Trigger warning! The Bible may disturb your emotional health (COMMENTARY)

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A boy from the Mennonite community reads the bible at his school in Cuauhtemoc, Mexico o November 8, 2012. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez 
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-WAX-COLUMN, originally transmitted on August 17, 2015.

A boy from the Mennonite community reads the bible at his school in Cuauhtemoc, Mexico o November 8, 2012. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-WAX-COLUMN, originally transmitted on August 17, 2015.

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(RNS) Violence, abuse, torture, rape, slavery -- these are the warnings we’d have to issue by the time we finished reading the Bible’s first book, Genesis.

  • Larry

    “Warning this book inspires unwarranted feelings of moral superiority and may be used to excuse obnoxious and malicious behavior of its readers”

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  • Jon

    Warning! – This is an inconsistent work of humans which has caused immense immorality, hatred & war.

    The hateful god described here kills children (Ex 12:29, Gn 7:23, 2Sm12:18, Ps 137:9), and tortures people (Jb 2:6, Mk 9:48,). This god demands genocide (1 Sm 15:3, Dt 7:2, Rv 9:15, Jsh 11:14), rape (Nm 31:18), & human sacrifice (Gn 22:2, Jd 11:31-19), and even delights in a basketful of 70 bloody heads from murdered children (2Kg 10:7&30). This book puts religion ahead of family (1Kg 15:13, Lk 12:53, 14:26, 19:27).

    This book sows hatred for all other religions (Dt 13:6-10, 2Kg 10:25, Jn 14:6, 2Jn 1:10) – this has caused millions of bloody atrocities, pogroms, crusades, and wars, worse than ISIL.

    The bibles contain historical & scientific errors. Changes are known to have been made to the various bibles throughout history, and so there are dozens of different bibles, containing different books (73? 66? 81?) & other differences.

    Read it at your whim, but follow it at…

  • Joshua David

    Very true, nicely written!

  • john

    @Larry, Christians were not saved because they were good or because they were better than others, but because they knew they were bad.and in most cases worse than others. They were saved by grace and mercy, not because they were better than others.(Deut 9:4-6) in fact, any person who professes to be a Christian and thinks they are more deserving of heaven then you, according to the Bible, is not a Christian to begin with. That is Christianity.101

  • Larry

    Nice sentiment. Not one actually accepted by the overwhelming majority of people who profess to be Christian. Given the behavior of most people who consider themselves “saved”, your statement is laughably false.

    There is a great deal of cognitive dissonance with what Christians say to others and how they actually act. Its a given when one constantly uses one’s religious belief to justify any and all of their actions.

    To be “saved” is by its nature to claim to be morally and spiritually superior to the “unsaved”. You are going to heaven and they are not. Therefore God likes me best. Arrogance and self-righteous behavior is not a bug of Christian thinking, its a feature.

    There is nothing more phony than the claim that the Christians who act in an embarrassing way are not really “the real thing”. It stinks of cheap disavowal and dishonest apologia. Especially given how loath “fellow Christians” are to call out such allegedly unrighteous behavior among their own.

  • Bernardo

    Keeping in mind that most of the OT was the invention of some very innovative Jewish scribes as was the NT the embellishment and “mythicizing” of the life of one, long dead Jewish carpenter/peasant man of magic by P, M, M, L, and J a new wave of Jewish scribes if you will.

  • Greg1

    Yes, humanity has for 2000 years now, encountered Christ, Who has transformed their lives, and transformed societies, and continents. All to the greater good of humanity, and civilization at large. And in the end, most of those Christians have entered into eternity very happy, and now enjoy being in the eternal Presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, along with all the angels, and saints. That is the end we all seek. Unless of course you are Larry. But … one of these days I feel as though a change is coming.

  • Re: “Christians were not saved because they were good or because they were better than others, but because they knew they were bad.”

    This sentiment is known in Christianity by the slogan, “Christians aren’t perfect, just saved.” As such, it’s quite convenient. Christians can use this rationale to absolve themselves of just about anything they choose, and it relieves them of the obligation of actually having to live up to the high moral standards they claim to aspire to but refuse to abide by.

    So go ahead. Keep pointing out that Christians are merely “sinners” like everyone else so they can’t actually be expected to behave any better than anyone else … yet they’re still “better” than everyone else, because they’ve been “saved” and no one else has.

    If you can’t tell how twisted and elitist this reasoning is, then there’s no hope for you. If you can, then maybe you realize what’s wrong with your religion & why the rest of us are tired of hearing how “moral”…

  • Tom Downs

    Back to political correctness. As the author describes the university it reminds me of the monastic movement and its desire separate from the unholy/unhelpful influences of the World. It wasn’t a denial of the reality of those influences that drove them, but the desire to focus instead on those things that grew the human spirit in a godly direction. I wonder if this isn’t more than just a desire to protect the weak, but instead a way of improving humanity.

  • Ben in oakland

    There used to be a bumper sticker that said, “Christians aren’t smug. Just forgiven.” I always took that to mean that there smug, because they believe they are forgiven. They have no more evidence for being forgiving than they have for anything else that they claim to be true.

    There are plenty of recent examples of people who claim that they are forgiven by God, and are absolutely sure of it.

    Josh Duggar Molests his sisters, but it’s OK because “God has forgiven him.”

    Anti-gay Republicans and uber Christians Todd courser and Mary Gamrat have an affair, while simultaneously proposing anti-gay marriage bills because every marriage but there’s is so damnably sacred. Courser goes further, and lies about having a gay affair when the heterosexual affair he is actually having promises to be exposed. But it’s all OK, because “God has forgiven him.”

    It’s quite a racket. Do what you want, get caught, and God is forgiving you.

  • Larry

    When Christians can start acting in a moral, responsible manner towards others, they can be taken seriously on whatever claims to enlightenment they want to make.. But we don’t see that now. Never did.

    We see people trying to take credit for things they had no hand in. We see people ignore or blatantly lie about the negative aspects of their history and belief. We see rationalized malice.

    Our world had become far more civilized the further away from the superstition and arbitrary authority of religion we get. Its telling that currently the greatest threat to civilized existence right now is overly fervent religious belief.

  • Fran

    The Bible gives me great peace of mind, as well as a great appreciation of God’s qualities of love, justice, forgiveness, mercy, power, loyalty, creativity and power!

    It’s comforting to know, from studying the Bible, that we are in the last days of a wicked era. It began when God’s son, Jesus, became King of his heavenly kingdom or government in 1914.

    Since that time, preaching the good news of God’s kingdom as the only hope for mankind has been taking place worldwide, as Jesus foretold it would (Matt. 24:14).

    Soon God’s government crush all human governments, rule in their place over mankind on earth, and put an end to human imperfection and sin so that mankind will live forever on earth
    (John 3:16).

    A smaller group of 144,000 spirit-anointed Christians who were humans, and Jesus referred to as the “little flock,” will rule with him in the upcoming millennial rule from the heavens.

    What grand blessings that government will bring to mankind on earth!?

  • Eric

    “What happens when we sever ourselves from the books that made Western civilization? If the coddling of the American mind continues unabated, with its tendency to dismiss ideas that offend us, we may one day find ourselves in a brave new world, a world in which the powerful won’t need to round up and burn “dangerous” books by force, because the populace will have already burned them all by choice.”

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that the author knows less about “trigger warnings” and university culture than he does about the Bible. I hope to God he wasn’t paid for this drive-by sermonette. I mean, this is a new low, even for “commentary,” on RNS. Who authorized this failed attempt at being trendy and provocative and settled for the merely douchey?

  • Jeanette Law

    Eric, that limb you went out on was thin and just broke. Who do you think will bother to catch you now? I hope to god that he doesn’t send you to hell for your silly commentette. I mean, that was even a new low for mere doucheyness and backstabbing of contemporaries and trendies.Who authorized you to be judge, juror, and hands-in plumber anyway?

  • Curious

    “Can you imagine how many trigger warnings the Bible would get? ”

    How about none? The trigger-warning crowd is largely comprised of “progressive Christians” and “faitheists” who view Christianity as an integral part of “social justice.” They would never dream of stigmatizing a book that is so popular among black people and Latinos.

  • Billysees

    Greg1 writes,
    ” …Christ, Who has transformed their lives, and transformed societies, and continents. All to the greater good of humanity, and civilization at large. ”

    Larry writes,
    ” When Christians can start acting in a moral, responsible manner towards others, they can be taken seriously… ”

    ” We see people [Christians] ignore or blatantly lie about the negative aspects of their history and belief. We see rationalized malice. ”

    ” …currently the greatest threat to civilized existence right now is overly fervent religious belief. ”

    Those are very truthful comments. All kinds of evidences prove them.

    I conclude then, that it’s all a ‘mixed-bag’.

    But I think we all can at least appreciate these, derived from the Lord’s Prayer —

    May all our needs be met,
    May all our faults be forgiven,
    May all the faults of others that affect us be forgiven.
    And let us be delivered from evil always.

