clarence Darrow
    Andrew Carnegie
    Francis Crick
    Charles Schultz (creator of Peanuts, Charlie Brown Christmas)
    Jacques Yves Cousteau
    Harlan Ellison
    Abraham Lincoln – “The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my religion.”
    Bertrand Russell
    Gore Vidal
    Rob Reiner
    Mike Nochols
    Seth MacFalane
    Ani DiFranco
    Mickey Dolenz
    Ingmar Bergman
    Richard Leakey
    Kevin Bacon
    Richard Stauss
    Bjork
    Bill Blass
    Roger Ebert
    Albert Einstein
    Richard Feynman
    Barbara Forrest
    Linus Carl Pauling
    Maurice Sendak
    Helen Keller
    Noam Chomsky
    Mark Shasha
    Paul Kurtz
    David Hume
    Steven Weinberg
    Peter Higgs
    James D. Watson
    Ray Romano
    Ted Williams
    Scott Joplin
    Marlene Deitrich
    Butterfly McQueen
    Billy Joel
    Steven Pinker
    Sigmund Freud
    Bruce Lee
    Bill Nye
    Susan B. Anthony
    E.O. Wilson
    Alan Turing
    William Shatner
    Marlon Brando
    Noam Chomsky
    Katherine Hepburn
    Helen Mirren
    Andrew Carnegie
    Richard Branson
    Kurt Vonnegut
    Kai Nielson
    Gene Wilder
    Virginia Wolf
    Charlie Chaplin
    Richard Rodgers
    Arthur Schleshinger Jr.
    Frida Kahlo
    Ernest Hemingway
    Carl Sagan
    Robert Wright
    Michael Martin
    Peter Singer
    Jerry Coyne
    Jennifer Michael Hecht

    Golda Meir
    Betty Friedan
    Hannah Ahrendt
    Lisa Randall
    Julia Sweeney
    Paula Poundstone
    Diane Keaton
    Phyllis Diller
    Margot Kidder
    Susan Jacoby
    Sarah Bernhardt
    Cloris Leachmen
    Sarah Silverman
    Emma Thompson
    Lalla Ward
    Amy Alkon
    Victor Stenger
    Martin Amis
    Lauren Bacall
    Philip Roth
    Ian McEwan
    Michael Shermer
    Oscar Wilde
    Frank Zappa
    Mark Zuckerberg
    Jamie Hyneman
    George C Scott
    Andy Rooney
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    Daniel Radcliffe
    Penn and Teller
    Arthur Miller
    Barry Manilow
    Kevin Bacon
    Burt Lancaster
    George Orwell
    Steve Jobs
    Mark Twain
    Voltaire
    George Carlin
    Rodney Dangerfield
    Adam Savage – Mythbusters
    George Bernard Shaw
    Simon de Beauvoir
    Isaac Asimov
    Thomas Paine
    Gene Roddenberry – creator of Star Trek
    Rod Serling – creator of The Twilight Zone
    John Stossel
    Brian Eno
    Leonard Susskind
    Stephen Jay Gould
    Dan Dennett
    Thomas Mann
    Noel Coward
    Philip Pullman
    Richard Leakey
    A.C. Grayling
    Lawrence Krauss
    Jodie Foster
    Stephen Fry
    Mick Jagger
    Margot Kidder
    Larry King
    Keira Knightley
    Brad Pitt
    Sam Harris
    David Jon Gilmour
    Robyn Williams
    Stanley Kubrick
    Neil DeGrasse Tyson – Physicist
    Richard Feynman – Physicist
    Buckminster Fuller
    Gene Kelly
    Paul Robeson
    Oskar Schindler (Shindler’s List)

    YOU REALLY THINK ATHEISM IS SO BAD?
    Evangelicals sent $100 Million last year to Israeli settlers taking Palestinian lands to “CAUSE” the second coming of Jesus!
    Religion is so over-rated it is disgusting.

  • Rob T

    @Atheist Max,

    “STOP SLAMMING ATHEISTS!
    YOU WOULDN’T HAVE CHRISTMAS WITHOUT THEM!”
    HA HA HA – LOL LOL LOL LOL 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    A classic max slam!

  • Jack

    Note how Golly G dodges the issue.

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  • John A

    Max,

    It does make sense once you properly understand the problem of sin. When sin entered the creation everything was marred. Sin is basically rebellion against God and it separates us from him.

    The bible says God cannot even look upon sin. We (mankind) were made to worship and serve the creator. In your fallen state that probably doesn’t sound very attractive to you. In our lost state we spend our lives in pursuit of other things to worship. People, things, ourselves, etc. It all leads to death. We will only find true satisfaction in Him because that is what we were made for but our sin gets in the way.

    But God, rich in mercy, made a way. He sent Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for sin to make a way back to him. If we acknowledge our need, repent, and trust Jesus we will be saved and ultimately restored to communion with God. That may still sound crazy to you but I wanted to make sure you know the real gospel.

  • CraigH

    It does sadden me to read posts like the one here from Atheist Max. But I am enlightened by the fact that after He had been horribly beaten and then hung on the cross that Jesus knew that Atheist Max would on Oct 2, 2014 at 6:45pm deny that it had even happened. Yet Christ did it anyway. Maybe that was what tormented Him so much in the garden. The fact that many would not only reject but ridicule His selfless act. This act that demonstrates LOVE more then any that I can think of. Sacrificing Yourself for someone who will not admit it. Yes, Jesus died for all. Those who accept it as well as those who reject it.

  • CraigH

    Charlie, Why do you feel the need to insult people who accept something you don’t agree with. Why not just ignore them. I will agree that there are many religions that have problems but then this is really something man has brought about. Not God. He provided us with his Word, His Spirit an the example of His Son so that we might know that which is the truth. I ask you to put religion aside and pick up the Bible and read it. It will stand for itself. I grant you charlie that critical thinking is a good thing and if you truly encompass it and apply it to the Bible, you will find the truth and the Truth will set you free. What do you have to loose? What is there to fear? Read it, front to back and critically research the sections you question. The Bible will reveal itself to you.