  • Greg1

    Ben, as with anything in this life, there are rules, whether sports, or driving a car, or working for a living, all have rules. And … life is no different. The moral rules for living this life have been set in place by God Almighty. And they are not burdensome. They only become heavy when we rebel against His moral principles. And doing so is called sin. If driving a car, you get a ticket, if in sports, you might get tossed from the game, if at work, you might get fired. In this life, God lets us continue on, but the penalty comes when this life ends. And I would disagree with the forgiven thing. No, we have a duty to live a moral life as a Christian. As a Catholic, it goes as follows: believe and be baptized, sins cleansed, God fills the soul with his very self & his grace. As we sin, we begin to tarnish that pure white soul. This condition is rectified by the Sacrament of Confession (John 20:23). And our souls are nourished by the Eucharist (read John Chapter 6).

  • Greg1

    Fran, the 144,000 is merely symbolic of all the chosen people of God that ever lived. The 12 Tribes of Israel x the Church of the 12 Apostles, x 1000 = 144.000. And 1000 was used to denote a large number in those days. And what’s up with the 1914 thing?

  • Larry

    So your moral judgment is based on arbitrary outside dictates as opposed to exercising one’s own conscience and understanding the impact of actions upon others. Petty self serving.

    You follow God’s will out of fear of punishment or divine reward rather than male moral judgments. As long as you claim God is in your corner, all behavior us permitted. No matter how harmful or malicious to others.

  • Hmm, my comment was cut off even though it was shorter than maximum length. This is how it was to have ended:

    If you can, then maybe you realize what’s wrong with your religion & why the rest of us are tired of hearing how “moral” you Christians are, when you’re really not.

  • Re: “The moral rules for living this life have been set in place by God Almighty.”

    Is that why Christians use slogans like, “We’re not perfect, just saved” to rationalize not having to follow those “moral rules”? Is that why Christians are, in reality, no more “moral” than any other type of person?

    Just wondering.

  • Bob

    Funny, Greg1, that the various sub-cults of the Christian blood cult have such different views of what is “symbolic” and what is to be taken literally. That god you made did not do a very good job at his horrid storybook “bible”.

    Pretty pathetic “god” that you’ve made for yourself there.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • B. Mack

    Yes Larry, Soviet Russia and Mao’s China were great examples of how much better society is when we dispense with religious “superstition”. Are there Christians (and Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and Shintos etc) who do not treat others with the love that they deserve as creatures made in the image and likeness of God? Yes there are, in fact all people (even atheists) fail to live up to their own moral code, not just from time to time, but daily. But if you study the lives of people like Mother Teresa, Dietrich Bonhoffer, Maximilian Kolbe, Francis of Assisi, and so many more, you will see men and women whose love for their fellow man was quite sacrificial. The fact of the matter is that authentic Christianity calls us to this kind of love and most Christians try to follow these examples, though most, myself included fall short.

  • Larry

    That old chestnut of “who has the bigger body count”. If you are going to play the guilt by association game then you would have to take credit for Adolf Hitler, Fascism, the Taiping Rebellion (30 million dead), and every war in Europe from 700 AD to the 19th Century. Yours is much bigger.

    Why don’t we go with more accurate examples like the United States Constitution, and the fact that the developed world has accepted secularism as being key to a democratic and peaceful existence. We can add that the major trouble spots in the world are those where religion holds the most sway over society.

    Abrahamic faiths have made excuses for bad behavior ingrained into faith. God forgives all if the atrocity is in his name.

    Altruist Christians like Bonhoffer, Maximilian Kolbe, nd Francis of Assisi, are the exception, not the rule. People whose views are venerated but almost entirely ignored in practice. Your “authentic christians” are hardly representative of the faith.

  • Michael Glass

    One of the first people to condemn the Bible for being immoral was Tom Paine, whose “Age of Reason” ripped into the Bible for all the reasons listed above, and more. Now this kind of Biblical criticism has become quite commonplace.

  • B Mack

    Hitler may have been raised Christian, but he was certainly not a practicing Christian. He was an occultist and a nationalist. He was more entranced with Norse mythology than Christianity. Or did you not know that after Jews, Catholics represented the next largest share of the population in the extermination camps.

    I won’t disagree that the most conflict heavy areas of the world are dominated by religion, but that religion is not Christianity. It was Christians who led the way on abolition, It was Christians who led the way on desegregation. It is Christians who are currently leading the way on humane treatment for immigrants. Yes, in all three cases, there are other Christians who oppose(d) the proposed changes, but the impetus for change has come from Christians in all three cases. You paint with too broad of a brush.

  • Ben in oakland

    As always, the Christian argument is “the others are worse.”

    Christians may have led the way on abolition, but they also led the way. From the Texas Declaration of Secesssion:

    the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations;

  • Ben in oakland

    “Who authorized you to be judge, juror, and hands-in plumber anyway?”

    That’s what we’re always asking so-called Christians.They respond that they are authorized to judge the sinful, or they are not authorized to, but just reporting.

    It’s just like all of the Christians who sin mightily, and then claim that god has forgiven them.

  • Larry

    Making excuses for bad conduct appears to be a regular habit for many Christians. Its somewhat endemic to the faith. Altruism preceded religion. Christianity does not create it, or even encourage it.

    Nazis were entirely Christian. They appealed to churches for support. Especially when recruiting people to commit atrocities. Europe’s last forced conversion was in 1944. Violent antisemitism was ingrained in Christianity long before the Nazis. The peace of the developed world can be laid at the feet of the growth of secular democracy.

    If you are going to take credit for the outliers who acted in the name of humanity, then to be honest you have to take credit for the much greater population of people who acted badly in the name of their faith.

    As for immigrants, its self-interest. Churches need immigrants to expand. Their growth among the native born is moribund. Most followers of those churches have been hostile to such efforts. You describe outliers, not the majority.

  • Dominic

    I’m amazed that these trigger warnings are used at the college level! Isn’t college the place you go to have your mind opened to life and history as it really is? Why retard students by warning them about “hurtful passages”? Who decides what may be hurtful?
    The N word in Twain’s Huck Finn is how the book was written, and it speaks to the times he wrote it in. Why be afraid of it?
    As to the Bible….well, I’ve been exposed to it since 1st Grade and it has yet to bother me at all.
    Censorship in America? Sanitizing literature for fear of someone getting upset? What a crazy country we are becoming. A bunch of cry babies.

  • Dominic

    That’s why Catholicism has the Sacrament of Confession. Upon revealing your sins to a priest you will know if you are forgiven or not by God. A priest does not have to forgive all sins, sometimes the penitent has to correct something before absolution cane given ( return stolen goods, etc. ). The Protestants wrongly assume they are forgiven just by asking for forgiveness. That is a convenient assumption that God will always agree with “them”.

  • B. Mack

    Larry: I could point to dozens of people I personally know and hundreds that I know of through friends and family who are nothing like the straw man Christian you stand up for the sake of knocking down. I would share a few of their stories, but the space limitations on this forum don’t allow for much detail. The fact of the matter is that the Catholic Church alone does more through its various religious orders and charities in terms of both dollars and man-hours than any other organization going. On top of this are other Christian charities (Salvation Army, etc). Go to any impoverished country and see who is there helping the poor, it is Christians. I am not looking for praise, because I am not one of the people there, but I know some who have been. Again, you use a broad brush and charge all Christians with the behavior of those who fail to live the ideal by the widest margin. I doubt you will be convinced of anything by this, but I wanted to share my perspective. Peace.

  • Eric

    “I hope to god that he doesn’t send you to hell for your silly commentette.”

    The petty god you worship probably would, but fortunately your false idol is powerless to actually do anything. Guess you’ll have to fight your own battles. And if defending the author is the battle you want, you better get used to losing.

  • Dane

    B. Mack just don’t go claiming Mother Theresa is a great example of your Catholic goodness. She was outed as being simply cruel to the impoverished.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2003/10/mommie_dearest.html

  • Dane

    It makes for a great excuse whether the wish for forgiveness is ever granted or not. Which is part of why, whether coming from Catholic or Protestant, one should never accept such an abdication of personal responsibility. If your god was for real and active, we would not need our justice system.

  • Dominic,

    “who decides what may be hurtful?”

    Right.

    GOD: “KILL YOUR DAUGHTER WITH FIRE”

    “If your daughter defiles herself…burn her alive” – Yahweh God of Love (Leviticus 21:9)

    Shame on you.

  • Larry

    I could point to thousands of people claiming to be Christians who act in a deeply immoral fashion. All because they think God excuses their behavior. People supported by their clergy. They are the norm, not the exception.

    Many Christians here would rather condemn the acts of others than look how to help others.

    The Catholic Church does not exist in a state of poverty or even parsimony. Nor does sectarian biased charity make up for their role in the deaths of millions of people over the centuries and untold suffering they had a hand in.

    Go to any impoverished nation and you will see how some Christian attitudes towards family planning perpetuate poverty. How religious entanglement with government favored dictatorship. The Catholic Church’s flirtation with fascism is well documented.

    To be honest, you have to acknowledge not just the good, but the bad as well. You seem unwilling to do that. Too much cheerleading, not enough reflection.

  • ben in oakland

    Correction, Larry.

    god most emphatically does not EXCUSE their behavior. He forgives it. world of difference.

    and how do they know? As always, God’s opinions on any subject seem to coincide exactly with those of the people who seek his forgiveness, who claim to know him, or who claim to speak for him.

    God has forgiven me, says Josh Duggar. It isn’t required that his sisters do so.

  • Bernardo

    And after you confess your sins, you say to the priest, now it is your turn and don’t leave anything out. And does confession (now the sacrament of reconciliation) have any historic authenticity?

    o Confession: NT establishment thereof:

    (1a) Matt 16:19
    (1b) Matt 18:18
    (2) John 20:23
    And what do some of the contemporary NT scholars conclude about these passages?:

    Professor JD Crossan’s analysis:
    Item: 375
    Strata: III (80-120 CE)
    Attestation: Double
    Historicity: negative

    See also Professor Gerd Ludemann’s review in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 197-198, 205-206, 575-581.

    His conclusion: THE PASSAGES ARE HISTORICALLY NIL
    .

  • Bernardo

    And to counter said prayer:

    The Apostles’/Agnostics’ Creed 2015: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Continued below:

  • Bernardo

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

  • Jack

    In other words, Larry expects Christians to be human punching bags and takes exception to their fighting back.

  • Jack

    Ben, if Christians did the impossible, ie transcended the human nature shared by all people, and achieved moral perfection, they’d be just as hated. It’s ultimately not about us but about the Bible on which we stand:

    Listen carefully to Bible bashers and you’ll see that people don’t hate the Bible because its standards are beneath them, but because its standards are a reproach to them. When something is beneath people, they have a haughty, arrogant contempt of it. I don’t perceive that when I hear Christians criticized. Instead, it sounds a lot like what people have said about Jews through time: “Who do these people think they are? Do they think they’re better than us? Do they have a superiority complex or something?”

    In both cases, Christians and Jews, the real “problem” is with the God they worship and the conflict between humanity and God. Yes, you’ll find your share of bad Christians and Jews, but that’s not what drives hated of either. It’s…

  • Jack

    …..far deeper than that.

  • Jack

    Warning!

    Fallen humanity perceives a self-interest in rejecting what’s in the Bible because of its blunt and accurate diagnosis of the human condition — meaning that which afflicts us all.

    Further warning — Those who accept the diagnosis will be seen as traitors to humanity and, in at least some times and places, treated accordingly.

  • Jack

    In LarrySpeak, that means that Christians must embrace the magical, capricious World According to Larry and turn their backs on objective reality.

    No thanks.

  • Jack

    Yes, Bernardo, and Julius Caesar was a gold fish, Marco Polo a visitor from space, Lewis and Clark code names for the Illuminati hiding under your bed, and the moon landing was a myth.

    Care to spin any more conspiracy tales from the outer limits?

  • Jack

    Sorry, Greg1 and Fran, but the 144,000 are what the text says they are — that is, if we are to grant texts any objective meaning outside of the reader’s perspective.

    They’re 144,000 members of the original tribes of Israel — commonly known as Jews.

    That’s a plain and straightforward reading — without any allegorizing or hyper-spiritualizing.

    And it’s not the last time the 12 tribes of Israel are mentioned in Revelation. Toward the end, it says the New Jerusalem has 12 gates, on which are inscribed the 12 names of the 12 tribes.

  • Jack

    So according to Bob, the fallibility of humanity disproves the infallibility of God. That would certainly be true if God made robots…..but obviously He didn’t.

  • Jack

    Seriously, Eric, how are the writer’s words “a new low?”

  • Jack

    The problem with your opinion — which, after all, it is — is that it requires the reader to believe in layer upon layer of tin-foil-hatted conspiracy theories about how the Gospel story came to be written and published.

    If you’re prone to believe in Holocaust denial, 9/11 truther nonsense, and black-helicopter foolishness, I have nothing to say in response. You’re in conspiracy-land, I won’t even try to drag you out of it.

    But if not, you need to know that every attempt to come up with an alternative to the Gospel story as to what “really” happened has ended up in the fever swamps of paranoid conspiracy land….ie this one lied to that one, who covered up for this one, who wrote two centuries later but made it look like he was a contemporary, but who was then lied to by that one.

    And that’s the problem with every known attempt at refutation. When you map it out, it unravels quickly.

  • Jack,

    “Fallen humanity”
    What are you talking about? Everything in Genesis is a metaphor. Why isn’t god a metaphor?

    “self-interest in rejecting what’s in the Bible”
    So Satan tricked us? Are you grown up?

    “because of its blunt and accurate diagnosis of the human condition”
    Freud, Mark Twain and Shakespeare did much, much better.

    “meaning that which afflicts us all.”
    Your totalitarianist, messianic dogma is dangerous nonsense.

    “Those who accept the diagnosis will be seen as traitors to humanity”
    How self-important. Why are you defending Hitler here?

    “treated accordingly.”
    How grandly self-fulfilling

    Yet none of it appears to be true. Where is your God?

  • Fran

    Greg1,
    The apostle John wrote: “I heard the number of those SEALED, 144,000 (Rev. 7:4). Those “sealed” persons refer to those chosen from among Christ in heaven over the coming Paradise earth (2 Corinth. 1:21,22; Rev. 5:9,10; 20:6). Their number, 144,000, is literal for following reasons:

    After the apostle John was told in vision about those 144,000, he was shown another group, whom he described as a “great crowd which no man was able to number, out of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues.” That great crowd are those who survive the “great tribulation,” which will destroy the present wicked world (Rev. 7:9,14).

    Note the contrast John draws between verses 4 and 8 of Rev., chapter 7. He states the first group of “sealed” persons have a definite number. But the second group, “a great crowd,” is without a definite number.

    If 144,000 were symbolic and numberless, the force of contrast between these 2 verses would be lost. This post will be continued below.

  • Fran

    In addition, John speaks of “the 12 apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:14. Clearly, the number 12 is literal, not symbolic. Further, John writes about “the 1,000 years” of Christ’s reign. That number is to be taken literally as well (Rev. 20:3, 5-7).

    Later in the vision, the 144,000 are described as those who “were bought from among mankind as firstfruits” (Rev. 14:1,4). That refers to a small selective selection. And Jesus spoke, when on earth, about those who will rule with him from his heavenly kingdom; and he called them a “little flock” (Luke 12:32; 22:29). Those from mankind who will rule in heaven are “few” compared with those of mankind who will inhabit the coming Paradise earth.

    My post about 1914, which you questioned, will be forthcoming and lengthy.

  • Greg1

    No I don’t Larry. My relationship with God is like my relationship with my mother and father. They had rules when we were growing up, and years later I realized that those rules had true meaning, and now realize why I was punished with the belt a few times. So I have learned to respect those rules, and have developed similar rules raising my own kids. And God is no different. Just as I love my parents, I Love God. And Love conquers all. Hell is only for the disobedient, and for those who make a mockery of Him Who is responsible for everything in existence.

  • Bernardo

    For starters:

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob·a·bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

    The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

  • Bernardo

    Continued from above:

    Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus’ sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    Continued below:

  • Bernardo

    The 30% of the NT that is “authentic Jesus” like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus’ case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hittites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    For added “pizzazz”, Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the “pew people” to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the “filicider”.

    ., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of “pretty wingie thingie” visits and “prophecies” for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immaculate conceptions).

  • Bernardo

    Some recommended references for perusal:

    1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the titles of their over 100 books on the subject.

    2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
    – a list of early Christian documents to include the year of publication– and a review of each

    3. Religion on- Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
    theologians, ethics, etc. religion-online.org/

    4. Professor JD Crossan’s conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT e-xegetes in the last 200 years:
    http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.p-hp?title=Crossan_Inventory

    5. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by title with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html

    More references available upon request.

  • Ben in oakland

    In other words, jack, Antigay Christians have been used to gay people being their punching bags for centuries,and they definitely take exception to our fighting back.

    So how do they respond? They find a half a dozen people who have not been able to flout anti discrimination laws, and claim they are being persecuted, and that gay people want to destroy Christianity.

    It works both ways, except that one group is telling the truth.

  • Ben in oakland

    Jesus addressed that, Jack, when he said don’t look for the notes in other people eyes when you miss the beams in your own.

  • Ben in oakland

    Well Jack, you just said it all: ” if we can grant text any objective meaning outside the reader’s perspective.” You can drive a very large cathedral through a loophole like that. But why were on the subject of 12s, besides the 12s you listed, there are the winds 12 quarters, The 12 disciples, the 12 Olympians, The 12 signs of the zodiac, the 12 disciples, The 12 face cards in the standard pack of modern playing cards that are descended from the Tarot, The 12 days of Christmas, the age of Jesus when he preached in the temple, The 12 months of the year, The 12 labors of Hercules, the 12 sons of odin, the 12 jyotirlingas of Hinduism, The 12 imams of Shiite islam

    and a whole bunch of 12s that appear everywhere in Western Europe whenever something remotely mystical, magical, or religious appears.

    The number 12 sure gets around.

  • Larry

    How is that “in other words”. The trick is to use things that I mention and interpret them differently. Jack, you really don’t get that.

    I expect Christians to stop pretending that their faith entitles them to treat everyone else like crap. I expect Christians to show the same level of respect to others that they ask of themselves. I expect them to act like sane moral people, like what people expect of the rest of society.

    Great expectations are doomed to disappointment. 🙁

  • Larry

    You defer all judgment to arbitrary unquestioned rules rather than exercise your own thoughts here. There is nothing moral in that.

    Obedience is not morality. Especially when you are doing it out of fear or reward. The whole point of Christian morality as explained by Christians (including yourself on occasion) is God has to look over your shoulder. Because you cannot be trusted not to maliciously harm others without someone cracking the whip from above.

    It is also why Christians always look for scriptural excuses to maliciously harm others. If God OK’s it, then why should I care about what I do to others? As long as I follow the rules or come up with some legalistic loophole, I can get away with any sort of immoral and indecent act (as thousands of Christians have done before).

  • Larry

    The problem is not the Bible. Its how it is used. It is not a bludgeoning tool, a science textbook, a cookbook, a legal guide, the source of moral thinking, the only religious tome, or even has a passable notion of Middle Eastern geography.

    “Who do these people think they are? Do they think they’re better than us? Do they have a superiority complex or something?””

    Haughty, malicious amoral attitudes of Christians and their weak excuses for bad behavior encourage such criticisms. Rather than reflect on how they act, they simply go on the attack.

    We Christians do nothing wrong as a faith, ever. Its not the Christian’s fault they are being criticized. The critics are just bad people who hate my God. Making excuses for bad behavior is preferable to actually avoiding behaving badly or criticizing one’s own for it.

  • Jack

    Not really, Ben. Your point would be more compelling if you said that for centuries, the western world has been in denial about the very existence in its midst of people who are gay. That seems to have been the mindset.

    As for telling the truth, the truth is that people are not truth-tellers by nature, that nobody wears a halo, and that victimhood does not confer virtue. That includes both the people on the “traditional” side who’ve long been in desperate denial about the realities of human sexuality in a fallen world, and the people on the “gay rights” side today who want to shut down freedom of conscience in the name of “anti-discrimination,” knowing fully well the difference between refusing all service to particular customers and refusing a particular request from a customer.

  • Larry

    Objective reality is not a term that should be employed by people who are beholden to interpretations an ancient mythological tome and the idea of supernatural resurrection of the dead. 🙂

  • Larry

    You are right. Trevin Wax has posted a lot lower things. This is unusually mediocre in the ridiculous article department from him.

  • Jack

    If that’s your best response, Max, that’s pretty pathetic.

    But maybe you just woke up on the wrong side of bed — after a tough night of no sleep….I suggest that tonight you count sheep rather than the number of people slaughtered by atheist tyrants in the last century.

  • ben in oakland

    Nonsense, jack.

    They have certainly known that gay people exist. and they have spent 2000 years trying to claim that we don’t.

    and that if we did, we are the worst of the worst, perverts, child molesters, destroyers of faith and civilization, enemies of god.

    They claim further– just yesterday, another preacher demanded the death penalty as being god’s will– and deserve prison, legal execution, torture, murder, beatings, disease, marginalization, and being blamed for every possible social ill.

  • ben in oakland

    And once again, jack, they didn’t slaughter people in the name of atheism, but in the name of destructive ideologies.

    Much as the catholic Church did until the 1700’s, when they were finally constrained by secular law.

    Much as Christianity in general did, as they slaughtered witches for a crime that doesn’t exist, supported slavery.

    Much as radical islam does today, because except in turkey– and even that is now questionable– and the secular states upended by our evil wars in the middle east– there was no secular restraints on the excesses of religion.

  • Fran

    Jack,

    The majority of natural Jews in Jesus’ day and today still do not accept Jesus as the son of God and the Messiah.

    Jesus even said concerning them: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the killer of the prophets and stoner of those sent forth to her–how often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks together under her wings! But you did not want it. Look! Your house is abandoned to you. For I say to you, you will by no means see me from henceforth until you say, ‘Blessed is he that comes in God’s name!'” (Matthew 23:37-39).

    In addition, when Pilate asked the Jews if he should impale their king (Jesus), the chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:15,16).

    On those bases, why would they willingly rule with Jesus, King of God’s kingdom or heavenly government, during his upcoming millennial rule? (Rev. 7:4-8; 14:1-5; 20:4-5). And will the majority of natural Jews on earth accept Jesus’ millennial rule as well?

  • Ben in oakland

    Actually, Jack, I don’t think that attempts to “refute” the Bible have anything to do with conspiracies. But to claim that the Bible gospel stories are true, when they contradict each other in a great many ways, simply ignores the value of true historical documents.

    What has never been explained to me is this: if Jesus was indeed born to announcements by angels, visits by three kings, the murder of the innocents, and choirs of more angels singing the praises of God and calling him God With Us…

    Then how on earth did everyone managed to forget about it 12 years later, when he preached in the temple, and 33 years later when he made his entry into Jerusalem and was killed by the Romans— With the acquiescence, support, and probable enthusiasm of the Jews? You’d think, that would be somebody that even the local people would remember. But apparently, they did not.

    I can believe the impossible, but not the highly improbable.

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  • Shawnie5

    “…and 33 years later when he made his entry into Jerusalem””

    Why do you think the crowds in Jerusalem were waiting for Him that day with palm branches and singing Hosanna?

    Because they hadn’t forgotten, and they knew the prophecies.

    And yes, the people turned against Him out of bitter disappointment that He was not going to throw out the Romans like they hoped–including even one of His own disciples. And many of those same people turned back again and became Christians after the Resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit.

    Tell you what’s “highly improbable” — people going to their deaths for faith in a Messiah they not only watched die, but helped kill.

  • Jack,

    You complain about BRAINLESS DOGMATIC SLAUGHTER
    Yet you ignorantly praise the brainless MESSIANIC dogma which drives it!

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

    And you can’t grasp the obvious connection because
    you don’t understand the separation of church and state.

    Religion is a public nuisance – it creates Stalinism and Al Queda as well as the Christian Crusades which came before! Church/State separation is our only protection from the Ayatollahs, Popes and other totalitarianist nonsense of the world.

    And yet you support the overthrow of reason!
    In the name of Dogmatic support of totalitarian BS?

    Look in the mirror Jack – you are your own enemy.

  • Bob

    No, Jack. You li​ed as you so often do about what I said.

    I don’t expect any better from you, Ad Hominem Jack, li​ar.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • Jack

    Oh, believe me, Ben, I have had conversations with people who’ve told me with a straight face that they knew of nobody during their K-12 school years whom they thought was gay. And I was initially challenged by people I know who are gay to ask that question of people I know who are straight. They correctly predicted that some would deny it.

    And I’m not talking about older folks — baby boomers…..The context is Gen X.

    And this is not limited to America, Ben. It’s come up with a Sudanese friend. He insisted that homosexuality was utterly unknown in his town and surrounding areas.

    Denial is a powerful force, Ben.

  • Jack

    Not so simple, Ben. Marxist ideology is self-consciously structured around atheism. Marx said it, as has every Marxist regime. Dialectical materialism, a term Marx used, is incomprehensible without atheistic presuppositions.

    Even the purely economic component of Marxism — the drive for equality of outcome through forced redistribution of wealth — makes little sense without smuggling in an atheistic premise that the source of wealth is purely material and hence finite. If its source is finite, then of course redistribution of wealth is the only moral solution to poverty, since one person’s having a lot means everyone else having less.

    This is not to say that most atheists are Marxist totalitarians. On the contrary, some of the strongest human rights activists are atheists. It is, however, to say that all Marxist totalitarians were atheists. And some were mass murderers.

  • Jack

    Nice try, Larry, at pretending your claim that the Bible is “mythological” is settled fact when clearly it is not. It’s merely your opinion — and one that’s vastly harder to support today than a century ago, before the avalanche of archeological discoveries supporting its historical accuracy and reliability, including some its most astonishing claims.

    I suppose there are worse things than being a century behind the times, Larry, but it’s still not an enviable place to be.

  • Bernardo

    As per many contemporary NT scholars, Palm Sunday is just another Christian myth.

    e.g. http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=257_Entry_into_Jerusalem and

    from Professor Gerd Ludemann (Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 75, Mark 11: 1-11, “The tradition is strongly legendary. Nor can Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem have been as spectacular as the text describes it. Otherwise, the Romans would have made short shrift of him.”

  • Bernardo

    As noted below but now with the proper placement:

    As per many contemporay NT scholars, Palm Sunday is just another Christian myth.

    e.g. http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=257_Entry_into_Jerusalem and

    from Professor Gerd Ludemann (Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 75, Mark 11: 1-11, “The tradition is strongly legendary. Nor can Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem have been as spectacular as the text describes it. Otherwise, the Romans would have made short shrift of him.”

  • Jack

    LOL — Bernardo, how would anyone know which sayings are counterfeit without having an original manuscript or manuscripts?

    You’re relying on the Jesus Seminar, which takes basic historiography and tosses it into the trash can. If I saw you in person, I could go line by line with you and show how the historical approach and the JS’s radical skeptical approach differ profoundly.

    I’ve said this a zillion times, but perhaps it’s worth repeating, historians generally presume a bit of text — any purportedly non-fictional text of any kind — is accurate until proven otherwise. The burden is on those saying it is not authentic, whatever the “it” is. And the way to prove something is inauthentic is to prove it contradicts itself, other contemporary texts, or already-known facts. Mere lack of corroboration isn’t enough.

    Legal evidence regarding witnesses works the same way. It’s not up to witnesses to prove their veracity, but cross-examiners to debunk it.

  • Jack

    Sorry Bob, but words have meaning and if wish to assign them new meaning before posting, you should alert your readers.

    If you have such a yen for redefining words, maybe you can land a job with SCOTUS.

  • Jack,

    “Legal evidence regarding witnesses works the same way. It’s not up to witnesses to prove their veracity, but cross-examiners to debunk it.”

    Wrong. Innocent until proven guilty is how our legal system works.

    There is no evidence a real Jesus ever existed. The best book ever written about this was the worst book Bart Ehrman ever wrote. He presents nothing but empty claims and suspiciously biased ‘Christian’ writings and outright forgeries which remain utterly uncorroborated by reliable sources or contemporaries.

    Besides, the Gospel fantasies are so contradictory no real Jesus could be taken seriously who would say or do such things – they are obvious redactions, superstitions and conflations.

    God is innocent of existing until evidence proves he exists. There is no such evidence.
    Same for Jesus.

  • Jack

    Yes, Ben, and some of that is presumably coincidental, while some is not. The number 12 in the Bible represents the Jewish people, as in the original 12 tribes of Israel. I suspect that’s why Jesus chose 12 disciples, rather than 10 or 14 or 47.

    As for cathedrals being driven through loopholes, that’s an interesting word picture, no doubt.

    My point, though, was that there are some methodologies of biblical interpretation that don’t even try to find the objective meaning of the text. They are more interested in interpreting the text not as you would any document — ie by good-faith efforts to discern authorial intent — but in light of other presuppositions. Some sound very holy and spiritual, but they violate basic rules of interpreting not just texts but any example of human communication.

    Not that you necessarily care, but if you did, and you followed carefully the arguments on all sides, you would quickly understand the distinction.

  • Jack

    Well, Fran, the 144,000 appear in Revelation not during Jesus’ millennial rule (chapter 20), but before it (chapters 7 & 14). So they’re not yet ruling with Jesus, who returns visibly in chapter 19.

    The text says the 144,000 are from the 12 tribes of Israel — which the writer names, like a roll call. Given his level of specificity — 12 tribes of Israel, with every tribe named — it’s your burden to prove he doesn’t mean literal Jews.

    As for Jews on earth accepting Jesus’s “millennial rule” — ie his reign upon His return, think about it:

    If you’re in Jerusalem, and, in line with Revelation 16 and parallel prophecies in the Hebrew Bible — Zechariah, etc. — enemy armies the world over are attacking from all ends, and the fellow who shows up to destroy these foes is Jesus, what would YOU do?

    Send Him back?

    Obviously not.

  • Jack

    I wish I had more than this little box to elaborate fully, Ben, but suffice to say, the Gospels are all first-century documents, with probably all of them, including even John, written within the lifetime of contemporaries of Jesus. Why is this crucial? All coherent and cogent refutations of them depended on late-dating of them — for example, dating John’s Gospel well into the second century.

    Once we’ve established that they’re easily all first-century, with even John, with his richly detailed and accurate depictions of Judea and Galilee before 70 AD (the Roman destruction), written far earlier than previously thought, we narrow the possibilities as to what exactly happened.

    I wish I had more space to elaborate more — much more — but that’s a starting point.

  • Jack

    Yes, biblical skepticism became more commonplace especially the late 19th with the advent of “higher criticism” from Germany, but most of its speculations were later blown out of the water by modern 20th century archeological discoveries and advances in biblical studies and linguistic analysis.

    Much of the hyper-skepticism was advanced by people who were neither professional historians nor competent literary scholars. Often their denials of certain claims of Scripture were based on commission of embarrassing logical fallacies.

    One example: The Book of Isaiah, named after the 8th-century Hebrew prophet, foretelling the career of King Cyrus, a 6th century Persian. The attempts to refute this remarkable prophecy are hilarious. Critics say there were two or three authors, even though the book reads like a single literary genius wrote it. So we are to believe that there were two or three geniuses, with similar writing styles, writing centuries apart from each other.

  • Jack

    Bernardo, I’ve “been there and done that.” Again, the problem with such works is that they take a hyper-skeptical approach that violates the basic rules of historical evidence. They require each line of a text to prove itself authentic — precisely the opposite of how historians work when looking at texts of any kind.

    Again, it is only when a historian sees apparent material contradictions — within a text or between it and contemporary texts or well-established facts — that the historian begins to question its veracity. And even then, it’s the historian’s job to try to reconcile those apparent contradictions before labeling them as such. Why? Because the writer of the text isn’t alive to explain himself or to answer questions. It is only when the historian has exhausted all reasonable efforts at reconciliation that he or she questions veracity.

  • Jack

    Bernardo, you need to prove the Palm Sunday account was mythical. It’s a straightforward rendering, without anything to wrestle with….so there’s no reason for suspicion.

    But let’s walk this through….The text says Jesus entered Jerusalem on that day, a time of pilgrims crowding into the city from across Israel and the Diaspora, in preparation for the upcoming Passover holiday, a major festival.

    Nothing suspicious thus far — religious preacher going to where the crowds are.

    Those who were familiar with Jesus were waving palm branches….again, very believable. They believed he was the long-awaited Messiah who was coming into Jerusalem to rule and reign. The palm branches concerned Succoth, another Jewish holiday. Why were they waving them before Passover? Because of a prophecy in Zechariah about a future Messiah coming to rule and reign in Jerusalem, and the nations coming to pay him homage in connection with Succoth. Hence the branches.

  • Bernardo

    Jack, Obviously, you have not perused the recommended references.

    You will have to read the studies of contemporary historians and NT scholars to see how they decide the authenticity of historical events and passages. Rigorous historic reviews rely on the number of independent attestations, the time of the publications, the content as it relates to the subject and time period, and any related archeological evidence. Professors JD Crossan and G. Ludemann’s studies are top notch in this regard.

  • Bernardo

    And Jack there is also this:

    John’s Gospel is of questionable historic value.

    To wit:

    From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

    “Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John’s Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source……

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

    “Since “the higher criticism” of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] “[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,”[5] and date it to 90-100.”

    And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

    “Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. ”

    See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

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  • Eric

    [Jhn 8:7 NASB] 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

    Your interpretation may not be correct because you have been presented with 2 different scriptures with carefully written words. Time and effort should be put in to gain an understanding of why there is a difference.

    If you find yourself to be a difficult person, if you have anger and conflict, if you are jealous and envious, then you will find that this God is the only one that can save us from ourselves. If you need to be free to have peace then you will need the God of Jesus Christ.

    You preach that there is no God. You preach that each man should do whatever is right in his own eyes. You happily do what you can to discredit God. Your idea is worse. Doesn’t every person who does whatever they want without restraint end up in prison or deserving of it? We need God to change our desires.

  • Shawnie5

    “Otherwise, the Romans would have made short shrift of him.”

    Um, yeah, that’s pretty much what they did. Within the week.

  • Larry

    When you can show me where else in the world the resurrection of the dead is even possible, or any kind of miracles, then you can lump the Bible into non-fiction literature. The only other place you see such things are in mythological texts and works of fiction.

    Archaeologists are generally at odds with “Biblical Archaeology”. The work by the Biblical variety is usually done by people who lack the academic and technical requirements in the field. Their conclusions are generally glorified confirmation bias. Its akin to claiming Creation Science is an actual science.

    Your claims that Archaeology proves Biblical accounts can be dismissed without evidence since none is being presented.

  • Jack

    Jesus did say that, Ben, but I’m not sure what you mean by bringing it up in this context. That is, I don’t know whether to agree or disagree with whatever point you’re making.

  • Jack

    So in MaxWorld, when atheists behave themselves, it’s due to atheism, but when atheists misbehave, it’s due to……theism?

    Weird….

  • Jack

    Larry, you can rule out resurrections only by ruling out either God’s existence or His ability to perform them. In case you haven’t noticed, smart (and stupid) people are found on both sides of the God’s-existence question, so deeming His existence impossible is a supremely arrogant and ignorant thing to do. Yes, you can say, “in my opinion, God doesn’t exist,” but your language goes way farther than that.

    And once you admit that God’s existence isn’t flatly impossible, you can’t rule out resurrections, since an omnipotent being can do anything except that which is inherently self-contradictory….and there’s nothing self-contradictory about life’s creator restoring life.

    Nor can you conclude that because you’ve never seen a resurrection, none have occurred. You have no way of knowing that. What we do have are allegations about Jesus being resurrected — and no natural explanation for what happened to the body, despite 20 centuries of relentless inquiry.

  • Jack

    Max, “innocent until proven guilty” is exactly my point.

    Shame on your English teachers for not teaching you reading comprehension.

    The rest of your post bears further evidence that you are either unwilling or unable to comprehend simple English prose.

    Again….the whole point is that it’s not the absence of corroboration, but the presence of material contradiction, that refutes a text — any text of any kind, religious or secular.

  • Ben in oakland

    It’s a response to this:

    Listen carefully to Bible bashers and you’ll see that people don’t hate the Bible because its standards are beneath them, but because its standards are a reproach to them. When something is beneath people, they have a haughty, arrogant contempt of it. I don’t perceive that when I hear Christians criticized. Instead, it sounds a lot like what people have said about Jews through time: “Who do these people think they are? Do they think they’re better than us? Do they have a superiority complex or something?”

    In both cases, Christians and Jews, the real “problem” is with the God they worship and the conflict between humanity and God.

  • Ben in oakland

    Actually, shawnie…

    I think a far more likely explanation is the historical one: they thought that Jesus, the descendant of david on both sides of his lineage, the promised priest (from mary) king (from Joseph) was also the promised messiah, the anointed one who would save them.

    And from then on, it was all downhill: into a morass of magic, prophecies, millennialism, and folk stories. Because your explanation is also highly improbable: disappointment that Magic Boy was not really magic after all.

    “Tell you what’s “highly improbable” — people going to their deaths for faith in a Messiah they not only watched die, but helped kill.”

    and who were those people?

  • Jack

    Bernardo, I know all about what you call “modern scholarship,” and what I call the radically skeptical wing of modern scholarship. And as I’ve said, its approach is seriously flawed because it turns the rules of historical evidence on their head. It shifts burden of proof from those seeking to refute a text to the text itself.

    Do you understand what I’m saying when I say that from a historical perspective, it’s not the absence of corroboration, but the presence of contraction, that is needed before a text is refuted?

    Yes or no…..If you do, that’s my point….that’s what’s wrong with the approach of the people you cite.

    If you don’t understand, I would be happy to elaborate.

  • Greg1

    Jack read rev 14:1-5, also rev 7:9, and rev 21:14

  • Jack

    Bernardo, the Gospel of John is of inestimable historical value. Its writer displays a deep, detailed, and rich knowledge of every aspect of first century, and specifically pre-70 AD, Israel. From a historical perspective, it’s a grand-slam home run, but an underappreciated one.

    Why? Because for too long, too many people were fixated on the high theology found elsewhere in the text, and not enough people read the writer’s meticulous descriptions of the cities, towns, and villages of pre-Roman-destruction Galilee and Judea, the distance between them, or between them and Jerusalem, the people living there, the customs practiced, and the physical structures, from pools to podiums of the time.

    The Romans reduced the structures to rubble beginning 70 AD, so whoever wrote the text either was there before the destruction or knew someone who was. And 20th century archeological discoveries show just how accurate he was.

  • Jack

    I just did, Greg.

    re Revelation 14:1-5 and Revelation 7:9:

    See Revelation 7:4-8, which tells us who the 144,000 are. They are from the 12 tribes of the people of Israel, with each tribe listed.

    Why did the writer go through the trouble of listing all of the tribes unless he meant the literal tribes? Think about it, Greg.

    Re Revelation 21:14 — Yes, the 12 gates of the New Jerusalem have the names of the 12 apostles inscribed on them.

    But also check out Revelation 21:12 — just two verses before it. There you will find those same 12 gates also have the names of the 12 tribes of Israel inscribed on them.

    In other words, the gates have the names of the 12 apostles plus the names of the 12 tribes inscribed on them.

  • Jack

    Bernardo, Crossan is from the radical Jesus Seminar, which, compared to mainstream scholarship, is far off the beaten path. Its process of selecting which verses were authentic and which were not leave much to be desired. It was often arbitrary and capricious, based more on the Seminar’s anti-supernaturalist bias than objective analysis of the text.

    There is a crucial difference between objectivity and radical skepticism. Objective analysis show be neither overly credulous nor “a-ha-gotcha” skeptical.

  • Jack

    Ben, there is no question that Jesus’ original disciples were willing to suffer and/or die at the hands of authorities rather than renounce their claim that they had seen Jesus alive days after he had been crucified and laid in the tomb. Based on the normal rules of historical evidence, Peter and the rest of them were literal, historical people who did just that.

    The only way out of this is, as I have told you previously, to weave wildly improbable conspiracy theories about writers living a century later who made up the whole thing and somehow concocted the whole story or bits and pieces of it.

    But besides being a bit wacky on their face, as are 99% of conspiracy theories, the problem with these theories is this:

    The evidence is quite powerful that all four gospels plus the Book of Acts were written well within the first century — early enough for contemporaries to have still been alive to refute any of it.

  • Bernardo

    Jack, You continue to accept the NT as accurate when most of it fails rigorous historic testing to include the Palm Sunday account. Again peruse the analyses and then get back to us.

    And please note, your prophets are simply the old version of today’s fortune telling con men and women.

  • Jack

    Bernardo, even the statement you just quoted from Gerd Ludemann shows exactly the problem I’ve been highlighting about radical skepticism.

    Just reread it to yourself and ask yourself whether this is an example of sober and sound scholarship or someone who’s approaching the text from a hyper-skeptical — as opposed to an honestly objective — position.

    Apparently, Ludemann believed that just 5% of sayings attributable to Jesus were his. Needless to say, this is at odds with the vast majority of modern scholarship, from liberal to conservative and everything in between.

    The questions that any scholar worth his salt should be asking are obvious:

    How would Ludemann know that? Moreover, what is his methodology and how does he square it with normal evidentiary rules of history?

  • @Eric,

    “If you have anger…jeaolosy..envious…need to have peace… then you will need the God…”
    Gosh! I’m sorry you have so many problems. I wish you well.

    “You preach that there is no God.”
    No I don’t! I just don’t believe your claim that god exists. That is a big difference. Prove your god.

    “You preach that each man should do whatever is right in his own eyes.”
    Don’t YOU?

    “You happily do what you can to discredit God.”
    What credit does he have?

    “Doesn’t every person who does whatever they want without restraint end up in prison…..”
    The prisons are full of Christians and Muslims – NOT Atheists. There are almost no atheists in prison.

    “We need God to change our desires.”
    I’m terribly sorry you want to rape people.
    If imagining a God exists stops you from raping and stealing then please continue.

  • Ben in Oakland

    “Doesn’t every person who does whatever they want without restraint end up in prison or deserving of it?”

    No. Just the ones that break the law, or harm others.

    “We need God to change our desires.”

    No YOU need god to change your desires. Adults with a true moral sense recognize that their desires don’t always comport with civilized behavior.

    I don’t have a god, so I have no need of sin, and no need for him to change my desires. Try not to harm other people, make restitution if you do. You know, just treat others as you would like to be treated.

  • Jack,

    The lack of reading comprehension is entirely YOURS.

    You said, “It’s not up to witnesses to prove their veracity, but cross-examiners to debunk it.”

    So your claim is:
    “Jesus exists, prove I’m wrong!”

    And I’m telling you that is garbage. Shame on you.
    The duty to defend a claim is on the claimant.

  • @Billysees:

    If your God says nice things and Shakespeare says nice things
    Why is your God more important than Shakespeare?

    And why is your God superior to Shakespeare?

    And why shouldn’t we worship Shakespeare instead of God?

    Shakespeare is morally superior to your God.
    Shakespeare never commanded Rape, Genocide and Slavery – unlike your God, he bemoaned these things.

    Why do you search for nice quotes from evil bible stories? Yet you ignore the beauty of better books?

    “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to no one” – William Shakespeare

    Your God never rises to anything remotely as clear and moral. Instead he commands doing many evil things!
    “Hate them” – JESUS (Luke 14:26)

    I cannot understand why a decent person would prefer this corrupted joker to the real thing.

  • Shawnie5

    “Those who accept the diagnosis will be seen as traitors to humanity and, in at least some times and places, treated accordingly.”

    Your words brought to mind the famous words of Tacitus about the Roman Christians of the 1st century: “Therefore, first those were seized who admitted their faith, and then, using the information they provided, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much for the crime of burning the city, but for hatred of the human race.”

    Plus ca change…

  • Shawnie5

    “So your claim is: “Jesus exists, prove I’m wrong!”

    That was not Jack’s claim. Go back and re-read — slowly this time.

    No wonder you present so many garbled arguments. You can’t read for content.

  • Jack,

    You are being foolish. Religion is a 100% SECULAR enterprise!
    There is no evidence of a god behind any of these religions.

    And that is the problem with your religion.

    The minute a leader claims MESSIANIC knowledge (STALIN, JESUS, HIROHITO, HITLER etc..) genocide is always the next step.

    MESSIANISM is not Atheism.
    Stalin was a Messiah – a Czar (a religious title for a demigod) – and to the people of Russia he was sold as a Messiah. And that is why religion is dangerous.

    Atheism has no inherent dangers built into it – it is simple non belief in gods.
    Religion however is completely dangerous as it is always absolutist, totalitarian and MESSIANIC!

    “Bring to me those who would not have me as their king
    And EXECUTE THEM IN FRONT OF ME” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    Dangerous nonsense.

  • Shawnie5

    “and who were those people?”

    The Jerusalem Church, made up of those who had witnessed the crucifixion and, according to Peter’s first sermon of the church age, had themselves rejected the Messiah when He first arrived. And many of them met martyrdom at the hands of Saul (later Paul).

  • Jack

    Max, all the infamous Marxist tyrants of the last century were atheists.

    They’re all yours, lad, not ours.

  • Shawnie5

    My all-time favorite scoffer snafu was when they used to claim that Nebuchadnezzar never existed because Herodotus didn’t mention him but instead attributed the construction of Babylon to Semiramis and Nitocris. Until of course Babylon was excavated….

    And of course Belshazzar didn’t exist either, according to Ferdinand Hitzig who in 1850 called him “a figment of the writer’s imagination.” Until of course the cylinder of Nabodinus was discovered only four years after that…

    I am forever amused by these self-important Johnny-come-latelies who purport to know what happened two millenia ago better than the writers of the time.

  • Bernardo

    Jack, Obviously you have not read Ludemann’s studies. Nor Crossan’s. Nor Raymond Brown’s. Nor Meier’s. Nor Borg’s. Nor Wright’s . Nor any of the other NT scholars whose studies are referenced at: . Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the titles of their over 100 books on the subject.

    And keep in mind,it is not just Christianity that is on trial but all religions and their foundations: A quick summary once again:

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    Continued below:

  • Jack

    Well, Shawnie, even Max’s latest response is embarrassingly incoherent.

    It brings up some interesting soteriological questions of how Max will be judged if his brain is scrambled.

    The bottom line is that hard hearts beget soft heads…..very soft heads indeed.

  • Bernardo

    • • There was no Mo-roni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, mo-nkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    Some words hyphenated to defeat a word/fragment filter.

  • Jack

    Good one, Shawnie…..

    And then there’s the one about the 180,000-man Assyrian army, camped out by Jerusalem, 27 centuries ago, not getting wiped out in one night from a plague, according to skeptics. It was just another invented story in the Bible, they said.

    But then, archeologists in Israel came upon at least tens of thousands of medallions that were unmistakably associated with an ancient Assyrian army, and from that time in the Assyrian Empire’s history. And they determined that….yup……they all perished in one night from “something similar to the bubonic plague.”

    I was there in Israel with a friend when I heard an Israeli tour guide, who was also an archeologist, tell that story.

    Here’s basically what he said:

    “I am an atheist and I remain an atheist. But when I tell you that Biblical story that we have now verified, there is no other word I can think of to use than the word, ‘miracle,’ because the plague that night saved Jerusalem from…

  • Jack

    ……Assyria.

  • Jack

    Bernardo, you keep making blanket statements with nothing to back you up besides claques of radical professors who violate the basic rules of how to do history. Repeated recitation of nonsense makes it no less nonsensical.

    Anyone who has ever been to college and has taken liberal arts courses remembers profs who were cranks and quacks and contrasts them with sensible profs who knew what they were talking about.

    You are citing the cranks and the quacks who get away with it, partly because most people are not interested in biblical studies and thus have no basis upon which to decide who’s who and what’s what in that arena.

  • Jack

    I certainly have, Bernardo, but have you? If by Wright, you mean NT Wright, then these other people don’t belong in the same universe with him. He is a giant in his field and while I don’t agree with him on everything, he is a first-rate scholar who understands how to approach a text.

    Your posts indicate to me that you have never read NT Wright.

  • Jack

    And yes, Bernardo, I know about the “historical Jesus” theories, including the “Jesus of history” vs. the “Christ of theology” theories.

    Again, the problem is entirely one of methodology and burden of proof. These are, again, radical skeptics who turn on their heads the mainstream rules on burden of proof.

    Bottom line — It’s not up to any document from the past to prove itself veracious. It’s up to the skeptic to prove it inaccurate. That’s the cardinal rule of historical evidence. If a document dated 21 centuries ago says a man named John Jones lived near Appian Way near Rome, a competent historian provisionally assumes, until contrary evidence emerges, that John Jones was a real person who lived near Appian Way near Rome.

    I don’t know how to explain it any simpler. This is how historians work….but it is decidedly the opposite of the way radical skeptics work.

  • Jack

    Maybe I’m banging my head against the wall here, Bernardo, but I’ll give it one more try:

    (1) You say “there was no Abraham.”

    (2) The Old Testament book of Genesis says otherwise.

    (3) Based on normal rules of evidence, once a purportedly nonfictional text mentions a person, it’s up to the nay-sayers to prove that person didn’t exist, not the yea-sayers to prove he did….although corroboration is always a nice thing to have.

    (4) Thus, Abraham is deemed to exist until somebody comes up with hard evidence to the contrary — not creative flights of speculation, but real, hard evidence.

    (5) Professional historians don’t do creative speculation. They work with hard evidence.

    (6) As it is with historical evidence/documents, so it is with legal evidence/eyewitnesses. Courts deem witnesses to be telling the truth until proven otherwise.

  • Greg1

    Jack, You are taking a figurative book, and trying to interpret it literally. Go to Revelation 21: the heavenly city of God ” had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
    Here we see that the heavenly Jerusalem is built upon both the people from the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant: 12 Tribes (gates), 12 Apostles (foundations). That states quite clearly that heaven is comprised of both the Old and New Testament saints, described in figurative fashion of 144,000, “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” Rev 7:9.

  • Greg1

    Fran, Yes, John was noting that the Jews are the chosen people, but we see right after that the Gentiles are also present. It says nothing in there of some other group in another place. What is going on in the Book of Revelation is it toggles between heaven and earth in an instant and there is no difference, because the saints on earth are already part of the kingdom of heaven. When it talks about the angels sealing those who are in Christ, is also a reference to the Sacrament of Confirmation noted in Acts 8:17, Acts 19:5-6, 2Cor 1:21, Eph 1:13, Heb 6:2. The way a person becomes a Christian, is by Believing, being Baptized, being Confirmed, and receiving the Eucharist (Jn 6). Once those occur, the person on this earth is already experiencing heaven, and whose soul is already joined to the body of Christ. There is no timetable in the Book of Revelation, is a view from heaven, and not earth, and is not meant to be broken down into distinct timetables. But rather looked at mystically.

  • Jack

    Greg, I agree that there’s figurative language in Revelation, but quite often, when it occurs, the author tells us what it signifies.

    Moreover, when it comes to the 144,000, the writer tells us plainly that they’re from the 12 tribes of Israel — and then he takes the time to list all 12 tribes and connect 12,000 to each of them.

    Again, why go through the trouble of listing them if they’re not literally from the 12 tribes of Israel? There would be no such need were it figurative.

    We really need to interpret the Bible in line with the plain intent of the writers, not our own theological presuppositions. It’s only fair to the writers. How would we like it if someone living millennia after us were to do the same to our words uttered while we were here? We would not be pleased.

    We really need to get this principle right. It’s a matter of intellectual honesty — no matter what any church says. We need to focus on authorial intent as best as we can.

  • Jack,

    “The Old Testament book of Genesis says otherwise…”

    The burden is completely on you to prove Abraham’s existence.

    If you can’t prove it, the alternative is not to disprove it – but to dismiss the claim!

    Claim dismissed!

  • Jack

    Greg, the best starting point for interpreting Revelation is to buy a Bible that has a footnote for every New Testament quote from or reference to the Old Testament.

    Once you do that, and look at the Revelation footnotes, you can flip back to the relevant OT passages, often from OT prophetic books, and see the context. There are numerous instances in Revelation.

    One example is Psalm 2:9, an Old Testament verse that is quoted three strategic times in Revelation — where it says that God’s anointed one will rule “the nations” with a rod of iron. The first appearance is when persecuted Christians are assured that they will reign with Christ over their pagan persecutors, the second is when Jews are assured that the same Jesus which came from them will crush their foes led by Satan, and finally at Christ’s second coming, when He fulfills that promise by destroying the armies that come against Israel in Revelation 16 and 19.

  • Jack,

    “The bottom line is that hard hearts beget soft heads…..very soft heads indeed.”

    Pompous, fatuous nonsense. Soft heads? Really?
    Your grandmother’s theory of reality is a blunder. Hard to face, is it?
    There is no evidence of your Jesus or your grandmother’s Jesus.

    Unless you prove otherwise:
    The human blood never reached the dirt (God’s requirement of the Lamb of God). The Jesus torture and slaughter did not happen as God supposedly insisted. Humanity did not get this ‘free’ gift (which supposedly cost something to Jesus!)

    And though this is supposed to be a very moral thing…the revolting torture and bloodletting of another human being as a scapegoat for you personal eternal benefit…you’ll have to excuse me if I find it beyond the dignity of a real person.

    Your claims about your God are too disgusting to be believable. And yet you offer no evidence for any of it.

  • Jack

    Max, I explained how evidence works. Again, try reading posts for a change.

    You’re not an illiterate, so don’t act like one.

  • Shawnie5

    Evidence is difficult for even law students of exceptional intelligence and competence to understand. You’re asking a bit much of poor Max.

    I’m reminded of my fruitless efforts to make various former HuffPo commenters, who insisted on calling the gospels “hearsay,” understand what hearsay actually is. No luck. Analogous to a certain famous saying concerning pigs and singing lessons.

  • JACK,

    “..all the infamous Marxist tyrants of the last century were atheists”

    WRONG.
    Stalinism is not Marxism. Stalinism was a Messianic dogma.
    Are you going to tell me otherwise?

    “Stalin, Trotsky, and Bukharin all had one error in common. They each, after Lenin’s death, contributed to what Lenin had expressly asked they not do and that was build a cult of personality around Lenin. Lenin, who called himself a “consistent marxist,” was entombed against his last wishes and was made the “co-founder” with the new term “marxist-leninist.” This became the beginning of the process of “sanctifying” communist leadership and robbing communists of the brilliant example of Lenin who …deeply and painstakingly examine actual current reality by gathering “truth from facts” rather than truth by the leaders’ pronouncements. ”
    – Phil Amadon
    “How Stalin Distorted Marxism” 2011

    READ A BOOK for a change!
    Stalin was no Marxist!

  • Jack,

    Marxism is not Atheism.
    Marxism is a method to examine class struggle. Lenin was completely clear about this – it requires a dialectic, a give and take, discussion. It is not a dogma.

    Stalinism was a cult – a RELIGION.
    Had there been separation of church and state in Russia, Stalinism would never have happened and the mass genocides would have been impossible!

    You diminish church/state separation when you belittle its crucial responsibility and importance.
    And you support the same failures religion has always brought – Absolute horror and Totalitarian crimes.

  • Jack,

    DONALD TRUMP is doing the same exact thing Stalin did.
    He is creating a cult of personality; an idea that he can do no wrong and it is catching on in some quarters.

    Why does Trump catch on?
    Because people are not taught to be skeptical – they are taught by religion to surrender to charismatic leaders who demonstrate magical abilities to control masses of people.

    Trump is not a brand. He is becoming a religion.
    And it takes a religious population (as opposed to a skeptical one) to let that happen.

    The separation of church and state will not allow Trump to make a sweeping dogmatic decree over the rest of us.

    As a result, Trump will not gain power but will retire as a clown.

    It would have happened to Stalin too – had there been separation of church and state in Russia.

  • Bernardo

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob·a·bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

    The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation”.

  • Bernardo

    Continued from above:

    “The notion that the Bible is not literally true ”is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis,” observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to ”Etz Hayim.” But some congregants, he said, ”may not like the stark airing of it.” Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that ”virtually every modern archaeologist” agrees ”that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all.” The rabbi offered what he called a ”LITANY OF DISILLUSION”’ about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have ”found no trace of the tribes of Israel — not one shard of pottery.”

  • Bernardo

    Jack, Yes indeed I have read Bishop NT Wright’s studies. He fails to use rigorous historic testing methods plus his conclusions are biased because of his occupation. Ditto for Father Raymond Brown’s studies and those of Luke Johnson’s.

    A list of other NT scholars whose studies should be consulted in your perusal of the truth:

    H.S. Reimarus
    R. Bultmann
    E. Kasemann
    Earl Doherty
    Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy
    Alvar Ellegård
    G. A. Wells
    Gregory Riley
    Robert Eisenman
    John Dominic Crossan
    Robert Funk
    Burton Mack
    Stephen J. Patterson
    Marcus Borg
    Stevan Davies
    Geza Vermes
    Richard Horsley
    Hyam Maccoby
    Gerd Theissen
    Bart Ehrman
    Paula Fredriksen
    Gerd Lüdemann
    John P. Meier
    E. P. Sanders
    Robert H. Stein
    Karen Armstrong
    Albert Schweitzer (The Quest for the Historical Jesus)
    Mahlon Smith
    Elaine Pagels
    And members of the Jesus Seminar not noted above

    http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/Works_Cited

  • Bernardo,

    Nice list. I would add:

    Kersey Graves
    Richard Price
    Arthur Drews
    Gerald Massey
    Richard Carrier
    Godfrey Higgins
    Constantin Volney
    David Friedrich Strauss
    Bruno Bauer

    They don’t think a real Jesus existed.
    Not sure I agree with them, could be some figure or figures by that name may have provoked some of the stories…but the whole matter is so open to speculation.

    The observations of the mythicists are sometimes stunning.
    Richard M. Price for example notes the story of Jesus mirrors the Old Testament so closely the New Testament appears to be a full blown repetition of the entire Old Testament, right down to the burning bush!

    But who knows? The stories are contradictory and God doesn’t seem to care how confusing it is 🙂

  • @Bernardo,

    You are exactly correct.
    There is no record of any Exodus of Jews from Egypt or a Moses or an Abraham.

    These myths are not based on anything remotely true. It is conclusive.
    So the next question is, why bother with them?
    If Yahweh is no more factual than Zeus, what good is Jesus except as yet another manifestation of Zoroaster or some other mystery religion?

    After 2000 years it finally seems a good time to abandon these silly gods.

  • Fran

    Bernardo,

    When Abraham, Moses, David, along with many other faithful servants of God mentioned in the Bible are resurrected back to life on earth (John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15) by God’s kingdom (Daniel 2:44) during its upcoming millennial rule, we can all get a first-hand account about them and their lives in the past from their own mouths.

    As Jesus said, “As regards the resurrection of the dead, did you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’? He is the God, not of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31,32, quoting Exodus 3:6). Those persons are still alive in God’s memory and will be brought back to life.

    There have always been doubters about God, his Word, the Bible, and what it tells us, through the ages. But the truth will always prevail.

  • Greg1

    Jack, the ideas expressed in the Book of Revelation are messages of hope for all times. Of course there are some indicators mentioned, and those refer to specific times. But in general, we can place ourselves in most every page of that book. The reason the Jewish tribes were mentioned is God’s way of saying, yes, my Old Covenant is not abrogated, but only fulfilled. What do we see coming down from heaven? Israel? No, the “New” Jerusalem (Rev 21:2), or the Church. St. Paul opens our eyes to this mystery in Rom 11:19-26. So this book is not one to be broken down into time segments, but rather to be viewed from the eternal perspective. For example, Rev 17:14 & 22:14, refers to those “who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.” Well that is a reference to Baptism (see 1Cor 6:11, Titus 3:5, Ephesians 5:25-26). It also refers to both you and me. So Revelation is an eternal book: Hebrews12:22-24 is similarly written. We are not to get caught up in timetables, but rather, joy.

  • Greg1

    Jack, the Book of Revelation are messages of hope for all times. Of course there are some indicators mentioned, and those refer to specific times. But in general, we can place ourselves in most every page of that book. The reason the Jewish tribes were mentioned is God’s way of saying, yes, my Old Covenant is not abrogated, but only fulfilled. What do we see coming down from heaven? Israel? No, the “New” Jerusalem (Rev 21:2), or the Church. St. Paul opens our eyes to this mystery in Rom 11:19-26. So this book is not one to be broken down into time segments, but rather to be viewed from the eternal perspective. For example, Rev 17:14 & 22:14, refers to those “who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.” Well that is a reference to Baptism (see 1Cor 6:11, Titus 3:5, Ephesians 5:25-26). It also refers to both you and me. So Revelation is an eternal book: Hebrews12:22-24 is similarly written. We are not to get caught up in timetables, but rather, joy.

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  • Bernardo

    Fran, As noted for the New Torah for Modern Minds, there was no Exodus. See the previous commentary about the New Torah.

    And Matt 22: 31-32 (copied from Mark 12:18-27) fails rigorous historic testing e.g. see http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb262.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann’s analysis in his book Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 84 (“The historical yield is nil.”)

    And Daniel? Just another fortune teller whose commentary was woven into the NT by the likes of Mark to give credence to the now long dead Jesus of Nazareth.

  • Paul

    What’s next… burning books? This recent trend is striking similar to the story line of Ray Bradbury’s 1950 book “Fahrenheit 451.” Books were burned because they were assumed to provoke differences in ideas among people that could lead conflict, emotional damage, etc. Further, media was highly controlled by the government for similar purposes, as well as distracting people from the true and deeper issues of their day.

  • You are going to die. Wow. We all are going to die. What a thing to say. That makes people feel uncomfortable. Death, what a concept. Can it be avoided? And if so, how? Jesus taught us that death is just the beginning. He taught us that what lies beyond the grave is what really matters. He came to resolve our sin and death problem. We all have a death problem. Do you know anyone who can avoid it? What happens after death is the real issue. Jesus taught us that there is a heaven and there is a hell. Both are very real, we just cannot see them from here. Jesus is the only One who was able to conquer death. He now holds the keys to life and death. He came to die. He came to die for us. He didn’t die for Himself since He is righteous and Holy and never sinned. We sin. We all sin. We all fall short of what God requires. Jesus is the bridge to God the Father and everlasting life. Receive Him as Savior and Lord. Know God’s forgiveness and peace. Turn away from sin and follow Him.

  • Larry

    “Larry, you can rule out resurrections only by ruling out either God’s existence or His ability to perform them.”

    Or by the fact that no objectively reliable witness or evidence exists as to them happening ever. Has anyone seen one since which could not be explained through rational means (the person wasn’t really dead).

    ” In case you haven’t noticed, smart (and stupid) people are found on both sides of the God’s-existence question, so deeming His existence impossible is a supremely arrogant and ignorant thing to do”.

    But the most dishonest and least rational are on the side of claiming his existence can be proven or must be considered true on its face. They are quick to employ fallacious arguments and deny their own faith. Of course it misses the point of the atheist. Since there is no evidence of God, there is no compelling reason for belief.